"The Face of Me," A Cartoon Story By John Pirillo. Just how big an ego can you get when you have super powers?
The Face of Me
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
"It's really quite simple." Einstein told him as he sat comfortably in Johnnie's chair at the table. He had his pipe in one hand, which he used to punctuate points he was making and Danish in the other, which he ate between words, rolling his eyes with pleasure.
"I must take some of these back with me." Einstein said, nodding at the stack of Danish.
Johnnie looked at the back of the kitchen where Cartoon stood, glowing softly, her eyes lit up with amusement at Johnnie's discomfort. "Uh, Al, I don't think that is going to work."
"Why not?" Al protested.
"Because..." Johnnie took a comic book he had his hand on and flipped it onto the kitchen counter.
"...You're a comic book character and not real." Johnnie finished.
He got up, eyed the missing Danish. "Cartoon, how come he was able to eat these?"
"You made him real. He lives by the standards of your world's physics."
"But he didn't even realize he was a comic book character."
"That's because to people like him, everything's a comic book creation. They can't tell the difference. If you were to go to my world, Johnnie, it'd seem real to you while you were there. You'd also be subject to all the rules of that universe."
"I have and I was." Johnnie agreed. He sat back down and played with a Danish for a moment. He took one, bit a chunk out, and then set the rest back on a small plate in front of him. He grabbed his glass of milk and washed down the chunk. He dabbed his mouth with a paper napkin, then eyed Cartoon again.
She had been waiting for this moment. He could see it in her eyes.
"I want to go to your world again."
"To test a theory I have."
She smiled. "You might be disappointed. Theories have a way of fizzling where I live."
"You live here."
She came over and sat next to him and put her head on his shoulder. "I don't want to go back."
"But you do. All the time."
She sat straight in her chair and then sighed. "I'm a Princess. I can't just abandon my people."
"Gotcha!" He said rising from his chair. "So let's go."
"You need me to help you transition..." She never got to finish her sentence. Johnnie was there one moment and the next...Gone!
Johnnie stood on top a steep hill with flourishes of cartoon flowers of radiant blue, red and yellow dotting its sides. A small pavilion of marshmallows stood behind him. He gazed at the incredible Wizard of Oz type palace that hovered several yards above the plain some miles in the distance. The morning suns cast huge shadows from it, which criss crossed the hill he stood on, casting it in colors of the rainbow.
"Shadows are so neat here." Johnnie said as Cartoon stepped from his world into hers and stopped beside him. He didn't even watch as the opening between worlds closed without a sound.
"How did you do that?" She asked.
He shrugged. "Just sprouted one day."
He turned to smile into her face. It was solemn. Her face.
"I don't know what's going on, that's why I called old Al up. I've been talking to him for about a month now."
She gave him a shocked look. "I thought..."
"I know." He said gently. "But I can't wait for you to wake up, or come back for me to get on with my life."
He waved at the distant city and the hill and the skies, which were like turbulent fields of clouds shifting colors constantly. "I need to understand all of this. Why it exists. Why our world exists. Why..." Here he paused a long moment, searching for the word, then said. "...Why I exist?"
Cartoon took his right hand in hers. "You exist because you do. Why do you need to know more than that?"
"That used to satisfy me. I exist, therefore I am. Therefore nothing more need be said. To paraphrase an old philosopher I read in my Philosophy class, but it doesn't change my innate curiosity about all of this.
"Cartoon, I'm human. You're not."
She gave him a sad look.
"I don't mean in that way. I mean physically. No matter how many times you visit my world, you will always be a cartoon. No matter how many times I visit your world or transform into comic book characters, I will always be...human."
"But the glow you've started to emit." She pointed out.
He held his hands out. "Not glowing now."
She frowned. "They don't glow here."
"Another weird thing to consider." He admitted.
He hugged her briefly, and then turned his attention on the distant city. "It's so beautiful."
"I know. Johnnie, you're avoiding my questions!"
"Actually." He smiled. "I'm avoiding mine."
Before she could respond to that a huge shadow crossed over them. They spun around. Without thinking Cartoon pulled her glowing sword from its scabbard, which had appeared when she crossed into her own world and prepared for battle. Johnnie just stood there looking at the huge face examining them. It looked somehow familiar, though he couldn't place it yet.
"Different." The face said to them.
"Nah. We're like two peas in a pod." Johnnie retorted, grinning devilishly.
Cartoon wanted to give him a hug and kiss at that moment. It was what turned her on so much about him. He could joke in the face of danger. He wasn't being stupid, or silly. Just being himself. Amused at the life strokes he was dealt.
The Face frowned. "What are peas in a pod?"
Johnnie shrugged. "No big thing really. So what's up, Dude?"
The Face frowned even more deeply. "I am not...a Dude!"
Johnnie shrugged again. "No offense meant, just a turn of the tongue."
The Face's eyebrows knotted together angrily. "You play with me, mortal?"
Johnnie's eyes narrowed. "Then I have to assume you're some kind of god."
The Face lost its anger. "I am that which I am, even as you are what you are."
Cartoon suddenly brightened. "Johnnie, it's..."
"I know. Me!"
The Face smiled, revealing spiked teeth. It eyes were not human at all. "I am not...you!"
"True enough." Johnnie said, eyeing the face uncertainly. "But you sure got the curiosity of me."
"What is a me?"
The Face recoiled as if struck. "I am not me!"
Johnnie broke into laughter. "I'm sorry, but this is just getting more and more ridiculous by the moment. Please excuse me, Cartoon; I've got to return home. Got a job at the diner to do."
He winked out of existence.
Cartoon stood there looking at the Face. "Why have you come here?"
"I am always here." It paused, its eyes rolling in thought. "I am always there."
Cartoon frowned deeply. "I think you should leave now."
"How can I leave when I was never here to begin with?" The Face asked and vanished.
Cartoon stood there uncertain and fearful a moment, and then she stepped between the worlds.
Johnnie was gone. She went to the front door to look out. The Landlord stood there, his eyes wide as saucers."You won't believe what I just saw leave your apartment!"
Cartoon smiled kindly at the lecherous old man. "He was kinda in a hurry."
"A giant face?" The Landlord blurted out, then shaking his head, he headed for the stairway. "What are these kids on these days?" He froze for a moment, halfway down. "Hell, what am I on?"
Cartoon blocked the laughter from issuing forth and shut the front door.
Johnnie stood framed in the bedroom. She gave him a startled look. "But I thought..."
"Oh that!" He smiled.
"I figured it out."
"Figured what out?"
"Who the giant face was." He held out a comic book. "The Super Ego Monster Strikes!"
She took it. This gigantic face floated above a helpless city while it hurled thunderbolts against it.
"Found this at an antique store. It never made it past this issue. I guess people get enough big egos in their lives. Don't want to read more about them on top of that."
Cartoon shoved him back towards the bedroom. "We've got to do something about that ego of yours. It's getting too big to handle." She quipped.
He gave her a hug. "How about we take a rain check on that ego buster fix you got in store, gotta rush or I'll be late for Al's Diner."
She crossed her arms, angry at him as he rushed to the door, but when he looked back, all the love she saw in his eyes and the warmth of the smile on his lips blew all her anger away. He blew a kiss at her. "Keep the motor running. I'm ready for a wild ride!"
He shut the door.
The Screaming Statue Sherlock Holmes Story By John Pirillo. Monsters are not always so easy to spot. Will the real monster please stand up?
The Screaming Statue
Sherlock Holmes Story
By John Pirillo
James stood by the window overlooking Baker Street, musing about the recent past. Watson sat comfortably on his chair near the fireplace, sipping his usual tea and munching on a scone that Mrs. Hudson had brought up especially for him. They were becoming like creatures he thought to himself. Anticipating each other's needs. He wondered sometimes if that were ever possible for him as well. Ever since he had been lost to Lilith his world had been filled with heady adventures...but his soul felt this vague emptiness, and when he was honest with himself, it was the Fairy Princess. The one woman who had loved him no matter what.
"Rather glum this morning." Sherlock noted over the puffs of his favorite meerschaum pipe. It had been a gift from the good Queen Mary of Scots for the help he had given her in clearing her name of the crimes she had been accused of in their last case. Funny, how even the most exalted and beloved of figures could fall from grade, he mused, while waiting for James to respond.
James turned to face Sherlock, a light smile on his lips, but not reaching his face. He felt good to be with his friends he loved so dearly, but the weight of his heart kept his smile from burning to his face and lighting it up. "Did you know that the rate of rainfall is no more or less than the rate of a man whom falls the same height?"
"No luck in finding her then?" Sherlock went straight to the point of the matter, obviating the need of James to obfuscate the issue by bringing up raindrops as a side discussion.
James sighed. He sat opposite Watson, who looked up from his usual morning paper and folded it in his lap to listen. "It's as if she has vanished from the face of the earth." He finally said, his face strained with fear and doubt.
Watson patted him on the knee in a gentle touch. "Dear James, not all thunder is preceded or followed by lightning."
Watson glared at him.
"I was just being..."
"Metaphorical." Sherlock jumped in. "Yes. Yes. I know, but the man needs more than philosophy at this moment, am I not right, James?"
James gave Sherlock a look of relief. "You'll help me then?"
Sherlock rose and went to his coat rack, slipped off his morning jacket and on his overcoat for traveling. He took his cap and slid it over his scalp and tucked his looser hairs beneath it. "I see no reason for putting it off any longer, do you Watson?"
Watson began sputtering. "But breakfast..."
Sherlock gave Watson the hint of a smile. "Will not be missed by that stout figure you now present, dear fellow."
Watson glanced surreptitiously at his stomach which was a bit larger than it should be, then hurriedly at Sherlock, then James. "For God and country then."
"What about the Queen?" Sherlock added.
"God knows she well enough protected." Watson shot back, a bit more testily than one would have thought he might.
James did his best not to laugh. The camaraderie between these two was tremendous. It was as if the original Sherlock had never died and left Watson on his own before James came into the picture. He still remembered their first day of meeting when Watson and Challenger thought he was the Moriarity who had killed Sherlock. It had taken every effort of his intellect and his being to convince them otherwise, but he had done so, and over time become a valuable member of the Brotherhood of Baker Street, but a willing and good partner to Watson as well, who did not let Sherlock's legacy wither beneath the dread wings of time.
