In Locksley: Part 1, Rob Locksley makes an impossible shot at the summer camp archery counselor tryouts. In Part 2, his co-counselor Christine is determined to find out how he did it. In Part 3, Christine discovers Rob is connected to a secretive group that will play a key role in the upcoming Heart of Darkness series.
This is the third and final flash fiction story in the Locksley trilogy, which is part of the Heart of Darkness book universe. Part 1 is free to read here, and Part 2 is free here. Part 3 is also included in Aldebaran. Rob and Christine will be back in Anathema.
Christine dug through her closet, trying to figure out what to wear. “We are still on for lunch, right?” she called towards her phone, which was sitting on the dresser.
“Of course!” Rob’s voice said from the phone. “I just dropped Ryan off at Latisha’s house. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
“Great, see you then.” She hung up.
It was hard to believe camp was already almost three months past. Christine and Rob had worked well together, once Christine got over her jealousy. She had acted as lead archery counselor despite their official roles, since Rob was new to the camp. It had been fun, having a partner who was a better archer than she was. She had learned as much as the campers.
It turned out that Rob was a very good teacher. Christine still remembered the first day Rob’s little brother’s unit had come to the archery station. At only eleven years old, Ryan Locksley was already well on his way to being as good an archer as his big brother. He’d been trying to help a friend in his unit who was struggling—a girl named Latisha—but hadn’t had much success. Then Rob had come over, and within minutes, Latisha had made her first bullseye.
Christine smiled as she remembered Latisha’s ecstatic reaction. The girl had been their most enthusiastic camper after that. On her unit’s last day at archery, Latisha had told Christine that she was going to ask her sister for a bow for her birthday.
Five minutes later, Rob was pulling up in front of Christine’s house. They drove in silence for a few minutes, listening to music on the radio. When the song ended, the DJ began talking.
“I don’t know how much you all pay attention to the news, but something pretty cool has been happening. About a week ago, a new people revealed their existence. They’re called the Uiscogeni, and they live right here in southeastern Wisconsin. They’re so secretive that no one knew about them until a blind guy walked out of the woods and into city hall. Turns out that guy is Eric Brooks, their chief’s son, and the Uiscogeni’s ambassador. He’s been meeting with the mayor, lawyers, and several others this week. There’s been no official word yet, other than a statement from the mayor that this is real, not a scam. My friends, history is being made right here in Waukesha. More after the break.”
An ad began to play, and Rob switched off the radio.
“I remember hearing about that,” Christine said, “but I still think it could be a scam, especially since they’ve only met one person. I mean, what are the chances of a whole group of people living right here that we knew nothing about?”
“There was a short meeting a few days ago with Rí Aesch, er, Ashton,” Rob said. “The chief. It’s legitimate.”
“How do you know that? It wasn’t mentioned in any of the news stories.”
Rob pulled into a street parking space near the coffee shop. He didn’t say anything, just sat with the engine still running. The look on his face was the same as when she’d confronted him about the arrows he’d cut in half at archery counselor tryouts.
“You know something,” Christine pressed. “What is it?”
“I…” Rob swallowed. “I can’t say much.”
“Then you can still say something. What is it? You already knew about these Uiscogeni?”
“I, uh…” He nodded. “Yes. Long before last week.”
“My family have been honorary members for centuries. It means we have full access without actually being one of them. There are other honorary members, but we’re the only legacy family.”
“Because of Robin Hood. Aldric told me he saved the lives of the chief’s wife and son while they were visiting Britain. That’s a really big deal for them, so they offered him the initiation. Fully join them. I didn’t get all the details of what happened, but it was pretty big because even though Robin said no, they named him and all his descendants honorary members. Normally that kind of membership isn’t passed down.”
“So it goes back to Robin Hood again,” Christine said. “Who’s Aldric?”
“You’d call him Eric,” Rob said. “The chief’s son. The Uiscogeni all have two names: one public, for use with people they don’t know well, and one private, for friends and family. You never use an Uiscogeni’s private name until they say you can. They may be informal about a lot of things, but that’s one thing they’re strict about. Sometimes you don’t even know what their private name is until you get permission to use it.”
Rob turned off the car. “Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m hungry. Let’s get something to eat before Ryan calls to say the kids at Latisha’s group home are driving him crazy.”
“Fine, but I have more questions,” Christine said.
“Of course,” Rob grinned. “You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t.”
It didn’t occur to Christine until she got home that Rob had used the Uiscogeni prince’s private name. Rob was more than just an honorary member of the Uiscogeni—he was a friend of their ruling family.