Cat Dubois Odyssey to Enchantment
By BoJenn (me)
*** This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material or artwork herein
is prohibited without the express written permission of the author. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form
First Printing: December, 2017 PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA First Edition: July, 2017
ISBN # 978-0-9991150-3-9 ***
Enough of the necessary legal stuff…let me proceed with the synopsis and chapter 10 …
It is with pleasure that I share with you this part of my novel with you. Chapter 10 represents the changes that are good for Cat Dubois and she will meet her 3 supernatural friends having disbelief and suspicions. You see, although she, Cat, seems to be of higher-bred to some jealous individuals, and different to most of the legalistic population of Glory Town, where she resides since 5 years of age, she does have conflicting feelings about the do-gooders. She sees through their misguided thoughts about the very essence of God, but she never casts judgment, like the others do to her.
Labeling, bullying 1950’s type, harassment, abandonment, isolation and memories cause Cat Dubois to all but go insane. She makes friends with the devils, demons: “Sophia the Succubus, Fear, Control, Suicide, Self Loathing,” and other negative forces not worth mentioning. She makes friends due to extreme belittling and deliberate isolation.
In chapter 10, Cat is finally visited by 3 supernatural friends. Although she is not quick to accept their company, she does watch and hear intuitively some of the conversations the 3 have. Eleanor is the only supernatural spirit visible to Cat. It is because their often humorous behavior that makes Cat inquisitive. She thinks they’re bad, then good, bad then good and so forth. Cat has not learned trust of humans in her innocent wise ways. Scrutiny of any circumstances is inevitable for a woman who is orphaned, lonely, isolated, despairing, consuming alcohol nightly and doing what others also do in similar circumstances as hers. You may find yourself in her lifestyle and in her coping mechanisms.
The 3 supernatural friends are: Eleanor who is featured in the picture (that was purchased for this book)and is a sarcastic, very endearing, and is a super supernatural woman . Then there is a Scotsman and a golfer, so named Tadhg. He is our steadfast right hand man of Eleanors. Lastly and most loved is the black cockapoo dog, royally named “His Glove” but was so renamed by Cat to “Lovie.”
In this chapter Eleanor arrives in Glory Town the day before Thanksgiving. And this is where the fun begins.
If you made it through my introduction of this chapter, then thank you! I hope you will read chapter 10 and please let me know how it makes you feel… let me know if you see typos, or anything misspelled or something wrong!
Thank you all!
The Coming of Eleanor
Back in Glory Town, all the final preparations by shoppers and tourists were going on without Cat. Most stood waiting nearby the church for the open-air production to commence, smiling at the eager costume-clad children running here and there, readying to play their roles of pilgrims and indians. Every one smiled, as they should, and some of the tourists were talking about having a Thanksgiving day meal, together, at the hotel. And, everyone, everywhere across town, was talking about the weather; it simply couldn’t be more perfect. It was slightly cool, and the sun tried to come out during much of the day, but the clouds were moving pretty fast, and most concluded that bad weather was on its way. It was the calm before the storm.
The men swapped their big fish stories and drank coffee, while the residents and tourists finished their shopping. Then, while they waited for the Thanksgiving play, several of the townsfolk gathered in small groups to share stories with the tourists, who marveled with envious desire to live in Glory Town. The charm of the place and the people was outstanding.
Of course, Cat Dubois wasn’t there. She was at home up off Downy Ridge Park Road. She had noticed the clouds, and decided to shut the windows she had cracked open to let in the cool, fresh air. She even weatherproofed under the doors with towels, thinking the time of year was just about right for a storm. Then, she chopped the vegetables that she would eat alone.
The wind started to blow gently at the manor and moved down the mountain. A few leftover leaves were falling outside and she could see them as they danced in the wind in the stand of trees that lined the road to town.
The cardboard props of the children’s nativity set blew over with a gust. Then, a slight chill accompanied the next gusts. A little funnel of leaves began to twirl.
The children pointed in that direction. “Look, Daddy!” There, the leaves and wind had picked up speed—so much so, in short order, that many families began packing up their belongings and putting them in their cars. The storm was near.
A few of the old-timers lingered, drinking coffee or whiskey, leaning on the outside tables. The shop owners began shutting their awnings and closing down the open-air market booths, but the men who stood outside the one saloon in town were unbothered. After all, this was typical weather and a gust of wind or a little cold front wasn’t enough to interfere with a good drink. They were having more fun than usual, talking to each other and the tourists about Glory Town history, as they buttoned and zipped up their jackets and ordered another shot. Chattering with general excitement, as men often do after a few, they were quite unaware of much of anything else.
