Town of Living Gears, Part 2

Hello once again, and this is the second part of my current short story not so short story series about a robot and a human’s meeting, and how this will inevitably change their fates. Not much to say here other than to enjoy if you’ve been following and to stick around if you’re even a tad bit interested in this world that I’ve created. Here you go, “Town of Living Gears, Part 2”

The very next day I was out on an errand with Wren. He had finished the leather holder for the iron rod, in which I had beneath the robe he gave me. Wren’s logic had come from the fact that the purpose of my creation may be linked with the town, and thus he gave it consideration to have me peruse the town rather than hide. His logic seemed sound enough, and perhaps looking at the town and how its changed may entice something with me. I may not have been told of my forthcoming, but perhaps I can make logic from dust. That much should be enough for my system since it is constantly making logical approaches to every situation.

I held onto the hem of my hood very tightly, as despite my hair being synthetic, it still seemed fake to the observant eye. I had Wren braid it behind me, to which he replied it seemed like plastic craft. However, I knew from his information, that any indication of my true nature would have me stripped away from Wren and cause him trouble. That much I did not wish, for he was my creator’s successor to some extent.  Wren had bandages over his hands, but they still seemed rather beaten up and worn from work. Despite his shaven face, Wren was a rather hardened worker, and was very gruff and belligerent in attitude, but something within me contradicted that obvious logic. He was rather contradictory in nature, to me, at least now.

I asked him what the extent of this errand was, in which he replied, “I’m a mechanic here. Well, not a mechanic, but a handyman. But I mostly work on fixing the machinery here. It’s an important aspect of this town, as you can tell.” Almost every house had some kind of machine working for it, from simple things like water gathering or even maintenance. Clouds and clouds of gray smoke emitted from these homes and filled the skies. The people all wore some kind of mask, however, Wren didn’t. They were all well built otherwise, though the smog seemed to affect their lungs more than it did to Wren, and some larger citizens didn’t opt to wear the mask either. None seemed to bat an eye towards me nor Wren. They all seemed to be within their own worlds, all minding their own business.

“Why do you not wear a mask?” Wren was scanning the streets, seeming to look for something. He made a turn to his left, and then said, “I’m immune. Some folk have grown used to the toxic chemicals in the air.” He turned another street, towards where a large crowd had gathered. There seemed to be great chatter among the air in this part, which was unlike the rest of the town. As we came closer to the crowds, people began taking notice and a path was opened up. Wren turned to look at me, and then said, ” If anyone asks, your name is Marianne, a traveler whom I’ve picked up. You are to be my apprentice.”

“Understood.” As we got to the heart of the crowd, a robot was strewn across the streets, it’s gusts were mangled with gears and tubes all protruding from its open chest.

“Will you fix him?” I asked. Wren bent down, and inspected the damage. He traced the tubes and gears and inspected the jagged ends of the metal that stuck out of the stomach area. There was nothing more in the area surrounding, and the people around us began whispering amongst themselves. I saw that Wren grew agitated by this behavior. He then yelled out into the crowd, “Who’s machine is this?” No one answered, and Wren then slammed his fist into the robots sides and yelled again, “Who’s machine is this?” Someone from the crowd stepped up and without looking up at him Wren continued, “What happened?”

“He was my gardening tool, I left him in my backyard to tend to my crops, but when I got back he was missing. I then found him on the path here, already destroyed. There were no traces.” I inspected the man closely, he was a scrawny old man, with just enough meat on his bones to constitute standing.  His scalp was balding, and his hands were especially sweaty. However, his clothes were of fine fabric, and they were interwoven very intricately.

“I’ll take him to my lab. I’ll leave him at your door when I’m done.” Wren picked up the destroyed robot very carefully and then began heaving it back, with the crowd now slowly dispersing. I lagged behind Wren, “You told me that humans had enslaved the robots yes?” Wren took care in looking around and scanning the streets before answering me, “We did. ”

“And yet acts like this are still committed? Would this not reduce efficiency within the structure?”

“It would, which is exactly why it was done.” At the time, I did not understand the concept of inner groups within the make of the town. I knew that there was a governing body that had superior power, but I was unaware of groups that worked to oppose that power. I would later come to realize that the acts done against robots were not in accordance to robot based anathema, but human will.

We arrived back at Wren’s home, in which Wren took the robot to his basement workshop and began repairs. I knew from prior knowledge that Wren preferred solitude upon work, and thus did not follow him onto his workshop. However, Wren called for me anyway, stating, “I’ll be obliged to have you know what kind of work I exactly do.” I entered and saw Wren adjusting the head of the robot, opening a few plates and using a fine sharpened rod to poke about. After a few moments of prodding, Wren made an expression of joy and then grabbed what seemed to be two metal claws that were attached and extracted something from the robot’s head. It was a small iron plating, that was burnt to be charcoal painted. Wren then fixed the head, and began replacing the gears and tubes that were broken, throwing the old ones in a pile, and then grabbing new ones from an opposite pile.

“So you see anything? Got any more clues as to why you were made?” The question was directed to me, but despite that I had no answer for him. Instead, I walked over to the pile of junk, and then inspected the odds and ends that lined the workshop. For some reason, I felt a tinge of sadness well up inside me, and I felt a strange sensation to cry out towards those who have been hurt. I had enough logic in me to know that Wren had been tasked with many jobs to fix damaged robots.

“You know, I’m not the only one trying to figure out why Klover… My grandfather decided to make you.”

“Why do you refuse to call Klover by his name?”

“In fact, we all want to know why you were made. So when I’m free, I’ll take you to them. They’re all good people, I’m sure we can wrap our heads around something. Though we might have to open you up.” I remembered Wren talking about documents that were from the late Klover, that and including the artifacts that Wren must still have from Klover, would all contribute to my finding my purpose.

“Do you have any more particular artifacts from the late Klover?” I gripped the iron rod at my side as I said this. Wren continued on with his work of replacing damaged parts as I rummaged through the junk. I found bits and pieces of broken sheet metal that were cut, burned or crushed. I could not feel any sympathy for my companions past the point of initial sadness for I knew that the life of a robot no matter how sentient it may be does not bleed blood. We do not feel the physical pains nor endure the pain stakes of life as humans do, and as thus we live carefree, almost as giants among dwarves, as immortals upon this mountain. As thus we have gained a shred of impunity that has been torn apart by the hands of those who wish to abuse it.

“You’re not going to find a gold mine in that heap. Even my pile of junk won’t have any treasure.” I knew for a fact that pressing a question twice is a means to add insult to injury, or so the human saying goes. In robot terms, that saying goes, if it doesn’t equate the first time, it is not going to equate a second time. So now, as I have led away from the initial question I tasked Wren with, I will bring it up again.

“Why do you refuse to call Klover by his name?”

