Grimm

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is now a chapter in my novel 'Grimm story' so why not read that, instead? (It has a few minor changes, but it's basically the same thing)

Submitted: June 16, 2010

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Submitted: June 16, 2010

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It all starts in a boxlike apartment overlooking an alleyway. The apartment had just one room, which was empty. A bare bulb flickered sadly on an exposed wire, casting a bland, white light on blank, whitewashed walls which in turn housed a sagging sofa, an empty bookcase and a three-legged square coffee table. On the coffee table was a newspaper dated 2002. The actual year of this story is 2005 but the resident of the apartment hadn’t thrown anything away for the last ten years.
His name was Kyle Green, and he would have been a millionaire.
Not a billionaire (Kyle Green was not prone to flights of fancy) but a millionaire for sure. He was millionaire material - ambitious, forward looking, three sixty thinker and all that stuff. As Kyle Green woke up from his morning nap, he scowled at the unfairness of it all. He would have been a millionaire, but for some small details. He hadn’t worked in five years, living primarily off his roommate, a weasel of a man named Fred Stringer. He had no qualifications to speak of, but he would assure any interviewers he saw that he had ideas- ideas and dreams. He just knew he had that stroke of genius that made every great man. How could he not? He had been bullied at school; he had loved comic books, video games and trading cards, and he knew everything there was to be known about spaceships. People with rough childhoods always went on to be rich, and now it was time for his luck to start changing. He wanted a payout.
Kyle Green was about to get that payout, but as for his luck, it was fast running out.
 You see, as Kyle stretched his scrawny arms out, very deliberately picked himself off his sofa and plodded slowly to the window to see from the light what sort of time it was, it just so happened that three children were also plodding slowly down the alley with much more purpose.
Coincidentally, there was an article about these children in the 2002 paper, but the photo of them was so very blurry, and Kyle Green so very illiterate that the chances of him noticing the resemblance were zero. Also, the children were currently wearing bad disguises.
But this story is not about Kyle Green. It is about the three children, because, to be honest, their lives are far more interesting, and shortly after playing his part in this tale, Kyle Green dies of sudden and entirely natural causes, although he is found with traces of poison in his stomach, slight jaundice and an axe in his head.
Kyle wore a stained t-shirt that was five sizes too big for him. On it was printed ‘Tokyo eating championships 2003’. He had pulled a pair of shapeless cords over his pyjama shorts to go out the night before, but he had not taken off his pyjamas for the last five years. He had cut his hair himself, so it hung lifeless over his eyes, a mixture of greasy limp strands and reckless spiky tufts from where he’d lost control of the scissors. He wore one sock, and walked around with a hoodie hanging off his head and down his back like a cape.
Kyle Green stared down at the alley. He had the unpleasant mixture of a blinding headache from last night’s pub night drinks, and lowered senses from the morning’s solitary ones. As a result he could barely see and refused to open his eyes more than a fraction anyway because light was more painful to him than a sledgehammer filled with nails was to others. Because of this, all Kyle Green registered that day was three blobs making their way slowly down his alley. It would be enough to cause him considerable problems later on, but he didn’t know this, yet.
 Down on the ground, the children were not doing much better than Kyle Green. Their names were Marvin, Baby Armadillo the Second, (although nice people called him Jim) and Alexander.
Marvin was dressed in an oversized suede jacket and clashing tie that he thought made him look businesslike and organised. He was currently staring around dejected and embarrassed-he had followed a lead up to this alleyway and could sense the others’ growing annoyance.
Baby Armadillo the Second was contemplating, (which is something only a very unusual three-year-old does) his own predicament, and decided that, as a three year old currently on the run, a fine example of why children were never meant to name their siblings, and dressed in an old Halloween pumpkin outfit, he could be better.
Alexander was half watching her little brother, and half eyeing the sky. She had ‘borrowed’ the logo t-shirt and black skirt uniform from a small cafe down the street, and wore a large brimmed hat that obscured the top part of her face. She turned to stare accusingly at Marvin.
“Well, I guess we were wrong.” Marvin mumbled.
