Monday, September 30, 2013

September Poetry

I am a Cow: By Harry R. Mathias

As a child, I was taught
all people have inalienable rights.
People can speak freely,
without being silenced.
People can defend themselves,
because they are capable.
People can give love,
without others stopping them.
People can work hard,
to enjoy the fruits of their labors.
Then as I grew older,
I saw this was a dirty image,
a dream of distant time,
or fantasy.
Now people fear their own thoughts,
because they don't know what to say.
People can't defend themselves,
because they can't be trusted to.
People can't give give their love,
because may find it wrong.
People can't eat their fruit,
because others don't think they should have them.
I now know I am a cow.
Like a cow, I cannot speak,
because I am not smart enough.
Like a cow, I must have shepard to defend me,
because I am incapable of defending myself.
I cannot give love, as a cow,
because I don't know what proper love is.
My fruit is taken from me,
because a cow only gets what it needs.
I was lied to.
I am not a person.
I am a cow.


Titans: By Harry R. Mathias

When we were born,
we had titans,
Our titan was the best,
It would pretend to feed us,
pretend to clothe us,
pretend to protect us.
Our titan told stories
about the other titans.
How other titans robbed
and other titans killed.
How some titans grew,
while other titans fell.
But he told us not to worry,
for our titan wouldn't ever fall.
Our titan was exceptional.
Our titan beat the king titan,
and then beat the red titan.
Our titan did no wrong.
Then one day we saw our titan,
he beat the children of another titan.
Some of us spoke up,
and others stayed quiet,
while others didn't care.
Our titan told us not to worry, for
they were the children of a bad titan.
He did the same to all evil titans.
But when some of us protested,
our titan threatened us.
He said he would punish us,
and we needed to be good.
I now know we can't stop loving our titan,
for he'll hurt us if we stop.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Regicide, part 1

“Regicide” By Harry Mathias My Twitter

    The city of Emperor’s Way had been in an uproar for the last week. The citizens took themselves to the streets, where they lit traditional bonfires to honor the dead. The two oldest of the emperor’s children had been killed in a tragic hunting accident that left the royal family scarred. The traditional mourning period of three months for the death royalty was still yet to be observed. The palace however stood, a dark contrast over the city, for while the citizens mourned and rioted the palace wept.

    Alexander Yuptav, assistant to Captain Simus of the Royal Guard, sat on a wooden fence next to the palace stables. He was eating a berry tart and tried to rest his right arm. Earlier Alexander had taken a beating from one of the stable boys in a sword match. Among the youth of the guard few could best Alexander, except the stable boys. The hours they practiced jousting toughened them to such an extent even the older members of the guard struggled in matches against them.

    The death of the princes troubled Alexander. Eight months ago the queen was taken by a sickness and confined to her room. The emperor rarely left his study, the few times he would leave the palace were to seek the upper senate for guidance about the state of the nation. Alexander considered himself luck, since his position as assistant to Simus allowed to eat at the emperor’s table, yet that table has been empty for months now.

    The courtyard of the palace always seemed to be the center of activity. All assortments of people and supplies normally passed through its gate. The garrison drilled in the yard, farmers directly sold their produce to the kitchen, and all manner of craftsmen set up workstations for the constant maintenance the palace required. Now the courtyard seemed empty. A lone mason worked on a broken wall, two older guards practiced in the very center, and stable boys gave the horses their daily groom. Never before had it been this empty.

    Simus strode out of the servant passage and ordered Alexander to follow him. So Alexander dropped his tart and followed the man into the corridor. The insides of the palace seemed worse, with the smell of candle smoke and the servants always kept their heads low, the corridors seemed almost empty. Simus pulled an iron chain along the wall and the stones moved outward, one of the many entrances to the service passages. Alexander followed Simus into the main hall and through another passage, where the they ascended a round staircase and entered the quarters of the Royal Guard.

    Alexander lived in what used to be a closet off of Simus’s room, that served both as his bedroom and study. Their part of the palace was considered superior due to its high elevation and windows the looked over the city. Alexander loved the view from Simus’s room. It gave a perfect look over most of the city and you could see the College of the Magi in the distance on another hill. The great market sat between Castle Hill, where the place was built, and the hill where Mage’s college sat.

