Hello, Old Friend

Hello, Old Friend

A Story by Stephanie Weippert

The man sat in his small study, tired to his bones. Books on shelves surrounded him, almost hiding his form from view.  A bright colored one was open on his lap, but he didn’t seem to be reading it, not really. Instead he was staring out the open window without seeing anything. 

 

 “Old” he thought, “I’m old and won’t go on much longer.” A sad sigh escaped him.  He knew there was so much more knowledge he did not know.  It seemed the offer he accepted only lead to frustration; the more he learned the more he found that he didn’t know.  Like a drug addict, he’d never be sated. Again, He sighed sadly.

 

A puff of dark smoke appeared in the only open spot on a floor cluttered with random objects of no obvious purpose. The smoke cleared and a dark haired human form was visible. He, and it appeared as a ‘he’ to the man’s eyes, wore well-tailored navy blue pants, a pale blue shirt with open collar and shinny black leather boots.  He wore smart looking wire glasses perched on his face before his cloudy blue eyes and raised his hand in greeting to the man in the study.

 

“Greetings Jason. Ready?”  He asked with a smirk.

 

“No.  You know very well I won’t just come with you, Eshidleisheid.”  Jason snapped. “I don’t know why you try.” Vaguely waving to a chair he continued. “Have a seat.”

 

Eshidleisheid sat down gracefully and crossed his legs.  Reaching out into nothing, he pulled out a delicate white teacup and brought it to his lips. “There is no need to be so grumpy Jason. We’ve worked together for over four decades now and I think we both know the procedure.” He continued to sip from his cup with a debonair manner that always irritated Jason.

 

“Yes, and I get tired of telling you “no” every time you visit.  It got old 39 years ago.” Jason grumped as he creakily got up and got his own drink from the side table. 

 

Eshidleisheid chuckled.  “It is a good thing you have a short life span. Humans could never take eternity.  They bore so easily.”

 

Jason gave him a dirty look.  “And you could never handle dealing with humans so don’t look so superior.”

 

Eshidleisheid made a pain filled face and shuddered.  “Yes, and that is why I came to you for this little business arrangement all those years ago.”  He took another sip from his cup. “But why go over this all again?  I came here for assistance.”

 

“As usual.” Jason snorted.

“And will pay the usual rates.” He paused and looked at Jason. “If you agree?”

 

“Tell me what the situation is and then I’ll tell you if the usual rates apply.”

Eshidleisheid sighed with exasperation. “You have always been paranoid, Jason.”

“Being paranoid was what kept me alive and on this world Eshidleisheid.” He said looking into the depths of the mug he held.  “And you know that very well.”

 

He sat perfectly still in his chair. So still that Jason wondered if he had left this body and he’d have to dispose of it. Again. Doing that once was more than he ever bargained for and did not want to go through it again. 

 

Just when he decided that he’d have to get up and do just that, Eshidleisheid moved.

“Alright, I have decided to tell you.” He leaned forward. “But the standard level of secrecy is not enough for this situation.  I will need a binding oath.”

 

Jason paled and jerked back into his chair in terror. “I will not bind myself to you!”

“No, no.” Eshidleisheid waved his hand dismissedly at Jason. “Not binding to me or any other of my kind.  Just a binding oath to not reveal what you know of this situation to any others.”  He made a face. “Especially to any of my enemies.  Rival factions would relish getting this information to use against me and mine.” 

 

Jason paused.  “I will compose it.”  His voice was flat, leaving no room for argument.

 

“I will tell you the points it must cover.” Eshidleisheid leaned forward and Jason saw dangerous power in its eyes.

 

“Agreed. What are the points?” Jason leaned back into his chair and turned to the table to get pen and paper.

 

“Do not write this down.” Eshidleisheid ordered. Jason stopped and looked at him.  “I want no record of this. Understand?”

 

“But I’ll burn it when we’re done.” Jason said with contempt.

