Dear funny old Mr Leon

“Get him!”

The sound of the oldest boy ricocheted down the alleyway. I ran. I hadn’t done anything but it didn’t matter. Those boys always bullied me. They were about my age but I was small for ten years old.

I ran around a corner only to nearly crash right into some of mother’s friends, especially dottering old Mrs. Wendy who was still wearing mostly black after her husband passed away four months ago.

“Kevin!” Miss Hazlemeare snapped.

“I know!” I managed “I’m sorry”

Behind them I saw a small alley and shot down there, the path rounding it’s way between towering tall buildings. The brick road became narrower and I stopped and cowered in a doorway with a large grey metal bin between me and where I had come from.

I couldn’t hear them. Just the drip, drip, dripping of water from somewhere nearby. I didn’t want to head back the way I came yet, but I had not been in this section of the city before.

I started walking thinking I had the way sorted out. I knew which way home was from when I ran past the ladies so I just needed a road that crossed again and took me that same way.

But then I realized the boys might know I had come down this way and were waiting for that.

Unlikely I realized as I started walking.

Above me in the narrow passage you could barely make out the sky, or any sun at all with the grey network of structures climbing all around. I was supposed to be home by a certain time. I knew I was trouble. They never listened if I talked of bullies.

Then i heard something very strange. It was a plunking sound with a tapping sound going along with it.

Tap tap…ta tap tap. Plunk plunk pu plunk. It made no sense and that is why I stopped. I looked around. Just high walls. Just steel doors. Just a grey street in the shadowed light of what i could guess was around five o’clock.

Then the noise again. I saw it. A single door was opened. But this door wasn’t grey. It was yellow like a gold mark in parts, red like roses in parts and blue like a summer sky. I walked quietly up to the strange door. I looked around to see if anyone could see me inching closer. The sound that went up and down in tone was coming from in there.

I looked in to see the room inside was lit by four handsome lamps, which by itself was extraordinarily extravagant as mother and all the other adults would never abide more than two. And in the middle was an older man, sitting on a simple wooden chair. Beneath him was a piece of wood which he tapped. In his hands was the strangest thing I ever saw. It was golden in parts and chocolate brown in others and had three cords that ran across it which he plunked withone hand, while the other moved a hand along a bright white plank. I didn’t see anyone in the room and he seemed completely fixated on what he was doing. His eyes were closed.

On the wall were other smaller pieces of wood that, like the door, were covered in colors. In one side of the room he had a collection of other devices, in every shape that I never could have imagined.

“Hmmm mmm hmm” he said to noone as he continued, the tone of his humming then rising and falling.

It was strange and I could only stand by the door mesmerized. People didn’t make their door or anything in funny colors. People didn’t make funny noises to the air for no reason but there he was.

“You going to stand there all day boy?” He said with his eyes still closed as he continued to plunk and tap, the plunking changing tone quickly as he went up the white board to its end.

“I’m sorry, Sir” I said as I went inside. Then I saw one of the coloured boards that really caught me off guard. It looked like the great commons in the heart of the city but it was made in his colors. In this case layers of different blues like the sky, the rivers and distant mountains.

“Do you want to take something with you?” He asked.

I just stood there. I was perplexed but also wondering what mother would say if I walked in with something like what I saw.

“You must be late for dinner, young man,” he said “I’ll take you home but here…”

He got up and went over to his desk by the hearth of his fireplace. He took a little wooden bird and brought it over to me. I had never seen anyone make a pretend thing like this, let alone how it seemed colored to look like a baby chick from the farming lands.

“Do you like it?” He asked.

I looked at it. It clearly had taken him long to make it just so and given it bright colors. It felt light in my hands. I have never been to the farming lands but I could imagine it was like that. I liked how it made me think of that.

“I do like it.”

He smiled and gestured for me to follow him. We went outside into his front garage where he had one of those metal grey engines with the side car. After clearing the side car of all kinds of strange things he seemed to have picked from the forest, from the beach and from the cheap markets he had get in. I got in and he passed me a big oversized black helmet which on my head both made me look ridiculous but also made me feel invisible which I liked as well.

“But Sir…” I said as he got on the motorcycle and started it with a loud roar.

“Yes?”

“Why do you do these things?”

“I never know,” he said and thought about it “It could be the lady from the moon who started it.”

And with that we zoomed into the street and raced down the road, the cobbles bouncing me so hard that I swear, I thought the vehicle would come apart and I would crash. It was fun as we raced through my old city, passed the commons and into the roads where the housing lights of people were lit warmly. We slid up to my front drive where I could see mother.

