The Good Man.

The Good Man.

A Story by Eirinn
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Story based on drawing of the Good Man.

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The legend spoke of a good man.


Jefferson Goodman, a small but good boy put on his best suit one morning. The morning of the incident. He did not say much. In fact, no one had heard him speak a word since the week of the tragedy. His mother came into his room to comb his hair. He looked into the mirror as she did so, eyeing the very movement of the brush on his pencil-straight brown hair. He was pain-looking, he thought. A plain boy in a plain town.

“Dashing, darling,” his mother said, very monotone. She kissed his forehead and left. She was wearing a black dress. Jefferson’s suit and tie were also black.


The day passed like any day passes. The reception was beautiful, but the words were deep. There were tears, there were stories, there were flowers. There was even food, which little Jefferson had not expected. He sat on a chair in the corner of the room, silently nibbling on some crackers and cookies he had nabbed from the food table and stolen away in a paper napkin.


Jefferson’s aunt Linda was there. She was beefy old woman, red-faced and face. Jefferson disliked her, because she would always pinch his cheeks and call him “Snookiekins”. But today she did not. Today was too sad. He watched his aunt Linda talking with his mother. Linda put her hand on his mother’s arm and gave her condolences.


The father was far away. Jefferson sat in the corner furthest away from the coffin so as not to accidently catch a glimpse.


He listened to nothing but the nibbling sounds his mouth made as he ate cracker after cracker.


That is, until he heard a rustling sound.


The sound was oh-so faint, at first he thought he had accidently dropped his napkin on the floor. But he looked down to his hands, and it was still on his lap. He figured the sound was nothing in particular, and continued to nibble.


But soon enough, he heard the noise again. Golly, what was that rustling noise? Had a mouse snuck in and decided to explore around his feet? Was there a tree outside nuzzling against the outside wall of the building?


The sound was coming from below. It sounded so far deep below, it must be under the floor boards!


Jefferson sat up straight, scared but also excited. He leaped off his chair. The time it took for his feet to hit the floor seemed ages, but he finally made it all the way the wooden ground. He crawled onto his hands and knees and put his little ear to the floorboard.


Skratchy skritch skritch


went the floor.


Skritch skritch skratchitty skritch


He felt a feeling in his heart, a pitter panging feeling. His whole body became warm and busting with excitement. He held his breath for a moment, to keep the warm feeling in. Then he stood. He glanced around the room with his big brown eyes, and saw to his good luck that no one was watching him. The adults were too sad, too chatty, too adulty to notice the little boy, and he did not mind one bit.

Now he could explore.


Jefferson ran ran ran, to the other side of the room. He flew, his little black suit rippling in the air as he ran. He did not care if his suit ripped, or if it got dirty, or even if it flew off and he never saw it again, because that would mean he would never have to come back to where he was now, and he would never have to see the big coffin-box his very own father was in, and his mother would stop combing his hair into the shape it did not belong.


The boy snuck outside, away from the church gathering. The sound had been coming from under the floorboards, and he figured perhaps he could dig a hole outside the wall near that side of the building. We walked around the brick wall so that he was just outside where he had been sitting. The ground was green and soft from the rainy weather they’d been having. It was May, after all. Though Jefferson often forgot things like time and dates.


He dug into the soft dirt with his hands. He ripped apart the grass, and tossed it all behind him. His knees had patches of dirt, and he scratched his nose with his dirty fingers so there was some mud on his face. But he did not notice nor did he care. He dug and dug and dug.


Alas, he found no path to underneath the floorboards. After some time, he decided to give up. Just then, as he sat down next to his muddy hole, looking defeated, he heard a noise again.


Skritch Skratch Skeech Skrim


The sound was louder than it had been before. He looked down down down, into the hole. It was far deeper than he had thought! So deep, in fact, it fit a little boy just Jefferson’s size.


“Jefferson, come.

Come to the land

we all know and love.

 Here to be,

and here to see,

you’ll never want to be above.”


