|The Strange Man Stories: One of the Chosen
Author: Warner Hedgehog PM
The strange man chooses someone. This is a bit of her story. It's not complete and at the moment the ending is a bit of a cop-out. Suggestions on how to end it a bit better would be appreciated. Starting a story is simple, ending it does your brain in.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy/Sci-Fi - Words: 1,972 - Published: 01-10-13 - id: 3090917
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Strange Man Stories:
One of the Chosen.
It was the 83rd day of the year.
CaLucine was a visitor to The City. She was on her scheduled 4 month break and had always wanted to see the sights and sounds of this most famous of places.
The Traveller's Department had organised a very nice place for her to stay: a room that overlooked the River and had a marvellous view of a lot of The City. The sunsets were particularly stunning she had been told, and the Department were not wrong. She was glad she'd brought her picture unit on this trip. Some of the images would be breathtaking.
CaLucine lived in a small town about 3000 miles from The City and worked as a planner for the Agriculture Bureau as well as doing occasional work for the local Healthcare unit.
She'd arrived 3 days ago and was thoroughly enjoying herself. The first thing she'd done was go to the street to see if The Man would appear, but it was slightly overcast that day and he only ever appeared when it was sunny.
"He hasn't appeared today then?" she asked a nearby law official.
"Not that I've seen" He replied. "But then, we haven't seen Him this year at all yet."
"Wow!" she responded "That's got to be some sort of record"
"We believe it is. The longest time without an appearance was about 70 days we think. Until now that is," stated the official.
So she just shrugged, said "Oh well then. Thank you officer" and embarked on a tourist spree.
She started by going to the 3 Glittering Towers, and went up to the top to the tallest one.
After spending some time there with her picture unit, she decided to visit the Caverns of the Old. The Caverns were a series of preserved caves, just outside the western edge of The City. They were where some of the ancient people of the world lived. Dotted about the caverns were hulks of machinery and remains of dwellings.
Some of the ancient devices towered above her as she marvelled at their sheer size and wondered about their possible use. The people from the Department of History had already spent many years studying the creations of the past and several of their theories were on display boards.
She spent several hours reading and wandering through the caverns, trying to take in all that was there.
That evening was spent in a music bar. This was one of those sing-along places where they let you loose with a microphone. CaLucine loved music and singing turned out to be one of her hidden talents.
The following day CaLucine went to the opposite edge of The City for a bit of thrill seeking. The Leisure Department had built a fun park at the eastern edge of The City and it turned out to be very popular with the more adventurous visitor. CaLucine was determined to be one such visitor, and as being at the top of the Glittering Towers was no problem she was undaunted by the rides at the park.
The queue for the fastest ride would build up almost as fast as the ride itself, so she got in quickly.
By midday she needed a rest. Thrills were alright but they wore you out a bit, so she wandered over to the food hall at the centre of the park.
The hall was enormous. Mere words couldn't convey the sheer size of the place. All around the edge were food vendors of all types, selling foods from around the world.
In the middle was an art display – the famous artist Kaufaei Arndkreim had created several sculptures just for the park, and they were in pride of place. His works were very varied – some were twisted metallic shapes, others were multicoloured and interactive, and one or two were stunning stone carvings.
One of the larger metallic shapes was on a wide plinth on its own and had a cable running from the top part of it to the ceiling in order to keep it upright. It was painted in very vivid colours in a way that easily caught the imagination. CaLucine made her way over to it and looked up at its towering form. It looked like an enormous multicoloured demon caught in mid-dance. The only other person paying it any attention was a small boy.
Something about the sculpture struck her as not only odd, but definitely wrong. She couldn't think what it was, but then it hit her. It was leaning to one side it a way that just didn't seem right.
As she looked, the cable made some very nasty groaning sounds. She looked at the cable and saw part of it was not only fraying, but turning as well. Another fibre of it snapped and she suddenly knew what was happening, and if she didn't get to the child quickly, the statue would fall onto him.
She didn't think much after that but ran full pelt toward the child and grabbed him. As she picked the little boy up, the cable finally gave way and snapped. She went into top gear again and ran. As she reached the edge of the plinth, the sculpture hit the ground with a deafening crash.
She ran on for a few steps and came to a halt, with her heart going crazy. She put the boy down and stood there shaking. As people rushed over to help, she turned around to see the tangled mess of ruined art that could so easily have been her tomb.
"Oh my" she murmured to herself.
