The drive up Sawblade Lane goes by in a flash of fire and brown, but the world isn’t burning around Albey. It’s just the leaves all changing with the seasons, as all leaves are known to do. It’s a beautiful sight, truly one to be seen, but yet Sidney pretty much ignores it. For cityfolk the falling of the leaves (get it? Fall ing?) is an event worth loading up the SUV and venturing outside the bounds of their concrete jungles, but for backwoods hillbilly hicks like Sidney Blake it’s just… typical. So, so very typical, and thus it is worth ignoring.
The drive down Mane Road is a colorful one as well, but again the colors get ignored. The children are in school so their energy is being wasted, and the adult-age children bumbling around have the kind of energy which begs to wasted so at least it gets used for something. There are many shops built of brick and mortar owned, founded, and operated by various moms and pops – some married, some not – but Sidney does not read the names printed brightly and boldly on the signs above their doors. He gives them ignorance not because that’s what they all give him – they do, of course, as Sidney does not often amble about the town proper, and so (he presumes) he’s seen as an outcast by the majority of his neighbor folken, despite the fact they (presumably) see his car parked at the library almost every day, ‘Not that they would look there,’ – but because he genuinely does not care. There’s a lot of history to Logger’s Pond, it did not pop up overnight, but it’s a history that Sidney does not care to learn because it would not make a difference in his life. He lives here, yes, but he does not belong here, he’s simply working here until something better comes along, just like his girlfriend Tori (although she’s greeted with smiles and wide eyes on the off chance the two take a stroll down the main strip), whose coupe he parks next to in the parking lot of his favorite building in town.
And why is it his favorite? Because it’s the one place where most nobody goes, a place Albey can be alone with the two loves of his life: books, and Victoria Moriarty.
‘Wait, do I love her?’ Sidney asks himself as he steps out of his car and gazes into hers. There’s not much to see in there, as she’s not a material girl, but he does see the little dream catcher hanging from her rearview. He’s never asked her about it, she’s never said anything about it, but there it is. ‘I don’t think I know enough about her to love her yet.’
But what is there to know, really? She’s got an attitude about her, one which fits her well. She has a love for art and language, especially when they’re put together. She enjoys helping others enough to get a job as a public servant, and she’s not afraid to show it. She’s not afraid of much at all, in fact; she spits in the face of fear (punches it in the throat, too, even when the body beneath it is naked) even if she might cry about it later, when nobody’s watching. She likes a chill night in more than a busy night out, a walk in the woods over a drive down the road. She’s quiet and reserved but loud in her actions, humble in character yet boastful in looks, all effects she achieves without trying at all because that’s just who she is. Victoria’s perfect, perfect in any ‘man’s eyes so long those eyes are blessed with sight, which Albey’s aren’t, apparently, for he didn’t see the man coming down the steps who just checked him in the shoulder.
‘Christ, maybe I do love her,’ he thinks to himself as he turns to apologize, but then his mind goes blank. His mouth opens to speak but his tongue dries up, and he can’t for the life of him figure out why.
The man who checked him – how Sidney didn’t see this guy he’ll never know – looks at him darkly from beneath the hood of his cloak.
“What, did you not see me there?”
“I don’t,” Albey says, then swallows a lump. “I don’t know how I missed you, honestly. My bad, ‘man.”
The cloaked dude stares blankly at Albey for an uncomfortably long period of time, like he was brained as a little kid and never fully recovered. He then taps his foot heavily – Sidney sees he’s wearing boots, black boots with thick soles; as a matter of fact he’s wearing all black, except for the inside of his cloak; that’s all purple, and not shy about it, either – and turns to move on without saying another word. Albey watches him go.
“Well that was fucking odd,” Albey says to himself.
The guy turns back around. He pulls down his hood and a mass of unkempt and curly blonde hair shoots up into the sky like a beam of yellow light. The sight of it knocks Albey off his feet. He lands hard on the steps, thankfully not landing on his tail bone (which still kind of hurts from the night Old Jack came a’humpin’), which is evidently exactly what the cloaked guy wanted; he puts up his hood, cutting off the endless flow of blonde, and walks away. Sidney doesn’t see him go, he’s too busy looking with horror in his eyes at the tower of hair lofting into the sky. It fades to a light gray, then withers a dark black, then disappears altogether. Rubbing his eyes doesn’t make the horrid memory go away, but it doesn’t make the hair come back either, and the guy in the cloak is suddenly long gone from the parking lot.
“What the fuck…?” Sidney asks himself as he gets up. A cool gust of wind blows through the lot as if in answer, but if the wind really is speaking to him, Albey doesn’t understand a word of what it’s saying. He shakes his head. “Logger’s Pond, ‘man.” Starts back up the stairs. “Logger’s fucking Pond.”