The voice came from below, deep deep in the hole. Jefferson peeked down, and saw a small rat. It was not a normal looking rat, however. It was skinny and white, and looked quite bony. Jefferson’s eyes grew ever wider, and he became intrigued by his new friend. Silently, he stuck his feet right down into the hole.

“The Good Man awaits,” said the rat.


Jefferson fell and fell and fell. He fell so long, he forgot which way was up, and knew not which way was down. Secretly, he grinned, and awaited this new world. A new life for him, it seemed. One without combs and mothers and sad affairs. He looked to his right and saw that the skeletal rat was now resting on his shoulders.


“What’s tha’ matter, boy, do you not speak?” the rat asked, in a shrill squeaky voice.

Jefferson shrugged. He could speak, but he had forgotten how.


“Well, well, the Good Man will fix you up right away.”


THUD.


Jefferson and the rat landed on a cushiony surface. What appeared to be a velvet road; red velvet lined the floor like a path. The rest of the world was black. It was not darkness, but rather simple blackness. As if the rest of the world did not exist, only the red velvet road, the boy, and the rat.


“My name is Panny,” said the skeleton rat. “Follow me, please, if you will.” The rat bounded and leaped down the velvet pathway. He was far far ahead before he turned back to Jefferson and shouted, “Please stick to the path! Do not fall!”

Jefferson silently followed suit. He was not scared. He was never scared anymore. Not since the incident. His father taught him well.


They walked a long way. The path seemed to be getting narrower and narrower. Smaller and smaller and smaller, until Jefferson was only able to stand on tip toes.

“My apologies, I do forget I’m smaller than most,” chuckled the rat. “We can leap off now. The black on this side leads to The Yard, where the Good Man lives. Don’t you want to meet the Good Man, Jefferson?”


Jefferson nodded.


“Right. This way, m’boy!” Panny leapt into the black, and Jefferson jumped right after him.


He was not scared. He was never scared.


Music played around them. Calm, soothing, melodious music. Mozart, or Beethoven, Jefferson thought. Soothing piano tones. It was music his father had played for him once, as a young child. He remembered it well.


They fell for not as long this time, and landed just on grass. Soft, green grass. The greenest grass Jefferson had ever seen! The grass extended for miles and miles, as far as the boy could see. The sky was still black, just as before. But here there was so much more to look at.


They appeared to be in a grave yard. There were stones all around, what appeared to be tomb stones. Some were crumbling and had been broken into many pieces. Some had green moss growing on them. None of them had names, but what appeared to just be symbols. Circles and squares intertwined. Triangles and swirls. Zig zags and stick figure men. X’s and O’s.


“Do not worry, we are quite almost there,” said Panny, wagging around his stick-like white tail. Jefferson thought it was funny.


He was not scared. He was never scared.


Panny and Jefferson bounded over one grassy hill. There, in the distance, stood a floating figure, almost glowing in a pool of single light. Very much like a spot light.

“The Good Man,” said Panny.


Jefferson stood in front of him. The Good Man. He was hung on a wooden cross. But not quite like the cross Jefferson had always seen in church. It was thicker. Thick enough to hold the man’s full body. His arms and legs appeared to be nailed in, to hold him up, but there was no blood, nor did the man seem in pain. His face was a skull. Grim and hollow. One eye was completely emptied out, but the other had a pearl ball inside, where the eyeball should be.


Jefferson was not scared. He was never scared.

“The Good Man,” said Panny again.


Jefferson held his hand out, stretching and stretching. He wanted to touch him. Touch his wounds, and heal him. Touch his wooden cross and feel what the man felt. But no matter how far he stretched his arm, he could not reach. The man moved farther and farther away.


“The Good Man.”


The writing on the cross read, "Goodman".


After a few hours, Jefferson felt tired. He crawled up into a little ball on the grass and fell asleep forever.

 

The legend spoke of a good man.

The Good Man spoke of nothing.

© 2011 Eirinn


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Added on December 19, 2011
Last Updated on December 19, 2011

Author

Eirinn
Eirinn

Amherst, MA



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