It was her first episode of clairvoyance in months.
October 19, 2013
A VG Serial: Dark Continent Continental
On the rehab wing of Charity Hospital of New Orleans, a tiny, bony woman moved about in her room with a walker. She was tethered by a long, clear plastic tube to an oxygen concentrator which made intermittent whooshing sounds. The nasal canula that hooked over her ears was a big bother. She wore scuffy slippers and a mid-calf robe, indigo, with rose-colored miniature prints over her hospital gown. It was reminiscent of 1800s calico.
“At least I am up moving around. I’ve got my juices jangling. Tomorrow I’ll do the Jitterbug.” Laroux Dimitri mumbled to herself. She shuffled closer to the telephone. “I hope he is there,” she mumbled again. She had to go through the hospital switchboard and get operator assistance to make the call to Austin Homicide. She promised to keep the call at three minutes or under. “It is pretty important or I wouldn’t even bother you about it.” The phone was ringing.
Skeeter reached over and picked up Angus’ phone. “This is Kerry Sherwood, homicide.”
“Kerry? Oh, Skeeter, is that you?” Skeeter thought it sounded like a voice coming straight from hell, as Laroux’s quiet voice squeaked and rasped. “This is Laroux. Laroux Dimitri.”
“Laroux! You must be doing better. I am so glad to hear you.”
“Listen! My abilities went away—they got fried—when I was sick my powers went kaput. Now I am getting something, not much. It is just a tiny trickle.”
“What? I have a pencil and I am ready to write,” Skeeter answered.
“I keep getting the word, ‘ken.’ It is not a person’s name, I don’t feel. It is a regular word or part of something else.”
“Okay. I wrote it down. We will see if we can make some sense of it and give you a report soon.”
“Oh! I forgot. The picture Angus sent—it was a chalk mark around where a body had been. The body had no brain. Am I right?”
“You nailed it, Laroux! Someone here wants to tell you ‘hi.’”
“Laroux, this is Angus. Are you about ready to get out of that dang hospital?”
“You………know……..it.” Laroux squeaked in a monotone.
“Thanks for everything. We’ll be in touch as soon as we know anything.”
* * *
Laroux Dimitri shuffled over to the little metal table by the window. She gazed into her terrarium. She had been gazing into it when the word ‘ken’ came to her. It was her first episode of clairvoyance in several months.
She looked down at the little ceramic fairies, trolls and toad stools, peeking out from behind all the greenery.
Chapters of Dark Continental by Sara Marie Hogg will be published on Saturday and Sunday.