An Important Notice to Readers...
Although this fiction blog is illustrated with photos of dolls, and dollhouse miniatures, the language and content of the storyline is intended for an adult audience. Please be advised.
|Maureen watches as Ted scopes out the air strip|
The sun beat the crown of her head like a tropical bludgeon, and she could feel the skin on the back of her neck move from "medium well" to "well done". She scooted over to the furthest corner of the jeep, next to the driver's door, to covet the tiny bit of shade the pile of rocks afforded. According to the watch he had put in her hand, Ted had been gone nearly 45 minutes. That meant that if he didn't return soon, she was on her own. By herself. Solo.
She had argued bitterly over the course of his plan to no result. Begged to go with him to check out the lay of the small airstrip she could see in the distance. But he would hear none of it, calmly going over the steps he wanted her to follow should the need arise.
"Look, baby. I need for you to do what I tell you." She had opened her mouth to protest, but
he silenced her with a firm finger to her lips. "No arguments. I have to know that you'll follow my instructions to the letter. Can you do that?"
"But, Ted...why can't I just go with you?"
"We went over this, sweetheart. It's too much ground to cover in this heat. Harsh and rocky...not to mention the unwanted advances of rattlers and scorpions. I have no idea what might be waiting for us there. If somehow they've discovered that Arroyo is dead, then it's possible there's already a welcoming committee placed here for our arrival. I'm not going to risk it. I need to scope out the place beforehand. On my own. If I see that everything is quiet, then I'll come back to get you, and we'll be on our way home." He leaned in, and had pushed an errant red curl behind her ear. "You trust me to do what's best for you, don't you baby?"
She hated that when he said things like that, everything in her stomach, and below, went warm and squishy. She found herself nodding, when in fact, she wanted to scream and rant. He took hold of her chin, and kissed her lightly on the lips. "Good girl. Now, go over all the instructions for me one last time."
Maureen sighed, and repeated what he had told her earlier. "I am to stay here and wait for you. If you are not back in 60 minutes, then I am to follow the coordinates you set in the GPS, and drive back to Playa Del Carmen. Find "La Fresca" restaurant, and ask for Senoir Garza. When I find him, I'm supposed to say that I need a package shipped promptly. And then...do whatever he tells me." She folded her arms across her chest, and stared him down. "You do realize how crazy that sounds. Like bad dialogue from an old spy movie."
Beckett smiled. 'Yeah, Garza has an odd sense of humor. But he's one of the good guys. He'll get you back home safely, one way or the other."
"You said the same thing about Arroyo. And look how he turned out."
"It's different with Garza. You're gonna have to trust me on that. Besides, it might turn out that
the air strip is deserted, and I'll be back here in no time. You be my brave girl for just a little longer. Then it's right back home with the two of us. I promise. Plan B is just a worse case scenario."
There was no changing his mind. Ever. And so she had watched him walk off across the dry terrain in the direction of the air strip. Watched him walk further and further, until she could no longer make him out amongst the landscape. That had been over 45 minutes ago, and the hands on the expensive wristwatch continued their march toward the one hour mark. Despite the heat of the day, a slight chill ran from the top of her head, to the soles of her feet. Not having anyone else to turn to, she began all the prayers she knew in heart, not sure that God was willing to negotiate over someone like Ted Beckett.
It turned out that the mysterious Fr. Murphy, whose body he seemed to be inhabiting at the moment, enjoyed a hardy breakfast. While he searched the room for additional information on his current location, Mrs. McBride returned with a large covered tray that she plopped on a rickety table near the window.
"We be low on a number of items in the larder, Father. If you be wantn' me to attend to the market, you'll have to be partn' with a coin or two. There's but a spot or two of tea left in the jar, and not a crumb left of brown bread after you be finishn' the mornin' meal. I know me ways aroun' a kitchen, I do. But there's no makin' a meal without the necessaries."
Fr. Kevin uncovered the tray, revealing a steaming plate containing all the ingredients of a traditional Irish breakfast. Two fried eggs rested in a pool of warm, yellow butter, while the aroma of the fatty Irish bacon made his mouth water. The plate also held a combination of both black and white pudding, a mound of fried potatoes, two crispy sausages, and a round slice of fried tomato, with a small pot of fragrant tea resting along side. His stomach growled in celebration, and he thanked the good Lord he and Murphy apparently had similar tastes in food.
"This looks delicious, Mrs. McBride. Thank you." He spread his lips in what he hoped was a passing smile, and it felt stiff and awkward on his face.
