Crystal Throne

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2010

 

Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction.  Any resemblance to any real
person alive or dead is coincidental and unintentional.

CHAPTER II

     "I've killed it!" the thought raced through Scott's mind.  He felt
filled with a sense of relief as he reached over and turned on the kitchen
light.  "I've killed him!" now flashed through his thoughts, and the
feeling of relief was gradually replaced by a feeling of dread.

     Stretched face down on the floor was the still body of a young man.
Under the glare of the kitchen light the statue-man had become an almost
ordinary human being.  The skin on his arms, legs and back was very pale,
not quite as white as an albino, but more like a person who had not seen
the sun in a very long time.  "Probably been in prison," was Scott's
thought.  The head was covered with shoulder length, curly hair, so
extremely blonde as to almost appear white.  The face was turned to the
side, hidden from his view by the long hair.  Tattered white shorts that
appeared to have once been long pants chopped off at the knees, were the
only sign of clothing on the man.

     Scott reached for the wall phone and started to dial 911, but
something made him stop.  The police weren't exactly happy with him at the
moment.  Now he had a dead man on his kitchen floor.  He dialed a different
number.

     "Hello?"

     "Jennifer, can you get right over here?"

     "Scott, what's wrong?" she asked.

     "My ghost turned out to be a real person," he explained, "and I think
I've just killed him."

     "Did you call the police?" Jennifer quickly questioned.

     "Not yet, but I will."

     "Call them now," she instructed.  "I'm on my way."

     Hanging up the phone, Scott again turned to the body.  He reached out
and nudged it with his toe.  "I guess I shouldn't touch anything till the
cops get here," he thought.  That reminded him about calling the police.
But instead he stepped over and knelt next to the body.  He felt the back
pockets of the pants for a wallet or ID.  Nothing.  Screwing up his
courage, Scott shoved and rolled the intruder over onto his back.


     The pale curls fell away revealing a delicately handsome face.  No,
handsome wasn't the word.  Beautiful.  It was a singularly beautiful face,
not in the least bit feminine, yet still delicate, with perfect features
and smooth, pale skin like marble or ivory.  The broad shoulders and chest
were of a matching beauty tapering to a thin stomach, all of the same
smooth, pale skin.  "No wonder I thought he was a statue," Scott mused.
"I've never seen such a perfect body, and so smooth."  He couldn't resist
the impulse to touch the chest, and gently run his hand down over the
stomach.  He could feel the warmth of the tissue, and the tight muscles
corded across the young man's gut.  And something else!  Movement!  The
chest and stomach moved ever so slightly.

     Scott dropped his ear to the man's naked chest.  He could hear the
steady pounding of a strong heart.  "So I didn't kill him after all."  For
some strange reason the feeling of relief returned.  Scott shoved and
pulled, and managed to get his arms under the pale body.  As he stood he
marveled at the weight.  The body was fairly well muscled and he probably
stood about 6 feet tall.  Scott would have guessed the man weighed around
160 to 180, but he felt extremely light, no more than 100 pounds at the
most.  Scott took him into the drawing room and laid him on the couch.
Then turning on a table lamp, he sat down and examined his uninvited guest.

     The room itself was a combination of library and study.  Two of the
walls were lined with built in bookcases broken by large bay windows
looking to the north and east.  A small, brick fireplace was located on the
south wall, decorated with a polished hardwood mantle piece.  Scott had
added a large old desk and some comfortable, overstuffed furniture so that
he could use the space both as his office and as a living room.  It was a
very masculine, yet homey setting, which made the stranger appear even more
out of place, sprawled on the heavy furniture.

     The pale skin of the intruder's arms and legs appeared to be lightly
dusted with fine hair, so pale as to appear translucent.  It gave him an
almost sparkling quality as the light reflected off of it.  The legs and
arms both showed evidence of strong muscles.  The hands were thin and
delicate with extremely long, thin fingers.  Scott noticed that the bare
feet also ended in almost unnaturally long toes.  Again, his eyes returned
to the slightly moving stomach.  He remembered the feel of the firm skin
under his fingers.  There was a warm stirring in the pit of Scott's own
stomach.  "What's going on here?" he thought.  He had felt that stirring
before, always as a prelude to sex.  "I know it's been a while, but come
on."  He pulled his eyes up, away from the intruder's navel, up to the
face.

     Scott jumped.  There were two piercingly bright green eyes looking
back at him.  He suddenly felt very vulnerable and began wishing he had
called the police.

     The mouth moved slowly.  "Tuatha da kronen," it said in a faint
whisper.  Scott only shook his head.  The green eyes appeared to cloud
over.  The lids slowly fluttered shut.

     "Hey," Scott said.  "Hey, wake up."  He reached out and gently shook
the bare shoulder.  In the back of his mind he remembered something about
keeping people awake who have had head injuries.

     The unnaturally long, sparkling lashes fluttered again, and again the
mouth whispered.  "Tuatha . . . tuatha de dannan."  The head then fell to
the side.  Scott dropped to his knees beside the couch and again put his
ear to the man's chest.  He could still hear the steady beating of the
heart inside.

