Sunday October 30th, 2016

The exercise:

Halloween comes to an end with: the conclusion.

Sorry, I don't have anything more creative than that. Hey, maybe if I'd planned things out, at all, I would have something better for us all to work with. As it is... here we are. Do what you can, all right?

Helped with the move for another four hours this afternoon. Taking a break to do Halloween things with the kids tomorrow, then I might be back up there Tuesday afternoon. The rest of the week has already filled up with other commitments, so I'm not sure if or when I'll be helping again after that.

What I do know, however, is that I need to figure out a way to wrap up my story for this week. So I'm going to try to do that now. I hope you've enjoyed the week and that my ending doesn't let you down too much.

Edit: sigh, sleep won again last night. Sorry.


Officer Blackstone sat behind the wheel of his squad car and waited impatiently for his rookie partner to complete his inspection of the old Monroe property. Even though it had been years and nearly a dozen owners since the Monroes had lived there, everyone in town still referred to it by their name.

After what happened to their children, how could anyone think of it otherwise?

Blackstone drummed his fingers on the steering wheel and studied the neighboring houses. The call had come from one of them, supposedly. Somebody heard screams coming from the abandoned house during the night but hadn't phone d it in until morning - such a good, concerned citizen. No wonder they'd refused to identify themselves.

"Superstitious idiots," Blackstone muttered. He had no time for talk of ghosts and hauntings and zombie movies and vampire books.

Of course, he had made Officer Blaylock check things out. And he did keep the engine running.

Officer Blaylock emerged from the weeds masquerading as a front lawn, walking a little faster than was dignified for an officer of the law. Blackstone frowned but said nothing as the kid climbed into the passenger seat.

"No signs of forced entry and both doors are locked tight," he reported while staring straight ahead. "I looked in the windows but didn't see anything out of place."

"Probably a prank call," Blackstone said with a shrug and put the car into drive. "It's not quite Halloween, but I guess somebody wanted to get an early start on the festivities this year."

"Yeah, I guess so."

"What is it?" Blackstone paused with his foot hovering over the gas pedal.

"It's just... I dunno. It was faint... but there was a stink about the place. Like, really nasty."

"Oh, that," Blackstone said as he swung the car into traffic and accelerated away from the old Monroe place. "That's always there."


Greg said...

I have no problem with "The Conclusion" as your final day for a theme week :) After all, you're doing all the hard work of coming up with the prompts and directions for us, so if sometimes they seem a little simpler, that just means we're getting better.
I admit, I was slightly surprised that the point of view changed, but I think it's very effective in conveying that the horror has happened off-camera and that our poor characters failed to convince those children that what happened wasn't their fault. Again, it's the small details that build the atmosphere, like keeping the engine running and delegating the investigation to the junior officer, and the late phone call. I wonder if the police would actually have gone out in the night? Nicely done, with a delicious shiver at the end, knowing what the police don't!

The conclusion
Ernest said nothing, his gaze fixed on the nearing lights of the hotel. Samual slowed the car, and then turned on a road that would take them in a long curve to approach the hotel from the back, allowing more time for conversation. Gravel crunched under the tyres, an indication that this wasn't a heavily trafficked road, and as hedges appeared at the roadside branches scratched softly along the sides of the car.
"The current Lord Campion's grandfather became a vampire voluntarily at the request of King Aelrig, just before the Storm of Aleppo, because there was information that the Duke of Aleppo was recruiting witches. The Lords-Martial are in agreement that this could not happen today, and the Lords-Magical and -Theurgical have contributed opinions that they would not tolerate it either, but that they will not change the status quo without an explicit royal request."
"When you say current-?"
"I mean that dead Lord Campion. Sorry, Sir, the current living Lord's great-grandfather, of course."
"Vampires are avital," said Ernest. "I cannot conceive that they can have children."
"Yes, so far the scions of the family have all had sons before they've had to assume leadership."
"So they must be becoming vampires after they have heirs."
"I've been explicitly told not to ask such questions, Sir. You might have more luck yourself."
Ernest smiled thinly. The car turned gradually on a long curve and the lights of the hotel were currently almost behind them. "Yes, and I might also be advised to mind my own business. If the Lords are happy with the current situation then I shall not challenge it now. So, the Lord Campion was a vampire, which makes him extraordinarily difficult to kill unless this is known. Which leads us to the case of inaction: it is clear that the inaction -- ah, the action not taken -- was to provide some protection against the things that a vampire is most vulnerable to. Clearly Lord Campion did not die in full view of his men or there would be a bigger mess to clean up, so... could I perhaps conclude that Lord Campion died in his quarters, after being served food or drink of some kind?"
The car halted abruptly and the sleeping men in the back stirred slightly before the magic caressed their minds and reassured them again. "Your conclusion, Sir! How...?"
"If it were me," said Ernest, "I would put Holy Water in the whiskey. However since inaction was mentioned, I am guessing -- and it is only a guess -- that there is a new regimental priest and he or she blessed all the food before it was served. The inaction was to allow them to do that for Lord Campion's food."
"Unbelievable," whispered Samual, mostly to himself. He restarted the car. "The priest is called Jane Melody and though she doesn't understand what has happened she is oddly convinced that she is to blame. She's at the hotel as well."

Marc said...

Greg - you're too kind :)

And thanks, one last time, for all the nice things you said about my tale. And thanks very much for keeping up your end of the bargain, as I have very much enjoyed reading your extended tale of David and Ernest!

I think I liked the detail about the branches scratching the car best. And it feels like we're getting to another juicy part of the story just as the week is ending! I hope you've found (or will find) time to continue on from here :D