James slipped his jacket on. He didn't prefer capes like Sherlock, but rather the more long double breasted style worn by the upper level classes of the Britains. "I'm sure this is a waste of time."
Sherlock shrugged. "Perhaps. But if it helps to lever you into a better position of using what intellect you allow yourself these days, then..."
"Then?" James urged.
"....Then it will have been worth it." Watson finished, looking with regret back at the stack of scones beside the teapot and the cup he had been sipping from. On impulse as the others began down the staircase, he ran back stuffed his own overcoat with a handful of the scones, and as Mrs. Hudson came up as he was going down, he gave her a quick swipe of his lips on her cheek, then hollered over his shoulder. "The game's afoot!"
Mrs. Hudson turned to watch her fiancée exit. "There's always a game afoot with you three!" She shook her head and continued up the stairs.
The one thing the Thames provided Londoners that no other river in history had was easy access not only to the Atlantic and thereby the main continent of the Europes, but also an ongoing source of a strong trade supply route. Britain, while advancing in aeronautics and its newer Tesla vehicles, still relied heavily on water transport for most of its trade and travel.
So it came as no surprise to anyone, except James, that Sherlock would start his search at the docks of the local merchant ships, where burly sailors hefted barrels of pork, wine, salt and exotic oils to the docks where they were sorted out by local merchants with their crews and then distributed to various warehouses along the dock, and some more directly to the actual establishments themselves.
James braced himself against the stiff Northerly wind of that morning, his nose tingling from the biting cold of the bracing wind. Watson shrugged deeper into his overcoat, and finally, disgusted with the temperatures, tugged on a pair of warm gloves.
Sherlock was the only one apparently untouched by the extreme weather.
Touches of snow glistened on distant rooftops.
The sun barely peeked above the horizon, its arms of light reddening the cloudy sky with threats of rain.
The grimy, salt laden planks of the dock greeted their feet as they made their way across them towards the Queen Ann of Lathethrop, a smaller merchant vessel. While appearing small, it actually had quite a deep hold, thanks to its triple tiered construction. Jules and Wells had loaned their building technologies to the local shipwright, Sir Amroy Smith, a jolly older man with a tummy twice the size of some men. He was a source of endless tales of the sea as well as nautical knowledge, of which Holmes had the need at that moment.
They boarded the small vessel, some of the sailors recognizing Holmes and doffing their caps to him, or waving two fingers in the universal salute of friendship.
Amroy stood at the wheel of the ship, a large map spread on a portable table next to the wheel, which was carved of fine ivory and had tiny figures of deities and mythological creatures inlaid into it. "Ah, Sherlock!"
Sherlock took his hand and shook it, then turned to his companions. "I would like to introduce my good friend and partners, John Watson and James Moriarity."
At the name of Moriarity Amroy stiffened.
When it came time for James to shake, Amroy withdrew his hand.
James didn't take it badly. Instead he laughed. "I'm sorry to have laughed, Sir Amroy, it's just that I am nothing like the man whom you believe me to be."
Amroy turned to Sherlock, who nodded. "James here is an emigrant from another part of...shall we say...our world...and is a very, very distant relative to the late Professor Moriarity...though unrelated in every way but looks, of course."
Amroy lost his defensive attitude and smiled. He offered his hand again. "In that case I am sorry for my belligerent attitude, James, please forgive me."
"Happily given." James said, thus completing the disarming of Amroy's hostility in its entirety.
"I see you have been examining the map I secured." Sherlock pointed out, a finger touching the rather antique looking map, which had mythological creatures at its four corners signifying the quadrants of direction and 9 continents. One of which was Fairie.
"Sir Amroy." James spoke up. "Nine continents? I thought there was only seven of renown."
"Indeed, there are, but as you and..." Here he winked at Sherlock and then Watson. "...I'm sure your companions must realize...not all continents need to be physically present to exist."
"Ah." James said, understanding. "I have been to this." He stabbed Fairie. "But this other..."
Amroy glanced at Sherlock. "It is the place that Sherlock and I both believe your friend to have vanished to."
James face went suddenly still. He seemed frozen for a moment, as if he couldn't believe his own ears. "You're saying she is there?"
Sherlock shook his head. "James, the screaming statue did."
"Screaming Statue?" James asked, totally perplexed by the words.
Inside the Captain's Cabin Amroy stood next to an elegant desk made of highly polished rosewood and iron, gelded with gold and silver and inlays of pearl and semi-precious stones. "Don't mind the desk, gentleman, and a gift from a Rajah of the India Isles. This...this is what you seek?"
Amroy gestured to a rather large unveiled object shrouded in a purple cloth in the center of the desk. This is the Screaming Statue.
"I hear nothing." James noted.
Amroy gave him a friendly look of forgiveness. "That is because I have covered its eyes. It cannot stand seeing the world about it."
"What's wrong, Watson?" Sherlock asked, alarmed at his friend's reaction.
"I do not feel any good will come of this. And this thing, whatever it might be, it does not belong of this world."
"That is so, Doctor Watson." Amroy agreed. "And that is precisely why it should help in your..." Here he nodded to James. "...In the discovery of certain informations."
Before Watson could respond Amroy plucked the cloth from the object and a huge head mounted on a gold base stood revealed. The head was made of some kind of exotic metal that looked like gold but had flecks of green and blue that seemed to shiver in the candle light of the cabin.
"I hear nothing." Watson declared, relieved to find only a brutish looking head instead of some kind of monstrous thing.
Then its golden eyelids opened wide, revealing eyes like that of a snake. The eyes looked first at Amroy, then Sherlock. It ignored Watson, but when it saw James it began to scream!
A huge castle of dark stone was melded with a mountain of similar stone. The crest of the mountain was a vast crater that spewed sulfurous smoke and thin curtains of bright fires. The mountain shook and trembled very lightly. The windows of the castle were dark, except for one. That one was lit brightly from inside. A woman looked out the window at the cone of the mountain. As she did the mountain spit a larger glob of fire.
She turned her attention away from the dark skies and shrouds of sulfurous smoke and eyed the door that shut her into the room. The room was sparsely furnished. A bed. Two chairs. A fireplace that was cold. A small table with a rotting piece of bread and a bowl of brackish water. It had been her home for quite some time now.
She sighed, and looked back out the window. No matter what they threatened her with, she had not given in. She would not marry the monster who ruled this dark kingdom.
The door flung open and she gasped, startled by the abruptness of it.
She turned to look as Professor Moriarity came into the room, his face dark with a subtle kind of evil that went beyond his good looks. An evil that withered the soul and blackened the heart of those who kept close to it. She had refused to do such. Perhaps that was what kept her alive. She didn't know. Wasn't sure.
He gave her that quiet leer he always wore for her sake and smiled, coldly and with much malice. "Soon." He said. "Very soon now. You shall give me what I want!"
He pulled out an odd shaped rod from the pocket of his jacket and stabbed it at her so quickly she couldn't dodge it. She screamed as her body was wrapped in coils of blazing yellow and green energies.
James cast the purple cloth back over the head and it silenced.
Watson rushed out the cabin door to vomit over the railing.
Sherlock stood there, his face grim.
Amroy turned to them.
"It's worse than I thought." He offered gently.
James turned to Amroy. "You know how to get there?"
Amroy stabbed a finger on the map he had brought inside and laid upon the table. "Here. Here is where she is."
"But that doesn't exist in England." James noted.
Amroy nodded. "Not this England. Not this..." Amroy shrugged as he gestured about them.
Sherlock went outside to see to Watson, knowing the case was now in good hands with James. James leaned forward and examined the map more closely. "The entrance to this ninth continent is in England?"
"Actually." Amroy said touching a spot where a light x had been marked. "It is here."
James looked up. "The Queen's treasury?"
"But there is nothing there but the royal crown jewels. I myself have seen them!" James declared, his face boiling with uncertainty.
"Yes. I'm sure that's true. But what of the other side of the room. The part she has not shown you?"
"There is more?"
Amroy nodded. "Yes. Much, much more. I myself and my crew helped to build that wall. We have been sworn to secrecy to discharge its knowledge to no one in this realm or any other."
"Then you are defying the Queen's command."
Amroy leaned closer. "No, James, I am helping a man find the woman he loves."
"When can we leave then?" James asked.
Amroy smiled and clapped James on his shoulder. "First thing in the morning. Morrow."
James paced before the window at 221B Baker Street, watching for the Tesla that would bring him, Sherlock and Watson on the journey that he dreaded. For even if he entered the other kingdom safely, there was no guarantee they would survive the adventure there. Professor Moriarity was a dark soul. And he had recognized the one in the castle. He had been the one who tortured James over and over. He would never forget that duplicate Moriarity. He clenched and unclenched his fists, his face dark with anger.
He felt a hand go upon his shoulder.
He didn't turn.
Watson stood beside him, watching the street as well. "We will find her, James. We will set her free."
Sherlock stepped to his other side and nodded. "Or die trying."
James looked first at Watson, then at Sherlock. "And that is what I fear for us, for her. For we are her only hope. We must not fail!"
And so they waited, facing a future that was uncertain at best, dark and deadly at worst. Had they been aboard the good Sir Amroy's ship at that moment, in his cabin, they would have been even more greatly fearful when the Screaming Statue shrugged off its purple cloth cover and startled Amroy as he was about to exit the cabin.
He turned to look.
The Screaming Statue did a very, very strange thing. It didn't scream. Instead it smiled.
Sir Amroy crossed himself and slammed the cabin door shut, leaving the cabin in darkness.
"The Unsolvable Equation" A Lovelight Story By John Pirillo. Death is the unsolvable equation, or is it?
The Case of Constable Evans' Fancy A Sherlock Holmes Story By John Pirillo. Sometimes love can be criminal!
The Case of Constable Evans' Fancy
A Sherlock Holmes Story
By John Pirillo
To say that Constable Evans was smitten by the mysterious thief, who got away, would be an understatement of the most momentous proportions. To say that he was madly in love with a phantom that could slip through spaces no more than a centimeter thick some might also say was not just an understatement, but an indictment of his imagination as well. But then, they hadn't been there that night that Sherlock, his father Inspector Bloodstone and Doctor Watson had cornered the gossamer lady only to have her flee without being captured.
"It's really nor right that a thief should look so..."
"Handsome?" His father ventured, winking at Doctor Watson, who was seated to his left inside 221B's sitting room at a table with a silver platter of scones, a teapot and a steaming coffee pot as well.
