a tale in weekly parts
This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next episode of this collaborative tale.
You can see the full story so far at this link.
“Let me go and take a look at that,” Al, Xander’s father, said pushing his way through the group of children and ignoring their protestations and those of the priest with them.
His wife Madge turned to face Albert and asked, “What’s happening to him, Albert? He’s always been a bit—”
“Crotchety, bad-tempered, anal?” Xander offered.
“All that and more,” Madge replied, “but these past few days, he’s been fifty times worse.”
Albert rubbed his chin pensively and replied, “Aloysius had a difficult upbringing. His father was very strict and harsh; almost Victorian in his attitudes to raising a son; and that is what has always shown through. On top of that, he has just been given some information that has turned his world upside-down. I’m not surprised he’s reacting the way he is. Give him time. Let him get used to things as they are and he’ll be back to himself in no time.”
“Can’t Kr’veth’neq’is help him, Unkie?” Xander asked, “You know, do some of her mind tricks to make it easier for him?”
“She’s done all she can, lad,” Albert said, “but he’s going to have to come to terms with it on his own; in his own way and in his own time. All you can do is support him through it. Make him know that this information hasn’t changed how you feel about him—”
“It hasn’t,” Madge interrupted, “he’s still the same man I fell in love with and married; he hasn’t changed.”
“Exactly,” Albert said, putting a protective arm around Madge’s shoulder, “just make sure he knows that, will you?”
“Now, lad,” Albert said, turning to Xander, “what lesson do you learn from this?”
“That I have to be careful what I do in other time periods. I never thought that my idle scratching would still be here, eight centuries later—”
“And revered as a sacred relic,” Albert interrupted.
“Yeah. I should’ve thought of that. But what about the stories you told the monks? Wasn’t there a risk that they could be passed down as some kind of folklore?”
“In theory, yes; though one thing stopped that from happening.”
“What was that?”
“They didn’t believe them. As far as they were concerned, I was just some silly old fool telling tall tales.”
When Al returned, he had that filleted look that you only usually see on teen-aged boys; shoulders drooped, back bent and head down.
“You did that, didn’t you, son?” he asked Xander.
“Yes, Dad; I did. I haven’t denied that.”
“That means this is all true. You really were here eight hundred years ago. You really did meet that Henry bloke. You really can travel through time, and I’m some kind of half-human monster. What am I going to say to the lads down the pub about that? I’ll be a laughing stock. No-one’ll believe me, they’ll all think I’ve gone round the bend.”
“Why say anything, Dad?”
“Because they’ll ask!”
“What? What will they ask?”
“We always ask how each other’s kids are doing; at school and such. How can I tell them my son’s a genius because he’s not fully human, and neither is his father.”
“You don’t need to, Dad. You can tell them that I’m doing well at school, and I get my brains from you; which is true, though not in the way they’ll think. They needn’t know that I go off with Uncle Albert sometimes, or where I go.”
“Or when, either. They don’t need to know that. None of my so-called friends at school do. They just call me brainbox and things. I tell them I get my brains from you, and when they say you don’t seem that clever, I just tell them they don’t know you like I do. That usually shuts them up.”
“The boy’s right, Al,” Albert said, “people don’t need to know everything. Xander doesn’t look or act any different to other boys his age, when he’s out, so no-one will suspect him of being unusual.”
“I s’pose you’re right,” Al said.
“I know I’m right,” Albert replied.
“As long as he doesn’t bloody shimmer!”
Madge hugged Al, and whispered into his ear, “I love you, Aloysius Cuthbert Cornelius Grahamson.”
“And I love you, wife, but can we go home now?” Al asked, a smile on his face, “I’m fair whacked, and I just want to veg out in front of the telly for a couple of hours.”
While all this was going on, Albert, Jarvis, Kr’veth’neq’is (who, you’ll remember, was outside the chapel with Chav) and Xander were using ‘mindspeak’ to plan their next journey. This time, it was to be a trip into the future.
On the journey home, while his parents slept, the planning continued.
“Let me brief you about forward time-travel,” Jarvis said, primarily to Xander (the others were sufficiently experienced not to need this pep-talk). “We will not be going to the future—”
“Don’t interrupt, boy,” Jarvis said. “We will not be going to the future, we will be going to a possible future; one of an infinite number of possible futures. Every decision made, every action taken by anyone or anything on the planet has an effect on the future. Everything that happened in the past led to the present time, and you now know that if you change anything in the past, you risk changing the present.”
“Yeah, I know that; I’ve seen all the Back to the Future films.”
“So, in the same way, everything you do or even say now will affect the future; some things in a small way, others more significantly.”
“Such as if a senior politician is on his way to broker a peace deal and is killed on the way, the deal may not happen and war may follow. I don’t know about you, but I call that a significant effect.”
“I see what you mean.”
“We’ve arrived,” Albert announced. Kr’veth’neq’is aroused Al and Madge from their sleep, and they all (except) Jarvis, went into the house for some tea.
This story remains open for suggested continuations. All I receive will be published here, with links to your own blog. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) episode 31 of this tale.
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.