The library doors open with hesitation and Albey strolls on in like he owns the place in the words of one Harrington Bogspekti, who is evidently in the editing room down below from the air of happiness in the building. Denny is working behind the big desk, meticulous in his movements as he shifts from one computer to the next, making pit stops at the various carts of books he wheeled in there with him. He glances over his shoulder at Sidney Blake and they lock eyes for a moment, then he goes right back to work; this is about as close to happy greeting Sidney gets from this ‘man, and he’s glad to get it. He’s a weird egg, that Denny the Pudge, but Sidney sees some good in him.
With Denny presenting an opportunity by not keeping his eyes peeled on Sidney as he walks by the big desk, Sidney chooses to seize it in the form of reaching over said big desk and grabbing a book – a nonfiction book, specifically, the title of which he does not bother to read – and slipping it into the big center pocket of his sweatshirt. He crosses through the working section, bobbing and weaving through the tables and chairs to say hello to Jason on the way, and then dives into the stacks as if he was looking for a book. Sidney cruises through six hallways (shelfways?) before finding a certain Victoria Moriarty who’s standing on her tippy toes trying to get a book up onto the top shelf. A devious smile flashes across Sidney’s face for a moment, just a short moment, before fading right back into neutrality. Silently he approaches from her blind side, meaning wherever she’s not looking directly in any given moment.
Tori squeaks in surprise when Sidney wraps his arms around her waist and lifts her up a foot so she can put the book in the shelf. When he puts her down she looks at him like she’s unsure of how to react, then rolls her eyes at his smile.
“Hey,” she says, then goes back to her cart of books.
“Hey?” he asks snobbily. “That’s all I get?”
Tori points behind her only with her head, so Albey turns to look. Many books catch his gaze.
“I don’t get i–”
But then he gets it; the high creaking of unoiled wheels screams from the next aisle over. The old librarian – named Rhea Cooswood to Sidney’s utter amusement, a cosmic kind of amusement Victoria can’t hope to understand until she caves and reads the Dark Tower series, which, y’know, maybe, if hell freezes over – lurks miserably in the shadows.
“Are you not allowed to talk or something?”
Vic’ shoots daggers at him, daggers which seem to suggest that she has to put up with that woman almost every day of her life and not once has she been treated like a human being but instead like a reprehensible example of why the current youth of the world should be culled at the moment they hit puberty, then turns and goes back to stuffing the bookshelves. The wheels continue to creak as if they’re moving back and forth just for the sake of moving.
“Well I was actually hoping you could help me with something,” Albey says, removing the book from his pocket. “I have–… uh…”
It is at this point Sidney reads the title of the nonfiction book he unknowingly picked up from the cart of new arrivals that Denny was avoiding getting to to the point where he turned his back to it. It reads: Mein Kampf.
Tori stares at the book for a second, then looks up at Sidney with those effervescent hazel eyes of hers, then back at the book.
“You certainly are my struggle, Sidney,” she sighs, then snatches it gently from his hands. “Come on, I’ll show you where it goes.”
They hear a grumbling as they walk off towards the back of the library where all the nonfiction tomes are kept, as if Miss (and she is a Miss, hasn’t been Missus since 1982, and don’t we all wonder why?) Cooswood was angry her plans were foiled, because it’s one thing to park her cart one aisle over from little Miss Prettybitch to make sure she doesn’t dillydally around, but it’s another thing entirely to follow her across the library. Yes, being obtuse is one thing; being obvious is entirely another.
The Logger’s Pond Public Library is normally deserted during the day, but in the back where the books containing useful information and valid opinions about real life and how to live it well, deserted is being kind. There’s enough dust on the tops of the shelves pack into gray snowballs, the cobwebs in the corners of the ceilings are so old they don’t move when the air conditioning hits them, tumbleweeds of lost pages roll through without being pushed by wind. It is a ghost town, Chernobyl after the meltdown but without any nature to claim it back, the very reflection of Logger’s Pond itself and the majority of the inhabitants within: empty and waiting to ruin.
Victoria puts the book into a shelf she can reach without standing up on her toes or bending over. She then looks at Sidney and Sidney looks back, and they both smile.
“Hey,” she says again.
“Hey,” he says back, ensnaring her in a hug. “How’s life?”
“It’s life,” she says partially into his shoulder. “How is yours?”
“It’s life,” he says reluctantly.
“You’re here early today,” she notices. “Did you finish your writing already?”
“Nah,” he shrugs. “Wasn’t feeling it. Figured I’d shake things up and come see you first.”
“Well that was pretty stupid,” she lets him know. “You can see me whenever.”
“I can write whenever, too,” he says, reaching to hook a finger into one of her front belt loops. She watches him do this, and stares at his finger until it frees itself.
“So go write, then,” as she grabs him by the belt loop – one on the side of his pants – and tries to spin him away.
Having none of it, Sidney hooks two of her belt loops and brings her close to him, as though he was going to kiss her. “You go write.”
She exhales out her nose quietly, then locks her hands around the small of his back and stands up on her toes, pushing her body against his. Sidney feels her breath on his ear, warm and inviting, and on that breath rides the words, “Go do your work.”