Sherlock, in his typical fashion, stayed out of the conversation, preferring to thumb through the latest story of Conan's he had written since his transition from the alternate earth universe. "Come now, Inspector, surely the lad desires a bit more credit than that?" Sherlock ventured without losing his place or his eyes on the story he was reading. He had already finished ninety percent of it. He was quite a remarkably fast reader, able to remember almost a hundred percent of whatever he read, which was what led him to reading the fiction of Conan's, it gave him a different route for his memory to travel...one less tried and true.
The Inspector coughed into a hand, took a sip of his tea, then eyed his son sternly, who gave the look back defiantly. "Well, perhaps, but he is after all just a child."
"I am not, father!" Constable Evans denied, jumping to his feet. "A man of his twenties is hardly a child!"
Doctor Watson who had been watching the tirade with amusement jumped in. "But then all men seem like children when we become older, is that not so, Inspector?"
The Inspector laughed. "Tied my hand behind my back, Watson. How can I ever deny such a word of truth as that?"
"Oh, I image rather easily." Sherlock said, once more interrupting his reading to comment. "You do it all the time."
The Inspector gave Sherlock an evil eye for a moment, then sighed and looked at his son, who was still fuming from the insult. "Sit down; you're making me tired just watching you stand there."
"I will not, Inspector!"
The Inspector sighed again. "All right. You're not a child. So stop acting like one. What the bloody hell's gotten into the kids these days?" He muttered to Mrs. Hudson as she walked in with a fresh tray of sandwiches and placed them on the table.
She looked over at Constable Evans. "Oh, I'm so forgetful." She pulled a letter from her apron that had beautiful flowers drawn on it in purple." She handed it towards Constable Evans. "They said it was for you."
He perked up. "I don't know anyone who might..."
Suddenly his face lit up. He ran down the stairs for the front door.
Sherlock laughed then. "You received the letter mid morning, did you not, Mrs. Hudson?"
"Yes, but how..." She giggled.
He smiled at her and resumed reading.
Constable Evans flew back up the stairs into the sitting room. "What did they look like? The one who delivered it?"
"Oh, a quite charming young lady. Wore this very peculiar dress that seemed more like silk than cotton. Though I've never seen that material before..."
He ran back down the stairs again. The front door was heard banging open, and then shutting.
"Oh dear me." Mrs. Hudson declared, giving Watson a pleading look. "What have I just done to that poor boy's imagination?"
"Oh, it's not imagination, dear Mrs. Hudson that has struck him in the heart. But rather something more soft and delicate."
Then Watson and the Inspector realized what had happened and who they were talking about. They grabbed their coats and ran down the stairs as well. The front door opened with a bang and slammed shut again.
"Are you not going with them, Mister Holmes?" She asked, gathering the used dishes to bring to the kitchen.
"I'm not through reading dear Conan's time travel story and I do so much hate dead ends."
He looked up with a smile. "The lady in question I'm sure has been a faithful distance between her and our flat by now."
With that he returned to his reading, the smile never leaving his face.
Constable Evans ran all the way to Regent's Park, stopping pedestrians and Constables to inquire if they had seen anyone looking like Gossamer, as he called her, the girl he had been smitten by. They all gave him a look of humor, seeing as how his desperation colored his words and the fact that it was a girl he was chasing. None of his inquiries led to any likely prospect.
So finally, he sat down on a bench beneath an ancient elm that spread protective arms beneath the cloudy skies of London. The sky was clear, but starting to blur somewhat with light clouds that moved swiftly from North to South. A slight drizzle had wet the pavement earlier and so the park bench was still moist, but Constable Evans didn't feel it. He only felt the beat of his lonely heart. This incident just reminded him once more how devoid his bachelor life had become of true happiness. Sharing with a partner.
"Now what?" He demanded of himself.
He suddenly remembered the letter he had been handed. He had smashed it into his coat pocket, forgetting about it in his rush to find the missing girl. He plucked it out hurriedly and began to read it.
I hope this letter finds you well and happy.
I know it does me.
Please do not think unkindly of me for being so forward as to communicate with you.
I realize you may think less of me because of what you witnessed this last evening. But I assure you no harm was meant to you or anyone else.
I don't have much time to write this, as I am continually moved to keep searching for my redemption. But when I searched you eyes I saw something in them I had been looking for and did not realize. Hope.
I pray that we shall meet again soon. For my heart feels as if it will surely break if we do not.
Please do not look for me. I do not want to bring you grief by such a useless gesture.
Patience will be its own reward.
Sherlock's smile returned as he sipped his tea and the pounding of Constable Evans feet ascended the staircase to the sitting room. Sherlock was alone.
"Where is my father?"
Sherlock patted the chair opposite him.
Constable Evans sat down, and then eyed the stack of sandwiches which lay before him and Sherlock.
"Please, help yourself, Constable Evans. I imagine your dash to Regent Street Park and your futile search for the thief of last night has left you not only weak of the knee, but the stomach as well."
Constable Evans dug into the food, while Sherlock looked on, occasionally sipping teas. Finally, Constable Evans was as full as a young man's stomach could bear. He shoved back from the table and started to get up.
Sherlock shook his head.
Constable Evans sat back down again.
"The letter she sent you, did it not request you be patient in your endeavor to capture her attention once more?"
"Yes, but how could you know..."
"And did she not say that there was a special bond between you?"
"Yes, but Sherlock..."
Sherlock was relentless. "And you feel that by exerting yourself to the maximum this will prove your worth to this nightingale. Is this not so?"
"Bloody hell it is." Constable Evans swore.
Sherlock nodded, then set his tea down, went back to his favorite chair, sat down and picked up a new book. He looked to Constable Evans. "Mister Wells and Mister Verne have come up with a very fine time travel story I feel to be of the utmost interest. Perhaps you could join me at the other chair and partake of my extra copy?"
Constable Evans got up, started that direction, and then looked longingly at the staircase.
"Constable Evans." Sherlock reminded him of still being there.
Constable Evans came over, picked up the extra copy and restlessly at first, then calmer and calmer, continued to read.
"I think the page where Jules realizes that he will never see his dearly beloved again if he continues to run forward through time for her, seeking the version he remembered, when she was no longer there, but in the past. I think that might be of interest to you."
Constable Evans glanced at the page that Sherlock showed him, flipped through his own copy and found the page.
"Please, Constable, read it out loud. I rather fancy the tone of your voice. It would help me to calm my agitated nerves just now."
Constable Evans glanced at Sherlock, not seeing a nervous man at all, but complied.
"And when I, the inventor extraordinary, flew through time in the Master of the World with Mon Frere, Wells, we came upon a very unusual spot in time. It was London. But a very different one. One where the people all wore these glistening types of clothing. Like gossamer they were."
Constable Evans looked up at Sherlock, who didn't return the glance. He began reading again. "And one of them seemed to know us intimately and called us by name, and said to give a message to a young man. That he wouldn't know it was for him yet, but in the years ahead he would."
Constable Evans began to choke up.
"Please, Constable, don't stop now. I feel so soothed by your voice."
Constable Evans read on. "His name is Constable Evans. You must tell him to be patient, as it is not truly his nature when his heart is full. How I know this is because mine own is so much the same. Tell him we shall meet again. And sooner rather than later. But he must be patient as time works more safely for the patient, than the impatient."
He finished reading and looked at Sherlock, who closed his book. "I feel so calm now and relaxed. When the good Doctor returns with your father, please tell them I am taking a nap. So kind of you." He said to Constable and exited into his bedroom.
Constable Evans looked at the book in his hands and clasped it to his chest. "I will, Gossamer. I will be patient."
And then very impatiently, he rose to look out the window. For even as patient as he was trying to be, the hope of a fresh and more loving tomorrow was almost too much for his patience to bear. Such is the nature of love.
The unthinkable happened. Earthquake. There was no help. Millions died. "New York Down "A Journey to the Center of the Earth Story By John Pirillo
New York Down
"A Journey to the Center of the Earth Story"
By John Pirillo
Their apartment overlooked the park. The sun was shining, warming the beautiful oasis stuck in the middle of a concrete jungle of towering gods of iron, steel and concrete, Plexiglas and streaming ribbons of iron and plastic beasts that honked, cursed and swore their way through the catacombs of the massive city. "Funny, how one can get used to almost anything."
Her father, a spry old man of fifty-five laughed. He swept the graying hair from his face, and then turned back to the salad he was making. What kind of dressing, Claire?"
He looked up at her, the laugh lines around his eyes deepening for a moment, foreshadowing the onset of old age. "Come on, you never use Balsamic!"
"I do now."
She came over. Clapped a hand to the Sylvania stuck between the oven and the dishwasher and opened its first and larger door. She surveyed the shelves on the right inside of the door, scouring past the pickles, the mayo and the various jams and jellies. Her father's breakfast love. And then spotted the unopened bottle of Balsamic. She rescued it from its loneliness, shut the door behind her with a bump of her hip, and then heaved at the screwed top of the vinegar.
It made a slight groaning sound, then surrendered to her grip and came loose with a loud complaint and a rush of air.
"Tah-dah!" Her father yelled. He came over and raised her right hand, the one not holding the vinegar. "And the winner is..."
She giggled like a small child for a moment. He always brought her back to such fond memories of her child hood. Even though he was a rugged school teacher, who could holler with the best of them at the rowdy kids who made up the classes these days, he was a comedic and very funny father who would stoop to anything to get a laugh.
"Don't let him kid you like that, Claire, or I'll never get a moment's peace when you're off on the plane back to the sunny realms of California."
Claire spun around and gave her Mom a hug, one hand around her shoulder, the other still holding her captured Balsamic vinegar.
They hugged a long time and then let go. Her mom's cherubic face beamed at her with pride and motherly love. She ached inside, knowing she was leaving within a few minutes. She was already missing them and she hadn't even exited the front door yet.
"Bark!" Came a beloved voice from nearby.
Claire stooped down to catch up Sparkie, the cute little Chi with floppy ears that she had given her mom for Christmas. Chi had been a puppy she'd rescued from the pound. She knew she had to save it when she saw it barking happily and chasing its tail when the other dogs around were sitting forlorn, as if awaiting death or just barking, as if angry at their fate.
She had felt for all of them, but there was no way to save them all. So she had saved the one that had called out to her heart.
"Hey Sparkie!" She chided.