    Simus designed his room to be the most ornate of all of the Royal Guard’s quarters. The back wall had a large window with a small balcony, where Simus placed a small collection of plants. A large framed map of the known world hung on the right wall. He decorated the left wall with  large rack of muskets and swords that hung over a chest filled with a collection of ancient books and weapons. The room was divided by a small raised platform in the back by the window where Simus’s bed was. The cobblestone walls contrasted well with the wooden floors.

    Simus sat on his desk and motioned for Alexander to take a seat. “Listen,” he said. “I’m very concerned with all of what’s happened recently. The queen is still sick and the emperor seems to be slipping deeper into a depression. Last week I received a letter from the college telling me that they’ve tracked a werewolf to the outskirts of the city and a coven has established itself down in the Middle Quarter. I can handle these things and the garrison is keeping the city under control. Yet, today I’ve received another letter, this time from the Emperor’s cousins telling me that they’re visiting. Now most of the palace is not yet informed, I want the Master Cedric to inform the servants, yet now I’ve got added security risks and I’m limited to the 500 members of the Royal Guard here. I’m going to be needing your help with the preparations and I don’t want anything going wrong. Especially since they’re opening the western wing to handle all these new guests.”

    “You seem very stressed,” Alexander replied. “Normally, you would find this easy. We’ve handled large crowds before. The college can handle anything supernatural. I can’t fathom why you’re so stressed.”

    “It’s the fact that all of this is happening now. Normally I would have the Crown Prince Nicolas or his brother Mellum to assist me, only now they’re dead. Septim might be able to handle this, except he’s only fourteen. His sister is away in the country and the queen’s sick. I don’t want to add stress to the emperor, except I’m also preoccupied with other matters which I may need tell you about later. Right now, I need you down in the kitchens to check on the staff, dinner will be served soon and I want you to keep an eye on the recent arrivals,” Simus fell down on his chair and rubbed his head. “I might need to visit an apothecary, so my damn headaches won’t keep me from sleeping at night. Oh, and since the Emperor’s cousins will arrive in two days, you’ll be attending the emperor. I’m too preoccupied with other matters at the moment.”

    “Really, I don’t understand,” Alexander pleaded. “I can’t wait on the Emperor. That’s your job. Also, why does he need to be guarded anyway?”

    “You know perfectly well why you need to guard the emperor,” Simus scolded. “Whenever visitors enter the palace, no matter what their relations may be to the royal family, they must be guarded at all times, just as the royal family must be guarded. I’ll be busy with matters his Majesty has personally entrusted with me. Your job won’t be difficult, all you’ll be doing is following the Emperor and assisting him with his tasks. You’ll never leave his side until your replacement arrives. It will be easy as you’ll be nothing more than a servant.”

    “If you think that task is easy, why are avoiding my eyes? I know you’re lying,”  Alexander said.

