Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Recess Part 3

Family Reunion

I spent two years in the dark with no one to keep my company but the thoughts in my head. I was not pleased to find that Jorgensen's sub-complex was almost entirely submerged in darkness.

The Wrecking Crew would've loved it.

For a moment, I considered toying with the buttons on the control I had taken from the little bugger. Like most of my toys, I discarded the thought. Moving through the dark was one thing, setting off random alarms and alerting any and all of those that dwelled in this part of Jorgensen's base was an entirely different one.

Were Jorgensen's servants at all like my own, they would not enjoy being trifled with. If Jorgensen's servants were at all like their master, I would be eviscerated on sight.

So to the darkness it was.

My eyes had learned tricks from Mr. Jonathan and Trevor before, just as my nose had. In even the dimmest light, I could find my way.

There was no light.

I felt along the cold walls, fingertips barely touching the chill walls. I left my eyes closed. Foolish to stare at darkness.

"Darkness isn't always darkness. Light isn't always light."

"Then why bother looking at all Mr. J?"

"It's Mr. Jonathan young master. And the reason we look is to find shadows. The places between light and darkness are where you can find truth."

"Truth? Like Dad found?"

"No. See, most folks can't see real well if it's too bright out, or too dark out. However, they'll tell you that in the twilight, your eyes play tricks on you."

"They do."

"Do they? No. In the twilight, you catch glimpses of what really is. In the twilight, you find out what things really exist."

"Like you Mr. Jonathan? Mr. Jonathan?"

I opened my eyes and wipe the tears away. I heard them splash against the floor. And then I heard someone else. I heard a shadow. To my left.

I pressed my ear to the wall and strained.

A hammer on steel.

"Hee rikes hiss cagess doesn't hee."

"Not this again."

"I'm jusst sayinnng... Hee iss awready making new cages to hode our new guesstss in."

"Of course he is Nandin. Did you think they would have free reign while we do not?"

"Certainry no. What I am ssaying iss thiss; they are not here yet and he iss awready prepared for their capture. Normawy he doesn't invest so much."

"These he has seen first hand. If they are half what he claims, we may be obsolete, right along with the rest of the team. I don't know about you, but I get free lodging here and enough money to have him deliver whatever I want. I'm not going anywhere."

"Nor am I Widow. Nor am I."

"I just hope Mr. Maizner feels the same way we do."

A hammer on steel once more. Water sizzling. Metal splitting metal.

"With a bit of convincing, I'm certain he will."

I moved again, faster this time, eyes wide, hunting for cracks in the darkness.

Maizner. Marionnettes. The last of the great puppeteers. Down here?

"So, let me get this straight. You're real?"

"As real as you are."

"Even though I created you?"

"You created us as much as anyone can create something new. Better put Michael, you found us."

"Call me Nod. I want to called Nod."

"Nod then. Listen, we are here whenever you call us. You make us real enough for them to see."

"Good. First thing we do is hunt down my brother."

"If that's what you choose. But understand something Nod, we are not expendable. We can't die because, well, we're in your head. But a death out there bars us from crossing into reality again. Once we're dead to the world, we're dead forever."

"Nothing can change that?"


I ran now, straining to hear. Wood splintering. Carving carving. Dead stop and ear tight to the wall.

"Daddy, what are those?"

"Toy soldiers little one."

"Can I play with them Daddy?"

"No honey, these are for Mr. Jorgensen. But Daddy has a surprise for him."

"A surprise?"

"Yes. Mr. Jorgensen wants to take my toy soldiers and let someone else have them. Let someone else make them into real soldiers. But I don't want my toys to be played with by any one but me."

"That's not very nice Daddy."

"I know honey, but neither are the people that want my toys. That's why I made these ones special. They'll the people that want the toys and hurt them. They'll grind up them and use them as kindling wood."

"Daddy... you know that scares me."

"I know it does little one. Now back into your closet. I have all I need from you."

A lie. A bloody lie. No way of bringing them back, none that Jorgensen's people would allow.

The lights flickered on. The walls were glass. A gaunt rail of a man with a tied beard glared at me from his workshop. Wooden sculptures of my companions lay lifeless on his operating table.

Behind me, I heard gates sliding. Turn.

She was scuttling up the wall on four black multi-jointed legs, curved daggers in four human hands. White webbing hung from her scalp. Widow.

He was following her out of the forge, red-hot scimatars in each of his four hands. He balanced himself on two legs and with his tail. Leather hide and scales. Nandin. Destroyer.

"You make it sound like you aren't going to be around forever."

"Only around as long as you want us."

"I want you guys around forever. You seven are the only friends I have."

"Then forever it is."


"That'ss the boy."

"What do we do with him?"

"Kill him."

"Jorgensen will have our hides if we kill him openly. Besides, we can't kill him yet. The others will want a taste as well."

At the far end of the corridor, a small figure staggered forward, nursing a lump on his skull.

"Kill the boy. I don't care how, as long as its painful. Kill him."

Teeth grinding. My own. Shaking, lips twisting.

"Want me dead? There are those that would beg to differ."

"Like who? Your imaginary friends? They're dead Nod! I just wanted to scalp off enough of that pathetic mind of yours to salvage something of worth. But you are obviously too much trouble to be bothered with."

Jorgensen's claws were out. Wooden soldiers were moving. Freshly forged blades gleamed.

Bile rose in my throat, then exploded from my lips. Gagging as blood mixed with it.

One bullet.
Three bullets.

My bones groaned, fighting each other, cracking and resealing.


I fell to my knees. Slamming my fists into the floor.


I screamed, arms giving way, slumping to the floor, entire body bulging, twisting, stretching. Like trying to untie a knot by pulling all the harder.

All was still.
All was dark.
All was silent.

A hand grabbed my back and picked me up, setting me back on my feet.

"Do you know what you've done?"

I smiled.

"Do be quiet Mr. Jonathan. We'll talk the prudence of making you fellows permanent later. Right now, we have company."

"Yes sir."

My eyes met Jorgensen's.

"I regretfully resign from your organization Mr. Jorgensen."

There were footsteps coming from both ends of the corridor.

"You don't have anywhere to go."

"Goodbye Mr. Jorgensen. Gentlemen, clear us a path."

Seven voices in perfect harmony.

"Our pleasure."

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