The Cottage – Part Twenty Six – (Short Story)

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Part One | Part Two |Part Three |  Part Four |Part Five |  Part Six |Part Seven |Part Eight | Part Nine | Part Ten | Part Eleven | Part Twelve | Part Thirteen | Part Fourteen | Part Fifteen | Part Sixteen |Part Seventeen | Part Eighteen |Part Nineteen | Part Twenty | Part Twenty One | Part Twenty Two | Part Twenty Three | Part Twenty Four | Part Twenty Five

The fire was already blazing. Its warmth and the presence of people gave the austere cottage a homey feel. Jim was surprised by the party that had gathered. There were four guests. Which to his accustomed isolation qualified as a crowd.

Elsa was stoking the flame in front of the wheelchair bound cipher he’d glimpsed the other evening. The elder was as still and silent as before. Jim was annoyed by the familiarity with which Luckadoo folded his unwieldy frame into a recliner as Lizzy disappeared into the kitchen.

“So, should I get used to surprise parties?” He queried ruefully.

“You’re gonna start to miss us real soon.” Jonas replied.

“I’ve never been much of a social butterfly…”

“Good news is that you can go back to being an introvert. Since, we’re going to be leaving the valley in a matter of days. The bad news is you’re going to continue to have company.”

“As long as they knock…I’m not bothered.”

Jonas gave a low chuckle.

“I think you already know that your new friends aren’t much accustomed to such niceties.”

Jim was tempted to make a joke at Lizzy’s expense but he was cut off by the unpleasant recollection of those eyes.

There was a brief moment of uneasy silence. It felt like Jonas was letting the fear set in.

“Well, if you don’t mind, I’m gonna get myself a drink.”

Luckadoo spread his arms in an expansive motion. It was annoying. Jim got the impression that he was being invited to his own home. He crossed the floor to the mantel with as masterful an air as he could muster and poured a tumbler full of Johnny Walker Red.

Plopping on the couch he shot his legs up on the coffee table. “So, ya got somethin’ to tell me?”

Jonas nodded.

“Well…?”

“I’m almost certain you’re hungry.”

It was true. Jim was hungry. It kept him from exploding in rage at the commandeering of his kitchen.

“Don’t worry,” Luckadoo grinned wryly. “Lizzy’s portions are heartier than Charlotte’s.”

“Well, good.” Was the pithy reply as Jim downed the whiskey and poured himself a second in a single motion.

In his efforts to establish dominance he hadn’t noticed that Elsa and the old man had taken their leave.

“So, who’s the old timer?”

Jonas exhaled smoke and allowed for a moment of silence.

“He’s an uncle of mine. Though I’m not sure he’s actually blood. His name is Germain and he is a Norman.”

“Ok…”

“I think that you’re going to be very interested in what he has to say.”

“He doesn’t seem to have very much to say at all.”

Jonas laughed. “As far as I understood that’s a habit he’s had since youth. He’s always been taciturn. It’s part of the reason you’re going to find his speech especially useful. Germain focuses most of his energies on inner work and thus is quite the adept at dealing with the El.”

“Now when you say the El…you mean those goblin things?”

“Yes…after a manner…that is to say…they are a manifestation of the El.”

“Uh…huh…” Jim’s eyes glazed over.

Jonas decided not to dignify that particular bit of snark with a response.

“So…since everybody and their uncle seems to know so much more about all this weird ass voodoo bullshit how come it’s all my fuckin’ responsibility.”

“You are bound by blood.”

“Well, that’s not very fucking fair is it. Had no part in any of these shenanigans.”

“If you understood it…which I’m hoping you very shortly will…you’d realize that it was indeed fair. You didn’t spring out of a vacuum Jimmy boy, none of this did.” The giant said outsretching his arms again to indicate the world.

“Ok…”

But, Jim didn’t have time for a witty repartee as Lizzy’s piercing voice penetrated every wall of the cottage. “Dinners reddy…kom n git it!”


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