Sparkie licked all over her face, driving her into a frenzy of happy laughter.
Her mom finally rescued her from an aching stomach and lifted Sparkie into the air, where it kicked its legs and tried to lick her face. She cradled it in her arms, and then eyed Claire as she took the salad bowl from her father, set it down on the kitchen table, which was laden with a beautiful yellow cloth and sparkling white polka dots.
He came over and kissed the top of her head. "Gotta keep your strength up."
Her mom had scalded him. "Then where's her bacon and eggs?"
He gave her a sad look. "She's a vegetarian now. She can't eat such things."
"Dad!" It's not like I died or anything."
He laughed, and then pulled up a chair opposite her to watch as she ate. Her mother fretted at the coffee maker which had begun making choking sounds, retrieved three cups as best she could with Sparkie in her arms, and then set them on the table. She put Sparkie down, got another cup and filled it with milk for the dog. He began lapping it up, making glugging and gurgling sounds as he did.
Claire watched him a moment, then returned to her salad. "Where'd you get the olives, Daddy? There weren't any in the frig last night."
He gave her a shrug. "Must have wandered in from our neighbor's fridge."
"Dad!"Claire scalded him.
"He got up early, disturbing my beauty sleep and went down to Ernie's."
Claire nodded. She remembered the tiny Italian store with the huge Bronx man, who always had a smile to spare and an extra plug of bubble gum for her when she went there. "How's he doing?"
"Ten pounds more and a lot meaner." Her father replied, sipping at his coffee, which her mom had just topped off.
Her mom topped her cup off, then her own, and replaced the coffee pot into the coffee maker. She sat down with Claire and took her hands in hers. "Don't leave."
"Damnit!" Her father said, cutting himself with a knife as he was slicing tomatoes in his own dish of salad.
Her mom gave him a nasty look. "You did that on purpose."
He didn't say anything, but got up to leave. Supposedly to get a band aid, but Claire had seen the tears in his eyes. He had cursed her mom not because she was wrong to ask, but because he didn't have the heart to ask himself. She read it in his face and his posture as he vanished into the small bathroom.
Her mom looked at Claire again, squeezing her hands. "He doesn't have much longer, you know."
"I'll be back soon. I promise..." She froze midsentence, her voice choked up, and then she finished. "In plenty of..." She mumbled a curse, then broke free from her mom's grip and rose. "I'll be back, I promise. Next time. Next time I'll stay longer. I swear it. They owe me a huge chunk of time off."
Claire's mom nodded, but she didn't believe her for a moment.
"Hank, get your hairy butt in here!" Her mother hollered.
He popped out of the bathroom with an oversized bandage on the damaged finger. He looked at it pitifully, like a small child who had just lost their most favorite toy. He ran over and hugged Claire to him as her mother lifted the handle of the rolling luggage case she had used for the trip to New York.
"I love you, Pops!" She said in the midst of the crushing hug he was giving her. He couldn't hide the tears anymore or the choking sounds. He just nodded, and backed off to let her mom take over. Which she did in full measure.
Finally, Claire looked to Sparkie, who ran over and leaped into her arms. "Love you too, you little rascal."
The dog licked her good-bye, and then still wriggling like a hopeless storm cloud, she handed him over to her Mom, took the handle of her luggage as her father opened the door and rolled it out. She looked back at them. "I love you."
They couldn't speak. Their eyes were as wet as hers. Sparkie answered for them, barking over and over.
She went to the elevator, pressed its button and looked back. They still stood there watching her. But Sparkie was silent. He had that look on his face all animals get when faced with the inevitable, stoic and unmoving. The elevator clanged as it opened behind her. She waved one more time and then entered; shutting off the view of the only people she had loved so much in this life.
As the doors closed she felt this kind of rattling and Sparkie had leapt from her mother's arms. As the doors were closing she saw the dog running towards her. The doors closed and she swatted the tears from her eyes. It was messing her eyeliner up and she would look like the Wicked Witch of the East once she reached the street if she wasn't careful.
The ride down was long and felt as if it would never end.
The taxi she had phoned for, miraculously, stood idling in front of the apartment building. She gave one last look at the building, imagining her family still standing there watching the elevator, hoping against hope she would change her mind. She didn't.
"Kennedy." She told the driver.
He nodded, raised the flag on his fare, and then zoomed into traffic, nearly clobbering another rushing cab. As the cab accelerated into traffic she reviewed her life. She had become a celebrity announcer and reporter. She was known around the world, but she had no one special in her life. She didn't have time for it. She had a career to build. But her parents. She had asked them to move out to California and live with her. Not just once. But every time she phoned or visited. She had plenty of room in her Beverly Hills home...
"You gotta be kidding, doll!" Her father had exclaimed in his best James Cagney impression. "What? And leave Broadway and the Statue of Liberty? Your mom would never forgive me. And I would never forgive me. Not even my shadow would forgive me."
She'd laughed and waited until next time they met or she phoned and repeated her offer. Never accepted or even considered. She felt the weight of a loneliness rise in her chest, and then was startled when the cab seemed to hit a hard bump.
She had been more lost in her thoughts than the time had seemed. They were pulling off the road into the stretch that led into Kennedy's main passenger terminal. But they never made it that far. The road was getting more and more bumpy. The cabbie was swearing up a storm, cursing his car and shaking a fist at it, when the road ahead and the nearing traffic suddenly shot upwards, shaking off cars like a dog shakes off water.
Their car was struck by a rolling SUV and knocked into the parking lot on the right. They slid to a stop. The engine was spewing smoke. She stumbled out of the car. The cabbie didn't move. The ground was shaking like a giant was moving it back and forth and up and down. She could barely move, but she managed to struggle to the cabbie's window. She banged on it once, and then froze. His head was at an odd angle and blood was pouring from his slack mouth.
"Oh God!" She cried out.
Then she saw the main terminal building begin to heave upwards and crack as it did so. A jet rushing along the runway suddenly veered to its left as the runway opened up, revealing a deep chasm. The jet crashed into another jet parked along the runway. They exploded.
The main terminal building spilled a swarm of ants, all seeking to escape the doomed building. Hundreds of people squeezing out, screaming, hollering, roaring to be safe. None of them made it. But she didn't see that, she was knocked to the ground. The taxi startled rolling towards her. Other cars came bouncing up and down towards her, as if the ground were folding up on both sides. She scrambled to her feet and ran. She had gotten maybe ten yards, despite the shaking, when the pavement snapped shut on the cars and screaming occupant, then dropped from view.
Some of the passengers from the cars clung to pieces of pavement that were still shaking violently. She looked on in horror as dozens fell into the opened chasm before her eyes.
Then she came to her senses. It was as if a light had been turned on. She turned back to look towards New York City. The Empire State Building was rocking back and forth. She was frozen in place, not believing her eyes when it broke apart and fell in pieces from view. Skyscraper after skyscraper broke and tumbled.
But her thoughts were not about the massive edifices of concrete and steel.
"Father. Mother!" She croaked. The dust from the debris about her was choking.
And those were the last two things she remembered before she was flung hard against an overturned bus and lost consciousness. When consciousness returned, she lay in a pool of her own blood. She felt her head and it was moist. She hurriedly tore off some of her blouse and wrapped it like a tourniquet about her forehead, staunching the flow of blood.
She stumbled awkwardly to her feet.
Everything was deathly silent. Maybe for about ten seconds, and then as people woke up from their stupor, or fear, or unconsciousness, the air became filled with the sounds of horror, wailing and anguish.
She stumbled around the bus, feeling like a helpless child. Her mother and father. They had to have survived. They just had to. But as she looked at the smoking ruins of New York City, she knew they probably hadn't.
A New York Blue, who had been patrolling the airport when the quake struck, looked up from an older man he was trying to save. "Do you know anything about strokes, lady? They ain't ever taught us about that."
She dropped beside the older man. His face was turning blue. "I don't think it's a stroke. She gently lifted his body with the Blue's help. They both looked at the piece of carbonite steel that was stuck in his back. Right into his lungs.
"Damn!" The Blue had sworn, then crossed himself and muttered a small prayer when the older man had died, not once ever having opened his eyes.
They both stood up and surveyed the dead and dying all around them.
Then they heard another sound. A far worse one.
In the New York harbor, the boats that had been tossed about violently, some of them crashing onto the docks, or overturning were suddenly finding themselves running out of water beneath them.
"Tsunami!" Claire hollered over the rushing, roaring sound that was gathering. They both turned and saw the huge black and blue waters boiling and surging several miles offshore and rising higher and higher.
"Oh shit!" Blue swore, and then crossed himself again.
Claire didn't know why, but as she looked around, she spotted an overturned diesel truck. The driver had fled, leaving its door open. "Inside. Quickly."She had urged, already rushing for the open door.
The Blue gave her a look of utter disapproval. "You kidding, lady, you'll be like a cork in a turbulent bathtub of water, only dead!"
"And what will you do, swim for it?" She cried over her shoulders.
She reached the truck, but the door was too high to reach. She felt rough hands gently raise her to the door. "Need a lift, lady?"
She caught the edge and drew herself inside. She turned back; saw the waters of the bay rushing in at hundreds of miles an hour. A huge shadow fell over the crushed airport that had once been the pride of New York. "Hurry, hurry!" She urged.
She reached a hand down. He caught it and she strained to pull him up.
He looked back over his shoulder; saw how close the waters were. He smiled up at her. "Aw, I just remembered I forget to get my cat."
He let go and landed on his feet. He smiled up at her. "Good luck. You're going to need it. All of it." He said as he turned to face the huge mountain of water about to drop on them.
She wiped at further tears in her eyes, managed to shut the huge truck door and lock it. She rolled the window all the way up, then knowing there was a rear compartment, scrambled into it, praying it had a door she could close. It did. The last thing she remembered before all hell broke loose, was sliding the door shut, and locking it and burying her under the mattress she found there.
"Mom, where's the salad?" She asked, as her father smiled at her from the living room, reading his favorite comic book. Spiderman.
"She's in the bathroom. Had a wee to do." Her father laughed.
Claire shook her head and got up to grab the salad for herself. At nine she was just getting tall enough to reach the middle part of the counter. Though it was a stretch, even for her tall figure.
"Hey look at this, will ya?" Her father hollered.
Claire forgot about the salad and ran to stand beside her father as he looked out the window. A very bright sun was rising over the park, and it seemed so big and bright that it was unreal.
