From Missouri With Love **Short Story**

Empath Cover

Hey everybody, its Aeron from freezing cold Oppidum (forty degrees) and the doc is busy fixing up something nice. She kinda kicked me out of the kitchen so I figured I’d drop in and say hi.

Now I guess you folks are wondering how I can manage to work the computer without the darn thing shooting sparks at me? Yeah, me too but I promise that I ain’t touching nothing but talking and the computer is taking notes. I have seen a lot of things but that is pretty neat. The doc’s computer is like that, it does all kinds of fancy stuff. When I was back in Serenity, their computers seemed stuck on the screen with all the green and a pack of cards. The guards would be there for hours trying to fix it up but it only seemed to work properly when the bosses walked by. Kinda freaky but I ain’t one to judge.

Anyhow, the doc is busy cooking and that got me to thinking about the thanksgiving before I left Serenity. The guards had pretty much left us to it and the doc had left on vacation. Thing is, for Aimee, Nora, Tiz and me, we’d never really had much experience of Thanksgiving. The doc seemed pretty sad when I told her months before but you can’t really miss what you ain’t had, right? Nan used to cook up a turkey, I remember that but she used to cook a lot. It didn’t really feel much like any other day.

It was cold out, like November kinda should be and I was sat on my bed, in my cell, staring up at the condensation on the window. Most of the time on holidays, we were locked up while the staff had a meal so I was a little confused when there was a banging at my door. One, because guards don’t knock and two, because well… guards don’t knock.

“You coming in or not?” I asked not sensing any hostility from whoever was outside the door. Couldn’t be a guard.

The door opened and Aimee burst in, throwing herself at me. “Happy thanksgiving!”

When I’d peeled her off me, I frowned, getting up. “You learning how to pick locks now?”

“Better, I got a friend in high places.”

That didn’t fill me with anything but worry. In places like Serenity, folk didn’t give you nothing for free. “What did you do?”

Aimee scowled up at me and grabbed my hand. “Real touched by the faith you have in me, real touched.”

She dragged me out of the cell where Tiz and Nora pounced, making me an Aeron sandwich. I glanced up and down the corridor as they each hugged an arm.

Where were the guards?

“I know this is great, you guys, and happy thanksgiving but if we get busted, it’s solitary.”

I shuddered at the thought. Not the lonely part but the fact that I’d have fury fiends either side and Val’s undivided glaring.

“Why do you have to worry so much,” Nora said as she chewed on her fingernail. “You always worry too much.”

I raised my eyebrows at her. “That’s a haystack calling the straw yellow.”

She poked her tongue out and Tiz tugged at me. “We want to show you something.”

I looked at the three of them. They all looked so excited that it was like saying no to a puppy dog, impossible. “You made sure the coast is clear?”

Tiz grinned. “Oh yeah.”

Why didn’t I like the sound of that. “What did you—”

“Move, Lorelei, time’s a-wasting!” Aimee nodded and all three started to tug me down the corridor. All the other cell doors were closed and there were no guards to be seen. Where was everyone?

“Not down there,” Nora whispered as I turned to head to the canteen. “This way.”

Tiz giggled.

“Why are we going up there?” I frowned up the stairs. “I don’t fancy visiting the med wing.”

“You’ll see.” Aimee led the way and I followed her up. I hoped Doc Llys weren’t around ’cause she’d be real mad if I messed up. No doubt she’d tell me that I was the oldest and I should be steering them on the right track. Doc Llys clearly didn’t know women, it was futile trying to stop these three doing anything they wanted. Why would they listen to me?

“Hurry up,” Aimee shot over her shoulder. “Will you try to be a bit lighter on your feet?”

I looked down at my shoes. I had feet like flippers. That simple. It ain’t easy keeping flippers under control especially with my bulk on top.

“In here.” Nora started to giggle manically as we got to Doc Llys’ office. I wasn’t sure that this excitement was so good for her.

“The doc ain’t in. She’s gone away, remember?”

Aimee smiled a confident smile at me. “We want to surprise her.”

Oh dear.

“You really think she will be happy with that?” I knew enough about Doc Llys that in no way would she like that. She was ordered to the point that I figured she would fit right in here sometimes.

“Come on, chicken.” Aimee nodded to Tiz who launched herself onto my back, slapping her hands over my eyes.