“Probably won’t find any more of his artifacts here. The iron rod was the only thing he left in his workshop, but the other members might have more treats. Haven’t seen them since–” He stopped his sentence, focused his time on his work, and continued tinkering away. I left the pile of junk, and noticed that he had a portrait strained on one of the walls. It was a family portrait, except, all the faces were charred. Not a single person from the four was visible. I ignored the portrait, and saw a particularly interesting long arm. I call it a long arm only by appearance, but I later learned it was called a rifle. It was strapped onto the wall, but at the time was not functional, and only served as a model to what would become the human race’s opus magnum. Or at least, that is what most human figure heads would call it. Wren never told me why he had a model rifle in his workshop, but I never stuck around long enough to know how it developed either.

“Do you know what receptive listening is?” I was well aware that his entire posture and pressure towards his muscles were akin to two things, his temper, and his work. I had already calculated the amount of exact pressure and mannerism required to complete his work, but by his speech and abnormal retention to what he needed to exert, I could tell that something was wrong. If I was closer to him, I would also be able to tell finer details such as temperature or pulse. My creator, as before, had equipped me with such functions, at the time, functions I thought were only unique to my kind. However, humans have their own way of understanding the room. A way I would never come to understand.

“Haven’t got a clue.”

“It is the process in which I am able to receive communication from another without their direct response.” After replacing most of the damaged parts, Wren went over to the back of the workshop, where a small furnace was burning lightly. He opened it and stuck an iron rod in it until it began glowing red. He then went over to the robot, and began cindering the metal, and manipulating it with another pair of claws. He was melding it into place and adding new sheets of metal to cover up the hole.

“And what does that process have to do with me?”

“Why do you refuse to call Klover by his name?” Wren understood fully without me having to say it directly. He was almost done repairing the robot when he finally answered me, “The same reason why I don’t call you by your model name.” That was also a question in which I had no answer for, in which he refused to answer for, in which I did not press him for.

“It’s a reason that you probably won’t understand.” I did not try to argue, but I still had my own say in the matter.

“Is it the same reason in which I would not understand why humans name each other?”

“And what reason would that be?”

“Simply because as humans, you are all people of the same race. Whether there are many of you does not deem itself necessary to differentiate from one another. Animals do not do the same, and yet they colonize and thrive. Giving tags to differentiate a person from another is inefficient and detrimental to the system.” My thoughts were contrived by a system of logic that I had built up over observing and interacting with humans. I had come to that conclusion in the same manner that I have come to hate the given name Marianne. I hated the name not out of spite towards it, but simply because my model is MCW-01, my given way of differential  preference. If one were to need me, they would call me by my model. Or better yet, if one were to refer to me, they would just say it directly to me or by ways not mythical in strange human interactions. This conclusion was something I was very stringent on at the time.

“I see where you’re coming from. It does seem like an inefficient system don’t it? We all have to remember each other’s faces and names, and once we don’t, we become the target of social shame. Though robots don’t have a sense of shame do they?”

“Human emotions are void from my logic.” Despite saying that,  I know that my system was derived from a human who very much made me as humanistic as possible.

“But names are important, at least to us humans. The difference between humans and animals are the fact that we can imagine things. We can create worlds, and we can see ourselves in the future. We can pretend to be someone we aren’t, and at the same time we can mend the perceptions we have of people in our heads. We’re a scary group of savants, and even then some of us still develop a sense of intelligence equaling that of rats.” I tried to follow Wren’s logic. He argued the difference between himself and animals, and yet animals lived far easier lives than humans. It is without argument that with the eradication of humans, animals would be able to live in their own contrived eco-system. Humans are the poison of animals.

“And with our differences, we’ve come to be very vain creatures. With that vanity came names. We began telling ourselves that we were more important as individuals, and to prove our importance as individuals, we named each other. Names come with two strikes, care to guess?”

“They are used as a way to ease communicative necessities, and a way to have a name written on gravestones?”

“You really are a robot aren’t you? More than that, you’re just like the people who we fight. Names are a way for us to give meaning to our lives. When I die, my life will be known for the things that I as Wren have done. My actions, will be marked upon this name. More than that, my name is a way for me to consolidate with the fact that I’ve a family. No matter how bloodshot I am about my lineage, I am still grateful for what it has given me. For that I cannot be belligerent.” I processed the information he had given me, removing my original logic, and creating new systems from what he had told me. He finished his work that day, and I still could not understand why he refused to call Klover by his name.

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Town of Living Gears, Part 1

Hello once again and today I finally get around to posting what I’ve been working on for these past few days, which is a short not so short story, which is probably going to be quite long actually, but not the size of a novel. I have my plans with this one, and so here’s the first post of this series. This is a kind of steampunk-ish kind of sci-fi story. It’s based off of a song called Cruel Clocks, and basically has the dynamic of a human and robot, both of whom are dynamically different, and both of whom get to know each other to achieve a common goal. That’s what this story is from the onset, a story about two radically different people getting together to work towards a goal. But there are lots of other things that I sprinkled in, for example, the conflicts between high and low class, and even slavery. All of which is not in this first part, no, this is jut an intro, and even I admit it might be kind of slow from the start, but I like what I wrote, and so here it is, “Town of Living Gears, Part 1”.

I am incapable of feeling any human emotions or reciprocate them. Every time I am ordered to move, I hear the gears within my body turn and grind with the motion of my arms and legs. They work in tandem, and without them, I am no better than a worker who is crippled. I do not have a name, and I do not have a desire to obtain a name. My model is MCW-01, and as such I am most responsive when called by my model. It is the label I was given upon my creation, and as thus it is the most logical way to approach me. However, the one who has created me has long past, I know this. It is within my memory that he has lived but a mere eighty years, and I am that age. Humans are fickle creatures indeed, and for another twenty years, I have been kept in an old clock. I hear the ticking of the hands as each second passes by and the ring of the bell above this clock tower as noon and morning strikes. I have been counting each day in complete solitude as I lay in my coffin just directly below the clock. I believe my master has given the key to my coffin to his next successor. Despite my make, my creator had strange alterations to make me seem more like them. And as such, with each passing day, the memories of my creator, his words, and his orders, are slowly being lost. I was given a system to decipher through logic and reason. However, the decisions my creator has made goes beyond this system.

It was a strange day when the one who would open my door came. He climbed up the clock tower, traversing the stairs with what seemed to be great alacrity.  Upon reaching the base, he stopped. I heard him clap his hands together, and then there was silence. After a few moments, he moved forward, and dangled something in front of my doors. They clinked a few times before the sounds of a lock clicking resounded. The keyhole turned, and he opened my doors slowly. Light from the outside beamed into my eyes, causing me to readjust my lens. Once my doors were fully opened, he chuckled and said, “Welcome to the Town of Living Gears.”

He brought me out of my encasement, and inspected me with his rough hands. I could see that they were dirtied, and bruised. My joints were rusted, and could barely move, and even if I tried, I would dangerously creak out. The man carried me on his back, “You’re a hundred years old.” I could not compute why he would start with that, nor why that sentence would be deemed appropriate in any social setting. It was at this point that I knew that he was my creator’s successor. He was the spitting image of my creator, and despite my faded image of him, I was still able to make the distinction. He had short brown hair, large eyes and a rosy complexion. He was relatively slim for what he was, but had enough strength to at least carry me without breaking his back.