“Who’s the lady in the moon?”

“That’s for another time!” he said.

I thanked him and went inside. I told mother about him but decided to keep the bird to myself. She said he was a widower named Mr. Leon and how oh yes, people knew about him. He was very strange and told stories which we dont do because they are lies.

I had supper and after doing homework by the fire I kissed mother goodnight. Upstairs I was soon lying in my bed. The sound of funny Mr. Leon’s plunking came back to mind. Through my curtains I swear I could see the lady in the moon give me a wink.

Government Street, 1910

 

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                Janice was the last person Samuel ever expected that afternoon. Outside the drowsy city moved on, the street cars, carriages and passersby oblivious to the moment she emerged into his store barely upsetting the chiming of the bell Samuel had nailed into the frame.

                There was nothing to prepare him for the moment.  That Thursday in mid September the morning sun glinted off the bottles on the west side of the room like they always did when he arrived to unlock the dispensery.  Sun poured across the street between the buildings on Government street.  The younger clerk arrived in a rush under the slight scowl of Samuel’s gaze, the key his was given lost somewhere in his coat pockets.  Samuel waited for a moment, looking over the rim of his steel frames as the man outside continued to fumble, his movements jerky and his face occasionally looking up to stare contrite at the older man in the white coat behind the black cash register.  Finally, pushing the latch to open the low swinging gate he came to the young man’s rescue, with the boy in the long coat and felt riding hat looking regretfully at the older face on the other side of the pristine, clear glass.

                “Eight thirty, Joshua,” the older man said simply as he opened the door.

                “I’m sorry sir, I mean…it’s not an excuse but the tram left early…I tried to run after it but…”

                “Well, at least you’re here,” he said as they both went back behind the counter surrounded by vials and bottles, the disinfecting alchohol in the large teardrop shaped glass and the wall of pestal and mortars.  The room smelled only slightly of lavender and the disinfectant that was used to clean everything in the white walled dispensary that sat near the corner of Broughton between the café and the grocery.

                The young man scurried into the back quickly as Samuel continued to go over the notes he made the day before on Mrs. Wensten’s prescription for anti-fungal cream and her Humalog diabetic insulin supplements.  He kept all his notes in perfect order, his handwriting as clean and clear as the Colonist’s printing press, with every necessary note organized within the confines of the single black leather book.  The book remained in the same place of his low front shelf, it’s corner’s frayed and smooth like the skin of a well worn leather shoe.

                Samuel had just finishing entering the journal notes when he realized they were getting closer to opening time.  Exactly fifteen and half minutes away by the pocket watch which never left his favorite red waistcoat, the watch a gift from a friend of the St. Andrew’s and Caledonia Society which he met with on Wednesdays like so many others who had come from Scotland or, like in his case, had parents from the old country. 

                Soon, Joshua emerged from the back of the dispensery in his white coat, doing the regular cleaning that was his job first thing each morning, only the young man was trying to do the same cleaning at twice the pace, quickly rushing over the furthest corner with the store’s straw broom.

                “Slow down there!” Samuel said firmly with his eyes never leaving the black book and his smaller notes ledger beside where he wrote down the specific notes for that day.

                “I’m sorry Sir, it’s just…we open in just over ten minutes and I was late.  That’s my fault.”

                “I’m very aware of the time, Joshua.  You can continue to clean after opening hours just this once.  I can’t afford for anything to be damaged,” he explained.

                “Yes, Sir.”

                “Now, can you please open the front door and clean our exterior walk?  Mrs Amberson will be by early this morning to pick up her supply for the St. Joseph’s dispensary.  I’ve already laid out the packages on this back table with the documentation.  I hate to keep the lady waiting.”

                “Hallie Amberson!”  He replied suddenly with a desire to straighten his coat and tie, pushing his hair back, looking at the mirror that hung over the topical creams on the south wall “She is beautiful, isn’t she?”

                “None of that, if you please,” Samuel said to the smirk of Joshua.

                Soon the young nurse from the Fairfield hospital arrived to the smiles of Joshua who continued to sweep door the outside walk.  Samuel felt back the urge to roll his eyes at him as the young man then came in to gather all the parcels for her to put in the large case that she had brought.  She smiled back at him and he just stood there for a moment, mooning like a cat.

                “Now you can sweep the back of the store, Joshua.”

                The young man managed one more smile at the young lady before going to fetch his broom.  Samuel could swear the young man was one step away from being better off as a coal miner like his brothers.  It seemed if he wasn’t prattling on about this or that he was talking about his new accommodation over by the bird houses. 