“Hey… what the—”

I staggered forward as two hands grabbed mine and yanked me forward. I lurched, catching my foot on the doorjamb. Tiz thought she’d try and right us by throwing herself backwards and nearly taking my head off. Instead it wiped my feet from under me and I smacked down onto my butt. Aimee and Nora, who were still attached to my hands, clattered into me as Tiz’s stomach kept my head from clattering onto the floor.

“Ow.”

Aimee groaned nearby in agreement. I could hear someone chuckling, a stifled chuckle, like they didn’t want anyone to know that they were there. I peeled Tiz’s hands off my eyes and blinked a few times.

“Doc?”

She sat on the edge of her desk with amusement twinkling in her gray eyes.

“You’re supposed to be on vacation.”

I clambered to my feet, hauling up the girls one by one and turned, smelling something delicious. “Great Blackbear in a box!”

Her desk had plates and plates on food on it, pies and turkey and yams and gravy and—

“Pecan pie?” I knew I was staring but I didn’t care. “I ain’t had that since… well…”

Doc Llys grinned up at me. “There’s some pumpkin pie too for the girls but I knew that was your favorite.”

I had to clear my throat. “I… how…” I rubbed my hand on the back of my neck feeling a little misty. “Shucks, Doc.”

Gray eyes met my own, a twinkle in them. “Are you ready to eat?”

Asking me that question was just dumb. It took a lot of yams to keep me going.

“I take that look as a yes.” The doc nodded to the girls who all took a seat around the desk as we started filling our paper plates with the feast in front of us.

“How come you managed to smuggle all this in?” I asked between chomping down the food. Prison food sure weren’t this food. “Val must have needed a lot of bribing.”

Doc Llys sat opposite me and flashed me a smile. “I have my ways.”

“You tell her Uma was on the loose and gunning for her again, huh?”

She narrowed her eyes at me but I shrugged. Sometimes she telegraphed her thoughts, it weren’t like I was trying to read her.

“You don’t want turkey?” Aimee asked the doc as she munched. It was true, the doc was eating next to nothing.

“I’m a vegetarian.”

I swallowed the juicy mouthful and the girls and I looked at each other and then at the turkey. “You want us to not eat it?”

She smiled. “Aeron, it is unequivocally dead. If you don’t eat it, it’s a bit of a waste.”

Tiz had a forkful halfway to her mouth and looked at me. The doc liked to use big words now and then.

“She means it’s okay, eat up.”

Tiz grinned and the girls tucked in. I couldn’t help but watch the doc as we sat devouring the feast she’d put on for us. Sometimes, she was real hard to figure out. It was like she opened up a little then realized it so slammed the shutters back down before anyone noticed. It was the first time I’d seen that and I wondered why.

She looked up from her food and caught me staring at her. Her smile was a gentle one like she didn’t see me as an inmate but a living, breathing person.

“Eat your pie.”

I couldn’t help but study her. It was almost like there was something, someone inside, underneath. Someone that I was kinda fond of. I raised my eyebrows at my own dumb thought. Course I was fond of the doc, she brought pie.

“Quit staring, Lorelei,” she whispered at me, so low that I wasn’t sure if I’d really heard it.

It made me chuckle. I’d never seen that side of her before. She was kinda neat.

“You want some of my pie?” I asked.

The shock twinkled in her eyes.

“What?”

“I didn’t think you’d want to share it.”

She shrugged when I stared at her. “Why wouldn’t I share?”

The three girls looked as confused as I did and the doc chuckled.

“I had visions of you eating mountains of food.” She shook her head. “You must have some genes, Lorelei.”

Pie is one of my favorite things, pecan pie even more but one thing I know is that pie shared between the folks that mean something to you makes it all that more heavenly.

It’s one of the fondest memories I have, that little thanksgiving meal with the five of us. Hidden away in Doc Llys’ office. I enjoyed listening to Aimee who was a big fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, she was sure that they were gonna win. Doc Llys got pretty involved, like she was enjoying the teasing as she told her that the Denver Broncos were a far better team. I wasn’t sure if she really believed it or if she was just enjoying seeing Aimee get all worked up. It was funny to watch.

“So you got any other plans, Doc?” Tiz asked, she looked bored beyond words at the football discussion. “You going to see the game?”

She shook her head. “I’m on duty.” She sighed, getting to her feet. “Speaking of duty, the guards will have nearly finished their dinner. Best we get you back before they notice.”

With a bit of good-natured grumbling, the girls got up and headed for the door.

“You don’t want us to clean up?” I asked. Not really knowing if she wanted us to move so she could relax or if we were leaving her with a mess.