“Sorry for breaking you out this late. You were probably sleeping for quite some time now.”

“The concept of sleep is not within my domain. I am–”

“A robot. I know. My grandfather made you.”

“So you are not my creator’s direct successor.” When I had said that, he stopped. He was bringing me down the clock tower at that point, and we were near the last few steps. I tried using my detectors to see if a change in body temperature or pressure was made, but he seemed completely fine. I was incapable of understanding complex human emotions. That was a flaw my creator had left me with, and one that I am not sure why he did not fine tune himself. At that time, I had no idea that he would be the wrench I needed.

“No–” He readjusted my rusted body across his back, and then continued, “I’m not your creator’s successor, nor do I want to ever be like him. But I have a responsibility to take. And you’re that responsibility.”

“You do not wish to be like my creator?”

“Not one bit. I don’t know what you know about my grandfather. But that man is not to be revered as anything but a heretic.” I heard within his voice great anger. His heart rate fluctuated for  a second, but he remained calm throughout. Upon reaching the town, I creaked my head about, scanning the buildings. They were all different now, some were larger and had more efficient roofs, and some had smoke coming on the top of them. The streets were colored a different tone, and the images in my head were coming up as errors. I readjusted the new information I now had and replaced the old ones, creating new memories in me, creating a new life. I went temporarily into what my creator called, “reboot”. It was a state of mind for a robot like myself to reset all system workings and create a blank processing session. During my reboot, I cannot move or speak, and thus as he spoke, I could not reply, even if I could understand the logics behind it.

“I only know about what my grandfather did through stories from my father, and word of mouth. All written documents that my grandfather supposedly had are either burned or hidden in some weird crevice of this town.” The man noticed that I did not speak, but continued, “My grandfather told my father that he had left a family heirloom, and gave him this key.” He dangled the key once more, and pocketed it quickly, “It wasn’t until now that we figured out where this key goes to, and what our family has left in this town. My father couldn’t handle it, but I have an obligation, and I’ll see through that I get you to do whatever my grandfather made you for.” The man walked through the streets rather ardently until footsteps became apparent. He then shifted through the buildings, hid under boxes, and made his way slowly while avoiding anyone who moved past. It was quite some time, but he opened the door of a small well attached house that to me seemed to be about two stories. He entered, brought me down under a flight of stairs and propped me down on a large empty table. Tools scattered this basement room, with only a few candles to provide a light source. I recognized this room for some reason.

“Still not going to answer me?” It was at this moment that my reboot had finished.

“I apologize. I was undergoing mental fortifications.”

“Look. I don’t know any more about you than you do me.” He began shuffling through piles of used gears and sheet metal until he found a decently sized jerry can.

“But now’s a better time than any to get that out of the way.”

“You wish to form a communicative contract with me?”

“If that’s how you see it, then yeah. First we start with names. I’m Wren.”

“My model is MCW-01. It stands for–”

“Marianne.” Wren shuffled the jerry can and listened for the swigging of oil. He then inspected my joints and quickly noticed that there were no openings for oil to go through.

“My body consumes oil in the same manner as which you consumer water.” Wren scrunched his mouth in surprise and then brought the tip of the jerry can onto my mouth. He held onto my head as he did this, and brought the jerry can slightly forward, allowing the oil to permeate my body. Once the jerry can was finished he asked, “Need any more?” I began moving my joints in unison, and the sound of the insidious creaking was no longer present. I had no way in determining how much oil I should intake, or how much I had, it was only a matter of that creaking and the slowing of my joints that I knew.

“My model is not Marianne, it is–”

“Your name is Marianne. Do we understand?” Despite having no logic within his words, I kept quiet, in my own tacit way of agreeing. He placed the jerry can back on the ground, and then rummaged through the junk again.

“If you will, Wren, please give me understanding in the name Marianne.”

“If I tell you would you understand?”  That question created a paradox within me.  If he were to tell me, they surely I would understand if he spoke in a manner devoid of riddles. However, human emotions and human meaning were foreign to me. To understand the inner workings of their words was something I was at the time, incapable of doing.  And even now, I am still incapable of fully understanding human language. It is with time that I build this up within my system.

“Perhaps you can try.”

“Perhaps I can, but would you understand?” He laid the question on me again, and once again, I could not give him a proper answer.

“You wouldn’t, and thus I will give no time to explain why your name is Marianne.” His words were cold, and dismissive, I know that now. But I took it upon me to adhere to what he had agreed, a communicative contract, and thus he by verbal contract was obligated to uphold mutual understanding. The only way to achieve mutual understanding is by both parties to express their opinions and views with clear alacrity, how much thereof.

“Wren, I advise you to explain to me what the meaning of my name is as much as I advise you to ask about me, and understand my inner workings.” Wren grabbed onto what seemed to be an iron rod from his pile of junk. There were symbols on it, and he wiped most of the rod to better see the symbols. My eyes matched them with the language of humans that my creator had embedded in me, it was a sort of old writing. Wren looked at it with confusion, but I took it in me to move and grab the rod from him. He didn’t object, and I read, “Klover Tore.” It was a name that sparked something within me. My database was desperately searching for the matching terms, and once it did, I believed I smiled, despite my lack of human emotions. Klover had given me all sorts of human expressions which I seldom used.

“My grandfather kept an iron rod around huh.”

“Is the language too old?” I was referring to the fact that he could not read. He took the rod from me, and inspected the symbols on them again, tracing his fingers.

“No clue. Probably not.” As he got up, he swung the rod as if chopping down a tree, and broke the air in the room.

“My grandfather was no fighter. But maybe you are.” He threw the rod at me, which I instinctively caught, and as I did, he charged at me with a bronze knife in which he swiftly grabbed from his pocket. He came at me low from the right, and brought his arm up in an arc to his left, trying to jab the knife into my sides. My body went into action the moment I saw his actions and the moment I detected ill intent within his actions. My legs shifted back in an instant, and I brought the iron rod to meet his knife in the middle of his strike. He smiled, and then retracted and came at me again from the other side. I traced his movements and brought the iron rod down to his head and used my other hand to grab his wrist. I didn’t strike him directly, but simply restrained him, “I do not wish to do you harm Wren.” His grip weakened, and I retracted my grip as well. He brought his knife back to his pocket and then smiled.

“I could care less about what you are, and what makes you work. But I have something to uphold, and if that requires getting to know how you work, and if that requires you getting to know how I work, then so be it.”

“I appreciate your cooperation. I know I have been created for a fixed purpose, however, that purpose has not been disposed to me. And thus if you do not know of my purpose let us both learn of each other, and hopefully of my creation.”  He grabbed the iron rod from me, in which I gracefully did not object, and mulled it over his hands, seeming to give it a hard stare.

