As I flip through the last book pulled from the local history shelf, the librarian announces “fifteen minutes before the library closes, please return all books to the counter”. I hope the bed and breakfast I’m staying at doesn’t lock me out again. I sit at a round table in the spherical addition to the building where the genealogy and local history books are kept. Stretching, I can’t seem to get the kinks out; so ready to sleep in my own bed again. Shelves upon shelves of old tax rolls and Civil War soldiers’ widows payments stare back at me as I scan the titles from my position. A three volume set sits among them chronicling the local merchants who helped build the town, volume two currently in front of me.
Local legend speculates that the town founder was killed by his best friend, Cruz. He renamed the town Venganza, or revenge. No one has found concrete proof that Martín was murdered. I have ruffled a few feathers with my research. Over the last few days I have received anonymous threats to drop my research or suffer the consequences. I can’t give up. I promised my grandmother I would come back and find out the truth. Lights flicker; ten minutes.
Flipping through the pages, I realize the page I’m looking for has been ripped from the binding. What I assume is red ink stains the remnants of the page in the book. A grim reminder of the veiled threats sent? A coincidence? No, not that. Too many other “coincidences” have surrounded my research. The historical commission office suddenly closed for a “family emergency” at the exact same time as my appointment. The county clerk recalling they loaned the record books I need to another entity.
It’s a good possibility the cover-up goes past local offices and up to state level. I haven’t told anyone exactly what I’m researching, so it stands to reason the volumes have been tagged for notification. Every volume I’ve needed has been unavailable or altered. Should I bring the missing page to the attention of the librarian? I look over to the desk and see two assistants huddled in hushed conversation. I won’t bother. I’m sure they already know.
As I flip through the pages, a yellowed scrap of newspaper flutters to the desk in front of me. I see the two names in the article I know will seal the deal on my book. I close the volume not bothering to return it to the desk or the shelf. Clutching my bag to my side, I hurry out the glass doors, the whoosh of them closing echoing the hushed tones of everyone around me. Unlocking the door to my car, I throw the bag in. It lands on the passenger’s seat with a thud. A sharp pain in my ribs makes me lean sideways in pain. It’s the last thing I remember.
So what do you think? This is my second place winning entry in the 10,000 Followers Flash Fiction contest. It’s amazing that both stories placed! They were fun to write.
Hopefully next week I’ll have something a little more insightful to write about. All depends on how much I can get accomplished this weekend.
Thanks to all of you who have stopped by to read my blog and hope to see more of you in the future.