“If something exists in three dimensions, it exists eternally.  I have explained that to you before Jason.  It can be retrieved by my enemies.” He let out a long-suffering sigh.  “Existing under time is so limiting to humans.  I wonder if you really understand anything I’ve ever given to you.”

 

Jason’s face showed only anger.  “So tell me already and I’ll create the oath demon!”

 

Fury flashed over Eshidleisheid’s face, “You know very well I am not one of your imaginary “demons” Jason." he said coldly. "And you would do well not to insult me!”  Fierce power crackled and shimmered around the body he wore while sitting in the chair.  The sharp smell of scorched wood reached Jason’s nose. He backed off from baiting an entity that only the ignorant would limit by thinking of it only as a demon. Demons had more rules and limitations when dealing with humans. 

 

Calming himself, he replied “Ok, then what do you need?”

 

“I need you to swear not to reveal what we speak about here at any time to anyone else, whether under torture or bribe, with your freedom forfeit if you fail.”

 

“Why my freedom and not my life?” Jason snidely asked.

 

“Because you value that more human.” Eshidleisheid answered coldly.

 

Jason could not argue with that statement.  He took a moment to compose what he wanted to say then began:

“I, Jason Milton Polscysky, do bind myself to keep secret all facts I learn from Eshidleisheid of the situation I am to give my opinion of, whether through bribe or under torture, I will not utter any fact without his permission with the loss of my freedom forfeit should I reveal a fact used today to render my opinion to him.”

 

Eshidleisheid nodded approvingly.  “Good.  You remembered to limit it to only the situation I need assistance with, instead of everything I give you today.” He smiled mischievously at Jason.

 

“Yes, I learned that trick early in our relationship. Remember?”

 

“True.” Eshidleisheid leaned back and put his cup back into the nothing from where it came.  “Now lets begin.” Jason got comfortable in this chair and waited.

 

“I must simplify some items, either because the explanations would require days for you to understand, or they are just beyond your limited comprehension.”  Jason snorted, but Eshidleisheid ignored it. “Try to understand that each of my kind, including myself, is a part of a larger entity, a great prince, if you will.  A prince is the sum of all the entities that it is made up of, and changes with the addition or subtraction of any.  A prince however, is not a committee but a thinking being who does have thoughts, plans and goals that are beyond what you as a human could hold in your reality.”  Eshidleisheid paused and brought another teacup out of the nothingness.  It seemed like he needed the prop as a comfort thing to Jason’s eyes. “He must really be worried.” Jason thought. He just couldn’t stop thinking of its reactions in human terms, no matter how long he had dealt with it.

 

“One of my ‘brothers’ to use a word that is understandable to you, was forcibly brought to this world some years ago. He is a weaker member in some ways than I and was unable to break the command placed upon him by one of your kind.” His mouth sneered with contempt and disgust.  “That petty, vile human commanded him to rape a woman who was betrothed to another human a week before the wedding.” Complete disgust sounded in his voice as he continued.  “The groom disowned her, even though it was hardly her doing.  The summoner was then dragged off to my world for his audacity and will not trouble this world again.  However,” he paused and his face wore a look of despair. “The incident resulted in a child, a male, who at this point in time is 15 years old.  His mother raised him as well as she could, but he has inherited a degree of power from his ‘father’ and he must be trained or disposed of before he destroys this world.  I have visited the mother, and offered to take the boy to my world where he would not be a danger to this planet, but she has refused.” Wry humor sounded in his voice as he continued. “She seems to think I will only kill him as soon as I get him out of her sight.”

 

“Will you?” Jason asked.

 

“Not necessarily, he is a part of myself, as is every one of my ‘brothers’ who are a part of my prince.” 

 

“But it is a strong possibility.”  Jason flatly stated.

 

Eshidleisheid shrugged. “It depends on how sane he is.  If he can’t control himself or his powers, I will do what I must to prevent the destruction of either world.”

 

“Sane?” Jason asked surprised.

 

“Yes, the human emotions he will have will be incomprehensible to his other half.  Neither part of him will understand the other and might try to destroy the other half.”

