Fantasy Fiction posted May 4, 2014 Chapters:  ...7 8 -9- 10... 


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NOT EVERYONE IS IMPRESSED

A chapter in the book The Trining

DOCTREX SPINS A YARN

by Jay Squires


NEW TO THE TRINING?  There are eight chapters with summaries at the beginning of each chapter, beginning with two and going through seven.  Now begins the summary for Chapter Eight: 
         Doctrex has been yanked into a new world by a child.  He is confused and angry over what has happened, but he is for the moment captivated by a land nothing like what he had seen through the membrane.  The sun is warm and glaring, trees are abundant and the ground is carpeted with pink flowers.  He tries to persuade the little girl to push him back through the opening, which had apparently disappeared.  She promises to do that after he plays with her.  She runs to hide.  Meanwhile, her mother comes.  Introduces herself as Metra and the little girl as Sarissa.  He is invited for dinner.  On the way to the cottage, she mentions her daughter Klea.  It's obvious she has some emotional problems and Doctrex questions Metra about them.  He becomes intrigued with Klea and is anxious to meet her.  Metra's husband, Klasco, meets them at the door.  Doctrex is welcomed warmly and they go inside.  As Metra Brings the stew pot to the table, he and Klasco pull Klea's bed nearby.  Palpable tension exists between Klea and Doctrex.


 
[Please Read the Author Notes First]

Chapter Nine

I whipped my head around. Thankfully, Klasco was looking at Sarisa so I figured I concealed my amazement from him. I glanced at Metra but she was heading for the cupboard for the glasses. Only Klea was watching me with something of a baffled smile.

"Doctrex," Klea began, "are you from the Southern Province?"

Metra turned and chuckled and Klea's eyes fell on her.

"Your mother's laughter," I explained, "is because you're the third person who's asked me that question, she being the first. I am originally from the southern province, but I haven't been there for some time. I've been traveling for so many years I call all and none of the provinces my home."

"Well put, Doctrex," said Klasco.

Klea, who seemed to be on the scent of something, said, "I don't know, Doctrex, you just seemed to have seen a ghost when Daddy mentioned the Pomnots. I'd have thought you'd been attacked by one."

"No, thank goodness!"

"What an interesting phrase," said Metra, as though she was trying to change the subject, "thank goodness." She stole a look at Klasco and then asked me if I would like to take a seat at the table.

I took the chair next to Sarisa. Metra sat to her left and Klasco took the chair beside mine, closest to the bed, I assumed so he could attend to Klea's needs.

"Still and all," Klea said, taking a spoonful of soup to her lips, blowing a ripple across the liquid, and holding the spoon poised at her mouth, "Still and all, Doctrex, I wonder, have you ever seen a Pomnot?"

I laughed, buying some time. I couldn't tell them about seeing the Pomnots ripping apart the creature during the Kojutake.

Klasco joined me in laughing. "You really shouldn't tease our guest, darling," he very gently chided her. "He's going to think we believe in them."

I turned to Klasco. What was he saying? That they were imaginary? Beyond him, I saw that Klea was studying me.

I laughed again. "Oh, I've been teased before, Klasco. A little teasing doesn't hurt anyone. I must tell you, though, I thought I encountered a Pomnot once …"

"You did?" little Sarisa asked, her eyes wide.

"Yes. You see, I was camping one night—"

"In the Northern Province?" Metra volunteered.

"Well, yes," I said, as if it were a given. "So I was sitting at the campfire when I heard a horrible ruckus out in the darkness behind me. Then, there was a groaning sound—a deep, mournful groaning." Everyone's eyes were on me and I was getting wrapped up in my own story. "So, I took one of the smaller logs from the fire and I ventured out into the darkness, holding it in front of me for light. I followed the sound of the deep groaning and a kind of a whisking sound, like someone pushing through the underbrush. By now I was so far from my campfire, it looked like a little coal in the distance, but I knew I had to continue on because if I didn't find the Pomnot now, it would certainly find me and devour me as I slept." I paused for effect. I noticed Klea returned the spoonful of soup back to the bowl.

"It was windy, with it blowing toward me, and the fire had gone out on the log I clutched, though there was enough of a coal to still give me some light. As it turned out, I didn't have much farther to go anyway."

"What do you mean?" Sarisa asked, short of breath.

