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.
"I was able to meet with Dr. Webster. But, honestly Rox, I'm not sure anything he told me is going to be useful. At least not in our situation."
"There's gotta be something, Kev. I just can't believe our presence here...in these bodies...in this time...is pure coincidence. What did he tell you?"
"Like I said...not much. He seemed very concerned...panicky actually...about some papers he had stashed. Acted as if I was supposed to know all about it. The papers, and their hiding spot."
"Did I what?"
"Know what he was talking about."
"Of course not, Rox. How would I know?"
"I dunno. I figured maybe the voice in your head explained. They sometimes do that."
"Not in this case. Left me hanging with no help at all." He shifted in the wooden chair, his rear feeling the effects of several hours of cramped sitting. "It's not like I had a whole lot of options. I kept him talking in hopes he'd say something that I could use."
"And? Get to the point out, Kevin! Guido out there doesn't seem very patient. Besides, the longer I stay in this box, the more I look like Susie Sinner. Did you get any information at all?"
"Yeah, I was able to put together that Webster, who is a chemistry professor, hid his all important research in a loose stone in a privy on the Harvard campus."
"He put his research in a damn shit hole? That's bizarre!" There was a gap of silence, and even though the two had only been whispering, the lack of sound was deafening. It took her only a moment to realize her blunder. "I'm sorry, Kev. I forgot for a second we were in church." Embarrassed, she added, "You have to admit though, that kind of thinking is...well...weird."
"Yes and no. He's right to believe that no one would ever think to look in such a gross spot for something that valuable. On the other hand, it seems risky to put your life's work in a dank, damp location where it risks getting destroyed. None the less, that's where he's apparently squirreled it, crazy or not."
"You are planning to look for it, right? I know you'll think I'm nuts, but I can't shake the feeling that those papers have something to do with our situation. The key to why we're here. We just gotta find them, and figure this whole mess out." She worked at keeping the fear out of her voice, but the words came out in strained, breathy sighs.
Fr. Kevin stretched his arms over his head, and yawned, the fatigue of the day creeping over him like thick morning fog. He suddenly felt exhausted, too tired to even contemplate this adventure, but the angst in Roxanne's whispers squeezed at his conscience, and moved him to make promises he prayed he could keep. "Don't you worry. I'm gonna find it, Rox. You have my word. And if you're right, and it helps us get home, than the sooner I locate them, the better."
"Thanks, Kevin. You know I'd go with you if I could, but that's simply not possible. They watch me like a hawk."
"No, I can handle it on my own. It's best if we don't end up on anyone's radar." Confidence he didn't really feel welled from somewhere inside his brain. "How hard can this be, Roxie? It's not like it's brain surgery, or anything."
She giggled, and the sound made him feel instantly better. "That's the spirit, Kevin. I'll try to contact you during the day tomorrow. Not sure how, but I'll figure something out."
He could hear her shuffling on the other side of the screen, preparing to leave. As an after thought he added, "As long as you're here, Rox...do you want me to hear your confession... for real?"
There was an awkward silence that stretched far too long, wrapping itself around the confessional like the bark of a tree. It was his turn to be embarrassed, but about what, he couldn't say.
When the words finally fought their way out, they were sad and resigned. "No, Father O'Kenney. I think I'll pass on the opportunity." There was a deep sigh, and he could hear her hand rattle the knob in an attempt to escape. "Just find those papers...so we can go home. Then everything will be just fine with my soul." And then, without another word, she was gone.
It was obvious from Mrs. McBride's bland reaction, that it was routine for Father Murphy to slip out in the evening, and not for the first time did the man's thoughts and actions give Kevin pause. His host did seem to have more than his share of bad habits, a thought that earned him a cognitive scolding about the sins of judgement. Still, the housekeeper's lack of interest made his escape from the rectory much easier than anticipated, and he was able to leave unnoticed, lantern and all.
The rain and sleet had stopped hours ago, but the temperature had dropped at least ten degrees, and the biting wind off the Boston harbor sliced through his flimsy coat like a knife through butter. In his own time, he had spent his entire life in this town, but didn't seem to recall the weather being as harsh and raw as it was now, at least not as early as the month of November. Unable to find gloves, he wore an old, dirty sock on the hand carrying the lantern, the other shoved deep in his pocket for warmth.
The streets were nearly deserted, most people having the sense to stay inside on a night as miserable as this one. The occasional coach would pass, the inhabitants paying little mind to those unfortunates required to walk from one place to another. Not owning a car himself, he was used to walking long distances, but in truth, at that very moment, wished with a fervent jealousy for the shelter of one of those covered coaches that rolled along the streets. The feeling was so unlike him, that when one pulled near the curb next to him, it seemed more like temptation than divine providence.
A flushed face peered through the cut away window, and called out to him. "I say, man...do you desire a lift?"
A female face joined him, red and giggling. "Yes...do join us, poor man. You look about to be blown over by the wind."
The very last thing Kevin wished for was to draw the attention of anyone. He waved in thanks.
"That's very kind, but I am perfectly fine walking. I do appreciate the offer, though."
The gentleman called for the driver to stop, and the carriage rolled to the curb, the horses stomping in the muck, and splattering the cuffs of Kevin's pants. "Don't be a fool, man. At least let us take you some of the way. The weather tonight is ghastly. Simply not fit for man or beast. Where are you headed?"
He hesitated for a moment, not sure if revealing his destination was the prudent thing to do. But his hand, even with the sock, was achingly cold, and he was pretty sure that all ten of his toes were frozen solid inside his hole pocked shoes. "Harvard. I'm...I'm heading to Harvard."
"Hell man! That's near a 3 mile hike! You'd freeze solid before ya even made it. Besides, old man, that's where we're heading ourselves. Returning to our rooms for a little night cap. Be ever so easy for you to ride along. No problem at all." He swung out an arm holding an ornate silver flask. "Here...have yourself a nip. Just to warm up a bit. Then join us in the coach."
Copyright Victoria T. Rocus 2014
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