Week Three Vignette 2 Assignment
|The first thing Stephanie did to prepare for the trip to England was sell the RV. Though Osiris was paying for the plane tickets and offering his home for their lodging, they would still need an emergency fund. The owner of the RV lot she took it to offered her a thousand dollars. It was not pleasant taking a four-thousand dollar loss but it was better than nothing. She gave the steel shell that served as her home for the past seven years a fond pat before dropping the keys into the man’s out-stretched hand. Lee wrapped an arm around her and guided her out of the lot before she could change her mind.
“I’m gonna miss it,” she said.
“Me too,” Lee said. “It was our first home.”
They walked along the road leading from the RV lot to a nearby Pizza shop. Their suitcases and Lee’s AV equipment made the trek a bit slower. The man behind the counter eyed them with curiosity as they deposited their luggage by a booth. He replaced it with a smile as they approached.
‘What can I get you?” He asked.
“Two slices of the pepperoni and mushroom,” Stephanie said.
“I’ll have two of that one,” Lee said indicating a pie covered in various forms of meat.
“And to drink?”
“Two fountain drinks,” Stephanie said.
After she paid, they moved back to the booth with their stuff. Lee tapped the screen on his phone.
“Do you think we can be finished eating in a half-hour?” He asked. “There’s an Uber that can take us to the airport.”
“I guess that will depend on how fast we get the food,” Stephanie said. She smiled as someone approached their table carrying a tray.
“Yeah, I think I can eat these in a half hour.”
They ate in silence and were out the door with their bags by the time a car pulled up alongside the curb. The driver got out and assisted Lee with putting their bags in the trunk. He wore a black leather jacket that covered him from head to foot. It was closed so there was no hint as to what was underneath. Matching leather gloves covered his hands. A hood of similar material covered his head. Stephanie wondered if he was allergic to sun light. Once they were in the car and the doors were closed, she noticed the dark tint on the windows. The driver lowered the hood to reveal a pale white face, dark hair, and reddish eyes.
No way, Stephanie tried to get a better look in the rearview mirror but he angled it so all she could see was the road. She slid closer to Lee and whispered, “Did you see his eyes?”
“What about them?” Lee asked not looking up from his phone.
“They’re red!” Stephanie hissed.
“Most albinos’ eyes are.” Lee shrugged.
“But his hair is black.” Stephanie said.
“He probably dyes it,” Lee said. “Have you done any research on the place we’re headed? Or even looked up necromancy?”
The driver slammed on the breaks causing them to shift forward. He glanced back at them and smiled revealing two rows of perfect white teeth; except for a pair of k-nines which protruded a bit further the top teeth. Stephanie gasped and gripped Lee’s arm.
“Sorry about that folks,” he said. There was a bit of a lilt in his voice. “Some people just don’t know how to keep their eyes on the road.”
“It’s cool,” Lee said. He did not seem to notice the man’s teeth. “Hey, Steph, you drive worse than this. Let go before you draw blood.”
“Yes,” the driver said. “That would be a shame.”
His tone portrayed a hint of sarcasm. Stephanie let go of Lee’s arm and pulled her phone out to do the research Lee was asking about. She didn’t know much about necromancy but she planned to be an expert by the time they met Osiris.
When the car pulled up in front of the terminal the driver helped them load Lee’s AV equipment onto one of the luggage trollies.
“Have a safe flight folks,” he said as he moved back to the driver’s side. The car pulled away as they entered the airport.
They checked their suitcases and the AV equipment. After having their belongings checked by security they passed through to the area where the gates were located. Stephanie scanned the board for their flight. It was departing from terminal C. As they made their way through the crowd, Stephanie felt the hair on the back of her neck prickle. She glanced over her shoulder and spotted a tall man with spikey blond hair and blue eyes approaching behind them. He turned into one of the shops.
“Hey what’s up?” Lee asked.
“I got a bad feeling,” Stephanie said. She turned back to face front and continued walking. The feeling of being followed persisted and urged her to look back again. There he is Mr. tall blond and handsome. She took Lee’s hand and laced her fingers with his. “Don’t look back but we’re being followed.”
“What?” in complete disregard to her instructions he looked back. “By who?”
“You see the tall blonde guy with spiked hair?” Stephanie spoke out of the side of her mouth. “He’s been following us since the check point.”
“How do you know?” Lee asked.
“Because he stepped into a random store when I looked back the first time.” Stephanie said.
“Oh, because no one at the airport buys stuff,” Lee said in a derisive tone.
“And he’s still following…” she began as they turned into the waiting area of gate C. She cut off as they took two seats and her blonde stalker sat across from them. “See what I mean?”
“I sure do, sweetheart.” Lee freed his hand and slid his arm across the back of her chair. “Looks like it’s going to be a crowded flight to England.”
