The Burglar: Chapter One

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
After the tragedy of his mother's death and his home destroyed, John suffers a wretched guilt threatening to consume him. Yet inspired by his only friend, he embarks on a forbidden quest for redemption.

Submitted: June 01, 2012

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Submitted: June 01, 2012




John step by stepped down the main road through his dusty town. His eyes followed his feet, and they fascinated him. They carried him wherever he needed, wanted, or felt to go; just like everyone else’s feet; they did normal feet-like things, like at this moment they kicked the dirt; and they would never leave him.

‘I’m deeply sorry about your mother, John,’ said Mrs. Brasky as she laid a gentle hand on his shoulder. It was a kind, yet inappropriate gesture. 

Spooked, John did not answer her instantly. ‘Oh yes, thank you Mrs. Brasky,’ he replied after a couple seconds, and turned to move on, for he wished not to think or speak of it. But in spite of his wish, that deadly shadow flew across as his mind as it did over the hills the day it happened. He stuffed the vision away as quickly as he could.

He intended only to meander throughout the village, to pretend that he had no home, and indeed this was so; he was lost in the only village he had ever known. His imagination coddled him as it had all his life; its magic carried him far away from trouble. The market met him ahead to his right.

The market bustled too much for him; too much semi-shouting and accidental elbowing and fruits rolling here and there in the dust; his feet turned him left to a lonelier road. He once delighted in the tumult, the how-do-you-dos and I’ve-missed-yous, for he was of a friendly sort and company was his greatest pleasure. Was. He frowned at this memory. He cursed that day, the day he became lost, and everyday since, and everyday he had left to live, for his heart seemed to weep within him daily in an agony only the lost know. That horrid, thieving day. 

This road narrowed into the forest flanking the western edge of his town, but he did not want to go in there. The trees owned this forest, they were guardians of the most ancient purities and perils, and harbored neither evil nor good, only wonder. But they were kindly trees, not threatening. Their forest was not fearful or dreary like other forests, but like all forests it harbored both wonderful and dreadful things. He feared not the beasts and dark things, but a foul memory that would tear him apart, for it was more ruthless than the strongest jaws and the sharpest claws. Home beckoned him from far away, but he had no home, he had only a friend. That heart of his begged him to remain alone, for it desired the freedom to weep undisturbed. It craved pain, torturous justice, to punish itself for its weakness, for its cowardice. He thought this strange, that his bleeding heart should taste so sweet. Yes, it was time to go.

So he turned around, all gloomy, and trudged on to his friend’s cottage. The journey seemed entirely too long. His legs tired of his wandering all day, and they nagged him for rest. He had met the town again and turned right onto the main street, but quickly snuck into an ally to the east which led to a sneaky back road; less traffic to bump him, less eyes to see him. His friend’s cottage sat about three quarters of a mile east of town, and it rested in a bed of rolling meadow covered in green blanket. He sighed inside as he passed the last building in the town and road turned into trail.

Dusk was now settling in the sky, and its beauty allayed his uneasiness for a moment. Pinks and yellows streaked this way and that and painted the sleepy clouds. His smile surprised him, it had snuck up on him. There would always be the sky to look at; for like his feet, the sky would never leave him. 

On he went into the east, trying not to think but thinking anyway. At least he would soon be with his friend. His only friend at the moment, but this friend dug up the true John, the John that laughed at jokes and made plenty himself. He turned his thoughts to pleasant memories and what awaited him ahead, and a weak smile spread and lifted his cheeks. 

At last, as the sun waved goodbye he arrived at the cottage. It was an unusual house, not like any other in the land. It was shaped like a rectangle pointing north and south and made of stacked, interlocking logs; it had a pointy triangle roof where two rectangles met on each side made out of clay square tiles, different from the cottage roofs in town which had the same shape, but were made of simple thatch.

His feet clunked on the wooden porch, and he opened the door. 

© Copyright 2019 Dee Durin. All rights reserved.

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