Redmayne

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Destiny Afoot

Submitted: June 16, 2018

Reads: 159

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Submitted: June 16, 2018

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The television was talking to itself in the living room. The faded wallpaper had patches where damp had risen up and then dried. Where the edges met it pealed up as the paste had lost its hold on the wall, from being too long in the effort of clinging to it.

What could be seen of the sofa where it was not covered with papers was worn where hands and thighs had rubbed it. It did not matter now; few people ever came to sit on it.

Martin Wilson was in the kitchen. He roughly brushed his overlong grey and thinning hair to one side, as he dried the few items of crockery and cutlery he had used for his tea. His nose had long since desensitised itself to the musty smell of the home and the odour of his own clothes.

He looked up and considered reaching up to put the plate back in the cupboard, but the thought was only fleeting. As he put the plate on the sideboard his mind drifted to his childhood where it often dwelled. His thoughts were a random pattern of incidents of physical and mental abuse at the hands of one teacher in a strictly run church school. Had it not been for that one blight during those years, Martin might well have enjoyed school. It certainly did not make him a poor student; far from it.

The sound of the voice through the television brought him back to the present. He could hear that the news programme, on his old boxy television, was nearing its conclusion. He hastened the drying of his hands and prepared to get back to the old desk against the wall. Upon it sat his window to the world. Standing out from its surroundings, was a computer and its array of peripheral equipment. Even that was surrounded by papers; some photocopies and some handwritten notes.

As the news neared the end, the Newscaster announced “And finally tonight; the full details of the henge, believed to have been of wooden construction, have been released.” The throw away news item caused Martin to come back into the living room, stepping over and between the piles of books that covered any spare flat surface.

The newscaster continued “It seems there is even more around Stonehenge than was previously thought. Scientists discovered it when carrying out a geophysical survey of the area in preparation for the laying of a new high-pressure gas main.”

Martin put down the greying cloth he was carrying as he listened to the description of the henge.

The newscaster finished “If you want to take a better look at that survey map, you will find a link to it on our website.”

Martin raced to the table to grab a pen and note down the website address, before walking over to the television and turning it off. He went straight back to his workstation and grabbed the mouse so that he could move it back and forth bringing the screen back to life. The display showed itself as he sat, but it was blurred through the tears welled up in his eyes. He wiped them away, not wanting to be slowed; not now his goal seemed to close.

He searched through his meticulously kept files until he found and opened the one containing the story of Edgar the Wanderer. He read the file again, refreshing his memory of the legendary, but little-known tale.

He read how Edgar had been considered a great Christian in his time, and as his name suggests, he had travelled far and converted many people to his faith.

Martin again noted how Edgar’s journal had changed following his return from a trip to a remote Danish tribe that still followed their old gods. Edgar told of an Evil being that had taken control of the minds that got close to it. He had noticed the change in some of the people, though not in outward appearance, but those affected became destructive towards the community, and if they were a strong asset to the people, they became destructive towards themselves.

Edgar had not been able to break the resolve of the people in their pagan faith, but he had been able to tell that something had been changing their philosophies. Edgar told of the link to a trip the people were taking to a place outside the village. Each of them on their return told others how they had found the wisdom of the Gods.

Edgar had followed one of the people who went on the trip. His chronicle told how he had kept his distance, as he had no desire to be affected by any false idol. He had stayed and watched as people came to the ancient circle, stood before a strange ghost like vision and then went away again. For two moons he had watched in fear and fascination; that was until he witnessed the battle that saw the trapping of the ungodly figure.

Martin sat back. Many people thought him as mad as Edgar for his belief in the story, but they tolerated it because few could read the ancient languages with the ease that he could. With the position of the henge, Martin would have the goal of his life’s work: the location of the crystal that had been lost for so long. He had no more an idea what the ancient being was than Edgar, but he knew that Edgar had described it as the Evil One and had feared it. If Edgar feared it, then so too would the church that had founded the school he hated.

His fingers eagerly flicked over the keys as he typed in the website address to find the location of the henge.

*****

The rays of the spring morning sun were making it difficult to read the screen, so Patricia left her typing and went over to the window to close the window blind.  The sun was shining on her flaming red hair, and her pale complexion was a rare sight in the California climate. Her body was slim and well-toned; that was evident even in her work suit. It was not only her beauty that was striking about her; she had an aura of a confidence that seemed to come from deep within.

