Nick sat frozen, an untouched cup of coffee from a nurse in his hand.
At the sound of footsteps he looked up. A doctor stood there. “Mr. Ramsey? She’s asking for you.”
Nick entered the room with trepidation. Emmeline lay on the hospital bed, an IV in her arm and hooked up to a heart monitor. It beeped steadily. Her eyes were closed but as he pulled the door shut she opened them.
“This isn’t what I meant when I asked you to meet me for coffee, Nicholas.”
Her soft smile was all it took for him to breakdown completely.
Happy Friday, Readers! I think this week just flew by, didn’t it? Already it’s time for Friday Fictioneers with our host, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week our prompt photo is provided by our host, Rochelle.
As I have been for the past month or two, I will continue the story of Nicholas and Emmeline. There’s been a little tension between the two of them in the past two weeks…there’s more to Emmeline than meets the eye and Nicholas isn’t sure how to handle that. We’ll see what happens today…
In A Blink
Nick burst into the hospital room, his jacket and tie askew and skidded to a stop, breathing heavily. The doctor and nurses looked up in alarm. “You can’t be in here,” said one the nurses, striding forward.
Nick didn’t move, he just stared at the operating table and the woman laying unconscious on it.
“Nurse!” said the doctor sharply, pointing with a bloody glove.
“I’m sorry sir, you have to stay in the waiting room. That’s the best thing you can do for your wife right now.”
Nick couldn’t take his eyes off of Emmeline. Dazed, he said, “But she isn’t my wife yet.”
Happy Friday my dear Readers! It’s time for Friday Fictioneers again, hosted by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo is provided by Sandra Cook (and I really love it!). Today I am continuing the love story of Emmeline and Nicholas. If you missed last week’s story, you may want to check it out here before reading this one. Enjoy!
A Change in the Wind
“Are you going to go up Sir, or do you plan on standing outside all day?”
Nick jumped then shrugged, giving the doorman a sheepish smile. “I don’t want to disturb her, Miles.”
The impeccable doorman barely blinked before saying, “Miss Price always has time for you, Mr. Ramsey.”
Nick swallowed hard as he looked up the picturesque building, the yellow-white stone gleaming in the sun, with its Grecian columns and blooming flower boxes, feeling out of place. They hadn’t spoken since the strange moment in the graveyard, but now he knew Emmeline was hiding something from him.
Happy Friday Readers! Another week has come and gone already! I’m sorry for skipping last week, but I’m back again with another Friday Fictioneers adventure with Emmeline and Nicholas. And since I missed last week…I made this story 200 words instead of the usual 100. I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Special thanks to Rochelle for always providing a prompt (even when some of us skip a week) and to Liz Young for this week’s photo!
Outside of the World
The frost tipped grass crunched under Nick’s oxford shoes as he made his way through the tiny cemetery. Most of the stones were crumbling, their names and dates faded or illegible.
Suddenly he saw her. She was sitting on a stone bench, hands folded in her lap. For a second Nick hesitated, unwilling to disturb her, but she shifted and looked up, catching sight of him immediately.
“Nicholas? what are you doing here? Is anything wrong?”
“Your office told me I could find you here,” Nick said. “I-I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come, it’s nothing important…” He turned to leave.
“Wait,”said Emmeline, rising to her feet. Nick stopped. “I come here to think sometimes.” She reached out and took his hand, pulling him back towards the bench.
“Why here?” The cemetery was old. No one had probably been buried there for over 50 years.
Emmeline shrugged. “It’s peaceful. Quiet. I feel outside of the world here.”
Nick looked around. His eye caught on the tombstone directly in front of them. His eyes widened. “That’s your name!” he cried, jumping up to look closer at the faded letters. He touched the stone. “How strange!”
Happy Friday, Readers! It’s time again (already!) for Friday Fictioneers. I’m going to continue exploring the lives of Miss Emmeline Price and Mr. Nick Ramsey. If you missed last week’s story, you can find it here.
As always, I offer my thanks to Rochelle for providing us with a weekly prompt, and this week special thanks to J. Hardy Carroll.
Enjoy the story!
“Emmy, this is crazy.”
“It’s Emmeline, Nicholas.”
“He’s a recluse! He never accepts visitors!” Nick stumbled over the uneven sidewalk. “Do you really expect to get in?”
Emmeline stopped suddenly as they arrived at the gates. An old intercom was attached to a pole. With practiced ease she punched in a set of numbers. There was some static, then a raspy voice said, “Is that you, Miss Price?”
“Yes, Lester. But I have a follower today. Should I leave him at the gate?”
This is going to be my last post about Stella and Griffin for a while. I’ve decided to expand this story, and it’s going to be my focus for Camp National Novel Writing Month in April. I hope you won’t mind the wait! It will be worth it (I hope). If you need a refresher before starting this story, check out their last adventure here.
Sorry in advance for a cliffhanger….enjoy!
Unsettled, But Setting Out
My dislike for the crone increased with every minute. She was patronizing, cryptic, knew far more than she was telling us, and there was an aura of otherness about her that made my skin crawl. The fact that she owned a grimoire was extremely suspicious. I was tempted to arrest her, but if I did that then our only lead to the location of the Soul-Eater would be lost.
I ground my teeth. “Then I guess we’d better be on our way.” I glanced at Stella. She was staring at the table with utter fascination. I followed her gaze. Her eyes were not fixed on the map, as I had originally thought, but on the pushed aside grimoire, still open to the page about the Soul-Eater. I didn’t know what was so interesting about a shapeless blank blob on an aged page with crooked writing, but I decided it couldn’t be good, whatever the reason was.
“Stella,” I called. She flinched violently and stepped back, a look like guilt flashing across her face before she lifted her eyes to mine. I frowned.
