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Zanzibar – Part 12

August 10, 2016

Zanzibar – Part 12

by Keith Channing

“Okay, Ruth,” Javelin  said, “I’ll trust you – for now.”

“For now?”

“Yes, for now. I’ll let you put me under and see what I remember. Then I’ll decide if I can trust you completely.”

“That’ll do for me,” Ruth replied, “now lie back on the couch, close your eyes, and focus your thoughts on a place and time where you have felt completely safe, warm and loved.”

“Grandma’s kitchen, when I was young.”

“Okay. Describe it to me. Give me every detail you see. Miss nothing out, no matter how unimportant it seems. And speak slowly and quietly, as if you’re in a dream.”

“I’m sitting on a chair at the kitchen table.”

“Tell me about the table, Rodney.”

“Yeah. It’s very big, and has a yellow top. There are flowers in a green glass vase in the middle of it. Three plates and a mixing bowl are around the flowers.”

“Good. Now get off the chair, look around the room, and tell me what else you see.”

“Ooh. The room is a lot bigger than I remember. It’s so big I can’t really see the walls or ceiling. The floor is covered in something that feels like moss; moist and squidgy; but has a weird, spaced-out look. There are spooky sounds around me, or maybe they’re in my head. I can’t really tell. It’s very bright, but only around me, like I’m in a spotlight. The whole thing is making me feel a bit sick. I’m alright, though. I’m not going to be sick.”

“That’s good, Rodney,” Ruth said, almost in a whisper, “now tell me. Are you alone in there?”

“I thought I was, but someone is speaking to me. Wait. There’s another light. It’s shining on…”

“Take your time.”

“It’s a slug. A huge see-through slug with something weird moving about its insides. It’s saying something.”

“What’s it saying?”

“It’s saying, ‘I am the Arikatoteshika, the head of the Zumotokuari family of the Cnazvu. My kind have curated the Lacteus galaxy since before time began.‘ It’s telling me to look up at some windows, where I can see my family, my friends. But they can’t see me. I tell it I want to go home, but it says I can’t, unless prove that I really, really want to, and can convince all my friends, too. Hahaha!”

“What’s so funny?”

“His real name is Norman,” Javelin said, as his body went limp and fell to the floor.

Ruth picked him up and gently placed him back on the couch. There she left him for a period, while she went outside and sought out Jacob.

“Have you learnt anything?” Jacob asked.

“Plenty,” she replied. “He has been to the Great Hall. I’m sure it’s the same one I was sent to all those years ago, but I can’t remember anything about it. Maybe I’ll get him to regress me when he’s stronger, so we can compare notes, but I’m sure it’ll be the same.”

“What did he say about it?”

“Ignoring the physical aspects, the main thing I learnt is that he has met and spoken with the Curator.”

“And?”

“Mostly just that. Apparently the Curator showed him some scenarios and asked him which one he would like to go to.”

“Proceed”

“When he told the Curator which one he wanted to go to, he was given some conditions. He has to show that that’s what he really wants, and convince his friends to want the same thing. That’s going to be hard, with one of his friends in the Smoke.”

“But… don’t you see what this means?”

“Yes. He’s stuck here like the rest of us.”

“No. It means there is a way back. All we have to do is find it. Help him, Ruth. Help him as much as you can. It’ll be good for all of us.”

“There’s one other thing, Jacob.”

“What’s that?”

“He told me the Curator’s name.”

“Don’t keep me in suspense. What is it?”

“Rule one, Jacob, remember? The name of the Curator is his power; it is not to be spoken or written by any guest. I don’t want to end up in the Smoke.”

“But what of Javelin? He spoke the name.”

“Only in a trance. I guess… I hope it doesn’t count. I must get back to him.”

Ruth left Jacob and re-entered her little house. Looking back, she saw Jacob’s face redden, and his palm repeatedly beat his forehead. Jacob, the ever cool; Jacob the calm; Jacob the ultimate diplomat. What had she done to him? Should she have told him anything?

On the couch, Javelin was regaining consciousness has she entered.

“How are you feeling, young man?” she asked.

“Okay, I guess; apart from a blinding headache.”

“That’ll pass. Do you remember anything?”

“I remember everything. I don’t think I can ever forget it.”

“Promise me one thing, Javelin. Promise me that you will never, ever say the Curator’s name. Not in the Village, not in the Smoke, if you ever have to go there.”

“Okay, okay. I know the rule. And don’t forget, I understand how this place works.”

“What we need to do now is to wait for the next double full moon night and see what we can learn about the disappearing items. With that behind us, I’ll call a meeting of a few people—”

“Who?”

“Jacob and a few others who’ve been here as long.”

“And my posse?”

“We… Jacob and I, will meet with them separately afterwards. This first meeting will be to talk about the missing items and whatever we learn about them, as well as your information. What you’ve told me has an effect on everyone in the village and beyond. We need to be careful how we disseminate it.”

“How you what?”

“Disseminate it.”

“My uncle’s a vet. He does that with cows.”

“That’s inseminate. That means putting the bull’s seed into the cow. Disseminating is spreading the seed, or in this case the information.”

Javelin looked down and quietly asked, “How come the Curator didn’t make me as smart as you?”

“It will come, Javelin. Give it time. He has planted the seed; it will grow and develop in its own time.”

“So the Curator inseminated me?” he asked, his face brightening.

“I suppose you could say that, in a way. But not to your friends.”

“Why not?”

“They don’t have the smarts to understand. They’ll think of it like your uncle does to the cows.”

Javelin’s face reddened at the thought as he left Ruth’s house, muttering “Bye then” as he went.


This is now a round-robin between Keith Channing and I.

If you missed a chapter, click to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11

or Jump ahead to Part 13

 

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