Sunday, March 8, 2015

4. "A Few Loose Ends"

As far as mornings go, this one had started delightfully. Though, our protagonists home could be counted on to have that mood as he rarely allowed it to be any other way. At least when looking at it from his perspective. A fresh cup of tea and a pleasant strawberry tart accompanied him on his way to the living room. He set them on the coffee table.
He opened the window behind the couch, allowing a brilliant sun to shine through the musky air. The room was still somewhat stale from the lack of an occupant for the last three weeks. The rays, by design, made their path to a short coffee table, revealing numerous papers scattered across it. He wouldn’t have had it any other way. The other night he had been jotting down notes as the details of various events had come to his mind. After taking a bite of the tart, he strummed his pen on the table.
“Ah yes,” he thought, while looking at the foremost sheet of paper, “that’s why I took a reprieve last night.”
A moment later a soft knock came from the front door. He glanced at the clock across the room.
“Excellent, right on time as always.”
While walking to the door he noticed that the stoker had been left in the fireplace, the embers had all burned out through the night. He made a mental note to put it away after she left.
“Ah, Matthias,” She said, “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“I agree Alexis, the days between our meetings are far too long and numerous, may I take your coat?”
After placing the coat on a stand situated opposite to the door, he responded.
“My how you’ve changed in a month, straight to business already? We haven’t even left the door.”
“What! No! It’s just I’ve heard things.”
“Well, don’t worry your little head about that.” He lead her to the living room, “would you like some tea?”
Upon being seated, she noticed the mess of parchment on the table.
“Oh, you’re writing again and so soon!” She grabbed one of the papers, “Quite studious.”
“I find it is better to write when the ideas are still fresh on my mind. You have no idea how intolerable it is not to have some paper and a pen on hand.”
After reading the page for a moment, she made it look like a lot of work. Though that was probably a result of the lackluster quality of the penmanship. Remembering the conversation she responded.
“Well then, you should have thought of that before you took on your line of work.”
“All in balance, all in balance.” he paused for a second, “actually, it’s produces some good inspiration.”
She noticed some the pages on Matthias’ side of the table.
“So, what are you writing today?” She asked.
“Actually, I’ve been trying my hand at a bit of a kerfuffle.” She looked confused, “I mean, I’m trying to write a fight scene.”
She looked amused at the many crossed out lines, “You seemed to be having trouble. Color me astonished.”
Oh, is it that obvious?” she could be quite a prick at times, “Despite what you may think, it is a far more difficult task than simply transcribing an idea. Mainly because gratuitous fighting is just stupid. There has to be a goal. Something that shapes the fight and gives it direction. Without that, it’s just throwing words around, almost mechanical.”
She put her hands over her mouth to stifle a giggle.
“You’re talking like an essay,” she said.
“And I fail to see what’s so funny about that.”
“Really, since when have ideas been difficult for you. Just make up a goal or base it off your adventures, like usual.” She winked.
“The simple macguff seems a cheat and anything more requires an extended story. Something which I’d prefer not to expound upon, especially since it’s just for practice.”
At that moment a hard knock came at the door.
“So you say,” she said rolling her eyes.
“I really don’t need to explain myself to you. Wait here, I wasn’t actually expecting anyone else for today.”
After he twisted the knob, the door swung open violently. The first part of the trespasser that became visible was a fist which also happened to be headed for Matthias’s head. “Luckily for my head and unluckily for the owner of the fist,” Matthias thought, “I’m quite well practiced in hand to hand combat. Though not in the field as it were.”
Of course in the time it took Matthias to think this, the fist was already an inch from his face. So, before he had time to think of something witty to say on its speed, it proceeded to plow through his jaw. He was knocked into the wall where his head left a neat round hole near the ground, while the coat stand shattered under him. Finally caught up, it only took Matthias a moment to roll out of the foyer to avoid a kick.
“I’m going to make you wish you didn’t double cross me, Matt!”
“Quite the entrance,” he responded.
It was Mr. Silph. He was wondering where the golden scepter was. Specifically the one formerly owned by Tutankhamun. Though we don’t need to get into the details of that mishap. Matthias saw Mr. Silph grab the largest splinter of the coat stand.
“I’m sorry, you’ve caught me unawares.” Matthias responded after standing up and backing towards the fireplace. “I don’t remember any double crossing, north or south.”
He reached behind himself and grabbed ahold of a handle. He would need to thank his midnight self for his absentmindedness when this was over.
“nor east or west for that matter.”
Lunging, the large man growled while he tried to stick the splinter into our protagonists chest. Being quicker on his feet Matthias jumped to the side. Regrettably, Silph caught himself as he reached the fireplace. He definitely wasn’t so angry as to knock himself out.
Realizing his manners Matthias called out, “Miss Alexis, I strongly recommend vacating the premises.”
He wiped away the blood that had accumulated on his lip while ducking under another more tempered swing.
