Mini-Interlude 18 – Lincoln Chambers

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The following is a commissioned mini-interlude focusing on Felicity’s father, Lincoln. 

Tugging the door to the newspaper office open, Lincoln Chambers stepped inside while holding his cell phone to his ear. “She’s getting a good education out there, Dad. Better than she could get here.”

Arthur Chambers’ voice came back a moment later. “Well, you know. I just don’t like the idea of Felicity being so damn far away from you, Linc. You already–” He stopped himself before continuing, though Lincoln knew that he had been about to bring up Joselyn. “A girl should be near her dad, especially for the last couple years of school. She’s about to go away to college, son. You should keep her as close as you can. Cherish the time you’ve got.”

Even being thousands of miles away from his father, Lincoln could picture exactly where the man was and what he was doing. He’d be standing in the middle of his garden, talking on his Bluetooth (he loved his tech toys about as much as he loved growing his vegetables) while puttering around in his greenhouse. Being able to garden year-round was one of the man’s favorite things about living in California.

Not that he looked like much of a farmer. Standing at a whopping six and a half feet tall and built like a truck even in his mid-sixties, people often joked that Arthur was well-named, since he looked like a cross between the mythological Thor and a pirate. Hence Arrrr-thor.

To Felicity, he was simply Popser, a hold-over from when she had been young and the man had teasingly told her she could call him Pops or Sir. The little girl had chosen to combine them into Pop-sir, which had gradually simply become Popser.

“I do, Dad. Believe me, I miss her every day.” Lincoln’s voice caught a little bit before he shook it off. “But I’m not going to take this opportunity away from her, just to make myself feel better. I won’t do that to her. This school is good for her, Dad. Better than being stuck in the public one back here. And after she’s done, they already have a college lined up. It’s direct admission.”

The response was a grunt as his father clearly worked out a stubborn weed to throw out before speaking again. “She jump on the newspaper up there?”

Lincoln sighed to himself, pausing briefly. “No,” he admitted. “At least, not that she’s mentioned.” And she would have mentioned it. Here, the newspaper had meant everything to Felicity. She’d practically run the thing herself through sheer willpower. But since she went up to the school, she didn’t mention it. Nor did the reporter subject come up much.

“But that’s okay,” he pushed on. “Dad, you know I’d love if Felicity went into reporting. She’s good at it. But if she was only doing it to be close to me…well, I’d rather she find out now that there are other things she’d rather do. I don’t want her doing something just for my benefit.”

“Hogwash,” Arthur retorted. “Even if you were a damn plumber, that kid’d be a reporter. She was writing stories in third grade, writing up that bit about the… what was it, the lunchroom thing.”

Swallowing a little, Lincoln answered, “Taco Tuesdays. They kept running out of tacos too soon and giving the kids sandwiches. Felicity figured out the lunch lady was taking a bunch of them home instead of giving them out. Took a whole letter about it to the principal, with pictures.”

“There, you see?” His father’s voice was firm. “That kid was meant to report thing, to investigate, find the truth. She’s got the head for it. And the stubbornness.”

Lincoln found himself nodding. Nonetheless, he insisted, “And if she wants to do that, she’ll come back to it. I can’t smother her, Dad. Not… I just can’t.”

Arthur’s voice softened. “I know, son. I… well, your mom’s yelling something about coming in for our shows. You tell that kid to call me when she gets back in from the trip with the vampire.”

Rolling his eyes, Lincoln chuckled. “She’s not a vampire, Dad. She’s just got a skin condition. Tell Mom we’re sorry we couldn’t make it down there for the holiday this year. We’ll make it another time. And we’ll call on Christmas morning.”

“You better,” Arthur warned. “Or neither of us will ever hear the end of it.” He paused then. “Love you, son.”

“Love you too, Dad.” Lincoln returned the sentiment before disconnecting the call. He took a moment then, standing in the hallway outside the newspaper office itself, collecting himself.

His father was right, he did miss his daughter. And she had definitely changed over the past few months. For one thing, the way she looked at that Shiori girl that came to visit, or even just the way she sounded when she talked about her… he had a feeling there was a discussion that Felicity was going to want to have with him at some point. But he wasn’t going to rush her to it. He’d be there for her when she was ready.

More seriously, not only had his daughter stopped bringing up anything to do with reporting or the newspaper, but she had also voluntarily brought up her mother more times than she had in several years.

