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On the third day...

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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The four of them exchanged glances across the table. Finny gave Casper a nod of encouragement and what she hoped was a reassuring smile. Casper very slowly, and under the wide silent stares of the others, got to his feet and lifted the open book with both hands. His thumbs pressed side by side against the spine and at the very bottom of the spread pages as if praying to the author. Maybe he was. He swallowed, licked his lips and stared hard at the words on the page.

It had been like this for three days now. Joe had come into work one morning and seemed like he had something on his mind. By lunchtime on that first day his face had set into a grump and suppliers were seen to flee white-faced down the wooden stairs and out the front door. After lunch the reading group, oblivious to the gathering storm, had tumbled into his office all noise and elbows and ready for another hot afternoon of learning. And it had just gone downhill from there. The factory floor didn’t escape either. It is impossible to produce ammunition without noise, but after the third door slamming tirade from the balcony they were giving it a damned good try.

By mid-afternoon on the third day the reading group knew the story of what was probably behind Joe’s unprecedented bad mood. Well, the version of the story that had reached them after going through the filters of grown up’s Chinese whispers before being further distorted by the furtive imaginations of a orphanage full of kids and teenagers. What had reached the four nervous reading group members now trapped in the office with Joe was this:

The Mrs. Doctor Lady (who everyone knew was Joe’s secret daughter) had been kidnapped by flying people who had been magicked by Aunt Lucy (who everyone also knew was really a witch).

Joe, along with Kirsten, Annie and Silja the teenage mutant killer nanny were on the run from more of the flying people and had holed up in Joe’s secret underground fortress on top of a mountain. Meanwhile, the Mrs. Doctor Lady was being tortured in the lair of Aunt Lucy to get Joe to give her all his treasure.

Then, the mayor of Hope Springs had invaded Flagg with an army and attacked the witches’ lair with nothing but swords and bows and arrows (because everyone knew that the mayor was allergic to guns and would die if she touched one). The witch had escaped but Mrs Doctor Lady was so horribly tortured that she had to wear a mask and had a hump and warts.

That’s why Joe was so was mad, because he had to figure out how to break the curse… which apparently had something to do with digging up dead bodies at midnight.

Finny wasn’t too sure about that last bit, but Worms swears down that it was true.

So, here was Casper, legs like jelly. On his third attempt at reading the passage from the book Joe had assigned them while Joe himself glared from behind his desk, his thick, tobacco-stained fingers drumming like a doom laden metronome. Casper swallowed like mad to coax some spit into his dry mouth. He took a breath.

“You… You’re a… wizard, Harry.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lance Striker's picture

(( XD More credible than 80% of the backstories I've heard over the years.

Lonely are the brave...

Hyle Troy's picture

Hyle slowly paced accross the floor of Tuki's lounge holding the newest generation of the Troy family against her shoulder, Ichiro was tired, Hyle was tired

She softly patted his back, lulling him off to sleep.

     

     "Visselul, mit lille barn

      Mo'er sidder og vinder garn,

      Fa'er går på Langebro,

      Køber barnet nye sko,

     Nye sko med spænder, 

     Så sover barnet længer...."



She sang quietly. Tuki was asleep, this was the main reason Hyle was there, to give her daughter a chance to rest.

Ichiro had been fractious for a few days now. They say babies can sense changes in their mother,

Perhaps when Tuki woke, when she  sat down to the meal Hyle had brought with her.

Perhaps she would tell Hyle how she felt,

Perhaps not, But Hyle would try to be there when she was ready.

 

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

Joe Spivey's picture

It was two days later when Tuki and Ichiro came to Hyle’s for a visit. They cooed over the baby and of course Hyle was suitably impressed by his latest baby achievement and she laughed at the little anecdotes of Tuki’s blossoming family life. Through it all, though, there was ’something’ hanging in the air. But Hyle was patient.

Ichiro finally went to sleep and Tukiko and Hyle sat together over coffee and cake and caught up on town gossip. Eventually, they came to a natural pause in the conversation. The pause went on just a couple of seconds longer than it should and, in the silence, Hyle felt the subtle change in the room. She found herself holding her breath, staring at the top of her daughter’s head as Tuki turned the cup on the saucer. Tuki looked up and her strange grey eyes fixed on Hyle’s own.

“Why did that woman look like me, Mor?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stick with me kid and you'll be farting through silk.

Hyle Troy's picture

 

Why did that woman look like me, Mor?”

 

The question caught Hyle’s breath. She had been patiently waiting a long time for Tuki to find it in herself to talk about her experiences, but the question still caught her by surprise.

 

Her mind was catapulted back to the confrontation with Miss Brown. The images flew across her mind. She remembered being tied to the post and looking directly into the sneering, triumphant face of Miss Brown. The images in her mind morphed from Tuki to Brown and back to Tuki.

 

Mor…?”

 

She is nothing like you....” Hyle answered softly.

 

Hyle looked at her daughter. Her mothers eyes disseminated easily the one from the other. It began in the eyes and reflected in each and every facet of Tuki’s face. Tuki’s face shone with grace, kindness. Of goodness. The antitheses of the distilled evil which she saw when she beheld Brown.

 

But…” Tuki started to speak but stopped as Hyle stood up then crossed to sit beside her.

 

Hyle put her arm around Tuki and drew her closer into maternal comfort. Tuki allowed, deep down she needed her mother.

 

She is everything you are not, elskede.” Hyle leaned her cheek on Tuki’s head.

 

It’s like…” Hyle hesitated a moment then decided to push on

 

It felt like I was looking at your evil twin. Like someone took everything bad out of you and put it into her. And… it was as if she saw you as some sort of a threat.. She tried to convince me to join her, but..” Hyle shook her head then went on.

 

I have seen her before, long time ago in The Wafflehus. I didn’t like her even then, although she wore sunglasses, I didn’t see her eyes. But, something about her just made my hackles rise. Call it instinct maybe.”

 

But she just wanted me, to get at Joe. It felt like she was taking her anger out on me because she wanted to hurt Joe more?” Tuki’s voice was shaky. “If it was even anger, maybe it was just her sadism.”

 

I don’t know, Hun. Did she give you the speech. Clone supremacy, all that shite? Who knows what she was trying to do. But it was like the opposite of everything I’m trying for. We are trying to achieve.”

 

Tuki shrugged. From the cot, Ichiro stirred and made a couple of sleepy sounds.

 

It doesn’t matter. You matter,” Hyle nodded at the cot. “He matters, however many other grandchildren you bring me, they all matter.”

 

Hyle hugged Tuki.

 

And so long as I can draw breath….” She kissed Tuki’s head.

 

Tuki relaxed into the hug, feeling safe and warm as always. But Hyle's answers just raised more questions. A twin? Clone supremacy... What? She hugged her mother back, as if reassuring her. Maybe though, remembering the photograph on Joe's desk, it was not just her mother she should be asking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers



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