"Honey. Isn't it beautiful?" Her mom had said from her side. She looked over and took her mom's hand. Her mom squeezed tight. "Love you."
"Love you too, Mom."
Her father ruffled her hair playfully. She laughed, and then he looked into her eyes and smiled. "We'll never be far away."
She wondered about why he was saying that, when the apartment began to shake and crumble apart. The whole time her parents stood beside her, holding her close, comforting her, as the world around her went more and more crazy.
"She's going to make it."
Claire felt a hand on her forehead. "Tough cookie."
"Hey, I know this doll!"
"Yeah. The announcer."
She felt herself being lifted gently and a moving motion. She was finally able to open her eyes. Nearby was a Marine Chopper, with a Red Cross symbol on it. Some people were already inside it, their faces filled with shock and anguish. A child was crying horribly. No one held it or heard it. They were lost in their own horrors and terror. When she was lifted into the chopper hold, she managed to hold up an arm. It was painful. The child rushed to her and she crushed the tiny girl to her, holding her tight as much for herself as the child.
"It's all right, sweetie. Everything's going to be all right."
The Chopper lifted with a huge growling sound and arced to the left, heading inland. As it turned she could see the devastation of the harbor and city. It was all in ruins, and little lakes now filled portions of it. She wept silently, the child no longer crying, sound asleep against her, lost in its own world of sorrow.
She wept. Not for herself, but for the loss of all those below. And for her parents. No. She smiled. Not for them. She turned her face away from the tragedy below and in her mind's eyes she saw her parents smiling at her again, their bodies surrounded by white light.
Two teens have a paranormal experience that will change their lives forever. Romance and adventure in the unknown. "Kiernan and Angel."
What is romance? What is true love? How can knowing what is on the other side make such a big difference in our lives? Does romance cross the divide of the living and the dead?
Without further ado, here is the third of the stories in my paranormal romance stories:
Kiernan and Angel
Angel first met Kiernan when she was five. They were on the slides at Marywood Park, a small new spread of playground toys, and shrubbery overlooking the Bay. As a kid she never really noticed the Bay much, except to note that it was an awful lot of "wahwah" as she would often tell her Mom, when she pointed to it. Kiernan was two years older than her at the time, and big enough to push her on the swings, which he did after she slid down the curly slide and landed on top of him the first day they met.
He'd rolled over laughing, and tossed sand at her. She tossed it back. He tossed it back. In moments they were both half buried in sand and the other kids waiting to slide began yelling at them to move or crying. Some parents came over and gently moved them away. Their parents. They were both single. Juliet Stiles was her mother. Henry Moorehead was Kiernan's father. It was a strange thing for them to meet that way, but both were quite shy, so nothing much came of it at the time. They just smiled at each other, said goodbye and took her and Kiernan back to their respective benches where they scrubbed us clean with moist towels, or by hanging us upside down to dump any loose sand in our clothing.
She remembered Kiernan giggling like a madman as Julie tickled him while holding him upside down over her shoulder, him kicking and screaming with pleasure. She didn't laugh much then, or later. She was still sad about her Mom going away. That's all she could understand at the time. After all, she was only a bit over a year old, heading towards two.
She just remembered this warm body that would cozy up to her at night and tell her funny and strange tales about beings that lived on other worlds and would come to earth to make people think and be happy. She called them Angels, just like she named her baby, her, Angel.
It wasn't until about ten years later when she was approaching twelve that she ran into Kiernan again. He was the class nerd. Two grades ahead, one year to go. She was an early bird. Smarter than most and probably going to skip most of high school and go straight to high school. It was the gift her genius father had left for her...an I.Q. that caused eyebrows to rise when they heard it. She didn't care much about what anyone thought about it, or her I.Q. She was interested in only one thing. One day proving that there was life after death and building a machine that would broach the dimensions between mortal man and immortal man so she could see her Dad again.
She had become so obsessed with science and math that she hardly even looked at boys, except when they stuck their faces in front of her and waved their hands, as if she couldn't see them. Which, no shame to them, she couldn't. Her mind was always busy, busy, and busy. She came up with a thousand and one ways to do it. To make the transition machine. Or the Angel Bridge she named it.
She remembered how excited she'd been when she'd run home from school that Monday and shown her mother her design for the Angel Bridge. Her mother had done all the right things, smiled, nodded, said "Yes, Honey, great idea." Then she'd returned to ironing the clothes. She'd put down the artwork and chipped in to get everything done. She wasn't a typical genius who ignored everything but what she was obsessed with. She had a sense of determination, purpose and resolve that also included an open door to taking care of the daily routines expected of a child of her age.
Anyway, she'd become so driven about her project that she had hurried from the library on day, her work in her hands, when she'd collided head on into a young teen backing away from his locker with an armful of books and folders. He went flying one way and her the other. He spilled everything on the floor and she as well. But the first thing he did was not to make fun of her, or to get mad, but instead to say. "Sorry. I'm such a butt!"
He helped her pick up her work, then without another word or expectation of thanks; he went about gathering his own paperwork, folders and books. It was a good time it was lunch time or it would have been a far worse disaster. Finished, he closed his locker and turned to leave. But she was still standing there where he had left her.
She clumsily reached out a hand, managing not to tumble all her work to the floor again in the process. "Thanks!"
He awkwardly took her hand. "I'm Kiernan."
She dropped all her stuff again.
He gave her a blank stare, and then hurriedly began helping her again after setting his own stuff down on the floor. She dropped to the floor and helped him, then broke into laughter. "I'm Angel. The baby that dropped on you at the park."
He frowned, finished helping her, gathered his stuff, and then got up. "Gotta get to class. Nice bumping into you, Angel." He said the bumping part with a big grin, and then hurried off.
Angel noticed he had forgotten something on the floor. She hurriedly scooped it up, and then stuck it into her jeans pocket. She stared after him a long time, until the bell rang, and the kids spilled from the classes for second lunch and the others came pouring back from the cafeteria. She stood there until the next bell and was late for her class, but her teacher didn't notice, she was too busy picking up broken pencils that the rowdy boys had been tossing about the room.
The rest of the day went swiftly. She rushed home to tell her Mom who she had met. Her Mom listened quietly, her face looking strained as she listened. Finally, she'd gotten up and went into her bedroom, after giving Angel a kiss. Angel heard crying coming from the bedroom. What an ass she'd been, she thought to herself. I just reminded her of Daddy. She even felt a little down herself at that moment, but briefly. She worried more about her Mom, who refused to date anyone since the tragic death of her husband.
Angel was dumping the pockets of her jeans to clean them when she saw the piece of paper Kiernan had dropped. She read it. It had an address on it. His address. Wham! Teenage bells began ringing as a plan began to shape in her brilliant mind. No Angel Bridge this time, but something maybe just as good.
Next morning she got up earlier than usual and faked an invitation to a picnic. She stuck it in an envelope, and then mailed it to herself with another address on the envelope to indicate the sender. It was the name of Kiernan. She made a second envelope and addressed it to Kiernan. She mailed both of them on the way to school, smiling the rest of the day after she had mailed it.
That same day she suddenly got worried. What if? So she had carefully done some sleuthing and found out some details about Kiernan's home life. When she got what she wanted, she almost fainted with relief, because her impetuous invitations might have ignited something really nasty otherwise.
Two days later, and on a Friday. She got the letter and ran upstairs excitedly to see her Mom, who was working on an internet website for the company she worked for...Ignatius, Deplorum. A kind of wacky group of nerds who made their living doing crazy designs for personal and commercial use.
"Mom, I just got an invitation to a picnic. Can I go?"
Her Mom read it and smiled. "I don't know."
"Pulleaseeee!" She begged.
Her Mom's face ignited with a big smile. "I don't really have to work then. Okay. We'll do it. Do you have their phone number?"
"No, but I already told Kiernan we were coming."
Her Mom broke into laughter. "You're such a brat some times." Then she snatched
Angel to her and gave her a long hug. "Love you."
Angel wrapped her arms about her Mom and rode the tide of happiness streaming from her and her Mom. Maybe it she hadn't done such a dumb thing after all.
The trolley stopped near the street they lived on and she and her Mom got on. A very nice looking gentleman greeting them. "I'm Mister Corday and I'll be your conductor to the Rose Park."
Her Mom thanked him and they both went to the back of the trolley, adjusting their picnic baskets they had brought to fit comfortably at their feet. Neither said much as the trolley rattled up the hill, occasionally stopping to pick up other passengers, or to let them off. Finally, they reached the top.
"End of the Line." Mister Corday announced on the trolley speaker system.
They both thanked him as they got off. He gave them a smile and said. "I've heard nothing but good things happen in that park."
His Mom gave him a startled look. "Park?"
"Rose Park, Madam. You are going there, are you not?"
"Yes, but how...?
He gave us both a wink as he shut the doors. "Let's just say a little angel told me."
We both watched the trolley turn around and head back down the hill.
Her Mom quickly forgot about the man and we headed towards the road that led into the park. We found the entrance and there about halfway down was a man and Kiernan. Kiernan saw her and waved briskly. He came running up the levels. Breathless, he stopped before Mom and smiled. He put his hand out. "I'm so glad you could come."
"Why thank you, do I know you?" Her Mom asked, perhaps recognizing him a bit.
He didn't hear her question, because his father had finally caught up with him. He interjected himself between Kiernan and her Mom. "I'm Kiernan's father. Henry."
"Oh my God. Déjà Vu!" Juliet cried out. "You're the father of the boy my daughter fell on when she was a baby."
"Guilty as charged." He grinned.
For a brief second the entire rose garden lit up and Angel and Kiernan gave each other startled glances. They had both seen it, but their parents had not. The roses had lit up like miniature suns for a moment, so bright their eyes hurt.
For some reason their parents hadn't seen a thing. Their eyes couldn't leave each other as they descended to where the picnic was planned, both totally forgetting about their son and daughter as they talked, and laughed.
Kiernan fell turned to Angel. "You're good!"
"What do you mean?" She asked. She suddenly realized he might have caught onto what she'd done. Neither her Mom nor his Dad had asked about who sent the letters. Both assumed it was from each other. She could be in deep, deeep trouble. Suddenly, she didn't feel like a genius anymore.
He pointed to their parents. "I haven't seen Dad this happy since Mom..."
He stopped, choking on the last word.
