10-12 Minute Read
Hello and welcome to Fiction Friday, where I share some of my writing. This week’s post is a response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #135 “December 26th, 2016” writing challenge. The words I used: Sound | Terminal |Rum Cull | Knife |Gutter | Fabric | Discolor | Gloss | Jackboot | Passal |Stroke | Impatience
This is a continuation of a previous Wordle post. Click this link to read the previous chapter.
This week’s entry:
Cori felt nothing underneath her. She knew her eyes were open but still she could see nothing but blackness. She reached out her arms and legs and touched nothing.
“Story?” She said, the sound of her voice echoed endlessly around her like she was in a subway terminal. Her heart beat so fast it felt like it would come out of her chest. She realized she was hyperventilating and tried to calm herself down. What a crazy old man! Story had unexpectedly pushed her down some chute to Yehowah knows where and somehow she was suspended in mid-air!
He had whispered trust before he had pushed her. He could speak. The entire interaction with her family had been an act! Cori wondered just who Story was and what he was hiding. And how could he expect her to trust him after he had lied to them all and then pushed her into this empty blackness?
Cori began to hum to herself, a tune her birth mother had sang to her while she was pregnant. She centered herself and forgot where or who she was, focusing her thoughts on the latest book she was reading and lost herself in that.
That didn’t last long, however, for a metallic tapping sound soon distracted her. Instinctively, she opened her eyes which were greeted with the ever-present blackness. Far from her, it appeared that a tiny light was coming down a tunnel. It moved extremely slowly and was extremely unsteady. Her impatience grew as she waited, eyes focused on the only thing she could see.
Soon enough, Story came in to view, his arms filled with books and trinkets. He moved over to a wall and turned on a light which illuminated the vast room. Cori clamped her eyes shut, for the sudden brightness burned her eyes. “What in the hell, Story?”
His booming laughter answered her. She flailed her arms as she started to suddenly fall, landing on top of an enormous empty table. She groaned.
“What a pleasant surprise, to see you so peacefully floating in mid-air,” he said, still laughing.
“This has to be some sort of messed up dream,” Cori said, rolling off the table and landing on her feet, wincing at the sore spots on her body that would no doubt develop bruises. She gasped as her feet met the floor, for it was completely see through, invisible, nothing underneath. Her hands gripped the table, but she stayed solid on her feet.
Story chuckled as he looked at her. “This is a first, usually people jump back onto the table,” he said, setting the things in his arms down onto another enormous table.
Cori looked around her. She and Story stood in the middle of a gigantic circular room filled with more tables, desks, and bookcases. Pillars lined the edge of the the circular room. Cori squinted her eyes and could see that past the pillars were tall bookcases, passels of them.
She pinched herself, felt the pain, and concluded she was not at all dreaming. “So you can speak?” She said, turning towards her great-grandfather. “Why lie about it?”
“I can, and I can’t,” he answered her, a frown dampening his otherwise usually cheery expression.
Cori walked towards him. As she passed desks and tables, she noticed that the majority of them had carvings, artwork, and paintings on them. “Am I gonna get any more of an answer than that?” She questioned, raising her eyebrow.
“In due time,” he responded, spreading the items out on the table. She came to stand by him and observed the items that lay on the table.
“What is all this? Where are we? Does Father know about this?”
Her questions brightened his face. “He does, yes, but he has chosen a path away from this life, so he can no longer come down here.” He placed his hand on a thin journal. “This is his, it might help you understand and process what I am about to tell you.”
Cori picked it up. She could feel it loosen and open in her hands. As scared and confused as she was, her curiosity and intrigue got the better of her. The cover had her father’s name inscribed on it, Stephen.
“It took a lot of persuasion, years worth actually, but Stephen finally agreed to bring you here so that you can choose this path or another.”
“Which is what?” She questioned, running her hand over the journal. It was a dark, rugged leather that had no doubt seen better days.
