The keening song of the firefly wind sings of doom, while Captain Lee's press conference spells it out in no uncertain terms for some...
To get totally caught up on The Posture of Innocence, here are the prologue, day 1, day 2, day 3, day 3.5, day 4, day 4.5, day 5, day 5.5, day 6, day 7, day 7.5, day 8, day 9, day 9.5, day 10, day 10.5, day 11, day 11.5, day 12, day 12.5, day 13, day 13.5, day 14, day 15, day 16, day 16.5, day 17, day 18, day 19, day 19.5, day 20, day 20.5, day 21, day 22, day 22.5, day 23, day 23.5, day 24, day 24.5, day 25, day 25.5, day 26, day 26.5, day 27, day 27.5, day 28, day 28.5, day 29, day 29.5, day 30, day 30.5, day 31, day 31.5, day 32, day 32.5, day 33, day 33.5, day 34, day 34.5, day 35, day 35.5, day 36, day 36.5, day 37, day 37.5, day 38, day 38.5, day 39, day 39.5, day 40, day 40.5, day 41, day 41.5, day 42, day 42.5, day 43, day 44, day 44.5, day 45, day 46, day 46.33, day 46.67, day 47, day 47.5, day 48, day 48.5, and day 49!
Horace Fitzhugh Lee called a certain kind of wind through the Blue Ridge in the late summer and early fall a “firefly wind.” He had said it at different times to both his grandson Henry and also to his Slocum-Lofton analog, Mrs. Selene Slocum-Lofton.
“Why firefly?” his baby grandson Henry had asked.
“Because if a fire should get on it, the fire will fly. Listen for its keening song, and be very cautious.”
Both Henry Fitzhugh Lee and Selene Slocum-Lofton remembered that and heard it early Thursday morning ,even as they each had heard it one terrible morning 27 years earlier,. Both of them were up before 5:00, hearing the keening song, and remembering how they had felt – the grandson spurred in his rage-induced madness to make fire fly upon those who he hated and who hated him, and the grandmother remembering how clueless she had been and the terror that had come later when she had heard the fire raging in her grandson's soul.
Grandmother and grandson now had new thoughts … the grandmother had the terror, and the grandson's whole thought was how to prevent what he had once wished to create. Both would act. Only one would be successful.
Captain Lee went to work at his regular time; he had been on the phone with his lieutenants who were on various surveillance duties, and Lieutenant Deadwood was being well-watched.
At 10:45, Captain Lee got a surprise from Lieutenants Lightfoot and Carter.
“Lieutenant Deadwood started driving erratically up and over Blue Hawk road, and we began to make effort to catch up, but just as we had gotten around curve A-3, we saw his car go off the road, right into Blue Hawk Gorge!”
Captain Lee jumped slightly, but there was no time for him to get into the matter; he was due to deliver at his press conference in 15 minutes. One thing nagged at his mind.
“They did not say the car blew up and burst into flames …”
Mrs. Slocum-Lofton tuned in to her grandson's press conference and was impressed … she had not foreseen his complete transition to mature manhood. He had made the absolute most of everything she had sent and a whole lot of other things, and he looked the part to make it all believable.
“How have you become the type of man I like, boy? What a ridiculously handsome Lee beast you have become – spirit and image of your deadly general uncle, destroying all these people and institutions with your mouth!”
Indeed. Captain Lee named names and laid out facts – times, dates, payments, the entire Pendleton Prison scheme, the institutions and families involved. He did not name his own Slocum-Lofton branch, except to say that “Many other prominent families in the county have been tacitly involved through the bond sale and also conned through Mr. Francis Lofton's confessed activities, but at this time there is no evidence that such families have been involved in the illegal aspects of the matter.”
Mrs. Slocum-Lofton was surprised – after 27 years, her grandson had the perfect opportunity to throw his mother's family completely under the bus, and had decided not to do it. His attitude, too, was completely different. Nobody in the Blue Ridge, Starview, and Skyview neighborhoods had been friends to him because of the woman he had chosen, and indeed his vengeance on their entire class of people had come to hand. Yet there was none of that. His spirit was quiet and humble, grave, and sad. He found no joy at all in what he was saying, although he was saying it with great force, and his face gave it all the credibility it would ever need.
There was an old saying about Lees … they could be devastating foes, but not hate you while doing it. Normally, that saying was mentioned in a complimentary way around the character of Robert E. Lee, but there was another side to that as well … it indicated the possibility of a split in personality, the impersonal destroyer not substantially disturbed nor restrained by the more moral and sensitive side. Mrs. Selene Slocum-Lofton, watching her grandson calmly devastate without hate the people whom he would have destroyed for hatred alone 27 years before, shivered … Henry Fitzhugh Lee, no matter what mood he was in, was yet and still a destroyer, although much more than that.
Yet the destroying attention of Captain Lee had turned away from his mother's family for the time being, and Mrs. Slocum-Lofton breathed half a sigh of relief. Half a sigh of relief, because one did not get to be 83 and a thoroughly wicked woman without good survival instincts. Those instincts were telling Mrs. Selene Slocum-Lofton: be watchful. It was never the killers you could see that got you.
After the press conference, Mrs. Slocum-Lofton went back through her notes from her information gathering ... and then looked out of her back window … and then picked up those notes and her purse and then organized her entire family in fleeing for their lives … .