                Samuel could only just remember those younger days in his life when he was still studying under Mr. Hainsbury.  He now owned a small house down Moss Street which was perfectly situated near the Foul Bay streetcar line.  Each morning he woke quite early in the quiet when the sun had not yet risen, having his breakfast in the front room that was shaded during the day by the two arbutus trees he had planted himself out front.  After his morning routine was finished he would head out early, paper under his arm to the corner of Moss and May where he would meet Scott Cook driving the first street car run of the morning, a fellow member of the Scottish society and a recent arrival from Aberdeen.  The red and white sided car would click and clack its way along the smooth rails towards Cook Street and the park before turning it’s way towards the heart of town.

                Lunch was the small café just next door run by Annie and Nathanial Humphries, which had been a family business since the earliest days of Victoria.  She was always happy to see Samuel and frequently insisted that she could offer him a discount for her famous coffee and sandwiches that always comprised his meal.  This was due to Samuel looking into a diagnoses that he found didn’t square correctly with what she had been diagnosed before.  Samuel had actually visited and discussed with the physician so the prescription was changed to medication that took her relentless migraine headaches away.  Samuel appreciated the offer of the discount each time she brought it up, but respectfully declined, not out of a dismissal of charity (which he also did not approve of) but due to the fact that it was his job to do exactly that and that he would stop practicing the moment he ever cut corners.

                Back in his shop, with Joshua over by the other side of the room cleaning the tables where the recent shipment had just arrived by train, the door chimed softly.

                That was the moment when Samuel’s eyes went wide.  He felt something inside his chest that he had not felt since he was the same age as the young man across the room.  He set his pen down and walked slowly to the front of the counter as the two people entered, their presence in the room raising Joshua’s eyebrows as well.  They rarely ever saw people from the Songhees inside their dispensary.

                Behind Janice, whose brown eyes fixed on Samuel, stood her large framed brother, George Andrews Jr.  She was dressed in a shawl and he was dressed in the clothes of a labourer.  Samuel pushed his glasses back slightly.

                “Good Afternoon…George…Janice,” he said trying to steady his voice.  He could only hope that his voice didn’t sound wrong.  Beneath the cotton white coat, waist coat and shirt, his heart thudded hard.

                “Samuel,” George replied, with Janice just looking at him before averting her gaze to look around the room.

                “Um…what can I do for you both?”

                “Janice?” George asked his sister.

                “Yes…sorry,” she said before looking at Samuel sorrowfully and then looking down into the pockets of her shawl and finding a written paper.  She walked up to the counter and Samuel swallowed slightly as she came close, her shawl brushing the other side of the white wooden counter.  She handed him the prescription, Samuel looking down at her soft slight brown hands covering the doctor’s scribbles.  He looked up at her and then back to the paper which he took.  Coughing, he studied the paper.

                “I can…” he said before coughing again “set up an account for you with us, if you want so we can track…”

                “That won’t be necessary,” George said firmly.

                Joshua came over the side of his employer, looking at him with his head slightly tilted to one side.

                “Can I get you something, Sir?”

                Samuel just looked at the notes on the paper, his head focused on returning to his work immediately.  People came to him because he was a professional.  In truth, he was considered the best pharmacist in the finest run dispensary on the south island, but he always refused to accept this notion.

                “It’s…it’s a prescription for Miss Janice Lynn Andrews for the following medication,” he said beginning to write a note for Joshua to follow in his usual precise handwriting so their could not, would not be a mistake.  One was an expectorant…one 250 mg of Azithromycin…another special tropical cream that was less commonly used but otherwise benign.  At least, he thought for a moment, it was nothing really bad.  Most of these were for simple ailments.

                “These are for yourself?”  he asked.

                “Yes,” she answered.

                He cleared his throat and with his hand slightly shaking he wrote the note and passed it to Joshua who rushed off with a small bag to fill for her. 

                “How much this gonna be?” George asked, his voice firm.

                “Shouldn’t be too much.  These are fairly common medications and from what I understand the physician you met set a one-week trial dosage.  If anything feels wrong, stop taking them immediately, but they should clear up things within one week,” he explained consulting the pricing book next to the register and entering the numbers. 

                She handed him the forty-two cents it cost for the bag of medication that Joshua produced.  He fingers brushed his only slightly when she gave it to him which set a rush of fire through Samuel, something he felt in his legs so strong, he had to keep one hand flat on the counter.  For a moment, all for of them stayed put like they were posing for a photograph.

