by Raji Singh
This week I take respite from Shelva in the 1870’s, from the Rope Haired Man stalking her at the International Cat Boxing Tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia, and from the handsome young Czarevich who comes to Shelva’s aid.
I do so, not to build serialized suspense, or finger-tapping apprehension as could only mystery master Alfred Hitchcock. Flat out truth? I’ve not yet separated fact from fiction in my research of the matter. I MUST, ‘err on the side of caution’.
Ever exciting, always revealing is my archeo-apology work – that of archiving the home and offices of Fiction House Publishing. It was the world’s highest-respected, most prominent, and successful book builder of the 19th and early 20th century. Writings of Shelva Fiction, though so separated and displaced over time, have become a major provider of this information for me.
As a professional archeo-apologist, I must apply meticulous care so findings and conclusions on data concerning recovered stories may pass rigid empirical testing: Per my line of work, my motto – ‘Always, only – the facts, just the facts, Shelva’.
Slowly, painstakingly I unearth, midst the Fiction House’s intentional disorganization, information that is meticulously organized. The Founder, Blackjack Fiction, employed a uniquely methodical security system; disarray. Not only did his system prove nearly indecipherable, keeping rival publishers, the cutthroat land pirates of those days, from pilfering his authors’ best material. It also masked secrets involving Blackjack’s Abolitionists work with the Underground Railroad.
The Fiction House was a secret safe house with dank maze-like corridors leading to comfortably furnished, hidden-away alcove living areas. Preserved now, they are quiet reading rooms for guests who visit us at our Fiction House Bed and Breakfast. Incoming light is soft as it enters through a series of angled windows visible from the outside only by highflying birds.
(Sorry, didn’t mean to make this appear an advertising blitz for our sideline endeavor.)
The wood used to craft the Fiction House in the 1840’s , was pre-saturated with a Leezian’ brew concoction of swamp surface ‘skimmins’ and moss ‘squeezins’, to create a permanent scent barrier, so nary a bloodhound could smell their prey residing safely inside awaiting their connections northward. (To this day, passing Rexes sniff confusedly when they pass by Fiction House. Try, as they might, no canine is able to leave their marker and make it last.)
Only now, over 150 years later, after America’s Civil War end, am I discovering many of the Fiction House residents Abolitionist activities. Join me next week for one such related event. After that, I should have the stories of Shelva, the Rope Haired Man, and the Czarevich De-constructed and De-Hitcocked down to size.
NEXT WEEK: The Man Residing in the Secret Room of the Fiction House
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. They are completely different stories. My novel is available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.)
©2013 Raji Singh