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Ludovic (continuation)

by Alena Fée 2 years ago in fantasy
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Part 4 - Pink envelope | PART 5 - Meeting at the “Louvre”

Part 4 - Pink envelope

The red-haired witch looked down the road toward the repair shop, stepping on the old newspapers scattered around, she angrily brushed the dust off the door handle and muttered:

 “I will probably have to buy a new umbrella. What a day!”

The postman, who handed her a letter in a pink envelope, opened the conversation proper:

“Do you remember that nice man who disappeared a few weeks ago? It's strange, is not it, Madame”

“Yes, strange” Clarice said with indifference as she inadequately tried to cut the conversation allowing him to go on:

“He lived here alone. I mean, in Paris. I don’t think he had a wife or children, nor even friends. and then suddenly he packed up and disappeared. Maybe he told you something, madam?”

“No, he did not tell me anything,” Clarice said exasperated. “Leave me alone, can you not see that I'm in a hurry”.

She glimpsed a sign ‘Taxi Parisien’ and pushing the annoying postman rather rudely out of the way ran out into the street.

“Excuse me, ma'am, I’m sorry about that. I hope you’re okay” and he continued talking to himself, “strange people everywhere. Always rushing and hurrying, even a polite five-minute conversation is too much for them”. He thought this one a tenant of the owner of the repair studio wasn’t at all talkative and she had forgotten the letter….

He picked up the pink envelope and tucking it in a bag pedaled the creaking old bicycle with its rusting wheels slowly to the next complex of buildings.

****

In the rear-view mirror, the taxi driver noticed a young man with long curly hair and sideburns trying to attract his attention; the driver reversed back and asked:

“ Where do you want to go, sir?”

“To the Louvre café, my friend ... by the way, my name is Ludovic” and unbuttoning his fur coat he added “Vanderbilt”.

The woman in a blue dress with the yellow flower had a big red summer coat thrown over her arm and was running closing the gap behind the cab. Seeing her the taxi driver accelerated hard to speed away.

Oscar sprawled his wings over the window and shouted something. Ludovic with a broad smile over his face waved goodbye at Claris from the rear window of the quickly moving car. She looked flustered and tried to run faster shouting something but he could not hear as she received a repugnant cloud of smoke causing her face to puff in response. Coughing from the exhaust gas and gasping, she stopped and he could see tears rolling down over her cheeks.

“Ah bastard,” he thought he heard her say.

PART 5 - Meeting at the “Louvre”

Emerging imposingly from the taxi and nonchalantly throwing a crumpled bill previously stolen from Claris’s box to the driver, Ludovic walked toward the cafe ‘Louvre’. Oscar jumped from his shoulder onto a low cornice and shuffling his feathers tried to escape. But stopped when he saw Mr. Vanderbilt carrying out amazingly graceful and fluid movements pausing occasionally to stretch out his ears to listen in a feline fashion before continuing with his stunts.

Jumping very high and turning over Ludovic fell down on his belly trying to catch a white mouse that had suddenly jumped out into the road. However, the mouse was able to slip away and hide in an adjacent house seeming to creak sadly as the wind blew and banged the broken shutters.

“There you go, a cat is and always will be a cat. I just knew that” Oscar chirped.

The patrons in the cafe huddled to the large window and watched in astonishment the weird behavior of the stranger in a fur coat. Ludovic remaining very composed as if nothing had happened got up in a dignified fashion, raked up Oscar from the window cornice, paused to scratch his ear, and waltzed into the ‘Louvre’.

“Pardon his manners, pardon his manners, pardon his manners”, repeated Oscar crackling to customers as he turned his head from left to right.

The old man with the red eyes, caused by tears or a reaction to the thick tobacco smoke was waiting for them at a corner table placed in partial darkness. Without removing the pipe from his mouth and looking with disdain at the sleek ex- cat he hissed:

“Where are the keys?”

“Why are you in such a hurry, to begin with, let’s talk about the virtues of life”.

“ What do you want to hear Persian offspring”.