The wind had begun to really blow, and the little funnel of yellow, brown, and orange leaves the children had seen had now grown to a full, circular pattern in the park outside the church where they were now mid-performance. It was a miniature whirlwind; then, in the blink of an eye, it became larger. Another gust blew yet more leaves in the colorful circular pattern, so thick that it became impossible to see through the spiraling anomaly. Late fall was sure entering voraciously.
The vortex became so thick, and the cold in its wind sent chills to the bones of the people who had stayed in town, caught unprepared. As it grew bigger, an archway formed in the dark center of leaves spiralling together, closer and faster. The women began rushing about trying to get their husbands and children scurried to their cars to go home; they didn’t see a thing but the weather. But in the center of that wildly whipping windstorm of leaves was a portal—an entrance large enough for a stout woman to step through into this place called Glory Town.
Eleanor Harding walked boldly through the twirling, swirling leaves out of this portal between time, matter, wind and the material, gravitational earth. She had already made it out, blending into the crowd of people hustling to get to their cars, once the dust and leaves had settled. No one saw her
form, or step from the fall dust devil, but she did, and all in one piece, though her clothes were slightly twisted and her hair was frazzled.
She was a stately woman in her late sixties, a bit round and dressed in a midi-length, green, turn- of-the-century velvet suit. “It’s always been good for traveling in,” she uttered to herself. She straightened her attire upon arrival, adjusting her black-leather patent pumps which sported a square emblem of a lion’s head on the buckle that adorned the toes. She fixed her hose, next, as they bagged over her knees, and with a flick of her index finger, she groomed herself for her presentation to the earthlings.
Gently moving her lace collar into perfect alignment for her fleshy neck, she produced a hand mirror from her tote bag, to check her face, and used her fingers to adjust her hair and make-up. Resetting her green, velvet pillbox cap, she fastidiously adjusted the quail feather adorning its side and straightened her stance to start her mission.
She looked toward the shops, and to where the men were still seated or standing outside the bar next to the grocery, drinks in hand and engrossed in their banter. Eleanor approached the idle men. She always tried to arrive at her destinations incognito, but, this time, her old British accent was sure to give away that she was very much out of her element. She asked her first question in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner. “Pardon me, I’m looking for a Ms. Elizabeth Catherine Dubois. Would you tell me where I might find her?” The men stared Eleanor as if she’d made a mistake. They stood there blinking their eyes, and, really, for a moment were speechless, except Jasper. Surely, this fine woman was not asking for Cat Dubois?
“Are you talking about a local witch, the Cat woman?” Jasper loudly spoke so that everyone would hear his clever description. He was pleased with himself.
Eleanor showed no emotion as she waited until they finished their drunken chatter. She stood there with both arms crossed and bracing her anterior chest, buxom as it was. The men laughed, thinking Jasper’s chiding slang for Cat Dubois was humorous, and the whiskey, of course, worked in favor of loosening their sarcasm. She looked away from their faces while rapidly tapping her right
toe, making several tap-tap-taps on the wooden walkway. Her facial expressions would have been hint enough that she wasn’t pleased with their stupidity.
Jasper was the one to speak first again. His two cents began with a careful description of the Tudor manor belonging to the Dubois family, now diminished to just Cat, and a made a subtle pry at Eleanor’s motive for her visit. He was the most likely person to talk in Glory Town, whether right or wrong. Jasper told the town’s stories, old and new, to everyone. He was the unofficial spokesperson, though not delegated for any television reporting, which occurred almost without fail every holiday. In fact, the town council members made sure of his deliberate disappearance should the tourist schedule include any TV news features or media documentaries about Glory Town. His grammar was so atrocious that the few times he had taken the pleasure of telling his tales on public TV, or to any other advertising source before they could arrange otherwise, the whole town cringed with embarrassment. Jasper could make Glory Town look and sound Southern-ignorant, and that was a terrible humiliation to this fine Christian community.
But now, since this elderly woman approached him and the men, he was the perfect drunk to help, gladly promoting himself as the town’s friendly greeter. Jasper stepped up to Eleanor, stopping not too far from her face. She used her hand to fan away the smell of whiskey from his breath. “Cough, cough,” Eleanor moved her hand back and forth and turned her head with a soured face.
Jasper began to address the older, proper-looking woman, but bent further forward, having difficulty balancing his intoxicated body. “Hello, Madam…what did you say your name was?”
“If you would be polite enough to show me the way or give sober directions, then perhaps, you will know my name.” Eleanor was sharp and to the point. Putting up with this drunk was intolerable and disgusting. “If you are an example of the character of this town, then…” She held her tongue. Hastily she continued, “Please, just tell me the way to get there. There is no time to waste on foolishness.”