“Preferably by the backdoor, if you don’t mind.”
Only after he heard the glass door shut did it occur to him that the order might be problematic. The backyard was completely fenced in. He held out the stoker.
“Metal beats wood any day, Mr. Silph. Care for a demonstration?”
“Arrogant fool!”
Putting all his weight into the rod, he swung it at Mr. Silph’s weapon hand. It just bounced off of the mans large arm. Matthias was reminded that strength was not his foremost attribute and that fighting a heavy man a foot taller than you was also really stupid.
Silph made for another stab, but Matthias was able block it. Unexpectedly, Silph continued the motion putting his weight into Matthias’s body, bringing the both to the ground and sending the stoker skidding across the floor into the living room.
It was turning from bad to worse, though at that moment, he remembered the pile of logs next to the work shed. Alexis should be able to escape if she climbed them.
The two men struggled on the floor and Silph made another jab.
“Eat splinters Matt!”
He slammed down the wood, but Matthias was able to divert the blow to the side and use the momentum to roll Silph off of himself.
“I thought I already made it clear that I was going to prevent that outcome, Mr. Silph.”
He made for the stoker, but just as he passed into the living room, Silph managed to trip him with a wild swing. Matthias flew over the coffee table and through the back door.
Tally, Matthias, one split lip, a headache, some fresh scratches all over his face and arms, and a twisted ankle. Silph, maybe some sore muscles from the exertion. Really, the best way to fight Silph was to not to.
Limping as quickly as possible out of the vicinity of the door, he brushed the shards of glass off his clothing and head. Silph followed closely behind, newly armed with the stoker. Looking to the left Matthias grimaced when he noticed that Alexis hadn’t seen the log pile, she was attempting to scale the fence directly. Still wearing her heels no less.
Passing by the garden, Matthias reached down and grabbed a large stone and hurled it at Mr. Silph. It hit him squarely in the face. As the stone fell away, a stream of blood poured from his nose. Yet he didn’t stop.
“Okay Matt, “ he screamed, “now I’m really going to kill you!”
Mr Silph started to run.
Finally, Matthias had arrived at the shed, there were numerous heavy objects inside that he could use for defense. Pity it was locked. The key was safely stored in a cupboard in the kitchen. It was now official, this morning was no longer delightful.
Turning around, he pressed up against the door just in time to miss Mr. Silph’s skull shattering swing. He careened into Matthias sending both of them through the aged door. Two broken ribs. Matthias would have screamed, but the wind had been knocked out of his lungs. That, and Silph was laying on him.
Silph simply stood up, somewhat surprised at the location change. Matthias turned onto his hands and knees, struggling to stand up. Each breath sent a searing pain across his chest. Silph regained his senses and wrapped his arm around Matthias neck, squeezing. Matthias struggled to extricate his head from the hold by pulling on the arm and punching Mr. Silph’s head, but to no avail.
“I know you take me to be a buffoon, but the first place you run to is this shed. Thanks for taking me to the prize, Matt. I really won't be needing you anymore.”
On the shelf opposite to them, the shimmer of a gold staff could be seen. The paper wrapping it had come undone by the rather ungraceful entry.
“Whatever makes you feel superior, bud.” Matthias barely choked out.
He laughed standing to his full height lifting Matthias’s head up, “Of course you’d go out with a joke.”
Matthias noticed something with the new vantage point as his vision began to darken. The shelf above the two of them had also been dislodged and was only being held up by the very edge of a ladder. Matthias tried to say something, but only a weeze came out.
“I could always use another laugh,” Mr. Silph released the pressure slightly, “what was that Matt?”
“Don’t look up.”
He lifted his feet off of the ground using Mr. Silph’s arm for leverage and kicked the ladder out from under the shelf. With the full weight of a dozen bricks and assorted landscaping materials, the shelf swung down onto Mr. Silph’s forehead. It left nothing but the tiniest sliver of air still in from of Matthias’s face. That would definitely keep the man out for a few hours. They both fell backwards onto the ground, this time with Mr. Silph’s bulk on the bottom.
Matthias took a massive gasp of air as the arm fell limp from his neck. He turned onto his hands and knees as he coughed. The staff had fallen to the ground, completely unwrapped now. He layed on his back to rest while rubbing his neck and contemplated the fact that he should really have died.
After extracting himself from the wreckage with the gold instrument he saw that Alexis was still struggling with the fence.
“Don’t bother with that,” he said with a wheeze.
“Oh my, are you alright?”
Looking at her flatly, “Of course, Mr Silph here was just helping me grab this one of a kind Tutankhamun scepter for you.”
After she walked up, she exclaimed, “It’s so beautiful, can I hold it?”
“Thanks for the sympathy, Alexis, but I don’t need your kind words.”
She looked sheepish, “I, um, sorry?”
“I assume you have your employers checkbook.” He massaged his neck again, “I’m really anxious to relieve myself of this trinket now.”
After she helped him into the building, he let out an enormous guffaw at the sight of the papers still on the coffee table, completely undisturbed. She looked at him worried.
“Just realized, seems I killed two birds with one stone,” he said.

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