Tori then lets Sidney go and starts to walk back to what she was doing, but Sidney catches her by the shoulder.
“I need to tell you something,” he explains casually.
“Okay,” she allows. “Then tell me.”
“It’s a secret,” he states as though as much was obvious. “I need to whisper it in your ear.”
Victoria looks up to the ceiling without craning her neck. “Fine, whisper your stupid secret. I really need to get back to work though, Cooswood was mad at me before I even woke up this morning.”
Albey leans close and cups his hand around the back of Tori’s ear, then says, “Ka like the wind, all things serve the beam.”
“God damnit,” she groans, then starts to sprint away.
“Hold up,” he says, catching her before she takes a step. “I had to, sorry. I do wan’a tell you something, though. For real this time.”
“For real this time,” she allows impatiently, and prepares to grind her teeth.
Sidney cups his right hand behind her ear, then hooks her chin with two left fingers and turns her head to face him. Her cheek falls into his right hand and his lips land on hers. She leans into him and he pulls her close, then they’re spinning, then they’re on the ground and he’s tasting her and she’s tasting him back and his hand roves up her shirt and sweet Christ she’s not wearing a bra today and he wonders what else she might not be wearing and should he do it she’s grinding her hips into his and sucking on his tongue after all and his free hand ventures down her torso and past her waist and in between her legs and he’s pressing and she’s pushing into it and moaning into his mouth and grabbing his groin and they could do it right now and nobody would know, nobody would know a fucking thing and they both know it and it’s getting warmer and hotter and–
Tori grabs his wrist and lays his hand flat on his chest. His other hand is still up her shirt, her other hand is still between his legs, and they look at each other, breathing heavy, shock filling their eyes with light… then they laugh and kiss and let each other go and get up off the excruciatingly dirty floor of the nonfiction section of the Logger’s Pond Public Library. Victoria goes about making her tee-shirt appear unruffled and Sidney doesn’t bother slapping the dust off his ass and back because frankly he’s hoping someone will point it out so he can let them figure out why he was apparently laying on the floor.
“Well thank you for sharing,” she says as if he whispered a secret into her ear. “I can tell it was very important to you.”
“You loved it,” he states factually.
“I love…” she says, then trails off looking startled at herself. “Uh. Many things.”
Tori looks away as if the books on the shelves were demanding her attention.
“Many things,” he does not ask.
“Yep.” The shelves are so important. “Many things.”
“Like chaos?” Sidney asks.
Tori looks at him. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, you know. Just uh… the chaos… of… life?” He rubs the back of his head.
“The uh chaos of life,” she repeats, and is she smiling? Just a little bit, yes, but it’s certainly a smile. “Sure, Sidney. I love the chaos of life. Can I get back to work now?”
“You could have gone back a few minutes ago,” he shrugs.
The smile drops into mild exhaustion.
“What? Just information.”
“Ugh,” she ugh s. “You and your fuckin’ information.”
“You started it,” he shrugs again, then watches her turn and walk a few steps. Then, “Hey.”
“I love you, Victoria.”
She turns bright red, eyes opening far past their lids. Neither say a word for a few seconds. A large tumbleweed of lost pages jaunts by, crinkling all the way.
Then, “I… love you too, Sidney.”
They look at each other like they don’t know where they are but they’re happy to be there with each other.
“I’m’going’back’to’work’now’bye,” Victoria says swiftly, then goes back to work.
“Bye,” Sidney says with a little wave. When she’s gone, “She said she loves me.”
As he’s leaving the aisle, “Huh. She really said she loves me.”
As he’s walking down to the parking lot, “I said I love her, and she said she loves me too.”
As he approaches his car parked next to hers in the parking lot, “The fuck…? What fresh chaos is this?”
Albey’s sedan seems to have lost at least an inch of its height, a common symptom of having all four of the tires lacerated violently.
“Did some… some asshole slashed my fucking tires.”
A quick vision flashes into Sidney’s mind, a glimpse of a cloaked man dressed in black down to the combat boots laughing maniacally at the sky as animate firestorms torch the dying world and stars burn hopelessly out one by one, and then it’s gone. Sidney rises to his feet and looks around, there’s nobody in the parking lot. No unfamiliar cars, no tossed knife, no indication of anything having gone wrong yet his tires are slashed, his car is crippled, and he has to go back into the library after walking out with dust all over his back and ass just a few short moments ago.
“I…” Sidney says, then shakes his head at himself. “Fuck that, I definitely didn’t ask for this. Someone’s got hell to pay.”
Sidney jogs across the parking lot and leaps up the steps, the fire which once burned in his loins now firmly lodged in his mind. Yes, someone certainly has hell to pay, and Sidney Blake means to collect.
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the fifth chapter of Untitled Bigfoot Project, a novel about a writer who writes a novel about bigfoot.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Untitled Bigfoot Project is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Untitled Bigfoot Project and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~