Monday, January 21, 2013

Louise and the Death Skull ~~ Chapter One

This is chapter one of a Mr. Thomas prequel. This will be posted here and on my personal blog: These are the only two places that this story is allowed to be posted and read for free. If you see it posted anywhere else for free, report it to me immediately. All characters herein are © 2012 Emmaline Westlund. All rights reserved. (And for the record, I do go after thieves with everything I’ve legally got, so don’t fucking tempt me.)

“Lou, you should come with me. Please? I need to show you something.” My older sister, Louise, sat stoic on the sofa, her back perfectly straight and her legs crossed at the knee. She glanced at me over her book.
“And why would I want to come with you? What’s so special that you need to show me?”
“Oh come on,” I begged, “You know Mom doesn’t like me wandering alone.”
“So go play a video game. I’m busy.” She turned her full attention back to her book and I sighed. Mr. Thomas was waiting, and this time I didn’t want to leave alone. Nobody had believed me when I told them I’d been all across the universe last time.
Of course, that was probably because Mr. Thomas had dropped me back at the same second I’d left.
I still don’t know how he did that.
“I’ll let you nag me about my posture without me complaining about it,” I said, hoping to bribe her. She loved keeping things proper. Proper posture, proper etiquette, proper attire… Her eyes lit up at this idea.
“For three weeks,” she said, continuing to read. I grimaced. “And, you have to use your proper manners at all times.”
“Well, if you don’t want to go for your walk,” she said with a shrug.
“Fine. Can we go now?”
I gritted my teeth. “All right. Now may we go? Please?”
She closed her book, looking at me with a grin. “Fetch your jacket, I’ll tell Mom where we’re going.” She stood up and made for the door, then stopped. “Where exactly are we going?”
“It’s a surprise!”
“Just tell her we’re going to the park.”
She flounced out of the room, rolling her eyes. Louise was four years older than me: fourteen years and two months old. It wasn’t often I could lure her into spending time with me.
But I couldn’t keep Mr. Thomas just for myself. I just hoped that she wouldn’t freak and tell our mom.
After another ten minutes of grumbling and stalling, Louise was finally ready to come out with me. I walked quickly, practically skipping. Lou, on the other hand, walked slowly, nose still in a book.
“Are you gonna read that the whole way?” I demanded as she almost walked into a stop sign. She shut it, scowling at me.
“This doesn’t look like the park.”
“We aren’t actually going to the park, doofus.”
“Well then where are we going?”
“I told you, it’s a surprise!” I said, a notable hint of whine to my voice. Lou stopped walking and sighed disgustedly.
“I’m not gonna move until you tell me where we’re going,” she said with a huff.
“Oh come on!” I said, balling my hands up into fists as I turned around to face her. Why did she have to do this now? We only had to go a little further and all would be revealed, why’d she have to always try to weasel out of everything? “It’s just past the bushes here. I swear, it’s awesome!”
“What is?” she asked, pushing her glasses up her nose with her finger and looking at me skeptically.
“We’re gonna miss it and I’m gonna hate you!” I stomped back to her, grabbed her arm and started pulling. No luck. I walked around behind her and started pushing.
“Get off my butt!” she shrieked, smacking me with her book, “We are in public, you little creep!”
“Is everything proper?” I cringed. She was supposed to see the ship first, not Mr. Thomas. She’d never understand.
Lou swatted me away and fixed her skirt. “My apologies, sir, my sister startled me. No need for alarm.”
“Jenna?” Mr. Thomas asked.
“How do you know her name?” Lou asked, taking a step back and slamming into me. I lost my balance and fell to the ground. She turned to face me. “How does he know your name?”
“Lou, calm down,” I begged.
“Oh, Jenna!” Mr. Thomas said, smiling when he saw me. He closed the space between us in two more steps and helped me up while Lou gawked.
“What is going on? Jenna, get away from him.”
“Lou-” I started.
“I mean it, Jenna, we gotta get out of here,” Lou said, grabbing my arm, “Leave her alone, you creep.”