"Just that, Sarisa. Not being able to move too fast, with the coal now almost extinguished, I inched my way forward. Off to my right, the groaning became more frighteningly loud. With my heart in my throat, and wanting to turn and run, I moved instead toward it."

"Suddenly," I said, and repeated it. "Suddenly … something plowed into my chest!"

"Oh!" cried Sarisa. "Was it the Pomnot?"

"I'll tell you what it was: the thing that plowed into my body was really something that I had plowed into. It was the trunk of a gigantic oak tree. I held the last of the coal up to the tree. Where two huge limbs crossed each other, rubbing together, they groaned in the wind. And it was the wind that carried that sound and also that of the rustling of leaves to me. The fearful mind is easily duped."

"Indeed it is," Klasco said.

At that point I realized they had been waiting for me to ladle soup into my bowl before they attended their own needs. I quickly filled my bowl, happy to see that two hearty chunks of meat were included with the vegetables and the broth. Klasco filled Sarisa's bowl, then Metra's, and finally his own.

Klea was eating her soup, but over the top of her raised spoon she was watching me.

"Please, Doctrex," said Metra, "enjoy your dinner. You must be famished with all your walking."

I took my first taste of the soup, savoring the rich broth on my palate. "I don't know when I've ever had anything taste so good."

Metra blushed. Klasco cut me a generous slice of bread and held it out to me on the end of the knife. I took it and bit off a piece. It was soft and yeasty. I didn't know if it would be poor manners to dip it in my soup, so I deferred until I saw Klasco do it and then I joined in. We ate our meal in silence, all but Klea enjoying a second helping. She continued her surveillance.

Metra and little Sarisa cleared the table, carting everything to the sink. Metra put a kettle of water on to boil, I assumed for the dishes.  Opening the door in the front of the stove with a towel, she shoved in one of the logs, stacked nearby.  She quickly closed the door against a vagrant spray of cinders and then tapped underfoot the ones that made it to the floor.

I brought my eyes from her to Klasco, who had his hands behind his head and was leaning back, tilting the chair precariously, the front legs three inches off the floor. "A bowlful of tobacco is nice after a meal. Would you care to join me outside?"

I told him I was not a smoker, but I would love to join him.

Klea interrupted our leaving with her words: "Daddy, I have a feeling Doctrex hadn't finished his story. It wasn't finished, was it?"

"I'm sure it was, darling," Klasco said. "He started by saying he thought he encountered a Pomnot and finished by describing his ordeal with the tree. Isn't that right, Doctrex?"

"Well, there is just a little more if you'd like to hear it."

Metra and Sarisa stopped what they were doing at the sink and turned toward me. A smile crinkled the corners of Klea's mouth.

"Well, if there's more, I, for one, want to hear it!" Klasco said, the front legs of his chair clicking back to the floor.

"Okay," I told them. "I did a good amount of chuckling at myself on my way back to the campfire. As I said, the fearful mind is easily duped. But, just being able to laugh at myself relieved me of much of that fear."

"Indeed!" Klasco said.

"But, when I got back to the campfire, my fear was revived!"

"What do you mean?" Metra, asked, laying a protective arm across Sarisa's shoulders.

"As I sat down by the campfire, I reached over for my rucksack. My activities had given me an appetite and I wanted a piece of the dried meat I had been hoarding for a time when my fortunes would be a bit leaner. My rucksack wasn't where I had left it. I crawled around looking for it. Had it simply disappeared I might have convinced myself I had left it at my last resting spot and just imagined I had seen it here. But, I had brought it with me and now saw it, some twenty feet away, opened and the contents scattered."

"But the meat was gone!" Klasco exclaimed in an anticipatory tone.

"Yes, as I expected."

"Probably one of the night animals."

"That was my thought."

"Don't keep us guessing, man!"

"I decided to wait until daylight to examine the evidence."

Klasco laughed, which I thought was curious, and then he looked at me as though he was expecting me to laugh, as well.

"So," he said, "it was the end of the dark cycle?"

