The Hub of Her Existence–Conclusion

The Hub of Her Existence–Conclusion

The first half of The Hub of Her Existence was published yesterday. If you missed it, you should probably read it so this will make more sense. I don’t usually let my fancy take flight like this and I wouldn’t say it’s a happy story but I’d call it a romance and, of course, it is fanciful. Let me know what you think and how you would rather it ended.

A hollow click echoed through the parlor as Logan’s tired old weapon misfired. The roar of the marauder’s gun eclipsed Sylvia’s scream.

Logan sank to the floor before Sylvia reached him. A horrible, dark blotch spread unevenly through his jacket. The whirling of her mind slowed and steadied as she touched the cold metal of Logan’s gun. Her back was toward the killer. He could not see her lift Logan’s firearm. Hiding the weapon in the fullness of her skirt, she turned.

The stranger’s gun hung loosely at his side as he stepped toward her. In a smooth, swift motion, Sylvia brought Logan’s gun to her shoulder and pulled the trigger.

This time the weapon fired. The concussion of exploding powder knocked Sylvia backward. The stranger stumbled as the bullet found its mark. As he fell, his arm arced across the library table, knocking the lamp to the floor. Oil fed the blaze as it licked hungrily at the wood floor and long drapes.

Sylvia turned to Logan, lying motionless beside the fireplace. She knelt and stroked his hair as the circle of flames narrowed around them.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Frank Jackson and his bride, Amy, bounced along an unfamiliar road in the countryside of a Southern state. Their car’s headlights were no match for the fierceness of the storm. Windshield wipers could not wipe away the onslaught of rain.

“I’m sorry,” Frank said. “We should have stopped at a motel back in Atlanta. I’ve never been to Uncle Don’s since he and Aunt Liza moved and I got off the road somewhere. I have no idea where we are.”

Amy shook her head. “It’ll be okay. This April storm can’t last forever. Let’s just pull off the road and wait until the rain lets up. I’m eager to meet your aunt and uncle but we can find our way better in the light of day.”

Frank grinned. “You’ll like Uncle Don. He and Aunt Liza know some ghost stories of the Old South that’ll make your toes tingle. Wait! What is that through those trees? It looks like a fire.”

Amy squeezed Franks’s arm. “Oh, it is. A large, two storied house is on fire! I see flames shooting out of the windows. Stop, Frank. We’ve got to see if we can help.”

Braking the car, Frank grabbed a flashlight and tumbled out to stand beside Amy on the roadside. Flames higher than the trees shot from windows and roof of a white, multi-columned mansion, visible through a tangle of trees and underbrush.

Frank’s scalp prickled. How could it be burning in the downpour of rain?

Grasping Amy’s hand, Frank slid down the ditch and ran toward the blaze. “Come on, we’ve got to see if anybody is in that inferno. Hurry! It’s just through those trees.”IMGP1319

Amy struggled through the undergrowth, branches whipping against her face. She held tightly to Frank.

“Where is it?” Her voice quivered. “What happened to the fire? We couldn’t have missed it.”

“It disappeared. I don’t understand,” Frank muttered. He beamed his flashlight through the trees.

“It’s got to be here!” Amy cried. Running forward, she stumbled into a hard object and fell onto her hands and knees.

“Frank, shine your light over here,” she called.

Frank’s flashlight picked out wide, high granite steps, crusted with lichen and half covered by vines. Rubbing the sleeve of his jacket against the steps, Frank uncovered letters cut into the stone. With his finger, he traced a single word, “Horizon.”

Shivering, Frank said, “We must have imagined a house burning. Maybe it was a trick of the storm. There’s nothing here but these old steps and if they once led into somebody’s front room, they sure don’t now.”

Amy rose to her feet. “I don’t understand any of this but I think we’ll have our own story to tell your uncle.”

Sabers of lightning slashed the sky and thunder sounded like long ago cannons. The wailing of the wind followed them to their car.

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