Wednesday February 24th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the impostor.

Spent the day with Max, as Kat wasn't feeling up to taking him to music class this morning and she had a counselling client after lunch. Normally he spends Wednesday afternoons with Kat's parents but her dad was away at a conference and her mom was sick.

Class was fun. Took him to the park after lunch, which was both fun and surprising. Well, only surprising because it hadn't occurred to me how much more he'd be able to do compared to when we'd last been there together in the fall.

It's amazing what a little more height and a lot more coordination can lead to.

Mine:

They can't know I'm not one of them. This would all end in a heartbeat if they realized I don't belong here. Just act natural. God, what horrible advice that is. Like I have any idea what natural is supposed to be to these people.

And yet, here I am, telling myself to act natural.

"Owen?"

"Yes?" No hesitation. That's good. It's almost as though that's always been my name.

"Come this way please."

Oh no... they're on to me. Where's the nearest exit? Oh good, there are only fifty people between me and the doors. That would end well.

"Do you mind if I visit the washroom first?" I ask, knowing that I'm grasping at straws.

"This will only take a minute, sir." He eyes me silently for a moment. When I don't move he clears his throat. "They are waiting for you."

"Right, of course." There are too many people here, too many witnesses. I'm safe. For now. What's the harm in going with him? There will be time to run later.

Assuming they don't break my legs.

"Ah, it's a pleasure to meet you face to face at last Owen!" The man who greets me as I enter the private library is tall, slender, and older than my grandfather. Yet he moves with surprising grace and his handshake shows his strength. I couldn't break his grip if I tried.

"It is an honor that you've taken the time to see me," I say with a smile that feels as fake as my name. "I don't want to take up too much of your evening..."

"Nonsense! Come sit with us for a while. Edgar? Fetch us some tea, won't you?" He brings me to circle of armchairs filled with a who's who of people I have no business being in the same room with. Not the real me, at least. Owen, on the other hand...

"Hello gentlemen," I say as I ease into the only unoccupied seat. "So. Who's ready to bomb some rebel villages back to the stone age?"

3 Comments:

Kyle said...

"How much farther? I'm getting woozy, we should stop soon. I do hope we aren't late for my voyage."

The dame's voice was whiny, prissy, just like her. Like was my fault she wore a full heavy dress and bodice - probably heels, too, for all I knew - for a serious foot journey. And oh, how well that had gone over - why can't we take the wagon? What's wrong with horseback? Must I really walk all that way?

I gritted my teeth, glad that she couldn't see my mounting frustration from behind me. She was unintentionally (I think) making this job the hardest I'd had in a while.

Truth was, there was no reason she couldn't have ridden. Not that it mattered. I didn't know any better than she did where Port Mancuso was; but she didn't need to know that. It wouldn't look very good of me, as her hired guide and guardian, to not be confident in the role. She never would have let me alone with her if she knew.

See, that's the hardest part in going after a wealthy, connected mark like Lady Junia - getting them alone and away from witnesses. Can't rightly rob or ransom them when half the countryside would throw themselves on a blade for one of their beloved noblewomen. Wealth, prestige, beauty, loyalty, respect - she had it all. And now was my chance to get some of that for myself.

I made a show of giving into her complaints, with a dramatic sigh and heave of the shoulders. "Fine, we'll stop. Up ahead, in the trees on the right there, see? There's a wooded clearing with a clean spring, we can rest up in there." I didn't tell her why I knew of this, for as I've already mentioned, I'm actually not a guide of any sort.

So, we walked on to the clearing, the Lady fair actually pulling ahead with renewed gusto. I couldn't help but smirk. We slipped through the scrum of trees and into the clearing, and she quite un-daintily plopped down on the ground by the spring. She then busied herself by dabbing her neck and face with the water. So engrossed in this was she that she didn't notice the new arrivals gathered around us.

A dozen big, surly, tattooed, rough men with clubs or knives or swords (and Rachner with his prized two-headed battleaxe, like he thought he was some kind of fuckin' warlord) encircled us - well, they encircled her. She looked up, with naïve curiosity that quickly melted into shock and settled into a puddle of terror. I stepped between her and the gang, grinning down at her and made a wide gesture with my arms. "Lady Junia, meet my, ah, co-workers. They'll take real good care of you for the rest of your trip."

At this, the hulking brute we all just called Lunk scooped her up and threw her over his bare shoulder, her protesting punches and kicks hardly even registering to his thick skin and slow brain. Others were already rifling through her travel pack, picking out various shiny things she really had no business carrying out into the world without a proper escort. Stupid girl.

I wonder how much her father will give for her return. I do hope the boys don't rough her up too much.

Greg said...

Hah, you'll be telling us next that "kids grow up so fast these days" :-P
I like Owen, I'm kind of hoping that he's going to turn up again and show us how him and his imposture are getting on. I think deserve that ;-)

The imposter
Three Miss Snippets looked at each other. Each looked annoyed, and they spoke in unison.
"Children! Two of these... teachers... are impostors. You know what to do with them."
The class sat still, practically holding its breath. Miss Snippet(I) frowned. "Even the pauses," she said. "You're doing a very good job."
Miss Snippet(II) scratched the back of her hand, seemingly uninterested in what was being said. Miss Snippet(III) smiled thinly. "I was impressed by the pauses too," she said. "Though I think you'll find that the children were perfectly aware that the pair of you two were a heartbeat behind me when we were all speaking."
Miss Snippet(I) snorted. "I killed a unicorn," she said. The tone of her voice indicated that she felt that this was significant. "Not something I think either of you two can claim."
Miss Snippet(III) looked disdainful. "I've killed unicorns," she said. "And the elves that ride them. And I know that you two are elves."
Miss Snippet(II) opened her mouth to speak at last, and then pitched forward. Behind her, Susan lowered a concrete-stained shovel.
"She's an impostor," she said. "She got the hand-sign wrong, even when you were all doing it." The two remaining Miss Snippets looked at each other. "You're both real," said Susan. She sighed. "I don't know how, and I think it might be a problem."

Marc said...

Kyle - I quite like the voice you've given your narrator. And the sound of his band of merry men as well! I'd be very happy to hear more from this crew :)

Greg - hah, indeed. Can't say I won't, at some point.

Hah, that was quite the scene. And I utterly loved the ending. Though I, too, think it might be a problem :)