Before blocking the sun, she allowed herself a moment to look out from the single storey office building onto the grassed area that sat between the car park and the building. She watched a small bird hunting for insects. Turning her back on the world outside, she brushed down her light green trouser suit. She tidied the red scarf around her neck. She smiled to herself as she thought “Who says, redheads can’t wear red.”

She was still smiling as she turned and looked down at her desk. As she sat back down in the small Los Angeles office she straightened one of the piles of papers that were barely out of alignment with the other regimented groups of papers and, stationery and notes.

Once she had positioned herself back at her desk, she checked her calendar to see that all her deadlines were well in hand and got back to her report. It was a straight forward conveyancing contract, but it needed attention to detail. While she concentrated on it she could tell she was being watched, but she carried on, knowing there was nothing to be feared.

She knew it was Bob watching her, and she pretended not to notice the couple of deep breaths he took. She never thought of him as a shy man, but his ego seemed to melt away when he came to speak to her.

As he walked up to the desk he smiled and said “Can I interrupt you for a minute?”

Patricia looked up and smiled. “Well it looks to me like you already have.”

“Yeh, but it’s not easy you know. Once you’re concentrating, there is no stopping you.”

“There must be something special to make you come by and stop me then?”

“There is; some of us are going for a drink after work and we...” Bob hesitated, and Patricia saw his professional facade faltering, “...wondered whether you wanted to join us?”

“Oh Bob, thanks for thinking of me, but I have to go and train.” Patricia said and she saw once again his eyes dropping to look at the desk.

“You’re not trying to avoid us are you?” Bob asked

“Oh Bob, come on, you know I’m not,” said Patricia wishing there was some way to make this easier on him.

Bob rubbed the desk with one finger and said “I'm not sure that's true at all. You keep training, but I’ve never seen you in any competition.”

Patricia was surprised by Bob's words; being that direct in negotiations over real estate was easy to him, but he was rarely that direct with her. Not that she minded, and she thought she too would be direct and truthful so she replied “There are just some things more important than competitions.”

Bob looked up and straight at Patricia. “More important than friends too, I guess.”

Patricia knew he was right, some things were more important, but she didn't want to say that to Bob. He was a nice guy. She knew it always took him quite an effort to ask, and it was flattering to be asked. She smiled and said “Bob I’d love to come with you, but I just can’t I’m sorry.” 

“Perhaps another time then?” said Bob.

Patricia looked up with a half-smile, wishing he knew just how much she would like to be able to go with them; and how much she wanted to be able to go with him.

Bob said nothing, he just smiled and walked out as he had done on every other occasion.

*****

The hospital corridor was as quiet that evening as the London back streets outside. It was a peaceful haven in the lively city. Around the corner came a hospital bed, and upon it was a small boy, half way through his ninth year. As it entered the long straight of the utilitarian blandly painted corridor, its pace increased until it was being pushed at a speed faster than would normally be considered safe.

The bed on which the young boy sat, was being propelled by Jason, a young slim porter with short cut ginger hair. He slowed the bed down and leant forward so that he and the boy could see each other.

“You'll soon be back on the main ward with your friends. That’ll be good, won’t it?” Said Jason.

The boy replied glumly “I suppose so.”

“Oh come on; cheer up then.”

There was no reply and so Jason stopped pushing and came around to face the young boy. He crouched down to the child’s height and looked very seriously at the boy’s face. “Hmm, well that’s no good. You seem to have lost your smile; I will have to take you to see Dr Sandler, the plastic surgeon.” With that he started to turn the bed around. “Yes, Doctor Sandler will know what to do; we can’t have boys who don’t smile.”

The boy waved his hands in the air “No, I don't want to go to the Doctor. I’m smiling; see?”

The porter stopped pushing and again came to have a look at the boy, who gave his widest grin. Jason studied him for a moment, and then he stood back up and started pushing the bed at speed again. As he ran up the corridor, he shouted “It's worse than I thought; make way for Nigel; the boy who has no smile. Clear the operating theatre, we’re coming in.”

Nigel started giggling and Jason slowed down and turned the bed around again. Now walking at a normal pace, he said “That’s better.”

They carried on down the corridor until they came to a ward. They went past the nursing station and on to the farthest bay where there was a side ward with three beds containing children, and an empty fourth space.

Jason gave a cheery greeting to the three children as he came into the bay.

The children all shouted in unison, “Hello Uncle Jason.”

As Jason was putting the bed into place he said “Here we are, I said I’d bring him back, didn’t I?”

All the children cheered, including Nigel.

