Wednesday October 2nd, 2013

The exercise:

For the tenth time this year, we return to Mejaran.

Only two more visits to this fascinating little village of ours remain after this one. I'm quite curious to see how everything ends up.

If, indeed, things do manage to end in December...


In a quiet corner of Mejaran, a home sat just slightly further away from its neighbours than might be expected. Not so far as to appear unfriendly, but there was enough distance to create a little more privacy, a touch of extra secrecy.

A fence surrounded the property which, while not unheard of in the village, was certainly uncommon. It was tall, but not excessively so. Those who lived nearby considered the place rather unwelcoming, though its occupant was generally well liked.

Night had fallen, suddenly as it often did in that place. The curtains of the home had been drawn tight, sheltering the figures within from any unwanted watchers. At least, so they hoped and believed.

"Everything continues to move according to plan?"

"Of course it does. You sound concerned... is this the reason behind your unexpected visit? You should have more faith in me by now."

"I have heard rumors of suspicion arising amongst some of the villagers."

"Have you now?" A voice that had previously been warm grew suddenly icy. "I was unaware that you had other agents working in the village."

"Don't be a fool. This is far too important to entrust with just one man, however capable he may seem. You should know by now that no plan of mine is without its alternatives and safeguards."

"And yet I am still left feeling... what was that?" The whisper of a blade slipping free from its sheath, the soft padding of feet toward the rear of the house. A curtain pulled back just enough. "Hmm. How strange."

"Do tell."

"It was just an owl on the back fence. They are not usually around at this time of year." A lengthy pause. "Perhaps the storm has confused the local wildlife."

"Perhaps." Another extended silence. "Where I come from there are old tales of people being able to speak to birds, use them as spies. Mostly crows, but more than a few stories feature owls. They are old tales but they linger still."

"Utter nonsense. Let us waste no more time with such talk."

"As you wish. So these potential trouble makers in the village...?"

"You have nothing to worry about on that front. They will be dealt with shortly - I will take care of the matter myself."


Greg said...

Wheels within wheels! More conspirators, and possibly new people with an idea of how Mejaran should be changing with the times? I like it, just when it seems like we know what's going on, who's fomenting trouble and where the tensions are, it turns out that there's still more machinations behind the scenes. This village has clearly been desperate to explode for a long time!

Mejaran's fire department was entirely voluntary, though self-interest was a strong driver in such a small place, and was sat in the churchyard after the service. The three of them – Orsana, who's blacksmithly strength came in useful; Azmar who claimed that his knowledge of the town's buildings made him ideally suited to know which way a fire would burn; and Collin, who liked to say that he knew what water was and why it mattered – were all silent, thinking about the themes of unity and brotherhood that Father Merrow had been preaching.
Orsana saw it first. "There's smoke," she said, pointing. "Too much smoke. That's a fire."
Collin squinted where she was pointing, and then pointed to the left. "There's more," he said. "And – over there, there's a third."
"That can't be right," said Orsana, following where he pointed. "Three fires? At once?"
"Arson," said Collin. "Has to be."
"In Mejaran?" Orsana looked genuinely shocked.
"The first one's the pub," said Azmar, standing up for a better view. "You're right, there's too much smoke. That's been burning a while inside, I think. The second is... the schoolhouse, I think. And the third is – my God, it's Maximus!"
"Dr. Jaycox?" said Collin, his brow furrowing. Azmar nodded, his jaw tensed and his face pale.
All three were silent again, shocked with the realisation that someone had targetted all the significant civic centres with fire, each of them wanting to dash off and start organising putting the fires out, but not knowing which one to go to first. The problem was solved by a sudden booming explosion.
"That was the pub," said Orsana. "There are barrels of spirits in there...." The smoke she'd first noticed was suddenly much thicker and blacker, and tiny little orange sparks were now visible in it. An owl shot past them, its wings fluttering softly and Collin flinched.
"DIdn't think you saw them in the daytime," he said. "We better get to the pub; that fire's going to spread fast."
"I'm going to the Doctor's," said Azmar. His eyes were bulging slightly from his head and he was nearly deathly white now. "We're going to need him if anyone's been caught in those flames."
Now the other two went as pale as he had; the pub was exactly where most folk in Mejaran retired to after the service, to wet their throats again and talk about the Father's words.
"Run!" said Orsana.

g2 (la pianista irlandesa) said...

How wonderfully literal of you, Greg.

Now I've really got to give this a think. Scholarship deadlines are buggers when it comes to creativity; they make focus for the current task difficult, and yet insist on being manifested elsewhere.

But I'll get there. Eventually.

Marc said...

Greg - oh, I can assure you, I have no idea what's going at this point. But I am starting to get ideas for November's entry...

That's an unpleasant development, but it should force us toward some sort of conclusion. I still remain unconvinced we'll be able to do that in two more entries, but we'll see.

g2 - well if you don't have anything in by Sunday you'll have to figure out something that fits between Greg's entry this month and mine for next month.

I'm sure it would be doable, but I figured I'd give you a bit of warning :)