“Oh you think?” Alexander rarely snapped at her brother, but this seemed like a good time to. “This is your fault! Without this little detour, we could have been out of the country by now.”
Marvin looked down guiltily “hey, I never met the contact. I was just trying to get us back with some people who could offer protection. What have you been doing, miss whiny Sherlock Holmes?”
Alexandra turned to face Marvin “Noticing the obvious. You weren’t completely wrong. This place is magic, even if it is deserted.”
“How so?”
“You hadn’t noticed?” Alexander sighed. “Look at the sky”
Marvin glanced up at a sheet of powder blue. “So?”
“So the clouds were grey when we were back on the street, you nitwit, and I bet you anything if we walk back out now it will be raining buckets.”
“Hungry” whined Jim.
In the alleyway, even the wind was off duty that day. The air hung like stale breath, and a sour odour radiated from a row of bins balanced in a heap against the wall. As the older two looked ahead into the dark for signs of life, Jim shuffled around and sat like a chubby cherub statue facing the end of the alley they had come in through, pointing fiercely and scowling at a silhouette framed by the square of light at the entrance.
“Look!” he started to shout, but nobody heard him because that was the moment a voice boomed towards them.
“Ah! Welcome ye!” the sound in the distance rang loud and clear all around, as though it were amplified by a megaphone, or echoing through a gigantic cathedral. The voice was jovial and lilting, and seemed to bounce off the crooked walls and rattle the windows in a conquest for attention. Marvin and Alexander swivelled around in surprise to look down an empty alley.
 Marvin panicked. “We should go” he whispered hoarsely “Before anything b-bad happens. You know. We w-wouldn’t want... Jim ... to get hurt”
It was just then that an immense, blurred figure bounded down from roofs above; showering debris over the children, and then landed with a thump and a flourish. It was a man twice the height of Marvin and twice the width of all three children put together. He had a round, red face, with redder cheeks and a top hat which obscured his forehead and ears, but tilted back at a jaunty angle to reveal bushy grey eyebrows and emerald eyes which glimmered and glistened and seemed to be a source of light. He paced back and forth across the alleyway with a lolloping, bouncy stride, and as he walked, he eyed the three terrified children, questioningly, and sang out
“I thought ye’d be a wee bit older, sixth formers, maybe, teenagers, at least!”
“I’m thirteen” said Alexandra indignantly
The speaker ignored her, and produced a heavy looking scroll from one of his numerous satchels slung over his shoulders, and was just about to speak when Marvin interrupted.
“Sorry, but... well...”
“Ye need anything young’un?”
“Well, that is... we ...” Marvin’s face had turned the colour of beetroot and sour porridge simultaneously. He fell silent.
Alexander inspected the strange man from his top hat, the t-shirt stretched dangerously tight over his bulbous middle, on which was emblazoned ‘Johnson’s stag’ in pink letters, to his slippers, which were a similar width and length to snow shoes, but resembled a giant pair of cats strapped to his feet. She glared up in hostile contempt.
“Who are you?”
“Why! I am Alfred, o’ course! Doorkeeper to the Grimm school- the most exclusive establishment ever to let young ruffians such as yourselves in- now come along...”
“What’s the ‘Grim’ school?” Alexander sounded sceptical, but that meant nothing – she always did.
“Not so much a school as a... well, institution. No, wrong word for it- it’s an agency.”
Marvin decided it was time to get some answers. “Listen here, Alfred. I received an anonymous phone call about a month ago regarding, well, protection. I’ll be straight with you. My sibling and I are running away from something, and I was told that if we waited here at this time, we would be safe.”
Alfred tutted. “Ye should’ne be arranging shady meetings and the like with strangers. Ye don’t know who ye might meet-weirdos, robbers, murderers! But yes indeed, that call was from us.”
“Who’s ‘Us’?”
“The Grimm management”
Alfred lowered his voice to a hoarse whisper. “Ah, I’ll tell ye what this all be aboot, but ye must first take the secret oath of ancestors of ages past from the wilderness of time long gone by.” He narrowed his eyes and stooped his shoulders so he was staring the three fugitives in the face.
The children stared back at him blankly. Alfred sighed.
“Hold out a hand” he said. The children did. Instantly, a frog appeared on the tips of each of their fingers. These were not normal frogs. They were warm, and soft to the touch, more fuzzy velvet than slime and cold water. Their perfectly glass smooth skins glowed translucent with soft lights, and they flitted like dragonflies or pixies over the palms of the children’s hands. Even Marvin’s eyes softened as he held his.
“Now ye’ll squash them.” commanded Alfred.
“What?” Alexandra was holding her frog with suspicion and distaste.
