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Zanzibar – Part 46

December 28, 2016

Zanzibar – Part 46

by Keith Channing

If Rodney had expected to be returned to the Village at that point, he would have been disappointed. Looking around, he saw that Billy was still with him and sensed Ruth’s continued presence; only Tracey had left.

“I’m sorry, Rodney,” Ruth said, “I should have foreseen this. I wouldn’t have encouraged you to be chosen had I known that he would have been so… so… Norman.”

“You knew all along?” Rodney asked.

“I suspected more than actually knew. I hadn’t seen his true form or heard his real, rather puny voice, but I had long believed that he was a great deal less than he said he was.”

“Now that you do know,” Norman whined, “what do you plan to do? I still have considerable powers, you know.”

“No you don’t. You have only what the Architect gave you, and what He gave, He can take back again.” The words came from out of thin air, but the voice sounded like Chad’s.

“That you, mate?” Billy asked.

“Yeah.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m with Tracey, in the Temple.”

“So how come we can hear you?”

“Not important. Listen. I’ve been told some things about that weasel Norman that might just change your attitude to him. Tracey says that once he knows what the Architect told me, he’d make some plans. Any idea what they are?”

“We don’t know any more than Tracey does.”

“Well, whatever. The Architect and I will not let that happen.”

“Who are you talking to?” Norman asked.

“Can’t you hear?”

“No, Rodney, I can’t. Yours is the only voice I can hear.”

“Great. If he can’t hear me,” Chad said, “then we’re free to talk. Listen to what I’ve got to say without reacting or replying. That way, old weasel-face’ll be none the wiser.”

Norman changed his form to the slug-like projection they had first seen. “I asked who you were talking to,” he boomed.

“None of your concern,” Ruth said.

“None of my concern? None of my concern? I am the Curator of this realm. Everything is my concern.”

“Except this,” Rodney added, causing Norman to fume, shudder and revert to his normal, weasel-like form.

Chad went on to explain in detail everything that he and the Architect had talked about, including His idea that Norman could be trapped and shipped off to somewhere he can’t do any harm. Of course, much of what he said to Rodney, Billy and Ruth was also new to Tracey, who was with the rest when the Architect was talking with Chad.

“Wow,” heavy, Rodney said once Chad had finished, “I think we need to get the rest of the gang on board.”

“Agreed,” Chad said, “next sunrise, in the Village meeting place. Bring them all up to speed, will you?”

Rodney immediately returned to the Village, Billy to the Settlement, and Ruth to her duties at the Temple. Norman was left totally alone, painfully aware that he had no hand in the departure of his erstwhile guests.

“Are you okay now?” Jacob asked when Rodney regained consciousness, “That looked like a bad one.”

“In a way, it was,” Rodney replied, “but yeah, I’m fine now.”

He filled Jacob in on what had happened in Norman’s lair and, after swearing him to absolute secrecy, brought him up to date with all the information he had gleaned about the Architect, Norman, and the relationship between them.

“So the Curator isn’t as powerful as we have always believed him to be, then?”

“Apparently not. As far as I can make out, it wasn’t him who sent me back here. I can feel him calling me again, but he isn’t strong enough to make it stick.”

“So all this praying to him…”

“Total waste of time. The Architect is looking for a way to disable him completely. If He can do that, He’ll be able to put the orbits back to normal and straighten out this time problem once and for all.”

“But if He’s the Architect, can’t he just…”

“You’d think, wouldn’t you? But he’s given too much of his power to Norman – I mean the Curator.”

“So what’s the plan?”

“The Motorhead Gang will meet at sunrise tomorrow: all of us. I’d like you to be involved, too, and I’m hoping that Ruth can make it in some form.”

“Will Frank, Scott and James come without the girls, though?”

“I have no problem if they want to bring them, but it’ll be up to Chad to decide if they get involved. He’s the only one has actually spoken to the Architect.”

“Hang on a second,” Jacob said, “How are you all going to meet up here, if two of you are in the Smoke and one of you in the Settlement?”

“The Architect will see to that. We know now that the vortex that brings people here is His, not Norman’s, and He’s just sent me back here, so it should be easy for Him.”

“Sorry, Rodney. I can’t get used to the idea that there’s a higher power than the Curator. It’s been so long…”

“I know. It seemed strange to me, too, but now I know that Norman’s not much more than a jumped-up janitor, I have little or no respect for him. Now, let’s go and see if we can round up the lads. I need to make sure they know as much as we do, before tomorrow’s meeting. I’ll get Frank, Scott and Jimmy; can you see if you can find Sandy? We’ll meet up in my house.”

“I think I know where Sandy will be today – there’s a planning meeting in the Village Hall for next month’s Pride. He’s sure to be there. He’s been identifying less with your gang and more with the LGBT crowd, ever since your guys took up with the girls.” Seeing the look of confusion on Rodney’s face, Jacob added, “Hey – you’re not the only one knows stuff…”

Rodney and Jacob went their separate ways. Sandy was, as Jacob had surmised, at the Pride planning meeting. Approaching him quietly, Jacob tapped Sandy on the shoulder and whispered, “Rodney needs you back at the house – quick as you like.”

“Well, boo-hoo for him. Tell Rodders that this is more important than whatever he wants.”

“I doubt it is,” Jacob replied, “this has to do with the broken timeline and the future existence of the planets.”

“Is that all? Haven’t you been listening? This is Pride, and they’re offering me a place on a float!”

“Fair enough, Sandy. You stay and deal with this, while the rest of the gang sees about saving the world. You be the star on the op of the Christmas tree; your friends will be trying to stop the tree being felled.”

“You people are very good at hanging guilt trips on people, aren’t you?” Sandy leaned across to the young woman on his left and whispered something. She looked at him and nodded. “Okay, Kemosabe,” Sandy said, rising from his seat, “let’s go.”

“Kemosabe?”

“Never mind, let’s just go already. Oh, and thanks for saying the star on top of the tree, not the fairy!”

When Jacob and Sandy arrived at Rodney’s house, the rest were already there.

“What’ve I missed?” Sandy asked.

“I don’t know what you’ve missed, but we’ve sure as Hell missed you lately, mate,” Jimmy said.

“I can’t see how; you’re spending all your time with your girlfriends; I’m spending time with mine.”

“You have girlfriends?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Come on, guys,” Rodney said, “Time to be serious. We’re going to meet up at sunrise tomorrow, with Chad, Tracey and Billy, to talk about the problem with time. But first, I need to bring you guys up to speed on a few things. I’m afraid it’s all heavy stuff, but it won’t take more than fifteen minutes.” He turned to Jacob and said, with a wink, “Could you and the girls get provisions for the ritual meal we have to eat in preparation for tomorrow’s meeting?”

“Sure thing. C’mon girls, let’s go shopping!”

Left alone with his fellow gang members, Rodney passed on every bit of information he had at his disposal and answered as many questions as he could. When Jacob and the girls returned with the ingredients for the special meal; details of which Jacob made up on the spot, so goodness only knows what was to come; the lads were chatting casually in a way they hadn’t managed since their arrival in that place.

“We’ll go cook up the meal, shall we?” Jacob said.

“What are we having?” Frank asked.

“I don’t know,” Sakura replied, “we bought what Jacob told us. I hope he has the recipe.”

“So do I,” Frank agreed.

“So do I,” Jacob added with a shrug.


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, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16,Part 17, Part 18,Part 19,Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31, Part 32, Part 33, Part 34, Part 35, Part 36, Part 37, Part 38, Part 39, Part 40, Part 41, Part 42, Part 43, Part 44, Part 45

or Jump ahead to Part 47

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