                “Come along, Janice.”

                “Goodbye, Sam,” Janice said with her eyes locked on him.  The rest of the world seemed to stop.  The rest of the world seemed quiet.

                “Take care,” Samuel replied.  He could not move.

                “Come along, Janice!” George said more firmly.  It was firmly enough for Joshua to look at the taller Native man with concern.

                As they left, the younger clerk looked at his employer who seemed dazed, staring out the door as they left.

                “You alright, Sir?”

                “Yes, perfectly fine.  Let’s get back to work.”

Ghost City

Ordos

It was the first time I felt I could relax, even for a moment.  I knew that it couldn’t last.  After the three-hour hike down the alien streets where the grass was beginning to push through the cracks, I was back at the building.  The silence permeated every cell of my being but I knew I couldn’t turn the music on.  The fact that I had turned the multi-module in my arm off was the only thing probably keeping me out of harms way.  Still it would have been great to listen to something.  The only solace I had as I came up the leaf strewn parking lot was the sound of birds.  Those crows that always gathered like a gang of spies that had never given up.

The door was left open, which I kind of expected, but at least it wasn’t smashed down in the final riots before we were all shipped east to the fence-line.  It was a little silly being here.  It was hardly like I could take the elevator up, let alone go in, throw my keys down and grab a beer from the fridge.  It would be probably white walls.  Nothing but white walls and dust stains from the scraping of the furniture.

I began my ascent up the stairwell, shafts of light coming in the windows, their frames high above where anyone could reach them.  The walls looked grimier and more battered that I remember.  Minette and I lived on the 5th floor which was I was sort of half thankful for at the moment.  I wasn’t in bad shape but I definitely began to feel it by the third.  I sat on the fading carpet and looked out the window across from the black-railed stairwell.  The orange yolk of the sun was broken by shafts of cloud, the afternoon sky a slight cedar that we always called the Curtain.  The Curtain never lifted where I had spent the last fifteen years since we were gathered.  Out here the effect of the great processors seemed slightly thinned, like when you add more water to a teabag.

I was also looking for movement in the city.  The skyline was grey and quiet like you would expect, but more unkept, with bramble and grasses turning everything into a strange sort of greenhouse solarium with the orange white roof above.  There was so many of us back in the camp that I suspected it would take some time before anyone noticed I was not around, but then all it would take was one idiot to say “Hey, where’s Yun?” and then the reports of a lost worker would set out the whole barrage of Shepherds into their roles as the people’s trackers.  I knew just how invisible I wasn’t, with how my heat register made it’s imprints on everything around me, sticking me out in Westwood like a beacon.  I almost considered staying exactly where I was.  Partly due to the fact that what I was after would have already have been stripped from the room to crush any thoughts of doing exactly this and partially because I didn’t even want to see our home like this.  It was one way to sleep in section twelve.  I mean, I had free Wifix at call and I was really careful about my credit points but that was just the crap they wanted us to see.  If I wasn’t reading what few pdfs were still out of their reach I would think back to when we had our last job, our last day of work, our last meal.  I can even remember my last employer on his knees crying, with his sister Satiyo beside him rubbing his shoulders and cooing to him like a child.  He wasn’t the nicest guy on the planet back then but of the four bosses I had, he was the last and to his credit he had tried to build the company from the ground up.  Now he was just a balding man in a dirty white shirt on the floor, his shoulders shaking with his hand to his face.  I remember I didn’t know what to say.  I just sort of stood there.

Back on my feet I continued up to fifth.

The inside of the room could have been anywhere, in any room all up the coast.  It was better than most I had passed in the halls.  No one had attempted to squat in it before the gatherings.  The walls were still mostly white.  Minette smoked back then, which was the only illegal thing either of us ever did, but we were excruciatingly careful about it.  A friend at the university had given us some Linethen, that blueish grey composite that cleans the air of cigarette smoke almost instantly.  We kept in buried behind the back of the fridge and even now I could see the trails up the wall, fanning out like so many spiders.

Then I heard it, noise from far away like the mewing of a small cat. 

Scrambling onto the counter-top next to the gaping hole where our old stove had been, I opened the cupboard.  The sound outside grew just slightly.  They knew where I was, and they knew that I knew.  I looked for the slight edge upside down in the cupboard, my eyes squinting as bits of old wood unsettled all over my hands and face.  With the other hand I began to punch the top of the stained cupboard wood. 

