Who is Charity Nocturna? – A Charity Nocturna Story

“That was Crazy World by Grungy Muppet.  They are topping the charts this week. Count on WEDA for today’s top music.  Apparently the mystery character Charity Nocturna had struck again. The online news source Eda’s Underbelly posted a new damning video shows Senator Jameson and CEO of Cergison Electronics David Cergison planning some underhanded tricks.  The two have apparently been plotting to use Eminent Domain to tear down low income housing for a new factory. Senator Jameson assures us that Charity Nocturna does not exist, as usual. The character has become an urban legend..”

Em smiled slightly at the radio echoing from the nearby shop. She performed a quick backflip, impressing the crowd. Her straight blonde hair was tied in a topknot.  Her white outfit was skin tight, outlining her muscled body. It have convenient holes to flash skin in all the right places.

The people applauded and a few people tossed some change in her black top hat.  Bowing, she shouted “My next performance is a portion of act 2 of Swan Lake.” She turned and clicked a button on an ancient boombox.  An old tape began to play tinny music and she began to dance.

“She’s so graceful”.. “Think she’d go home with me?”..”Not a chance she’s out your league”..  The snippets of conversation floated around her as she spun in a circle.

“This nocturna stuff is getting out of hand,” a voice echoed.

“It’s an urban legend.  The bastard ranges from 4 to 10 feet and thin to built like a brick shithouse,” a second voice said.

“Well someo…..” the voice faded into the crowd.  

Em finished her dance and bowed low.  The crowd cheered and leered and money flew into her hat.  It was a hot day and she was pouring sweat. She waved to the crowd and shouted “I’ll be back around one for my next performance.  Thank you, you’ve been a great crowd!”

The crowd dispersed and Em grabbed her hat and a bottle of water and sat roughly on the curb.  She emptied the bottle in a few short gulps, and tossed it into a nearby wastebin.

“You know you should recycle.  It’s good for the environment,” came a voice.

She looked up and smiled “Hey Dan, isn’t it early for lunch?”

“A bit, but my laptop decided to shit the bed then started on updates.  It’ll be at least an hour before it comes back to life.” He looked her over “You look like someone dumped a bucket of water over your head.  Let’s hit Cathy’s, my treat.” He held out his hand,

Em’s smooth brow wrinkled as she took his hand. “I don’t nee-”

“Handouts.  Yes I know. I like getting things for friends.”

“Pig. You’re trying to get me in bed again,”

Dan turned red “No I’m not!  Unless you want to..”

Em laughed “Let’s have lunch and see how it goes.”  The pair walked to the diner and took a seat. The waitress took their orders and brought their drinks. Em downed them both and winked at Dan.

“Very funny,” he said.  He looked at the waitress “I bet she struggles every day to make ends meet.  The bastards in Washington won’t do anything to help,” he sighed “I wish Nocturna was real.  He could clean this mess.”

“Nocturna struck last night, didn’t she?”  Em asked.

“You’re so gullible.  He’s a bogey man designed to take eyes off the scandals being leaked.  The Internet age doesn’t need some super fighter hacker, pissed off employees work fine.”

Em gave him a dirty look “Damn, what crawled up your ass.  And why does Nocturna have to be a guy?”

Dan flinched “Uhmm… I suppose he- she, sorry, could be any gender.  If they existed anyways.”

“Whatever.  So what’s new at work?” she asked

“I don’t understand why you care.  It’s just military contracts. I suppose the only new thing is Danning Softworks got a big project from the military.  Over a billion dollars.”

“Huh.  Wonder why that hasn’t made the news?  They’re a big employer,” Em creased her brow.

“Top secret.  High military clearance.  They’ll release a dummy project in a few weeks.”

The food arrived and conversation was replaced with the sound of clinking forks and knives.  A half an hour later they exited the restaurant into pouring rain.

“So much for my afternoon performance.  Guess I’ll head home then,” Em began to walk away.

“I can give you a ride,” he called after her.

She looked over her shoulder at him “There’s no reason for you to lose your job for me.  The bus stop is only a block away.” She began to walk away then turned back “Meet me at the Mystic Ten Pin.  We’ll play a game and maybe have a nightcap. Later.” She then marched out into the rain. Dan waved and turned to work.

The rain was coming down in sheets when she ducked into the bus stop.  A couple of men in fitted suits stood under the shelter.

“This is embarrassing, sitting at a bus stop like some minimum wage burger flipper.”

“Yeah.  What were you saying about Nocturna?”

“Oh yeah.  A few of the guys are getting together to set a trap for him.  Nocturna has to be eliminated before he becomes real to everyone.  It could cause protests that’ll hit the bottom line.”

The other man snorted “You believe that shit?”

The first man glared “It’s hush hush but a guard was killed last night.  The poor bastard’s throat was crushed. We have to stop the psycho before he decides to go after someone important.”

The second man looked shocked “If people are dying I’m in.”

“Great.  We’re meeting at David’s Tuesday.  Looks like the rain is letting up. If I hurry I can still catch my 1:30.”  The men jogged off into the distance.

A few minutes later the bus arrived.  She hopped on and headed to the bad side of town.  Once there she walked into a maze of alleys. She came to a piece of plywood and lifted it, revealing it was on hinges.  A dark stairway led below. She descended and walked to a peculiar cement wall. She slid it aside and went into a large well lit room.

She laughed as she pulled the blonde wig off and slipped out of the bodysuit, tossing them aside.  She didn’t bother to dress as she sat on the ratty office chair and started her computer. She got a few good leads today.  She had about 3 hours until she had to leave to meet David. She had to stop leading the kid on, relationships were only trouble.  She shrugged and started tapping away on the keyboard.

Published by Robert C Hartwell

I live in Northeastern Vermont in the US. I am currently working towards becoming an author. I am the proud father of two great kids.

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