Sunday November 6th, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: the knock.

Probably should have brought us back to the House of Mercy today. Will aim for... I'm going to say Wednesday, what with tomorrow being Max's birthday.

It was a picture perfect fall day here. Clear skies, no wind, autumn colors all around. It was nice to take an afternoon stroll through the orchard.

Right up until the sun ducked behind the mountains.

At which point winter reminded us that he's just around the corner.


The knock at the door is unwanted, but not unexpected. I remain motionless in the darkness of the living room and consider my options.

They are... unfortunately limited.

I could run. Find some other hole to hide myself in. Hope that they don't find me again. But live in constant fear of being found.

Hard to get a good night's sleep, living like that.

The knock comes again, more urgent this time.

I could fight. There are some fantastically dangerous looking knives in the kitchen. The curtain rod would make a lovely quarterstaff - I've always wanted to go Little John on somebody. Maybe there's even a gun hidden somewhere.

That's boring, basic, fight or flight stuff though. I need something a little more interesting than that. Something like... trickery.

Yes, I think trickery will do the job just fine.

Excuse me, won't you? There's someone knocking at the door and I need to go see who it is.

And to see who I will be when I open it to greet them.


Greg said...

That sounds like a lovely day to me, and I'd even have enjoyed the chill when the sunshine went away!
This is another intriguing narrator of yours, and the steady revelation that where he (or she) is isn't somewhere they've furnished themselves is an exciting detail. The last couple of lines makes for a superb denouement to the previous considerations, and I'm now all intrigued to see who answers the door!

[Having to post twice again. I wish blogger were a little less draconian on its character limit!]
The knock
They checked in; Ernest was assigned a room on the third floor and David and Ignatz had neighbouring rooms on the sixth. Samual offered to carry Ernest's bags, which he attempted to refuse until he caught Samual's eye. David gestured at his own bags and they gently levitated into the air and, weightless, were easy to push in front of him. Father Ignatz proved to have one small rucksack that was easily lifted in one hand and caused David to look at it thoughtfully until Magdalena took his arm and escorted him to the lifts. Ernest and Samual took the stairs at Samual's casual but firm suggestion.
When they reached the third floor the hotel's opulence became more apparant: the walls were dressed with more red and purple hangings and small but ornate tables were spaced between the doors to the rooms. They held large, elaborately hand-painted vases containing bunches of strongly-scented exotic flowers; the golden yellows, cornflowers blues and pristine whites contrasted brightly with the walls and carpet. More portraits of famous singers adorned the corridors, with discrete brass plaques beneath them detailing the subject and the dates they'd stayed at the hotel. Even the ceiling was elaborate: arched and vaulted, gold lines limned a subtle pattern that beguiled the eye and became quite mesmerising after only moments. Ernest inhaled cautiously, and smiled.
"It's like a rose garden and a herb garden growing in harmony," he said. "You know, if anyone could breed me a rose that had the aniseedy hint of tarragon to it I could happily spend a few years cultivating them."
"I think we would all regret such a loss," said Samual in a tone of such seriousness that Ernest raised his eyebrows in surprise.

Greg said...

"I can think of several people who wouldn't," he said, letting a smile tweak his lips. "Though I suppose most of them would be detained at His Majesty's pleasure at the moment, so they may be biased. This... fantasticness, if I might be permitted to invent a word, is for a purpose isn't it? It all demands my attention so much that I think it must be part of a confusion spell? Something to entrap people who shouldn't be on this floor? I am sure David would know all this immediately."
"Dr. Suture would be ensnared," said Samual. "The Lords-Magical themselves have protected this floor; your room-key is the protection from the charm, so please don't leave your room without it."
"That would be embarrassing! Caught transfixed outside my own room!" Ernest laughed. "Imagine the cleaning staff's horror. Ah, this is me I think, room 321. Are you also staying on this floor, Samual?"
"Yes." The young man reddened suddenly. He stared at the carpet, grass-green with a tracery of midnight blue lines in it that were every bit as mesmerising as the gold lines of the ceiling.
"Yes?" prompted Ernest.
"I'm... I'm serving as an adjunct to Lord Macanally." The flush deepened to the colour of boiled beetroot.
"Steve? Ah... you're embarrassed that Steve has a suite here and that you're in that suite? Really Samual, you're an intelligent young man, can't you see that who you are is more important than where you stay? Or even, what you do?" Samual remained silent, staring still at the carpet. "Aha, you're thinking that it's easy to say when you've got the track record that I have? Well, that's true, but I had to start from somewhere, didn't I? Or did you think that Ernest Derby appeared, fully formed and highly respected, out of thin air one day?"
Samual looked up.
"There's a relief," said Ernest. "I was starting to think that the confusion spell had ensnared you! Think on what I've said, please, but no answers for now." He reached in his pocket for the room key.
"Knock, please," said Samual quickly. Ernest quirked his eyebrows again, but did as he was bidden. The door swung open, and a deep voice said "Enter!"
Ernest walked in, then dropped to one knee and bowed formally.
"Your Majesty," he said.

Marc said...

Greg - reading mine over again, I feel an urge to continue it. I'll see if inspiration comes along with this urge.

Woo hoo, back to Ernest! Ahem, I mean... so nice to see this tale picking up again. Ahem.

Amazing description of the decorations and the story carries along at a stately pace to match it. Looking forward to the conversation that is about to occur with the waiting royalty!