Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
Will jolted awake when transport in which he’d been laid hit a deep gash in the dirt road.
“What? What’s going on?” He sat up quickly, narrowly missing hitting his head on the transport’s ceiling.
“Easy, Will,” Sindy’s voice soothed. “It’s ok, we’re back on the road.” Will felt a hand on his shoulder gently pulling him back down, whereupon a cool cloth was placed on his forehead. “You were burning up, we had to get your fever down.”
“Fever? I don’t understand. What happened to the lawyers?”
“They went scurrying, kid. You spooked them good.” Bug’s voice replied.
“For that matter you spooked me. What were you thinking, getting out of the transport like that? You could have been shot!”
Will opened his eyes and saw Sindy staring down at him, worry and anger poured from her features and Will suddenly felt as though he’d forgotten to turn in a week’s worth of homework 1.
“Sindy, I think I was shot.”
“What?” She exclaimed, and began to pat him down, looking for wounds.
“You won’t find any bullet holes, dear. Sills and I checked him out after the Lawyers pulled back.”
“Well, they must have missed them.”
“They did not, Ma’am,” Barker’s voice called from the passenger seat. “We recovered no less than forty spent injunction rounds in a pile around your friend’s feet. They looked as though they’d run into something even harder than our anti-injunction armor.” He held up a small metal disc in a gloved hand, it glowed oddly in the dark of the cabin. “They flattened like coins.”
“That’s impossible,” Sindy shook her head. “It must have been his vest.”
“I doubt it, Ma’am. The vest is nice, but the Lawyers out here know how to shoot around it when their target is lit up. And your friend was nearly glowing out there by the light of the fire. And their rounds don’t do this when the impact a vest.” The soldier held the glowing open the glowing object up a bit higher, painting the cabin in a sickly green hue.
Sindy looked down at Will, “But how?”
“I, for one, hope its something your father is working on. With shielding like that we’d push the Horde clear out of The Realm for Good.”
“Well, it’s nice to see it’s possible, that’s for sure,” Bug replied. “But it’s not something the Prof is working on. Will is… special.”
“And how is that?”
“I can’t say.”
“Great, that clears things up. ” Barker’s voice suddenly became louder and will envisioned the Lieutenant turning back toward his passengers. “Son, can you at least tell me why you got out of the vehicle like that? It may have been the stupidest thing I have ever seen.”
Sigh. Go ahead and tell them, Will. There’s not much point in hiding it now.
Will sat up again, fighting off Sindy’s tugs to pull him back down, and met Barker’s gaze.
“A voice told me to get out of the car.”
Barker shot a glance at Bug, “This wizard hears voices?”
“The Prof thinks it might be a family trait.”
Barker’s eyebrows raised, “OK. So, a voice told you get get out of a vehicle while it was under fire… and you thought it would be a good idea to listen?”
“I guess,” Will shook his head. “I don’t know. It was a bit of a blur, to be honest. One moment I was in the car, scared out of my mind. The next I was in middle of the road, facing a bunch of people pointing guns at me. And I was still scared out of my mind.”
“Well at least you have some sense,” grumbled Sindy.
“And then what happened?” Barker probed, waving Will’s nurse off from further comments.
“Well, they shot me, and I kinda freaked out.”
“So what we saw was you, ‘freaking out?’”
“Yah. I mean, yes. And then they fired that mortar at the vehicles and I just…. convinced it to land back on the people who shot it.”
Barker cocked an eyebrow. “I wasn’t aware mortar rounds had minds which could be ‘convinced’ of anything.”
“They don’t, I think. But I couldn’t let them destroy the convoy, so I told it to land somewhere else.”
“And then you saved Tasks.”
“The Corporal who took all those rounds trying to evacuate you and your friends. He was hit with so many injunctions he should have ceased to exist, but I still know him. The Corporal says you stopped the fading, how did you do it?”
“I don’t know, sir. I don’t even really remember doing it.”
Barker nodded. “All right. Here’s what I, know. We were toast 2. That wasn’t a small raiding party. A full company pulled off that ambush, and if we’d gotten off-road they’d have swallowed us up in minutes. Not only did you save the Corporal’s existence, you saved all of us.”
Will’s eyes widened. “I did?”
“You did.” Barker turned back to look at the front windshield, but continued speaking. “I’ve never put much stock in Narrative, son. But if a voice told you to do that, well, maybe there’s something to it after all.”
Will stared straight ahead for a long while as the transport continued down the road, blinking and saying nothing. Bug finally had enough and gently backhanded the teen’s arm. “Kid, what’s wrong?”
“I got shot.”
Bug grinned. “Yup.”
“I convinced a mortar round to change directions.”
“And I apparently healed soldier who should be faded to non-existence.”
Bug tilted his head apologetically. “Well, kinda. You’ve kept him from fading, but the bullet wounds are still there. The Prof is working on him in the other transport.”
“Will he be all right?”
Bug clenched his face with uncertainty. “I think so, Sills was hopeful, anyway.”
“OK, good. But the point is, I think I did what the Narrator told me to do.”
“And….?” prompted Bug as he waited for Will to continue.
The stories we’re going to tell are going to be amazing, Will. You’ll see.
“Oh no,” Will groaned.
Bug chuckled. “Well I guess that settles that. The prof was right after all,” he added before settling back in his seat with a grin. No one in the transport spoke with the teen for the rest of the trip — leaving Will alone with his thoughts and the voice in his head.