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Friday, January 18, 2013

Gerome #11 In the Glare of the Multicolored Beast

In the Glare of the Multicolored Beast

WritersPost    -    Blog hop Week #63
Hosted by Michelle Liew

Aquina grabbed Gerome’s arm crouched low and dove for the cover of the scrub at the side of the road.  Beginning to sputter, she slapped her hand over his mouth and drove his face down into the dirt.  Then he heard it.  A sound like no other.  The largest wings in the world flapping overhead.  Eyes wide, Gerome pulled her hand from across his lips. 

“Don’t look up.” Aquina whispered into Gerome’s ear. “The sun will play off your eyes and give us away.  It’s a trick we use to hunt with underwater also.”  They lay there, huddled in the brier bushes for most of the afternoon. 

The beast had dropped out of the sky with its catch. It chose the strong wooded canopy just above them.  Alighting gracefully, for one so large, it dined with flourish and great noise.  Much crunching of bones and smacking of lips, it dropped scraps around the two huddled figures below.  With the forest so quiet, out of fear, the eating habits of the beast were all the more disgusting.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, it dropped the rest of its meal to the ground.  The massively horned head of the stag plummeted to the earth landing inches from Gerome.  Hooves had previously been dropped, now came the hide, billowing to envelope Aquina and Gerome.

The great beast began to preen itself.  The iridescent underbelly which had, at first seemed to be scales like a fish, now showed the plumage of feathers.  Gerome had always thought dragons had the face of a crocodile, but this appeared more as a bear.  It didn't preen with a beak, rather lapped at itself as a cat. With loud flapping of wings, the great beast launched itself from the tree top canopy.  The two figures stayed under their ragged “tent” until they could no longer hear the wind gushing in the beasts forward movement.

“Lord Alfred must be made aware! Now I wonder if the ruckus we heard was not cheering for Lord Alfred, but screams from seeing the beast!”  Aquina nodded furiously, and the two set off towards the village as quickly as their legs would carry them.

The village was indeed quiet upon Gerome and Aquina’s entrance.  The Suit of Arms seemed almost empty.  The two toothless old men, who seemed to have set up residence sitting on the front bench, were still at the post just outside the entrance doors.  Upon spotting Gerome, they hailed him.  “Gerome, what think you of this magic?  Should the woman be put to death?” The questions hit Gerome.  He nearly stumbled with his befuddlement. 

“What woman?  Death?”

“Nearly the whole village is at the Great Hall.  They are to sentence the woman for bringing black magic to the village.” 

As Gerome and Aquina neared the Great Hall, they could hear the elders questioning Cook.  “Did she ever take any food?  Did you see her bathe?” and from Lord Gorgan, “Did she brew any of her spells in your presence? Did she tell you where she was keeping her poisons?”

Elbowing his way through the crowd, the sea of people begrudgingly parted to make way for him.  As he made his way to the front of the room he heard the whispers of the woman being dragged into the village by Lord Alfred himself. 

When Lord Gorgan spied Gorgan he called out. “So, hunchback, you finally arrive to push your way to the front of the crowd?  Your stink seems to have parted the minions. You too have always been suspect.  You have always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.  Far too convenient.”

Ignoring Gorgan, Gerome addressed Lord Alfred.  “Your Lordship, you and I have always held the “Pact of Truth” in the highest.  I invoke the pact and call upon the panel to hear me.”  Exhausted and dirty  he slowly moved into the open space of the circle near the dais.  “This woman should not simply be tried upon the questions you have put to her.  Did not Lord Gorgan’s hounds scent the golem Mildred?  Did Lord Gorgan not scent the golem Mildred?  Why would he now question this woman if in fact it were she who practiced the arts?  It is quite obvious she has been made a pawn in some deviants plan.  It is the deviant and their plan we need to oust, not some poor wretch as this.”

Someone shouted from the crowd, “We’d rather not take any chances, kill her and get on with it.”

Gerome spun, as best as he could, “You would think twice were it you accused to death.”  He could hear the crowd debating his words. 

Lord Alfred finally addressed Gerome, “And where have you been?  Why has it taken so long for you to travel from the river?”

“I have been under the glare of the multicolored beast.”  There was an immediate hush over the crowd.  Then, just as when straw is lit in the hearth, a gush of noise and heat.  Women ran from the great hall to their homes to gather the children from the fields and woods.  The men, many already carrying pitch forks and staffs, cried out for a hunt.

An ugly unruly mob turned even uglier when someone shouted, “If it weren't that woman, it musta been the Gypsies that brought this evil upon us!”  The ensuing roar was deafening. 