     Just then the doorbell rang, followed by loud, pounding knocks.
"Jennifer," he realized.  Scott rose and headed for the front door.  He
closed the double doors to the drawing room, took a deep breath, squared
his shoulders and headed into the foyer.  He opened the door to reveal his
friend, dressed in an old housecoat with fuzzy slippers and a somewhat
frantic look on her face.

     "Where are the police?" she demanded.  "You mean they didn't get here
yet?"

     Scott tried to block the opening, but she barged into the house.  "I
didn't call them," he replied quietly.  Scott's mind was whirling.  What
could he possibly tell her?  Why didn't he want to tell her the truth?
"I'm sorry I upset you," he stammered.  "I had this dream and it seemed so
real.  I guess I woke up and called you before I realized it was a dream."

     She eyed him suspiciously.  She wasn't buying it.  "You didn't kill
somebody?"

     "No," he replied and tried to grin.

     "I'll fix you some tea," she said and turned toward the drawing room,
on her way to his kitchen.

     "NO!" he shouted as she placed her hand on the door knob.  "No, it's
alright.  You go on home and I'll call you tomorrow."

     "Scott, are you alright?" she asked, not moving from the drawing room
door.

     "Of course," he replied, inching back toward the front door, hoping
she would follow.  It was no use.  Jennifer quickly turned, opened the
doors and headed into the room.  Taking another deep breath, Scott rushed
after her.

     She was already in the kitchen running water into a kettle.  She
didn't see the pale man.  Scott looked over to behold an empty couch.
There was no one there.  He looked all around, but the room appeared to be
empty.  Maybe it really was all a dream.  Just then Jennifer came back in
to ask about the tea.  She noticed him looking around.  "Lose something?"
she questioned.

     "No, no, I guess not."  She turned back into the kitchen as he walked
over to look out the window.  Crossing over to the far side of the room, he
turned and saw a bare foot sticking out from behind the couch.  The
intruder must have gotten up and collapsed again falling behind the big
piece of overstuffed furniture.

     Scott went quickly into the kitchen and thanked Jennifer for her
consideration, but he professed to be really exhausted and just wanted to
go to bed.  After a few weak protests, she allowed him to escort her out of
the kitchen and finally out the front door.  He had to promise to go right
to bed and call her in the morning before she would agree to head off the
front porch toward her car.  He watched her drive off down the street
before quickly returning to the drawing room.

     The stranger was still lying in a heap behind the couch.  "So it
wasn't just a dream," Scott muttered, and bent to pick him up again.  And
again he marveled at how light weight a man of this size could be.  This
time he turned and headed out of the room and up the stairs with his
burden.

     Scott gently placed the unconscious stranger in his own bed.  He
pulled a light sheet up over the man, partly because of the cool breeze now
blowing in through the window, and partly to cover that beautiful body that
was beginning to get to him, and then he sat in the chair in the corner.
Why did he bring the intruder up here?  Why didn't he call the police?  Why
did he lie to Jennifer and rush her off so quickly?  What was going on?
These were the questions buzzing through his brain as he sat in the gloom
and looked at that beautiful face on his pillow.  Slowly, his own eyes
began to close.

                              * * *

     He had no idea how long he had been asleep.  It was still dark
outside, but several hours must have passed.  Scott could hear the first
faint stirring of birds through the window.  It must be nearly dawn.  He
looked over to see that his bed was empty.  The stranger had gone in the
night while he slept.

     "I'm lucky he wasn't a psychopathic killer," Scott mumbled as he stood
and headed downstairs to check the rest of the house.  As he turned the
corner to go through the drawing room he froze.  Someone or something was
moving around in there.  Scott quietly tiptoed to the door and peeked in.
The pale man was looking at the nick nacks in the antique breakfront beside
the mantle.  He picked up each item and examined it carefully, then put it
back.

     He suddenly froze as if again turning into a statue.  Then just as
suddenly, he turned to look directly at where Scott was hiding in the
shadows of the doorway.  He didn't move again, and appeared to be waiting.
Scott, not knowing what else to do, entered the room.  "Who are you?" he
asked, then remembering the strange language from the night before,
wondered if the intruder would even understand him.

     The green eyes looked to the window, as if contemplating escape, then
back again.  But Scott never took his eyes off the man.  He didn't even
blink, remembering how the intruder vanished on previous nights.  A smile
lit the pale face, making the stranger appear even more beautiful than
before.  He spoke in a light, almost musical voice.  "You learn very
quickly.  One blink and I shall be gone."  The man had read his mind.
There was a faint, foreign accent to his speech, but Scott couldn't place
it.

     "Who are you?" Scott repeated.

     "A name is only a word, and yet a name is power."  The voice had a
soft, warm quality.  Scott felt warm and fuzzy.  He realized that the
stranger seemed to be almost hypnotizing him with the vocal sounds.  He had
to concentrate to keep from blinking, or looking away.  "You are very
strong of will, too.  I have not met one like you before."

     "I'll call the cops!" Scott insisted as he took a step toward the
desk.

     "Cops?  Others?  Why?  There is just you and me.  We need no others."
The warm music was almost overpowering.