He thought he knew why, but it was something that he didn’t know how to bring up with her. Nor was he going to tell his father about it and worry both of his parents about their granddaughter.

Not talking about any investigation she was doing when he knew for a fact she enjoyed it too much to just abandon it. Asking about her mother so often. Actually being okay with him calling her Felicity instead of Flick. All of it came together to mean one thing.

Felicity was trying to find her mother. She was trying to find out where Joselyn had disappeared to, and maybe why she had disappeared.

He’d been down that hole so many times, and had gotten nowhere. He wanted to tell Felicity that much, but he also didn’t want to discourage her. She had been so… down on her mother for so many years. If this investigation at least gave her enough closure to not… to not hate Joselyn, then he couldn’t take that away from her.

But how could he talk to her about it? What could he possibly say?

Stepping into the wide open bullpen full of desks and people shouting over each other on their phones or to one another, Lincoln’s thoughts were interrupted as his eyes found his own desk. Sitting on the corner of it was a manila envelope. His name was written on the front. Picking it up, he felt something slide around. But other than his name, there were no other markings. It had clearly been delivered in person.

Opening the envelope, he found a single object: an unlabeled CD. Frowning as he turned it over in his hands, the man finally shrugged and put the disc into the computer sitting beside his desk before sitting down. A single video file came up in the list of contents, and he double-clicked it.

For a moment, Lincoln watched the video. With each passing second, his eyes grew wider. Finally, his hand slapped the button on the keyboard to stop the video as the man went back to his feet. His head turned, eyes moving rapidly to look over the room full of people. All of them were familiar, people he knew. No one new. No one that would have left the envelope without saying anything else.

“Ada!” Turning, he focused on the woman at the desk nearest to his. When her eyes snapped up from her computer, he snatched the envelope off his desk and held it up. “Did you see who left this? Do you know who it was?”

Her eyes lingered on the envelope briefly before she nodded. “Oh sure, yeah. It was a big black guy. Maybe a couple inches over six feet. Real handsome too. Said his name was uh… umm… “ She snapped her fingers a few times trying to recall. “Guh something. Gary, no. Jerr—no, Gah… gah… Gab-Gabriel. That’s it. Said his name was Gabriel.”

“Did you get a last name?” Lincoln pressed. Receiving a shrug in return, he turned his attention back to the computer. Slowly, he reached down to hit the button once more to let it play.

The video on the screen was poor quality, and obviously very old. From the look of it, the video had been taken from a Super 8 home movie and copied onto the disc. There were dark lines running down it here and there, and the movie itself had no sound. Despite the poor quality of the video, however, it was still quite possible to make it out. It showed the inside of what looked like a hospital waiting room. There were a dozen people in the shot, all of them staring a television in the corner. A television that showed footage that Lincoln recognized. It was the news report announcing the assassination of John F. Kennedy. And going from the looks on the people’s faces in the home video, it was also the first time they’d heard of it. Fresh news.

Lincoln’s attention wasn’t on the recorded news report, however. Nor was it on the vast majority of people who were reacting to it with tears and disbelief. No, his disbelieving gaze was focused on a single person on the screen, a single young woman standing in the middle of the shot with two infants in her arms. A woman who looked remarkably good considering she shouldn’t have been born for another decade.

“… Joselyn?”

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18 comments

  1. Nope, nothing interesting happening in this chapter. No sir, hum drum, normal old stuff. Absolutely nothing important. You could really skip this one entirely, I’m sure. >_>

    Well, despite its clear lack of any plot-significance, I hope you guys still enjoyed that little look at Lincoln. Also, a big thanks to Hendy for commissioning it! And don’t worry, Twister was still in the background keeping an eye on him in bug and other animal forms.

    Tags for this chapter are: Ada, Arthur Chambers, Cue Lincoln Going In The Completely Wrong Direction With The Idea That Joselyn Disappeared Because She Traveled Back In Time., Lincoln – I’m Not Sure The Sixty-Year-Old Hippy Dude In Southern California Is Throwing OUT The ‘Weed’ He Pulls Out Of His Greenhouse Garden., Lincoln Chambers

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, damn. I wasn’t expecting Prosser to have any part in this. Sweet! So he’s definitely aware of Flick and Lincoln, and actively hinting at what’s happening to him. That surprises and excites me.

    Lincoln’s perspective is more or less what I expected, and I like it. His dad’s pretty cool too. I hope we see him again.

