Sunday May 4th, 2014

The exercise:

Managed to dig up some inspiration in the last 24 hours, so we're going back to Vancouver Irrealis tonight.

The local owl rehabilitation center had their once-per-year open house today, so Kat and I dropped by with Max on our way back from a shopping trip in Penticton. I think going in I was the most excited to see some owls up close and personal, but by the end it was closer to a tie with Max.

I snagged a few pictures while we were there, and wanted to share this one of Pilot the burrowing owl:

I'd loved to have spent more time there, getting pictures and hanging out with the owls, but it was quite crowded and we needed to get home for lunch.


"I don't mean to be rude," Tristam said as he followed the man into a cramped room that somehow managed to hold three chairs, a couch, and a small coffee table, "but who are you?"

"My name is Rewand," the man said with a slight shrug of his shoulders. The gesture seemed almost apologetic to Tristam.

"Right, Rewand," Tristam's mouth said as his brain thought Right, Andrew. With a deflating sigh he gave up and flopped down into the nearest chair as his host exited the room.

"We don't sit on those!" Anne-Marie told him, one hand covering her mouth as her eyes went wide with shock.

"Oh!" Tristam sprung back to his feet and looked down for signs of damage. "I'm sorry, I just... it's that... I didn't..."

"Just kidding," Anne-Marie said with a grin and a wave of a long-fingered hand. "Take a load off, you've had a long day."

"I wouldn't expect your night to be any shorter," Rewand said as he reappeared from an adjoining room carrying a platter weighed down by a teapot and four teacups. "And, to finish answering your first of what no doubt will turn out to be very, very many questions, I am Anne-Marie's fathergrand."

"I had nowhere else to turn," Anne-Marie said as she accepted a steaming cup from her grandfather. "Sorry, Pa. There were people in my apartment and I -"

"I know," Rewand said, passing Tristam the second cup while taking the third for himself. "You chose wisely, dear. I fear I would not have seen or heard from you again had you entered that building. I have your sharp eyes and quick mind to thank for you being here now, sound and safe."

"I'm pretty sure I don't want to know the answer," Tristam said, sniffing tentatively at his tea. It smelled of ginger and lemon and... something else. Familiar yet out of place. "But you promised to tell us anyway, so... what in the world is going on?"


Greg said...

The owls look beautiful! I can quite see why you'd want to spend time with them; it's a shame that the open-house only happens once a year. But I can equally see that it requires a lot of staff to control the general public, and they're trying to protect the owls, not show them off, so I guess we should be grateful they open-house at all!
Well, I see that we're starting to get closer to what's going on then! But I guess it's May, so we need to have some idea of what the core plot is if we're going to finish this year! Anne-Marie's fathergrand seems like an interesting chap, and the moment of comedy where Anne-Marie tells Tristam that they don't sit on the chairs is beautifully timed. Thank-you for your writing, but curse you for where you left me!

Vancouver Irrealis
Rewand sipped his tea thoughfully, letting the steam caress his face. He closed his eyes and his face relaxed and he looked momentarily younger. When he opened his eyes again – they were so blue they were nearly purple – Tristam jumped.
"You know, obviously, about the slip," said Rewand. "Sometimes people slide across from one world to another, sometimes for a short period of time, and sometimes for a bit longer. They stand out when they cross over because the worlds are similar but different, but it's not that hard for them to fit in quickly if they make an effort. Or if they know that they're going over."
"I slipped over," said Tristam. "I just sat down for lunch, and then everything seemed to change. I don't even know when it happened."
Rewand sipped his tea again, and then stood up and dug his hand into his pants pocket. He struggled to pull something out, but eventually a slim metallic slab with a glass screen came free and Rewand sat down again. He placed the device on the table next to the fourth cup of tea and Tristam leaned forward.
"A smartphone!" he said, pleased to recognise something so modern and yet now mundane.
"Time of transfer, please," said Rewand, and Tristam realised that he must be talking to the device. The screen shimmered and then numbers were projected into the air above it.
"You came over at 13:37," said Rewand reading the numbers. "What's a smartphone?"
Explanations took a little while, with both Anne-Marie and Rewand intrigued by the idea of adding phone-calls to general purpose electronics, and Tristam had to dig his out of his pocket and show them everything barring the calls – he had no reception. Then it was his turn again.
"How do you know what time I came over? "
Rewand sipped his tea, and put the empty cup down. "I'm a technical lancerfree," he said. "I work with various government departments, and I have contacts in others. I've been aware for a while that our government has developed dimensional fertrans technology, and I – and others – are trying to find out why. I know when you came over because I know who was sent across from our side."
Tristam opened his mouth to speak, but someone knocked on the door. He looked automatically at the clock in the corner, a fathergrand clock that Anne-Marie had said was over a hundred years old. It was nearly 3am. As Anne-Marie got up to answer the door, he suddenly realised he'd never asked why there were four cups of tea on the tray.

Marc said...

Greg - just realized I hadn't responded to this yet because I was waiting for Morganna to add her bit. Whoops!

Some great developments here and I'm quite pleased to see what you've done with Rewand. And especially pleased that you picked up on the extra cup of tea :D