Fiction Friday: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 28

Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 27

“I don’t know if I’d call it a burning question, but I’d like to know how you came to be here, Leonard Letterman.” Osric looked right at Leonard as he said his name. The shaggy-haired lion had as much curiosity in his eyes as he did amusement on his lips, though there was a foreboding quality to the long stare Leonard kept locked with him.

Wilhelmina remained silent, her eyes roving from one man to the other as they spoke, narrowing almost imperceptibly in Leonard’s direction.

“Well, the short of it is, I found a letter with ‘Letterman’ written on it while on my route. I found my way to some big house and then went through a pond on the grounds and found myself in a study of Wilhelmina’s,” Leonard answered, unable to keep the corners of lips from lifting up, or his voice from becoming lighter.

“How long have you been the Letterman?” Osric asked before Leonard could decide whether or not to continue.

“Oh, um-a day? Two days?” Leonard answered skeptically, looking to Wilhelmina for some sign of confirmation, but she continued holding herself nearly as still as a statue, and certainly as silent as one. “It’s hard to say, but my yesterday was essentially becoming the Letterman…and finding out what that means,” he added, returning his focus to Osric,

The man seemed to be suppressing his surprise, but he could not keep his eyebrows from disappearing under his shaggy locks.

“How is that possible?” Osric asked after a prolonged pause in their conversation. His eyebrows had returned from their hiding place to form a darkly furrowed brow line.

“Well, my father died before he, apparently, had a chance to tell me about…all of this,” Leonard answered, gesturing to the room around them and the situation they found themselves in.

Osric’s demeanor looked darker, his mouth slightly open as he shook his head without seeming to realize he was doing it. “Who is your father?” he asked, eyes now in danger of disappearing beneath his eyebrows.

“Gerard,” came Wilhelmina’s unexpected answer from her place against the wall. She had not moved, but her eyes were now focused on Osric, waiting for his reaction. “His father was Gerard Letterman.”

Osric resumed his pacing again as he absorbed this information, which obviously meant something to him. Leonard’s heart pounded forcefully in his chest as he watched Osric swiftly turn on his heel at each corner of the small room and waited for him to speak. In the back of his mind, a small voice asked Leonard if he really wanted to know the answer to Osric’s palpable agitation.

At last, Osric turned around with a different pained expression on his face than before; there was more frustration and anger muddled in with confusion.

First, he looked to Wilhelmina with a sardonic smile, shaking his head before saying, “I suppose there won’t be a need for continued secrecy between us, little sister. I will share all I know without hesitation or reservation because it will be the only way for us to work together and fix things.” Leonard heard the carefully controlled ferocity within each calmly spoken word.

Wilhelmina was too surprised to look pleased, her lips slightly parted, eyes wide. Her arms loosened from their frozen placement and she shifted away from the wall, still at a loss for words. Suspicion began to cloud her features, but Osric turned to Leonard and spoke first.

“Leonard, I-I don’t-“ Osric stopped abruptly and rubbed his temples a moment before putting his hands on his hips as he faced Leonard and tried a different opening. “How long ago did your father disa-die? How long ago did you say he died?”

Leonard felt like someone was sitting on his chest and it was becoming uncomfortable to breathe. Osric’s question, and correcting himself, didn’t make sense. He felt chilled, but he was starting to sweat, perspiration trickling down the side of his head, palms slickening by the second.

Leonard licked his lips before answering, the salty taste of sweat making his stomach churn. “Twelve years.” It came out raspy and hoarse.

Osric nodded as if this confirmed something to him, but remained silent, taking up his pacing path yet again. Leonard’s arms felt heavy as he moved the few inches that put him in Osric’s path, halting the taller man from his silent brooding.

“Tell me.” It was a demand as much as it was a request, Leonard’s voice small but strong.

Osric took a step back from Leonard, clearing his throat and casting a look in Wilhelmina’s direction before answer, “I saw Gerard Letterman myself, not a week and a half ago, Krosis time. Even with the distortions and time issues we’ve had between here and Palloria, it’s impossible for Gerard to be dead.”

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photo by Thomas Hawk

Click here for Part 29!

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