Story picked up one of the trinkets and held it in his hand. It was a thin gold bracelet, slightly discolored, with about a dozen charms on it. “What do you see when you look at this?” He asked.
Cori’s hand reached out to take the bracelet, but Story moved his hand away. “Look, not touch.”
She brought her face closer and peered at the bracelet. “I see everything, ” she answered, turning her head to see the item better. The tiny trinkets were quite astonishing. “I see minerals, sediment, tools, weaponry, love, happiness, fear, regret, power, magic, potential-”
“Stop right there,” he said, interrupting her. “Power. Magic. Potential. That’s what this is.” Cori looked at him, confused. “It is a conduit for power, an object in which you can use to gain insight and knowledge and act on it.”
“What?” She asked, still confused.
He looked towards the ceiling, searching for the right words. “Like a wand, that when touched or worn, is like a companion, a priest, a confidant, a teacher, whatever you need it to be.” He held it out to her.
“Place your finger on one of the trinkets,” He said, face stern and serious.
Cori reached out and touched what seemed to be the largest charm on the bracelet, a glossy watch. Her vision went suddenly white, and she was transported to a bustling city in England in a time period she reckoned was the late 19th century. The air was hard to breath and the sky was smoky and dark. Someone bumped into her shoulder and she fell forward in to a gutter. Cori turned around, looking for Story, but he was nowhere to be found.
“Sorry, miss, are you alright?” A voice asked her. Her head snapped up; it was her father.
“Father?” She asked.
The man chuckled. “Must’ve hit your head quite hard there, miss. The doctor isn’t far away; I can escort you there,” he said, reaching his hand out to help her up. She took it. “Terribly sorry, I didn’t see you there. That’s what happens when you’re in such a rush. Such a bustling city can do that to you.” He draped her arm over his and they began walking.
Cori looked down and realized she was dressed like the time period she was in. Her fingers felt the fabric of her Father’s jacket and was surprised at how nice it was compared to what the people around her were wearing. As people passed them, they dipped their heads towards her father.
“So sorry for the inconvenience. I am really quite fine,” Cori found herself saying. Everything felt and smelled so real, but she knew this had to be a vision. Story had asked her to touch a bracelet, nothing more.
Magic. Power. Potential. Those three words suddenly rang in her head. As they walked people tried to stop and walk with them to talk, important looking people who were dressed as well as her father, but with the look he shot them they immediately vacated his side. A few minutes later, and they stopped in front of a door titled: Jackboot.
He held open the door for her and they entered.
“Hello, welcome to Jackboot, where we can cure and treat anything. For the right price, of course,” A female voice said from behind a long counter. The owner of the voice turned her head and she was met with the beautiful sight of her mother.
“Mom?” She said incredulously, her eyes wide. She stumbled forward as they walked closer to the counter.
Her father laughed. “She’s had a bit of a nasty bump to the head. I have some urgent business to take care of, so I’ll leave you in the care of the lovely Miss Jackboot and check back on you in a bit.” With that said, he turned on his heel and left.
Miss Jackboot came from around the corner and looked her up and down. “Dirty enough to justify falling, but I don’t see any outward damage. Come have a seat back here,” she said, motioning for her to walk between the gap in the counter and towards a back room.
Cori did as she said, mesmerized. It was like looking into a mirror when she looked at the woman in front of her. She followed Miss Jackboot. They passed about a dozen rooms, all with multiple patients in them, some with legs up, arms up, IV drips, limbs missing, some moaning, screaming, thrashing. Cori walked into a back room and sat down on the table the woman motioned towards. The room was filled with all types of bottles, needles, and utensils, some of them quite crude.
“Don’t freak out, I’m going to take your pulse, ” she said. She watched Miss Jackboot, trying to memorize every feature and detail of her. Cori reached out her wrist towards the woman and wanted to scream; she was wearing the gold bracelet with all the trinkets and charms on it.
Miss Jackboot turned around, followed her eyes, and dropped what was in her hand. Her light brown eyes met her own, again like looking into a mirror. Her features quickly formed into a smile. “I see you’ve met Story,” She said to her.