Angel touched his arm and smiled into his face. "Ditto."
She turned and he turned to watch their parents sit down and continue talking on the nicely spread picnic blanket.
As they talked he could see his mother standing in white light behind his father, and she could see her father in white light standing behind her mother. The ghostly figures turned to look at each other, smiling, and then they looked up the layers of roses towards the children.
Kiernan and Angel both broke into tears when the ghostly parents smiled, then waved goodbye and vanished in a tunnel of white light that whisked them away.
Henry and Juliet got married six months later after many happy days of meetings in the Rose Park. As to Angel she and Kiernan became best friends and he even gave her ideas for her Angel Bridge, but somehow that project slid further and further into the back of her mind as time passed by. For hadn't she already created her Angel Bridge. As she and Kiernan watched Henry and Juliet kiss gently, she knew she had built her Angel Bridge and it had worked. Perfectly.
Billy, "Adventures in the Rose Garden Love," By John Pirillo. Billy and the Bully both had a lot to learn. A lot of it...really scary!
"Adventures in the Rose Garden"
By John Pirillo
"Hey there, Billy Boy." Snickered the bully next to his locker. Harold, a huge guy, who had been held back two years now. His final year, but not soon enough to stop him from making Bill's life hello.
Bill tried to ignore him, but Harold slammed his ham fist down on the locker bottom, causing Billy's lunch to spill all over the floor.
"Now look what you've done!" Billy complained, and then looked at Harold, realizing he'd fed the mean machine by blurting that out.
Harold's eyes narrowed, as if that were more possible, because he had the face of a pig, with narrow set eyes and slabs of Jell-O like fat jowls under his chin. He must have weighed in at about two hundred and fifty pounds.
"Sorry." Billy barely managed.
"Oh, you'll be sorry, all right, Billy Boy." He grinned. "Really, really sorry!"
Billy thought it was all over for him as Harold raised the fist of destruction, but Mister Cobbs, the next door teacher, who instructed in Math, happened to step out that moment. "Hey there Billy! How are you and your...friend doing?"
Harold glared at Billy, and then gave Mister Cobbs an innocent look. He put an arm around Billy's shoulder like they were the best of buddies. "Me and Billy were just discussing the nature of politics in the world."
"Really. How fascinating." Mister Cobbs commented innocently. "I'd love to hear that discussion."
"Billy, I'd heading for the cafeteria, could we talk on the way?"
"Uh..." He looked over at Harold, whose eyes narrowed to slits, but who let go of him. "Sure, sounds great. Just let me pick up my lunch. It spilled when I opened my locker."
He started to bend down and Harold dropped down too, and as he helped Billy sack his food, he whispered in his ear. "After school. The Rose Garden."
Billy nodded and got back up. Harold smiled at him, gave him a shoulder punch that rocked him, but didn't knock him down. "Well, good buddy, see you later."
"Sure thing, Harold." Billy answered and let himself be led away by Mister Cobbs.
As they walked Mister Cobbs looked pensive, as if he were weighing things in his mind. Billy had seen him do that a number of times before he clobbered a kid with suspension or after school detention.
"I think that Harold might be staying after school today."
Billy's face lit up. "Really!" On Mister Cobb's look. "I mean, really. What has he done?"
Mister Cobb didn't say anything. He just smiled at Billy, and then he spoke up. "Sometimes big problems can just blow away. And sometimes we have to face them."
Mister Cobbs gave Billy a friendly pat on the shoulder, then headed for the cafeteria without him.
"I thought you wanted to talk with me?"
Mister Cobbs grinned. "I just did."
Billy ate his lunch outside in the quad, as he always did. Alone. Everyone knew he was a push. Their slang for a kid that was a nerd and afraid of anything and everyone, but computers. He didn't think that was fair, though he had to admit he loved computers.
He sighed after he finished gobbling his apple down, and then went to the computer lab to do a Google on the Rose Garden. He wanted to know how many entrances and exits there were. As he settled into his chair, he began typing into the search engine. Immediately, a beautiful photo of rows of roses came up. He punched it with a mouse click, and then began to read. As he did he was surprised when the screen went blank for a moment, and then it lit up again showing the garden at night and the roses glowing like tiny stars in outer space.
He was stunned, and then shook his head.
"Must be a new Google animation." He sighed.
Before he could exit the page, it went blank and then the original photo returned. He studied the information below it, shoving the weird thing that had just happened into the back of his mind. Finding nothing he wanted, he was about ready to give up. Dissatisfied, he narrowed his search to ways in and out.
He put his head in his hands. He was going to die and there was no way out of escaping that terror from the primordial age. Neanderthals, his father called them. Kids like Harold.
"One day you'll have to deal with one. We all do." His father had told him.
His father didn't answer.
His thoughts were shattered by a girl's voice.
"Trying to figure out a way to dodge your girlfriend?"
He looked up. Across from him on the other side of the computer was one of the most beautiful girls he had ever seen. She gave him a smile that lit up the room. Literally. He gave it over to his imagination, just like the image in the computer screen, and then grinned at her.
"Don't have one."
She shook her head. "Why not. You look cool to me?"
He felt shocked for a moment, then stuttered. "Uh...really?"
She laughed, but not at him. Warmly. Cascades of silver blonde hair fell over her eyes a moment, until she shoved them back. She reached a hand between the computers. "I just love computers, don't you?"
She giggled. "Cat got your tongue?"
He grinned, relieved at her sense of humor. "No..." Shyly. "You do."
The bell rang. Lunch break over.
She stood up to go.
He ran around to block her path. "I don't know your name."
She smiled. "Tell you what. Let's meet after school and exchange names."
"Then it's a deal." She said, and shook his hand, much to his surprise. Her hand when it touched his, caused an electric shock to jolt up and down his arm. His heart skipped a few beats. He stepped out of the way and she walked towards the exit.
"Wait!" He cried out.
She stopped and looked back. A sly look on her face.
She nodded to the computer she had been seated at. "Check the note I left for you."
Then before he could ask more, she exited the room.
He rushed to the computer and saw a pink slip of paper. Blank. He flipped it over and then felt his face become flushed with heat and far. "The Rose Gardens."
"Oh...crap! I am so...so...dead!" He uttered, his voice croaking from the sudden dryness of his mouth.
He spent the rest of the day, looking over his shoulder for Harold, who seemed to have disappeared, and for the girl, who also didn't seem to be around. Finally, he just surrendered to the inevitable destruction of his life with the hope that he just might snatch a few moments of happiness before it was crushed by Harold, the Monster, as all the nerds called him.
The last bell rang and he lockered what he didn't need. Which was pretty much everything. He always managed to get his work done at school in whatever free time he had. Then he took a deep breath and walked for the exit and the street.
As he passed Mister Cobb's room he saw Harold seated in the room, looking at some work he was doing. Billy sighed a breath of relief, then his grin vanished as Harold looked up and gave him the three finger salute and a look that harbored everything horrible imaginable. Mister Cobb didn't see it, but Billy did.
His spirit crushed again, he dashed for the exit, made it outside, then headed for the bus, which would take him to the Rose Garden. He caught it just as it was about to pull out. The driver, Mister Corday, stopped the bus and let him on.
"Driving the bus today?" He asked.
Mister Corday accepted the fare, and then smiled. "Trolley every other day."
"See you tomorrow on the trolley."
"You bet, young man. Where you heading? No wait. Let me guess?"
He began steering the bus into traffic. Billy hung on for support to the pole next to the driver's seat. "The Rose Garden."
"That's just crazy!" Billy cried out.
Mister Corday grinned. "Where else would a young man be heading to in that direction? No ball park. No video games. No eating places."
Billy just grinned. Mister Corday always made him feel good about himself for some reason. "Go have a seat, young man. Don't want you getting hurt or something."
Billy nodded, and then slung himself into a seat opposite the driver. He watched the man as he steered the bus expertly into traffic, slowing when he needed to, speeding when he could, and then pulling over for more passengers.
Finally, after about half an hour the bus pulled up next to the entrance to the Rose Park. "Here we are, Billy."
Billy got up. Hesitant to exit, for fear of who might be waiting somewhere. He started to sit back down again. Then he saw a familiar face. The girl. She was on the other side of the gate waving at him.
"Looks like you're going to be having fun." Mister Corday noted, as Billy descended hurriedly from the bus.
Billy looked back. "Wish me luck."
"Luck?" Mister Corday answered. "I'd say you had all the luck of the universe at this moment."
He pulled the bus away from the curb and drove off, leaving Billy staring at the empty road.
Billy turned. The girl was beckoning to him. He gave her his best smile and hurried to meet her. She closed the gap and reached out a hand. He took it. He didn't know why he did. He'd never done anything like that before. If his father or mother had seen him do it, they would've simply had a meltdown. It was just plain nuts!
They went to the top bench in the park and sat down. The sun was getting low in the sky. They didn't say a thing at first. It was just so beautiful.
Finally! "I'm Billy."
"I know. My brother talks about you all the time."
"Yeah." She said with a grin. "But he's kind of a slob."
"Yeah. Sis is kind of like that with me."
She giggled. "Sometimes family feel more like strangers."
"I'll buy that."
"Sold."She replied with a laugh.
He laughed too.
She suddenly tensed. "If you ever meet him, remind him about the G.I.Joe I found for him."
"Hey!" Harold's voice thundered from behind Billy.
Billy jumped up, his body starting to flush with fear. He turned slowly around. Harold stood at the top layer, looking down on him. He had two very large friends with him. "Time to balance the books, buddy."
"Harold. This is just not cool. What have I ever done to you anyway?"
Harold signaled to his buddies and they spread out to approach and block Billy's exit on the left and right as Harold moved down through the rose bushes to confront him at the bench. Billy suddenly realized that the girl had vanished.
He looked around frantically.
"No one's coming to your rescue, little dude." Harold said with a nasty grin.
He raised his massive fist of destruction as his buddies grabbed each of Billy's arms to hold him in place. "Prepare to meet the fist of destruction."
"Mary!" Billy cried out, worried that she might come back and get caught in the middle of the beating.
Harold's grin froze. "What'd you just say?"
Harold gave an almost invisible wince, and then leaned closer. "Mary who?"
"I don't know her last name. She just said she had a brother who's kind of a slob and that sometimes family feels like strangers."
Harold's face blanched, but he kept his fist cocked. "What does she look like?"