“Don’t over-think it. All I have to do is put the plates in the bin.” She smiled up at me. “You cleaned up already.”

The girls walked off down the stairs and I turned to go, then sighed, heck, I hope they didn’t see me do this.

I turned back around and wrapped her up in a massive hug. I wasn’t sure how else to really show her that it had meant a lot to me. “Happy thanksgiving, Doc.”

I felt her tense at first, like maybe I was trying to attack her or something. I wasn’t sure how effective hugs were as a martial art but it didn’t take her long to relax.

I pulled back and caught a look flash across her eyes, like she wanted to say something. Instead she smiled. “Same to you, Aeron.”

Funny to think that was a while ago now and the doc, well she can cook like nobody I know. Nan would have been proud of her, and is. I know she is when the doc leaps because Nan has whistled past her, scaring her out of her growth. Which maybe why she ain’t so tall.

“Aeron?”

Uh oh, that’s the doc. “Er… yup?”

“Who are you— Are you trying to use my computer?”

“No…”

“Uh huh. What are you doing with it? What does it say… oh, Aeron.”

For the record I ain’t sure whether that’s a ‘Oh, Aeron, I’m gonna skew you’ or, ‘Oh, Aeron you are a fool.’ I heard both, trust me.”

“The computer can’t really hear you.”

“What about all those folks that are on that Bookhead thing?”

“You mean Facebook? How do you know about that?”

For all you folks out there, the doc thinks I don’t know a lot about nothing. Which is kinda true but still, I know some things. “You keep chuckling at the poetry from that cat.”

For the record, the doc is chuckling at that now. She loves him. Some Kansian cat.

“Spencer is cute. And you don’t need to fill in the gaps between us speaking.”

“Then why are you adding in the open and close quotes bit too?” The doc also happens to find some woman in neon pretty hilarious, something about bodies. I ain’t quite sure where in Kansas the lady lives but I sure don’t fancy taking a ride there if there’s so many littering her runs.

“Stop filling in everything. Besides, Jody won’t like you hogging the blog. She’s meant to be writing it, not you.”

Jody don’t mind a bit that I took over, I know that, saves her doing the work.

“And I would like to state that I wasn’t scared that you would attack me… you just took me off guard, that’s all.”

“Uh huh.”

“Quit it, Lorelei and come eat your pie.”

Well folks, thanks for spending some time with me but as you can see, pecan pie is calling. I just kinda wanted to wish you all a great big happy thanksgiving. I know that Jody don’t really have one iota of what it is but then they don’t have it over in Wales.

“Of course she knows what it is. She does do some research.”

“I ain’t saying that she doesn’t. For a start she got the Team Truth girls and the folks in Bedazzled. They sure as shoots count.”

This is… what are you calling me?… the doc? I sound like I need a bunch of carrots. *sighs*

“Ooh cool, you made it do starry things.”

*Shoots Aeron a ‘be quiet’ look* I saying was that it’s… the doc… *sighs again* and what my little Missourian friend here is trying to get across, is that we would like to wish you a wonderful, peaceful and happy thanksgiving.

“I said that.”

“You want me to freeze the pie?” Aeron’s face just drained of color, she does love her pie.

“I do.”

“She does.”

So whether you are in the United States and celebrating it or not, Aeron and I would like to wish you a happy, love-filled week. May your turkey be tasty…

“Your pie be plenty.”

*Grins at Aeron* “Your heart be filled,”

“Even when your plate’s empty.”

“Happy thanksgiving!”

 

Hey folks, this week I… hey… someone’s been using my—

Ah…

Oh dear chocolate, they even came up with a rhyme. Right… well… As it seems Aeron and… the doc… have decided that they would wish you a happy thanksgiving, I will just add in that I hope you do have a great week. Keep an eye out for more details on The Empath and as they said, may it be filled with peace and love.

Big Smiles

sig copyx

 and Aeron… and the doc.

(PS. The doc’s right, I do think it makes her sound like Bugs.)

4 Comments

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  1. Love it!

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  2. My name is Bj. I am from NEA. The foothills of the Ozarks. I have always had a special love for the Ozarks. Like the rivers and springs run through my blood and the wildlife beats in my heart. I was very excited to learn that your book was centered there. The characters are amazing and the story is one that pulls you in and leaves a mark on you. I would love to read more about the characters and what kind of things they could get themselves into next. Thank you for the adventure and love that you have shared with us readers. I hope you keep it up

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