Deal 1286: Walks

We took the same walk every day. Down the hill to the lake, past the cemetery, through the woods, back past the school yard, and finally down the hill back to the house. Rain or shine, we walked.

Over the years, we saw changes around us. The school was the first to show it. Broken windows. Graffiti. Weeds in the yard. Clear signs of gangs. And even a few patches of illicit plants.

The woods and lake too showed changes, as the community stopped valuing their presence. We used to try to pick up the rare pieces of litter we encountered. But the litter became so commonplace that we would have needed to carry a large back on every walk.

The cemetery too showed signs, beginning with weeds but including vandalized graves and mausoleums.

That was when the trouble really began in earnest.

That cemetery was more important than most, and those who knew its secrets had neglected to pass them down and ensure that certain graves were never disturbed.

The people we encountered on our daily walk began to look haggard and afraid. The stories of strange things wandering at night began to be common, and to carry added twists from personal witnesses rather than the usual friend of a friend heard a rumor sorts of tales.

Then we saw him ourselves.

I don’t think he saw us, and we followed. He was clearly searching for someone, a long past love most likely. He didn’t seem to know that he was dead, or that centuries had passed him by while he was locked in the broken mausoleum. He searched the town, seemingly puzzled by the changes brought by time. Then he searched the cemetery.

We were there when he found her grave.

He turned at that moment from a sad walker on a mission into a monster. He ransacked the cemetery and tore into the town. He terrorized those he encountered. He picked on one particular property, and went door to door demanding to know why nothing was done. He was inconsolable, and refused to believe that she had lived a long and quiet life after his capture and internment.

If anything, stories of her place in the community all those years ago made him even more angry.

She had moved on, married another, and had a daughter.

That sank in, he tried to find the daughter. But she too was long since dead and buried.

But that provided the distraction needed to solve our problem. We used his irrational quest against him, and lured him back into his mausoleum. The repaired tomb closed easily, and the seals were restored behind him.

Since that day, we include his tomb in our daily walk. At first, we could hear him pounding on the door. But as the years wore on, he returned to the uneasy sleep of the not completely dead.


Deal 1253: Pond thing

The aroma of the pond was the first thing you noticed. Slightly earthy, with strong notes of algae and decay, the aroma set a mood that was hard to ignore. Many hate it. A few love it. Hardly anyone who has stood in a swamp comes away without an opinion.

The pond, although very present in our memory, is not why we were there.

We were after a rare opportunity.

The swampy pond was the perfect place to pursue it.

Despite its stagnant appearance, such ponds are teaming with life. And that life is interesting. It was a similar sample of water that van Leeuwenhoek chose to examine when he invented the microscope. They are breeding grounds for insect larvae, and for the fish and amphibians that feed on them.

This pond was no exception to all of that.

It was a striking example. Dappled sunlight falling through the heavy leaf cover from the moss and lichen laden trees at its border. Signs were there of a long abandoned beaver dam that likely had created the pond when it was new. Someday the pond would be a marshy meadow. Until then, it was a lovely backdrop for our work.

We just weren’t expecting the thing that was looming in the shadows.


Deal 1233: No apples today

The world is always and forever my orange. Yes I know the traditional metaphor here would be “apple”, but that would be the safe answer. Safety is clearly overrated in world conquest. Can’t conquer the world without taking a few risks. Or breaking a few eggs.

Let there be no doubt about it. Conquest is my goal.

When I rule the world, apples will be forbidden.

Safety will no longer be job one.

And the doctors will have to stay away on their own.