October Frights 2023 Spawn of a Lesser Imp Part II
The fun continues on the 2023 October Frights Blog Hop!
Thanks for joining me on Part II, start here if you missed Part I.
Check out everyone else on the tour: https://afstewart.ca/october-frights-blog-hop-participants/
Try out the featured books: https://afstewart.ca/october-frights-book-fair/
And try the giveaways: https://storyoriginapp.com/to/fPAZCcZ
“Move over Cheugy.” Bron checked Draven into the wall and pushed his way into his younger brother’s room, flopping onto his bed. Tucking his hands behind his head, “I need a five page paper on the history of Ponzi by Friday. Something with a good twist. I need a good score on this.”
“You’re a junior in high school. At best, this is middle grade work.” Draven opened his laptop. “How are you behind already? We just started school here.”
“Looks like the teachers here do more than back home. My financial and economic frauds instructor talked to the old school.”
“The Company does things differently.” Draven tapped on his keyboard and then closed the machine. “I sent you a draft to work from. You’re on your own from there.”
“Why don’t you just finish it up for me.” Bron flung a pillow at his younger brother.
Draven picked up the pillow. “The same reason I don’t go ahead and do us all a favor by smothering you with this.”
“That you’re small, weak, and mom’s favorite?”
He placed the pillow on the bed next to his brother. “I have better things to do. Please stop defiling my bed with your presence. I gave you what you came for, so get out.”
“What could you be doing that’s so much more important than failing to kill me?” Bron threw the pillow and missed.
“Mister Delano has asked for some assistance preparing for the weekend festivities.”
“Our neighbor three houses down the street. The big house at the end of the cul-de-sac. He has all of the fall flowers in front of his house. He is also the president of our neighborhood association.”
“So the old bro up the street. Glad you found someone your age to play with.”
“I suggest you go open the file I sent you.” Draven reached in the closet and pulled out a backpack, slinging it onto his back. “Fifteen minutes from the time I sent it, it will delete itself if you haven’t opened it. And I will not assist you again. I suggest you hurry, or you may actually have to do a little work.”
“Shit.” Bron jumped off the bed, and pushed his brother running to his room. “Little shit.”
Delano chuckled, and closed the door to his room behind him.
The walk to Delano’s house only took a few minutes in the warm afternoon fall air. His three story brick house was surrounded by immaculately trimmed bushes, a bed of sunflowers holding onto their final glory, and beds filled with patterns of colorful flowers. A number of Halloween and horror inspired decorations sat staged across the yard, most awaiting final placement.
A pumpkin three times the size of a basketball sat on the front porch.
Down on his hands and knees, Brent Delano strung lights into the flower beds.
“Mister Delano.” Draven paused at the property line. “You requested my assistance?”
Without looking up, Delano motioned for him to come over. “Interesting. I didn’t really think you’d show up. These others never do.”
“I gave my word. You asked Mother for my help. I am happy to learn more about the neighborhood, and she seemed to think I would find your request… interesting.”
“Would have been helpful if you’d roped in your brother and sister. But I’m glad you’re here.”
“I assure you, in the unlikely event they had joined me, that it would in any way be helpful to your cause.” Draven lowered his backpack to the ground. “How may I assist?”
Delano pushed on his knee to stand. “Do you know much about flowers?”
Draven shrugged and pointed in turn. “Sunflowers over there. That’s easy. Chrysanthemums and pansies. Dahlias. Ever dye them black? That looks like Phlox. How am I doing?”
“Quite well. A quizzical formed, shining in his eyes. “Do you know the meanings of them?”
“Sunflowers for loyalty. I would assume the skeleton hanging in the gallows amidst the tallest flowers is a message for someone.” Draven knelt, lifting a yellow bloom amidst a cluster of red. “I believe this color of Chrysanthemum has something to do with unrequited affection.”
“Close. Scorned.” Delano plucked a poppy. “And these?”
“Remembrance of sacrifice and death. The dahlias a sense of rebirth. A pop psychologist would question if you were having a bit of a mid-life crisis.”
“How old are you, child?”
“I turn thirteen on the holiday.”
“So you really are some sort of prodigy.”
“Or just the reborn soul of some old gardener who hasn’t forgotten a past life.”
“Yes, I think you’ll do quite well.” Delano clapped his hands. “Would you care to assist in my preparations for the festival? I could use the help. May even have some spare decor you can use on your own house. It is a block party, you know? Looking good is key to my re-election.”
“And what of your nemesis?”
They both turned to look at Carenn Mallory’s house, directly across the way. She stared at them both through an upstairs window.
“It’s your decision of course, but one of the first rules of politics. Make donations to both sides. Make sure you have your hands in the pockets of whoever may win.”
See you tomorrow for Part III!