 

Jason grimaced, “Tearing himself apart in the process.”

 

“Exactly.  Now, I need your thoughts on this and your advice on how to convince the mother that he is only a danger to all of existence if I do not take him somewhere to be evaluated and properly trained.”

 

“Assuming he is allowed to live.”

 

“If sane, yes.”

 

Jason frowned in thought.  “Let me think on this.  How much time can you give me?”

Eshidleisheid laughed at him.  “How much to do need?  Time has little hold on me.”

 

Jason felt irritated again at his patronizing, but answered. “Come back tonight. I should have something for you then.”  Looking up he saw the chair was empty.

 

The sun had crept under the horizon and the study was bathed in fading light when the entity known as Eshidleisheid re-appeared.  Jason was waiting in his favorite chair with a good bottle of wine at hand.  

 

“Greetings Eshidleisheid.  Wine?”  Jason asked pointing to the bottle.

 

“Yes, wine would be pleasant.”  Eshidleisheid sat again in the chair.

 

Jason busied himself with pouring and handed the cup to Eshidleisheid and waited for him to take a taste before pouring himself a cup.  He sat back in his chair before enjoying a sip of the very good wine himself.

 

Sighing happily, Jason began.  “First my fee.”

 

Eshidleisheid’s eyebrows rose.  “Indeed.” He responded without emotion.

 

“Yes, I feel this will be an ongoing problem, one that you will need to consult me on heavily and for years to come. The payment I require should also be valuable and last for years to come.” Eshidleisheid sat in his chair without apparent reaction, so Jason continued.

“I want an item that will answer spoken questions regarding knowledge of this world.”

 

“That is a large payment, Jason.”  Eshidleisheid said.  “What assurances do you suggest so that this item will only be used by yourself?

 

Jason shrugged, “Perhaps that it will only recognize my voice. Or that is requires a secret word. Something like that.”

 

“It will have to have limits.”

 

“Understood.  I do want it to be able to explain its answer.” Jason said while looking piercingly at Eshidleisheid.

 

“I can promise that it will up to a point.  Your mental limitations are something I cannot compensate for, as you know.”

 

Jason sarcastically replied, “Yes, I know all about your contempt for the human mind.  Do you agree to my price?” He forcibly demanded.

 

Eshidleisheid thought for a time, again, Jason wondered if he had left his body, but finally answered. “Yes, I can get what you require.  It will only work for about 80 years however. It will not last forever.”

 

“That will be fine.” Jason couldn’t keep the humor out of his voice.

 

Eshidleisheid ignored it, if he noticed.  Humor was one thing Jason suspected he had no concept of.

 

“Your advice then.”

 

“When will I receive the box?”

 

Eshidleisheid reached into the nothing and pulled out a small box with pinholes on one side. “Speak into the small holes your name and it will respond.  After that you may ask it up to one question per day.  It can explain its answer if you request it do so, up to a point, but do not attempt to ask it another question until 24 of your hours has passed.”

 

“Agreed.” Jason took the box.  “Just my first name?”

 

“Your birth name, the name you used in the oath.” 

 

Jason put the box in his lap and started looking at it, ignoring Eshidleisheid.

 

“Your advice, Jason?” Eshidleisheid prompted, interrupting Jason’s examination of his new toy.

 

“Oh! Yes, I thought about this all the time you were gone Eshidleisheid.”  Jason got up and placed the box on the far table. He planned on getting to it immediately after Eshidleisheid left him.  “You need to reassure the mother that her son will live…”

 

“But I cannot!” Eshidleisheid interrupted.

 

Jason held up a hand, “But unless you want to kidnap the son, you need to convince her.” Eshidleisheid frowned at that suggestion of kidnapping, but said nothing.  When he said nothing else, Jason continued.  “I believe that if you find a place you can take the mother and son to, over land, here in this reality, to safely evaluate the son for stability then after he passes whatever tests you have of his ability to manage his two halves, the mother will be reassured and leave him in your care while she continues her life as she had before.”