The stranger pulled a book out of his bag and opened it. He held it up to shield his face. Stephanie continued researching necromancers on her phone. “They communicate with the dead in order to divine the future. Some have even tried to raise the dead.”
“Raise the dead.” Lee scoffed. “Sounds like a bunch of sci-fi movie garbage to me. Probably just some rich eccentric trying to get attention.”
“Hopefully, he’ll like the hour of fame enough to fund us to do more,” Stephanie said.
The flight boarded and they were in the air with no complications. Stephanie’s blonde stalker sat in the isle seat across from her. He buckled himself in and continued reading. The take off didn’t seem to phase him at all. Stephanie took Lee’s hand as the steel bird lifted off leaving her stomach on the tarmac.
“Want the air sickness bag?” Lee pulled a white paper bag out of the pocket of the seat in front of him.
“No thanks,” Stephanie said as the plane leveled out. The fasten seat belt sign turned off and a drink cart was making its way down the aisle.
“Something to drink?” The flight attendant offered.
“Ginger Ale,” Stephanie said.
“Sure honey,” The attendant placed a square napkin and a small plastic cup of ice on the tray table Stephanie put down. After popping the can for her, the flight attendant placed it on the tray beside the cup. “Want some crackers or pretzels?”
“Pretzels sound great,” Stephanie said.
“How about you?” The flight attendant looked over Stephanie’s head at Lee.
“I’ll have a water and some of those pretzels, please?”
“Here you go.” She handed over another napkin, cup of ice, a bottle of water, and pretzels. She turned her attention to the row across from them. “How about you, sir?”
Stephanie watched as he set his book down and looked up at the attendant. Her breath caught as she got a good look at him. He was quite handsome. His smooth English accent made her inner muscles clench.
“I will have a bit of tea and a biscuit if you have any,” he said.
The attendant handed over a napkin and a Styrofoam cup. “What flavor would you like?”
“A bit of Twining’s English Breakfast tea,” he said.
She opened the bag for him and poured some steaming water from a metal carafe into the cup. He dipped the tea bag as she handed him a plastic wrapped cookie.
“Thank you, luv,” he said. He smiled as she nodded and continued on with her cart. His eyes met Stephanie’s. “Landing is easier on the stomach than taking off.”
She smiled and raised her ginger ale to him in a toast. He mimicked her with his tea and returned to his reading.
“Making new friends?” Lee asked.
“Just being polite,” Stephanie said.
Stephanie passed the time of the flight with more research on the place they were going. Since he did not provide a last name, she couldn’t gain any information on Osiris, except what was known about the Egyptian God. Interesting that a necromancer would have the name of a God associated with the underworld. If Osiris was his real name.
After landing at Heathrow airport in London, they made their way to baggage claim. Lee breathed a sigh of relief as they pulled the last of his AV cases from the carousel and set it on the trolley. They were wheeling the trolley and their suitcases out of baggage claim when she spotted a man holding a poster board with her name on it. He let go with one hand to motion toward the open door of a black stretch limo. Stephanie motioned to Lee to follow her. She approached the gentleman holding the sign. She paused as a sweet yet fowl scent caught her off guard.
“You’re Stephanie James?” The man asked.
“Are you Osiris?” Stephanie countered.
“I’m his driver,” the man said.
“This is my partner, Lee Han.” Stephanie gestured to Lee. “He does the audio-visual work on the videos.”
“Welcome,” the man said.
He assisted Lee in loading their luggage into the trunk of the limo. Once they were buckled in the back, he got into the driver’s seat and put up the privacy partition.
“Guess he won’t be giving us any kind of information,” Lee said.
“He smelled odd.” Stephanie said. “There was sweetness with an underlying stench.”
“Maybe he took a French bath?” Lee suggested.
“Maybe,” Stephanie said.
They traveled out of the city passed farm land and into the wilderness. The car pulled into a circular driveway and stopped in front of a large brown stone mansion. The driver got out and opened the back door. He assisted them in getting their luggage out and hauling it into the house. Other servants who smell just as odd as the driver collected their bags and led them to a room. One paused before stepping out of the room and turned to them.
“The master will be with you after sun down.”
Before they could ask any questions, he pulled the door closed and the distinct sound of a metal key turning in a lock reached her ears. Stephanie moved to the door and attempted to open it. When the knob didn’t turn, she looked back at Lee.
“They locked us in,” she said.
“Guess they don’t want us poking around,” Lee said. He set up his work station at one end of the large table in the room.
Stephanie explored the rest of the area. There were two other doors that were not locked. One led to a bedroom with a king-sized four poster bed. The other led to a full-size bathroom.
“Well, at least we have the necessities,” she said as she joined Lee at the table. Her cell phone automatically adjusted to the new time zone.
Even without it she could see the sun sinking toward the horizon. Their host would be joining them soon.
Word Count: 1993