This is ther first two chapters of my book that im awaiting publisher confirmation on.
|Chapter 1 - Pockets
As the cold winds of September blew on that dreary Saturday night Aikon sat alone thinking about what his parents had told him that afternoon, Aikon had a highly active imagination and believed in a great many things, which all ordinary people believe to be made of myth and rumour, his parents had warned him over and over that the stories he told would one day lead him into serious trouble and today would lead to that fateful day.
It had been a dull day, and Aikon, not being one for having friends other than those in his heart and mind, was passing the hours as only he knew how. He spent the day much like every other day he had to himself, pouring over books and images of creatures and beings lost in time and legend, and of places where magik was a rare yet recognized gift, a thin boy in appearance, average in height with blonde hair and dazzling blue eyes, Aikon wasn’t much to look at often slumped in appearance with a look of disinterest in most things, most things other than his thoughts..
It was in this world that he felt most at ease, safe from the harsh reality and politically correct views that so often labelled him as weird. As the day passed Aikon raised himself from his cluttered desk full of books and images, collected a few items which were more than necessary for his chosen form of study, amongst these objects could be found a pen, ruler, small note pad, some biscuits for energy and what looked like a square piece of old tin, however this was Aikon’s favourite item of all.
It had been given to him many years ago when he was just a small boy. His parents had taken him to a travelling carnival, which often visited the town on a yearly basis, it was made up of many stalls and attractions, and upon each stall were many wondrous and weird things, along with more normal things which most people would recognise. The carnival folk spoke clear as they passed each stall, each stall holder trying to spin the story of his wares more convincingly than the next in an attempt to entice the many people as they passed and browsed. As Aikon wondered drearily along with his parents glancing at anything that would relieve his boredom, if only for a second, only to have his father tug on his hand as an indication that they were heading to the next stall holder that had taken their interest, Aikon’s mind began to wonder, further and further into his own imagination, each object he looked at seemed to add a new creation in his mind, which were often distorted or altered to fit his pleasure, an old lamp with a faded pink shade which was conical, and dirt covered wire with no plug attached, became a magikly enchanted lamp, with a single round brass foot, which would use its wire as a tail and wrap around the hand of anyone who tried to turn it on, if the unknowing user was not quick enough it would lower its shade down and steal any jewellery or watches that were attached to the hand. Aikon named this amazing creation a “liether”. And so his mind wandered giving an old car tyre that was badly worn the ability to turn into a black hole which would transport the user to there required place if asked nicely, and adding all manor of things to his imagination and creativity.
It was amidst this time of deep thought and concentration that Aikon found his eyes had wondered aimlessly to the floor and he was subconsciously following his fathers shadow, when from the corner of his eye he was distracted by another shadow that was being cast in the warm sunlight of the afternoon, the shadow was long and straight with a great many points protruding from it, at first he wondered if it was a collection of many over lapping each other. However when he looked up to inspect the strange collection of objects he found nothing that could be responsible for such a peculiar shape. Glancing around him, determined to find the reason for such a shape, yet nothing could be seen. Aikon returned his gaze back to where the shadow had formed, when his father gave the same usual tug of his hand, he glanced backwards towards the shadows original place; he found it was moving slowly away from him. Both confused and scared he tried to tell his father but with no great response, other than his fathers usual preoccupied reply of
“Very nice Aikon maybe later.”
Frustrated he looked for the shadow again but it could no longer be seen amongst the swarm of people that had enveloped behind him and obscured his view. Wondering as he walked what such things could be or mean, he slowly found the shape taking form inside his imagination, unsure of how as it was not his own doing he found a voice talking to him, unable to understand any of the words, or if they were even words, the noises he was hearing, he identified only two which made sense to him, they were “shadow master”.
Shaking his head vigorously as though to throw of an irritating insect, he found that he was suddenly standing amongst a sea of people and that he hadn’t felt the familiar tug of his fathers hand. Amidst the bustling people and hectic noise which they created, coupled which Aikon’s imaginary conversation, he had some how slipped free, he had managed to lose his parents in the crowds of people as they shuffled from one stall to the next as though searching for a long lost treasure or a missing part of their soul. Over crowding and too many people pushing and nudging everyone had caused him to lose the iron-clad grip he thought his father had around his hand. As Aikon panicked, frantically rushing between legs in a sea of people, dozens of brilliant and brightly coloured bags holding a vast variety of weird and wonderful things, was the last thing on Aikon’s mind, curious as he was, he was more concerned with finding his treasure, his family.