 

Jason continued, “Have the mother watch the tests, and make them as obvious as possible to a human and the results as clear as possible, so if he does fail them, she will not be able to deny the necessity of ending his life.  I pray that he will pass them Eshidleisheid, as it will be easier to deal with the mother if he does.  However, if he passes them, you will need to teach him what he needs to know.  You also need a neutral party who is knowledgeable enough to understand what you are doing and to explain to the mother for you so that you will need only concentrate on the task as hand.  That is why,” and Jason’s voice filled with sadness and resignation, “you need to travel with them here to my house and perform your testing here.”

 

“Interesting.”  Eshidleisheid said, “That solution should solve the immediate problem, but if the boy is sane, I would need your abode for years in order to train this creature before I think he would be safe to exist without supervision.”

 

“Didn’t I say that this would take years?”

 

“Yes, old friend, you did.”  Eshidleisheid stood up.  “I will implement your advice and bring the mother and boy here.  Expect us within a month.  Have rooms prepared.” And he winked out.

 

Jason got up, sighed heavily, and walked over to his new toy.  Oh, the knowledge he’d learn from this!  He wouldn’t be frustrated at his ignorance for the rest of his life!  “This is Jason Milton Polscysky. I have a question.” He said loudly to the box.

 

“Ask Jason Milton Polscysky.” The box responded in a small emotionless voice.

Jason smiled. 

 

 

 

A narrow young face peeked around the doorway of the study and Jason appeared not to notice.  The face was male, but a youngish male, one who is only just getting around to becoming a man.  The cheeks were still smooth but the eyes were piercing as they looked around the study at the marvelous things Jason kept in his study.

 

“Come in Marc.” Jason said without looking up from his book.

 

The face jumped and sheepishly Marc walked through the doorway.  “I didn’t want to disturb you.” He said while looking at the floor.

 

Jason turned and looked at the boy.  “Well, you have.”  Taking a bookmark from the shelf to his left, Jason placed it in the book then shut it.  “What is troubling you now?”

 

Marc stood there and said nothing while continuing to look at the floor.

 

Jason sighed.  He knew it would be constant work taking care of this boy.  Knew it when he asked for such a high price from Eshidleisheid for suggesting it all those months ago.  But it still irritated him that so much was interrupted and put on hold because of it. “If you have nothing to say, please go back to your chores, Marc.”

 

Marc didn’t move. Jason sat there and looked at him.  Jason had gone through this before.  Marc was not to be hurried, and if chased out of the study, he’d only come back in less than an hour and interrupt again.  It was best to get whatever was troubling Marc over and done with now.

 

“Master Jason?” Marc finally whispered, “Why can I do some of what Eshidleisheid does but not everything he does?”

 

Jason sat back in his chair and folded his hands in his lap.  How ever would he answer this?  Even Eshidleisheid wasn’t sure what Marc would or wouldn’t be able to do as an adult. Nothing like him had existed before.  The race that Eshidleisheid belonged to was not human.  What members of that race were capable of exactly,  Jason had never found out and never wanted to find out the hard way.  Marc, being the product of the only coupling between a human and a member of this other race, made his abilities even more of a question. 

 

When Jason didn’t answer him immediately, Marc began to look at the shelves surrounding him.  Soon he was reaching for one of Jason’s books.  Jason noticed in time and got up and took the book away. 

 

“Marc, I don’t know what you will be capable of when you reach adulthood.” He placed the book back on the shelf.  “I suspect that Eshidleisheid doesn’t know either.”  He noted the title before sitting back down-“Demonology: 1st edition” by Hector Hortory. 

 

Wondering if the child had picked that book for a reason, Jason continued speaking to attract his attention away from his precious books.  “He thinks you will be able to travel eventually to his world and merge with the others of your kind.  He has even told me that you may even become an asset for the great Prince you and he belong to.  God knows they need help dealing with humans and you have that knowledge.  Giving knowledge would be the greatest gift you could give your kind.”