He described her. Harold's face grew blood red with anger. "You little sonuva bitch, I'm going to tear your lungs out through your throat for digging into my personal life!"
He didn't know why he blurted it out, but Billy suddenly said. "She told me to remind you of the G.I.Joe she found for you."
Harold's face turned pale as a ghost. He waved his buddies off and they walked away, looking disappointed.
Harold sat down on the bench and began to cry. More and more.
For some reason Billy couldn't explain he sat next to him. "Why are you crying? You're lucky to have a sister as beautiful as that. Only ten minutes ago she was here telling me about you."
Harold looked up from bloodshot eyes. "You can see her?"
Billy afterwards realized he could have been dead for doing it, but he laughed in Harold's face. "Harold, she held my hand and told me what I told you. She's as real as you or I!"
Harold gave Billy a look that was just plain filled with awe and terror and then he got up and left, leaving Billy seated by himself. The girl never returned.
He went home, more disappointed than he could explain to himself or his parents who wanted to know where he'd been, and then what had happened. When he told them, his father and mother looked at each other in disbelief and then at him.
"Son." His father said, carefully choosing his words.
"Harold's sister died two years ago in a car accident. She was run down by a drunk driver in front of Harold's home. It was in all the papers that week."
Billy froze for a moment, and then went into deeper shock.
When he went to school the next day, he was still in a shock of sorts, not looking at anyone or anything. Finally, he headed to Mister Cobb's room. He went in.
Mister Cobb looked up. "Billy, what's wrong?"
"I fell in love."
Mister Cobb's face lit up, and then he frowned. "What's wrong?"
Mister Cobb didn't know how to respond to that, and before he could Harold came into the room and handed some homework to him.
Harold turned to Billy and offered a hand. "I'd like to start over. If you can forgive me."
Billy stood stock still, his mouth hanging open. Mister Cobbs was in shock too.
Harold grinned. "And if you ever talk about my sister again, I'm going to..."
He rushed forward and Billy expected the worst, as did Mister Cobb who jumped up to get between them, but instead Harold put his arms around Billy and Mister Cobbs.
Billy went home that day, with a new friend and a beautiful memory. That weekend he took a bus to the cemetery where Mary was buried. He placed a bouquet of daisies on the gravesite, and then smiled. "Thanks!" He said, his heart filled with wonder and grief at the same time.
He worked his way through the cemetery towards the entrance where his father and mother were parked. As he closed in on it, a young girl about a year younger than him stepped from the side of a tree. She gave him an imploring look. "Can you help me find my dog? He ran away."
Billy went to his parents and told them, and they came out to help. It took them all of ten minutes. Finally, they cornered the little rascal. A tiny terrier with big brown lovable eyes. It licked all over the girl's face, who laughed like an angel.
His mother and father exchanged looks when Billy asked. "How'd you get here?"
She freaked. "Oh my God! I missed it. I have no way home!"
Billy looked at his mom and dad and they nodded.
"I think you do."
She smiled at him.
And just past her shoulders he could see a swirling mass of white light and a beautiful blonde girl in it, waving at him.
"Good-bye." He whispered.
The girl he had helped looked startled. "You're leaving me?"
Billy smiled. "No, not you. Just a memory and an angel that I loved once."
Then he took her hand and they walked with his parents back to the car. He didn't know her name, but he would. This week he had found love, lost it, made an enemy and found a friend, and now who knew what the future held. He smiled as he opened the rear door to their Ford Explorer for her to climb inside.
He grinned and when no one was looking, waved back at the place he had seen Mary. "Thanks!
Then he climbed into the car beside the girl and his parents drove him and her off into the future. Uncertain. But certain to be sure of surprises. Some bad. Some good.
The Black Letter
"A Cartoon Story"
By John Pirillo
Ever since Johnnie had broken the grip of the emotions which had kept him tied to Laurie and Koomay, his life had not gotten simpler at all, but more difficult. He lay there on his bed that night, reframing all the situations he'd been through of late...from the Zombie King to the Spiral Death he had defeated only days before. Comics were his life, but at the same time, if he wasn't on his toes...every freaking minute, second of his life, it could also be his death.
You see, Johnnie was the Comic Book Commander. He had chosen that position in life, it had chosen him when he had risked his stupid life to rescue a young girl in a burning building, which as it turned out, wasn't in danger at all and wasn't really a young girl, but a comic book princess from a parallel world, dimension, pocket universe. You name it. It didn't matter. Facts were facts. Cartoons were real in her world. And they were...some of them...very, very dangerous.
He looked at a new scar on his right arm from fighting with the Zombie King. Just that alone reminded him of his position of power in the universe. Absolutely nowhere!
If God was smiling down on him, it was with his tongue in cheek, because Johnnie had become a comic book hero, but with a human's weaknesses most of the time. Sure, if he had a comic book on him, or could touch one, he could assume the powers of the hero of the book, but it didn't last, and if he wasn't careful and attended to the details of whatever battle he happened to be in at any given time, he could also be dead.
Even comic book heroes die. Just ask the fans whose favorite comic book was no longer being written and illustrated!
"Johnnie!" Cartoon's voice called to him from the living room of their small and very simple apartment.
He rolled over onto his back, sleep still eluding him. "What?" He hollered back.
"I can't sleep."
"Neither can I." He complained.
The door to his bedroom opened. The living room lights were out, but it was still almost as bright as day inside there. Illumination from Cartoon's glowing body. She was lit up like a miniature sun. He sometimes wondered what the neighbors thought when they saw his window blinds become bright like that, but not for long. Everyone had something going on in their life they wanted to keep secret, so no one was likely to come snooping, except for the Landlord. A born snoop if ever there was one. He was honest and fair, but he was also lecherous and a nose peeker. He stuck his nose in everybody's business.
Maybe it was the years of his life getting to him. After all forty is so ancient. Johnnie thought with a smile.
"Johnnie!" Cartoon called to him.
"Okay. Okay." He grumbled, and got up from his bed. He went into the living room, passing her without touching her and sat down on his couch. She sat next to him and cradled her head against his chest. "I don't like it."
"What! Too hairy for you?"
Not your chest, silly." She told him with a laugh, slapping his right leg, which was bare like the rest of him. He never slept with clothes on, except in the winter, and it was July hot outside, which meant hot and humid. The three rivers around Sacramento kept it humid all year long, but in the summer, it became stifling. Even with the air on, a cheap wall air conditioner, that chug chugged like the Little Train That Could from the children's story books. Even with that, it barely cooled the place and usually only the living room if anywhere.
So he slept butt naked in his bedroom. Usually he left the bedroom door open, but Cartoon had stayed up after him, boning up on the world's literature. Comic books. He smiled.
"No, not that. Don't you sense it?"
"Yeah. No. Sense what?"
"Something's about to happen."
"Yeah. Me. I've got to go to work tomorrow and face off Koomay and her amorous attentions so she won't suspect I have a Clone double, and work my butt off scrubbing all the floors. They haven't been cleaned for two days now.
Cartoon looked up into his face. "I'm going home."
I very nearly dropped her to the floor when she said that.
She laughed. "That got your attention."
I gave her a searching look. She smiled. "I am."
"I don't know why. I've been feeling this pull for days now. Even when we were battling the Zombie King and his minions, I felt it, maybe even stronger, if that were possible."
Johnnie nodded. "Yeah. Not much that isn't possible, is there?"
"No, there isn't." She agreed, knowing far more than I just how vast our universe was.
"What'll I do without you?"
She gave me a hard look. "If you so much as lay one hand or finger on Koomay or Laurie..."
I raised my hands in surrender. "My Clone doubles are doing their jobs just fine. No trouble there."
She sighed and closed her eyes. "Don't you ever get tired of lying to them?"
"I'm not sure."
She looked up at me.
"It's just that by lying they're both getting what they want...me."
"You're so conceited." She growled at me, and then pinched a bit of flab on my side.
"Oww!" I gave her a hurt look. "What was that for?"
"For avoiding what you must one day face. Telling them the truth. That you fell in love with both of them, but chose me."
I gently untwined her from me, stood up and began pacing back and forth. "I just can't...can't do that. I..."
"Love them too much to hurt them." She finished for me, sitting up to watch my reaction.
I froze there, my jaw hanging open.
"I can't. And that's what's killing me!" I exclaimed with a burst of anger. "It's not fair. Why did God put me in such an awkward position?"
"Maybe to see how you would handle it. If you would be honest."
"If being honest means breaking their hearts, I'd rather go to hell." I said with finality and stomped from the room, feeling angry as hell with her for reminding me to do what I had been putting off for weeks now, and what I knew was right, and the guilt I felt over being in such a hopeless predicament.
I fell onto my bed and went out like a light bulb switched off. I didn't even dream. I also wasn't aware of when Cartoon transitioned from my world to her own, or even how she did it. I knew she could. I'd even seen her stretch into it sometimes, temporarily, to pluck something out to use in battle, but I'd never seen her go all the way into her world.
I woke up next morning to a knock on my door.
I dragged myself out of bed and headed for the door to open it, then realized three things: I was butt naked still, Cartoon was gone, and it was still the middle of the night. Spelled trouble to me, but trouble doesn't usually knock, unless it's human. So I cracked the door to look out.
Hell had struck sooner than predicted. Both Koomay and Laurie stood outside my door, their faces stone hard. "Oh great!" I scalded myself. "Now the shit hits the fun for sure."
"Just a minute." I told them, and then rushed back into my bedroom, slipped on my faded jeans, and a tee shirt. I ran back and flung the door open. They marched in. Literally, like two soldiers going into combat. They both sat on the sofa, leaving me to stand or sit opposite them on the recliner.
I shut the door, causing the living room to fall into complete darkness for a moment, until I could find the lamp by the door. I turned it on, and then looked at them.
"What's up? Are you in trouble?" I asked, knowing that was the farthest thing from the truth. I strove to strike a middle ground. "Do you need my help? I now it's late, but I'm willing..."
Koomay held up a comic book.
My heart sank into my shoes and refused to come back.
I sat down like a stone falling from heaven in the recliner, causing it to almost fall over backwards. They didn't laugh. They didn't budge. Koomay just held the comic book up in the air, like a soldier waving a battle flag.
Koomay tossed the comic book to me and it landed in my lap. I turned it over. The Clone Commander. Issue Number One. Mint condition. I had given it to a third clone to protect the first two and me. It had failed. I was so...screwed!