Friday, January 11, 2013

Gerome #10 Oh No, Not Again

Oh No, Not Again

Gerome #10    
GBE 2 Week #86   

“No! No! No!  Oh no, not again.  I am NOT going to drink that nasty brown liquid you call ‘Mother’s Milk’!  The last time I did that, I woke up mid-air after you people had launched me from a catapult.  I don’t care that I landed in the middle of the landing pad.  I don’t care that I walked away with only a sprained wrist.  I don’t care…you are NOT going to pull any sort of stunt, on me, like that ever again!”  Giorgio spun on his heels and stormed out of the pub.

“Midgets….they are so temperamental.” 

“No sense of humor in that one.” 

“He doesn’t like to be called a midget.  He rather you call him one of the little people.”

“When I hear little people, I automatically think of Leprechauns!  If he dressed better, maybe people WOULD think he was a Leprechaun.”

“I think those cranky Leprechauns wouldn't even take him.  He’s no sense of humor!”

“You can be sure, when His Lordship gets back, he is gonna get an earful from that one!”

The cacophony at the Suit of Arms became as deafening as a congress of crows; much pounding of mugs on the table tops, raucous laughter, and the scraping of chair legs across the floor.  The patrons of The Suit, as it was known locally, began another plot of adventure at the expense of another unwitting neighbor.

The indignant but unharmed young man kicked at a napping cat as he stormed down the street.  As cats are, it was gone long before the swinging foot neared its resting place causing further frustration. 

Throwing himself onto the ground, the smallish young man began to pick at the weeds growing alongside of him.  He was close enough to the road way to see His Lordship’s caravan returning from their outing.   The young man’s face lit up.  He just knew his pride would be avenged.  He knew those oafish clods from the tavern would get a real tongue lashing from Gerome.  They would never have dared pull a stunt like that with Gerome around.  He began to climb to his knees, astounded he fell back down and sidled behind the tree.  Unwilling to be seen but wanting to witness all he could.  A woman tethered and drug behind as though she were an animal or slave.  Where is Gerome, he would explain what was happening. 

Gerome had opted to walk himself back to the village.  Wanting to tell Lord Alfred, but knowing that timing is everything, he opted to keep the Nymph’s presence a secret.  Unfettered with servants and footmen and military personnel he was certain he would be as invisible as he normally was upon arriving back home.  Also walking alone, rather than riding with the caravan, would give him time to come up with a story about the Nymph.  How was a crippled hunchback going to explain the arrival of such a beautiful woman? 

Cook would see to it that his belongings arrived in his quarters, safely.  He had every confidence that all would be set in order when he arrived.  The hustle and bustle of the villagers gawking at the procession as Lord Alfred reentered with his entourage.  The dust would be settled and he, Gerome, could simply walk in unnoticed accompanied by the Nymph.

Aquina had donned the clothing of a young man, but those eyes told the real story.  She could hide her hair, she could attempt a swagger, but those eyes gave the ruse away.  She had apparently gotten used to walking.  Gerome completely understood her difficulty with walking.  His pace was slowly paced and careful enough to allow Aquina time to adjust.  Living in the waters, Aquina had developed the ability to walk in short spurts, not for the long trek it would take to get back to the village. When Aquina had first emulated his club footed scrabble, Gerome was at first horrified.  Snorting in laughter, he corrected her walking pattern.

Gerome’s ears picked up the raised voices while he and Aquina were still within the forested portion of the trail.  A break in the overhead growth allowed the clamor into the woods.  The roar of voices drowned out the cawing of the raven sentries.  This was not the quiet homecoming Gerome had hoped for.   “Damn this club foot.  Just once I wish to stride upright into town, not scrabble like some hermit crab!” 


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Past Lives

Writers Post – Week #62 - Past Lives
Hosted by Joyce Lansky

His mother looked harried.  “You are the last of my children to leave.  As much as I love you, it’s time.  You need to strike out on your own, garner your own territory.  You know what may happen if you stay.”

Hanging his head, the youngster pushed the tears off his face.  “Yes, Mama.  I've just been waiting for the right one. You know I couldn't just willy-nilly soar off into the unknown.  I know in my heart of hearts where I belong.  With humans.  I know I was a human in my past life.  I am so drawn to them.  You know there is a kinship. Their soft smooth skin and warm abodes.  I am so drawn to them.”

Shaking her head, she hugged him closely.  “The only hitcher not to use the parachute to leave, in our family.  I will miss you.”

Picking his way to the furthest reaches of his mother’s realm.  He stood on the branch with the outermost leaves.  Waiting.  He let a few humans file past, they were not the one he had been watching. 

Finally, the human with the easy laughter was walking near.  Out to the end of the branch, carefully onto the furthest most leaf.  From there, a timely leap!  He raised his arm for signaling.  Success, he had landed on the shoulder of his chosen human!  Life would be wonderful!

She caught a movement out of the corner of her eye.  “EEK!  A SPIDER!  KILL IT!”