Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Stoneman (Part 1)

His eyes were unblinking for six centuries, he watched as history happened under his all seeing eyes. He watched people live their lives and then one day, he blinked. It surprised him. He blinked again, and then again. Then his stone heart started to beat, and his lungs began to breath. Then he spoke, his throat vibrated with air and a scream came out that shook the trees and the building he stood on. “Catherine!”, was the word that made it past his throat.

Within a few days he was able to move his arms, and then his legs. He almost fell off the ledge of the building where he had been placed. His mind had started to clear and memories were starting to come back. He remembered that his name was Thomas Fairplay, and he had been in love with a beautiful woman named Catherine. The year was 1536 and They were both from poor families and wanted to be more than just farmers. They had wanted a family but on the night before their wedding a witch came to Catherine and had made a deal. They would have all their dreams come true, but they would have to give her their first born child. It didn’t matter if it was male or female. They would have to sacrifice that child to her, on an altar of blood.

Thomas was aghast at such an idea, and refused it. Catherine however gave into temptation and agreed to the crone’s deal. The crone came to Thomas to convince him that the deal was in his best interest, but he refused her three times. It was then that the crone cast a spell that turned him into the stoneman. He knew that the spell would only last as long as the crone was still alive. So it meant that she must have died recently.

Thomas started to wander the streets and saw that no one was walking in them. They were only walking on the side of the roads. So he decided that he should do what they do, to stand out less. He saw that his clothes didn’t match what everyone else was wearing and took several gold pieces out of his money pouch, as he looked for a clothing taylor. When Thomas found out, he laid the gold pieces down and within just a few hours he had several new suits. And it had only cost him two gold pieces. “Pardon me sir, do you know what year it is?” The taylor looked up at him and looked like he was about to laugh, and then decided not to. “Sir, it is the year two thousand and seventeen, the month is march and the day is the twentieth.” The taylor put the gold pieces in the cash register.

Thomas left the store and his stomach grumbled at him. It had been six hundred years since his last meal. He knew he need to find a pub to get some food. He checked his money purse and found that he had several silver and copper pieces. He looked up and say there was now a store just for money. Thomas shook his head, wondering just what kind of greedy society he had woken up in. He walked into the store and ask the woman behind the desk what pure silver was going for these days. She laughed at him. “Sir, one ounce of pure silver is going for just shy of eighteen bucks.” Thomas didn’t understand. “Ma’am I don’t understand. What is a buck?” The woman looked Thomas up and down. “Where are you from?” She asked him. “I’m from England, I lived in Northamptonshire in the county of Northampton. I am The Duke of Northampton Thomas Fairplay.” It was then that the woman gasp. “I’ve heard about your legend. The witch died about a month ago. A woman by the name of Catherine Youngsham killed her. She is the great great granddaughter of your love.” Thomas raised an eyebrow. “You belief in magic?” The woman nodded. “Yes, I do. I have magical barriers that protect this place. You should know that your family estate was put into a state of suspension at the time of your disappearance.”

Thomas hadn’t even thought about any of that yet. “Well that is good information to have, and thank you for your help. I would like to exchange all of my silver pieces into bucks.” the woman smiled at him. “Sure thing.” she said as Thomas took out all of his silver and placed it on the table. The woman took another hour to exchange the money, and then about a half hour to explain to Thomas what each denomination was worth and what it meant. Thomas was grateful for the assistance. “Kind woman, you haven’t told me your name.” She smiled. “It’s Betty. Betty Wayne.” Thomas shook her hand. “Well Miss. Wayne. I will be back. I have some gold pieces I’ll need to exchange when the time comes. I am wondering if you could hold on to my money purse while I go get something to eat at a pub?” Betty held out her hand. “Sure. I’ll work on the exchange rate while you’re getting a bite to eat. The Pub down on the corner is fantastic, and it has some great English food you’ll like.”