Jasper stepped up again and pointed to the northwestern hillside towards Cat’s home. Slurring his words, speaking through the side of his mouth, all the while his eyes out of focus, Jasper said, “A fer look o’er the hills, just on the first ridge, sitting in front of the tree line, look o’er yonder, o’er there,
see the smoke rising eastward? It’s the Dubois family place. A manor or cottage, as I call it. It sits on that hill.” Jasper pointed towards the direction of the Dubois home. As he spoke again, he changed his tone. His voice became harsh and threatening as he continued, “If you want to find Miss Dubois, she stays there most of the year.” He glared at the old woman with an evil eye. Then, he hesitated a moment and softened his words, “In the spring, you can see her garden, just like her mother left it.” Sweet and condescending now, he demonstrated with his hands while delivering his directives.
Jasper spit as he talked and Eleanor couldn’t help but hope that his tobacco chew spit wouldn’t hit her in the face. She stopped the tobacco flying at her with a twitch of her index finger. “Repulsive,” she thought as her lip curled. “Silence, you spit when you talk!”
Jasper said, “Excuse me, ma’am. My apologize.” The other men chuckled, finding Jasper’s terrible lack of elocution and tobacco spitting hysterical, and began laughing and bullying him like naughty schoolboys. The weather added to their immature friskiness.
Jasper Jones continued speaking improper English and still spitting as he slurred. He said, “You won’t see ‘er in the winter, ‘less she comes to town. The roads up n’ down the ridge become all dangerful, so she stocks supplies on the good days.” He hesitated a minute, conjuring up his evil eyes again, trying to tell the old woman not to go up there if she knew what was good for her.
Eleanor listened with an eyebrow raised in dismay. “Really, Mister…what do you call yourself? Never mind. Your name is unimportant. Continue.”
Her gold eyes seen only by Jasper, hypnotically spiraled and caught his, which bugged out, on the spot, like he’d just seen a ghost. “This old woman is weird,” Jasper said to himself as he knew it now, and he wanted to know her intentions—not for Ms. Dubois—but for the sake of Glory Town. “Maybe this old woman is another witch?”, he thought, determined that it was his duty to find out anything he could.
The other men listened like sharks on blood. They had something to gossip about now, and any hints from this old women might add to their Cat Dubois stories.
Jasper continued, warily, to describe the reclusive Ms Dubois, hoping for some hint as to what was wanted with her. “Winter’s are five long months, sometimes even six down here, but the rest of the seasons make up for it. May I ask, ma’am, what you want with Ms Dubois? She ain’t too friendly with the town folk, and I doubt she’d be friendly to a stranger.” He looked at her with a question mark almost plastered on his face.
Eleanor listened to the old disorderly man, looking slightly down her nose at his poorly constructed investigative questions. She said, “Thank you for your assistance. I appreciate the warning.” She sighed in exasperation at this creature. “Now, tell me about the roads? Are they drivable?”
Jasper paused. “It depends. How well do you drive, ma’am, and does she know you’re a-comin?”
Eleanor rolled her eyes at the intrusive, busybody question, rather liking playing the game. “Yes, please go on, Mr…?” She trailed off, meaningfully trying to unravel his dramatic attempts of warning her about Catherine Dubois.
“Jasper Jones, ma’am,” Jasper replied. “Like I said a’fore, Miss Dubois don’t like many folk, and she don’t like strangers neither. She keeps ‘ter herself the whole winter.” Once again, Jasper pointed in the direction of her home and glared at Eleanor, the warning in his eyes paralleling his next comment. “She’s odd, strange and unfriendly. You be careful, ma’am, folks say she’s a witch.”
Eleanor held his gaze, staring back. If looks could kill, this moron would choke right there and right then. Her eyes looked like cat’s eye marbles. Glass, hard, and mystic.
Old Jasper suddenly felt quiet and woozy. Eleanor mumbled to herself, “It’s not anyone’s business as to why I am here, and Mr. Busybody is far too curious for his own good.”
“A witch!”, she exclaimed. “Well, you don’t say! How delightful! Now, I can’t wait to meet her! Grand, grand grand! Thank you again, you’ve been most helpful. I hope you have a good day.”
She nodded goodbye and adjusted her windblown hat as she walked away. Eleanor left the men, snickering delightfully to herself at their ignorance. She had fun with them and would love to play
with their minds in a grander way, but there was no time to spare; she had to be on her way. “Perhaps one day I might return just for the fun of toying with their minds, but—oh, never mind. They’re not worth the time or energy.”
Eleanor shook her head in dismay, approached the general store where Jasper had told her there was a rental car desk. The rental agent looked up. “Name, please?”
