Category: How Can You Chain a Star

Galen woke slowly, to the sound of raised voices. He sat up and looked around, realizing two things very quickly. The first was that he now wore soft flannel pajamas instead of his uniform. The second was that he was not alone in the room.

“Father Carey said that we should give you every hospitality,” the woman said as their eyes met. “But if it’s all the same to you, perhaps it would be better if you left.”

Galen stood and made a small circuit of the room. “Where are my clothes?” he asked finally.

“Laundering,” the woman said shortly.

“If it’s all the same to you, then, I’ll wait until they’re clean. I can’t exactly leave in borrowed pajamas,” Galen said. “Is that Father Carey arguing with someone?”

“Father Carey don’t argue,” the woman corrected. “Them as are butting in where they ought not to be are the ones what are arguing. They’d best not make trouble with the good Father on your account.”

“I’ll endeavor not to be a bother,” Galen promised with a small bow. He settled back on the bed, feeling a little dizzy. “I really need to find a way back to my own realm,” he added as his head cleared.

“Why don’t you rest some more? Martha will get you some soup,” a new voice said. Galen looked up to find the priest who had brought him to the little house standing in the doorway. He smiled at the sour-faced woman and she left.

“I do not think she likes me,” Galen murmured as he settled back against the pillows. “I honestly mean no trouble for you.”

“You’re no trouble. As I said earlier, the mages won’t intrude on the sanctuary of the church. You can rest here as long as you need to.”

Galen sighed as his captors entered the room again. They’d held him in this strange place for nearly a day. If rescue were coming, it would have by now. While he’d had food and drink enough he had yet to satisfy certain other needs. The question was: would his captors allow it?

“I… need to use the facilities,” he said at length. “I really need to,” he added when the men hesitated.

“Do spirits even…” one man said, trailing off uncertainly.

“He’s been eating,” the young one he’d noticed earlier pointed out. “If it goes in… it probably comes out.”

“Very well, Spirit,” the one who seemed to be in charge said sternly. “We will be watching however, so don’t think to try anything.”

“Of course,” Galen said. He sighed in relief as the bindings that surrounded him dropped away. He expected them to do more than keep watch. They would use the bindings in a different way he was sure. One that would allow him to move freely but still hold him to their will. He needed to time his escape precisely.

The bindings fell away, one tip of each remained, poised near his ankles. As they moved to coil around their targets, Galen jumped into the air, narrowly avoiding the cords. He bounded several steps forward then drew up his energy – what remained of it – and dashed from the room.

He was free – for now. It remained for him to leave the building. His energy reserves were quickly depleted and he slowed to a more human speed. He needed someplace safe to think and formulate an escape plan. At the very least he needed to get out of the building. Already the other occupants of the building were looking for him. He could hear their raised voices all around.

He skidded to a stop as he found an open window. To his surprise, he was on the first floor of the building. He pushed the window open further and climbed out, quickly making his way to the street outside the building. Shaking with exhaustion, he made his way across the street and further away.

He hadn’t gone far when he saw a small, but familiar, building. By the symbols inscribed on the doors and the repeated motif high on the roof, it could only be a chapel. Sighing in relief, Galen bounded up the steps and entered the building.

“Hello, my child,” the priest greeted as he entered.

“I… I need help. A place to stay. Men – mages are after me,” Galen explained. He sank to the tiled floor, energy depleted from both his escape and his earlier struggles against the bindings.

“Of course,” the priest said, his voice soft and gentle. He lifted Galen into surprisingly strong arms and carried him to another building, connected by a covered walkway. “You’ll be safe here, child. This is my home. None would dare intrude here, even mages.”

Galen nodded once before his eyes drifted shut and he slept.

Dear Clone

If it was one thing that struck him about the humans – or at least about his captors – it was the sameness. All wore the same simple shirts over the same simple pants. All had the same hair color, arranged in the same haircut.

The only difference lay in their eyes. Not the color, which again seemed to repeat itself, but the emotions that lay in them. Some seemed little more than curious; others timid or even frightened; still others seemed offended by his very existence.

For the most part they left him alone, intent on allowing him to wear himself out. The only exceptions were the young boy who brought his food and the apparent leader, who would occasionally observe him for a short while before leaving again.

Galen looked up to see the boy observing him and smiled hesitantly. The boy was young, but he possessed the same qualities as all the men that Galen had seen. His eyes spoke of curiosity and, strangely enough pity. “Can you get a message to my… comrades?” Galen asked, hoping the spark of humanity in the boy meant he might be willing to help.

“I… don’t know,” the boy said before he fled out the door. Galen closed his eyes and sighed. This was going to be a delicate operation. He looked at the door the boy had fled through and was rewarded by the sight of the youngster watching him. It would be delicate – but not impossible.

He watched the child struggle in his bonds that coiled, hovering in the air, around him. Truthfully, he only appeared to be a child. They suspected he was hundreds of years old. He glowed faintly as he tried to use his unearthly gifts to break free of the cords that held his powers in check. The glow was bright enough that it was difficult to see the childlike being in the center of it.

“What’ll we do if he gets free?” Roger asked softly. His voice held a slight tremor of fear.

“He won’t,” Allen assured the man. “He’s helpless in the bonds. He can draw up his energy but he can’t use it. Meanwhile, he’ll wear himself out straining. By this evening, he will be most docile.” He turned and swept out of the room. He could wait.

Galen sighed and finally let his energy subside. He would only wear himself out this way. Maybe if the humans thought he was exhausted they would loose his bonds and he could escape on his own. Otherwise, he would have to wait for a rescue.

He closed his eyes and tried to send out his thoughts. The others couldn’t rescue him if they didn’t know where he was. He didn’t know what the humans wanted of him, but it couldn’t be good. He may not be able to use his energy to break the bonds, but he seemed to be able to send his thoughts out. It was only a matter of time.

Monica Ferris

an author with many hats

A Land of Curiosity

From the files of Shynian Intelligence

Heather's Fancies

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