“No way!” squeaked Jim, cradling his new pet fondly.
Alfred didn’t wait for their permission. He grabbed Alexander’s loose fist, and squashed it like a scrap yard machine, crushing the tiny frog inside it. Alexander screwed up her face and swallowed as she felt fast cooling goo slip between her fingers and slop onto the cobbled floor.
“One’s enough for the time being” decided Alfred “I’ll now tell ye where ye’ll be going!”
As Alexander inspected the drying muck on her hands, Marvin eyed Alfred quizzically, and Jim plonked himself down on the floor wondering where Froggy had gone, Alfred unfurled the long scroll and proceeded to recite, in a self-important voice:
“In a strange land far away
there lies a talking toad
but he won’t say much anymore
He’s squashed upon the road”
Marvin did not see this going anywhere useful, so he cut in with a deep throat-clear.
“We’re here for answers, not riddles.”
Alfred looked up from his recital, stung.
“Young master Marvin, this is a rhyme, not a riddle, and it talks of the great organisation I work for.”
Marvin clamped his mouth shut, both out of irritation and shock. He’d never told Alfred his name.
 “So if ye’ll kindly let me finish?” He didn’t wait for an answer.
 “Somewhere in the haunted wood
is stooped a wolf in grey
poisoning the pat-a-cakes
in time for children’s’ play
Alfred narrowed his eyes at Marvin, in case he should make any more remarks.
Huddled in a crimson cloak
is slumped a feeble witch.
An age ago she kissed a toad
now she’s a grumpy...”
“Alfred!!” the shrill voice was like an alarm, and seemed to come from nowhere.
“Moira, it is good to see you, m’dear!” Alfred grinned bright as an electric storm, but he slumped dejectedly as he spoke. “Children, meet Moira Blake, my associate”
The children and Alfred looked around, but there was no one else there.
“I’ve no time for pleasantries, doorman. You were supposed to bring these children straight to me upon their arrival.” As the said these words, Moira Blake materialized as if from nowhere, and stood, arms crossed, feet planted firmly in the ground as if she was about to run into battle. She wore a pinstripe black suit and carried a bulky black briefcase. Her hair was pulled back into a tight knot at the back of her head, and she squinted at Alfred over thin-rimmed spectacles with contempt.
“Oops, now that’s silly of me. I’ve just been getting acquainted with the little’uns.”
“Yes, well. I’ll take them, now. Come along, children. Doorman, you’ll carry their bags.”
“Oh, we didn’t bring any...” Moira interrupted Alexander before she could finish.
“We have prepared bags for you. Now hurry up.”
Three matching suitcases appeared beside Alfred, and the children marched quickly along behind Moira to the Grimm school.
* * *
As assistant director of membership at the Grimm school, Moira Blake had an office which was high enough in the establishment’s city offices not to have the view from her window obscured by the high rise buildings on either side. She did not look out of the window: she was a busy woman, but it was good to know that she had a better view than her inferiors, just the same. She was not quite senior enough; however, to merit the triple glazed, floor-to-ceiling windows on the highest floors, and this irritated her.
There were many things which annoyed Moira Blake. She hated being slowed down in traffic by electric cars, and she despised the way the intercom in her office perpetually crackled even when nobody was saying anything. As she sat that morning rigid and uncomfortable in her swivel chair, with her back to the window and a scowl fixed upon her face, she could not help but think that it would be just typical if something really very annoying indeed happened today, what with her many deadlines and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, something irritating would happen to Moira Blake over the course of that day, and had she known about it, she would probably have simply called in sick.
As she neared the twisted iron gates of the school’s country house with her new charges, Moira Blake wished she was back in the city, surrounded by flat white walls and desks buzzers and beeping phones. They had wrestled their way from a blacked out limo through a monstrous barricade of undergrowth to an impossibly long gravel pathway leading to the main gates, and now Moira needed a rest. She turned to face the children.
“Your rooms have been prepared. You’ll meet with the headmaster later. I’ll leave you here.”
The three children followed Alfred and their new bags up the path, as Moira watched them go with a stony expression. At the same time, a small, bug-shaped electric tracking device with a built in camera was watching her expressionlessly, while transmitting a high definition image of the three children and their doorman across fifty miles. Moira didn’t look behind her, but once the children had disappeared into the distance, she gave a thumbs up to the camera behind her, then slipped silently back into the undergrowth.


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