“Unhand her,” was Mr. Thomas’s reply.
“Lou, stop!” I said, struggling against her as she pulled me away, “That’s Mr. Thomas!”
“Mr. Thomas doesn’t exist. That’s a pedophile and we’ve got to tell Mom!”
“Mr. Thomas!” I stretched my arm back toward him, reaching for him. I couldn’t shake my sister’s tight grip on my wrist.
“I am Mr. Thomas,” Mr. Thomas said, “and I’m really quite sure I exist, thank you.” His voice was thunderous and powerful without being intimidating. “I don’t appreciate being told I don’t. Now unhand my companion. There’s a nebula on the other side of the galaxy that’s got our names on it.”
“Told you,” I said, finally pulling my arm free. Louise grabbed for me again. “I wanted to surprise you. I was taking you to his ship!”
“What?” Mr. Thomas and Lou asked in unison. They both sounded shocked and mildly disgusted.
“Jenna, I’m not something you can bring to show and tell. People can’t know about me. Nobody but you can know about me. If the wrong person were to find out about me, I’d be arrested and vivisected quicker than you can say ‘Doctor Who,’” Mr. Thomas said, giving me a stern look.
“What’s vivisected mean?”
“They’d cut him open and study him. But they only do that on aliens. It’s on the History Channel all the time.”
“They do it to aliens?” I asked, worried.
“And that’s why you can’t go telling everybody about me. Now run along and get buckled while I grab your sister,” Mr. Thomas said, his expression softening. He turned his attention to Louise.
“I’m not going with you,” she said, backing away slowly. Mr. Thomas matched her pace, staying only a few feet away from her. I gawked for a moment.
“Jenna, get in the ship and get yourself seated comfortably,” Mr. Thomas said, keeping his eyes trained on Lou. I knew the second I turned around that she’d try to run and Mr. Thomas would snatch her up. I waited a moment longer, only to be scolded with, “Now, Jenna, or we’ll just go back and research for your next history test in real time like we did last time you came with me.”
I sighed and turned to walk to the ship. As I looked through the trees to find the hatch, I heard Lou’s muffled screams. He’d gotten her, all right.
As I climbed into the ship, Mr. Thomas caught up to me. I glanced back as I was about to enter, and saw Lou fighting against him as hard as she could. “Calm down, Lou, nothing bad’s gonna happen!” I looked up and down the corridor inside the ship before stepping in and deciding to go left. It was always difficult to tell which way was which when he had the ship cloaked.
“Wrong way,” he said as he ascended the ramp in a few long strides. He let Louise go as he closed the hatch, and she threw herself at it despite it being closed already.
“Let us go!” she cried, “I won’t tell anyone about you I swear just let us go!” She was on her knees, tugging at Mr. Thomas’s sleeve. “Please don’t kill us!”
He looked at her the same way a cow would look at an oncoming train and said, “Why would I want to kill you?” He then pulled his arm away and gestured for me to follow him before turning and walking in the opposite direction from where I’d gone. I hurried to catch up, dodging my sister’s attempt to grab me once more.
Mr. Thomas kept his pace deliberately slow to allow my short 10-year-old legs to catch up. When I did, I hugged him around his waist from behind. “I’m sorry I told her about you,” I said, thinking about how disappointed he’d looked outside. He stopped walking and turned to face me. He crouched down until he was my height and looked me in the eye.
“It’s all right, love. You’re a child and children make mistakes,” He said with a shrug and an indifferent expression. “But if you tell anyone about me again without clearing it with me first, I will not come back. Do you understand?” I nodded, and he hugged me, patting me on the back. “You’ve no idea how much I’ve missed you, Jenna. It’s only been a few weeks for you but it’s been many years for me.”
“You went traveling without me?” I asked as we started walking again. I felt a little hurt.
“Of course. It’s my life. All I do is travel. Never stay in one place too long, that’s my motto.”
“But you said you’d take me with you.”
“You can’t run with me forever. Not now, at least. Maybe when you’re old enough to leave home.”
“No buts, young lady. Now. About that nebula…”