Laurie burst into tears and wouldn't stop.
Koomay just sat there like a rigid statue, her eyes burning into mine. "How could you, Johnnie?"
I waited until Laurie slowed down in her crying enough to hear me, and then said. "I love you."
Koomay stared at me.
I looked at Laurie. "I love you too."
Koomay and Laurie both stared at me, their eyes burning with anger.
"I also love Cartoon."
"More." Koomay said the fatal words
"Than us." Laurie finalized.
I sat back in my recliner, speechless. How do you answer something like that after what I'd done and said? Very, very carefully I decided.
I looked at Koomay. "When I first fell in love with you, it was when you made sure I had enough to eat every night before I went home. You cared. And when I met your parents, I could see the kindness in them had spilled over into your heart."
I turned to Laurie. "We've played some bitchin' music together. Late at night. Everywhere and anytime. We make good music together, and you're a friend's friend. I trust no one more. You have never, ever said a word to hurt me, to notch me down, to take away our friendship, or lessen it."
I sat there a long time, my heart pounding in my chest. This was far worse than facing the Zombie King, his horrid eyes, and stinking breath or the Spiral Death and its hypnotic eyes that could seduce you into walking into a living fire and consume you. No, it was far worse. Because these two meant more to me than my own life. I had meant it when I told Cartoon I would rather go to hell than hurt any of them. But I had failed.
I had nothing more to say, to give, to refute the evidence. I had failed them as a friend and as a lover as well. I took a deep breath. "I just hope that someday you can forgive me for wanting to make it right between all of us, even if it turns out it was a stupid thing to do. God awfully stupid."
The silence lengthened further.
I said no more. I just waited for them to get it out in the open, to cut my head off, pound me into the pulp I deserved to be beaten into.
Instead, they got up, took me by a hand, and sat me down between them and put a head on both my shoulders.
"We love you too." Koomay said.
Laurie nodded. "Thank you for finally being honest."
"How long have you known?" I asked them.
"Forever." They both answered as one.
I felt a great sadness. I had hurt them both so much and they both meant so much to me. How can somebody do that?
We sat like that a long time, saying nothing at all.
I think we were all worn out from the emotional toll of our feelings and misunderstanding. We fell asleep on the sofa, they with their heads on my shoulder, and me with my head propped on the back of the sofa.
I didn't hear the front door open as Cartoon entered quietly. She slipped past us and went into my bedroom and prepared to go to sleep. She lay down, smiling. She never scalded me again about the girls after that. No reason too. I had become a man that night. Not because I told the two girls I loved them but because I had finally faced the truth, I really did love them and it wasn't my choice to chase them away to happiness, but rather let t hem choose what made them happy themselves.
How will it all pan out in the end? Will they still want a chunk of me in the end? Who cares? Right now I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I have three girls who love me as much as I love them, and no one is putting a for sale sign on my head, or an eviction notice. For now we were at peace and a treaty had been made.
Then the next morning, just before dawn, the front door smashed open and the Black Letter with his cape of velvet red stood there with massive swords in both hands. His leathery face and blood red eyes stared at my startled face.
"Are you the Comic Book Commander?"
"No." I answered, clutching a copy of the Three Musketeers classic I kept on my coffee table. "I'm your worst nightmare." I paused and then grinned. "The Eraser!"
The Black Letter gave me a look of utter horror.
The girls woke up screaming when I jumped from the sofa and over the table, a huge eraser in my left and right hand, a cape flowing over my back. A grim look on my face.
"Enguarde!" I cried out and together we met in battle as Cartoon rushed from the bedroom, a sword in her own hand, and Laurie and Koomay came running out of the kitchen with a butcher knife and a meat cleaver to join the battle.
And a good thing too, as just at that moment three of the Black Letter's evil henchmen leaped into the room through the front door, snarling fearfully, revealing horrid white vampiric teeth that lusted to suck out our life's blood.
"Die!" The Black Letter screamed at me.
I smiled. "I think not." Then rushed him.
This image is courtesy of ENRIQUE PARIETTI
from his 3D Portfolio.
The Second Magic
"A Young King Arthur Story"
By John Pirillo
“There was a time of magic when hearts were full of joy, and the skies filled with light. That is no more. But it will come again during the time of the Second Magic, which will be even more powerful than the first, because it will be driven by the power of love and reason.” -- Merlin
The Second Age of Magic began simply. A small child wanted something and he got it. Wendell Wimple lived in a small cottage in a village near Snowden, the eastern portion of Westmere, a growing town of abundance and industry. The village was named Caer Mare, because it was a town of mostly graveyards, and had built its industry on serving the living through serving their dead.
Wendell was not a smart child particularly, nor was he a town idiot, driven to do things because he knew no better and never would. No, he was just a simple baker’s son, who had a dream. To become a creature of magic.
So he began as all such things do with the simplest of magic. He got up that morning from his cot of straw and linen to stretch. His tiny legs barely touched the floor, even as close as his mattress was to it. He set his feet down on the cold dirt of the floor and immediately brought them back up, hugging his legs to his chest. “How I wish that every poor child had shoes to protect them from the cold!”
And that day all across the world, starting from Caer Mare every single poor child in the world woke up to a wonderful, brand new set of shoes beside their beds. No child from that moment on would need to touch the floor of their cold abodes and freeze, or whimper from the cold there.
“That sounds like a lot of nonsense.” Arthur said to Merlin, as he washed his cloak in the fresh stream pouring down from the Swords into the valley near his Crystal Caves.
Merlin winked at Arthur. “Perhaps. But it does explain how it all began.”
“So you’re telling me that this is the second magic, which you do?”
Merlin laughed, bringing his cloak up for air, and then tossing it across a broad rock to dry upon. The noonday sun was not hot, but warm enough to dry the cloak and allow seepage of comfort into his limbs as he stretched out on the grassy sward beside the stream and Arthur.
Merlin looked at his brown cloak, then at his own green pants and shirt, and then at the green staff…evergreen staff that never aged…that held his magic at times. “No, there is no second magic for me. No longer. Nor a first.” He added, seeing Arthur about to jump on his words.
“Then if not first or second, what kind is it?”
“Practical.” Merlin said, his eyes crinkling in that attitude of humor and warmth they were wont to do.
Arthur sighed, not sure he would ever get a straight answer from the wizard. “Okay. Let me rephrase my question.”
“What is practical?”
Merlin rose and eyed a stack of clothing that lay near the stream. His and Arthur’s. “Practical is you finishing the wash before it gets too cool to dry them.”
And without further word, but lots of smile etching lines in his handsome face, he set back to the Crystal Cave to work on a project he had been secretly designing for over a month now.
Arthur shrugged. “Whatever!”
He got up and began washing the pants at the top of the heap. His own. They were quite dirty because he had been training with the knights the day before and had slipped and fallen into the pig’s mud they were working in. Each day the Sergeant took them to another potential..as he called it…battlefield where they could simulate real world fighting conditions.
Arthur thought it more likely the man was just torturing them for the fun of it, since he worked for the Dark Queen. But then he shook his head. No, the man had no hint of evil about him, just a gruffness that enfolded a kind heart. Many a time the man had secretly given Arthur lessons and advice when he needed it, so he wouldn’t disappoint Uther or Morgana. Arthur was grateful for that.
He finished the pants, laid them beside Merlin’s cloak to dry, then thought about that morning.
“Har right!” Sergeant had told the men. “Today we pretend we’re fighting a dragon.”
One of the knights, a new one, barely tall enough to slip into his armor and carry it, made the mistake of asking why. “Why, sir?”
The Sarge had swung on the newbie and touched his armored chest with the tip of his mace, which he preferred over a sword. “Because when you meet one, you’re only going to get one chance to win.”
Then he tipped the young man with the mace, and sent him flying backwards to land in a swill made by the local swine. Everyone had broken into laughter, except for Arthur, who had rushed to help him regain his feet. The act had not been lost by the Sarge or the others, who stopped laughing, and suddenly got cases of conscience.
Everyone froze as two dark shadows swung across the group. Sarge turned, a scowl turning to a smile, as he faced Morgana and Uther on their steeds. He bowed. The knights fell to a knee and bowed in that manner.
Morgana gave the Sarge an icy smile. “Some men never get even one chance to defeat a dragon, let alone two!” She said with a hint of menace.
Uther touched her right wrist. “Dear Morgana, surely you can talk to the men in a more queenly fashion.”
Arthur waited for the explosion. It didn’t take long.
She spun on Uther, causing him to jerk in panic. A look neither the King’s men or Morgana’s had seen before. It quickly vanished, as she began to reprimand him. “I shall speak to them as I shall speak to them. These…are my men. And as such, they will whither where I want and when I want.”
Uther started to respond, then withered beneath her harsh glance.
The knights all pretended to be doing something else while the fight continued. Finally, Arthur did a remarkably stupid thing.
“Your majesties!” He spoke up.
They both fixed angry glares upon him. “I have found a new material for the summer cloaks you’ve been asking me for.”
Both continued to glare at him.
Arthur felt his stomach sink with his heart, and then said. “They are made of dragon silk I got from the fairies in the Golden Forest.”
Arthur was taking a chance letting out that information, but he hoped for them both to be so lost in their emotions, so as not to notice the extra bit of information he had given them. That he worked with magic and dragons.
Uther’s face lit up, as did Morganas. “When shall we have them, good man?”
Arthur stood up and half bowed. “When so shall I come hither to your castle?”
Morgana clapped her hands together in glee. “Why at once, good Arthur.”
She and Uther turned their mounts and rode back towards the castle.
Arthur stood there a moment, thinking he had been dismissed, then felt the tip of the Sarge’s mace on his behind.
“If you don’t run like the wind to get those cloaks, and catch them soon after they reach the castle, it’ll be yourself we’ll be chasing with our swords and they with their magic!”
Arthur took the cue and ran.
Which was not easy with a full coat of armor about you
But as he ran, he felt his feet grow lighter. And lighter yet again.
He looked back once and saw all the Knights laughing, but gratitude was in their faces. He had saved them.
Arthur finished washing the last of the laundry, and then sat next to the stone, allowing the heat building up within it, to warm his own water soaked hands and arms. His feet were wet as well as his britches.
He began to think as he lay there, that maybe, just maybe he knew what the second magic was.
Then he fell into a deep sleep, borne away on the wings of angels and dreams yet to be.
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