“I’ll make you a holder for this. Klover– My grandfather, made this for you. I know it.”

“If I may inquire, this is his old workshop, yes?” He placed the iron rod on the table, and took out a long wooden stick that was etched with numbers on it. He placed them side by side, and then began rummaging the room.

“Yeah. This entire house is his. Passed down through bloodline, one of many things that I didn’t mind.” I remembered something he said before. I was playing our previous banter and I noticed some holes, and things that I wanted to know to fill them in, in order to better the profile I had of him.

“You wish to not be of his descent?”

“That’s an easy way of putting it. But I can’t help it you know, in the same way that you couldn’t help to be made.”

“In that manner, we are one of the same.” He smiled at that.

“Cursed to the same old man who contrived us. Sister and brother.” His smile persisted, though it was a bit smaller. Once he found the leather, he placed it on the table, and with his knife and yarn, began cutting and sewing.

“By the way, you’ve been asleep for a long time. I’m sure the town’s changed since the time you remember.”

“I have rebooted my systems, and thus any new information is of great benefit to my functioning.”

“Well, first of all, I’m going to have to make a robe for you. Not just because it’s weird if I’m seen with a robot, but because robots in this town are a taboo.”

“A taboo?”

“There’s quite a bit of history that has happened since your time. Me telling you won’t do any good, I can never do it any justice.” Wren stopped his work for a second, and thought. His eyes were closed and his lips were pursed. Once he was out of his stupor, he proceeded with his craft, and then said, “But the only thing you need to know, is that robots have been enslaved. We are the Town of Living Gears, not because we live with robots, but because we force them to do our labor.” I ran the information he gave me through my head, trying to make logic of it, and came up with a variety of conclusions. It seemed to be the most logical decision, and at the time, I harbored no ill intent over what humans have become over the past century. It was inevitable for this to happen, I thought. It had to be. The creators can use their inventions to do whatever manner of work they choose, and to make them slaves of prosperity is simple deduction.

“Well anyway, I’ll be down here working on this. We have quite some work to do afterwards. I’m a citizen of this town, and as thus, I have to uphold those obligations as well.”

“Will my identity be remained as a secret?”

“Yes it will. For the most part, if we have to, we’ll make you as a human if you need to go out. Why don’t you go rest your gears, or something. I can’t work with an audience.” I left aptly, and didn’t question his logic. However, he seemed rather apathetic when he told me to leave, and it seemed as if his eyes were beginning to water.

Shape Of A Cube

Hello once again and this time we have a piece that’s apart of something I made up just the other day called The Shape Series. Yes, I suddenly got the urge to write a series of short stories with shapes as a central image, all of which are dis-segmented or in other words, not connected to one another. But I did decide which of my many longer short stories I want to continue and thus that will come out soon as well. So for now here’s a short story about the past, about the future, and about coming to terms with the world. Here you go, “Shape Of A Cube.”

A cube represents strength. I walked with a small cube in my pocket. It fit my hands nicely and despite its size, didn’t do much to bother me while it was in my pocket. It was a wooden cube that was never painted on, and thus it retained a light brown color and a smooth texture all around. It was one of the things that I carry with me every day. I’ve always carried it with me since I got it from my friend. It’s always something that I’ve come to treasure. It’s my own little cube.

But the world isn’t a cube. The world can never be a cube, because the world is unbelievably round. And it’s funny that at one point, we thought that the world was a cube. We thought that if we were to walk forward for an indefinite amount of time, that we would be travelling an endless array of land and sky that no one would have ever traversed before. We thought we would fall. But we didn’t. We kept walking forward expecting something to come, expecting to prove something, but we didn’t expect to fall. That’s what happens when you roll around a sphere for too long, you fall.
I walked across the grassy plains with the sky hanging high above me, and the sounds of birds waking up filling my ears. I dodged the low hanging branches as they hung near my face, and made sure to watch my way for any rocks. Once I was through with making my way into the forest, I found myself at a small clearing. I didn’t know how large this clearing was, but at that point, it couldn’t be called a clearing. It was like its own little world inside of the forest.

I was surprised that it had been left undisturbed for so long. Miles, perhaps, of green grass just swayed in the wind with nothing at its company. It was lonely even. I shook my head upon these thoughts and continued forward. Even though this was my own little enclave, there was one obscurity that I allowed to exist. After all, it was something that I made, for someone whom I care for very much. I walked up to the middle of the large grassy clearing and smiled at what I saw. I gently lowered my hand to touch the top of it, and traced the curve that it made. It was very rough, for good reason. I then lowered myself again and looked at the words that were engraved upon the material. I smiled at it before even reading the words since I knew very well who wrote those poorly scrawled words. I traced my fingers on those scrawls, remembering every stroke and every bit of strength that was used to etch them in. They were very faint now, but I didn’t need to try very hard to know what those words said, or what they meant. I smiled at that too.

I pressed my fingers into the indents of the words, and began retracing them, making new words appear in my mind, and making new meaning towards them. So much has changed since those words were first etched and uttered, and so much has been made new. The person for whom those words were directed will never be able to hear or see what changes the world has brought along. But the person who cannot hear or see those changes, wouldn’t mind for as long as those changes do not bring conflict or strife, then he will be happy. Unfortunately, it is only a surface lie that the changes the world has brought is not detrimental to those living. Apathy should never be used to police the populace, but so much apathy is among the veins of modernism that it is inevitable. I’ve come to detest such a world, but such a world is one that I cannot escape, and so I live everyday knowing that I am a detestable person. That much isn’t a problem for the person for whom the words written on the material are for. That person is a much more benevolent person than I could ever be. And yet, those who have a voice seem to ever be drowned out in the mist of overbearing capitalism that floods the world, and seemingly falls off into a pool of anathema.

I looked down at the base of where I was to see that grass had begun growing and stretching towards the words. I knelt down to pluck out the grass with as much strength as I could muster in my constitution. Once it was relatively clear, I displaced some of the dirt and rocks at the base, and touched my palm onto the ground. I felt the warmth of what was beneath exude into my hands, and I imagined every single bit of the memory that was held there. I gave a short prayer, and then stood back up. I looked up into the sky, and I noticed that the clouds were beginning to form together. It reminded me of that day. The day when this was created. It also rained that day.

I came here when I was just a little girl. But that isn’t fair to who I was with. My uncle carried the coffin for me all the way into the forest. At first, I didn’t know where I was going to end up, but I knew that I wanted the coffin buried in a place where he would be happy, and in a place where I can be happy. I wanted him to rest knowing that he’ll never be disturbed, or that he’ll never have to worry others. My uncle was the only one who helped me get that across to everyone there, but, I didn’t know where to go. And I knew that the coffin was very heavy, even for my uncle, and so I desperately paraded across the forest in hopes of finding some kind of sanctum. And that’s when I stumbled upon the clearing. I yelled for my uncle to come quickly, and once he did, he was just as amazed as I was. We brought it up, and then he began digging. We were half way done burying the coffin when rain began dripping onto my head. I remember looking up to see that the clouds were formed together, and that the sky was gray. It started off as a light drizzle, but then it began coming down and drowning away my hair. Once we were done, I etched in the words as fast as I could, and followed my uncle out. I caught a cold that day.