“Eleanor. Eleanor Harding.” Eleanor used a common name and title which no one would find too unusual.
“Well, Mrs. Harding, I don’t see a reservation for you. When did you make it?” The clerk looked at her, expressionless, to match his “I don’t give a damn” attitude.
“My secretary made it a month ago,” she said as she searched in her huge tote bag and found a confirmation letter and a fingernail file, extended the piece of paper to him, and said, “There you are.” She began filing her nails as she waited for the clerk.
“Sorry, no reservation.” The clerk closed the book and looked straight into her brown eyes. “Nope, you don’t have one.
“Oh, yes. Yes, there is; look again,” she said, not looking up from her manicuring.
Then, Eleanor leaned over the counter and opened his book to the day, November 26th. She pointed to the name on the list. “There. Right there.” She tapped her finger on her name clearly printed on the list. “It’s the only name on the list, I see—Mrs. Eleanor Harding.” She smiled big.
The clerk looked again. “Well, it wasn’t here a moment ago,” he muttered. “We’ve had no one on our list in months. We only have two automobiles, and they’re being used by the residents in this town right now. There isn’t anything else available.” He, again, closed the book.
“Mr. Smith,” Eleanor began, glancing at his name badge, “I assure you that my name has been on the list for a while, and I need transportation immediately. I do not care who has the cars; I reserved one of them for today; and you, sir, should have known this if you paid any attention at all to your job. Now, may I have the car?”
Her eyes spun spirals into his that sent the unspoken message, “You’d better get me a car, right now, or else!” The hypnotic phenomenon of Eleanor’s eyes was a skill she had finely honed for many, many years. She could use her eyes in a swirling fashion making them seem as if they were a kaleidoscope, or turn them ‘round and ‘round like a barber pole. For the clerk, she used the barber pole movement of spiraling golds and browns. Her eyes were impossible to turn away from, if you were a mortal man.
So, the clerk spoke, changing his tune, “I’ll get you transportation. Can you wait a moment? I have to get the car cleaned up.” Mr. Smith jumped to action, surprised at himself, thinking, “I guess I have no choice.”
Eleanor stepped outside to wait on the sidewalk, being sure to stay away from the men still standing outside at the bar, who were still puzzling over her identity and connections with Cat Dubois. She stared up at the sky and took note that it was beginning to turn overcast and dreary. The clouds were building up in the eastern sky. The men in front of the store stood speechless as they gazed at her. They whispered between each other about the mysterious old woman.
Eleanor sighed, “Oh, what the heck…” She just simply had to show them a small lesson. “I have to,” Eleanor reasoned with herself, chuckling at the opportunity to have a wee bit of fun before the weather turned bad. With a circle of her hand, and a pointing of her finger in the direction of the men’s wives—the hornet’s nest—Eleanor knew just what to do. She had supernatural privy to the enemies’ territory, meaning the wives of Glory Town. She pointed, with deliberation, their way.
One of the wives emerged from the store looking at the men gathered there like she was the town’s sheepish-cute and very innocent, sexy saint. “What she really looks like is a well-dressed slut, in her black leather mini skirt with dark tights and burnt-orange, tightly-fitting, cashmere sweater,” thought Eleanor. “Tart.” Her body was perfect, trim and petite, and her long, chestnut silky hair hung over her shoulders and almost touched her waist.
She nodded, looking at Eleanor grimly. “Well, how do you do? Can I help you?” She said she had overheard Eleanor say that she was going to Cat Dubois’ house.
Eleanor knew better. She had seen her listening just on the other side of the door to the store. “No. You may not help.” With a twirl of Eleanor’s little finger in a polite swirling manner, the woman’s face changed for a brief moment. For one flash second, the tart’s face looked like a mule with long ears and crooked, long, buck teeth. It was as if something had crawled under her facial structure and, for a split-second, she resembled a grinning donkey.
“Aw! What was that?”, the men gasped in unison.
“Now, what did you say, dear?” Eleanor turned, then, to answer the hussy.
The tart didn’t see anything but the reactions of the men who saw the donkey’s face. “What the hell are you men staring at?”, the woman demanded, angrily.”
“Nothing. Let’s call it a day, shall we?”, one of the men said, upon which they scattered. They weren’t certain what they had seen, and they didn’t dare speak, but, they’d all seen something and witnessed the old woman chuckling at them.
“Eleanor, what are you doing? You don’t have time for games!”, Tadhg spoke, supernaturally, to Eleanor.
“Just letting them know that Eleanor has arrived, Tadhg,” Eleanor responded.
“Not your job!”, Tadhg reminded Eleanor. “Stay focused.”
