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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

Blogtober 2023, Day 31: Conspiracy

We exited together…

Leaving the place to its own darkness

and neither of us dared look back…

Stephen King, Jerusalem’s Lot

“I beg your pardon,” the man studied Carrie quizzically. “You want me to teach you?” He readied his tiny aerosol spray but kept it at his side, finger on the nozzle.

“Yes,” she said. “Spencer always talks about a conspiracy involving Deer Tick Creek and aliens and I always thought he was ridiculous. Spencer is cute, but he is also ridiculous. Looks like maybe he was right after all.”

The pair looked at Spencer who stared off into nothing as if sleeping with his eyes wide open.

“You seem terribly young, my dear. Aren’t you in high school?”

She shook her head. “Graduated back in May. Not doing anything except working at Frosty’s Drive-In in Poplar Bluff.”

“I do love their curly fries.”

“What did you spray in Spencer’s face?” she asked, pointing at the can.

“Erases short-term memory. Mostly harmless.” His half smile did little to put her at ease.

“Don’t use it on me. I want to help you.”

After a moment, he handed her a business card from his satchel and handed it to her along with his book of poems.

“Please come see at your earliest convenience. Let’s go tend to the girl Denise.”

She read the card: Nelson Berry, Someone Else’s Books. Then, looked at the book.

“W.H. Auden?” she asked.

“Poetry soothes the soul,” he said and they walked into the night.

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