With great deliberation and care as the various local officials and staff tried to calm the crowd, she walked over to a nearby pillar, leaned against it, and slid slowly to the ground.
The Next Day
CaLucine decided something more serene was in order and wandered to the shopping district. She ambled about here and there, but was still shaken by the events of the previous day and not in much of a mood to buy anything. The street of The Man was on the edge of the shopping district and without thinking too much her aimless meandering took her to one of the cafés that lined His route.
She hadn't really noticed the weather much either.
It was sunny.
She ordered a drink and sat at one of the roadside tables.
A woman nearby spoke to her, "Here to see if He'll come along today?" she said
CaLucine looked around and realised where she'd wandered to "I hadn't really thought about it to be honest," she replied, "I'm just here on my Sched Break. Yesterday had a little too much excitement and I wanted a more relaxing time."
She sat there idly looking about as she held her mug. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a figure swaggering along on the other side of the road. She suddenly realised who she was looking at. It was Him.
As she sat there gawping in wonder, he stopped and turned. His gaze met hers and he pointed right at her. "You," He intoned in his deep bass voice, "are fabulous". He looked over the top of his sunglasses and winked, nodded, turned and swaggered on down the road.
CaLucine was stunned! What had just happened?
She stood up as crowds started to gather round, congratulating and generally making a shocked and surprised fuss.
He had appeared for the first time this year and chosen someone, and they were here on the day it happened!
Someone suddenly shouted "He's going to do it again!"
The crowd around CaLucine quietened and fanned out a bit in the hopes of being chosen and watched Him. She stepped forward to see who he would choose next.
The Man had stopped at the end of His Street. Slowly, as if he were on a turntable, The Man turned around to face CaLucine, somehow made his impossibly wide smile even bigger, clicked his fingers while making a strangely audible clicking sound out of the side of his mouth, pointed at her again and winked for a second time. He then turned back around and went on his way.
This was unheard of. He had never done that before. Ever.
CaLucine was utterly gobsmacked.
Malin Forzez, a reporter for the City Information System quickly ran over and jostled his way through the crowds around CaLucine. He was profoundly relieved that The Man had appeared today, as waiting for Him to eventually put in an appearance had started to get more than a little boring. The wait had been worth it though – this double acknowledgment never been heard of before!
This person who he'd given the unique honour to had to be someone of incredible worth and importance. Or was going to be.
"Hello" he said to CaLucine "I'm from the City I.S. and I think...are you all right?"
CaLucine was stood there in shock. "bu..." she said.
"Ah, I see." Malin carefully led her back to her roadside table and sat her down.
People were still crowding around, trying to get a glimpse of the only person to have ever been recognized twice.
A City law official managed to barge his way through the crowd. "Calm down everyone" he said, holding his hands up, "Calm down, give the lady room to breathe please"
The crowd backed off a little. They still wanted to know who this obviously very special woman was.
"What just happened?" a dazed CaLucine asked.
The official got in just before Malin "I'm not sure, but I think that's completely unprecedented. Up until now, no-one has had a double recognition."
"I would like to interview you for the City I.S." said Malin, "But I'm not entirely sure you're capable of coherent speech at the moment." He looked at her mug; it was empty" Would you like a drink to steady your nerves?"
Malin nodded at the official, who he'd known for some time – they both had worked His road for years: "Officer TeiFawtou my fine friend, would you be so good as to get this stunned lady a drink please? Something fairly strong I think"
Eventually, after a couple of drinks Malin was able to get a sensible sentence out of CaLucine. She told him of the events of the previous day, of how she had to run faster than she had in years in order to save the child. He learned of her work at the Agriculture Bureau and of her volunteer post at the healthcare unit.
Her interview was broadcast on the City I.S. the following day and on the World I.S. the day after. Within a few days her name was spoken everywhere: CaLucine - The woman who The Man chose twice in one day.
After the World I.S. broadcast, she was invited to dinner at the Governmental Centre. At the same time her work record was scrutinised by the Agriculture Bureau leadership, and found to be exemplary. During her time as planner she had not put a foot wrong at all and showed an aptitude within the Bureau that few others had shown.
The day after her governmental dinner further information surfaced, such as a recording of her singing in the music bar.
The first main effect of the choosing, apart from the insane attention she received was a promotion within the Agriculture Bureau. She initially went from simple regional planner to chief planner of her region, but as it turned out this was merely a test of her abilities, which she passed with flying colours.
After a series of these departmental tests and stepping stones, she went on to run the Agriculture Bureau. She's still not quite sure how it happened.