City of Roses
O Death, won't you spare me over til another year...
Like all True Fae, Mr. Mortimer looks exactly how he WANTS to look, especially within his own domain. His preferred appearance in this world, though, is (or was or will be) that of a tall, gaunt man in a 1920’s era suit and a bowler hat.
Things die as he passes by. Unusual for one of the Others.
Presumed dead after an altercation with Rhona Gilles. “In the end, we all kill our parents, right? In a way?”
Everyone in Sulphur, Oklahoma knew Mr. Mortimer. He was the man who took your land when things were ugly and dry. He lived in a modest house on Main Street to avoid accusations of corruption but perhaps, or maybe because of his profession, the house was known to have an eerie quality. He was handsome but none of the local girls liked him. “Unfeeling,” they said, and kept walking, even though plenty would grow to marry brutes of men.
Little Rhona Gilles was six years old the day the Black Blizzard hit, the day everyone called Black Sunday. She remembered the wind howling, her siblings shivering, and her mother crying, but she just stared at the oncoming darkness, trying to decide she didn’t see the figure of a man inside it.
The next morning, her father examined the soil in their wheat field as Mrs. Gilles pushed the black powder out of their house with a thatch broom. Mr. Gilles was a man of few words and little worries. He trusted his land and his heritage and the cup of milk he put on the door step every night, just as his grandmother from Ulster had taught him. But this…this was something he had not seen before. This was the earth moving and shaking off its sleep. He did not want to think what things its yawn had set free.
Mr. Mortimer came calling with a sad smile that didn’t match the indifference in his eyes. It was time. There would be no wheat this year, or the year after that, or the year after that. People are making good money in California. Enough money that they can come back and buy their farms back. If they’re lucky that is. It’s hard to move a family of nine.
And Rhona Gilles felt His eyes on her for the first time. She finally knew what being coveted was, the way she wanted her brother Connie’s toy truck or her sister Ruth’s beautiful red hair with the unbridled lust of childhood. She had known she was loved by her father, as a relief, a distraction, a bringer of smiles and guffaws. But this Wanting…to be in the presence of such desire was overwhelming. In spite of herself, she began to cry.
Mr. Gilles picked her up and stroked her blond curls and told her it was going to be alright. He looked at Mortimer’s sad smile and noticed that, for once, his eyes matched his thin little mouth.
And the following morning, the girl, Mr. Mortimer, and the eerie little house on Main Street were gone.