The sound grew louder, coming from the living room.  In the giant square empty room, the windows remained open with just one frayed curtain remaining, it’s flag swaying just slightly in the wind.  Across the way was the other block of flats, patio rails like bleached bones.

I punched harder and the sound grew.  Finally, the roof of the cupboard cracked and dust and particles spewed out, causing me to look away again.  In the living-room the curtain began to flap more in earnest.  They were very near.  I found what I came for and stashed it into the pocket in my leg where a hole turned the rest of the pants into an accidental deep pocket.  I dropped from the counter just as the sound of the chopper blades became obvious.  The rag by the window flapped violently as the giant glass globe of the Shephard’s vehicle rose with the blades roaring invisibly above their heads.  I walked towards them, looking straight at them in their black silk uniforms and red helmets.  What was there to say or do at the time?  I simply waited with my arms out so they wouldn’t strip the flesh from my bones.

There was noise behind me which I expected.  My leg was kicked out and I fell into darkness.

Mage Part One

Dark-medieval-city

It has been quiet in Dameron since the last attack.  You don’t expect that the thing that would wake you from sleep would be a child’s song.

 

It was part of a dream at first.  I was there again, back on the hilltop surrounded by white flowers and the scent of the Southern Sea.  The Bay of Mount Laer stretched around me then like a warm embrace, keeping it’s kin close in the little seaside village.  I liked to spend most of my time as a child up on those bluffs overlooking the city and the sea.

 

That was one of the images that I always held during the campaign to the dark lands of the East.  Well, that and of course dear Lenette.  I was the shortest one of the six of us that would head off on our own little adventures when the grown ups were busy.  We did use to get into such trouble, primarily being lost or late for dinner.  It was never anything that involved actual danger like the sinewy fingers of the blackness.  Those curling tendrils had not yet reached our little fishing village, like many protected by the rocky shore or the northern plains of Umahh.  Dameron was closer to the plains but also closer to the bridges that would take me back to where we had travelled.  Dameron seemed treacherous at that time.  It was many winter’s snows in the city for me since Clantan the Grand Master lead us east.  We sung the song on the road, our hearts thumping with seemingly unbreakable joy.

My eyes opened to he pale light of the moons flooding the room in gentle blue against the Leyleaf-stained roof.  The song was still in the air, stealing in through the cracks in the cracks of the window.  I got out of bed in my baggy nightclothes and peered down into the street.  The song was fading and it seemed urgent that I find it’s source.

My gaze fell up and down the shadows and snow of the narrow streets.  The snow was still falling but only lightly so I could make out much of the world below from two floors up in my room.  There were tracks of people walking through the snow of course, the wind dusting the falling snow along like leaves catching the waterline in a river but I had no spell to tell me the identity of a singer.  Slowly the sound melted away.  A ghost of the home I could not return to, even as a wandering sight.

Then I heard it.  It was so incredibly soft that you would scarcely believe it happened but it had not been the first time.  Copper tumblers were being brushed aside with a thin needle.  The door creaked to life as though simply pushed by the wind.

A man in rags, his swirl of clothes hiding a flash of steel left the floorboards and swung to the wall, the back of his head hitting the solid boards with a dull thud.  He tried to reach his sword but I drew that away, the useless blade skittering across the floor and under the drawropes of my bed.

“First rule, friend,” I said coming closer “A mage rarely sleeps.”

He strained against my will.  He wasn’t a big fellow as the best thieves typically are not, but he was from the guild and carried with him a relentless wirey strength.  His eyes fell on the other side of the room where I kept my books, stacked neatly or somewhat neatly with bits of paper poking out, the soft chair and candles for reading late and of course, the chest beneath my desk.

“Really, you’d be better off with one of the books,” I continued as he glared at me.

His faced grew red as he breathed hard as though the man had just finished running clear across town.  He was one of the brave and stupid ones.  Perhaps he had just got the wrong room but not with the mark left on my door.  I knew what that was carved for.

“So how about this…we treat it as a learning experience and I don’t tell Namal about your little…shall we call it…lack of communication?” I said looking at the man who only started to resign his attempts to move from his comfy spot a foot and a half above the floorboards.  He took a deep breath.

“Sorry about all this Peter,” he said “Things haven’t been easy since I got back here.”

“Wait,” I said looking at the face now coupled with the man’s accent,”I know you…”

“And I know you are not a man to wake up.”

“Marc of second company,” I suddenly said, the sudden realization falling into place.  He was a thief but he was, well, one of ours.  I let him down.

