Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
After Will had stretched his cramped legs, showered, and dressed Sills marched the group to the hospital lobby, where they waited for their transport. Nobody was left where Bug had laid him, snoring happily.
“Will, just to warn you, there’s a bit of a crowd out front.”
“How big?” asked the teen, suddenly nervous.
Sills cocked her head, “Not too big, last I checked. Security is pretty tight, anyway, so you won’t see them until after we’ve loaded.”
“What are they here for?”
“They’re here for you, kid,” Bug chuckled. Word got out pretty quick about what you did in the Board Chamber, and… people are kinda excited.”
Sills sighed, “About Narrative. Most people haven’t had a whole lot of reason to expect the Narrator cared much about us the last few years. Now, suddenly, there’s this kid running around who can stop injunctions dead in their tracks and who just happened to declare himself a prophet of Narrative.”
I told you that was going to make things difficult.
“You shut up.”
The agent scowled, “Excuse me?”
“Not you, sorry,” gasped Will with a frustrated sigh as he tapped his head.
“You tell the Narrator to shut up?”
I like her.
“Only when he’s annoying.”
Sills gave an wary nod and pointed to an IBI agent standing by the main entrance. “Right. Well, I’m going to head over to talk to Agent Biggins to make sure plans haven’t changed. Our transport should be here any minute.”
As Sills moved away Will turned to see Sindy fall into a lobby chair. Bug had moved next to her and was holding her hand.
“Sindy? You OK?”
“I’ll be fine, Will, thanks. This is all a bit much for me to take in. I’m just a mine supervisor, and suddenly I’m in the entourage of a prophet of Narrative — all because my idiot husband didn’t think about packing you some extra clothes before whisking you off to The Realm.”
“Oh,” Will mumbled. Uncertain what to say next he resorted to an old classic, “I’m sorry.”
Sindy grunted. “Sorry for what? None of this is your fault.” She then pointed at her husband with unclasped hand, “If there’s anyone to be sorry is this idiot here. Him, and my lunatic father upstairs.” Despite Sindy’s strong words, Will noticed her voice was uncommonly soft. There was no bitterness in her words, and she even squeezed Bug’s hand as she called him “idiot.” It caused her husband to wince, but he beamed a smile at his spouse nonetheless. The teen wasn’t certain what this exchange meant, but he was becoming convinced married people were weird 1.
Sills approached again, trailed by two other agents. “OK, transport’s here. We’ve erected a tunnel out front which we’ve closed off. Once we’re inside we’ll tell you which vehicles to enter.”
“Vehicles?” Will blurted out. “We’re not going together?”
“Will, someone just tried to blow up the Governors. We’re kinda taking security a bit more seriously than normal.”
Sill clapped her hands. “No more stupid questions? OK, good. Let’s go.” She reached up to a microphone hanging by her shoulder, “Storyteller is on the move, all points check in.”
Sills waited as different voices responded, each identifying themselves with locations like, “rooftop” and “crowd control.” One grumpy voice, which sounded a bit elvish to Will’s barely-trained ears, chimed in with, “storm drain.” Once all the posts had replied to Sill’s satisfaction she nodded and waved everyone forward. “All right, let’s move.”
Will found himself being ushered from the hospital via an enclosed canopy, which emerged into a wide fabric tunnel. He counted up to seventeen vehicles before his attention was drawn back to his protector.
“OK, listen up. Everyone get into the fifth vehicle, hurry up.”
“But I thought you said…”
“I know what I said,” Sills snapped before Will could finish. “Get in the fifth vehicle.”
Will frowned even as he complied. As they approached the vehicle they were acknowledged with a curt nod by the IBI agent holding the transport’s door open. As they loaded inside the armored transport they settled into its wide seats. When Sills had settled in she tapped Will on the knee and apologized.
“Sorry about that, Will, but the tunnel wasn’t meant to maintain security while we had a conversation. I said we’d go in separate vehicles because we’re pretty sure the hospital’s been compromised and we wanted to throw a false trail.”
“The hospital is compromised?” Sindy gasped. “But… my father’s…”
“He’s fine,” Sills grinned, throwing her thumb over her shoulder. As Sindy leaned forward to view the transport’s rear seat Will heard the familiar sound of Nobody’s snoring.
“The general did say he wanted to see the Professor.”
- And, of course, Will’s right. One can’t stay “normal” when they’ve intimately wrapped their lives up with another human being. Of course, becoming weird together is half the fun of marriage. ↩