Previously: The Legend of Leonard Letterman, Pt 43
Leonard’s legs were weak and shaking beneath him. He stumbled his way back towards the bed, seeking to sink down on it, or fearing he would abruptly greet the floor again instead. One meet and greet with the floor, with a side of concussion, was enough for one day; and a long day it was turning out to be.
He sat on the bed, knees at right angles to the floor, elbows digging into the muscle between thigh and kneecap. He leaned forward until his hands cradled his head.
Leonard wasn’t sure if he felt more deflated, the air seeping out of him until he was shriveled up, or popped, violently punctured and rendered useless; maybe somehow, both.
“What am I doing here?…What am I going to do?” the muttered words dropped from Leonard’s mouth like saliva from a sleeping man.
He didn’t know.
The pieces he had of this puzzle weren’t fitting right; some seemed to be the devious kind that appear to fit until you pay a little too much attention to the details and realize the picture is obscured, or uncover a few of the right pieces, and find that there’s an impostor.
Leonard reviewed the most important of things he knew, or thought he knew, alternately massaging his temples and tugging at his hair.
He’d received a letter. The writer asked for help. Wilhelmina was the writer and sender.
Leonard had come. Wilhelmina had been surprised, suspicious at first, but she’d been relieved and happy too, right? Especially after Leonard had helped find the shard. She’d definitely been happy about that, at least. His stomach clenched.
Wilhelmina had given him information. Answered his questions (for the most part). Taught Leonard to defend himself (his clumsiness no reflection of Wilhelmina’s teaching). It was still time and effort she had put into Leonard, for a purpose, presumably for his own good as much as anyone else’s.
According to Wilhelmina, the problems in Palloria (and in some ways, Krosis), could be attributed to Etta. Also according to Wilhelmina, there was reason to believe that Etta was more than a problem, but also a traitor; to who, what, or in what way, exactly, was still fuzzy.
Wilhelmina was not sure how much she (and Leonard?) could trust Osric. She had kept and was still keeping information from Osric and the group (and Leonard). For all her talk of answering his questions later, he was not so sure she would answer half as many as she asked.
Osric had claimed there was no need for secrets due to…. Leonard couldn’t quite remember. He shifted his hands to gingerly touch the part of his skull that had met the stone floor earlier in a different room. Was that the cause of this lapse?
Gerard? Was that the reason? Like a bolt of electricity, Leonard thought he vaguely recalled that Osric had pronounced the need for secrecy over after mention of Gerard, Leonard’s father, being alive.
Leonard shivered and moved back to cradling his head, moving his thoughts back along with it.
According to Osric, there was no need for secrets.
No one seemed to have accepted Etta’s guilt in any matter (other than being absent), except for Wilhelmina. Osric was cautious, perhaps suspicious, but ultimately uncertain of Etta’s possible crimes.
There was Coppa. Coppa’s encouragement to listen to what people besides Wilhelmina had to say about what was going on. His promise to Leonard.
And Ursa. Ursa’s anger towards Wilhelmina. Ursa’s warning. Ursa’s pledge to help Leonard specifically.
Then there was Jerra. Jerra who had betrayed Wilhelmina. Jerra whose daughter was not well, not at home where she belonged.
Jerra’s claim that Wilhelmina was not being truthful. Jerra, who had written that certain truths had lives at stake.
Leonard groaned, threading strands of his hair between his fingers and pulling at them hard. He was torn between desperately needing more information, and not knowing what to do with or how to process all that he’d learned thus far.
How was Leonard to know who was telling to truth, what the right course of action was, or who to trust, when his only sources of information were the same people he was uncertain of? It’s not like they trained him for something like this working for the Post Office.
Leonard mulled these thoughts over, unable to escape the sensation that he’d been through them all before. Confusion, uncertainty, was exhausting.
In the end, things boiled down the same: without more information, without understanding the possible motivations of everyone around him, there was no way Leonard could determine who really needed his help. More accurately, whose cause was one Leonard would willingly fight for.
Though Leonard hadn’t ruled out the possibility of going home sooner rather than later, he was determined to find a few answers first.
With this much certain, Leonard felt uncharacteristically fatigued. His suddenly heavy eye lids were desperate to rest. Leonard surveyed the bed, the contents of his pack still littered across it. With one arm, he swooped everything off the bed in a haze, clothes, papers, pens and more hitting the floor with muffled mayhem.
Then he lay down, wriggling into a comfortable position on his back atop the covers. He moved his arm to fall over his face and cover his closed eyes. He let go a heavy sigh that had been rising in his chest, imaging his worries drifting out of him like smoke from exhaled lungs.
Click here for part 45!