I didn’t want to remain here as it rained, and so I picked myself up, and looked at the words once again. I let my eyes rest onto the material, and then I looked down, at where we had buried it. I felt around my pockets, and then smiled as the wooden cube tried to poke into my fingers. I rummaged inside my pant pockets, and then took it out. I let it gleam in the small sunlight still remaining, and then spun it in my hands. It reminded me of him, not because he had made it for me, but because it was simple. It was a shape that had six faces, all of which were shaven and sanded to give off a grainy texture. It was tough, and yet fragile. I could spin the cube for as long as my days, and it would still remain the same. It was unchanging and never falling. One point led to another and each vertex in a way was connected to one another. It was a cube, plain and simple. But that cube to me, meant more than surface area and volume. That cube to me, was his meaning to mine. A drop of water splattered onto the surface, and when I looked up, I smiled. It wasn’t raining. Not yet. But, even then, it wouldn’t fall. It would go back up, and recycle itself, put itself back into the system. Just like a cube, never faltering.

Rain Song

Hello once again, and I am still in the process of working out my not-so-short-story dilemma, while at the same time trying to battle all the other happenings, mainly basically everything not related to writing. But they are my hobbies still and I enjoy them, you can almost smell the procrastination in me. But anyway, this was another piece done in the same style of Rain Boy, as in, it’s part of what I like to call, the Rain Series. In other words, it’s central themes divulge around Rain. This was uses Rain in a way to mask the insecurities of the main character. Though, there’s still more to it than that. Here you go, “Rain Song”.

I wanted him to hear me sing one last time. I loved singing. From as long as I can remember, I’ve always been singing. I loved singing for my parents, but they told me to never sing for my friends. I didn’t know why, and when I asked, they looked away. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents, so I listened and never sang to my friends. I soon found out that in doing so, I was lonely. I wanted my friends to listen to me sing, and I wanted them to clap and smile like my parents. And so I went and sang to my friends. They all smiled and cheered when my song was done. However, when I got home, my parents were enraged. They yelled at me, hit me, and threw me against the wall. They told me to never sing again.

But I still wanted to sing. I liked singing, and the joy it brought me, and the joy it used to bring to the people around me. I thought about a way I could sing without my parents knowing, and realized that no matter where I was, they would hear me sing. So, whenever it rained I would go outside to sing. The rain would drown out my voice and my parents wouldn’t know. It took me quite a while to try out my plan, and when I did, I was happy. When I heard it was raining, I would rush out with my umbrella and run towards the park where a sunroof would shield me from the rain. It was strange to sing in an empty park, but I didn’t care. After I was done singing, I would go back home, and my parents wouldn’t yell at me. My plan had worked.

Every day when it rained, I would go out to the same park to sing. My voice would be drowned out by the pitter patter of the rain, but I at least could hear my own voice and still be happy. I wondered whether I should invite my friends to listen to me sing, but I thought that if I did it would be hard to listen to me and they would not be very happy. So I sang to myself. It never occurred to me how lonely I seemed. I was just happy that I could sing again.

One day while I was singing in the rain, I saw him. He had short black hair, gentle brown eyes, and his sleeves were rolled up from the rain. I didn’t know when he had arrived, but he soon found shelter underneath the sunroof. I waited for him to leave before I sang, but he didn’t. The rain kept him in place, and it kept me spell bounded. It felt like I had an obligation to sing to keep up with tradition. Unknowingly so, I had never failed to come out to sing before. I wasn’t planning to end it that day. And so, without regard for his presence, without knowing his person, I began to sing. My voice began pouring into the rain, and I bellowed out every last chord in my body until the rain let out. Then he clapped. He began clapping for me and he smiled as I turned.

“People don’t usually sing in the rain. But that was beautiful.”

“You were listening?” My voice was quite strained, and so it took much more out of me to answer back.

“Of course I was. Didn’t give me much choice unless I wanted to get soaked.” He placed one hand out of the sunroof, and waited. Once he confirmed that there wasn’t any extra rain to be had, he walked out, and into the subjugating sunlight. He smiled back at me and then said, “Why don’t you sing now? While it’s nice out.” I looked at him, and then shook my head.  He seemed down casted by my notion and then waved, “Well. Maybe next time, okay?” I nodded and waved him off. That was the last time I saw him.

I continued to sing everyday in the rain, but I never saw that boy. Eventually, my tradition became a want. I was hoping to see him again, to have someone to listen to my singing, to bring joy into someone’s life. But it never happened. I sang into the rain hoping that he would be there to listen. I sang into the rain hoping that wherever he was, he would clap and smile for me. I sang into the rain to dissuade myself that I could ever have hope. I soon raised my voice, and sang louder. I sang louder into the rain thinking that if he heard me, he would stop and listen. Except that never happened. My voice became even more starched by the end of every rain and soon I would have to take medicine so that my voice would not be lost. My parents at this point grew suspicious of my activities. They had no evidence that I was still singing, and so that suspicion slowly faded. As I went back to that park, I learned not to sing so loudly. I learned not to hold onto the hope that he might come back to listen. Instead, I sang for myself. My voice escaped my voice and entered my ears. It was drowned out by the rain, and no one would ever hear me sing. This was for the best, I thought. This was my own rain song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rain Boy

Hello and in lieu of my current self-revelations that I write way too many short stories, that aren’t actually short by any means, but actually a string of short stories, comprising together to form a sort of pseudo novella, I have come to hold off on posting any of them. I currently have to sort out my long standing and very back burner collection of “short stories” that I have and actually stick to at least one or two of them and finish them. So once I have that sorted out expect that to be the main theme for the coming weeks, but for now, something short and sweet that I wrote a while ago about a boy who just wants to get something for his dead mother. Morbid? Yes, but written to invoke a sense of heartwarming. Here you go, “Rain Boy”

It’s raining. Just like my mom always said, it only comes out when it’s raining. Every day, when it rains, I take my clear umbrella, and go outside. I put on a thick coat, and a warm blue hat, and put on yellow rain boots. I always say, “I’m heading out!” But I know my father is out at work, and the only one to hear it is my mom. But she never answers back.

I take a quick peek up at the sky as I take my first step onto the walkway. The skies are gray, and the clouds are crying. I open the umbrella in my hand, and bring it above me. As I walk onto the street, I look through my umbrella, and into the sky. It’s the only reason why I like clear umbrellas. I begin to concentrate as the rain drops fall onto my umbrella, making a satisfying pitter patter. But that only catches my attention for a short moment. I know I have something to do whenever I come out during the rain.