Eleanor looked around for a brief moment, to see who remained in view, and decided to return to the store to check on her rental car. She stood at the counter as Mr. Smith called for the nearest of his rental vehicles to the store, and the resident argued why he couldn’t give it up.
“It doesn’t matter, I have to have that Jeep now!”, Mr. Smith insisted. “If I don’t, this old woman is going to report me. Bring it now,” he muttered under his breath.
One of the men from the store, who had lingered out of curiosity about Eleanor, spoke up, addressing her, “The weather is going to change pretty soon, ma’am. We’re expecting snow and ice tonight. You’d better get to the hotel soon. It’s not gonna be safe on the roads if you’re traveling anywhere else.” He sounded concerned.
Eleanor smiled, politely. “Thank you. I will be fine.”
The man nodded and watched her while she waited. He stood far enough away not to seem too obvious, but periodically glanced at her as she tapped her toes anxiously, standing in impatience, then walked around the store looking at things. The man asked if he could get her a cup of coffee while she waited.
“No. No, thank you,” she abruptly responded.
“Then, how about a cup of hot tea?” He brought it over to her as she stood there and insisted she take it. “Here. It will keep you warm. It’s getting cold, you probably could use it.”
“Well, alright; thank you. It would be warming.” She gave him a sweet smile.
He shyly asked, “May I ask you how you did that?”
Eleanor looked around to see if she could recall anything she’d moved or done. “Did what?”
“Oh, you know—the donkey’s face.” He chuckled. “I thought it was kind of funny. She deserves it,” he added with a chuckle. He had a warm smile.
Eleanor said, “What are you talking about? A donkey’s face?”
He giggled as he swept the floor to the store. Shaking his head “no” and still chuckling. Then he stopped sweeping and got really serious, “Then, who did if it wasn’t you?”
“Sir, whatever are you talking about? Are you okay? Are you on drugs?” She put the tea down. “I think I’m finished. Thank you.”
She arose to leave, as if perturbed with his questions. But, truly, Eleanor thought it was funny, as well. She sheepishly smiled to herself. “Eleanor, stop with the pride. You need to get going. The weather’s changing quickly.”
Tadhg scolded his friend—first, for not adhering to the rules of not tampering with human foolishness unless ordered from above; and second, for wasting time with petty behaviors. “Don’t let
yourself get caught up in unfortunate human choices.”
A yellow Jeep pulled up in front of the general store, covered in generous layers of mud. Mr. Smith turned to Eleanor. “I’ll clean it up right now and you’ll have it in a minute or two. “ He winked apprehensively.
“Have you ever driven a four-wheel-drive Jeep? You’ll need to engage it if you’re going to Cat Dubois’ tonight.”
Eleanor realized she had said absolutely nothing of her plans to travel to Elizabeth Catherine Dubois’ tonight to Mr. Smith.
“It seems, Mr. Smith, that you must have spoken to one of the men who was loitering about outside. How quickly gossip travel around here.”
“Yes ma’am, we keep no secrets,” Mr. Smith said as he nodded, and his eyes raised in expression to say, “That’s the way it is, and if you don’t like it, leave,” and continued cleaned the windshield.
“I see that.” Sternly she rolled her eyes. He saw her look. She glared her own expression in return, “If looks could kill, then you’re dead.”
“It’s ready. Come here and let me show you how to drive it.” Mr. Smith held open the Jeep door and motioned for her to come closer.
Eleanor sat in the driver’s seat as he showed her how to work the four-wheel-drive option. “Like this?”, she asked, grinding the gears out of the space.
“Easy! You don’t have to strip the gears,” Mr. Smith tersely warned.
Eleanor drove him around the main street of Glory Town on a quick test run. By the time they circled the block, Mr. Smith couldn’t wait to get back to his office desk in the store. He got out at the front door with a final word, “Well, are you sure you can handle this vehicle, Mrs. …?” He paused.
Before he could recall her name, Eleanor butted in, “Which way to the hotel, Mr. Smith?”
“I hope you have a reservation?”, Mr. Smith snappishly responded.
“Mr. Smith…where is the hotel, please?”, Eleanor insisted.
He pointed in the direction across the street. “Up two blocks on your right.”
Eleanor nodded in thanks and turned the steering wheel towards the quaint hotel. She revved the motor and peeled the Jeep out onto the road. The tires squealed as she pressed the gas peddle and the Jeep tore off. It was a good thing that no one else was on the road to see, or she’d have another piece of gossip circulating about Glory Town’s newest stranger.
Eleanor stopped in front of the hotel. She got out with only her tote that she threw over her shoulder, and she used her hip to shut the door.