     "Who are you?" Scott again demanded.

     The pale man turned and looked out the east window.  The first rays of
the morning sun broke through and bathed him in golden light.  His ivory
skin seemed to change color, and he appeared again to be a statue, but this
time a statue of polished gold.  He heaved a sigh.  "Robin.  You may call
me Robin, wise man."

     Scott thought he was being taunted, and yet there was no sarcasm in
the voice.  "Is that your name?" he questioned.

     "One of them.  Worry not; it will hold me."  The golden statue turned
away from the window and back toward Scott.  "I am weary, and my head
hurts.  May I sit?" he asked, and walked to the couch, not waiting for a
reply.

     Still fearing to take his eyes from the stranger, Scott sat on the
edge of the desk.  He rested his hand on the phone, not knowing who to
call, or what to do next.  The stranger sat and looked at him, then leaned
back with a moan.  "Why does my head hurt?  What happened to me?" he asked.

     "You broke into my house, so I hit you," Scott answered
matter-of-factly.

     "You did this?" the stranger asked looking again at him.  "Such
strength and violence combined with strong will.  It is an unusual
combination in one such as you."  He stood up, apparently too quickly, and
began to fall.  Scott jumped to catch him.  As the stranger reached, Scott
positioned himself to take the weight of his fall.  With cat like agility
the intruder had placed a muscled arm around Scott's throat, all but
shutting off the air, and immobilized him by twisting his arm behind his
back.

     "Now my young friend," he said, "I will have your name.  If I am to be
bound, so will you be."  Scott's vision swam, he tried to move but the
stranger only exerted more pressure as he struggled.  "Your name!" the
stranger demanded.

     "Scott . . ." he gasped.

     "I know you have more than one.  Your other names, quickly!"  He
tightened his grip for emphasis.

     "Quartermain . . .  Scott David Quartermain . . ."  The stranger just
as quickly released him.  Scott gasped for breath and looked up, rubbing
his throat.

     The golden man was standing tall, looking down at him.  "Now I bind
you, as you have bound me," he said quietly.

     "What do you want here?" Scott asked as he drew in deep breaths.

     "I am searching," the young man replied and sat again on the couch.

     "Searching for what?"

     The man jerked his head up to look into Scott's eyes.  "For a key
. . . and a door," he said.  He then smiled again, showing pearly white
teeth.

     "I don't have any key," Scott said, not really knowing what the man
meant.

     "But it is here.  The sign shows it."

     "What sign?"

     "The circle behind your dwelling, Scott Quartermain."  The man had a
satisfied look on his face as if everything made sense.

     Scott had lost all his patience with this mysterious stranger.  His
house had been broken into, and he had been attacked by this maniac.  He
would put up with no more.  He picked up the phone and reached to dial the
number.  "Do not communicate with the others!" the man commanded, rising
from the couch.

     "This is crazy!" Scott cried.  "What do you want?  Who are you?"

     The stranger spread his legs in a firm stance and placed his hands on
his hips.  "I know you not to be a fool.  Can it be that you recognize me
not for who I am?  I be not just one of the fair folk!"  As he spoke the
golden stranger's voice grew deeper and stronger.  His entire frame seemed
to grow with his voice until he stood, filling the room and looking down on
Scott as an adult might look down on a naughty child.  His body seemed to
glow and pulse with an inner light and Scott thought he saw sparks of blue
static electricity running along the muscles of the man's chest and arms.
"I am ruler of the Tuatha, Rightful Holder of the Crystal Throne of
Esbereth!  I am the Dagda, Oberon the Mighty, son of Oberon the Stalwart!
I have been secluded and exiled, but I shall be avenged!"

     As he finished, the golden man seemed to collapse in on himself and
shrink back to normal proportions.  He no longer appeared larger than life,
or even particularly strong and healthy.  Now before Scott stood a slender
man, his middle aged face lined with care worn wrinkles, his shoulders
slumped, and his pallid complexion adding to the look of a very sick
person.  He dropped back onto the couch.

     Scott got up and sat behind the desk, visibly shaken by what had just
transpired in his own home.  "Are you some sort of magician?" he finally
managed to ask the pale man who was slumped across from him.

     "Magician?" the man snorted derisively.  "I reveal my power and you
think I a human charlatan."  He slowly shook his head.  "I have told you.
I am king of the Tuatha, the fair folk."

     "Fair folk?"

     "In your language we have many names.  The most common are elves and
fairies."

     Scott's jaw dropped.  "And you broke into my house looking for a key?"
he questioned, somewhat skeptically.

     "The key to my home.  I have been away for too long.  I must return,
but tonight is my last chance.  I have grown old and weak in your world."
And then, as if to change the subject the guest made a strange request.
"Have you any food?  I require sustenance."

     Scott felt as though he were still living in a dream from which he
could not waken.  He went into the kitchen with his strange guest following
close behind.  Scott fixed them breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast and coffee.
Robin, as he preferred to be called ate voraciously.

     "I really don't understand any of this," Scott said as they sat,
sipping coffee.  The stranger then began to talk, telling a strange tale of
a different world.

 

 

 

 

 

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