Marc breathed, his back still on the wall, where he stretched it like his was in one of the city baths.  He leaned back still a little wary of me, standing before him in probably a less impressive sight with my oversized bedclothes.  He walked over to a chair and then turned to face half asleep scratching, me.  He sat down and rubbed his feet.

“Sorry, I couldn’t get my dagger back could I?” he asked “I know I don’t deserve it but…”

“Oh, no that’s fine.  I was awake anyways,” I replied, sitting on my bed and spirited his dagger across to him “Was that you whistling?  You shouldn’t do that…kind of counter-productive.”

“The Fisherman’s Song…I heard that too,” he said “No, not me.  I tried to go home and couldn’t find work and ended up with Namal’s gang.  I just wanted to borrow from you but…”

He looked at me.

“Nah, I didn’t think you’d buy that,” he said getting up to go “Sorry again Peter.  I won’t repeat this”

“Marcellian,” I said pointing to the barrel I kept next to my door “take the pouch, there.  And ask me next time.”

He took the pouch and smiled at me.  He gave a little hand gesture of thanks.

“Ask, got it.”

The door clicked closed.  I locked it with a wave of my hand.

 

 

 

 

The White Wand

The White Wand Blog site  This is the story that has never left me.  Whenever I do morning writing exercises the world of the people of Tarsha comes back.  Yeah, it’s big old silly nerdy world but it’s a great place to explore all the possibilities in writing.

Fantasy gives you the chance to leap out in the full horizon of concepts but also bring in things from this world and make them shine.  My favorite thing about this project is that I have tried to depart from the standard fantasy repertoire to bring characters like the Jeekas people with the towering Tiki Tree, Si wands and the dominion of the Bly Forest.

The new blog is at

The White Wand

Come by and have a look!  Lots more to come!

The walk

image

The first thing he heard was the scream.
It rang out cold and desperate, echoing far across the golf course and over where he knew was the shoreline.  The road ran straight through the course with home being still half an hour away.  He tried to peer into the dark to make sense of what he heard.  Nothing moved out there.  Ever direction was still.  The air itself froze until the cool sky.

Then came footsteps behind.
He could tell someone was back there.

He started walking faster, daring himself to glimpse back.  Behind him was just the road and the night which was liquid black.  Before him was the long winding road through the Oak Bay Golf Course.  He knew if he got through the course it would stop.  Nothing told him that but he knew.  Snubbed again at another house party and now this.  He walked fast.  Ashma wouldn’t let him run.  He needed his puffy as it was.  He looked into his coat for it as he walked faster.

He fell.  Something tripped him.  He hit the earth with his hands out to break his fall.  He went to rise and something shoved him hard down as he attempted to rise.

“Why?” a woman’s voice hissed in his ear on one side.

“Why?” that voice shrieked again but on the other.

He got up and ran.  Behind him he heard the sound of running.  He could barely breath.  His heart was bursting.  Tears ran down his face.  To one side he heard a shriek.

“No!  Don’t leave me damn you!”

He looked over.

The shape of a woman in tweed running was just a few feet beside him.  It ran through the brambles on the edge of the course, bursting through and then running ahead of him only to vanish and reappear on the other side.

The edge of the course neared.  He closed his eyes and ran like his lungs would burst. 

Suddenly a car sped around the corner.  He glanced in horror and dove out of the way.

Last thing he saw was the woman’s face, miserably sad as the world burst with pain, then black.

Created by TomPogson.com

Jack’s World

image

     “Shh!  Get in here!” came a voice from inside the unlit room.

It was not the sort of thing Gary expected to hear as he doubled back with his scribbled note in his hand.  He had been walking around level one west for fifteen minutes far too long and he when he first heard the boy’s voice he thought maybe he was losing it.  Or maybe those rumors of the hospital having ghosts were true.  He stopped and peered into the shadows of the small office.

“Hello?”

“Just come in before they see you!”

Gary stepped in and instinctively felt inside the door frame for the plastic of a light switch.

“No!  Don’t turn the light on!” He commanded “Either come in or go!”

Gary was a little taken aback by this.  What was this kind even doing in someone’s office?

“Where are your parents?  Should you even be in here?” Gary said trying to bring in some adult authority.

“Parents dead, it’s my time off and this is Brian Hendricks office and he’s never here until late.  Just hold on a sec!”

Gary saw where the voice was coming from.  From the glow of the window that was ground level with the grassy back garden of the hospital was young Jack.  He sat on a the wide windowsill opposite the books above Dr. Hendricks softly glowing fish tank.  He had a book in his hands, open to nothing but typed print.  Just as Gary noticed him the sprinkler system kicked on.   The view became a fog of jet streams of cascading water and the rainbow of the light mist that brushed the glass.  Jack lifted a hand proudly as if he caused a magic trick to occur.