No sooner had Jason finished manoeuvring the bed into place than he heard a little girl's voice from one of the beds.

“Uncle Jason?” Said the girl.

Jason walked over and crouched next to her bed in the corner. “Yes Louise, what can I do for you?”

“Now Nigel's back, will you show us a trick?” She asked.

Jason turned to address all the children, “Ooo, I don't know about that, do you think I should?”

“Go on,” they all said together, in a voice that Jason felt held no doubts.

Jason turned back to Louise, “All right; did you look after it for me?”

Louise pointed down at her bedside unit, “Yes, it’s in my cupboard where you left it.”

Jason went to the unit and got out a Frisbee. He then proceeded to do a few tricks to entertain the kids. Spinning it on the tips of his fingers and rolling it across his shoulders in between other tricks. He was so busy amusing the children and concentrating on his tricks that he didn't notice the Ward Sister and a Nurse appear behind him.

“What do you think you're doing?” the Sister's voice boomed out, so startling Jason that he dropped the disk.

“Ah well,” mumbled Jason as he bent to pick up what he'd dropped, “I seem to have slipped a disk.”

“I’ll slip you more than that if you don’t get off my ward and take that thing with you.”

Jason pulled a face to the children so that the Sister couldn't see it, and then he left briskly with his Frisbee. As he left he saw the Sister wink at him and he heard her saying softly to the young patients “Right then; let’s get you settled in.”

Jason knew it was all part of the act for the children. It made it more fun if they thought he was doing something that he shouldn’t, and it wasn’t the kind of behaviour that would be good to be doing all the time in the wards, but it did help to lift the kid’s spirits and so it was tolerated. As with many medicines it was better if kept to small doses.

*****

Patricia turned off the television.

Julian, the young boy in front of it looked up at her as she did it. His eyes were wide and his mouth open. Almost as soon as the click was heard, he said “Ohhh, I’m not tired,” in a whiny voice that strikes at the nerve of mothers.

“Come on now, it’s time you got some rest,” said Patricia.

“I don't want to.”

“Well in that case, I'll have to take your TV out of the bedroom again.”

He flopped down in bed with his back to her and said “You’re mean.”

She tucked the duvet in around him matter of factly. “I know; it’s what we mothers do best: didn’t anyone tell you that?”

“Daddy wouldn’t have made me go to bed now.”

“You’re right; he would have turned the TV off half an hour ago.”

Just as she was about to turn and leave the room, Julian said “Why did he leave us?”

Patricia sat on the bed with her shoulders slouched. She looked at the worn patch on her ring finger, breathed in and said “You know why. It was because he went into that building to get those people out.”

“Why did he do that?”

“Because he was a hero.”

“Was he scared?”

“Oh I should think he was, but you can’t be a hero unless you have something you’re scared of.”

Julian turned over to face his mother. “I was scared, the first day I went to school.”

Patricia patted him gently, “That’s why you’re my hero.”

“I like being your hero.”

“Well then, you’d better close your eyes then. All heroes need their sleep. Now come on; I’ll kiss you goodnight.”

Julian lay down and Patricia kissed him and stroked his forehead. She then walked to the door and looked back at her son. He was the most precious thing she had; left to her by the man she loved.

She remembered how his father had become part of her life. No matter how much she’d tried to push Tom away; no matter how many times she turned him down; he would not listen. Tom would come to meet her at the door of the gym after her training sessions. She could see his smiling face as he offered to walk her to her car. He would not let her shut him out. It was stalking, but her heart welcomed it.

Still she had been afraid; afraid that if she let him in, he would give her a loving home and children. She was always afraid that one day she might have too much to lose. Even after she had told him of her family history and her need to prepare, Tom never once tried to turn her from the path, just as she never tried to stop him risking his life in burning buildings. He’d always said that there should always be something worth coming home to.

As she left the room, switching the light off as she went, she wondered whether it was a sense of duty that had tied them together. As her mind considered the possibility and she went into the living room, her pace slowed and the room seemed suddenly emptier. At that moment the modest sofa, seemed too big for her and she went straight through to the kitchen.

A high protein shake was needed she thought. She tried to tell herself that it was needed to replace the muscle mass lost in her training session, but in her heart she knew it was just to keep her hands busy and take her mind off Tom. She gathered the ingredients from their places and put them on the worktop next to the neatly arranged gadgets that she used regularly.

 Smiling to herself she said “Well, coconut juice I think; it’s time for a girl to have a little fun.”


© Copyright 2019 Kevin Broughton. All rights reserved.

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