Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Boy Named Nod: Recess Part 4


Have you ever smelled honeysuckle? That's what my mother smelled like. I never knew until Trevor told me while we stood at her grave.

There's a great deal I don't remember about her. I remember her face ever time I drink brandy. Warm and sweet, with the slightest burn of anger. The one that bandaged up my leg when I fell down the stairs. I still have the scar. And when I trace it, I remember mother then too.

I've debated with Mr. Jonathan before as to whether or not she put up a fight against Adam 2.0. I never say against my father, because by then my father was already dead.

Mr. Jonathan tells me that she must've. Probably got in a few good shots too.

He's lying. It's the only lie I can ever catch him in, but every last nerve in my body sparks when he says it.

My mother never raised a hand against him. She died, as faithful to him as I was. She died, as I was supposed to when I went out that window.

As I did when I went out that window.

Suddenly, I had a question for Adam 2.0 that needed asking.

Jorgensen was lunging at me, claws bared. I rolled to my left as Mr. Rook caught him by the head and flung him down the corridor. He moved to follow the gnome but was intercepted by a wooden version of himself. They both adjusted their bow-ties and cricked their necks. The wooden one opened its mouth and squealed mindlessly before charging at Mr. Rook. Mr. Rook met it fist on fist, pebbles and splinters swirling through the air.

Mr. Jonathan pushed me aside as Nandin lashed out at me with his tail. Mr. Jonathan hopped over the lizard-man's tail and flourished his razors.

"Four to one? Thass hardry fair."

"I know, but it's the best handicap I can give you."

Mr. Jonathan misted between Nandin's blades, parrying each sword blow off the slender edge of his razors. He spun and slid, melting away from Nandin's flurry of blades, only to thrust himself back forward. His straight-razors were keeping Nandin's swords at bay, testing his defenses.

There was movement at the corner of my eye and dodged to the side as Widow sliced down with one her knives. My tie split at the knot and fell into my hands.

"That annoys me."

As she dangled from the ceiling, she swung for me once more. Before the blade could reach me, there were two loud barks, and the knife that was coming so perilously close to my throat was flung away.

"Boss, you should find some covah. This isn't goan ta be pretty, even if she is."

Trevor unloaded his twin pistols at Widow, the spider-woman spinning her knives, deflecting the bullets. A knife at the wrong angle caught a bullet and shattered, the shards of steel embedding themselves in her hand.

I was moving again, darting for Maizner's workroom. The skeleton of a puppeteer had his eyes closed, his fingers twisting around strands suspended in mid-air. The strands glowed warm orange and skittered to each of the marionettes. The wooden Mr. Rook was crumbling under his stone counterpart's fists but refused to die, lumbering forward again and again to meet crushing stone blows.

The Wrecking Crew was entertaining the other wooden heads. James and his counterpart danced in a switchblade streetfight, lunging, slashing, carving. James was faring for the worst, even though his skill outmatched the wooden copy. Wood wouldn't bleed, James did.

There was no copy of Manfred and Whitfield, nor was the one of Charles. Their half hewn marionettes still lay motionless on the table, a spool of the glowing thread next to them.

However, the other three were a great deal more animated. Charles squirrled his way between the wooden Trevor's legs. As he slipped by, he spun and blew a gout of flame at the wooden marionette. The faux Trevor caught afire but continued after Charles, lunging stiffly for the imp. It wasn't until the flames licking up its back reached the glowing strands around its neck, that it grew still. The wooden Mr. Jonathan pursed Charles stiffly, razors in hand.

Footsteps were growing louder. Disposable guards, but enough to overwhelm.

Manfred and Whitfield were busy in a corner, mixing together chemicals from the puppet master's shop.

"One shake?"

"Two shakes."

"Fire here."

"Big boom there."

"Smoking smoke?"

"Thick and black."

I turned from their game to see Mr. Rook snag Jorgensen by the back of the neck, the wooden Rook laying in a pile of kindling. Jorgensen slashed at Mr. Rook's arms, carving deep ruts into the stone.

"Manfred! Whitfield! Throw that bloody thing already!"

They grinned, shook the bottle they held together, and hurled it through the air. Hurled it to me.

Making them real hadn't made them smarter. Bloody hell.

Jorgensen was out of Mr. Rook's arm. He swung at me with his grostesque claws. I tripped backwards, trying to avoid them. Jorgensen stood over me, claws raised.

Manfred and Whitfield's bottle struck him full in the chest.

boom. big boom. big boom there.

I was blown backwards, sliding along the slippery steel floor. My suit was singed. How tiresome.

Both Maizner's room and the corridor were stuffed full of smoke. Trevor's gunshots and the sound of steel on steel never slowed. Need them to teach me how to do that some day.

As I pulled myself erect, I realized I was slammed back against Maizner's door.

"Now back into your closet little one, I have all I need from you."

I turned the knob and pulled open the door.


You have to be more careful Michael I won't always be around.
Are you alright little man?
You read so well Michael!
Come on, let's go take a nap.
Don't sass me. Just go clean your room.
I love you Michael. Mommy will take care of you forever if she can.

"Daddy, I thought you had enough. Please, don't take any more of my hair. Please?"

Mother's eyes.
Radiant amber hair. Stripes missing.
Mother's emerald eyes.
Moon skin.
Mother's shimmering emerald eyes.

"Please... don't hurt me..."
Muscles twitched.

"I won't hurt you. What's your name?"

"R-r-rebecca. Rebecca Maizner."

"How old are you Rebecca?"

"I'm twenty-three. Daddy... Daddy makes me stay here. He needs my hair. For his toys."
I made a fist with my toes.

Glowing strands.
My hands tensed.

"Don't you worry Rebecca. I'm going to take you somewhere safe. Somewhere where they won't steal your hair."

She was gnawing her lip, wringing her hands. Her long purple dress was riddled with holes, tears, and scrapes.

"Daddy... Daddy'll be mad."
Fighting the anger flush, forcing it away from my skin.

She leaned forward.

Honeysuckle. And dust. Star dust. Dream dust.
My teeth ground together.

"He's not your real daddy Rebecca."

"Yes he is! I've known him since... since..." Frown. "He's not?"

"No, he's not. Come with me, and I'll introduce you to your real daddy. Deal?"

She nodded and I took her hand.

"Mr. Jonathan!"

The smoke was beginning to clear.

"Yes Nod?"

"We're leaving."

"Doing my best sir."

"No, we're leaving. Now!"

The hand not holding Rebecca's clenched into a fist. The smoke cleared. Mr. Jonathan turned to face me, opening his mouth, words to chastise me on his tongue.

He saw her.

As did they all.

"Becca? Jesus Nod... Becca?"

Her eyes shone fear on the surface, but lips breathed memories.

"Yes Mr. Jonathan. It's our Becca."

"No! She's mine! I found her. I made her mine. She stays with me!"


The strands of hair around his fingers grew tight, whipping back and forth wildly. Maizner's eyes met mine. He couldn't break our gaze. Not even as the wooden Mr. Jonathan stopped its pursuit of Charles and turned back to Maizner, raising its own straight razor. I raised my hands, my fingers moving in tune with the strings of hair on Maizner's hands.

"You should have never touched my sister Mr. Maizner."

The razor fell. Maizner fell.

There was blood. On my cheek. On my shoulder.

"Mr. Jonathan, finish up here. We



No comments:

Post a Comment