In she walked, as if she owned the place. Up to the front desk without hesitation, she said boldly, “I’m Mrs. Eleanor Harding.” The hotel receptionist looked up. “Well, Mrs. Harding, are you certain you have a hotel room?” He cleared his throat and looked eye-to-eye with her, before looking down at his ledger. “You don’t have a reservation. It’s not in the book,” he said, confidently.
“Oh, yes. Yes, there it is.” She pointed to her name written in beautiful Old English cursive.
“Well, it may be written in this reservation book, but it’s not recorded in our computer reservations. I’m sorry; we simply don’t have a room available. Someone made a mistake.” He smiled smugly. He had seen her pull up, just out the Victorian double-doored entrance, and wanted to know how she managed to be driving the yellow Jeep that had been on almost permanent loan to a local for more than a year; and, now, how she had just happened to get her name assigned to the last room in the hotel on the handwritten roster. Plus, her upstart attitude usurped what little control this clerk had chance to exert. He said with the most affronting of protocol, “I’m curious, Mrs. Harding, if you have in your possession, a receipt of confirmation for this room?”
“Oh, this?” Eleanor reached into her tote and pulled out a booklet with receipts and notes, an address book and coupons, which fell everywhere. “By the way, call me Eleanor,” she delightfully smiled, like the cat who ate the canary, when she handed him her confirmation of itinerary.
“Postmarked, mid-summer, earlier this year,” she said and muttered, “My, my,” waiting just a second before ordering, “Look again.”
“Well, you may have this confirmation, but, nevertheless, there isn’t a reservation, I assure you,” he declared using a sharp, dismissing tone. Your name is not listed in the computer, and all our rooms are occupied by tourists. Most everyone who visits here makes their reservations several years in advance.” He put down her paper reservation and started to come around the desk to escort her from the hotel.
She bent over the registration desk to look at his computer, “Wait just a second, there’s my name, right there on your screen,” Eleanor said, causing him to turn back. Sure enough, there it was, and couldn’t be denied.
“The wedding suite,” she noted, and it was then her turn to smile with the same kind of smirk he had issued. “There. All set now? Key, please.”
Just like the vehicle reservation, Eleanor’s name had magically appeared on the hotel roster and the computer.
Eleanor extended the open palm of her hand, “The key, please.”
The clerk slapped the key in her hand, grimacing. His nostrils were flaring with indignant subservience.
She already knew enough about these townsfolk, from her earlier observations—that they were riddled with forged gratuitous idiosyncrasies and braggart pretense. The expensive, oversized wedding suite—saved for celebrities, politicians and newlyweds who might, for whatever strange reason, pass through Glory Town—was the only room available, and it was nothing anyone would write home about.
Once situated in her room, Eleanor washed her face and freshened up for the ride ahead. Glancing out the window, she realized that the weather was quickly becoming an issue. She inspected the phone, realizing she would have to contact the fellow at the front desk, again, to place her phone call.
There was no answer. “Hmmph,” she snorted as she grabbed her tote and headed back downstairs to the lobby.
She thought on her way down in the elevator, “No time for small thinking. There’s work that must be completed that cannot wait another moment. I have been delayed for years. Not one more second shall prevent us from our majesty’s service. We are here because there were many little battles that had to be fought and won before we could get here. We had to wait for the domino effect. But, now we are here; and we will advance this war and win, once and forever.
Eleanor thought further, “I would have come sooner, if I could have. But, as seems, far too often in these modern times, bureaucracy stymies everything of importance.” She was ready to meet Catherine Dubois, and it wouldn’t be much longer.
She addressed the front desk clerk as if they hadn’t met. “Excuse me, I am Eleanor Harding from Room 112, I would like a phone number, please.” The clerk angrily pointed her to a smug-looking concierge sitting just a few feet from the registration counter. The concierge looked her over, then nodded to man standing near the entrance to the back office of the hotel. He had visited with some of the men who had witnessed the donkey face earlier that afternoon, as they had stopped in on their way home to tell some of their friends on the hotel staff about the weird woman visitor. The concierge winked to tell him it had to be her. “Watch this!”, he lipped to his friend.
“Which number would you like, Mrs. Harding?”, the concierge inquired.
“The number for Miss Elizabeth Catherine Dubois, please,” Eleanor requested.
There was a deliberate silence upon her request, but Eleanor had almost expected the concierge’s disapproval, so his answer would come as no surprise; and it would remove any further doubt about the townsfolk’s vehement dislike of Catherine Dubois.
The concierge cleared his throat, just like “Mr. Busybody”, Jasper Jones, from the general store. “I see. Miss Dubois is not listed. She must not have a phone.”
“Oh, how odd,” Eleanor said. “Then could you give me directions to her home? I will have to go, unannounced.”
