|Eerie, Indiana fanfiction: Reading Room
||[Jan. 19th, 2017|12:38 pm]
Written for National Popcorn Day, but I finished it in 52 minutes so it totally counts as an entry for this week's fffc challenge as well.
The reading room of the Loyal Order of Corn was pretty much what Marshall had expected.
Thick rugs in rich colours and ornate designs covered a hardwood floor glossy with accumulated layers of assiduous polishing. High-backed armchairs upholstered in dark leathers worn soft and supple with time stood flanked by end tables bearing green-shaded reading lamps.
Over the mantelpiece a flat-screen television the size of a Jumbotron showed a time-lapse video of cornfields, cycling from the sowing, to the first green stalks appearing over the dark earth, through to waving acres of gold and the encroaching rows of combine harvesters on the horizon. It showed the reaped stalks being sheaved and stoked, and ended with a slow-motion panning shot of an old-fashioned popcorn maker in action, before returning to the opening scene depicting bare fields ready for planting.
The walls were lined with bookshelves that disappeared into the shadowed ceiling, and suits of armour wielding sickles and bearing the Crest of the Kernel on their breastplates stood motionless on either side of the fireplace and the giant television. Some of them held their weapons at strange angles, and the door to various secret passages gaped emptily behind them. Wall sconces fitted with electrical bulbs flickered in a lifeless imitation of gaslight, pale and wan against the bright winter sunshine streaming in through the leadlight windows. The air was thick with the mingled smells of coffee, leather and old paper.
Marshall lifted the ceremonial Corn Hat from his head, then removed the foil-lined baseball cap he had been wearing beneath it to ward off its mind-controlling properties. He set down the plastic bucket of cleaning supplies that had comprised the other half of his infiltration disguise and removed a Polaroid camera from beneath a can of wood polish and an unopened packet of yellow dusters.
He started with establishing shots taken from the three corners of the long triangular room, trying to get as much of the layout in frame as possible. Next came the chairs, the long L-shaped sofas running the length of each wall, and the coffee tables and reading desks scattered around the room in groups of three. The giant spy-screen-slash-interdimensional-portal-slash-really-big-TV had to be photographed in eight separate sections, and it wasn’t until later that Marshall would realise none of them showed the corn growing video.
He’d neglected to bring a torch, counting on the ten a.m. break-in to provide enough illumination, and he cursed himself now. The misaligned hollow knights with their secret doorways half-exposed mocked him behind visors of gleaming silver, but the darkness inside was impenetrable without another light source.
He focused instead on the rows of books, using a kick-stool and a rolling ladder to reach the higher shelves. He managed around a third of one wall before he ran out of film.
The light from the long, low window had changed. When he’d first talked his way past the Order’s replacement bartender, identifying himself as a newly-minted Seedling assigned to housekeeping as part of his service to the riper members, the December sky had been crystalline blue, high and clear and shot through with brilliant lances of sunlight. Now it was grey, the distances hazy, the gilt-embossed titles on the leather spines hard to read in the unsteady flicker of the ersatz gas lamps.
Marshall checked his watch. Almost noon; the midday Shucking Ceremony would be starting soon. Working quickly, he stowed the Instamatic camera beneath it’s protective layer of cleaning supplies, tucked the still-developing photos inside his green club waistcoat (hastily improvised from a pair of curtains salvaged from the bargain bin at Eerie Thrift and Antiques), and prepared to make his escape.
As he paused to take one last look around, his gaze fell on a heavy black volume abandoned face-down on one of the tables. It’s spine was cracked and some of the pages were loose and spilling over the dingy lace doily that protected the polished tabletop.
“Sorcerer’s Bible,” Marshall whispered, visions of ending an eighteen-month stint on the Eerie Public Library’s hold list dancing across his mind.
He darted over to it, gathering up the unbound pages and cramming the whole thing in amongst dust rags, cleaning sprays and squeegee wipes.
“I don’t hold out much hope for this newest crop of recruits,” Radford opined over the ice-cream counter at the World o’ Stuff the next day. He was speaking into the old-fashioned rotary phone nestled between the giant clown heads advertising waffle cones and the coin-operated oracle that dispensed, in gorey detail, the exact time and nature of a person’s death.
Marshall had been making a half-hearted effort at that day’s math homework (“Shapes and You: Intermediate Level”), but he perked up at Radford’s words.
“We assigned them basic janitorial tasks, and they barely touched the place,” said Radford. “I’m afraid we may have to abandon the Reaping until suitable replacements can be found.”
A rack of leaflets next to the counter displayed a pamphlet for “Youth Organisations in Eerie.” Marshall surreptitiously picked it up, and tore out the page for the Loyal Order of Corn.
Trusted Associates, Inc.
Halloween by froodle, in which Mars and Simon celebrate a Von Orloff-free All Hallows Eve
Surprise by froodle, in which Mars tries to make sure Simon's birthday goes a little better this year
The Glade by froodle, in which Simon and Mars visit a place that only exists on February 29th
Egg Hunt by froodle, in which Simon and Mars partake of some traditional Easter activities
Boardwalk by froodle, in which Simon and Mars are swayed by radio advertising
Lady in Red by froodle, in which Simon experiments on the old-fashioned radio in the Secret Spot, and horror ensues
Waiting In by froodle, in which there is an ice-storm and a handyman does not arrive
Seafoam by froodle, in which Simon and Marshall go to the seaside
A Night at the Circus by froodle, in which a carnivale comes to town, and Marshall and Simon do not enjoy themselves
Taking a Break by froodle, in which Simon and Marshall enjoy some much-needed R&R
Model Railway by froodle, in which a new business prepares to open in Eerie
Shoreline by froodle, in which Simon and Marshall investigate strange happenings on the shores of Lake Eerie
Parade by froodle, in which Mars takes issue with the Eerie Beekeepers Association's choice of mascot
Homestead by froodle, in which Marshall finally gets something useful out of shop class
Hound by froodle, in which Simon makes a friend
Errands by froodle, in which Simon has a to-do list
Slyboots by froodle, in which a certain corporal of the infernal regions comes to Eerie. Crossover with Johannes Cabal the Necromancer.
Waterlogged by froodle, in which Eerie experiences heavy rainfall
Festival by froodle, in which Eerie's local businesses celebrate the summer
Strawberry by froodle, in which there is unauthorised hubbub in Eerie
Wildlife by froodle, in which Simon and Marshall go to the beach
Facilities by froodle, in which the Eerie Bus Station and Supper Club has a problem with the men's toilet
Anticipation by froodle, in which Simon and Harley look forward to the Equinox
Castle by froodle, in which there is unexpected architecture in Eerie
Visitor in which Marshall's grandma comes to stay
Euclid by froodle, in which Marshall and Simon investigate strange events at the Eerie Cemetery
The Hut by froodle, in which Simon takes on the forces of Eerie solo