Friday, March 15, 2013

The Only Thing Worse is the Cure, Part 5

This is Part 5 in a weekly serial. You can begin at Part 1 here.

They know he’s here. The trunk that came this morning was full of ashes from his house – from the very estate you served in, Cecil. They burned the bed he was birthed on. The mariners know he’s here, they see it from their ships, and they think he’s causing the plague that consumes the continent. Thousands upon thousands dead that he could cure if he’d go out there, and then they’d know what we’ve turned into a way of life. It is worse than an affront to keep him on this wretched island. We’re squandering him.

We need only to tell him something, and his heart will bring him to his feet. So why not tell him we found the Arab? Ruth and Hansel found an Arab hanged for heresy. It could be him. And your Young Master’s been practicing so long in cemeteries. Let him go raise his personal Lazarus and ask his identity. After that, we’ll never have to deal with these ships or assassins again.

This isn’t my notion. None of these are words original to my mouth; this is everyone’s notion, but yours, and the crone with her printing press. Everyone thinks we ought to spur him into manhood, save you, and that little gardener, and your Young Master himself, who only believes such because he’s so obsessed with these arcane books, so possessed of his own origin that he ignores his destiny. This is his time. A plague is the perfect time for the man who is the cure.

I attest this of sound mind, for once I was mad and fretted over the sensations of an arm that had long left me to gangrene. Your Young Master took my ghostly limb and ghostly anxiety, but if you shut him up in this little safe isle any longer, he’ll never know all the limbs that are truly at his command. You’re raising a bull to be ignorant of his horns, a lion ignorant of his voice. There are eight ships in the bay, and they’ve brought cannons, Cecil. They brought the trunk of ashes. They haven’t thrown a dead mariner overboard in a week; they circle to find the safe distance from your Young Master’s reach. Do you want to wait to find out the reach of their arms?

So let us tell him we found his Arab, and get him into the world. You can go to him this morning, speak one sentence, and he’ll believe you, because you’re the one he grew up trusting. Or, so help me, I will lock you in a cellar and find another way to convince him.

We need lions, and they need the cure.


  1. Love it - and am really looking forward to the 'next exciting installment'.

    A very minor quibble should 'Your Young Master too my ghostly limb' have read 'took my ghostly limb'?

  2. I'll be honest, I'm finding these confusing to follow, given the different narrators. Each piece is well written but I guess I'm not used to first person head hopping.

  3. The plot thickens with every post! I agree with icy to a point but the particular narrator was eloquent enough that it cleared away some earlier confusion. I can't wait for next week- what a title!

  4. I wonder if the title foreshadows the outcome of this. This has been a great sequence so far, looking forward to next week (and to talking with something other than your Twuffer)!

  5. I love how with each part the reader can just jump in and enjoy the story, wonderful writing.

  6. It's "isle", not "aisle", right? Less limiting of a space to be in.

    This narrator cleared things up for me a bit too. I'm still surprised there were enough sufficiently ill people to defend him -- that the healthies didn't kill him off sooner.

  7. Quite an interesting story. Now I'm going to have to go back and read from the beginning.

  8. Yes! Action forcoming, and perhaps the Young Master stepping into the lights. I'm well excited for the next part and to hear the lion roar.

    This chapter was indeed more revealing and now I'm even more curious as to the Arab and his relationship with the boy wonder. Excellent serial thus far, John.

  9. I like the way this is going. It's nicely grey in morality, makes me think and feels quite different. Bravo on the experiment with pov. It does make it harder to follow but I enjoy the way it makes me question what I've heard before and how it makes me have to work to find the story/truth between the threads (and the fact that each new narrator can spin things on their head).

  10. I have to agree with Icy I'm also having trouble following this - I keep feeling like I should go back to the start and well, start over again. Having said that, each piece is enjoyable and intriguing to read. ^_^


Counter est. March 2, 2008