“Mrs. Harding, the weather is poor and will continue to worsen. There will be fog and possibly snow with ice. I suggest you wait until the weather improves,” the Concierge smirked. “It is just too dangerous,” he said, obviously enjoying himself as he spoke to her, condescendingly, down his nose.
Eleanor decided to step up her English charm and play the quaint old lady disguise. She spoke with a soft voice, such a sweet tone, “Why, thank you; I understand your concern, but I must see Miss Dubois immediately. And, I will be driving there one way or another.”
Eleanor could have been ruffled by the fact that several people were obviously now involved in, directly or indirectly, sabotaging her visit to Miss Dubois with bleak, controlling and unwelcoming advice; but Eleanor refrained from demonstrating her powers. She resolved to simple leave the hotel and not give a mighty show of who, exactly, was controlling whom.
The truth was she did not need a vehicle, nor a hotel room, but these were the plans and she would stick to them. Eleanor, with Tadhg’s help, decided entering Glory Town and going to Catherine Dubois’ house must seem normal and ordinary in every way possible, except for a few minor incidents like the whirlwind, or Eleanor’s unrestrained donkey face manifestation, or magic writing on reservation logs. So, Tadhg—who was very much accompanying Eleanor, but invisible and behind the scenes—reminded Eleanor to be on her very best behavior. She was carefully instructed before, and would continue to be throughout her stay, not to bring any attention to herself or to Catherine Dubois, in particular.
She was the perfect person for this mission, but Eleanor was not a personality who blended into normal everyday life. There was nothing about her that was mild, meek or timid; and she would not be made to look pale, weak, or subservient to any human. She was a grandmother’s great-great-great- grandmother of all grandmothers; she was a fairy godmother; she was an angel to some; but…she could not, and would not, be pushed, controlled, manipulated, or made to look like a fool to anyone. And, it wasn’t at all pride that gave her power; it was wisdom, experience, rank of command, and
time. She had thousands of years of expertise within her.
Tadhg’s job was simply to be the constant voice to remind Eleanor of her manners—the human kind—and to guide her as she walked in fleshly form while in earth’s atmosphere.
Earth’s gravity made truth vague and ambiguous. It would be easy to get lost and pulled into human drama and conflict, which Eleanor was already persuaded to do by the ionic pulls.
“Eleanor, you must be human,” Tadhg once again reminded her.
She stood in front of this man, this concierge whose job it was to help, who was giving her absolutely no help.
“If you please, which roads, sir?” She looked at his name tag. “Mr. Morgan, is that your name? I must be on my way before it gets any worse outside,” Eleanor said. Thunder rolled and rumbled as she spoke, shaking the old hotel, once stately, now with fresh paint covering the cracks from ceiling to floor.
The glass paperweight on the counter rattled with the threatening, rolling booms. Eleanor swallowed after hearing the vibrations, thankful that her fright was unseen by Mr. Morgan. Even she was hesitant to journey during such weather, but she wouldn’t give any townsfolk any satisfaction in knowing that she had any reluctance. Instead, she persisted with insistence, knowing that the mission was a “go”; and nothing could stop the operation—not even the Devil himself would hinder this sortie. Delayed for all those years, not even a storm of catastrophic proportion could get in her way. Determination was painted on her face, and her expression said her demands would be fulfilled.
Eleanor rallied herself against nature’s resistance and smoothed her clothes once more. There was a large mirror off to the side of the reservation desk, and using sharp, precise movements, she straightened her hat. The curls beneath were tucked up into a bun, hidden under the small, olive- green velvet hat, the pheasant feather still adorning alongside her hair. She tried her best to ignore Mr. Morgan. She started whistling, and moved over to the main desk. Tapping her fingernails on the counter top, “Waiting, Mr. Morgan,” she said, becoming a nuisance.
Mr. Morgan was finally drawing a map, after grabbing a piece of paper from the printer; and he slammed it on the counter, continuing to draw, snarling and grunting. He had no eye contact as she asked questions about a few places where she couldn’t make out what he’d drawn.
“Is that a right or left here? How far?”, Eleanor prodded.
Mr. Morgan addressed her sharply. First, he wanted no part of her insistence to drive up that mountain mid-storm—it was certainly an accident waiting to happen. Second, he hadn’t wanted to give her directions to the house of that troublesome hag, Cat Dubois. He used to throw rocks at her; and it bothered him to see Eleanor was set on seeing her. “What the hell? This woman is as crazy as that witch. Probably just like her, too,” he concluded.
“There are many twist and turns,” he muttered. “And, there are no lights to line the narrow, two- lane road. It’s really only big enough for one car at a time, if you know what I mean, Mrs. Harding?”
