Yoharie: Stalking (part two)
Cathlyn’s idea made Giarma that touch more irritated with Hibbler, his intrusion when she’d been rehearsing a talk with Trevor…
Not a talk…
Just a diplomatic goodbye…
And not a goodbye…
Just a rejecting of his beloved Totem-Maker…
Probably a goodbye…
Worse, she told herself, pushing Trevor’s bell, than if Hibbler were The Creep in its atavistic form, without complications. But that was Kate’s job, to plumb these, if she would…the soul of Jeremiah Hibbler must be securely, therefore—and thankfully—a closed book.
She handed a book to her host and told him she was finished with it. The lie might be apparent. But she’d had Totem three days…had even stayed up past one a.m. reading the first chapters. Before hitting the snag.
“Now, I have a proposition. Maybe you won’t like it.”
She crossed the threshold. He turned a palm up in the direction of the sofa. The room smelled like McDonald’s…the bag was there, on the coffee table.
“Better eat that,” she said. “Don’t let your fries get cold.”
“Have some if you want.”
“No, go on.”
“This time I got you a Diet Coke.”
He went off to the kitchen, and she heard the sound of a hand rummaging in an ice bin. Her hand, though, was in his fries.
Giarma sipped, and waited for Trevor to stop chewing. “What are you proposing?”
“You want half a cheeseburger…?”
“No, no. Maybe a bite.”
He handed it to her. Adapting, she bit, and traded the cheeseburger for a napkin.
“My proposal,” he said. “Take the rest.” He gave her the fries. “You know I have the blog. I always have a ‘first encounter’ feature for newbies. So you’ll let me interview you?”
“I only read part. When I said finished, I meant done.”
“You didn’t like it? That’s okay.”
“I think I do like it…I just think… I got to this chapter, something recalcitrant…? And then the hero…” She broke off. She bit a fry, conjecturing. Trevor was smiling at her.
“Hero or heroine, right? You don’t know. But…The Recalcitrant One.”
“That’s not the thing. Only it’s weird. Or I guess sad.”
“Story of my life. What’s the thing?”
“He says…I’m just going to say, he…he says, I knew I would die…”
“I don’t know why, when he looked at me, I foresaw my own death in this word.”
“Well, okay.” Maybe, of his favorite, Trevor could quote each line. “You don’t know my life story,” she told him. “But let’s just say I hate anything gloomy-doomy. I don’t want to read a book if people start dying.”
She saw the corner of his mouth twitch. He half-turned—grinning now, she thought— to slug down some coffee.
“It’s in the first person,” he said. “So…think about it.”
Need a moment to think about it. And then: “Oh…”
“…but even so.” Because he was chuckling, because she had his stack of Totems close to hand, Giarma snatched hers back and gave Trevor a swat on the knee. “It’s a fantasy. Do they have rules in fantasies whether people have to be alive to tell their story?”
She saw that for Trevor, this engaging him on his subject meant he must weigh in seriousness a question she cared nothing about.
“I guess I can’t think of one, a book like that, off hand. But I’ll do a post on it, see what the aud thinks.”
“Audience. You, know, followers. Whatever.”
The cat, whom she hadn’t met last visit, jumped onto the arm of Trevor’s chair.
“What’s his name?”
“I thought Elberin was kind of a bad character.”
“Yeah, but it’s a cool name for a cat.”
“Should I take it back, then?” They’d had a fading out, and she was still holding the book in her hand.
(copyright 2018 Stephanie Foster)