Thomas thanked her, and then left to go to the Pub. As he entered the noise was almost overwhelming. Everyone looked to see who was coming inside and the bar went silent. Thomas could hear murmurings of, “That’s Thomas Fairplay right? It sure looks like him.” As Thomas sat down at the bar, the bartender approached him. “Sir, if you follow me. I’ll find you a table that had less prying eyes.” Thomas nodded and then followed the man to the back of the bar. They went through a door and then up some stairs. “Sir Fairplay, You’ve been expected. There has been generations of us that believed that you would wake up from the crone’s spell one day. So we have set up a whole network of support for you that was started with your father. He moved you to America when it was discovered, and then built that building you were placed on. He wanted to make sure you were out of the crone’s immediate grasp. In fact this whole town was built with the idea that one day the crone would die, and you would wake up. You’re father spared no expense.” The man turned and continued up the steps. He took out a key from his pocket and then unlocked a door. The man motioned for Thomas to follow him into the room.

As Thomas entered the room he saw that there were several people sitting at a table having a heated discussion. He wasn’t sure what it was about, but it did abruptly stop when he entered the room. “Sir Fairplay, it brings us great joy that you have awoken from your stoney sleep.” The man at the head of the table stood and walked over to Thomas and put his hand out in greeting. “Kind Sir. I don’t know who you are, however seeing the lively discussion that was going on, I have my doubts about the amount of joy that comes with me coming out of the spell the witch put upon me.” The man lowered his hand. “ “tis true. Not everyone is happy about it.” Thomas thought it was odd that this man was talking in the King’s english. “Why aren’t you speaking in modern parlance?” He asked the man. “We were always trained to speak the King’s english. By the way. England has a queen for a monarch now. Elizabeth The Second.” That made Thomas raise an eyebrow.

Thomas looked around the room some more and saw two portraits of his parents hanging on one wall. It was dated 1630. “When did my parents die?” The bartender that had brought Thomas upstairs answered him. “They didn’t.” Thomas turned around. “What do you mean they didn’t die? Everyone dies. It’s a law of nature.” The bartender took a deep breath. “They didn’t just die. They were murdered by the crone, and their spirits were trapped here until several years ago when one of our most gifted, found a way to release them to the otherside. “I see.” Thomas said as he turned to look at each person that was sitting at the table. He decided he would need to know more.

He walked over to the head of the table and Thomas took a deep breath. “Ladies and Gentlemen, I need to know everything that has happened since 1536 and I need to know why my parents didn’t die when they should have, and lived well into a century and a half of life. What spell was used for that to be made possible, and when was this town founded?” Thomas stood their waiting for the answer to start coming. The man that had stood when Thomas first entered the room stood again and said. “We don’t know. They never told us, and they quite frankly were never going to tell us. They only wanted to tell you, and to have a network in place for you when you were awakened.” Thomas decided that it was going to be the best answer he could get for right now. “Ok then. What has happened while I’ve been a man of stone? What history has transpired while I’ve been...sleeping.”

For the next several hours each person gave Thomas the history of the world. By the time it was done it was close to midnight. Thomas was walking the streets of the town named after his family. He slowly processed all the information that he had taken in, and decided that only the last several years that are all that mattered.

Just as he was about to turn around and go back to the Pub. A swirl of green and black smoke appeared in front of him. As it cleared Thomas could see there was a person standing in front of him now. “How did you defeat my spell!” The old woman asked while pointing her weathered and gnarled finger at him. “I thought you were dead witch!” She laughed at him, a cruel and mirthless laugh. “I can’t be killed, I’m immortal. Now how did you defeat my spell?” She snarled the question one more time. “I truly don’t know crone. I awoke, and everyone thought it was because you died.” She huffed at Thomas’s answer. “Fine, don’t tell me! I’ll figure it out myself!” Before Thomas could say anything more she disappeared in another swirl of smoke.

“Well, that creates more questions than answers, doesn’t it.” Thomas turned to see that it was Betty. “Yes, it does. Why are you out at this hour Miss. Wayne?” She smiled at him. “I was looking for you Thomas.” Betty said as she pulled out a gun. “Why don’t we go back to my place and let talk about why you were turned to stone.” Thomas wasn’t one to argue with the person holding a weapon. So he did as he was told and followed her into the van.

Part 2 will be coming soon.

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