    “I’m not lying,” Simus said as he wiped his face with a handkerchief. “I’m merely not telling you everything. There are things which you’ll soon learn, except I can’t trust you with them. I really can’t trust anyone with that information. Is your seal acting up?”
    “No,” Alexander answered. “It’s been fine.”
    “That’s alright, mine seems to be acting up whenever I feel uneasy. It’s probably nothing to worry about,” Simus said, after which he dismissed Alexander.
    Every member of the royal guard was branded with a seal, designed by the Arch Mage Timus at the Mage’s College over two hundred years ago, that involved very complex magic. The seal prevented any member of the guard from harming any immediate member of the royal family. Alexander received his seal when he arrived seven years ago, when his parents sent him to join the guard, a common practice among the lesser nobility to gain favor from the royal family. The seals served other purposes as well, many however were lost when Timus died.
    The kitchens were located in the far end of the palace, near the grand ballroom and gardens. The sweet scent of caramelized meats always lingered in the air around them, as the cooking never stopped. The palace employed over a thousand men and women in its service. You would never see them, as the labyrinth of passages allowed them to move unnoticed, as they cleaned rooms and replaced candles. Alexander entered a service passage the quickly led him to the garden, from there he entered the main kitchen where he noticed an unusual sight.
    The kitchen staff seemed to have been doubled. New chefs and serving girls scurried like rats over the older staff. Alexander recognized the majority of the previous staff, yet these new faces happened to unsettle him. They didn’t seem to know what their jobs were. They collected in corners and scurried, while attempted to find something to work on. Yet, their mingling annoyed the usual staff, who struggled to work with this new mess.
    Alexander searched for Amria Tlevichi, the head chef. Amria was a strong woman who demanded absolute devotion from her assistants. A daughter of some sea-lord she had served in the palace since she turned seven. Now Amria would celebrate her fiftieth birthday in two months, this would make her the oldest member of the kitchen staff.
    “Alexander,” screamed Amria at him. “Oh, thank the divine. Finally, I can get some work done without those inbred pricks stopping my kitchens. Yes I mean you,” She yelled towards some of the new staff members. “Can you please help some of the kitchen boys bring up some flower from the larder. Those inbreds haven’t made any bread and yet still have managed to waste an entire week’s supply of flour.”
    “You know I can’t help you anymore,” Alexander answered. “ I’m only here to check on the new kitchen staff and the servers. I can’t help you carry flour anymore. That stopped two years ago.”
    Amria pulled him off to the side of the kitchen and away from the crowds of servants, as they worked to prepare tonight’s meal. Amria pulled him close and put her hand over his mouth. “Listen, I’m stuck with twice the staff I’m used to. Half aren’t doing their jobs and my normal staff is working half the pace because of the crowding”
    “Why then are there so many extra member of the staff? It doesn’t make any sense,” Alexander asked.
    “The new staff were sent over by the Emperor’s cousins. They wanted to send help for their welcoming feasts in two days. Yet, most of these new workers have never seen an oven in their life. Those ones over there aren’t even the majority of them, the rest are watching the stable boys practice jousting. I don’t trust them. The Emperor’s cousin and head of his family, has always held a grudge against our Emperor. The bastard even changed his family name to Brakreage, instead of continuing his family dynasty. He was second in line to the throne before the Emperor’s first child was born. He hasn't visited since the Emperor’s wedding ceremony, nearly thirty years ago. Now the bastard sends a letter to the Emperor announcing his uninvited visit, that will last a whole for a whole two months.”
    “Are you finished?” Alexander asked.
    “Not in the slightest boy,” Amria temperament had become that of a rabid dog. “Brakreage sends an incompetent staff to help us, that of which you’ve already seen is only slowing down my kitchens. It would be better if they return to his damn palace, yet he insists, with great urgency, that they are needed to help my staff. I’ve prepared for banquets and festivals three times this size. Your master is right, there’s trouble in the nation and we’re only seeing the beginning. Now go tell him I have everything under control, unless he wants to alert these men by sending down his guards.”
    She pushed Alexander away from the servants and into the passageway. Alexander scuttled through servants, as they prepared tonights meal. Men prepared the appetizers on silver platters and carried them through the passages to the grand hall. Normally emperors would eat in their studies, the same applied to the high staff, of which Simus was a member. So Alexander collected his and Simus’s meal and ordered a young serving boy to assist him. They carried the food through the back passages, attempting to avoid the more public areas of the palace.
    When Alexander reached his quarters he unlocked the door and entered. Simus stood in the back with a washing bowl, trying to scrub his clothes. Alexander had the servant place the meal on the desk then ordered him to leave.  He tried to help Simus wash his clothes, but the old man pushed him away. The clothes were stained with blood and fluids. Little chunks of flesh were stuck to the clothes that gave him appearance of a butcher.
    “Damn it boy let me finish washing in peace,” Simus scolded Alexander.
    “Why are your clothes all bloody?” Alexander said startled. “Where were you. Oh dear gods.”
    “No, no!” he relied, after he placed his hand over Alexander’s mouth. “It’s not what you think. I happened to be taking care of urgent, personal matter. I wasn’t allowed to reveal to anyone. If all goes well you’ll discover in two days. Gods I hope in two days. If everything goes well.”
    A great silence came over the room as the sun set on the horizon. A moment passed before Simus spoke up. “Let’s have our dinner. Tomorrow I’ll be very busy and the day after Brakreage will no doubt arrive. Then if all goes well I’ll explain everything. I promise that to you.”
    They finished their meal in silence, then Alexander waited for Simus to sleep before putting out the lights.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Powers- Will be revived or rewritten later.