“One of my favorite places in the joint,” he explained “you’re very lucky to see this moment and definitely lucky to know me.  I’m Jack.  I am your guide to anything and everything.”

“Right,” Gary tried to understand “well, it’s good to meet you Jack but you probably shouldn’t be in here and I’m late to appointment so both of us should get going.”

“Who’s the appointment with?”

“Well that’s not really any of your…”

Jack jumped down from the window onto the chair and then flopped down   like he had practiced the move for a performing circus.   The young boy in the baseball hat, t shirt and jeans flicked on the desk lamp and picked up the phone.  He turned to Gary like a Medical Office Assistant.

“Well?” He asked.

“Come on kid,” Gary laughed “this is silly and you should get outta here before security nabs you.”

“Just give me a name,” Jack said without blinking.

Gary looked at him and then down at the book he was reading.  It was on arrhythmia, specialising in elder care.  He was already twenty minutes late now.  He surrendered and looked at his paper.  From the outside hall light.

“Dr Novak.  I’m his nine thirty.”

“Right…Gary Allenson.  Nine thirty…of course you are.  Yeah you’re one floor down.  Not your fault…he moved two months ago and Sheila hasn’t gotten round to changing his email template.  I’ll call him and say your late.  He can probably still take you.”

Gary could barely make a thought.  His mouth just gaped.

“If you get going, anyways,” Jack said after he dialed the number “Hi Leslie…”

Gary couldn’t believe it. 

Jack looked up from the phone and gave him a look.

“He’s not coming to you!”

Gary made an agreeing expression and headed for the elevator.  In the elevator he still tried to get what just happened.

—-

Preceeding was a story idea I’ve had for a while which this is just an introduction to Jack and his strange life.  Hope you liked this one!

Cheers,
Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

The Moment

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" capture in my heart, just to hide away" John Martyn

“It’s her” Sean thought as he walked in.
She was at the same conference that day, flanked by friends on both sides like a diamond set in a cheap gold ring.  She shone out then as she did now, sitting alone at one of the small sets of cream colored chairs by the glass windows.  He needed someone like Mike for this.  Mike would know how to get her talking in his no bullshit way.  Sean just paused for a second and went up to the bartender and ordered a domestic pint.

“That’s five bucks, pal,” the old guy said and he paid and looked around.

The place had a few people in it, mostly from the same conference, mostly mostly on their phones.  She wasn’t.  Sitting at the bar he managed to look and she was just looking out the window of the hotels bar over the pond towards the towering pines the formed the border onto Quebec St.

Her face glowed bright soft under the slight orange light with her large blue  eyes gazing out like someone stargazing.  He looked away quickly when he realized that if she looked in the reflection of the window, she’d probably see him looking at her like some stupid horndog.

He knew that Mike would have smacked him upside the head in a friendly way for what he was doing.  He could almost vision Mike, The Bike Mike Attack like he called himself, and got others to call him too, right next to him on the next stool.

“Sean, buddy, honestly,” he said right up to his ear so Sean could almost feel the breath on his ear “this is a piece of cake!  You’re both at the same conference.  There’s your material…perfect opening line…”

“Weren’t you at the conference?” Sean breathed softly, drowned out by the sound of Stevie Ray Vaughan.

“Yeah, or how about that Keynote, huh?” Mike continued.

“Total meltdown,” Sean chuckled only to look up and see the bartender looking at him.  He looked into his pint and sipped.  The bartender went back to wiping down.

He looked back again.  Her left hand was on the other side which gave him no chance of doing a ring check like he had found himself doing before.  But if there was someone wouldn’t she be like everyone else?  Wouldn’t she be glued to her phone?  Maybe she was waiting for him.  Maybe he’d come down from the room any moment.  The scenario played out in Sean’s head like it was directed by Woody Allen himself.  He would finally start talking and suddenly this wall of 6 foot, fresh from the weight room boyfriend would be towering over him like a bear in a business suit.  He looked away as he suddenly broke out in a sweat.  She’s so beautiful you moron.  Of course she has a boyfriend or someone.  Girls like that always have the guy which shoulders so broad they could carry a jet copter.  And forget being over there, Sean continued in his head, he might be protective as he’d have to be with a gorgeous creature like that and if he walked in from the lobby to the bar and there’s you leering like a perverted puma about to pounce he would be straight over to assert his alpha dominant role.  That role would have you flung to the other end of the bar like a balsa wood airplane.  The bartender probably wouldn’t mind.  He probably coaches touch football.  Probably cheer and high-five the guy since he looks at you weird anyways.  I should just give up and look at my phone.  I could do a tweet or something about the conference and maybe put some notes down so people in here don’t think I’m some wild eyed lunatic.

