Genre: Man from UNCLE
Word count: 2551
Prompt: Can I still ask for a story with Illya and Napoleon (TV based - slash) , and if possible some kittens, based on this pic ?
“There’s another one.”
Illya Kuryakin hazarded a moment to look over at his partner. “Another what?”
“Another one of the blue statues. Haven’t you seen them?”
“I’ve been a bit busy with driving, Napoleon. I figured Mr. Waverly would not thank me for driving the rental into the Pacific Ocean.”
Napoleon smiled, a bit chastened. The road did hug the coast and the ocean was just a few feet away from them. “Oh, right, sorry. Well, for the last five miles or so, I’ve seen all these blue lit statues on people’s lawns.”
“Well, it’s Halloween. Perhaps the local store had a good price on them. Or perhaps it’s something that was coordinated with the high school, something to show school spirit.”
“Illya, I can’t believe you said that.” Napoleon hid his face behind his hand.
“Said what?” It took him a moment. “I didn’t mean it like that. I’m just saying--”
“I know what you mean.” Napoleon looked up and pointed as they came to a four way stop. “There’s a restaurant over there. You ready for something to eat?”
“And I can’t believe you said that,” Illya said with a grin. “When am I not ready to eat?”
“Someday your metabolism is going to catch up with you and I want to be there when it does.”
Illya angled the car into a parking space and shut off the engine. “The Moss Beach Distillery Café. That sounds promising.”
“Look at that view!” Napoleon got out and immediately the chilly October wind caught his hair and ruffled it. He took a deep breath and smiled. “There is nothing better than sea air.”
Illya was about to agree with him when the delicious smell of something cooking overwhelmed the saltiness of the wind. “I can think of one thing – dinner.”
Napoleon laughed and came around the car to clap him on the back. Carefully, they crossed the road and just as they were about to go in, Illya paused, cocking his head.
“Did you see that?” He pointed. The night was dark, but the cliffs stood out against the night sky
“I thought… one of your statues out there on the bluff. Must just be my eyes.” He rubbed them. “Too much driving.”
“Maybe they will be able to suggest some place to stop nearby. We aren’t exactly on a time crunch here.”
“True. It would be better to arrive a little later than not at all.”
They walked in and were waved to a table. Within the span of a few minutes, there were glasses of water, menus and eating implements in front of them.
“What can I get you gentlemen?” The woman had dark hair swept into a knot at the back of her neck. There was an old fashioned frilly apron over the front of her blue dress. There was a man moving around in the back, visible through a pass through window.
She laughed. “Everything!”
“Music to my ears.
“Then let’s get you gents set up and we’ll go on from there. We have several different beers on tap, most of them made locally.”
They ordered beer and a dozen oysters on a half shell to start.
“Planning on getting lucky?” Illya asked as Napoleon watched the waitress move away, her hips swaying invitingly.
“When on the coast, take advantage of the sea food.” Napoleon winked and Illya chuckled.
Their beers and food arrived quickly and the waitress set them down with a flourish. “Here you do. Get that into you.
“It’s quiet in here,” Illya said before taking a large drink. He frowned at the lack of flavor, but some beer was like that. At least it was wet and cold.
“Off season and the middle of the week. There isn’t much going on here when it’s high season, to be honest. This place is sort of out of the way, even at the best of times.” She laughed. “You two aren’t from around here.”
“No. We’re heading down to San Francisco.” Napoleon raised a finger. “Is there some place around here to stay?”
“There might be room in the inn.” Then she laughed. “I mean, Miller’s Inn. I’ll make a call for you.”
“That’s very generous.”
“Monica. I’m Monica.” She gestured around at the empty room. “I’m just happy to have something to do.”
“Thank you, Monica.” Napoleon beamed at her.
With the matter of a few minutes, most of Illya’s basic needs were taken care of. He had food. He had drink and judging from the smile on Monica’s face, a place to spend the night.
“It’s all taken care of. Just follow the road about five miles. Sam said that he’d keep the light on for you.”
“Monica, you are an angel of mercy,” Napoleon said, working his charm. It didn’t fail him. She blushed charmingly and then looked away as a family of four came through the door.
“Excuse me, gentlemen.”
Illya sighed. “So much for me getting lucky tonight.”
“When you got it, flaunt it.” Napoleon helped himself to another oyster. He’d long since learned not to stand on ceremony with Illya around. While he might get the girl, Illya would most certainly get the last tidbit off the plate.