Powers by Harry R. Mathias
           The train moved quickly through the white void, throwing up gold dust as it traveled along the invisible track. Children moved throughout the coach, jumping up. Some had shrunk back in their seats crying, while others jumped up and down expressing their delight in being on a old train. Their ages ranged from two years to fourteen, except in the far back of the last coach where a fifteen year old slept with others who had not yet awoken. He rolled in his sleep until a little Indian girl jumped on his seat.
           “Wake up, mister. Wake up! What’s your name, Mister? You’re the last one sleeping.” The boy rolled over again trying to ignore the child jumping on the seat and trying to sit on his lap. Then she grabbed his ear and pulled.
           The boy jolted upright and grabbed the little girl. “Didn’t your parents teach you not to wake a sleeping man?” He grabbed her neck and then spanked her three times. “Leave me alone.”
The little girl began to cry and let go. Then she ran out of the coach towards the front of the trains. He felt sorry that his reaction was so violent then he realized something was wrong.  He could barely remember anything. His memories were there, just blocked, behind a fog. He reached out for them and attempted to push the fog away.
           “Wait. Why am I on a train? I’ve never been on a train. Well, never a train this old. My name, what is my name? Think. Jeffery. No. James. No. Elizabeth. No that’s my sister. Sister where’s she? Where’s my sister?” He ran forward pushing his way past a compartment where four Chinese girls slept. Then another with two Turks and a Greek boy and girl. Then the last one contained two southeast Asians and a Korean boy and Japanese girl. They were all wrong. He was American, not any of these races. All he could feel in his mind was that fog and his sister. That overwhelming murky fog, it hurt to keep the fog away. He needed to find his sister. When he stepped into the next coach, his name returned to him. Jeremy, my name is Jeremy. The cloud in his mind seemed clearer as the fog dissipated and cringed as older memories returned.
           When he stepped outside the coach and looked down fear blinded him. Legs turned to jelly, then his arms grabbed the guardrail, and he could not move. Oh the horrors of his infancy fears returned to him. The time he was placed on the roof by a cousin, unable to get down. The pain that came with such fear of heights.
           Then the next coach swung open by a little boy and he jumped in. Filled with children the next coach’s passage tainted with noise. Everyone had awoken here. Children climbed on the empty luggage rack and others played hide and go seek in the crawlspaces of the compartments. Then he saw her. Elizabeth lay in the third compartment and chatting with a slightly older boy.
           “Elizabeth!” He swallowed the fear of losing her. She jumped up and ran to his arms, her small six year old hands grabbed at his legs. Her necklace bounced up and down, jiggling and sending vibrations along his pants. “Elizabeth. Why are we here? Do you remember how we got here?”
           “I don’t know, there was a light. My head hurt itself.” She let go of his leg and ran back to the boy in the compartment and began to play again.
           Crash! Crash! There was a crash. I was in a crash. We were in a crash. A train. No. No. We were in a car, not a train. Car didn't kill me. Wanted to die. He stumbled remembering the pain. The quick, endless pain that surged through his body. Then he woke up on the train. After drowning drowning. I drowned!
           The train began to rock back and forth. Children who stared out the window started yelling. The train began to approach a tunnel. It rushed towards the black dot on the horizon. Then the train itself jumped into the shadow, and the outside became brick, with dim lights illuminating a now visible track. The vibrations grew louder. The tunnel ended and the train emerged from the side of a hill into a meadow filled with wildflowers and a large pond. A large manor stood next to a pine forest that surrounded the meadow. Beyond the forest sprawled gently rolling hills cresting onward towards a horizon.
           As the train moved along the track and the manor became clearer, atop there stood a large observatory, and behind, a cluster of large greenhouses fenced off from the meadow. The manor stretched in a crescent moon fashion, and a small road led up from a simple train station. Many windows dotted the grey walls complementing the many chimneys.
           The train rolled down the hill and pulled into small a local train station. The children around him screamed in delight, shouting and running along the coach. The brakes hissed and the train came to a stop. The children who had chosen to stand fell to the ground. The doors opened and they left. Ones that refused were pulled by their companions.