“Hey,” came a soft voice next to him.

Sean turned around to come face to face with her.  He looked at her stunned for a second.

“Weren’t you at the conference?” She smiled.

Created by TomPogson.com

City of Clay

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No birds flew in this place.  With not even the smallest sign of life the deafening silence discouraged travellers.  Rumours told in Mountain town of Bothra also kept the wagon trails to a minimum.  Travellers were especially warned of the towering red clay walls.  From this place the quiet ones came.  The closer to the walls you came, the more the madness seeped into the skin.

The singular movement was a light wind brushing the clay hills, it’s cool sweet breath running down from the snow of the Great Easterns that divided the Tarshan Peninsula like a grey knife forty leagues down to the clanging harbours of Tell.

From this direction she came.  Like a single snowflake against the soft orange packed waves of clay her shape grew to the sight of those who waited.  They were two of the quiet ones, one a young Seeker Vakkal with only eighty summers to his credit and the other was Baki-ku.  He was far older, his eyes having seen the dawning of the Age of Light when the Tiki Tree of the By Forest first grew in Shal’than’s Northwest garden of the Bly Forest.  He held the Weapons of Truce between the Jeekas of the Bly and the Lothran people of the canyons.

She came closer.  Baki-ku and Natku-sa waited as she came into shouting distance, he blonde hair shaking in the sun, her white dress rippling satin around the black blade of Otheria.

“Baki-ku of Tercichio” she said “thank you for agreeing to this.”

She stopped just out of striking distance.  She had much acquaintance with the Vakkal.  She knew full well of the spinner weapon that rested at their sides.

“Tari-sa has left us, witch,” he said with no malice in his voice, a sound than vibrated beneath her shoes “he is among the lost ones.  I know not if the Fourthlings have claimed him.  He is not amongst our number and at his years I am sure the cracks in his Si are beginning.”

She stood motionless.  She waited for more.

“I suppose your Lord’s gifts don’t grant every wish,” he said finally.

She glared at him.  Natku-sa put his hand to the roof of his spinner.  Just then came a screeching piercing sound.  From the sound came three shadows through the clouds.  The first one had bright red markings on its beak and down its scorpion like tail.

From Natku-sa’s side the spinner whirred to life, it’s blades a rush of razors beneath the Vakkal’s palm.

“You need not trouble our people any longer Eleatha, traitor of the Otherian throne,” Baki-ku said with a hand outstretched to keep his young warrior-seeker in checked “I believe you’re taxi has arrived.”


This is a short teaser to The White Jeeka story.

Tom

Created by TomPogson.com

Max finale

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Cycling across Canada '94

Max has been part of my decision.  I want to get back to the same drive and focus I had back when I first received the hybrid bike my parents got me in 1992 after I graduated from Stelly’s.  Just like Max I had the big dream, but it was the crazy idea that I would ride that bike across the country.  Two years later I reached the shores of Halifax with the help of my parents who would meet me half way to refill my bottles and supply me with a muffin from Tim’s.

Now the dream is about the work I create.  My parents Jim and Joan have been extremely supportive of that as well (they are still together as well, unlike Max’s situation).  But the influence of family in the story was something I wanted.  The image I had of Max’s home was based on a mix of where we lived in Chilliwack, Langley and finally in Saanichton where they have been since 1988.  I know I am extremely lucky in this respect.  It has also been part of my drive to treat my work with the same “Sail, don’t drift” attitude they taught me.

I have the day job that I work hard at to pay bills.  Nothing new there for the aspiring writer and musician.  But one thing I have found with the Max project is that I really enjoy working with this WordPress writing platform as a chance to put my determination into action with daily writing along with my work with Jacobs Pogson Productions as a writer and Cookeilidh as a bassist.  It’s one of my opportunities like studying bass or reading that gives me a chance to stretch.  It’s like scales in thirds and it’s fun.

Much as I’ve loved creating the Max world which is still there for people to check out its time to wrap that up.  I am definitely looking forward to sharing the final wrap up episode!  Hope you’ll check that out early next week!

Click here for the Journal by Max blog story

Cheers,
Tom

Created by TomPogson.com