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Black moon - Chpt 1

Black moon - Chpt 1

A Chapter by Tegon Maus
"

"Daneba say come," the largest intoned. "So, she's still alive," I said with no small level of relief. I owed my life to the woman, hands down.

"

Chapter 1


"Damn the luck," Jack said throwing his cards in hard disgust to the table.

 

"If I didn't know better Tucker Littlefield I'd say you were cheating."

 

"Why Jack, what a terrible thing to say and we've been friends for so long," I answered innocently, raking the pot to my side of the table.

 

Few things pleased me more than a quiet drink on a Saturday morning and a friendly game of cards.  Jack's tavern had always held that contentment for me for as long as I could remember.  There is something comforting in the smell of well-worn wood, stale beer, burnt food and the dust of an energetic broom.

 

"I know you Littlefield and no one wins this much without cheating.  I don't know how you're doing it but you're doing it right enough."

 

"Jack you were dealing; how could I possibly cheat?"

 

At that moment the door flew open with a loud bang, startling me not to mention Jack.

 

"You'd better come quick Mr. Littlefield;  they're looking for you,"  a young man called, breathing heavily as he leaned against the door.

 

"Who's looking for him," Jack asked, standing.

 

"They are," he said pointing down the street nervously.

 

Slowly I stood, moving to the door.

 

"Soul bearer," a deep, almost angry, voice boomed.

 

"Who the hell?"  Jack asked.

 

"Littlefield," a second voice shouted, almost as annoyed, adding itself to the first.

 

My heart sank at the sound of it.  I was certain who it was before I stuck my head out the door to confirm it.

 

"Damn it," I said softly slipping back inside.

 

"Littlefield," they shouted again.  Outside two Jonda, each dressed in nothing more than loincloths, walked down the center of the street as if they did it every day.  They stood well over seven foot tall with long black hair pulled into a tail at the back of their heads and tied with a thick, red string.  Around their neck a small string of blue and white shells.  Their near naked copper colored bodies had been painted with thin, dull, yellow paint in misshapen circles giving them a turtle like appearance.  Hanging low from their hip an overly large knife I had seen in action far more than I cared to remember.

 

It had been two years and I still tremble a little inside at the sight of those knives, not to mention the men that knew how to use them.

 

"You better go see what they want before they set fire to the whole damn town," Jack said sternly stabbing a meaty thumb at the door.

 

I gave him a distasteful look but knew he was right.

 

"Here," I shouted.  Standing half in and half out of the doorway,  I waved an arm to get their attention, bidding them to come this way.

 

"Better bring some cheese Jack," I said dully.

 

His face contorted with concern at my words.

 

"So help me Tucker if they break one..." he began.

 

"Cheese, Jack, quickly," I interrupted turning him by his shoulders toward the kitchen.

 

I straightened my clothes quickly, determined not to let my nervous concern show and turned toward the door to wait.

 

After a few moments, both Jonda came to the door, bending slightly to peer inside far more tentative than I would have thought.  The larger of the two was first to enter, bowing slightly to clear the door way.  The second followed his lead to stand next to him.  They turned their heads from side to side with distaste as they inspected their surroundings.

 

At that moment Jack reappeared with a large wedge of cheese on a cutting board, a knife stuck in its surface quivering next to it.

 

Jack, not a small man by any measure, stood mouth gaping widely, staring up the length of each man until he tilted back dramatically then passed out falling with a loud thump.

 

"Gentlemen," I said, trying desperately to balance the offering I caught from his failing grip.  "Nice to see you again."

 

Without a word the larger of the two picked it up, sniffed at it hesitantly and then broke it in half handing it to his counterpart.  Each sniffed at it several times before devouring it in three or four bites.

 

"Daneba say come," the largest intoned.

 

"So, she's still alive," I said with no small level of relief.  I owed my life to the woman, hands down.  Her fate had kept me up more nights than I cared to count.  "Well, give her my thanks but I'm afraid my schedule doesn't allow me to be..." I began to lie.

 

"Daneba say black moon coming, Soul Bearer must come."

 

"No."

 

"Daneba say black moon... Tucker come in two days or all Jonda come here for Soul bearer," he said folding his arms across his chest.

 

"All Jonda?"  Jack asked from the floor, looking up to me.  "Tucker, that can't be good."