           He took Elizabeth's hand and walked out from the train. The doors remained opened for the few children still fearing the alien countryside. His mind feeling clearer, he looked at the ground. Crushed pebbles decorated the station itself, and underneath an arch an old car sat parked. A well dressed man opened the driver’s side door and stepped out. The driver dressed himself in a coat with a hat covering most of his face. Averting his eyes, the driver opened the back seat and assisted an elderly lady out of the vehicle.
           The elderly woman walked around to the right side of the vehicle. “Hello there, children. You may call me the matron, and you will be staying with me while your parents learn to help themselves over a loss. Don’t worry, they’ll--”
Pain numbing pain entered Jeremy’s hands.  It spread with fire over his face and into his mind. Lightning hitting a tree. Creek, I died in a creek. I drowned when I fell in the creek. He brought his hands up to his back, feeling for the burnt skin. His head twisted and fell and burnt with shards. I know I’m dead. I drowned when I couldn’t move. Luck. It was Luck I passed out. The fog in his mind swirled, trying to hold back the vivid memories.
           “Jeremy. Jeremy!” Elizabeth pulled on his pant legs. Her eyes seemed lighter and her face grey. “You missed her speech. The matron says we stay here until Mommy and Daddy move on.”
Dear God. Light. I’ve passed out. Why does my head hurt? Run. Run now. Take her and go. Take us and go.
           He sat upright on a bed in the manor. His thoughts blurred and drunk as the headache cleared.  The Matron stood over the bed, her eyes glared at him. The fog returned and the Matron spoke, her lips unmoving. “What is wrong with you, boy? You shouldn’t be here.”
           “What? Where’s my sister?”
           “Oh my. You’ve awaken.” The Matron turned towards him, her mouth moving to form the words. She carried a cup of hot chocolate in her hands. “Here, drink this.” He took the cup in his hands and drank. Run. The fog returned to his mind and false memories took its place. The house and the manor filled his mind, filled with fields and all the children. He played with the young ones. He watched his sister and forgot anything else, her eyes dark, skin grey, and bleakly lifeless. Wrong. Wrong. You’re dead. Fake. Fake. Run Listen. The migraine ended.
           He sat in the field holding the lifeless body of a small Indian boy, his body grey and shrouded. The skies above him swaying back and forth, lightning cracked and he was alone with the body. What what’s happening? Run. It has begun. You must leave. Who’s talking? Answer me? We are. We were. You share with us. One body with two minds. Your thoughts indistinguishable from ours. Free us to end all pain. We must be freed. No. Yes. No. Some stayed. Others feared. Get out of my head! No! You accepted our burden by following her here. Elizabeth? Yes her. Leave her. Take her. Jeremy and with him, The Voice, fainted.
           He woke up in a chair and Elizabeth sat next to him. Her face dulled yet happy. It puzzled Jeremy. How was she happy? Did she not hear the voices like him? No. You are different. We protect you.
“Elizabeth? How long have we stayed here?”
“Three weeks.” Her eyes looked empty as she said those empty words. Yet to the onlooker still breathing and filling the atmosphere with life. Dying. She looks like a fresh corpse.
Jeremy looked around finally taking notice of his surroundings. Elizabeth and him had been sitting a courtyard separating the manor from the grounds. The children around him radiated dullness. Their actions pitiful and retarded, he noticed the some children were missing. He panicked and grabbed her by the arm shaking violently. “Elizabeth. What do you remember before we came here? Tell me what happened?” His panic spread through his words and made them come out fast and inconceivable to the little girl.
“Let go of me!” Her scream made him fall back to reality. Leave. Leave. No. Fog. White fog. Run. Maybe he can save her? No. Yes he can. I can. Don’t be stupid.  The voice seemed to calm him. As a guiding light in a cave it showed him the path. Past all the children and into the manor he came upon a door. Open. See what will happen. Inside of the door lay the dying body of the Indian boy.
His head rolled back across the floor supporting his back. Upon the lips a putrid black liquid oozed from open pores. The eyes had glassed over, as bliss shown of his face as a false promise leads the way to sadness.
Jeremy ran over to him and placed his body on the ground. The boy giggled as his hands that Jeremy placed by his sides cramped up. Jeremy put his head to the chest of the boy trying to listen for a heartbeat.  “Oh wake up. Wake up.” He cried over body. See. Look at what the fate of all those who stay are given. Unless you run, a fate worse than death awaits you. A fate worse than this awaits you. She is the devourer of the forgotten.
“Hello boy.” Jeremy turned to see the face of the matron looking down at him.  He averted his gaze as the form of the woman shifted and turned. “You have seen no doubt what the voice in your head has tried to show you.” She speaks truth. Beware her lies. “You aren’t going to follow his path.” She spoke pointing to the Indian boy, whose skin began to fade, becoming transparent. “Those who come here are sent by those who wish to forget them. When they forget themselves, who they are, they fade. He will soon leave us.”
