Saturday, 31 January 2015

Fitting In

It's Slamming Time... two genres, slammed together to make one story.  Chuck gave us two lists and we had to pick out what we thought would make some great work.  I chose:  Sword & Sorcery and Alternate History.  Enjoy!

I spotted him sitting alone at lunch time picking at his lunch as the other kids played, screamed and ran around the school yard around him.  Richard was in his own world, as he watched the butterfly flit and flutter on the wind’s current, blind to everything around, and yet, it knew where to go – well, kinda.

He was entranced by its beauty.

I turned my attention away for a moment to pull apart two girls who had gotten into a hair-pulling fight, sending them off to the Principal’s office.  When I turned back, it was in time to see him raise his hand, open-palmed at the butterfly, while watching it with a small smiled on his face.  Then, he suddenly pulled it into a fist!  As he did, the insect was mutilated!

My breath caught and he looked straight at me. 

My mouth turned dry as I saw in his eyes nothing… a mocking kind of expression, a look of emptiness you can’t really describe – but feel.
The bell for the next class snapped me out of my trance and he packed up his lunchbox and walked towards the buildings, stepping on the dead butterfly, walking past me.

I could feel his chilliness as he ignored my attempt to say hello to him.

But I knew at that moment… right then.

I had found him.

I had found Merlin.

A few days passed by and I saw him again sitting in the library looking through books in the study area.  Some of the boys from his class were throwing balls of paper at his head, snorting as some of them got caught in his hair, calling him ‘a poofta’ and ‘whatcha gonna do, cry… go on, cry.’
The whole time, he ignored them, brushing the paper off his work, out of his hair and kept on reading the books – or so it looked like it.  I was flipping through some books to see which ones to use for the next few class reading list, writing down some titles as I found one or two I needed for my class in my notebook, when he looked over at me over his reading glasses.
The boys noticed and snickered amongst themselves little snortings and pickings about ‘a class romance’ and ‘isn’t he a little old for you?’.  He ignored them again as he turned the page of the book, but as he did, I noticed his hand wasn’t exactly touching the page.  His fingers lifted off the page around an inch or so and the page seemed to follow as though by magic.
I almost wished I had my phone or camera handy, but I didn’t.
Blinking a few times, turned back to the book of ‘Old Man and the Sea’ in my hands, decided against it, put it back on the shelf, and picked up the next book from the reading list we were offered.  When I turned back to where Richard had been sitting, I found he had gone.

His classmates had followed him outside.

This was when I heard the scream cut the air!

Dropping the book, I grabbed my notebook and raced outside where I found Richard standing his ground, while one of the students who had been picking on him in the library was in a crumpled heap in the port racks, and appeared to be not moving.
I turned to him, “Richard, what happened?”
One of the boys snapped, “He threw our friend through the air, but he didn’t touch him… it was weird, Sir.”
I looked at the boy they were glaring at and hesitantly touched his shoulder, “Richard, you can tell me.”
He looked up at me, tears in his eyes, “I wanted to tell him to leave me alone, to go away.  When I turned around, he was like that.  I didn’t touch him.”
“Sir, he clearly doesn’t fit in here…”
“It’s not about fitting in when you go to school,” I snapped, “It’s about  getting an education.  Now, I did notice he didn’t do anything to provoke you, so what happened?” I looked back at Richard and he had zoned out, looking at his feet.  He didn’t like being the centre of attention, and I knew he was going to be suspended by the Principal.
I had to call him on this.
“What he said happened… well, it happened, but we did pick on him.” One of the boys said, “But he’s a weirdo… what did you expect?”
“Okay, no name-calling, you’ll only make things worse.” I ordered, “Now, get your friend to the office, along with the rest of you lot and, Richard, you’ll have to come with me there too.  I have to report you.”
His eyes snapped up to me, “Do you have to?”
This was when I knew I was working with a powerful being.  I heard a voice in my mind, ‘You don’t need to report me to the Principal.’
I smiled and said quietly, “I am not the droid you’re looking for.” A panicked expression crossed his face as I let him go first along with the rest of the boys to the Administration.
Man, Richard had it all … all inside him… how did he sleep at night?

His mind power worked on the Principal… and his parents – who had no clue what they had under their roof – and he was let go of. 
I stayed behind and told the Principal what happened.
He didn’t believe me and told me to take some time off – that I was stressed out.
He gave me three weeks off.

This meant I was suspended with pay. 

But I was sent here to find Richard and let him know of his destiny.  Being a substitute teacher wasn’t exactly the right way to do this, but observing him was great outside school.
I could really watch him in his element, which was in public.
Being a sorcerer myself, I could disguise myself and place myself at just the right places and know where he was going to be.  But there was one problem, he knew it was me every time.
He spotted me at a restaurant, at a skate park and at a busy shopping mall… and each time, I had used different disguises.  Richard would turn around and just look at me through the crowd and give me a little smile; knowing I wasn’t allowed anywhere near him, because I was just his teacher most times, most days.

Anyway, I thought to back off and let well enough alone.  I was halfway through my suspension and didn’t want to lose my job at the school; I liked teaching English, Music and Art.  I was good at them.  So, I played my piano, painted a few canvas’ and read a couple of books in the time I had left to myself.

That was until I heard on the radio of the car accident not far from my house.  I turned on the news network on the television and found it was Richard’s family who had been involved in the accident; and all of them but him had been fatally injured in it.
I packed up my bag and took off to the hospital, leaving the tv on and my canvas half-finished and all the lights on in the house.

They wouldn’t let me see him, not unless I was family.
He wasn’t in ICU, but he was being kept in for observation, and that’s all they told me.  I sat in the waiting room in the ER knowing he’d change people’s minds; and he did.
The doctor came out, searched the room for me, “He wishes to see you.”
I stood and followed the doctor into the tiny cubicle where they had him hooked up to a few things, “Hello, Richard.”
He looked at me, “Hi, Mr Harrigon.” He waited for the doctor to leave and the duty nurse to finish what she was doing and pull the curtain for us to have privacy, “You can stop calling me Richard.  I know what- who I am.” He smiled, “And you’re another Sorcerer as well.”
“What is your name, Sorcerer?”
He smiled, “Merlin.  And you are Taliesin, my father.”
“I am so pleased we have found each other… but we have much work to do, for there is a war afoot and not much time to find the Arthur of this time.”
He frowned, “That could be anyone.”
“I know, but we must find The Tor, the Sword and all the Knights as well to make the ending we wish for right.” I grinned, “Are you with me, my son?”
“You know I am, Father!”