Joe2stories

Stories from a Dublin Scientist

Month: March, 2015

Picture it and Write: A Presence in the Shadows

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write from Ermilia’s Blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy!

A Presence in the Shadows

Jonny’s mother has been very clear as she left him at the gate of his new school. “You are only to play in the courtyard. No matter what happens, don’t go anywhere near the trees.” He didn’t understand why she was being so paranoid. After all; this was the town she had grown up in, she had never said anything about it being unsafe. “Trust me on this.” She implored “Please”

But if little boys could be sensible they would be little men and life would be so much more boring. The second the doors opened for lunch break Jonny was heading straight for the trees.

He had gathered what little information he could from his new class mates but Jonny was amazed and delighted at just how wonderful the little piece of forest was. It was like a magical wonderland to someone who had only known the concrete jungle of the big city. There were fungi, mosses, broken sticks, even a dead bird so many things to investigate and explore. In fact he was so engrossed that he did not see or hear anything untoward until there was a voice from behind him.

“Hello Jonny”

Jonny turned suddenly to find a man standing there beside him. He was youngish, late twenties, the same as him mother. But his eyes looked older, like they were tired from a long, hard life.

He made one step forward.

“Who are you?” Jonny shouted “You are not supposed to be here”

The man stood back, a little shocked, He muttered something, Jonny thought it sounded like “So like her” But he couldn’t be sure. He confronted the man again.

“Why are you here? This is school grounds, you are not supposed to be here. If you don’t leave I will get a teacher.” He then paused for a second “How do you know my name?”

“The thing is.” The man said “The thing is… I used to know your mother. We were old friends.”

“If you were friends with Mom, how come you never visited us in the city, or since we moved here?”

The man grimaced. “That’s complicated… We have history.”

“What do you mean by that?” anger passed quickly over his face “Did you do anything bad to her? Because if you did.”

The man raised his hands to stop Jonny. “No! No! I didn’t do anything to her.. At least nothing bad. We just fell out.”

“Well that doesn’t make any sense. How can you lose a friend like that? What happened?”

“It is a little hard to explain..”

Jonny could hear a bell in the distance. “That means that break is over, I have to head back to school. I will ask my mom why she won’t talk to you.” he turned and started to walk in the direction of the school building. He paused after a couple of steps “What is your name? So I can say.”

The man looked flustered, as if fighting for the words to come out. “Artie… Artie Jones.”

“That’s a nice name.. My mom says my Dad’s name was Artie…. I never met him.” Jonny started back “Goodbye!”

Jonny was waving as he passed through the trees and the man, he did seem a nice man, was waving back, if not a little slowly. Perhaps his mother would let him be her friend again. He looked like he would like that.

That would be a nice thing.

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Picture it and Write: The Right thing

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s picture it and write for Ermilia’s blog here. Once again, the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway, Enjoy.

The Right Thing

William adjusted the bowtie on his suit and looked at himself in the mirror. It would not do for anything to be out of place, not tonight, everything had to be perfect, or there would be hell to pay.

He was about to turn his tie a fraction more to the left when there was a soft fhump from behind him followed by a soft rustle of the curtains of the hotel room. There was a feeling in the pit of his stomach, a feeling that he had not felt in a long time. “So you have come..”

He turned around and there she was, the woman they had turned to all those years ago. She was ageless except for the eyes, they showed experience far beyond anything a mortal could achieve. Her face was grim and determined “We had an agreement Mr Price. You have broken it.”

William knew she was right but still he fought. “You don’t know how hard it has been. He never listened to me, always did what he wanted. Until we got here.” He gestured at the poster on the wall, his son’s face triumphantly looking back.

“I don’t care how hard it was Mr Price. I only can that you broke our agreement. I gave you a son, he was suppose to live simply, without learning or fortune. Why when he makes his speech tonight will he say that it was your guidance and that of your late wife that set him on this course?”

“You can’t blame me for that. I just wanted the best for him. Everyman wants that for their son.”

“But he is not your son Mr Price. Not entirely. The blood of Gods runs through his veins and he knows it. As do all who follow him. This was a man who would grab at any power he could, who if given half a chance would ascend to the highest tiers. Something you were meant to prevent.”

William got down to his knees, “I know, I know. But it is over now. He has gotten what he wanted, he can’t want anymore.”

The woman laughed aggressively “If you think that this is the end of his ambitions then you are more blind than I thought. Already he is planning his final move against those who dared oppose him. How many have already died? How many people you were close to?”

That jab hit hard. William already had questions about his wife’s sudden death two years previously. She had started to question their son in public. There had been words, some that may have been construed as threats. But no evidence, nothing more than suspicions, nothing a mere mortal could see. The insinuation by the woman was as good as a hammer blow of confirmation to William. But she wasn’t finished there.

“And after he has this country wrapped around his fingers do you really think he will be satiated. Already your neighbors look at these events with worrisome eyes, already they build up their armaments in caution. With him now in power there will be war, millions will die. Perhaps he will be stopped, if enough nations can rally against him. But it will only be then will we have a chance to undo what has been done not unless you act now.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

The woman waved her hand and William felt something in his palm. He looked down and there was a knife, a thin dagger with an ornate handle.

“Thirty years ago you asked me to change the world for you, to give you a son. I should have said no. Told you that that is what should have been but you begged and pleaded and cried to me and I ended up doing not what was right but what you wanted. And because of that we have imbalanced the world and now millions are set to suffer as a result.”

“But! But! What can I do?”

“You asked for this, you asked for a son and I told you what you had to do. I should have known better, known you couldn’t have kept your promise, that you would have been too weak. But perhaps you can salvage the situation. Thanks you you Mr Price the world is imbalanced, but it has not yet reached a tipping point, the point of no return. If your son dies before the new moon.” She gestured at the dagger “If you kill him. Then we can still avoid the worst. That is not to say bad things won’t happen. But without his charisma to drive it there will not be war.”

“But he is my son. I.. I can’t.”

“It is because he is your son that only you can do this. Only you know his true colours, only you can get close enough. My powers will not work against him, they will only push the balance even further. You asked for his life, only you can bring his death.”

“What if they stop me? His people I mean?”

“They won’t. I can arrange that. You will die soon afterwards of course. But you can either die now after doing something right or die only a few years from now when it all collapses since you did nothing. That is your choice; you know what you have to do.”

William looked at the knife again and there was another fhump and the woman was gone.

He was deep in troubling thoughts when there was a loud knock on the door, some minion looking for him to take his place.

William still held the dagger, he knew what he had to do, what he should do, he remembered the bad what was done, he knew that what had been prophesied would come to pass. But he also remember the baby he once held, the joy he felt the day nature was defied and he became a father.

Antagonistic emotions fought tooth and nail across his consciousness, reaching a stalemate when the next knock reverberated around the room.

He pocketed the dagger, adjusted his suit one more time and made his way to the door.

He didn’t know what he was going to decide to do, which of the two paths before him he would take.

He only knew one thing; he was going to decide soon.

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