 

"I'll think about it," I returned waving him off.  It had been two years and I was determined I wouldn't risk my life in the outlands again for anything in the world,  not for anything.

 

"Soul Bearer come...  two days...  black moon comes soon," the larger of the two men said again pushing my shoulder to make his point before turning to leave.

 

I folded my arms in defiance but said nothing.

 

"Bring more this," the shorter one whispered harshly before pushing the now empty wax cheese rind into my chest.

 

I stood there unmoved as they made their way outside.

 

"Tucker you have any idea what a black moon is?"

 

"No and I have no desire to find out,"  I said, moving to look out the door.  I hadn't realized it until this moment but I had been holding my breath.

 

By the time I reached the opening my Jonda friends were nowhere to be seen.

 

"You know you have to go, right?"  Jack asked getting off the floor pushing lightly past me to look outside.

 

"Yeah, I do," I said in resignation.

 

 

 

 

          ********

 

"I said no.  Daneba sent them to get me and they said Black Moon was coming, whatever the hell that means.

 

I'll tell you all about it when I get back," I said shoving a shirt into my travel bag.

 

"Oh no, black moon or not,  I remember the last time.  You were up to your navel in trouble and that was with me looking out for you," Eloise said, turning me to face her.

 

"Wife... I said no and that's the end of it, besides, that's not the way I remember it," I said firmly.

 

"That's the end of it?  Did you say that's the end of it?  Tucker Littlefield if you think you can tell me what I can and can't do, you have no idea who you are talking to," she groused, throwing my bag to the floor.

 

"Wife, I couldn't bare it if anything were to happen to you," I said earnestly.

 

"And what do I do if you are killed this time or you come home with another new wife?"

 

"That wasn't my fault and you know it," I protested.

 

"So you say.  I'm going with you or without you and that is the end of it," she huffed, folding her arms.

 

"Fine, have it your way, but if you get killed don't complain to me."

 

"Why would I complain to you?  You never listen to me.  That's how you wound up with that Jonda girl following you everywhere we went.  Who knows?  Maybe this time I'll find a handsome young man who wants to be my second husband," she tormented.

 

"He would have to be deaf or he would want to take his own life as well," I returned, trying to decide what to take.

 

"Oh no, he would be happy to listen to me.  He would take my advice and be happy for it instead of spending all his time telling stories to his drunken friends at the tavern," she huffed angrily.

 

"Good Goddess, woman.  Are you going to talk me to death or are you going to help me?"

 

"Huh, simply the most helpless man I have ever known," she said harshly under her breath and began throwing random clothes into the bag.

 

"When you get that new husband... don't let him wear my socks," I said earnestly.

 

"You are such an old fool."

 

We spent the next few hours in silence, doing all the little things that needed to be done... a little clothes, a little food and the only weapon I owned... a twelve inch dagger... a present from the King.

 

Almost without our notice the night had slipped away and dawn had begun to creep up on us.  After a while and a good deal of hesitation on my part, we stood on the street as I closed the gate outside our home, hoping it would not be the last time.

 

Silently, Eloise slipped her hand into mine.

 

"It is a pretty house," she said wistfully.  "Do you think we will see it again?"

 

"Sure we will," I lied openly.  "Why, I am surprised you would even say such a thing.  All we are going to do is walk down the street a little, meet a couple of old Jonda friends, see what they have to eat; say our hello's and come right back.  That is all.  Why we should be standing in this very spot by the end of the week or so."

 

"You can be such a liar," she said wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.

 

"I love you, you know," I whispered, patting her affectionately on the rump before kissing her cheek.

 

"I know, I do... that is what worries me," she returned softly, leaning into me.

 

I wrapped my arm around her, holding her close for a moment.

 

"Did I ever tell you about the time I ate six whole pies at one time?"  I asked softly, lifting her chin.  I kissed her tenderly, pressing my lips to hers before turning her to point down the street.

 

She shook her head as tears began to well in her eyes.

 

"Well, I was seventeen, brand new to Bridge Haven and never saw a tavern in my life," I said, giving her one more playful kiss, a distraction from the worries that lie ahead.



© 2017 Tegon Maus


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Added on November 27, 2017
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Tegon Maus
Tegon Maus

CA



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Dearheart, my wife of forty nine years and I live in Cherry Valley, a little town of 8,200 in Southern California. In that time, I've built a successful remodeling /contracting business. But th.. more..

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