“Keep drawing. There is no time for your commentary, Mr. Morgan,” Eleanor said. For a moment, she saw him in a flashback, throwing rocks, in his younger years, at an old-fashioned manor.
Eleanor’s eyes narrowed and she gave him a look that said, “I know what you did. You can’t hide. Don’t even try.” Her eyes peered into his, but Mr. Morgan was trying his best not to look back at her. He knew what she knew. Even though he wouldn’t look at her, he felt her thoughts as clear as day. His hands had begun to tremble. Drawing spots on the paper, Mr. Morgan almost felt sorry for the old woman, knowing that she would not be persuaded to call off her late-night winter visit through the winding icy roads to see the town witch. He sneered, inwardly, at his feeble map, but he’d done the best he could under the circumstances. His warnings had been sufficient to stop her. Her choosing to go anyway—after his advice—would be her loss. “Ignorant old woman,” Mr. Morgan thought, darkly.
Eleanor nodded, politely. “Thank you, Mr. Morgan.” She turned to leave. “By the way, did your mother ever tell you, it’s not nice to throw stones?” She paused to watch as the concierge turned to look at himself in the large mirror.
He ignored the comment. Then, a choking gasp came from Mr. Morgan. “What the hell?”, he yelled. His reflection, all at once, bore the image of a dirty old crone. His nose had an unsightly black mole, his eyes were sunken in and sallow skin hung low. He darted a glance at Eleanor, a sudden look of hate in his eyes as he loudly muttered, “Hag!” Then, he spat at her, as he glanced back into the mirror again, only to see his usual image. He stared for a moment, then leaned closer, examining his face.
“Perhaps he caught a look at his real self for the first time. Truly, he is an old crone,” Eleanor quipped to herself.
“Stop!” Tadhg’s voice registered clearly in her mind. “You know you must not tamper with these townsfolk; you will bring more attention to us and make it bad for Catherine. Stop! I’ll not remind you again!”
“Tadhg, who is the elder—you or me?” Eleanor reminded him of his rank.
“Earth is pulling on your emotions; you must trust me, Eleanor. You’re behavior is becoming like them. Now, you must follow what I tell you. Please?” Tadhg tried to cause her to remember the plan.
Eleanor stifled a giggle, well out of hearing range of Mr. Morgan. Her eyes and mouth turned up in a moment of sarcastic embellishment. “Oh come on now, Tadhg. Relax, lighten up a bit. It was only for a glance that he saw his real self. It did good…not harm, dear friend.”
“Come now. Time is crucial.” Tadhg pulled Eleanor gently, by the arm, from out of the hotel lobby toward the Jeep parked out front.
“It’s time, I made a proper English visit. That is what her mother and father wanted, and the rest of the Dubois family, as well.” Eleanor smiled to herself and headed out, leaving the hotel and Mr. Morgan, and the clerk, and whomever else in that hotel who had been watching her, behind. She was on a mission.
Focused at last, she looked at the Jeep, opened the door, and scooted inside, eagerly. “Oh, God, here we go,” she said to herself, putting the key in the ignition to turn it over. “Tadhg, are you here?”
“Don’t worry, love,” Tadhg said, reassuringly. “I’m here. You’ll be fine, but you’ll have to listen when I tell you to shift down, got it?”
“Yes. I got it,” she said, putting faith in her old friend, Tadhg.
So Eleanor set off straightaway to the country home of Miss Elizabeth Catherine Dubois. It would soon be dusk and visibility would be nil if she did not hurry. The sky provoked her with the ominous rumbles of thunder and slashes of lightning across the sky, making her dread the drive.
“God is with me and my dear companion, Tadhg,” Eleanor reminded herself, and sighed as she pressed forward—courageously so.
“Boom! Crack! Rumble, rumble, slash!” The lightening lit the evening sky. Electricity and dark energy threatened Eleanor not to move any closer towards Catherine’s home. The clouds formed shapes of evil faces. Ominous shades of grays collided and developed into shaking fingers pointing at the Jeep that traveled onward to a dreaded destiny. Teeth, growls, fear and trepidation snarled from within the rumbles of the thunder. “We will fight,” the wicked entities echoed. “We are certain that no weapon formed against hell will prosper,” so the demons chanted from within the mansion. Outside and in, they all had knowledge that trouble was most definitely on it’s way.
Catherine suspected nothing. She poured another brandy and sat by the cozy fire with a book. She started to read Pilgrim’s Progress. It was one of her mother’s favorites during Thanksgiving. Her mother always read aloud, so Cat imitated her.
“Pilgrim’s Progress, Chapter 1,” she read. “‘As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream. I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and he cried out, “What shall I do?’”
Cat sighed and closed her eyes for a quiet moment remembering her mother.