The woman tilted her head, and looked at him oddly. "You be queerer than a three legged cat
this day, Father. You sure ya be feeln' fine?"
Kevin felt a warm flush come over him. It was obvious whatever he was doing was putting the poor woman at unease. "I feel...quite well, thank you. Why do you ask?"
The woman put her hands on her well-padded hips, and stared at him, looking him over from head to toe. "Is odd, is all. I've been fixn' that same breakfast for goin' on three years now. Ya naught said a word in return. Catchin' me un-awares with all the polite chatter, ya is. Ya no banged your head stubbln' about last night, did ya?"
He rubbed a self-concious hand over his head, feeling for any lumps and bumps, and finding none, shook his head. "I assure you, I am fine. I just...just thought I'd mind my manners, is all."
The housekeeper grunted. "Hmmph. Is strange, for sure" She crossed herself, and made the sign for what he could only guess might be the evil eye. "You best be puttn' a fork to that meal if you intend to begin Mass anywheres close on time. I'll be up with the laundry as soon as that soul-less
washer woman decides she might deliver it. The Good Lord save me soul, but it be a mystery to me why you use a Guinea instead of a solid Irish lass." She shuffled to the door, giving him one last look over then shoulder, than closing it softly behind her.
Breakfast secure in his belly, Fr Kevin made his way down the stairs. The rest of the rectory seemed in no better shape than the bedroom above, and he made the deduction that Father Murphy didn't seem to put a lot of effort in the maintenance of his home. Although the rooms were clean and dusted, the furnishings were faded with age, the rugs worn thin in several places. The wind blow in from a large crack in the window that faced the street, and the paint was peeling around what was obviously a leak under the sill.
There was a large oval mirror set over the granite fireplace, and he stopped in front of it, taking inventory of all he saw. The somber dark suit was one of two he had found in the closet upstairs, this being the newer of them. He ran a finger inside the collar, and tugged. His neck felt too large for the restraint of it, and the back chafed at his hairline, but he was grateful to be fully dressed, the suit giving him some sort of feel of control he had lacked in the dressing gown.
From what he could figure from his surroundings and attire, he had ended up somewhere in the mid 1800's. Even thinking that notion freaked him out. Logic demanded that there was no such thing as time travel, Stuff like that was left to the plot line of some science fiction story. Pure make-believe. But it was hard to argue with the fact that here he was, fully conscious of being Kevin O'Kenney, stuck in the physical body that wasn't his, in a time period not his own. To the how and why of it all, he had no clue, but figured it had something to do with the strange pocket watch he and Roxanne had discovered in the safety deposit box.
Thinking about Roxanne made him instantly queasy. He was filled with a growing anxiety about her whereabouts, and prayed that she had stayed safely behind in Boston. The Boston in 2013, and not this one 150 years in the past. As a man of faith, he assumed, as with all things, that his Creator was in control, and he said a silent prayer that the Spirit might see fit to help him find away out of all of this. The thought instantly crossed his mind that he might never escape. Never get back to the life and body he called his own. Never see those he loved, who wouldn't be born for years and years in the future. But he forced the fear from his mind, and planted it firmly on figuring out what his next step should be.
As he stared at the mirror and pondered these questions, there was a knock at the front door. Turning to answer it, he was pushed to the side by the efficient Birdie McBride, who flung the door open with the force of two men. A young woman with long dark hair stood at the door, gaunt and weary, a large bundle of folded linen in her arms.
"It be about time, missy! It gets later and later each and every day. You tell your folks that if they can't be more timely in their work, the good Father will be takn' his business somewheres else."
The woman nodded her head nervously, her eyes darting back and forth, and resting on Kevin, who stood behind his housekeeper. Her accent was heavy, speaking to her Italian heritage. "So sorry, Father. The wringer...it broke...and papa...he needed to fix it. So sorry." She focused her attention on his face, staring intently into his eyes, as if searching for answers. He knew that feeling, and stared back. The oval, brown eyes, heavy lidded with long lashes spoke to him of something familiar. Something he should know, but couldn't quite grasp.
"Himself is not given' a care to the workins' of your tools, miss. If you be wantn' his business, then you get the linens here on time. Ya hear what I'm sayn, lass?
The woman nodded, her eyes never leaving Kevin. She backed out of the doorway, and Mrs. McBride slammed the door with a heavy thud, muttering under her breath. "Damn Guineas! Not a trustworthy bone ins their bodies." She thumped off in the direction of the kitchen, leaving Kevin alone with more questions then answers.
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
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