As Aikon rounded yet another corner, only to be presented with the same spectacle of people and selling stalls, he began to feel a sickening sense in his stomach, and he began imagining his life as a lost child travelling with the carnival from town to town, selling wares, haggling over prices, creating wild stories of adventures and folklore, the latter of this idea appealed to Aikon for a fleeting moment, but not long enough to ease the one thought that was pulsing through his mind, like his own heart beat, getting stronger as each moment passed, the thought of being without his family ever again, which was the most terrifying thing in his worlds, the one he created and the very real one which stood before him right now. As this feeling swamped Aikon and as he felt wave after wave of overwhelming emotion ready to burst into tears and scream as loudly as possible in order to try and bring some hope to his already dismal situation in some last attempt to recall his father to his whereabouts. Amongst all of this, while trying to fight back the tears in order to focus properly on catching some glimpse of his family, he caught sight of something familiar, an old and tatty brown jacket, along with pale green corduroy legs were walking steadily towards him, he knew instantly that this was his grandfather, the teller of stories, and now his rescuer. As he neared to Aikon; even more his great feeling of despair faded and he could feel his body shaking slightly with the joy of being found by someone he knew and trusted but also with the fear of being reprimanded for leaving his fathers side, although not entirely sure if he had left his side or the other way round. Either way none of this seemed to matter for more than a few seconds, he was saved, safe with his grandfather, not caring for the outcome of his brief separation from his father..
“There you are Aikon, my lil warrior, I’ve been hunting everywhere for you. Oh how you love to wonder off.”
His grandfather said as he scooped him up into his arms high above the floor and embraced Aikon tightly as thought not wanting to ever let go. Aikon could see for what seemed like miles, a sea of heads before him each bobbing independently, some swaying from side to side, almost crashing into its neighbour, then as he turned to tell his grandfather what happened and to explain his ordeal and the strange shadowy shape, he noticed his grandfather’s bags and stopped, something about the bags had sparked something inside Aikon, a completely different surge of emotion washed over him, his curiosity had returned with a vengeance, and without a second thought the words spilled over his lips before he could arrange them properly,
“Bags you got
what?” said Aikon,
then quickly correcting himself after hearing how his sentence sounded in his head, he then repeated,
“What you got in your bags?”
His grandfather looked at him and smiled,
“I’m glad to see you haven’t lost your nose for gifts amongst all this madness”
said his grandfather as he giggled affectionately.
“Gifts!” thought Aikon, “For me? What could it be?” thinking back to the many strange thing’s he had seen, and some of the rather ordinary things that had been amongst them, wondering briefly if he had already laid eyes upon his gift unknowingly, his curiosity building with each thought. But that secret would soon be revealed and would soon be something that would bring all manner of surprises to him.
After his grandfather had reunited Aikon with his parents and explained how he had come to find him not too far away, it was decided they would head home after such an exhilarating day out. In the car on the way home Aikon tried all ways to get into his grandfathers bags to see what was in them, but try as he may, his grandfather simply moved them and kept repeating,
“Shhh, you don’t want to spoil the surprise!”
As the car moved slowly up the driveway and came to a halt, everyone got up, and collecting their bags as they went, entered the house. The house was very much the same then as it was to the present say, the same wooden door with a half circle of glass in the top which was filled with coloured glass, fashioned to resemble a rose, this had always fascinated him, as on sunny or bright days it would cast its picture into the hall. But this was of no fascination at the moment, as all Aikon could think of was his gift.
Aikon was suddenly awoken from his pleasant daydream by a sudden thud from downstairs, this could mean only one thing; his father had left for his Saturday afternoon fishing. Quietly trying not to disturb any of the stairs, which creaked below the fading sandy carpet. Aikon made his decent in a hope of reaching the front door without being noticed by his mother, who was busily making the evening meal, as the brass door handle slowly came into sight, his fingers reaching out slowly to turn it, but just as his fingers barely touched the warm metal, there came a shout from the kitchen.
