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Herald: Pyre receives a visit from Herald, a messenger of the muses.
Posted by Douglas, Nov 15, 2008. 1488 views. ID = 2009

Herald

Posted by Douglas, Nov 15, 2008. 1488 views. ID = 2009
This post was written in 54 minutes.
This post has been awarded 11 stars by 3 readers.
This post is Part 7 of a writing series titled Kindle.

On the twenty-fourth day of Pyre's vigil, Becca stopped for supper at a little quasi-Italian diner on the corner of Fifth and Hawthorne. The music was Italian, the menus were Italian, but the food, though Italian in name, was primarily American in texture and flavor.

She chose a four-person booth by a window, and sat so she could watch the traffic and pedestrians pass by. Pyre slid onto the bench opposite, and watched while she studied the menu. In twenty-four days she had eaten here seven times, and always ordered either spaghetti, lasagna, or fettuccine. Pyre wondered why she even bothered looking at the menu.

On this night she chose the fettuccine. She was halfway through her meal when a voice spoke into Pyre's ear. "Is this your girl? She's kind of pretty, in a dumpy sort of way."


Startled, Pyre looked up to find a stout little Japanese man with large spectacles and a crooked grin standing behind him looking from Pyre to Becca and then back again.

"Herald," Pyre said, scowling at the intruder, "is that you?"

Herald, like Pyre, was a Kindle, an Emissary of the Muses. The last time Pyre saw Herald, he had been a tall, thin-faced American Indian, complete with traditional Indian garb. The next time Pyre saw him, Harald had been an Eskimo. He never manifested - not even to other Kindles - in the same form more than once. It seemed to amuse him. Pyre was still waiting for the day when Herald would show up with purple skin and tentacles. It wouldn't surprise Pyre at all.

"The one and only," Herald said. "Push over." He gave Pyre a little shove and Pyre slid down the bench, making room for his friend.

Herald sat down. Becca continued to be oblivious to both the newcomer and the conversation.

"Why do you always do that?" Pyre asked.


"Do what?"

"Change your appearance all the time."

"You know the humans do that, right? They stick rings in their ears, and noses, and tongues. They paint their hair blond, if it's brunette, and brunette if it's blond. And the women paint their faces every morning. I don't hear you asking them why they do it."

"They aren't Kindle."

"True. Well, my boy, I like to think of it this way. We Kindle, we aren't poets, we aren't painters or sculptors. In fact, we were never given any creative abilities at all, right?"

"Right."

"Wrong!" Herald dipped his finger in the olive oil and licked it off. Pyre slapped his hand and glared at him. "Wrong," he repeated. "It takes creativity to invent new appearances. Heck, it takes creativity to come up with the idea of changing my appearance."

"So? Your point?"

"This is my way of proving that they're wrong about us. It's my little bit of rebellion against the Masters."

"Whatever," Pyre said, losing interest. Whenever Herald got onto one of his kicks about how the Kindle were more "human" than they realized, Pyre tended to tune him out.

"Are you on project?" Pyre asked. Being on project meant Kindling a creative genius.

"Yes, and no. Right now I'm playing messenger."

"Oh?"

"Polly wants me to check up on you."

Polly. Or, rather, Polimnia. Pyre hated it when Herald gave the Sacred Muses nicknames. He thought, If I were a goddess, I would not put up with such frivolity and familiarity.

But Herald was Herald, and for some reason the Muses put up with his roguish idiosyncrasies. "What does Lady Polimnia want?"

"She wants a status update. What's taking so long with this one?"

Pyre shook his head. "I can't get inside her head. I've been watching her for three weeks now..."

"More than three," Herald interrupted.

"More than three," Pyre agreed. "And I just can't get hold of it. There's something holding her back, I know. I just see what it is. I'm sure it's not her mother, or her sister, her school, the money...It's not any of those things, but I don't know what else there is."

"A man?"

"There's no man in her life."

"Except you."

Pyre scowled. "I'm not in her life. She doesn't even know I exist."

"Ah," Herald said, "sounds like the bitter words of a scorned lover."

"Oh, shut up."

Herald grinned, then pushed his giant spectacles up onto his plump nose. "Don't you wish you could just ask her?" he said, seriously.

"Ask her?"

"Sure. You manifest to people all the time. Haven't you ever even thought about manifesting to a project?"

"No, of course not," Pyre said, although the thought did occasionally cross his mind. "That's against the rules."

Herald smiled again, and his smile said, "I don't believe you." Out loud he said, "Well, all I was saying is, if you could actually talk to your project, you might find it easier to Kindle her."

"Well, thank you for the completely inappropriate tip, but I think I'll do my job the old-fashioned way - the way that won't result in me incurring the wrath of the immortals."

"Hey, whatever," Herald said. "I wasn't saying you should, just, wouldn't it be cool if you could. Anyway. My point in all of this rigmarole is this. Polly's getting a wee bit impatient, and she's talking about tossing this project to someone else if you don't get your Kindle-butt in motion and make some progress."

"Assure her for me that I'm up to the task."

"Shall I tell her one more week?"

Pyre didn't understand why Herald's relationship to the Masters, why they kept him around despite his oddities and his rebellious streak. But what Pyre did understand was this: For whatever reason, Herald had influence with the Circle, and if Herald said, "Give the kid one more week," they would likely give him one more week.

No less, and no more.

Pyre nodded. "One more week."

Copyright 2008 Douglas. All rights reserved. FifteenMinutesOfFiction.com has been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work. For permission to reprint this item, please contact the author.
 


   
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This post has been awarded 11 stars by 3 readers.
This post is Part 7 of a writing series titled Kindle. The next part of this series can be found here: Scotland's Burning.

Comments


Scribbler
Dec 2, 2008
The next time Pyre saw him, Harald had been an Eskimo
Typo Harald for Herald:

There's something holding her back, I know. I just see what it is.
Should this be 'I just CAN'T see?

Pyre didn't understand why Herald's relationship to the Masters, why they kept him around despite his oddities and his rebellious streak.
Is there an extra 'why' in the first line here?
   ~Posted by Scribbler, Dec 2, 2008



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