Meeting Ingrid

From last post:

…the front door to the house opened and a figure from Norse mythology appeared.

She was nearly as tall as the doorway and her shoulders were almost as wide. Long, blond hair was done up in a braid that draped over her left shoulder. And she was carrying a crossbow.

I looked at the woman in awe. That’s how we grow ‘em up here, of course, but the crossbow? Whoa. Ella’s expression, though, was one of delighted amazement. “Ingrid??” she said. “It’s Ella! From the bookstore!”

“Ella?” the woman asked. Then: “Dude! What happened?”

(Just a note here: I’m using the italics to try to represent Ingrid’s speech patterns, though she didn’t emphasize her words as much as taped them to snare drums and struck them.)

Ella said it was nothing, we just thought there was a bee in the car, giving me a “we’ll discuss this later” kind of look.

“Oh yeah?” chortled Ingrid. She then invited us in, adding that we could meet her niece. Ella looked at me again, thanking Ingrid and saying we could use a break from driving. On the way to the house Ella asked me what happened and I told her I had a strange kind of panic attack, which is sort of true, I guess.

We went through the front door into a modest living room. Ingrid had hung the crossbow on a rack high on the wall and I noticed the bolt was tipped with a metal that looked like silver, so it was apparently only a decorative crossbow. On the front windowsill there was a lean orange cat, which glared at me and moved its head up and down, as if processing my existence represented an unwelcome challenge to its concept of reality.

In a corner was a small table at which a girl about Annabelle’s age was standing. A large gray cat was also on the table. It looked at me as if it couldn’t decide whether I warranted condescension or mere indifference, and settled on the latter.

The girl was working with some Play-Doh. She stopped her work and looked at Ella and me, tilting her head to the right. Her expression and her large brown eyes suggested to me that she knew she should feel sorry for me but wasn’t sure why. With her right hand she held up the Play-Doh object she was working on, which appeared to be a white spoon with a twisted handle.

I nodded my approval and turned my attention to the larger table in the living room, covered with papers and books, many of them old. Ingrid must have seen me looking because she said “Yeah, I’m writing a book on that shiznit.” Ella said that the bookstore’s done quite a few special orders for Ingrid. Ella was petting the gray cat, who looked at her and then at me, angling its head in a way that gave it a sly kind of expression, as if it were asking “When was the last time a human female petted you?”

I was going to ask Ingrid for some specificity vis-à-vis the shiznit when an orange light bulb over one of the doorways lit up. “Oh ho ho!” said Ingrid eagerly and went into the room. Ella and I followed her into a small room with a console of television monitors. “Looks like someone else decided to visit,” said Ingrid, pointing at one of them. We saw a greenish image from an overhead angle of a man wearing a long coat.

I asked Ingrid if she was going to need the crossbow again. “No,” she responded, “that’s my neighbor.” Soon there was a knock at the front door, and we followed Ingrid back to the living room. On the way I complimented her on the security setup, which she said her husband installed. Ingrid opened the front door.

I saw a tall (though not taller than Ingrid), thin man, whose outfit looked like it came from the Victorian era: long black coat, high boots, vest, and ascot. He had long hair and a beard, though, which would have been out of place, and was wearing a medallion with a blue stone in the center.

“Hello, Ingrid,” he said. He had a deep, Orson Welles kind of voice. “Come on in,” said Ingrid, and he did so. He looked at Ella and me.

“Greetings, travelers,” he said. “I saw your arrival from my home. I am Ted Spindle.” Seriously? This guy looked more like Doctor Who.