    One question though, regarding the date on the video. This line:

    A woman who looked remarkably good considering she shouldn’t have been born for several decades.

    The Kennedy assassination was in 1963, if Joselyn was supposed to be in her mid to late twenties when she met Lincoln in the nineties, wouldn’t she have been born only one decade after that event, give or take a few years?

    Nitpicky, I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Kennedy assassination was in 1963, if Joselyn was supposed to be in her mid to late twenties when she met Lincoln in the nineties, wouldn’t she have been born only one decade after that event, give or take a few years?

      lol, technically yes. He clearly wasn’t completely exact there. Lincoln met her when she was (supposedly) 24. Given that it’s 2017 in the year that Flick turns 17, she was born in 2000. If you give them a couple years to know each other first, that’s 97-98. Assume 98. Going by that knowledge, she would have been born in 74, or 11 years after. I’ll fix it. 😉

      My brain was thinking ‘wouldn’t be THAT OLD for several decades after that point’ when I wrote ‘wouldn’t be born.’ My bad.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. “Arthur’s voice softened. “I know, son. I… well, your mom’s yelling something about coming in for our shows. You tell that kid to call me when she gets back in from the trip with the vampire.”

    Rolling his eyes, Lincoln chuckled. “She’s not a vampire, Dad. She’s just got a skin condition. Tell Mom we’re sorry we couldn’t make it down there for the holiday this year. We’ll make it another time. And we’ll call on Christmas morning.””
    Me: Hah! Arthur is more right than he knows. I wonder, if the beans are ever spilled will he go “I told you so!” towards Lincoln?

    “Her eyes lingered on the envelope briefly before she nodded. “Oh sure, yeah. It was a big black guy. Maybe a couple inches over six feet. Real handsome too. Said his name was uh… umm… “ She snapped her fingers a few times trying to recall. “Guh something. Gary, no. Jerr—no, Gah… gah… Gab-Gabriel. That’s it. Said his name was Gabriel.””
    Me: Oh? I see that Gabriel is wanting to show him something. I get the feeling that Flick may not be too pleased at Gabriel’s action of making her dad more “in the loop” regarding Jocelyn’s true past and the Heretic world, should she learn of it.

    Nice update!

    Like

  4. I have a theory about what Prossor is doing here. From what we’ve seen so far, the Bystander Effect functions as an ongoing, all-encompassing Mnemosyne spell that causes any human to forget or dismiss anything supernatural that they have direct experience of.

    Except that, thanks to Flick, we know that the Mnemosyne spell can be circumvented somewhat by not relying on personal experience but on gathering facts and forming theories based on those, just as she did with Joselyn and the revolution.

    So, theoretically, it is possible for Lincoln to deduce the existence of the supernatural without actually being told or experiencing any of it, thereby making it easier when he eventually (and at this point I really do think it’s going to happen) breaks the Bystander Effect to come to terms with everything.

    And its good to see that Flick does in fact have at least one grandparent still alive/non-erased. For a moment there when Arthur referred to Asenath as a vampire I thought it meant that Lincoln had been aware of everything from the start. Needless to say I nearly choked with laughter 🙂

    Incidentally, where does Lincoln actually think Crossroads is? Come to think of it, does he even know it by that name? It’s never been established in-story what exactly the cover story is.

    Overall, this Minilude was as good as I’d hoped it’d be, giving a nice showcasing of Lincoln’s investigative ability and perspective on the situation. Having a parent who so clearly breaks the “Clueless Parent” trope is quite a breath of fresh air. He seems to have figured some things out even faster than Flick!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. >He seems to have figured some things out even faster than Flick!

      That’s not very surprising to me though, considering he does have much more experience at investigation than she does.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Right, but this kind of detail is exactly what makes this story interesting. The adults are not idiots and their competency is not artificially removed to boost up the teenage protagonists.

        Like

    2. Incidentally, where does Lincoln actually think Crossroads is? Come to think of it, does he even know it by that name? It’s never been established in-story what exactly the cover story is.

      I believe I’ve been fairly vague on that. But at one point, Flick did mention that the ticket her father saw of her first bus trip home would show that she’d been riding it for about a thousand miles. Which can put them up around the north-west in the Washington/Oregon area. Which fits, because the staff would want easy explanations for why they didn’t really need much in the way of winter equipment or whatnot, and it allows the students to talk about things involving the ocean without having to explain too much.