Horatia laughed. “Such a rush…”
“You just reminded us our time is short,” snapped Bart suddenly. He had been unusually quiet during the entire visit but now appeared defiant; meeting the old woman’s piercing eyes with a firm, level gaze. It was as if he had been deliberating some weighty decision in his mind and had finally settled it.
“He speaks at last,” Horatia said.
I bristled, ready to jump to Bart’s defense should she turn her sharp tongue on him, but he merely shrugged and turned to me.
“Shall we go, Master Griffin?”
I searched his eyes, looking for a sign of what had been passing in his mind, but there was only his usual steadfast and earnest loyalty. Nothing to indicate Horatia had told him anything untoward or disturbing. I nodded. “Prepare the horses.” As he started forward to leave, I put a hand on his shoulder. “Thank you Bart.” He said nothing, just inclined his head and left the cottage.
I turned back to face the room and found Horatia watching us intently. “What did you say to him?” I demanded, my temper rising.
“Nothing for your ears,” she said airily, waving a hand. Red flickered in my vision.
Suddenly Stella appeared at my side, one hand fisted in her skirt, the other coming to rest on my arm with a feather-light touch. “Come on Griffin, let’s go.” She smiled and inclined her head towards the old woman. “Thank you for everything, Horatia,” she said sincerely. “We will defeat the Soul-Eater. I promise.” She fidgeted slightly, rocking on her feet. Her hand on my arm trembled ever so slightly. I frowned. What was wrong?
Horatia had turned her intense gaze on Stella. For a few moments she said nothing, just seemed to study Stella as if she was a riddle that needed answering. At last she nodded and grinned, revealing straight, even teeth. This unnerved me more than anything because of the unexpected sight. “You are welcome, star-girl. We will meet again.”
Stella said nothing else, just turned on her heel and pulled me out with her. I gave one last look back at the old woman, still grinning and then left the cottage without a word.
Outside, Bart was ready and waiting with the horses. Stella shrugged away his offer to help her into the saddle and hoisted herself up. I watched her, an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Something was bothering her, but I couldn’t say what. Perhaps she was just thinking about Roy, or perhaps my confession outside of the cottage had unnerved her. That idea left me feeling anxious to appease her. I grunted and shook myself as if to shake away the feeling. Out of habit I double checked my saddle bags and touched the hilt of my spare sword, tucked away among my bags and supplies. Then I took the reins from Bart’s outstretched hands and mounted. Bart quickly followed suit.
A quick glance back at the cottage revealed Horatia watching us from the window of the cottage. She grinned at me when she caught me looking, and turned away, spurring my horse forward. “Let’s go,” I said gruffly. I would be happier once we put some distance between us and this village and that strange old woman, even if I had my doubts about her information. Our path would lead us through the rest of this wood and out onto the main road for many miles before reaching the river. “If we keep a steady pace,” I said, “we should reach the river by tomorrow night.”
“That only leaves us one day to reach the tree and stop the Soul-Eater,” said Bart doubtfully. “Perhaps we should consider riding through the night.”
I shook my head. “No. We’re going to need every bit of strength in us to face this thing, and no small amount of courage. I won’t have us face it swaying on our feet in fatigue.”
Bart nodded. I looked at Stella, who hadn’t said a word since we left the cottage. She held her reins in a tight grip and had her eyes straight ahead. “Stella?” She jolted, as if coming out of deep thought.
“Hmmm? Yes, whatever you say,” she said absently. Bart turned his head sharply at her, concern etched on his face, and my frown returned. Had she even been listening?
The village was well out of sight now, but I glanced back anyway, half expecting to see a glimpse of a grinning old woman, bent and twisted in shadow. There was nothing but quiet woods and the worn path we followed, dappled with afternoon sunlight. “Are you alright?” I asked, returning my focus to Stella. She shrugged and gave both of us a smile that didn’t reach her eyes.
“Yes, of course, I’m fine,” she answered. “Just a little tired, I suppose. And Horatia gave us a lot to think about.”
Bart and I shared a look and a string of silent words. “Perhaps we should rest now, for a little bit. Take some refreshment,” Bart suggested.
Stella shook her head. “No, I don’t need anything. Let’s just keep riding.”
“You’re sure you’re alright?” I asked, not wanting to let the issue drop.
“Yes!” she snapped, glaring at me. “I said I was fine. Let’s just keep riding. We can ride until we can’t see the path anymore. I agree we should get some rest, but I also want to have as much time as possible to defeat the Soul-Eater. We don’t know what we’re walking into, so the more time we have to scout things out, the better, I think.”
I was taken aback. It was a good plan, one I probably would have followed had she not been with us, but I was pleased she suggested it. Still, though it was a practical and good plan, it did not answer my question of what was on her mind. For a few moments, the only sound between us was a soft clop-clop of horse hooves on the path. “Very well,” I said at last. I would let the matter drop for now. “We’ll ride on.” But when we stopped for a rest, I would make her talk one way or another.
It’s Friday again, dear Readers! I’m back with more adventures in the lives of Nicholas Ramsey and Emmeline Price in this week’s Friday Fictioneers! (If you would like to read about their previous adventures, try here and here.) Special thanks to Rochelle, as always, for providing the prompt. The photo credit goes to Jennifer Pendergast, a fellow blogger!
“Do I even want to know how you managed this?” Nick watched as workmen carefully carried piece after piece of priceless artwork into the hall.
“Not in the nefarious way you are no doubt imagining,” answered Emmeline, stamping the delivery sheet with the Answering Angel’s seal of approval and her flourishing signature. “Believe it or not, people are more willing to help charities than you think.”
Nick scoffed, but his retort was cut off by the box of place cards Emmeline shoved into his arms. “Now make yourself useful,” she said. “I’ll make an angel of you yet, Nicholas Ramsey.”