I have no idea what the name of the flower I was looking for is. The only bit of information I do know about the flower is from my mother. She told me that the flower was bright blue, and is the only flower that is going to be in bloom when it rains. In fact, it can only ever exist if it rains, and if it does not, then it dies. And so, as I walk down the street, I made it a habit to look at every corner, and every small crevice to see if a small flower was blooming.

I memorized the streets, but even so, I had a habit to look at the grass fields, the gardens of neighbors, and the park as I walk pass them. I want to look at every single place in the world, but I know that it is impossible for me to do so. I am happy that I can at least look around my small town, and I know that as long as I keep looking, I will find the flower.

Today the rain is very strong.  It crashes onto my umbrella like a hammer to nails, and the sound becomes mud. Soon enough, it breaks my concentration, and now I only want to go back home where I can rest and wait for the next day it rains. But I do not, and I walk forward, with my eyes on the ground, looking for that blue flower.

Soon enough I hear the sounds of other footsteps. At this point, I know what to expect. As I walk closer to them, I make my step a little to the right so that I don’t bump into them. But when I walk pass them, I hear them say, “It’s the rain boy again.” And, “He’s always out when it’s raining.”

“It’s for my mother,” I wish to say. But I do not speak, and I continue to walk forward down the street. I know as my rain boots splash upon each step that the rain is coming down hard. It is an expression that my father uses when the rain is really bad and that thunder might come. I do not hear thunder as I walk down, and so I know I have a little more time to find that blue flower.

I did not know how long I was walking down the street, but I made it to the end. I know that my dad will get mad if I continue any longer, so I stop. I turn, and walk back up to my house. As I make each new step back up the street, I notice something blue in the corner of my eye. It is on the other side of the street. Before I cross, I look both ways, and then lower my body to pick it. It is a beautiful flower,  and when I bring it up to my nose, it’s aroma reminds me of the nice spring days we used to have. The pattering of the rain on my umbrella begin to stop, and I look up to see that the skies are clear. The blue flower in my hand begins to wither away, and die. I mark this place in my head, and quickly head home.

Today is the next rain. I race my way to where the flower is, and just like before, it stands beautifully blue. I pick it, and run towards where I need to put this flower. I have visited her plenty of times before, so it is no surprise that I arrive without much time to waste. I step over mounds and make sure that I do not bump into any gravestones. I scan the names as I walk by each stone, saying a silent prayer as I do. Once I find my mother’s name, I lean over and place the blue flower near the soil. I wait for a few moments, and give a big prayer to her. I smile as I begin to leave.

“I finally found it mom,” I say out loud. And I feel a tear fall from my face. I smile and  look up through my umbrella, to see that the sun is up. I make my way home, and as I open the door I yell, “I’m home!” I receive no answer, because I know dad is still at work, and mom never answers back.

 

A Thief’s Folly-Blanche-

Hello and we have the last of this current series, probably not the last forever, but right now I’m currently working on another series, but this time it’s more akin to a novella, as in the short story extends beyond and is not as dysfunctional as this one. But for now we have the current last story in A Thief’s Folly featuring an interesting thief, who has less morals than the other thief’s, but still does her job rather well. This time I tried to focus more on the act of it and again more on the world building. It’s rather short and was probably more experimental than the other one’s, but it is what it is. Here you go, “A Thief’s Folly-Blanche-“.

My consciousness had risen, however, I myself was still stuck in place. I open my eyes to see a world of black. I know I’m awake. I feel my feet and hands move, and I feel the blanket over me. My eyes are open, or so they seem. I bring my hands up over my eyes, and feel the dark ridges beneath them. My memories begin to seep back into my head, and I know why I cannot see. I often forget sometimes when I’m drinking. Everything just seems vivid when I drink. I wonder why.

I bring my back up forcefully and stretch my limbs, pretending that a carriage of horses are dragging them apart. I walk over to the door and open it, yawning and making sure my hands remain in front of me. I step into the hallway, and begin scaling the wall to the right in hopes of finding a doorway. Once I do, I slowly enter, and feel my feet bump into a cabinet door. I reach my hands down until they feel a knob, and I twist, pretending that blood begins to ooze from the tap. I pile my hands under the blood and splash some into my face. I bring my hand to the left, and grab the towel and wipe my face off, pretending as if I was cleaning evidence from a crime.

I step back into the hallway, and make my way down the hall into what I thought was a kitchen or living area. Or at least, both of them are connected. I can’t tell. I keep walking, until I bump into a soft cushion, and I recognize it as a sofa. I climb over, and bend down until my hand reaches a surface. I know I had left a particular stimulant from the previous night, and I search the table as if I was a crime boss looking for a gun.

“Looking for this Miss Blanche?” The voice was from Erin. I was assigned to him from the Officials. I imagine him to be a handsome  young lad with bright blonde hair that would serve as my left hand in my drug raids. Though, not much truth has been given to that.  He hangs something in front of my face, I feel it. I don’t bother to grab it and simply respond, “I would be.”

“And you know how the Officials deal with the illicit use of enhancers?” His voice creeps up into my ears, and I feel the tempting urge to bash my skull into his face.

“The Officials don’t need to know anything about this.” I hear Erin sigh, and he places the needle on the table. I hear him circle around and turn on the T.V. I take the needle, and place it in my pockets before getting up.

“And I presume you’re going on another stroll Miss Blanche?” I smile, and without turning, answer, “Only if the Officials don’t know.” Erin sighs again, this time verbally louder. I make my way to the door, and reach my hand over to the knob and turn. I feel the sunlight paint over my face like a sheet of nails forcefully suffocating me. I grab the needle from my pocket, and inject it into my arms. I imagine the liquid slipping into my veins like morphine. My senses begin to heighten and I can see the objects around me through vibrations. With each step I take, my foot makes a sound wave that bounces off the solid surfaces of everything around me, and I can predict through that what an object is and its location.  Although, with my foot alone, it doesn’t help much, and so the enhancers do most of the work. I begin making my way up towards the border of the upper district. The guards shine a light onto me as I arrive, and I wave towards the direction. I grab a card from my pocket, and hold it up for them. It takes them a few moments, but soon the light fades, and I walk through the border, noticing that the guards have lowered their guns.

I feel the vibrations of marble buildings all around me. Sounds of expensive shoes and accessories dangle among the people who pass me by and I begin feeling a sense of propensity that the people of the upper district seem to carry. I eventually weave my way to a more defined structure that has large glass pane windows. I open the door, and hear the jingles that ring in my ear for far too long and pretend that I’m a robber with a gun. I smile at the worker who hovers over me as I walk in, and begin making sense of the locations of all the objects around me. The jewelry is stuck behind glass cases with locks, not to mention the cameras in each corner of the store. I take a deep breath, and begin thinking of how this is going to go down. I’ve done a plethora of heists and gigs before this, this shouldn’t be a problem. Stores like this have sensors at the front door so a sleight of hand would prove problematic unless I can mitigate that. I begin stepping forward towards the counter to gather more information. There appears to be a heavy load behind the counter, a back door, probably to a storage unit. I make more rounds. There are two registers, and a larger monitor that’s tucked away towards the back. I assume that’s for the security cameras. Two people are stationed at the counter, and although one of them is closer to the monitor, they can’t always have eyes on the screens. In total, there are four people in the store. I make another round around the store to make sure, and I begin hearing a strange metallic sound under the counter. A weapon of sorts judging from the barrel. I have a sequence in my head of the plan, and I know with great certainty that they can’t see it within my eyes.

