Tuesday, November 16, 2021

HAUNTING STURGEONS: Chapter Fifteen

 Previously in this blog serial...


(Click here to read Chapter Fourteen


Now the HAUNTING continues...

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Haunting Sturgeons, chapter 15, by john L. Harmon

    I am organizing my thoughts as the head librarian stares at me with his eager green eyes.  There are many things I could say about Benjamin Straker’s book.  Personal things about Tommy and our parents, about the traffic jam of fleeing humanity.  Things I’m not going to discuss with a complete stranger.  Instead I focus on the conclusion of Shadowtown, where the unbelievable answer is revealed. 


    “What the hell is this shit?” I ask, emphasizing the question by firmly pushing the book away. 


    His red hair glowing from the hanging light above us, Simon Hollis finally releases his thoughts, “Exactly!  I mean, I know it’s designated as fiction, even though it’s obviously based on what happened back then, but come on!  I can’t believe that ridiculous, preposterous ending is true!” 


    I nod my head in complete agreement.  “How is anyone supposed to believe that a repressed psychopath, living in a dilapidated mansion in the woods, destroyed an entire town using a giant swarm of bugs?” 


    “Cybernetically enhanced bugs,” Simon corrects, his tone droll and his expression lively.  “I don’t know what actually happened, but Straker must have been on a powerful hallucinogenic when he wrote this.”  


    Simon makes a good point.  He doesn’t know what happened and neither do I.  This brings up a question that I should’ve asked Eddie, but I was so overwhelmed by seeing him again to even think about it.  “What do people in Sturgeons say about what happened ten years ago?” 


    The head librarian leans forward, a conspiratorial look on his face.  “They don’t.  Well, not  directly.  They just whisper between the stacks and in public restrooms.”  He slips into a wry grin, “I’ve overheard talk of sinkholes, earthquakes, government experiments and all sorts of nutball theories.” 


    “Interesting, but not surprising.”  Thinking about the four characters at the end of Shadowtown, I wonder if there is someone in Sturgeons who knows more.  “Assuming Straker is the sheriff in the book and Clyde Woodhouse is the deputy, who are the two scientists?” 


    “Well, the tall drink of hot nerd with a mop top became Straker’s husband.”  Simon gazes off for a second, as if remembering something pleasant before continuing, “Then the intimidating blond woman became the bride of Woodhouse.  They still live here in hetero-centric bliss or whatever.” 


    “Do you know where I can find her?”  The notion of talking with a scientist sounds better than chatting with an embarrassing childhood police crush.


    He checks the time on his phone, “She should still be at the pharmacy.  Just ask for Christine Abernathy-Woodhouse.” 


    “Thank you, Simon.  You’ve been a real help.”  I stand up, ready to visit the bride of Woodhouse, if she’ll give me the time of day.


    “You’re welcome, Jimmy, but hold on.”  The head librarian gets up, places Shadowtown back on the dusty shelf and then faces me.  “I’ll walk you out.”


    As we leave the library basement, Simon confirms my suspicions by thanking me for chatting about Straker’s book.  It seems I am the first person to ever ask about Shadowtown and this made his day.  I tell him that I’m glad to hear it and he stops me near the main desk with a possibility. 


    “Perhaps we can meet up later.  You know, get to know each other better.”


    Maybe it’s the unexpected proposition, his sly wink or an obviously eavesdropping clerk, but I fumble through my words while thinking of Eddie, “Sounds nice, but I’m…um, kind of…busy.”


    “I understand.”  Simon Hollis sees right through my clumsy response, “I hope he’s worth it.”


    “He is,” I reply with a smile, and it’s true.  Eddie Newcastle is worth it.  However, as I leave the library, I question if I’m really worth it for Eddie.

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The HAUNTING continues in…


Chapter 16

   

Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words! 


Freak Out, 

JLH 


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Click the pic ⤵️ to explore other fantasies of my deranged mind… 🧠 


The books of john L. Harmon spiraling in a circle.


2 comments:

  1. Good ending, that was good gripping stuff as usual.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Gill!
      The library scene had to end eventually, even though I was almost tempted to spend more time there.

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