Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 1
Leonard turned towards the open doors at the far end of the spacious room. He could only see the woman’s silhouette at first, framed in the doorway as light flooded in behind her. She took a few steps forward, her skirts making a rustling sound that seemed to fill all of the spaces in the room.
When she stepped out of the light cast from beyond the doorway and into the warmer glow of the flickering fire mixed with the light from the window behind him, Leonard was able to see her. Her dark hair was pinned to the back of her head in stately arrangement, giving her finely featured face the unimpeded view it deserved.
“I wasn’t sure you’d”- she stopped abruptly, deep blue eyes full of the confusion Leonard himself felt. “You’re not Mr. Letterman…but, that’s impossible, you must be if you’re here.” She took half a step back, reconsidering the situation.
Leonard wasn’t sure what to say, especially since he was Letterman. Leonard Letterman, anyway. It was certainly turning into a strange and confusing day for him and he wasn’t sure where to start with the barrage of questions threatening to come out in a murmured jumble, unable to separate one from the next.
“What’s your name?” the woman finally asked with something oddly like suspicion in her gaze and uncertainty in her voice.
“Leonard Letterman,” Leonard answered simply, surprised at his own working mouth.
“Leonard Letterman?” she asked, her face taking on a questioning look in place of confusion as she leaned closer, as if trying to see something underneath Leonard’s face. This puzzled Leonard all the more.
“Yes, Leonard Letterman, that’s me. I found this and thought it might be addressed to me,” Leonard offered by way of explanation, pulling out the worn envelop with its contents and holding it out for the woman to see.
“Your letter? Then you’re”-
“Wilhelmina Pond, yes. But you’re not the Letterman from the photograph. I don’t understand,” she said shaking her head as she touched a hand to it gingerly. She closed her eyes like she was trying to read answers written on the inside of her eyelids.
“What photograph?” Leonard was now extremely curious. He never knew it was possible to feel this inquisitive.
Wilhelmina looked up as if she’d forgotten Leonard was there before brushing past him on her way to the large desk. The scent of water lilies followed in her wake. She opened one of the drawers and started sifting through its contents until finally exclaiming in triumph, brandishing something in her hand as she returned to Leonard’s side.
“This photograph,” she explained as she held out for him to see.
It was an old black and white photograph with two people in it: a woman with dark hair that looked very much like Wilhelmina, aside from a less shapely nose and thicker brow, with a gentle smile on her face. She was standing next to a man that looked to be in his young twenties, with a boyish grin Leonard recognized.
“But that’s- how did you…” Leonard was even more confused and dropped the photograph in his surprise.
“You know this man?” Wilhelmina asked hopefully as she retrieved the photo from the carpeted floor.
“Know him? That’s my dad! How do you have a picture of him? And who is that with him?” Leonard blinked rapidly before peering over to look at the photo again while in Wilhelmina’s safe grasp.
“Your father?” Wilhelmina’s brow crinkled and started to shake her head. “I don’t understand. Things must be worse than I thought,” she added, this time her hand went to her mouth, holding in all that she was thinking. Leonard wondered if this was what Alice felt like when she first arrived in Wonderland. He definitely had been doing his fair share of wondering so far.
“So you sent this letter asking for help, but it was meant for my dad?” Leonard’s voice startled Wilhelmina, who seemed to have again forgotten he was there.
“Yes, of course, but I don’t understand how it came to you,” she said, frustration creeping into the edges of her voice.
“What did you need his help with?”
“I’d rather speak with him about it, if you don’t mind. Would it be possible for you to bring him here?” she sounded so optimistic, her face upturned with a hopeful glow. Leonard hated to quash it.
“He died about 12 years ago,” Leonard replied heavily. Wilhelmina’s skin took on a paler hue and she reached out to the desk to steady herself.
“Dead? But…” her voice trailed off and she turned to the fireplace for a moment.
“How long have you been at your post?” Wilhelmina suddenly asked, spinning around to look Leonard in the eye.
“Post? You mean a mailman? Fifteen years,” he answered, bewildered. “What does that have to”-
“How did you find this place?” she asked, cutting him off yet again.
“Just like the letter said, go to 1812 Mockingbird”-
“Yes, it told you how to get to that house, but how did you get here?” she gestured to the room around them.
Leonard described his attempt to enter the house before walking around the side. He hesitated when he got to the part about the glowing, swirling lights in the pond, unsure how outlandish it would sound on this fantastically out of the ordinary day.
“And then I found myself there,” he finished, indicating the spot of floor he’d originally toppled to.
“Only a Letterman can enter there, so you must be a Letterman…” Wilhelmina said with a slightly skeptical air as she looked Leonard over. She sighed wearily before retiring to the wingback chair closest to the crackling fire.
“And you have no idea who I am, or where you are right now?” she asked, turning a furtive gaze to Leonard, who had been about to ask a question or two himself.
Leonard was about to reply in the negative until he remembered that ringing bell in his mind when he’d first read her name, Wilhelmina Pond.
“No, but your name does sound familiar. Should I?” Leonard inquired as he neared the chair paired with Wilhelmina’s. She gestured to it tiredly, inviting him to sit.
“It seems we both have some questions that need to be answered before we can even begin to discuss why I’ve asked Letterman-you, for help,” she said, taking a deep breath before straightening up in her chair and perching on its edge, fixing Leonard with hard look. He felt like he was being appraised.
Wilhelmina seemed to accept what she saw, nodding as if in unspoken agreement before continuing.
“I hardly know where to begin…”
Click here for Part 3!