“Aikon, don’t even think about leaving, Your grounded!”
“But mum! I haven’t done anything wrong, and, and.” Slam!
Aikon had opened the door mid sentence and ran out slamming the door behind him, now he was free, now he was in his own world, where he was in charge and only his mind held any boundaries as he headed for his favourite place in the world.
This place was of course, Egglestones Books and Bizaar, an old shop just off the high street which he had known of all his life, or as long as he could remember. His grandfather had taken him here at a very young age, and after a few visits, Aikon was coming back more often each week on his own, and had done so for a number of years now.
It was a very old building which Aikon was sure was not much older than its owner, the outside windows were covered in grime and muck, which had been the same since he first saw the front of the store, with its small sign, hanging precariously on rusted hinges above the front door, with its name embroidered on the wood in neat gold lettering. Upon entering the store he was instantly greeted by the dull chime of an old brass bell on a spring, which was now set off by a piece of wood nailed to the door, as apposed to the once brass arm which stood atop the door like an antenna. The shop itself was small and packed tightly with books mostly, although the odd device or strange contraption could often be found hiding behind a dust covered encyclopaedia or reference book. The path between the sea of books varied from day to day, depending on customers, or if Aikon had been in searching through a pile of books and dirt, hoping to find yet another fictional delight to add to his already overly full imagination, Aikon was sure the shop owner hid them to make the find more fun for him.
At the end of the shop stood an old wooden desk, piled to the ceiling with yet more books, and littered with old scrolls and parchment, these were of course the property of Lambert, the store owner and keeper, who Aikon had come to know as Pockets, due to the excessive amount of pockets and hiding places he had about his clothing, each one containing strange and unknown objects, with the odd appearance of a pen or his spectacles. Lambert was an old man, who Aikon thought must be at least a hundred and fifty by now, he had wispy grey hair which held no particular style, and thick greying eyebrows, which were often hidden behind a pair of thick reading glasses.
Pockets could always be found behind his desk, buried deep into his scrolls and books, drawing elaborate pictures of unknown beasts and places, and maps which lead to all of them, all of which he had derived from the many books he kept for himself. It was in these books that Aikon found his love for reading, for after many years of visiting, Aikon had been permitted to read Pockets’ personal collection and borrow them so long as they were returned intact, and on the condition that they were read thoroughly. Pockets would often quiz Aikon on the contents and imagery these books created, and not wanting to disappoint, Aikon was always sure to be ready with an answer.
As Aikon neared the desk, pockets looked up and without hesitation, shouted out
“Stop! What would you most commonly find a baelin’s fangs used as?” and Aikon answered just as quickly,
“A weapon, ‘cos it’s nearly indestructible and razor sharp!” Pockets smiled slightly and said
“Excellent my boy, now to what do I owe the pleasure of your company today?”
Looking around as he spoke, Aikon reached into his jacket and handed Pockets his square tin trinket,
“I’d like to know more about this, and what its markings mean, if you can help that is?” Pockets took the object and examined closely, pondering its unique design for a moment before speaking,
“Hhhmm, this is something I’ve seen before but can’t think where, how did you come by it if you don’t mind my asking?” Hesitating a little before he spoke,
“It was a gift from my grandfather.”
“Aahhh.” Said pockets as he rubbed his fingers over its smooth edges,
“That’s where I’ve known it from, he asked me the same thing. Sadly, as I told him, I have very little knowledge of its origins, ‘cept…” looking around as thought expecting to see someone listening, Pockets stood up, heading for the door, changing his hanging sign to closed, and bolting the latch. He then returned to where Aikon was standing, looking confused Aikon asked,
“Why does the door need to be locked?” It was true enough that, besides himself and his grandfather, Aikon had never seen another soul inside the store before; and therefore found this behaviour highly odd. Pockets once again smiled gently, and looked to the curtain, which covered a door next to his desk.
