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Message to Readers

Sequel anyone?


August 26, 2019


    Nothing is spookier than staying in a new, unfamiliar house all alone on a stormy night after binge-watching the Weeping Angel episodes of Dr. Who.  It's the sort of fear that makes you want to turn on all the lights in the house and in the garage, triple-deadbolt all the doors, wrap yourself in a blanket and sit in a corner.  Very debilitating. 
    I've seen my share of thunderstorms.  This one needs a new category invented for it.  The wind is bellering around the walls like the demented progeny of a bull and a dynamo, and every few minutes the thunder smashes its sword and shield together and raises up a tremendous battle cry that rattles the window panes and every bone in my ribcage.  The rain is coming down in a series of nearly opaque sheets, while the temperature has dropped to the point where I'm glad for a soft, fuzzy blanket.
I scream in terror and jam myself into my comfortingly solid corner.  What in all the outrageous crannies of this good earth was that?
    The knocking continues with no sign of letting up, kinda like the thunder.  I pull myself together; no doubt it's just some poor soul who got caught out in the storm. I go to the back door, where the knocking has not subsided.  I open it and wham!  I am slammed into the wall and repeatedly bashed in the nose by the heavy hardwood door, which is swinging wildly in the high wind!
    A large hand with slender fingers snags the cantankerous door, and a total stranger slams it shut.  He turns around and bows politely, his grey fur hip cloak and sodden blond locks scattering cold drops as they swing.  His motions have the grace of a leopard and the precision of a Swiss watch.
    "Forgive my entrusion.  I was out boating on the lake when the storm caught me and, I was driven ashore not far from your hamlet," he explains in polished, tenor tones.
    Hamlet?  What?
    I have to crane my neck back to make eye contact.  This guy is like whipcord: slender and strong.  His Nordic features lose no strength to their refinement, but his eyes are a penetrating, steely blue and catch my breath.  Something about his ears...
    Oh my cotton socks.  There's an elf in my house.
    When Tolkien wrote about elves, he totally forgot to mention the intimidation factor.  I have no doubt that this guy can kill me in unimagined and groundbreaking ways, especially since he has a longbow and a quiver slung over his left shoulder and I have no way of knowing how many knives his cloak obscures.  Still, there he is, meticulously wiping his trim grey boots on the mat.  Poor fellow; he's soaked to the skin.  I guess no matter how much enviably beatiful, scrolling tooling you have on your leather quiver, you can still get drenched like everyone else.
    The elf cocks his head and spears me with piercing blue eyes.  "I hope you don't mind?" he asks apologetically, tightening his brows in concern.  His sodden blonde locks have tumbled over his shoulders like so many golden snakes.
    "Not at all, " I reply warmly.
    Hesitantly, wistfully, he asks, "You wouldn't happen to have any potato chips, would you?"
    This rather takes me aback.  He's dressed like a medieval nobleman, with a soft grey, long-sleeved  tunic and matching leggings that correspond with the rest of his gear, so I hadn't expected him to even know what a potato chip is.  He's like a ghost in his uniform shade of grey that reminds me of thick, bluish silver-white smoke.  He's a phantom, a myth with a man's hand an javelins for eyes.  But his handsome face has a hungry, mournful look to it.  
    How can I refuse?
    "Absolutely," I respond.  I stride into the kitchen and brandish a bag of chips.  He smiles and takes the bag.  When he  bites into a crispy morsel, the expression on his face is one of pure bliss.
    "Ahhhh," he sighs, "I love potato chips."  He snaps back to attention.  "My name is Faber, by the way.  What's yours?"
    An awkward pause ensues. "What now?" I ask.
    "Do you have any movies?  I know humans like movies."
    "Just some horror stuff."
    "Oh, I love human horror!  It's hilarious!  Can we watch it?  Please?"
    He gives me that irresistible puppy-eyes look again, with contagious enthusiasm this time, so I sigh and prepare myself for the nightmares that will haunt me for a week.  I sync my tablet with the big screen and sit down on the couch beside an elf to watch a movie.
    I guess truth is stranger than fiction.
    We watch all the episodes, and Faber laughs almost constantly.  His shriek of mirth when he first sees a Weeping Angel almost deafens me, and whenever the protagonists are mired in their most harrowing scrapes, tears of hilarity stream down his face.  His outburst when Amy Pond is trying to find her way through a mine field of the stony monsters with one of the Doctor's gadgets would have made the Grinch smile.   I am convinced that his thigh turned black and blue from the pounding he gave it.
    After the last episode ends, the storm has ended also.  Faber rises and bows again in one butter-smooth motion.  "Thank you very much for allowing me to take shelter here.  I enjoyed your company, and this... Dr. Who.  I should like to visit again, if I can manage to find my way back."
    I rise as well and execute a clumsy bow in return.  "Think nothing of it."
    "Think nothing of it.  I could just as well have swallowed instead of breathed out there and gotten the same amount of air."  He pauses.  "I'd like for you to have this."
    He extends his hand and opens it, revealing a plain golden ring.  "It's a gift.  A thank-you."
    I hesitate, so he gently but inexorably takes my hand, presses the ring into it, and closes my hand into a fist.  He does not smile.  He is deadly serious.
    "If you ever need me, I'll be there," he promises.
    He walks out of the house and softly shuts the door.  I have never seen him so serious.  In fact, I may never see him again.  But I don't think I'll think I'll ever be afraid of Weeping Angels again either; all I'll be able to hear is Faber's near hysteria when the Weeping Statue of Liberty appeared on the screen.  
    I pick up the ring and fondle it.  With this to remind me of the strangest person I have ever met, I don't think I'll be afraid of much at all anymore.


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  • August 26, 2019 - 5:18pm (Now Viewing)

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