I was walking through Soi 6 in Bangkok and going home when something strange happened. From out of the crowds I saw a familiar face coming towards me and when he saw me his face fell open right in front of me, and out fell a happenstance that bounced along for awhile in the hot sun of a most peculiar Monday as I was walking back to my rented house carrying some coffee and a bagel.
So it was somewhat surprising, as you can imagine for me to find one of my characters from one of my stories right in front of me larger than life.
“George!” I said, through a mouth full of questions.
George is a dwarf who pops up throughout my novels and is usually companion to Kelek the big adventurer.
I looked around quickly to see if Kelek was there too.
“How do you do?” said George, speaking gentlemanly, which was out of character for him.
“I was just coming to see you,” he said.
“Really?” I said.
“We need to talk,” he said.
I didn't know what to say. Too many things were whirling around in my mind.
“Come with me,” I said, making up my mind to get to the bottom of this.
We walked back to my house in silence, each of us lost in our own thoughts.
I let George in through the front door then showed him the living room.
“Sit here if you will,” I said.
“Sure,” he said, in an American accent, sitting down on the sofa.
I couldn't remember where he came from, but I was sure it wasn't from the USA. I would have to look at my notes when I had a chance.
“Would you like some coffee?” I asked.
“Three sugars,” he replied.
I went to make it in the kitchen and left him to get comfortable.
“Are you hungry?” I called through to him.
“Just coffee is fine,” he called back.
‘Good,’ I thought, I wouldn't have to share my bagel with him.
The last thing I remember about George is that I killed him off with the rest of the gang by drowning them all in the ocean, and now here he was in my house seemingly without a care in the world. I took the coffee through into the living room and set it down on the table.
“So what's going on George?” I said, sitting down on the easy chair on the other side of the table from him. He waited for me to unwrap my bagel and begin eating before he answered.
“Why did you kill us all off?” he asked.
I hate talking while I'm eating so I didn't answer him until I had finished and was licking the cream cheese from my fingers. This gave me time to think of the best answer for him.
He sat there patiently waiting for me to finish; this also was peculiar for George, to be so patient. I took a sip of coffee.
“No reason,” I said. “I just wanted to see what would happen after you were all dead.”
“Oh,” he said, looking down at his coffee.
“But you're not dead you know,” I said, watching him closely.
“I'm not?” he said, surprised.
“No, not at all George. I seem to remember that you were locked in the trunk on the row boat and after the wave came that drowned everyone else, you floated away in the trunk and washed up on the shore. The trunk fell apart and you found your way here somehow.”
I breathed an inner sigh of relief after thinking quickly enough to find this answer.
“So you killed off Kelek who is my best pal?” he said with some anger beginning to build.
“Right now Kelek and his gang are in the bowels of the submarine that came up and picked up all the dead bodies from the ocean, and he's having a whale of a time being dead and dancing with Zen,” I said, hoping he would buy it. “And soon they are going to haunt the crew in the submarine.”
“Why am I not dead with the rest of the gang and having fun with them?” said George, his anger slightly less, curious now.
“Well first of all you're alive and you can't really haunt if you are alive, and secondly I have a job for you,” I said, relieved it had got this far so easily.
“A job?” said George, his mouth open.
“Well, a commission really. If you're interested?”
“What kind of commission? He said, perking up nicely.
I had his full attention now.
“I want you to save them all.”
“Save them all? How? They're all dead,” he exclaimed incredulously.
“I want you to become a necromancer and bring them all back from the dead,” I said.
“But how?” he said.
“Google it. Use my lap top, it's in the study,” I said.
“You can't be serious,” he said.
“Oh but I am.”
“What's a necromancer anyway?” he asked.
“No idea, but I saw one once on TV who was doing things,” I said.
“What kind of things?” he asked.
“Strange things to do with the soul,” I replied.
“I don't know anything about that,” he said.
“Just give it a go will you, there's a good chap?”
“Alright boss,” said George well and truly hooked.
George went off to the study with a dubious look on his face, and I sat and drank my coffee. After a while I looked into the chasm of where George had to go to be a necromancer and found you had to have a fatalistic outlook, and so I decided it was too close to home, at any rate, it was too far down for me. So I left him to it and began my after coffee nap.
I woke up after 20 minutes, or so it seemed, and felt like the sausage maid's fancy, whatever that means, too strange for me. I heard George mumbling from the study.
“How are you doing George?” I called out to him.
“Shh,” he said, “I'm casting a spell.”
I decided to go do some weeding in the garden. Maybe I stood up too fast because all of a sudden the room was whirling and I lost my balance and was falling towards the coffee table very fast. Then I blacked out. The next thing I knew was someone slapping my face.
“Wake up, wake up,” said the voice of George.
“What happened?” I said, as my eyes focused and found George leaning over me looking a little concerned.
“You fell over and blacked out,” he said, rather unnecessarily.
“Why is the floor throbbing?” I asked.
“Because we're on the submarine,” he said, pulling me to my feet.
“I spelled us here,” he said.
“Oh, you spelled us here. Does that mean what I think it does?” I said, wobbling on the moving floor.
“It sure does,” he said. “It was all there on google as you said it would be. I'm now a fully fledged, paid up, got the t shirt necromancer,” said George happily, grinning right at me proudly.
“My God George, that's wonderful,” I said, slapping him heartily on the back. “But why bring me here?”
“I want you to tell Kelek to get a better compass. We've been going round in circles for a very long time now and he won't listen to anyone,” said George.
“Why would he listen to me?” I said.
“But he has to listen to you, you're the boss,” said George, looking up at me expectantly.
“I'll see what I can do,” I said, looking around to see where we were.
George had transported us to one of the passageways of the submarine and not far from a closed bulkhead door that I was hoping was the way to the command centre. The atmosphere felt damp, and didn't smell all that good and the cloying smell of tobacco was beginning to bother me.
The lights were dim, no one else but me and George here. It felt like we were the only ones around, but I knew that wasn't so, for down in the bowels, or the torpedo room for those in the know, were the dancing dead kicking up a fuss, and in the control room was admiral Moriarty giving orders and such, which brought about a dilemma: what would happen when a second Moriarty appeared? Maybe I will have to be his long lost twin or something. I'll have to ride with this one to see what happens.
“Right then George, you go see Kelek in the bowels and I'll see you later,” I said, hoping to get rid of him somewhere now that he had served his purpose.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“I'm going through this door here,” I said. “See you later.”
And off we went in different directions. George clumped off to the bowels and I turned the unlocking wheel of the door.
“But wait a minute. Wait just a minute. What is behind this door? Why have I really been brought here? Well, esoteric questions aside, perhaps I should just open the door and find out.
I pulled the heavy door towards me and looked to the other side, but it was too dark to see anything. Maybe they've all gone to bed I thought. I stepped through to the other side and closed the door and turned the wheel to lock it. Then it really was dark.
Slowly I edged along into the darkness, all senses very alert. Maybe they've all been eaten. Maybe the undead have raged through the submarine and there's no one left but me and George. Or maybe this is some trick George is playing and I'm not really on a submarine.
Well I should know: I am the author of this story, and if I was to wake up right now straight out of this story to find myself sitting at the controls of a jet airliner just coming in to land, well, that would be a thing, wouldn't it?
I wrote myself in to this story so I can write myself out.
In the pitch black, as I am edging along, I touch something soft with my knee. Good, I've found my bed. As I get into bed and prepare for sleep, I remember I really should get a nightlight to make these nightly trips to the bathroom easier.
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