The first prompts of the new year. Year Three of the More Odds Than Ends prompts. I am still figuring out a work schedule that makes me as productive as possible. My goal this year is four books. Ambitious, maybe, but if this author thing is going to work, that’s how it has to be. And, I’m very happy that these prompts are helping me get more ideas for stories!
I leaned back in my chair, trying to stretch my back out. After sitting for…how many hours? I glanced up at the clock. Crap. Four hours. I’d been sitting here reading for four hours without a break. No wonder my back hurt. And no wonder I was starving. It was well past suppertime. I stood up and really stretched. That felt much more effective. Time to go home. I gathered up my notes and the books, shoved everything into my shoulder bag, grabbed the extra bag with the books I’d brought from my study carrell, and trudged over to the stairwell.
Plodding down the stairs I thought about this capstone project. The books I was using were in the restricted/rare books section of the library which meant I couldn’t bring anything in to record the pages, nor could they be photocopied. It wasn’t because of what was in the books, although the material might concern some folks, but rather it was because of the age and fragile condition of the books. Continuous exposure to light would cause the pages to deteriorate more rapidly. The restricted books room was kept at a constant temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity level was stable at 45 percent in order to preserve the books as best as possible.
Back on the main floor, I waved good night to the night librarian and pushed open the ponderous front door. The rush of cold wind reminded me that despite the comfortable temperature of the rare books room, it was still wintertime in the outside world. The wind shoved at me, and I staggered a step to the side before regaining my footing and, head down, pushed through blowing snow to my car. Fortunately, since I had arrived at the library at a time when most people were heading home, I had been able to park close to the front door.
Going back to school as an adult meant that I could keep my own hours without parents keeping track of me. Inheriting a tidy sum of money from my great-uncle meant that I could go back to school without worries. Despite my aching back and late hours, I was truly enjoying myself.
Once in the warmth of my car, I took a minute to order food from my favorite all-night diner. Barring any catastrophes on my way home, I should be able to meet the food delivery guy in my driveway. The diner wasn’t that far from my house, but not on my way home when I came from the library.
The drive home was uneventful, if a bit slower than normal due to having to navigate through the thick snowfall that was threatening to turn into a full-on blizzard. I sent up a small prayer of gratitude that my back had caused me to stop reading when I did. Any later and there was a good chance I might have spent the night at the library.
I finally turned the corner onto my small cul-de-sac only to be confronted by the flashing lights of four or five police cars parked…in front of my house. In fact, two were in my driveway, making it impossible for me to pull in. I parked the car two houses down and slowly walked up to my drive.
“I’m sorry, ma’am. You’ll have to stop there,” the police officer put a large, gloved hand out in front of me.
“But, um, that’s my house. Um, I’m the owner. Jihan Bishara, or Jiji,” I said, staring at the cars in my driveway.
“You are? May I see some ID?” the officer answered.
“Um, sure. Hang on.” I fumbled my bags around, juggling the small backpack I used as a purse and the bag of books I’d brought from my office. “Here.” I finally pulled out my wallet and driver’s license and handed it over.
The officer glanced at the license and back at me. I wondered how different I looked with my winter hat and scarf from the picture on the license. It must not have been too bad because after a couple of seconds the officer handed it back to me and then spoke into the radio clipped to his collar.
“Hey, Sarge. I’ve got the home’s owner here. Louisa Sutton…yeah…okay.” He turned to me.
“If you go over there, to the officer standing by the car on the left in your driveway, he, the sergeant, can explain everything.” He pointed in the direction of the cars. “I don’t think the warrant’s going anywhere,” he added under his breath.
“I’m sorry. What did you say?” I asked. Warrant? The sergeant had a warrant? For me? For what? Still confused and now really worried, I hiked my bags further up on my shoulders and walked over to the sergeant.
“Good evening. I’m Sergeant Williamson,” the tall man standing next to one of the police cars introduced himself.
“Um. Hi. I’m Jiji…Jihan Bishara. I’m the homeowner. What’s going on?” I tried my best to hide my nerves. I thought I’d heard somewhere before that outward signs of nervousness made cops suspicious. I didn’t know if it was true or not, but I didn’t want to take any chances. Not if the man had a warrant out for me.
“I’m afraid we’ve got a bit of a situation here, ma’am. We got a call from one of your neighbors. It seems there’s a wyvern in your backyard.” He frowned in the general direction of my house.
“A…what? A wyvern? In my backyard? You don’t have a warrant for me?” I stuttered.
“A warrant? Why would I have that? No. Your neighbor said that as the snow picked up about an hour ago, he saw a wyvern land in your backyard. Animal control has no one available to come pick it up, and we don’t want it going after anyone, so…” he trailed off.
“Wait a minute. Okay. No warrant, but a wyvern. I misheard. Okay. Um, actually, I know how to deal with wyverns. Can I go look at it at least?” I shook my head. A wyvern in the backyard was a much better problem that a warrant for me.
Sgt. Williamson stared at me. “You know how to deal with wyverns?”
“Well, in principle I do. Um, wyverns are part of my capstone project. I’m a student at the Arcane Veterinary Hospital,” I explained. I’d never worked with a wyvern, true, but we’d had a couple classes on their care and feeding. One thing I was certain of was that being outside in a snowstorm building to a blizzard was not optimum for them. And if it had felt the need to land at the beginning of the storm, then it was probably injured or ill.
Sgt. Williamson stared at me for a moment longer. “Okay. I’ll allow it. Please just make sure you don’t get hurt or that any of your neighbors get hurt,” he said with a slight pleading note in his voice.
“I promise. And I take full responsibility, Sergeant,” I reassured him.
He nodded and I could see some of the tension leave his shoulders, so I turned and walked up the driveway toward my front door. What was I going to find in my backyard?
Looking for a new challenge for a new year? Want to get in the habit of writing on a regular basis? C’mon over to More Odds Than Ends and pick up a prompt. If you feel like a challenge, send in a prompt and get one in return. No pressure, no limits!