Friday, January 11, 2013

Day Three-Hundred-Seventy: Help me

"Play with me."

That was his answer to the question I didn't want to ask.

"I'll do it if you'll play with me."

It was the first time I'd ever openly addressed Grayson's… powers… to his face. Hell, it was the first time I'd ever tried to have a conversation with the boy, as he'd been a baby less than a month ago. He didn't lie, he didn't try to sugar coat the truth, he didn't even ask what I wanted. He simply requested, politely and lightly, that I play with him.

"… for… for what, Gray? I'm not… sure..."

"Of course you are. You want me to get rid of the ghost. I'll do it if you'll play with me."

He may have grown significantly, but Grayson is still a boy. Hasn't hit puberty, 'n I hope that waits 'til a more normal time. Say, six or seven years old. 'til then, I'm the taller man - yet I manage to feel dwarfed by the kid every time I'm forced to look him in the eyes.

"I know you saw me." He sat, cross-legged, on the floor of his room. Everyone's agreed to exclusively give him the room, though no one seems to know why. "Or I know you think you saw me. Which is the same thing, really, because it was me. You don't have to pretend."

A bead of sweat oozed down my forehead.

Smiling, watching the sweat, he held out a hand. "Is that a deal?"

I caught Philip ripping through one of the nobles' wardrobes this morning. He'd destroyed most of the man's clothes.

I shook Grayson's hand. His fingers were cold. He tittered, his grip lingering on my thumb.

"What's… so funny, kiddo?"

"Your hands," he said. "They're all wrong. We'll have to find out why. Give me a few minutes, okay? Don't go far."

Springing easily to his feet, a sudden gust of wind propelling his backside, Grayson stepped out the door and disappeared. I wish I could make a fart joke at this juncture, but my kid is too frightening for yuks.

I waited for a few minutes, leaning against the wall outside Grayson's room. I can't stand it in there. Everything is too neat, too… symmetrical. Hell, all he has is a bed and two bed stands, made by Libby, and I still think it's too symmetrical. I was interrupted from my musings about my son's room, and how much I dislike it, by a small voice from an adjoining room.

"Is that you, Dragomir?" it asked through the wall.

I arched an eyebrow, wondering if I should reply, then shrugged and answered. "Yep. Uh, is that… who is that…?"

"I want to talk to you," the voice said. "It's me. Evangelina."

I'd wanted to speak to Evangelina for a few days, but Robert's death, Philip's antics and general repairs took precedence. This seemed like as good a time as any, and I stepped into her room and peered at her through the bars.

Evangelina looks rough, and the events of last week left her even rougher. When the dark things came she stopped eating altogether, and after two days I think most people forgot she was still in her prison. She's gaunt, she's tired, she's thin, and, after the brief stare down with her dead-but-not-dead brother, she's probably traumatized.

Yet she wasn't hostile. I came in, and sat at the chair in front of the bars, and she pulled her bed over so she could talk while seated. She didn't go so far as to smile at me, but she lacked the heat of our previous conversation.

Instead, we were awkward. Now that I was in her room, she didn't seem to know what to say.

"Uh." I scratched my head. "Hey. What… what's up…?"

She stared at the floor. Her throat rose once, as if she was ready to say something, then fell. She breathed hard and tried again, this time managing a single word. "Driscol."

I winced. "Yeah. Driscol."

"He's… he's dead. And not dead." She frowned. "What… was that, the other night…?"

I shrugged, moving in close to the bars to inspect the smear of dirty green splashed on the wood. "They fuck things up. A lot. Those dark things, I mean. I figured that out a long time ago."

"I see." Evangelina folded her hands on her lap. "You'll have to tell me about them, some time."

I snorted. I couldn't help it. I suddenly felt upset. "Yeah? Why, thinkin' of joining up with your brother? Must be nice, havin'… havin' a…"

She didn't take the bait. Her voice still lacked anger. "He was a monstrosity. I would rather he'd stayed dead… though he did tell me something, moments before you came in. Moments before the flash."

The flash. I wanted to ask about it, to discover what she'd seen, but I knew she'd caught no more than me. There wouldn't be so many questions in her eyes if she'd seen what had happened. "What'd he say?"

"'Help Dragomir.' That's what he said. 'Help Dragomir kill us.'"

There's more, but I'm so tired, diary. I'm so tired.


Dragomir the Mayor


  1. *Wipes away sweat* WHOOOOOOOOH BOY! That scared my for a second, thought Dragomir was talking to 'THE' voice...ya'know...'THE' voice...big guy (or gal, I ain't sexist) in the clouds with the Mouse and Keyboard...

  2. Dragomir's kids seem to represent Order and Chaos, neither of which is inherently good or evil. We tend to think of chaos as bad, but it is the source of creativity: art, innovation, new ideas. Order represents stability and organization, but if things skew too far towards order, then it becomes stagnation, no change, no creativity, just unchanging order. It's important to keep order and chaos in balance. Kinda like the D&D concepts of Lawful vs Chaotic, you can be lawful good or evil, and chaotic good or evil. This actually reminds me a bit of a great series of books by Mickey Zucker Reichert, the Renshai chronicles or something like that, read them a long time ago, but they were based on Norse mythology and were centered around the conflict between order (or Law) and chaos, as well as good & evil.

    1. Another literary example of this would be the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny

      Also, almost caught up on the archives! Then what will I do?

  3. The comments are getting way too intelligent and insightful these days. Next week: all fart jokes.

    (And if it matters to anyone, Babylon 5 had an influence on Dragomir's plot. Watch the show and you'll understand.)