"Yes," I told him, trying to regain the confidence his laughter had stolen. Then I remembered what Metra had said about the uneven day and night cycles."Of course it was. The change from dark to light and light to dark is a magical time and I try to always be a part of it. So I fed the fire and kept my vigil throughout the waning darkness. When the … light cycle commenced I carefully started to examine the surrounding area. I expected to see small paw prints. What I actually saw took my breath away." I waited until I saw them exchange glances and turn their eyes to mine before I continued: "You are a big man, Klasco, with much larger feet, I would imagine, than most, and yet the footprints I found could have held two of your feet in each one! The imprint of the great toe was as large as my fist."

"Do you think it was a Pomnot?" little Sarisa asked.

"I don't know, Sarisa, I've never seen one."

Klasco smiled at Sarisa. "I think, little sister, that is because the Pomnot does not really exist. But what does exist," he added, "is a pile of dishes you need to help your mother with while Doctrex and I go outside."

Metra and Sarisa turned to the dishes.

"Daddy," Klea said, "I shall probably be asleep when you come in, so if you don't mind I would like to ask Doctrex to clarify something for me. I'll not keep him long."

Klasco excused himself and left. She motioned for me. "Perhaps you can also push my bed back from the table while we talk."

I went to the foot of the bed and pushed it across the room and into the shadowy corner. She motioned me to her bedside. I glanced over to mother and child clinking the dishes at the sink, talking in soft tones.

"I was delighted by your story, Doctrex," she told me. And, in a subdued voice she added, "I said I wanted you to clarify something for me. Come here, please, this is meant for your ear only."

"I don't think—"

"Doctrex, I'm not going to bite you. Please …."

Reluctantly, I inclined my ear to her.

She brought her mouth so close I could feel the heat of her breath. "You are a fraud, Doctrex," she whispered. "I don't know how it's going to happen, but you will slip up and I shall expose you." Then, in her normal voice she said, "So, thank you so much for entertaining my family and me. I shall be looking forward to hearing more about your adventures."
 
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GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND MAJOR CHARACTERS
  • Doctrex:  The name Axtilla gave to the man who woke up on the shore of an alien land, without memory or identity.
  • Axtilla:  The young lady who discovered the ailing man on the shore, brought him to health and then held him captive, certain he is Pondria.
  • Pondria:  According to the Tablets of Kyre, he is the one who comes from the sea, to infiltrate the people of the Encloy, deceiving them with his language, setting them up to be destroyed by the Trining.
  • Tablets of Kyre:  The spiritual teaching of the people of the Encloy (of which Axtilla is one).  Handed down from Kyre, they tell of the Bining and the Trining.
  • Bining:  Occurring five generations earlier, it was the alignment of one plane on another.  Kyre defined it as "a brief, incomplete lodging with rapid departure.  It could be no other."  Took place during 30 days of darkness and during that time all the Pomnots and those whose faith in the Encloy was not strong enough were drawn up into the Kojutake.
  • Trining:  A future event prophesied by Kyre as the "sudden, easy and complete translation of authority".  Pondria's arrival set the stage for this "overthrow".
  • Encloy:  The group of people known as the followers of the light.  Kyre, himself, was the original "point of light" in the darkness.  Others followed according to their specialties, with the one common denominator: they followed the light.
  • Kojutake:  1) the plane above the one where the Axtilla, Doctrex and the people of the Encloy exist.  The fierce Pomnots live there.  2) loosely speaking, the name of the impenetrable membrane that stretches out above them (high during the daytime, low at night), that separates one plane from the next.  3) the light-show that occurs every night.
  • Pomnots:  (Pom = Dark not = Force)  Formerly on the plane below, these ancestors of the people of the Encloy were drawn up to the Kojutake during the Bining's 30 days of darkness.  Fierce, living for their appetites, they are not above killing each other to satisfy their insatiable hunger.
  • Kyreans:  Another name for the people of the Encloy.  More general because it includes those who are not actually members of the Encloy.
  • Glnot Rhuether:  According to Axtilla, the name of the dark entity who is destined to empower the lodging [the Trining] on their plane.
  • Klasco: The husband and father of the Braanz family.
  • Metra: Wife and mother of the Braanz family.
  • Sarissa: The youngest Braanz child.
  • Klea: The older Braanz child.
 











 


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NOTE: Reluctantly, but at the request of many Fanstorians, I am including a Glossary of Characters and Terms. The previous chapter summary and the glossary comprise 611 words and appear to make a chapter longer. I trust the reader who measures his/her interest by the length of the "scanning bar" will keep that in mind.
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