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  5. Well, that chat between Arthur & Lincoln was much more on point than either of them realize where it comes to Flick & Asenath.

    Though the really big thing here is just why would Prosser go out of his way to slip Lincoln a copy of a home movie from 1963 showing Joselyn & baby!Abigail & Wyatt- is he trying to circumvent the memory spell somehow, or is there something else in play, perhaps related to some other member of the Atherby clan, or what he thinks should be done about the complication that Deveron would be there if/when Joselyn’s freed from Fossor’s control with her memories of her pre-Banishment life as a Heretic intact.

    Cue Lincoln Going In The Completely Wrong Direction With The Idea That Joselyn Disappeared Because She Traveled Back In Time.

    Well, TBF to Lincoln, if he does go in that direction, we (though not Lincoln) do know that time travel is possible through a certain type of magic, and if the video wasn’t faked, what other explanation would there be for seeing one’s missing wife in a video taken more than a half-century earlier & a decade before she was born. Though if that’s the case, he might end up wondering not only how she got sent back, but why she never contrived to leave him & Flick some sort of message explaining what happened.

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  6. In this day and age of science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy concept saturation of entertainment media why would Time Travel be the only reasonable direction for Lincoln’s mind to go on. The other perfectly reasonable solution also happens to be the correct, albeit incomplete one. That somehow Joselyn doesn’t age normally.

    Would it REALLY be so much harder to believe you were married to someone who could look like she was in her mid-20s when you met, AND look like she was in her mid-20s thirty some-odd years earlier as well.

    It doesn’t even have to mean (from Lincoln’s perspective) that Joselyn is some kind of immortal. It could be a case of the far less mind-blowing (but still pretty supernatural-seeming, if not world’s strangest beneficial mutation) that Joselyn physically matured to a mid-20s state at some point, and then didn’t age much beyond that. Any aging she might’ve done after being depowered Lincoln could easily assume as an investigative reporter was a cosmetic ruse on Joselyn’s part to keep her secret.

    The idea of someone with a normal life-span, who could be 65-ish and still look like she’s 25-30 isn’t hard for me to believe in reality. Is it in yours?

    Like

    1. For that matter, let’s say Joselyn really was a 65 year old woman with the physicality of a twenty-five year old. Why WOULDN’T she go after a much younger man? Cougars are already a common thing in our society. Most women grow irritated with dealing with a man their own age, because up until this most recent generation (and there are even PLENTY of throwback primitives among the Gen-X males)…Men have traditionally expected women to subordinate their desires to the male’s once said male reaches the wants-a-family-and-stable-career phase of life. Men tend to expect women to be the ones to put their careers on hold (or abandon them entirely) once kids enter the equation.

      So, once women are free of their initial man, they quite naturally seek out a younger man. I mean, do you really think that drivel about older women with higher sex drives go after younger guys because the sex drives synch up better is accurate? In an age where an 80-year old can get an erection that’s superior in every measurable way (along with the sexual experience of being a mature male to match) to an 18 year old’s simply by swallowing a couple little blue pills?

      Nonsense. Older women go after younger men because younger men think with their dicks, and are thus incredibly easy to keep in hand so long as they receive a steady diet of satisfying sex. No having to see movies the woman doesn’t want to see. No having to attend boring office-related social functions as a trophy-adornment meant to reflect positively on the male.

      Nope, older women cradle rob because it gives them something they lacked earlier in life. Freedom, control, being the one to lead in the relationship-dance rather than the one who gets lead. Hell, an older woman with a young woman’s physiology could even be enthused about doing the whole have-kids thing again. This time she knows what to look for in a guy who won’t get in the way of her career aspirations, and can thus have her cake and eat it to.

      Nope, if Lincoln gives this some serious thought he should be more likely to come to the conclusion his wife doesn’t have a normal aging physiology than the extraordinary conclusion that technology there isn’t even a hint of its existence somehow existing.

      After all, as an investigative reporter he’d be intimately familiar with the maxim “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” A tape showing who appears to be his missing wife 30 years earlier is potential evidence of irregularities in her aging…As for evidence of time travel? It’s weakly circumstancial, at BEST.

      Like

      1. But a bunch of people had their memories messed with to give her a background. She would need to fake a bunch of documents and get a lot of people to lie for her. If you assume what you already know is true about her, then time-travel becomes a better answer.

        Like

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