20.A Chapter by Shiloh Black
After reading the article, Amphion found himself in a rather funny mood. He made pancakes for breakfast while belting out the lyrics of Carmen in a thick tenor voice. If only they hadn’t sold the old gramophone!
Bleary-eyed, Rachel stumbled into the kitchen. “Morning, Phinny.” She studied the mess he’d made. “Pancakes?”
“I might be arrested soon,” said Amphion in the cheekiest voice he could muster. “Who knows when I’ll taste food like this again?”
“Oh stop it! Let me get the dishes for you.”
Over breakfast he observed Rachel make a fuss of the bowls and pans, and felt a sense of domestic bliss settle upon the apartment. That bliss was something he’d always planned for, and in that moment wondered why it had never been brought to completion.
“I’m going to marry you, Rachel Clowe!” he exclaimed.
“Of course you will, dear. That’s why you proposed to me.”
“No, I mean I’m going to marry you soon. This spring.”
It was amusing to see Rachel launch into such a sudden fluster. The dishes were abandoned in the sink, but the rubber gloves remained on. She did not rush to embrace him; she merely stood gazing at him with those doe eyes. He admired her restraint; it was the most noble, most powerful thing he’d ever confronted.
“You mean it?” she murmured.
“Of course! The wedding will be this spring. May -- that sounds about right, doesn’t it?”
Into the seat next to his, Rachel sank. “We’ve been engaged for years. Why now?”
Amphion shrugged. “Why not now? Neither of us is going to get any younger.”
“That’s… not quite what I meant.” Rachel fiddled with the hem of her shirt. “I mean, why do you want to marry me, Amphion?”
It was a simple question, the sort he always imagined he’d be asked some day. He always thought he would come up with a spectacular answer, a poetic gush of words perhaps. Now, he reached and drew up nothing.
She touched his shoulder, but out of instinct he batted her hand away. At first, her lips trembled, but this quickly subsided into a smile. She knew he hadn’t meant to be cruel, Amphion thought. After all, there wasn’t a soul on earth who knew him as well as Rachel did. “Don’t be silly, darling,” said Amphion. “You’re exactly the sort of upright woman I would want as my wife.”
He gazed at her. To do so brought him pleasure: she was so refined and delicate, made so small and meek by his own presence that it seemed as though he could wrap both hands around her and crush her into a silk powder. As he studied her, she continued to gaze up at him, smiling and blinking, eyes vacant -- blinking constantly, her hands wrought into tiny fists and her feet planted on the ground as if they were bound there, not by chains but by the exertion of his own will.
Seeing all this, he wanted to tell her she was lovely, and did so. She thanked him, and continued to blink and smile.
When Amphion entered the station that morning he found, as usual, a stack of files dropped on his desk by Rihard Bennett. Into the outgoing box he tossed the files he’d went through the night before -- files that yielded no information on Garrett Quinn.
He then departed for his regular police duties. At lunch, he stopped at a deli shop and ordered a ham and Swiss sandwich on rye. As he ate, he began to flip through Bennett’s latest batch of files, methodically scanning each for familiar names and pictures.
Just as he was taking the last bite of his lunch, Amphion opened a slim manila folder. There, staring him in the face, was Garrett. He was much younger in the picture; his hair was short and lighter, and his face fuller without the makeup -- but it was the same boy, alright.
Gingerly, Amphion removed the first document. It was a ticket, dated back to 1964 for passage aboard a freighter. The destination printed on the ticket was Portland, via the former capitol of the U.S.S.R.
© 2010 Shiloh Black
Added on July 6, 2010
Last Updated on July 6, 2010
A Stone to Kill
Saint John, Canada
AboutI presently reside in Atlantic Canada. My interests, aside from writing include drawing, reading, and indulging in my love of all things British. I'm currently attending the University of Dalhousie, w.. more..