Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 150: Meeting

sss-150

            I entered the pub, but he wasn’t there. From the moment I had walked through the front door I knew right away that he wasn’t going to be there. I had a feeling that he wasn’t just late, either. No, I figured that he wasn’t going to show up at all. Yet, I walked through the pub and sat myself down at an empty table way in the back.

            A tall man approached me wearing a white, but stained, apron across his front. He held what looked like a dish rag in his hand. I couldn’t tell if he was washing dishes, cooking the food, or waiting the tables.

“My, you’re here late.” He said.

I leaned back in my chair keeping my hands on the table. I looked him up and down before finally settling on his face and narrowed my eyes at him. “Is that really any of your business?”

He chuckled. “I suppose not. What can I get for you?”

“Just a glass of water, please,”

He bowed his head politely and walked away.

William and I had agreed that, in order to easily find each other, we’d only order a glass of water. I still had a feeling that William was not going to show up. He hadn’t been in contact with me for a few days so I had no idea where he was or what he was doing. I hoped he didn’t forget about me.

The waiter/chef/dishwasher came back all too quickly with two glasses of water. He put one down in front of me before sitting down across from me with the other glass.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I asked through gritted teeth. I didn’t want to lose my temper, not in the middle of the night in a strange pub. For some reason, though, this guy just really bothered me.

“You’re waiting for William, are you not?” he asked smirking.

I let my face relax. I pushed aside my glass and rested my arms on the table leaning forward. “How do you know William? Where is he?”

“William came by yesterday and told me that he was meeting a woman here.” The man explained. “He wasn’t able to stay and told me to tell you to keep moving. He wants to meet you at the square the next town over.”

I banged my fist against the table causing my water to spill over the sides. The messenger before me was taking a drink and casually watched my drink form puddles. He sighed putting his glass back down on the surface, but didn’t say anything else.

“William said that two towns ago. This was the third time I was supposed to meet him. Where has he been?” I folded my arms across my chest defiantly like a child and abruptly turned away from the man sitting across from me.

“Beats me. I know I wouldn’t stand you up, though. You seem like a fun chick.”

I slowly turned my gaze back at him with narrowed eyes. “I have a dagger in my belt.”

He choked on his water and then chuckled. “Oh, no. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it in that sense. I just mean that you seem like… Never mind. No matter how I explain it I’m going to get myself into trouble.”

I pursed my lips together trying to figure this man out. I picked up my water and took a small sip. I hadn’t eaten anything in days, but I had to keep moving. The water the only thing that seemed to keep me going.

“How do you know William? Or were you a random busboy he paid handsomely to give me a message?”

The man stared at me blankly for a moment, but he eventually smiled and looked down into his water glass. It was as though he was embarrassed. “No, William and I know each other. We go way back.”

“Explain,”

William looked up at me once more with shock in his eyes, but I kept a level gaze. I wasn’t going to leave the pub allowing a stranger to know my whereabouts of where I was going. This had happened too many times. For all I knew, William had been captured a while ago and I’ve been sent on a wild goose chase.

“Okay,” he cleared his throat, “William and I used to be brothers.”

“Used to be?” I asked suspiciously.

“You don’t need to know my whole story, but I did something that made William—and a lot of other people—pretty upset. Hence, why I am working at a pub.” He outstretched his arms as though he was showcasing the dim bar like it was a prize.

I raised my eyebrows trying to think of something so dishonorable, but nothing came to mind. I had absolutely no idea what this man was talking about. I only knew that I was wasting my time with him, but I couldn’t seem to get up and leave. I felt as though there was more to this.

“So,” I said ignoring his story, or lack thereof, “what exactly did William say to you? How long ago did he come by here? What condition did he seem to be in?”

“Whoa, slow down.” He smirked. “What question would you like me to answer first?”

“This isn’t funny!” I snapped. “People are dying. I need to find William.”

“Okay, okay… Don’t freak out on me.”

I glared at him. He seemed nice enough, but he was really beginning to get on my nerves.

“William was fine. He came around about two days ago.” He explained.

“And what did he tell you?”

“He told me that a young woman dressed in an all-black cloak would come in a few days. Her hood would be covering her face, but I would know if it was you if she ordered a glass of water.” The messenger stated. “That’s why I’ve been working overtime. It took you long enough to get here.”

I scoffed standing up to leave. I couldn’t believe he could joke at such a time. “Well, thank you for your time anyway.”

“Wait a minute,” he stood taking hold of my arm. “We didn’t properly introduce ourselves.”

“I don’t need to know who you are anymore than you need to know who I am.” I said sternly pulling my arm out of his grip.

“Sorry,” he said sheepishly putting his hands in his pockets. “But there’s actually one more thing William told me.”

I stood straighter waiting with anticipation. This conversation could go two ways at this point—up or down.

“He explained to me what the two of you are trying to do. He told me to go with you.”

“I don’t think so!” I abruptly turned to leave. As I walked away, I heard him call out to me.

“Did William ever tell you that the man you two are attempting to assassinate happens to be our father?”

I froze for a second before frantically looking around the pub. No one seemed to notice our quarrel though and hopefully didn’t hear him. I walked back over to him quickly and got right into his face. “Do you want to get us killed? Don’t you ever talk about our mission out loud like that! I can’t believe William even told you in the first place.” I said with venom coming out of my words.

“I told you he wanted me to come with you.” The man smirked and held out his hand to be shook. “My name’s Edwin. But you can call me Ed.”

Words: 1,265

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

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