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Neil Charles Cladingboel
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Reflections (Book Excerpt)
         by Neil Charles Cladingboel
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Page 2 of 12

And so he watched, as he always had for centuries. Watched and waited for the signs; for the catastrophic floods and earthquakes that nearly always preceded or accompanied the falling of the anvils. For the storms and deluges that promised the coming of a chosen one, he watched. After all, the Watcher had learned patience and believed he had all the time in the world.

 

Part One - Fate and Destiny

1 - Hall Of Mirrors

The rain had been falling hard for most of the day. The roads in Waimerie were glazed with a thin, constant coat of running water. The wind was gusting violently, blowing the now finer rain onto the already soaked, canvas marquees erected on the show grounds. Loose galvanised sheeting of the ground's only billboard flapped monotonously in the persistent gusts. The metal was decorated with numerous remnants of faded posters, the most recent, advertising the forthcoming event:

'Don't Miss The Greatest Show On Earth!

Limited Season for One Month Only

Commencing here, January 5th 1975'

Only the top halves of the posters were still readable. The rest had already weathered badly in the spate of recent storms. The carnival was due to start tomorrow.

Nearby, a solitary figure was silhouetted in the window of a large farmhouse, quietly watching the passing storm. The occasional flashes of distant lightning, followed by equally distant rumbles of thunder, were diminishing slowly as the last rays of crepuscular light receded into darkness.

Jonathan Edward Malone was unhappy! A ten-year-old on vacation in the highlands would normally be beside himself with curious adventure, exploring and enjoying the mysterious wonders that were typical of the Waimerie environs. Local legends told of mythical, magic beings that supposedly dwelt in a hidden cave deep within the forests. Although there had been no fresh reports of these so-called fairies in over sixty years, the belief lived on in the minds of curious children, desperate to prove the stories true. The searching was a favourite pastime of all the local and visiting children of Waimerie, but only in their fertile, over imaginative minds had they succeeded in their quests.

But not Jonny Malone. It had been raining from the moment he and his younger sister, Sarah, had stepped from the train at Waimerie station, greeted enthusiastically by their doting aunt and uncle, Dorothy and William Malone. The children hadn't been outside for three days and were both understandably, frustrated and bored. Neither had they been able to partake of the classic, local pastime of searching for fairies in the so-called Enchanted Forests, so named to ensure commercial popularity and sales of suitable souvenirs. Not that Jonny really minded, he had long ago given up any belief in fairies and magic, along with Santa Claus and the Abominable Snowman!

Instead, Jonny was determined to spend as much of his holiday as possible at the soon to open Carnival - rain or no rain. A maturing Jonny had reasoned to himself that any activity, even chasing fairies, would have to be better than staying inside the old, gloomy farmhouse for another day. But in spite of his increasing maturity, he found that tears of frustration came as easily to his eyes as did the rain to Waimerie. Looking up at the fast moving clouds in the darkening sky, he casually wiped the tears from his reddening eyes, wishing the clouds would disappear into the approaching night.

Behind him, a door opened as his Aunt Dorothy entered the gloomy bedroom. When Jonathan turned from the window to face her she could see at once that he was upset, his red, puffy eyes confirming her suspicions.

"Jonathan, why are you sitting up here in the dark all alone? Wouldn't you rather be downstairs sitting by the fire with your sister?"


Copyright© 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 Neil Charles Cladingboel, sffworld.com. All rights reserved. No part of this may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author.

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