“Shall we discuss this elsewhere?” he said, beckoning towards the curtain. Aikon agreed with slight anguish and excitement,
“What could it all mean?” But just as the questions began to rise in his thought, Pockets turned to him and said,
“All in good time, for now let me show you what I know, and then maybe we can find the answer you seek” and without a second thought, the curtain was pulled to one side.
Chapter 2 – Room 232 a/b
Pausing briefly to consider what had just transpired, in a little less than the time it would normally take Aikon to read the first chapter of a book, he had been presented with not only the fact that his square piece of metal had some meaning, but that it seemed to be a lot deeper than he had first imagined.
A great debate was suddenly upon him, should he continue and step through the curtain that Pocket’s had presented or retreat now to consider all that could be lurking in the darkness within, however before Aikon had the chance to debate for too long there came a stirring from where the curtain had stood just moments before and Pocket’s quickly ushered him through while following closely behind him. As the darkness seemed to engulf the pair of them, Aikon began to panic, grabbing hastily around himself in order to find a wall, a door, the curtain, anything that would give him some bearing, but nothing came, until he once again felt pocket’s hand on his shoulder pushing him to press on further into the darkness. Aikon went to speak, a vain attempt to question why pockets had brought him in here, what he had done wrong to deserve such punishment, but nothing came, no words or noises, the fear of not knowing what was around him had gripped him in a way that he had never felt before. As he began to feel more and more helpless as he stepped cautiously through the darkness, stopping only to await the gentle nudge of pocket’s hand once more to reassure him that he was not alone. After what Aikon considered to be an eternity of silence and darkness he stopped, refusing to move, but there came no push or attempt from pocket’s to move him, nothing at all. Aikon began to panic again believing himself to be alone, not knowing what to do, running was useless after all if you don’t know where to run to, and would screaming help? After all screaming could attract the sort of attention that he didn’t want from whatever else could be in the same place he was now. Panicking he felt his way to the floor and began to scrabble around with his finger tips, hoping to find some hint of a way out, all he could find was the edge of the stone he was stood on, which felt smooth and cool like a piece of perfect cut marble, polished to an expertly soft touch. It was at this moment that Aikon noticed something, not knowing if it was his imagination tricking him, or whether it had been there all along and just not noticed it in the darkness, rubbing his eyes and looking again, it was, he had definitely seen it, ahead of him, a tall crack of light that was outlining what he only assumed would be a door out.
Without a second thought Aikon jumped to his feet, and with all the effort he could, he ran. Running like he never believed he could, not caring what could be ahead of him waiting to trip him as he hurtled towards the light through the darkness which he longed so eagerly to leave so much, he didn’t care what was waiting for him when he eventually got to the light. Stopping as quickly as he could, but not quickly enough to stop him colliding with what he quickly came to realise was a similarly marble like surface where he believed the door would be. He had reached the light, eager to know how to enter he looked and felt around for a handle or a button, but nothing was present. Once again realising he was stuck, he slumped to the floor, exhausted from the run, and confused as to why pocket’s had chosen to bring him here and leave him. Looking into the darkness from where he had came, he thought to himself
“Maybe I can get back through the curtain?” But as quickly as he thought it he had dismissed it, after all, where was it, there was no light; no sign; no way of even knowing which way he had come let alone how to get back. He leant back with his hands over his face thinking as hard as he could
“If only Pockets was still here!!” At that moment Aikon heard footsteps, looking all around him, searching for the sound and its origin, Aikon called out
“Hello? Who’s there?” but no one replied. Tucking his knees up to his chin and curling up against the marble wall as tightly as he could, awaiting the arrival of the mystery footsteps which had began to get louder and nearer to him. Aikon closed his eyes tightly and waited. Barely a moment had passed and Aikon felt himself fall backwards through the wall of light, the door had been opened so suddenly from the other side that Aikon hadn’t felt it move. As he scurried to pick himself up he quickly realised that the footsteps had come from the other side of the door. Looking out from behind the great white marble door, which Aikon was now able to see in its true beauty and perfectly crafted state, there was Pocket’s, giving Aikon a quick smile and a wink, as he said
“Shall we press on? We’ll never get there if we keep dawdling so much now will we?”