The next few minutes passed quietly enough. Monica came back, took their orders and headed into kitchen. The woman and little girl, obviously mother and daughter, made their way into a hallway where a restroom sign hung.
Illya watched as a man, his sleeves rolled up worked the grill. He could practically taste his food. Napoleon tapped him on the forearm. Illya didn’t bother to look away.
“So what do you think, hit town tomorrow and--” A scream interrupted him and both men were on their feet, weapons drawn. The husband half rose, looked at them, and hurriedly sat back down.
Napoleon and Illya ran to the bathroom as the woman, pale and shaking burst out of the room and into Napoleon’s arms. The little girl was close on her heels, crying hysterically.
“Calm down, Ma’am.” Napoleon managed to get his P-38 holstered and helped her back to the table.
“We need to get out of here RIGHT NOW!” she half sobbed, half shouted.
Obviously confused, the man picked up the boy, who had started crying as well, and his sister.
“What happened?” Monica came out from the back, watching as the door slammed after them.
“I have no idea.” Illya turned to hide the sight of him putting his pistol away. “She just went to the bathroom.”
“THAT’S NOT FUNNY, JERRY!” Monica shouted and stormed back to the kitchen. “It’s hard enough to make a living without you scaring people off.”
“It wasn’t me. I didn’t do nothin’!” Jerry yelled back. “Ask the blond guy. He was watchin’ me.”
“I was.” Illya exchanged an uncomfortable look with Napoleon. “What’s going on?”
“Sorry.” Monica collapsed into a nearby chair and let her head tip back. “I told them it was real. They wouldn’t believe me.”
Jerry walked to the front door, flipped around the open sign to ‘closed’ and locked the door. He then went to the bar and drew four beers. Setting them down on the table along with Napoleon’s and Illya’s meals, he repeated. “I didn’t do nothin’ and I swear it. Why would I have scared away some of our only customers tonight?”
For a few moments, nothing was said. Illya immediately began to eat. The food looked and smelled good, but had surprisingly little taste or perhaps it was just the adrenaline still clogging his blood stream. Napoleon toyed with his food, his mind obviously elsewhere.
“So, do you want to tell us what’s going on?”
“Tell them!” Jerry seemed just this side of frantic.
Monica sighed. “Back in Prohibition times, there was a large distillery here. The café was what used to be their front office. Most of the building was located on the other side of the road, which wasn’t here then.”
“Where we parked?” Illya sked.
“Close enough. People used to flock here because it was out of the way and, well, private, if you know what I mean.”
“I… don’t,” Illya admitted.
“During Prohibition, you couldn’t readily get alcohol. You had to know someone who knew someone. It was a time of speakeasies and bathtub gin.”
Illya nodded. “But this was a distillery.”
“Moss Beach was different. We are so far from anywhere that the law pretty much left us alone. Granted they couldn’t make alcohol on a grand scale, so they turned part of the place into a restaurant.” Monica helped herself to one of Napoleon steak fries.
“That’s when it happened.” Jerry’s voice was somber, his face dark.
Napoleon and lllya exchanged glances. “What happened?”
“She was killed. The Blue Lady.” Jerry looked off as if seeing the cliffs through the walls. “She’s still out there looking.”
“We don’t know much about her or how she was killed, but she seemed to frequent the area. When this place was opened up, people would get a glimpse of her now and again. She was said to suddenly appear in the mirror in the ladies room and people could sometimes hear her voice or laughter. Others claim to have heard her screams.”
“Like that woman this evening.”
“’Cept I didn’t do nothin’!” Jerry protested again, loudly.
Napoleon lifted his hand in a placating motion. “Jerry, you keep saying that. What aren’t you supposed to have done?”
“After a while, we got a reputation for being haunted and folks would come from far and wide, just to catch a glimpse of her. Ghosts, they can’t be scheduled or predicted, they just show up when they want to. Someone got the bright idea to help things along a bit.”
“You rigged the place.” Illya caught on.
“Yes.” Monica had the grace to look embarrassed. “We didn’t mean anything by it. We were just giving people what they wanted. Then these self-proclaimed ghost hunters showed up and ruined everything.”
“They found the speaker in the ceiling and the projector in the bathroom. They called us frauds.” Jerry made a face.
