Glass City EclipseWritten by Dave DeChristopher | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Chapter 18: The Familiar Blonde with the Unexpected Voice
Both women whipped their heads around to look at me, like two pod people from “The Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I felt a tightening in my chest, but where was there to run?
They looked as surprised as I, the tall librarian with the skunk-streaked hair in the lilac suit and the taller blonde woman with the spiky hair whose name, we had been told, was Jezebel Cooke, and who seemed to be not far away whenever something fatal went down.
“Come here,” she said, low.
Without a second thought, I walked slowly in her direction; or maybe without thinking. I don’t know why, really. I guess I was curious, or tired of running.
“You’re safe now.”
She didn’t seem threatening to me at that moment.
Her eye contact shifted suddenly from me to a point above and behind me.
I looked back — bad idea; remember the story of Lot’s wife? —and it was Micah, standing there at the far end of the row of desks. And he didn’t look happy. “Don’t,” was all he said.
It was High Noon, and what was I doing stuck between Gary Cooper and the desperado? More important, which one of them was Gary Cooper?
Jez Cooke stalked towards me then — I should have been afraid but I wasn’t — and stuck something in my pocket with her left hand while knocking me to the floor with her right. “Sorry about that,” she said, under her breath. Curioser and curioser.
My nose scraped the rough carpet, and instantly I crawled forward, down an aisle of books.
A series of unusual noises followed, some in fugue: shouting voices, running footsteps, a shrill female scream, gasps and punches and a firm male voice demanding order.
I stood and ran crouched over, past a huge desk, through the high open courtyard in the middle of the first floor, and to the area that Tania had presumably been working in. I didn’t see her, but I spotted the menacing guard with the salt-and-pepper moustache; he didn’t see me, fortunately. But that, I figured, was only a matter of time.
I made a beeline for the exit; it wasn’t until I was unlocking my car on 11th Street that I remembered the note I had been given by Jez Cooke.
Something else weird was nagging at me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it at that moment. I drove to Huron, parked in front of Monat’s Market and walked to Beaner’s; If Tania was able to get away from the library, this is where she would come to hook up with me.
Lexi behind the counter had green hair today, and looked surprised to see me. I didn’t think anything of it until she shoved a plump, pimply-faced boy named Blake to the counter to take my order while she scooted to the phone.
Was I being paranoid? Probably, but as the cliche goes, it didn’t mean that somebody wasn’t out to get me.
“Lexi!” I called out sharply. Lexi bobbled the phone like a hot potato. I didn’t stick around; threw a couple of bucks onto the counter, pumped out a grande, and vamoosed.
Then it hit me, what I had been trying to remember: the voice of the supposed villainess Jez Cooke. Micah said she was from Denmark, but she had the same Midwestern nasality as that girl in the Buckeye CableSystem commercial. If Jez Cooke was from Denmark, then I was the Queen of Romania.
And what was on the piece of paper that she had slipped me?
To be continued …