“ What can I say?” said Ludovic as he looked to Oscar - he is a racist”, referring to the old man he continued, “As I told you I did not come from Persia but from the Himalayas”. Pausing he looked proudly toward him and said, “By the way, I was risking my life and going through all, all…. my fate was well…you only care about the keys. You did not even introduce yourself”.

“You can call me..Boss”.

“No, no, no. I am free now. No bosses” answered Ludovic confidently leaning back in his chair.

“Norman” muttered the old man lowering his voice.

“Ludovic Vonderbilt”.

“To hell with all these details, give me the keys!” and unable to hide his irritation Norman reached for the cat.

Ludovic moved back and said “you remind me of someone. I can’t remember who ... Yeah, I brought the keys, but in return, I want to get into a country, it has a strange name” ... Ludovic was trying to remember the word, but it had gone completely out of his head.

“Erewhonland!” Oscar intervened looking at Ludovic and irritated by his lapse of memory.

“Trust me with what we have - you and me – we will get there. Together, we can and will overcome all!” Suddenly the old man’s demeanor changed and he said happily “and by the way, you should release the bird; he will not interfere with you”.

Oscar looked sadly at the old man and said “I will not be able to see freedom just as I can’t see my own ears”.

“Do not pay attention to what he says. He has no ears” Ludovic continued “and what do you mean together and what do we have to overcome?” he said inquisitively.

Norman coughed heavily and his Adam's apple moved gawkily.

“What do you mean I have no ears? Is this is what you think of me?” then hopping on one foot across the table Oscar quietened, he was deeply offended and quite mad.

Ludovic took the keys from his coat pocket and threw them carelessly in front of the old man. Norman approvingly nodded, and pulled the bunch of keys closer then eased out a small shiny object, it was like a locket, he whispered in Ludovic’s ear.

“With this... suddenly, Ludovic and Norman noticed a flash in the window, it was a hat, worn by. …Clarice, she was accompanied by her two police berets. The old man, gave a medallion to Ludovic, and said quietly “go escape, quickly through the basement. Go and wait for me at this address”.

Norman moved hastily toward the bar, hoping to slip unnoticed through the back door of the cafe, but he was caught by the guardians of order and before he knew it his wrists were banded in cuffs.

Ludovic, without hesitation, grabbed the keys, and the medallion and note with the address and in one leap, almost sensing with his nose how to reach the basement sneaked in front of the dumbfounded waitress’s and disappeared.

He ran, for what seemed a safe distance, and sat down to catch his breath on the parapet.

“That bastard, bring the bird home” Oscar mimicked Clarice’s voice “your gangster friend has been arrested by the police already and you know what?”

“Tell me”

“For the theft of household property which amongst other things includes me. So, you will also be detained for the theft of Oscar”.

“Well, I cannot understand why you cannot just enjoy your freedom, look around” Ludovic ran his hand through the air artistically circling the fountain and yellow trees. “What beauty!”

“What prevents us from enjoying the tap water in Clarice’s house?”

“You know what you are missing”

“I know my wing, which you broke…”

“No! You don’t believe in dreams my dear Oscar, imagine palm trees, thousands of parrots like yourself, the ocean, the smell of flowers, and all the birds singing. You alone are famous, a legend; we can say you are the king in a kingdom of brethren. All bananas and seeds belong to you. All glory is to you, and I'm standing on the stage singing with a microphone better than Clarice” Oscar suddenly yielded and began to imagine himself back in a perfect world.

However, both came back to reality with the sharp whining of a passing bus.

“Well, you got me! don’t drag me into your stories. I'm 300 years older than you and I know how this world can smell pretty badly at times,” muttered the parrot.

“OMG, I thought we were best friends,” said Ludovic using an Oscar-style intonation.

Ludovic took the medallion from his pocket and looked at it. A strange force pulled at him and an unusual state lasted a short while and then was gone.

The tall man in a fur coat, no longer a cat was thinking what the object could be as he made his way to the address left by Norman.

fantasy

About the author

Alena Fée

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