“What happened to the doctor?”
“Doctor… who?” she replied, talking gesture repeating over and over even when she was silent, like now… with me, waiting for a reply. This dame’s head was as empty as a coke bottle in Spring. Time to meet Charlene anyway at the coffee shop; explain to her why I’m here.
“Excuse me. I’ll be back in a millennium.” And he was out of the castle and down in the village.
“The doctor is dead,” she finally explained 15 minutes after the exit, coinciding with Jeffrey Phillips saying down in the village…
“I’m here on a tip from Tor. He knows about Viterbo, you know, the location of that last post, the one I wasn’t in, a rarity these days,” he extended more. If Charlene were channeling future self Fern Stalin, she might have understood all this metadata. But as of the present she was giving him a rather blank stare back. She gave up a cryptozoology lecture at prestigious Mammoth Cave Institute to meet him here. This better be good — no more metadata!
“H-how does he know Meaux?”
“He lives near it,” Jeffrey replied rapidly while leaning back and tossing his hand flippantly in the air. “I believe his house may be the closest mortal to their land. But you should know that. You’re Fern after all.”
“Not any more.”
“I mean, not in this moment.” Charlene knew if she gave up Fern she gave up any hope for the future which is the present which is the past. And that couldn’t happen. But it grows tiring, the constant channeling and
channeling funneling. One day she will become rid of it, but only when she’s Fern.
“Why are you here?” Jeffrey ventured, taking a closer look at his date for the night across from him. She’d been hurt before. She didn’t like the pain. Soon she’d be Fern Stalin and have the upper hand at any rusty twist and turn.
“Viterbo,” she deflected (channeled), letting the word hang in the air like a demented sunset gone cold wrong. The Sun wouldn’t go down so the Moon couldn’t come up, alchemy all awry. Jeffrey Phillips was finally at a loss for words. Good.