Wondering if he had just dreamt the room with nothing but darkness, not too sure where Pocket’s had gone, but happy enough to be out of there and back with him, Aikon chose not to question but instead to stay close by his side as they carried on forward.
Now in a corridor which was made of pure white marble, with the odd little sign here and there, made of brass but instead of words they had markings on them, strange symbols which Aikon didn’t recognise. Aikon looked up at Pockets planning to question these signs, but Pockets anticipated this and simply said,
“Another time Aikon, time is pressing.”
As they rounded a corner, which had not been visible from a distance given the dazzling whiteness of the corridor, Aikon stopped, looked up at the small brass plate in front him, rubbing one of his small hands over the plate, which was strangely dusty for such a clean place, Pockets announced:
“We’re here, are you ready Aikon?”
Not knowing what to say Aikon looked from Pockets to the small rectangular brass plate and its markings and then back to Pockets again, not knowing which was worse, the confusion of not knowing where “here” was, or the fact that Pockets seemed blissfully unaware of what had just happened to him. The only words Aikon could muster given all of his thoughts were simple ones, Aikon slowly opened his mouth and said quietly,
Looking back at Aikon as thought this questions was as natural as asking him the time, pocket’s simply answered,
“Why we’re at room 232 a/b, symbols, stones, and other strange artefacts. I said I’d show you all I knew and here we are my boy.”
Looking back at pockets, not knowing whether this information was helpful or not, Aikon simple accepted what had been said, after all who was he to question it, and Pockets seemed to certainly know what he was doing.
Without hesitating the door was pushed open, a golden light filled the hallway where they both stood, squinting his eyes gently, Aikon tried to see into the room, to inspect it for dangers before he entered another unknown place, but despite his best efforts Aikon could see nothing but the golden light which had spilled out so quickly onto the white marble walls where he stood. Looking up at Pockets who merely smiled, Aikon stepped forward, followed in turn by Pockets who swung the immense white marble door closed, with what Aikon considered to be no effort at all given the size of the door and the lack of strength that his companion seemed to have, but never the less the door swung closed both quickly and silently with nothing more than a subtle click that was almost impossible to hear, and Aikon could only be half sure he had heard it at all. Looking around he found the light from the room had dimmed with the closing of the door. The room itself was not as grand as the light that it emitted upon first opening, filled with shelf upon shelf of strange artefacts all glistening in the lamp light, this appeared to be the only reason for such an astonishing blast of golden light.
Pockets looked down at Aikon and his only words given the amazement on Aikon’s face were,
“This way Aikon, we’re almost there.” Carrying on further into the room, passing all the amazing objects which Aikon longed to stop and study and figure out their uses, passing a mirror in which Aikon was sure he’d seen his own reflection wink at him then fly off, and a crystal ball that shouted at him in a strange language which was almost painful to his ears, although Aikon thought it might have been interesting to translate it, wondering whether it was his future or some unknown prophecy or merely just obscene language. The room seemed to span on for further than he could see, passing more shelves and occasionally tables covered in objects and now even scrolls and old bits of parchment with strange writings on them. As they neared the back wall Aikon’s frustration was increasing at not being able to touch or examine any of the items, then suddenly Pockets had stopped;
Thud! Aikon had collided with the back of Pockets old jacket and fell in a heap at his feet, clearly they had reached whatever Pockets had intended them to reach. Brushing himself off and trying to focus on yet another little brass plate, which after a few seconds Aikon managed to make out as room B, very simple and plain, it seemed almost boring to Aikon. Pocket’s looked down at him with that same half smile and simple expression, and without another word he simply pushed open the door and walked in, Aikon followed unaware of what would come next but eager to look further now that his imagination and attention was truly captured, knowing only that this room had to hold some idea of the use or origins of his grandfather’s gift, closing the door behind him, he stepped into the room further and looking through the dim lantern light and the dust which had clearly been disturbed by their presence there, over against a wall he saw what he could only make out as an old, yet eccentrically large, brass window frame, eager to learn more he stepped forward to examine the strange object which seemed to warrant the need for its own room. Turning to Pockets he asked
“What is it?”
Pocket’s reply was more anxious than normal but still steady as he spoke,
“It’s a Within Window. Shall we take a look?”