“They wouldn’t listen to us and pretty soon people stopped coming. Now we scrape to make ends meet.”
“There’s a lesson about living by the sword here,” Illya murmured.
“Except she really does show up here,” Monica said. “I’ve seen her.”
“So what’s with all the blue lit statues?”
“Our supporters. The Blue Lady is real. They know it and we know it.”
Napoleon reached out and patted her hand. “For what it’s worth, I believe you. We both do.”
“Thanks.” She blushed and lowered her eyes, looking not at Napoleon but at Jerry.
“We should be going.” Illya stood and reached for his wallet.
Jerry held up a hand. “Put it away. You stayed, the chow’s on us.”
“Not at all. If times are as hard as you say, you need this.” Illya dropped two bills on the table and Monica gaped.
“That’s more than we’ve seen all week.”
“Then consider it a thank you for a good meal and a great story. I hope things work out for you.”
“Thanks.” Monica gathered up the money. “Remember, it’s about five miles down the road that way.” She pointed.
Napoleon reached into his pocket and dug out a business card. “Remember if you ever need a helping hand, just give me a call.”
She turned it over and over in her fingers. “Well, thank you, Mr. Solo. I, we appreciate that.”
He followed Illya through the cold mist to the car. Monica and Jerry waved to them from the door of the café and Napoleon waved back.
Illya climbed in, started the car and turned on the defroster. Napoleon clapped his arms around him. “It’s cold tonight.”
“I suspect it’s more damp than cold.” He eased back on the road and drove away.
Just as Monica said, there was a small hotel with a light on. The night clerk didn’t seem to want to talk, so Napoleon quickly checked in for them and they found their room. It wasn’t fancy, but it was clean and the heater worked.
Sleep found them quickly, but Illya had bizarre dreams about women in blue dresses and waves crashing against cliffs. He was glad to have Napoleon close by to snuggle with.
The next morning, Illya was hefting his suitcase into the trunk as a groundskeeper came up.
“Morning, he murmured as he swept some leaves into a dustpan.
“Good morning. Is there some place around here where we could find some breakfast?”
“Well,” he said, pausing and setting his cap back on his head. “Now that the café’s gone, there’s just Millie’s. It ain’t bad, especially their breakfasts.”
“What do you mean, the café’s gone?”
“Yeah, it burned down?”
“When? Last night?”
“Naw, about six months ago.”
“Wait a minute.” Illya held up a hand to him and went back to their room. “Napoleon, you need to hear this.”
There was an urgency to Illya’s tone that made Napoleon grab his jacket and follow.
“He said the café burned down. Six months ago.”
“Might have been seven.”
“That’s impossible. We had dinner there last night.”
“If you say so, champ. All I know is one minute it was there and then it wasn’t. Jerry never did get back on his feet after he was found out. He rigged the place.”
“So we heard.”
“Shame him and the missus went with it.”
“Yeah, him and Monica. Don’t really know what happened, but they found them in the wreckage. Insurance said the fire happened because of some faulty wiring.”
“Talk about dying by the sword,” Napoleon said, looking at Illya.
“But…” Illya stopped as Napoleon shook his head. “This gentleman assures me that there another restaurant just down the road.”
“Let me finish up and we will check it out.”
They drove away from the motel and followed their path from the night before. Sure enough, what had once been a lovely restaurant was nothing but a pile of charred wood.
“I don’t know, Napoleon. I thought the food tasted bland, but it was real. We were here.” Something caught his attention. It fluttered and danced, carried by the breeze, through the ruins. He stepped on it and then ben to pick it up. It was Napoleon’s business card. He flipped it over and writing in a delicate hand were the words. Thank you for believing.
Wordless, Illya passed it to Napoleon. He sighed. “San Francisco?”
And from the bluff a woman clad in blue watched them hurry away. She glanced over her shoulder at a shadowy pair behind her and nodded slowly. Now it was time to rest. After all, they now had all the time in the world to spare.
Per Wikipedia - The Blue Lady is the ghost of a woman reportedly seen in and around the Moss Beach Distillery Cafe in Moss Beach, California; she is so-named because she usually dressed all in blue. She is said to originate from the Prohibition era. She still reportedly frequents the Moss Beach Distillery, sometimes inside the cafe, sometimes wandering in reverie on the bluffs that overlook the sea, her clothing either bloodstained and cut, or intact and clean.