Fiction Friday: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 23

Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 22

Wilhelmina froze in mid step, hovering over the threshold from the dreary courtyard to the hallway Osric had already entered and was walking down. Her eyes narrowed on Osric’s retreating back before taking on a distant look as her eyes flicked back and forth with furrowed brow, as if searching for a memory. Leonard halted at Wilhelmina’s shoulder, puzzling over her reaction to Osric’s words.

Taken aback only a moment, Wilhelmina regained her composure and was soon on Osric’s heels, lengthening her stride to gain the most ground without actually seeming to rush. Leonard tried not to scurry in his eagerness to stay close to Wilhelmina; being worlds away from home, even the woman he’d met only the day before had become an anchor of safety to which he could only barely resist clinging.

“I’d like an explanation, Osric” Wilhelmina politely demanded to the tall man’s figure as it moved steadily away on long legs. Even with her lengthened stride, it took her more than a moment to come within a couple of arms’ length of her brother. Leonard dashed along behind her, no longer caring if he looked silly rushing.

The hall they were traveling was growing darker and damper as they went. There was an eerie quality to their surroundings that Leonard could not explain, prompting him to do his best to stay within reach of Wilhelmina.

“Osric.” Wilhelmina repeated his name like another crack of her vocal whip.

“I only meant that it is good to see you better than the last time, you were incredibly ill,” Osric eventually said over his shoulder, still not bothering to slow down or even check to see that they were still behind them.

“When did you last see me, then? Because when I last saw you, I was certainly not ill,” Wilhelmina pressed, just missing the back of one of Osric’s heels with a forward step of her lengthened stride.

Osric did not reply, but turned down another hall, this one with a weak light at the very end that flickered on occasion. It made Leonard think of something from a horror movie or a nightmare; he was not scared, but he was all the more glad to have Wilhelmina near. He impulsively gripped the hilt of the sword at his hip tighter. He almost laughed at the manic though of using it, but it did settle the uncomfortable stirring in his chest as they continued.

It wasn’t until they had tramped through a doorway into a windowless room, passing the flickering light at the doorway that Osric turned around and looked as if he would answer his sister. She stood facing him with her arms crossed, her lips pressed closed. Leonard wondered if she was literally biting her tongue to keep from saying something more.

There was something darker in Osric’s face, now. Leonard recognized the face of someone with uncertain information and that was unsure of their true allies; he’d seen that same look on Wilhelmina’s face; he’d seen it on his father’s.

“You couldn’t have been more than ten. You were delirious when I-when I delivered the medicine, from Krosis.” Osric swallowed a couple of times, his hands behind his back, eyes downcast for reasons were beyond and baffled Leonard.

“You…you brought me medicine?” to Leonard, it was hard to tell if there was more confusion or incredulity behind the awe.

“Yes. You would have died without the medici-without the antidote….” Osric’s miserable glance finally met Wilhelmina’s.

photo by Ioan Sameli

Click here for Part 24!

2 thoughts on “Fiction Friday: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 23

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