Proheron was a Farseer, and told no one.
Except for Nina. Across the way, his niece laughed at the darkening sky, her face held upward to catch the first drops of rain. He smiled at her as he traced his gloved hand along the low stone wall, his fingers dipping in and around the hollows and ridges, along rough, scoured edges and smooth curves. She was so like him. And of all his relatives, Nina was the only one with the potential to develop her abilities, and Proheron had taken it upon himself to tutor her as best he could. Anything to spare her from what he’d gone through. He followed her example and glanced upwards. The air was thick and damp, and the storm could drop at any moment. It was best to get indoors before the deluge, and he was inundated with the million unwanted visions of raindrops and their minute, fading fates.
He could control the visions, most of the time. Especially if he was only touching one small thing: especially those that faded so fast. A flower, a leaf. A clay pot, crumbling into dust. Lives that glowed for so very briefly and faded so very fast. But he dreaded touching others. So laden with emotions that, like the storm brewing, flashed and thundered in his head: love and hatred, anger and joy and anguish that warred within his mind like a storm of swords until he felt little more than a leaf, buffeted at the wind’s cruel mercy.
“Uncle?” Nina had come up, though she refrained from touching him even though she wore gloves. Proheron smiled crookedly. Continue reading
The gentle pressure upon the alabaster surface was barely enough to depress it…and ever so slowly it dropped down. A series of occurrences…pricks, pulls, strings vibrating and hammers falling. A miniscule Rue-Goldberg machine operating at pin-point precision. The soft pink convex of her finger lifted off the smooth ivory…it popped back to its original position, and the tension floated away. She curled her finger thoughtfully and traced her thumbnail across the center of her index finger, splicing the circular impressions of the print like a chainsaw across the peridermal rings of an evergreen. The quiet expanse of the chamber still echoed her soft breaths, and whispers lifted on invisible tendrils of air to circle in the tall atrium. Gently, she laid her finger upon the same spot. The slightest of pressure…some unseen, unknown force strained against her effort, snarling in silent opposition … it fought, she rallied: a valiant effort to overcome the demon that would prevent her passage. And suddenly the moment of victory flooded, and every nerve from the tips of her finger to the nape of her bare neck tingled– startled when the army of white overcame the powers of the dark, the internal mechanisms of the machine whirred to life. Lights raced across a town mired in the dim, cheers rang in the cold, crisp air. One note: pristine in its simplicity, clear as the first bell of a spring morning. The first bird call on a winter dawn in a world dampened by snow. It echoed across the rafters like dust motes in a dilapidated barn, sending the shining tubes of the pipe organ shimmering in reverberation. Those in the pews before her leaned forward in mute anticipation, their appetites wetted. Their mouths slipped open expectantly, like the leave of ferns, begging for the first drop of rain after a parched summer. Souls awaited the salvation only she could provide. She slid her hand across the surface of the ivory, the black raised like smooth mountains over the Gobi or 3-D parking lines of the parking lot outside. Her nails clicked on the tiny gaps between each key. Then, with just the perfect touch for which every virtuoso prayed, she drew a response from the smooth, chilled keys…and a second note followed the first, skipping gaily out of the open doors to grace the songs outside in natural harmony. The audience was on the edges of their seats. All eyes were on her. The angels and seraphim were perched above, their features glowing, their feathered wings twitching in joyful anticipation. Her wrist flexed gracefully, she laid five fingers once more upon the notes.
“Come now, C major scale. Don’t worry if you make a mistake, it’s just the first lesson.”
She obligingly put her left hand upon the piano. Her teacher smiled encouragingly, and the ancient stand-up piano reluctantly creaked out the C-major scale. The E was out of tune, the B was sticky. She had to press it twice before any sound came at all.
Mark Wallins knew if he waited long enough, it would become what all the kids wanted it to be. The perfect fantasy playground. The years would pass : perhaps too quickly: the current generation of kids down the road wouldn’t be much into playing in the old lighthouse by the time it really developed the sort of abandoned glory for which all kids dreamed. Shrubs and small trees and weeds would grow up against the sides and ivy and good old Georgia kudzu would overwhelm the stone. That part would only take a few weeks of course, so he’d need to keep an eye on it and cut it back every so often. He stopped by his open door and gazed through the screen. It hadn’t worked for years. All ships went through Savannah Port now. And of course, there was the lighthouse on St. Simons or even the one on Tybee. Tourist attractions: pay $5 to walk up 635 stairs and gaze out across the sea. Nothing like the half-pint little thing at the edge of his property.
The government had tried to buy it from him. Perhaps for preservation. He couldn’t argue that a part of him liked the idea of seeing it restored, maybe even back to working order. It would take some major work, though. Mark sipped some of the hazelnut coffee and grimaced. Needed more creamer. He left the screen door and went back through to his kitchen: knick-knacks of years of beach littering the sills and walls. Oyster shell frames with pictures of his grown kids, seashells in homemade wind chimes by his one grandchild. He didn’t feel old enough Continue reading
Lost places are supposed to be desolate. Forgotten. Forsaken. You could have come up with several excellent adjectives for what places like this were supposed to be like. Imagine it like an overlay: dust settles on the rafters and buttresses like draping silk, gathers in corners with mouse and rodent leavings. Sunlight filters through boarded-up windows, slats of golden light that illuminate dust motes and such. The sense of true wretchedness. The memories left to rot between wooden floors striving their best to do the same. A sense of wistfulness upon your return, yet warring with an uncertain dread that the harsher of memory might haunt more than just your mind. They could rise up in a simulacrum of dust and dirt, with accusations that no amount of justification can clear. Turn in a circle, walk the halls and hear the voices rise around you, women and men and young, strident cries of matrons and screaming children. Men who bellowed.
It would have been a wonderful place. A child who was born into this was at the pinnacle of society. Given everything that could be dreamed. Mountains of toys and riches and distractions from the truth. The lady of the house, calm and gracious and beautiful, always perfectly groomed and articulate. Iron-willed and striking. Lovely. The man of the manor—You could assume he provided in some fashion. Bringing home the money, as it were. Certainly enough of it, if merely the size of the place was any indication. He would have been strong. Tall—and broad-shouldered. A man confident in himself-who would take no umbrage.
That’s how it would have been. That’s how it should have been. Continue reading