I trace my hands to the top of the glass counter and although I can’t discern the color of the ring, I point to it and say, “Mind if I see this?” I feel the cashiers look at each other, with one of them giving in and taking the ring out of the case and handing it to me. I feel the ring around my fingers. It’s smooth. That much I can tell. I place the ring back down, and with that vibration, feel the rest of the counter. I ask, “Can I see the necklace down there?” The cashier to the left puts away the ring while the one to my right gets the necklace. I begin to understand their dynamic. As I get the necklace, I begin inspecting it. Another fine craft. The cashiers don’t seem any more suspicious of me, and that makes me calm. It makes my job easier. I put down the necklace, and wait until the cashier returns it before I make my next move. I ask for the bracelet, and after receiving it and inspecting it, inquire whether they have it in a different size. The cashiers pause for a brief moment, but one of them leaves and enters the back room. I take a deep breath, and then ask the remaining cashier to see if I can try the bracelet on. After feeling his nod, I put it on, and make conversation, “Sorry if I scared you. Probably don’t get much of my kind here do you.”

“No. Not someone as perceptive as you, that’s for sure.”

“You get any big wigs out here?” He stops and thinks about it. I can tell he’s very cautious of me, knowing I have the bracelet on.  The one at the door has stopped paying attention as well. The bracelet has a strange insignia on it, and I reckon covering it will dissuade the scanners. At least, covering it with blood.

“No. Our store is pretty small compared to the more well known ones in the upper district.”

“Though you are in the upper district. That much is impressive.”

“Business has been bad these days. You know how things are. Competition breeds failure.”

“Makes you wonder the state of the country.” He stops and I feel him squinting. Good.

“Blood is thicker than water. That’s what they said, didn’t they?”

“They’ll have it for themselves before they have it for the rest of us.” I hear him sigh.

“After all, it’s their country. They can do whatever they want, and we simply live among their strings.” I pause, and wait, I hear the other cashier coming back.

“Well, at least that’s what I’ve come to conclude. To each their own.” I turn and then wave, saying, “I actually have to be on my way, god speed to your sales.” I wave using the arm with the bracelet on, tucking it further in my sleeves, out of sight. As I begin walking towards the door, I press my finger onto the bracelet until I feel blood trickle, and I cover the insignia with it. I step out of the door without trouble, and make my way out of the sector. I sigh and know for a fact that they’ll want my head around the sectors after reviewing the footage. I’ll be sure to tell Erin that. We’ll have to change faces again. And probably our names. Blanche is getting old. Maybe I can get a new pair of eyes. Though, that is a pipe dream. Even capitalism can’t fix that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thief’s Folly-Charlotte-

Hello and once again another edition towards the series, “A Thief’s Folly”. From the past two editions we’ve been following the stories of two thief who are undeniably from a lower class. To give contrast, I wanted to make one of a higher class thief, though just having a Robin Hood character would be too easy, and so I  also expanded the world. Though, to be fair, the themes do parallel what you would see from a Robin Hood type story, the rich steals from the rich and gives to the poor. A kindly tale of redemption as the one who steals feels the duty of all those who have done the proletariat wrong. Here you go, “A Thief’s Folly-Charlotte-“.

My dreams are filled with castles and cotton candy, and somewhere in the meadows, a raging and war-torn state. I awake from my bed in a state of insidious buzzing. My ears pop and I notice something strange with my ability to keep balance. I try to recall what had happened yesterday, and I reach under my bed to grab a glass bottle. I take it out and laugh at its contents. Empty.

My ceiling is lined with glittering glass and checkered tiles remind me of my heritage. My bed sheets are made of silk that is beyond my vocabulary, and the double doors that guard my bedroom are much more sturdier than the materials of the lower district. I make my way to the door and grab onto the metal handles. I pull with all my strength and peer out into the hallways of the marble building. My butler is nowhere in sight, and I attribute this as my time to act.

I take a step forward, and another, and I am reminded of the sensation of doing. It’s a sensation that not many people of my lineage have the graces of learning. And so I have made it my duty to act for all those that are blind sighted by the riches of the entrenched black liquid. I move my way down the hall and slide down a step of stairs. I try my best to step lightly as to not echo throughout the building. As I reach the bottom of the stairs, I take a quick sigh and jolt for the door. I am stopped aptly by a bewitching stare, and I know all too well who it is that produced the stare.  I clear my throat and say without turning, “Just a little air.”

“To get it out of your system?” I hear the clink of glass, and I turn to see my butler holding the glass bottle in his hands with a stone smile. My hands begin to tremble and I feel sweat drip down my face. My butler walks down the stairs with solid steps and a back straighter than I could ever hold for. His face is unchanging and as he reaches within a few meters of me, I step back towards the front door.

“If you are leaving, then I implore you to make a formal request.”

“You can tell my dad where to stick that formal request up.” I reach for the door handle, and am suddenly locked into place by an icy stare from my butler. He hasn’t moved an inch, but his stare pierces me like an icy dagger. I try to wiggle my way out, but he locks me in place and I turn to face him. His smile is devoid of any trace of humanity, and I can see that even a single step towards the door would mean grand stakes. I know I have no impunity, that much I understand. My eyes turn towards the marble floor, and I see a reflection of myself. Golden bright hair, rosy cheeks, red lips, and dark bags. I’m a doll among ruble. A diamond in coal. Going out now would make me stick out like an Official in the slums. I see now why my butler is in much distress, and skitter my way towards the dress room, where I put on a heavy coat and wrap my hair inside with a hood. I come out and see that my butler awaits me at the door. I cough as I arrive, and press my hand against the knob.

“If my father inquires, then do tell him that I am out at the Court’s Teahouse.” My butler gives me another icy stare, but I ignore it this time and open the door and step onto the porch. Now that I am in incognito, he should have no qualms about my absence. And among my father, I am the more trusted, that much I have in my sleeves.

I feel my butler’s distress as I walk towards the outer district, towards the market sector, and I begin jogging to dispel his opprobrium. I give my silent condolences and pray for his safety in tedium.  I know that my actions have far gone my generation, and for that I pray for those of Official descent. My actions are mine and mine alone, and I perform them for the sanctity of the upper district. These two prayers are my mantra, and I repeat them whenever I go out.