 

Marc’s face flushed and angry red while he screamed, “But I’m not one of them!” He looked ready to kill something.  Jason tensed, but Marc only continued to yell at him.   “I’m not human either!  I don’t belong to either!”  Marc started stomping his foot with each word, hard, as if to squash something to death.  Jason worried that Marc would have a full-blown tantrum in his study and break things.  These tantrums were few, but memorable.

 

Jason immediately picked up the servant’s bell and rung it sharply, three times.  He heard running feet come up the hall and a manservant stood in the doorway panting.  “You rang my lord?” he said between breaths.

 

“Yes, please bring wine and light food for myself and my pupil.”  Marc had stopped his foot stamping and appeared to Jason to be confused and bewildered by the servant’s appearance.   The servant left quickly, understanding that the request was urgent by the tone and expression on his master’s face.

 

Content that the food would arrive soon, Jason turned back to Marc.  “No you are not fully your mother’s race or your father’s race.  You are a blending of both.”

 

“Both human and demon.”  Marc sneered.  His contempt of the word was obvious.

 

“Eshidleisheid is not a demon.  The creatures described in tales to frighten the gullible on dark winter nights do not exist.  There are no red skinned, horned, barbed tailed, evil servants of the devil.  And I know you have been told this.” Jason said dismissively and hoped the servant would hurry.

 

Before Marc could reply, Jason’s hopes were fulfilled.  The servant returned with the wine and bread.  He carried the tray and another servant carried a small portable table and stool.  This table was placed between Marc and Jason and the tray was placed upon it.  The stool was put before Marc.  The servants, knowing their masters preferences, did not pour the wine, but bowed out of the room and shut the door behind them.

 

Jason held up the wine pitcher and asked if Marc would like some.  The boy nodded.  Jason pointed to the stool as he poured a half glass for Marc and a full glass for himself.  Wine usually wasn’t given to Marc, who was underage, but Jason was taking no chances today with the things in his study being broken in a tantrum.

 

Marc sat and drank.  Finishing the wine, he reached for the bread and Jason let him have it without comment.  The pause while they ate was welcome to Jason.  He needed a chance to figure out how to reply without setting the boy off again.

 

When the bread was gone, Marc appeared calmer.  Calm enough to listen to reason, Jason hoped.  Mentally wishing for luck, he began. “Marc, please tell me what prompted all this?”

 

Marc’s face showed shame and guilt as he looked down at his lap.  “Another boy.”

 

Jason frowned.  He had been of two minds regarding letting Marc play with other children.  While he needed the socialization only interacting with other children would bring, he wasn’t just like them and Jason feared a flare of power at the wrong time would injure or kill another child.  Eshidleisheid didn’t see the problem, but Jason did not want to ever deal with that mess. 

 

Before jumping to a conclusion, he required more information.  “What did this boy say?”

 

“He called me demon spawn.”  Marc looked ready to cry.

 

“I see.  You have been told what the church’s beliefs are, correct?”  Marc nodded.  “Then you know that they do not have correct information regarding your father’s race?”  Marc didn’t respond so Jason continued.  “You are not demon spawn.”  Jason made a face.  “What childish ideas people have in the world. Ignorance runs rampant.  How we expect to continue as a species amazes me.”  Jason shook his head, “But that isn’t our immediate problem.  Who was this boy who called you names?”

 

“I’m not a tattletale.”  Marc blurted then started crying.

 

“Am I supposed to use divination to find out?”  Jason said sarcastically then sat back in his chair disgusted.  “That would be a waste of my skills.  If you do not tell me, I will have the choice of either” he held up one finger, “letting it go and doing nothing, or” he held up two fingers, “asking my servants and having them tell me. Which do you prefer?”

 

“I don’t know what to do!”  Marc said between sobs.  He was in the middle of a really good cry now. 

 

 

 

“Better than a tantrum.” thought Jason.

 

Jason got up and handed Marc a napkin the servants had left with the food.  “Wipe your eyes.” He said as tenderly as he could.  “Advice I can give you.”  He sat back down as Marc wiped away his tears.

