Stories Mirror Life

Here we go!  Here is another little scene that could come from my upcoming NaNo.  It’s worth noting that, since NaNo hasn’t started yet, these scenes may not appear at all or they might end up being completely re-written.  This was inspired by a picture prompt over at WriYe’s DreamWidth.


Ilya trailed along behind Jefferson as they walked down the walk.  They were meeting the others at a restaurant for dinner and to discuss the case.  He still didn’t really understand why Cedar had paired him with Jefferson.  They didn’t get along with each other.  Pairing them was a practice in madness, surely.

Chianalea di Scilla, Scilla, ItalyHe glanced out at the water and said, “You know… they used to believe that monsters lived in that strait.”

Jefferson grunted and shook his head.  Shrugging, Ilya continued.  “One was a many-headed beast.  When sailors got to close to her, she would seize the crew with her heads and eat them.”

He pointed towards the cliffs ahead of them.  “She was supposed to live in a cave up there.”  Then, he pointed out towards the strait.  “The other was supposed to live under a rock out there, where she would draw ships down under the water and eat the sailors.”

“Talk about being between a rock and hard place,” Jefferson murmured.  His brows furrowed as he gave Ilya a sidelong glance.  “How do you know about all that, anyway?”

“I was curious about the name of the town,” he said, shrugging.  “So, I did a little research.”  He felt his cheeks flush as he said, “I found out that it’s named for the monster that was supposed to dwell in the cliffs.”

“Trust a linguist to learn about where names come from,” Jefferson said, rolling his eyes.  For a moment, they walked in silence.  Then, Jefferson sighed.  “It’s a neat story, though.”  His gaze turned towards the water.  “I mean, there really is a whirlpool out there and… is it so hard to imagine a monster in those cliffs?”

“Given what we’ve seen lately,” Ilya said, shaking his head.  “Not so much, no.”  Could it be that Jefferson was actually warming up to him?

Jefferson nodded.  “So… how’d there get to be a monster in the cliffs?” he said.  When Ilya frowned at him, he chuckled.  “Don’t tell me that you didn’t find that out too.  You’re too thorough for that.”

Ilya blinked.  “No,” he said, nodding slowly.  “I know the story behind the monsters.  I just… You really want to hear them?”

“It isn’t nice to leave a story half-told, Ilya,” Jefferson said, waving a scolding finger.  He shrugged.  “It’ll fill the silence while we walk to the restaurant.”

“All right,” Ilya said.  He smiled and then took a steadying breath.  Then, in a soft voice, he began to recite the story that he’d read earlier in the day.  Jefferson listened attentively as he spoke.  It was, he realized, the first time they’d had a civil conversation since they’d begun the case.  Maybe Cedar wasn’t so crazy for pairing them up after all.

By the time they arrived at the restaurant, Ilya had finished telling the story.  He glanced at Jefferson and found that the man was scowling.  “You didn’t like the story?” he asked, his voice soft.

“Not because it was badly told,” Jefferson said, shoving his hands into his pockets.  He shrugged.  “I just find the whole thing a little unfair to the poor girl involved.  I mean… it’s not her fault that guy fell for her, is it?”

“There was a lot of misdirected aggression in the ancient myths,” Ilya said, nodding.  He chuckled softly.  “Sometimes people got punished for their own foolish pride.  Other times… it was because of something someone else said or did, like if a mother bragged about the beauty of her daughter, the daughter would become a monster.”

Jefferson heaved a sigh.  “Sort of reminds you of this case,” he said, as the hostess showed them to the table where the others were waiting.  “I mean, none of the people did anything actually wrong – nothing worth killing them over.  Yet… that’s exactly what happened.”

“It is rather allegorical,” Ilya said, nodding.


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