So happy to share with you another short story from Wallie’s Wentletrap, this time published in the current Summer 2017 issue of The Sonder Review. The story “Technitos,” can also viewed here, and will particularly interest those with a bent for science fiction (androids, techs, & such) but is finally a deeply moving tale about, as the editors of the SR put it, just what it means to be human. So take a look & see if it isn’t worth your time!
The challenge: 190-210 word limit; character: spy; incorporate assigned picture.
(This is the second of a two-part story. For the first, click here.)
It seems a blur and to this day Norbit is hard put to explain exactly what transpired in the moments after his foot’s encounter with a figure in a shimmering suit and hat of purple riding what appeared to be a bicycle, playing what looked to be a miniature keyboard.
Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:1-3)
Elder Jud Norbit was a wizened old man, weathered by work and age. He left for his office at a quarter past seven and returned at a half-past six every day except Sundays. He was met at the door by his manservant, Pritcherd, who wore a sympathetic look just as effortlessly as he anticipated every movement in his boss’s routine. There was a nod that passed between them, a glance aside for the mail and afternoon paper, a glass of whisky at his elbow as he sat in his armchair by the fire in the winter, by the window in the summer, and then a decent meal with Mrs. Gray serving in her white apron, followed by a steaming cup of cider in the winter, tea in the summer, on a polished silver tray at his desk in the study. A quick look at the accounts and the necessaries on his computer, a brief email sent here and there, and he closed his browser and rose and stretched. It had been a long day.
“Have a seat,” she said, looking away, half afraid.
“Don’t mind if I do,” he said, sitting on the bench.
“I’m not sure why you came.”
The silence grew like the gray shroud covering the lake. Immense and bleak.
She didn’t say much anymore.
Her mind had gone. She knew it.
I love stories with twist endings, and thought I’d share one from a favorite blogger who writes fairy tales, fantasy, science fiction, novels, and short stories.
There Will Never Be Any More Solken Wine (fantasy short story reblogged from Heaven, Hell & All of Us)
“There will always be more emeralds,” Jaidus said, studying the still, moonlit valley below. “And rubies? A pence apiece! But there will never be any more Solken wine.”
“Diamonds? A dinar a dozen! But there will never be any more Solken wine,” Durpen agreed.
Jaidus surveyed the narrow valley of the Stanis River, far below the rock ledge where he lay, steep walls heavily forested with oak and poplar as the hills drew together here where the river tumbled out of the mountains, the snow still covering the higher slopes not far beyond the crumbling arches that led into the ruined palace of the last, and now long dead, Solken king. He rolled to the side and shifted his dagger, pinching him at his waist.
“Did you ever taste any of it?” Jaidus asked.
Two kings there were in ancient times, Lemuel and Qoheleth. They lived in neighboring lands and in the days of their boyhood had been eager to visit one another under the indulgent eyes of their parents. As the years rolled by, however, the duties of their royal crowns served to keep them apart till, in the shadow of their old age, they met again under the cedar trees where once they had played.
As they walked together, they talked of many things, of perils in kingship and of victories in war, of great gain and of equally great loss. They talked as easily and naturally as if there had been no lengthy passage of time since their childhood rambles. At length the evening shadows fell and they paused to listen to the sound of running water from a nearby stream and the whisper of light breezes among the forest ferns and leaves.
He had married her on a dark winter’s morning when hope burned low
And his prospects were dim. Yet her piety to him like the gold of Araby
Shone in a heart ablaze with fire by which to warm cold thoughts
As in the grey light of day the months rolled past, then years,
And the bottom line translated meager rewards
And more mouths to feed though she sang what light was given her
Into a wondrous fount from which he drank greedily,
Shunning all but his own despairing gaze.