Albert and Jarvis part 45

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.

Episode 45

“Can you relay him, Kr’veth’neq’is?” Xander asked.

“I think it best if you come and see him for yourself, Xander.”

“Where is he?”

Kr’veth’neq’is appeared physically in front of Xander, grabbed his hand, and faded out with him. Their mother was aware only that Xander had disappeared but, from her perspective, he would reappear so quickly that the most she would see would be a shimmer.

Xander and Kr’veth’neq’is materialised in a rather seedy quayside pub, and saw their father, surrounded by a large group of men, all of whom were guffawing raucously.

“I don’t like the look of this,” Xander said, “what’s going on? Why is Dad looking so flustered and why are all these people laughing like that?”

“Just listen for a while,” Kr’veth’neq’is said.

With slurred speech, and obvious discomfort, their father was saying, “I’m telling you. Both my kids. Bloody time travellers, not even fully human. Monsters, the pair of them. And my so-called uncle; turns out he’s my Dad, and he’s not human either.”

“He shouldn’t be able to talk like that,” Xander said. “I thought you’d fixed him.”

“I did. Saying those things is going against his conditioning. That’s why he needs to be dead drunk to do it. Look at the strain on his face; it’s not easy for him,” Kr’veth’neq’is said.

“Can’t we rescue him? Pull him out of here?”

“That would just confirm what he’s saying to them, Xander. It’s important that they don’t believe him. He has to be ridiculed and humiliated to the point where he’ll walk away from it by himself. Then we can grab him and I’ll try to heal him.”

One of the men surrounding Al chose that moment to ask, “So, Grahamson, if your father’s not human, and your kids aren’t properly human, what does that say about you?”

“You don’t get it, do you?” he replied, “My mother was human, so I’m half human in theory, but almost fully human in practise. My wife is human, which makes my kids three parts human, but they’ve got a recessive gene. Y’see?”

The pub landlord elbowed his way through the crowd, pushing some of the men to the floor as he did so.

“I think you’ve had enough, don’t you?” he said, “You’ve given us a bit of a laugh with your fanciful stories, but it’s time to stop, before someone gets upset.”

“But it’s all true,” Al protested.

“Of course it is, pal,” he landlord replied, “in your head at least. Now, are you going to leave peaceably, or do I have to call the police and have you arrested or worse?”

“What could be worse than being arrested?” he asked, dejectedly.

“The way you’ve been talking, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you bloody sectioned, mate.”

“Sectioned? What do you mean, sectioned?”

“Taken into custody and committed to a place of safety under section whatever-it-is of the Mental Health Act.”

“And how would you know about that sort of thing?” Al asked.

“I haven’t always been a pub landlord, you know,” he replied.

“So what were you before?”

“None of your damned business; now get the hell out of my pub before I physically throw you out.”

Al’s head dropped as he shuffled out of the door, pursued by fading laughter. Inside, the pub settled down to its more normal level of activity, as the patrons prepared to move on to the next source of entertainment.

In the middle of the street, Al was surprised to see his two children standing in his path.

“What’re you doing here? Haven’t you caused me enough—”

Al awoke on a bed inside Jarvis. Albert and Kr’veth’neq’is regarded him with worry-lined faces. Xander had already returned to his mother, who would never know anything of this incident.

“How’re you feeling, Al?” Albert asked.

“I don’t remember coming here, but I’ve had a fabulous sleep. Can’t remember when I last woke up feeling this refreshed. How long have I been here?”

“You came in yesterday evening,” Albert lied, “quite obviously the worse for wear, after a bit too much wine. We thought it would be better for you to sleep it off here than to go back to Madge drunk.”

“You’re a brick, Albert. What would I do without you?”

“What indeed, Al? what indeed?” Albert asked, with a knowing wink to Kr’veth’neq’is.