For a moment she couldn’t speak, still mesmerized and stunned, but quickly she found her words. “So this isn’t a vision?” Cori asked her. “How is this possible?”
Miss Jackboot hopped up onto the table next to her and took Cori’s hand in hers, stroking the back of it. “No, dear, this is quite real. The bracelet and your subconscious brought you here.”
Cori couldn’t control herself, she threw her arms around her mother. She laughed, squeezing Cori just as hard. “I don’t understand what’s going on,” she said.
“Your mind guided you here, to one of the many infinite multitudes of reality, where your father and I exist. In this lifetime, we are not together, but in every life time we know each other in some way, shape, or form. It’s a wonder he didn’t see the bracelet and realize who you are,” Miss Jackboot, her mother, said shaking her head.
Her mother turned the clock on the bracelet over. “Gosh, half the time is already gone,” she said.
“What do you mean?” Cori asked.
“Your time here is limited. Magic, power, and potential always comes with a limit Corianna, remember that.” Cori nearly burst into tears hearing her name.
“How do you know my name?”
Her mother smiled. “One of the few things that stays the same for those who are connected through time is names. I’ve always wanted to name my daughter that.” She hopped off the table, pulling Cori with her.
“Come quickly, for there is much I wish to tell and show you before our time is up.”
Cori hurried her steps and followed Miss Jackboot down a narrow hallway, through a door she had to unlock, down a steep flight of steps into a damp underground room, talking all the while.
“You look just as I had always imagined you would, beautiful, strong, adventurous, creative; I can see it in your eyes, feel it in your pulse. Story is the constant in all of this, the one person that remains unchanging through time. What he is starting to introduce you to is confusing, scary, and deadly. Never force what cannot and should not be, no matter how much you yearn for it. Everything comes at a price, even you being here.”
They stopped at a stack of boxes. Her mother let her hand go and began throwing boxes to the side until she found what she was looking for. Inside that box she pulled out another, smaller ornate box made of wood. She laughed at what she held in her hands. “I jacked this from some rum cull who was always so drunk and high he would fall asleep if he leaned over to tie his shoe.”
Her mother hastily opened the box, which inside held a rather large knife that Cori was surprised even fit in the box. “This is imbued with part of my essence,” She said, holding the box out towards her. “It’s exactly the same material as the bracelet, so it should just attached right to it.” On the hilt it read,’ Lilianna.’
“Go on, take it, no time to hesitate,” her mother urged. Cori reached out and took it in her hand, surprised at how heavy it was. She flipped and spun it in her palm, amazed that she even knew how to do that. Her mother beamed at her. “When you think of me, are in need of me, need to talk to me, this will help you.”
Cori touched the knife and watched amazed as it shrunk smaller and attached itself to the bracelet. “Oh thank Yehowah,” she sighed, relieved. She reached out and glanced at the watch trinket on her wrist again, cursing.
“Trust no one except Story, stay away from the light, know that I love you in every possible time stream, every single one of these infinite multitudes of reality no matter who I am as a person in it, as well as your father. If you need our help show us the bracelet and we will remember who you are. Trust your nose and smell everything before you taste it, trust in the bracelet and its magic, power, and potential.”
She could see her mother was trying to think of other things to say quickly to help her on this mysterious new path. Tears began to fill both of their eyes.
“Will you remember this?” Cori asked her, taking her mother in her arms. She could feel her mothers tears on her shoulder.
“No dear, only the magic, power, and potential of the bracelet allows me to remember. I love you Corianna, stay bright, beautiful, creative, and curious.”
Cori felt something tug inside her and she yelled no, squeezing her mother ever tighter. She felt her mother’s grip tighten on her as well, but could feel herself being pulled away.
“You will always see me again, Corianna, whether again in this reality of another.”
Cori’s vision began to fade and suddenly she was back in vast circular room with Story, touching the knife now instead of the clock, with tears streaming down her face.