I arrive at the market district to see a sea of people bumping into each other. They are all within shoulder length, breathing and smelling one another as if a zoo. I notice from the distance that one particularly precarious child with dirty blond hair and burnt chapped skin is digging within the pockets of those unknowing. I chuckle at this, and give her prayer and my cordial smile, though she does not notice me. I tread slightly towards the base of the market sector, and make sure that I stay close to the vendors. I carry with me no money, but in my pockets I hold my wits. I push past the market sector until I see a break within the buildings and slip my way in. I take a quick sigh as I find myself in the crevice between two stores. I walk towards a door to the right and look up to read the metal sign. It’s in a lower dialect than my own, but I do not struggle to read it as one would suggest. I place my hand on the door, and feel the rot of the wood as I pull down. I take time to breath in the alleyway, to take in the scents of all the fresh bread and fermented tea. I feel the gravel beneath my feet, and then I turn the knob. I walk forward, and onto solid wood planks. I close the door behind me, and take another breath. The seeds of the giants.

I am quite fervently greeted by a man in a well worn suit, slicked back hair, and sunglasses, who extends a hand to me before I can make much distance, “If it isn’t milady.”

“Drop the act Charles.” I pull down my hood and allow my hair to strut out. Charles smiles and retracts his hand. However, I know very well that Charles isn’t the only eccentric that muddies this bar. This place is quite quaint in its own regards. I step up to the counter, and watch as the bartender, who is very well suited for the position, react to my sitting and pulls out a glass towards me. I don’t nod, and say, “Thanks.” He then pulls out a bottle of orange juice from under the counter, as if he has it in routine, and pours me a pint. I laugh and drink it loudly to his satisfaction.

“Does my majesty seek more employment?” I hear Charles’ stuck up voice creep up behind me. I don’t give him an answer and simply scan the other patrons. I almost recognize each one, albeit some are new comers.

“We grow every day,” Charles says, his voice dropping almost to a whisper, and his eyes a serene blue.

“You think that the more stringent Officials will snuff us out one day?” I ask. Charles takes a seat beside me and takes a glass from the bartender, who pours him a brandy.

“Who knows. But if they do, the likes of us will probably be exiled. They’ll yell at us, and then unable to execute us, send us to the slums. It’s already happened. First is always the yelling though.” I hear a man take a seat beside me, and I turn to see Christopher. Like me, he has bright blond hair, and carries himself with a sand colored coat. He receives a glass from the bartender, but turns the glass upside down. The bartender leaves, and attends to customers sitting across from the bar. Christopher clears his throat, and with his scratched tone says, “Good to see you Charlotte. Make any trouble at the estate?”

“As troubling as it is to Sebastian, yes.”

“Do give the old chap my kindest regards… From all of us.” I laugh at his sentiment, and so does he.

“No reason to ask, but you’re here for another gig?” I nod. He sighs, and takes a slip of paper from the innards of his coat and hands it to me. I open it, and see the image of a beautifully blued diamond.

“That thing’s worth a pretty penny to those who don’t know.”

“Fake diamond?”

“As fake as we get.”

“Location?” Christopher takes another slip of paper from his coat and hands it to me. I open it and try to grasp my head around it’s relative location to the bar.

“When you find it, make sure to go to a proper broker. That stuff can catch fire, or get you killed.”

“The less they know, the better?” Christopher nods his head and winks at me, “Stay in the cave.” I take the papers and proceed my way to the exit of the bar, with only Charles giving me his last regards, “Come a time where you can’t make a decision. Do you stay with us, or go with them?” I know very well that Charles is a man of many intelligences. He’s a scholar after all. A scholar that has decided to aid those of our cause. A strange man. But a smart man.

“Come a time when that happens, and I’ll let you know.” With that, I take my leave and proceed to the paper’s location. It leads me down the market district, near where I smell alluring cooked meat and tropical fruits being turned into rough liquid. I ignore my senses, and proceed past them, towards where an odd jeweler broker sits. He lays his wares in a rope mat while he sits in complete reverence. I walk up to him, which does not break his concentration, and browse his collection. I spot it quickly, a beautifully blue diamond. The price is akin to a month’s rent in the slums, that of a living of bread. Making a sleight of hand might be my best option, though I do like distractions, and occasionally the odd setups.  However, with a man of his stature, I must make conversation.

“I see you sell an assortment of ornaments,” I begin.

“That I do. Some are of the finest quality of all the lands.”

“And some not quite so?”

“You do have me there.” He smiles, but does not break his silent stare and posture. I reach over, and grab a well studded necklace beside the diamond. My hand slips, and knocks a few gems out of place, though not extravagantly. I apologize profusely, and place the necklace back.  His eyes do not trace my hands like the others do, but I know he is watching.

“Quite a well variety of ornaments. You must tell me how you acquire them.”

“The secret’s in the trade. You buy more you sell more.”

“I must assume so.” I reach over to an emerald beside the diamond, once again, though not as subtly, I knock over a few objects in the way, one of a topaz, that rolls to the diamond. I excuse myself  and reach over to readjust the topaz, subsequently pulling the diamond into my sleeve, and just as the topaz lands on its original position, just a few slots above it, I get up and say, “I must still be dizzy from drinking. You must excuse me.”

“Though your breath is fine.” I feel his stare down my spine, and without further words, I make a break for it, with him calling the guards on me no sooner. I rush as fast as I can up the market district with two of them slowly catching up. I know now that my antiques have caught on, and doing my usual facade will be much tougher without further instruction from those of the cause. I must learn more I tell myself as I run past the bar and head into the financial sector. I make a sharp turn to the left, into an alleyway between buildings. I climb onto a dumpster, and then project myself onto a balcony as I leap off the dumpster. The guards watch me and attempt the same, though I already make my way through several balconies and onto the roof. I then aspire my way towards an underhanded broker of the sector, a well known but scruffy man.

Upon arrival, I see Sebastian, my butler. He is in full suit, and watches as I climb down the roof of a building to see him.

“They say that those of servitude are one of the same soul of their benefactor.” Sebastian does not smile, and simply lets out his hand. I take out the diamond and place it in his.

“Laughably fake,” he whispers into my ears, “I’ll pay no more than a cup of tea for this.” He laughs, which to my surprise, causes me to laugh as well.

“Do with it what you will. But do hurry, the guards are coming.” Sebastian’s mastery of the situation is of no doubt considering his position. I grab the diamond and before entering the broker’s store, I ask, “Come a time where you can’t make a decision. Do you stay with me, or go with them?”

“One of the same soul.” I smile, and then enter the broker’s store. I leave aptly after receiving funds, though I do not accept Official money, I take filthy coins, those in a magnitude of ten pouches. Sebastian takes my hand and guides me hurriedly away as the guards scatter the roof, looking for me. I smile.

“One pouch for the family in need of medicinal funds.”

“One pouch for the family in need of bread.”

“One pouch for the family that only has two.”

“One pouch for the family with single limbs.” Sebastian and I list off all the recipients, and I applaud him for his matching of my beat. He simply responds, “Any less would do you a miss service.” I smile at this. Somewhere along the meadows, I can smell the burning of buildings, and even further I can smell the baking of bread and the alluring aroma of tea.