An Annoying Fan Writer in New London

Part 17

by Maureen (mobrien at

Somewhere in Ohio, as the cicadas keened, Maureen looked worriedly at her site's messageboard. There had been the usual late May burst of fic and conversation, and then...nothing. At least six of the most vocal regulars had gone away without warning.

Well, it was time for summer vacations. And it wasn't as if they had to check in. Well, okay, Jessica did, and she still was. So far. But...something about this just didn't feel right. She'd spent five years with this messageboard. She knew its rhythms, and this wasn't one of them. She couldn't help thinking of that one round robin they'd abandoned a few years back -- the one where everyone on the board and site mysteriously disappeared in a single day....

She found herself gnawing on a nail and made herself stop. She ought to be grateful for some time to catch up on webbing all that nifty new fanfic. But maybe she ought to step back for a moment, if she was getting this paranoid. Yep, time to go for a walk.

Still grinning at her own foolishness, she put on her shoes and her little toy stepometer from McDonald's. She walked out the door, down the stairs, out the lobby door, and onto the sidewalk. Savoring the un-summerlike coolness of the evening air, she strolled around the curve of the road and down into a sidestreet. At the bottom of the street was a tiny stream. She always found its pattering soothing and was glad to stop and look down at it for a moment. Something hit her from behind. Before she could even see what it was, she was face down in the tiny stream. Pebbles dug painfully into her cheeks while her nose was pressed ever deeper into the streambed's clay. She struggled with sudden savagery, kicking and rolling, but it was all to no avail. Something was holding down her head, and its strength outlasted her air.

On to Part 18!

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