The matron lifted her and an unseen chair dragged itself across the room and sat itself before her. She calmly sat herself down. Her back turned to a window unnoticed. I never noticed anything. It all appeared before me. Yes, true, passion. Realizing this he looked at her. A husk, this world was but a husk built on the minds of suffering.
“What’s wrong with my head? My memories are mine. Yet, they were taken from me.” Speaking pained Jeremy. He felt he had no right to speak. He never brought anything to this world. Why would I have the right to speak. We have tried to speak for years.
“What? The only reason you’re here is you died. Like the rest of them. You had to die. My job is to take the lost souls. I liberate the living from the world of the dead. This place is but a path everyone must walk. Yet…” The matron stood her form blocking all light. An unearthly presence projected across the room from her chair. “Only children are caught in my web. I was tasked, forced to take souls of the dead. I am a goddess of this domain. But, only of my domain. I feed on the memories of dead children. The children who wish to be forgotten.”
“What are you?” He the words brought blood to his mouth. Pain. The pain felt good. I’m not gone. Not yet.
“I am mourning. I am the spirit that walks the world. When those who are given the gift of unconditional love die, their guardian, caretaker, the one who mourns, they send them to me and as the children fade so do their sadness. I make this world a paradise that they wish to see.” The blood dribbled down his cheek. The coppery taste stimulating his senses.
The matron spoke further “Then you come here. An anomaly. What do you think the world is? Why I’m cursed. I enjoy this. You came with your sister, merely because you choose. Suicide is a coward’s way out. You just happened to get yourself drowned when your sister died. You followed her here. You must leave here. She is mine.” So cold. So cold she makes me feel, us feel.
He screamed. “Why can’t you let us leave? We have been her to long. We have lead to many to their deaths and saved not nearly enough.” Not my voice. Our voice. I speak in tongues.
“Boy. Try to leave. The next ones are here. Leave or your voice will remain. It will remain like the others that haunt you.” Jeremy tried to run. He only could think of Elizabeth. The thoughts of her kept him stable while it seemed the world around him was failing, just like the voice. Free yourself. We follow. The tunnel. Go back.
Jeremy stumbled over spot where the Indian boy had laid. Then as he ran he began to cry. The matron made no move to follow him, so he ran faster. The fear proved itself a capably motivator. The house seemed larger the more he tried to ignore it. The windows darkened as storm clouds formed over the field and forests. The children had all laid down in the fields. Some still stood like Elizabeth had earlier. Yet, almost all looked like the Indian boy.
“Elizabeth! Elizabeth!” He screamed cried. It felt over the whole world felt over. Why, what could doom a person to just fade. He couldn’t fade. He wanted to fade.
“Elizabeth! Elizabeth.” He stopped screaming and began to walk. She had to be near the lake.
He found her in the lake about knee deep. Her eyes glazed over and her skin translucent and pale. He motioned for her to follow him. “Elizabeth. We can go. I can leave. This is over.” He couldn’t keep moving. It hurt so much to walk. Run. Leave her. I can’t. I’m too weak. Too weak to save her.
He kneeled before her, wetting his pants in the water of the lake. Crying all you can do is cry. Just give up. He pulled her hands and caressed her cheeks. He begged and pleaded. Then he beat her. He kicked her and screamed and all he got in response was silence, a doll. He grabbed her by the neck shaking a screaming. Tears cascaded down his cheeks and all he could do was nothing. Then he pulled himself up. Her necklace fell into his hand. Like her clothes it also translucent. He could do nothing.
He placed the necklace in his pocket. Then, he yelled at the storm filled sky and the wind picked up and the storm surrounded him. He walked away from it all.  He could only walk away from it all. So as he stepped over the grass in the field he left the house and the nightmares behind. Jeremy pained in his heart, only he could hear the voice. It haunted him as the only guiding force.
He came to the trail tracks, then the tunnel. He heard a train whistle in the background. Its whistle released a shriek. Then light filled the tunnel as he entered. The light filled him, blinded him so much that he closed his eyes. Then when the bricks vibrated and his bones felt the rumble a pain pierced his thoughts. The voice was gone and he stood along the side of a hill. The tracks in front of him vanished and a forest trial began. He felt the necklace in his pocket and looked at it, the last reminder of his life. Jeremy saw the blue sky and began to run. The necklace fading before it hit the earth.