 

“Does the boy live in this house?”

“No.”

“Is this a neighbor’s child?”

“No.”

“He must be the son of someone in my employ then.” 

“No.”

“Then I need more information if I am to give you good advice.  If I promise not to tell anyone you told me, will you tell me who?”

“He’s the son of the peddler who came last night.” Marc hung his head.

“And how did he know about your parentage?”

“I told him.”  Marc started crying again.

 

Jason sighed deeply.  “Marc, you should know better than to tell anyone.”  Jason shook his head.  “It is very likely now that everyone who did not know before, will know that you are not fully human. Do you know what might happen now with this knowledge being commonly known?”

 

“No.”

 

“You may have put not only yourself, but me, Eshidleisheid and everyone else in this household in danger.” Jason became very angry, “Do you realize what you may have done?!?” he yelled.  Marc flinched at his words and Jason paused to bring himself under control. It would do no good to scream at the child, no matter how well deserved or the degree that Jason wanted to do so. 

 

He rang the servant’s bell again. Pounding feet were heard immediately.  The same servant appeared, “You rang my lord?” he said between breaths.  Jason wondered if the servants knew and worried what would happen next.

 

“Has the peddler that arrived yesterday left?” 

“No, my lord.”

“I wish to meet with him in the foyer.  Have him there within the hour.”

“Yes, my lord.” The servant turned to leave.

 

“One moment,” he stopped and waited.  Jason turned and faced Marc.  “I will handle this.  Please learn this particular lesson well, Marc.  I do not want you to make this mistake ever again.”  Marc hung his head in reply.  Turning to the servant, “Please take Marc to the kitchen for extra chores today.  About one hour of scrubbing should be punishment enough for telling stories.  Tell the cook that if he does good work, he may have one cookie as a reward for a job well done.”

“Yes, my lord.”  The servant guided Marc out the door.   Marc went as docile as a puppy.

 

Jason waited until they were gone then spoke into the air. “Eshidleisheid? Will you come?”

“Yes, Jason.”  He stood before the table and began to pour himself some of the leftover wine.

 

“You know?”

“Yes,” he sipped delicately, like a cat. “I am not surprised in any way.”

“And just how do you suppose we handle this?”  Jason’s voice gained an irritable edge.

 

Eshidleisheid sat in a nearby chair and sipped again from the cup.  “I don’t.  Dealing with the humans is your job, remember?” Jason so wanted to strike that smirk off of his face. Instead he sat and looked out the window.

 

“Do you really believe members of your race will descend upon this household immediately?”  Eshidleisheid asked quietly while sipping his wine.

 

 “I think it’s a possibility.”

 

“We will need a plan to evacuate then.”  He answered unconcerned.

 

“Is Marc ready to go to your world?”

 

Eshidleisheid snorted.  “Not quite my friend.”

 

Jason sighed; he thought as much. “I don’t want to have to find another house and pack up and move everything I have here.  It would be a large undertaking.”

 

“Find out how the parent of this other boy is taking what was said.” Eshidleisheid sat the cup back on the tray.  “If he isn’t taking it seriously, perhaps it won’t go any further.  After all, Marc does look human.”  Jason looked at Eshidleisheid and hated that superior look on his face.

 

“Fine.”  Jason turned back to the window.  “I’ll handle the peddler.  I will keep you informed of the status of this.”

 

Eshidleisheid chuckled.  “You may call, and I will answer.  But I will keep myself informed as usual.”  He winked out.

 

Jason again stood, brushed the front of his clothes with his hands then left to talk with the peddler. 

© 2008 Stephanie Weippert


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Added on February 12, 2008

Author

Stephanie Weippert
Stephanie Weippert

Tacoma, WA



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I write because my muse tells me to. She's such a demanding little *&$%*! LOL Below is my writing contest. Go ahead and take a look! Geek LoveDec 27, 2007 - Mar 28, 2008 more..

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