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The Apprentice

I draw in a breath for the first time. It's easy, which is a relief, I've never done this before, and it seems pretty important. Good start. I open my eyes. There's a man watching me, he's made of blue light or maybe fire, it's hard to tell. I think I like him, he seems…familiar, although I know he's strange. People don't look like that. They look like me: pinkish, squishy. He grins at me and passes me a mug of ale. I sip and wonder how I know what ale is.

“Feeling okay? Everything working? Any pain,”

I stretch, hop off the bench I was sitting on and wander about. Walking is easy too. I'm good at this. He nods at me, approving.

“I feel fine. Where is this? Who are you?”

He walks across to me and when he turns I see a tendril of flame linking him to the sword on his hip. I wonder if it's rude to stare, but he catches my gaze and gives another easy smile.

“I'm Jimmy, and this is my workshop. You're in my house.”

Looking around at the objects lining the walls their names come to me. I don't know what all of them do, but most of them are for making things. Hmm, waking up in someone's workshop, no prior memories…I give my arm an experimental squeeze feeling for anything artificial beneath the flesh. Jimmy raises an eyebrow and then laughs.

“Wish I could work out where your initial knowledge comes from. Don't worry the body is flesh and blood. I couldn't make something like that, not in here anyhow. If you were an automata it would be obvious, trust me.”

I do trust him. Then I wonder why. I've not met anyone else yet, perhaps it's normal.

“Who am I, Jimmy? How did I get here?”

“I found you. I reached into the place where people come from, and I picked you and brought you here.”

He picked me. I feel warm inside, comforted, loved. I try to force the feeling under control but my face is creasing into a stupid grin.

“Why me?”

Jimmy reaches out a spectral hand and it pushes through my chest. Into me. I can't pull away, I don't want to. He's holding me.

“You…you seem like a good fit. You have the right…shape. It's like mine. You're like me. And that's what I wanted. It's what we need.”

“Why? Why do you need me?”

He sighs, pulls his hand away and I feel myself tearing loose. For a moment I feel absolute terror at the isolation, the vulnerability. I grasp desperately at my own flesh, anchoring myself tightly to my beating heart. They moment passes and I shudder a deep breath. He puts a hand on my shoulder then and squeezes.

“Well done. I was right about you; you're not like the others, you've got what it takes. We're going to be partners; I've got a lot to do, others places to be, and I need someone to help pick up the slack. Keep things running smooth whilst I'm away. Do you think you can help with that?”

He needs me. He chose me for this especially. We're going to be partners. Part of me has serious doubts about all this. I tell that part to shut up.

“Yeah, Jimmy. I can help. I want to help.”

His sword-point pierces into my chest without a sound.. The entire length of the glowing blade pushes into me, and Jimmy's blue flame along with it. I feel him flowing around me, engulfing me and for a moment I fear I will tear loose again. Then he surrounds me completely, I can't move my arms anymore, though I can feel them, strangely distant. I watch as our hand seizes the hilt of the rapier and pushes that too into our chest. I had no idea I was missing something, but now I feel whole.

“What do you want me to do, Jimmy?”

I don't know how we're talking, but he hears me.

“Just watch and learn, kid. For now you just have just watch and learn.”

I can do that, that's easy. Still there's something nagging at me.

“Jimmy, you didn't tell me who I am.”

“I don't know who you are now. Fatekeeper maybe? It doesn't really matter though, does it? One day soon you're going to be Jimmy Hoskins.”

resources/fic/the_apprentice.txt · Last modified: 2016/01/26 03:13 by joew