Looking back at where you have been helps you decide where you are going next.
This was a first attempt at a second novel. I might still use bits of it. I’m half way through the second book so it was good to see where I had been. I put the whole chapter on here if you fancy a read! It’s just called Tom!
They climbed into the car. Going to the cinema had been a mistake. The film was a stinker and they had been practically the only ones there.
Marc had half a mind to throw a fireball at the screen out of sheer boredom. Molly had told him off, then she had kissed him and said that she wanted to throw one instead.
Now it was late and they were both looking forward to the supper Marc had cooked earlier. A glass of wine and bed.
Molly always stayed over on Fridays, increasingly she stayed over on Saturdays and Sundays too as well as several other nights during the week.
Marc couldn’t see why she didn’t just move in full stop. They could sell the house and the flat and she could make a new start in a brand new home with him, but she couldn’t quite let go.
There was no way he was moving in with her, not to the house she had shared with Bernie all those years. He felt guilty every time he set foot in the place.
He always felt like the little man was there at the end of the bed watching. Smoking a cigar and giving points out of ten for style, performance and content. This had a disturbing effect on him physically that had rarely happened in 1300 years, so Molly generally stayed over with him and not the other way around!
“What,” Molly said putting her key into the car.
“Stop a minute, that kid we saw earlier, the one being chased by the older boy, I think that’s him.”
“Over there sitting on the wall.” “Jesus Molly, I think he’s about to jump!”
He leapt out of the car and raced across the car park roof, empty except for them.
The boy swung his legs over, you could see he wasn’t really there. His face was blank as if he had already exited his own head in preparation for the event.
Marc slowed, quietly he called out, “you don’t wanna do that son, it’s messy, and it’s gonna hurt!”
The child a boy of about 12 didn’t even notice, he was focused on the drop in front of him.
As Marc got nearer he saw the boys face, it chilled him to the bone. He had no doubt that the kid was going to do it. This was no adolescent cry for help, he was going to jump.
Molly caught him up. “I phoned Tony” she said.
Marc nodded, “brilliant idea because this kid means business, look at his face Mol.”
Pixies are fast, they can put a girdle around the world in 30 minutes if they have to.
Tony was with them in seconds, just in the nick of time as the child went over.
The tiny man swooped down and caught the terrified boy as he fell.
Pixies are tremendously strong for their size, and the lad was as light as a feather
“That’s really not the way sweetie” he said as he flew upwards. “You just leave it to Uncle Tony and we’ll soon have you back and safe where you belong.”
He deposited the dazed child on the roof.
Marc leaned against the wall of the building, his heart thumping like it had during his last coronary!
Tony was kneeling down talking to the boy, who still seemed out of it.
“There you go Chickie he smiled, much better here than down there, as a load of raspberry jam with bits in.”
“Now you just rest up a bit, I’m going to stay here with you and hold your hand until you feel more like talking.”
“This is Molly, she’s a doctor” “ She’s going to check you over, just to make sure you didn’t bump your head when you fell ok.”
Marc heard a noise, he smiled, he would know the roar of that bike anywhere, it was Jon!
Elves can run at phenomenal speeds. In their own way they can go as fast as pixies in flight, but it tends to attract attention, so Jon had brought the bike.
“You ok he said, realizing that Marc was struggling.”
The big man nodded, “yeah, just shock.” “Tony had to go over the side and get him, because he jumped.”
“Christ, is he ok?”
Marc shrugged, “I don’t know. I just let them get on with it, I didn’t want to crowd the kid.”
“Poor little sod, what could have pushed him this far, a child so young.”
“We saw him earlier, he was being chased around the car park by some much bigger lads.”
“Bullying, that will do it, kids can be evil!”
Molly came over
“Physically he’s ok. Just a bit of a scrape on one hand, must have caught it on the concrete when he went over. But mentally that’s another story.” She smiled, “who knew Tony was so paternal, he’s doing an amazing job of keeping the boy calm.”
The Pixie spoke softly to the stunned boy, telling him he wasn’t leaving him and that they could sort things out.
It was Jon’s turn to smile, “oh you know Tony, he’s got a heart like a bucket.”
“Yeah he has Marc said quietly. Remind me to buy him a pint. “ That kid would be a news item if it wasn’t for him!”
“I think we’ve been lucky, nobody around to see anything. That could have been a bit awkward, but what do we do now?”
“Hmm yeah I was just wondering that myself” Marc said. “. We need to get him off this roof for a start.”
“Presumably he has some parents or a guardian somewhere” “I mean how old is he, about 12 by the looks of him.” Jon sighed, “so young and wanting to end it all, that is incredibly sad.”
Marc gave him a look. “Jonny it’s incredibly sad at any age mate. No soul should leave before his time, its a sin against the Universe that gave you life.” “There is always another dawn. Even if it feels like the night will never end, the sun will come up again. I hope you know that now!”
They both knew what he was talking about, Jon and his bumps in the road.
The Elf nodded, “yes I know” he said. “I will always be grateful that you found me in time, and ashamed that you ever had to see me like that. I can’t explain what it feels like when you go down the rabbit hole, I just can’t.”
“You say the sun will always come up. I can tell you, at the bottom of that well with the damp walls closing in, you can’t see the sky only the darkness.”
“Sometimes you just need a friend to throw you a rope and to make sure that you take it, even if you don’t want to.” “Think what I would have missed if I had just slipped under the water that day; David finding his life, all we’ve achieved with the foundation, grandchildren, Tony of course, that goes without saying. Not forgetting the singular pleasure of watching you settle down and become Mr faithful after 1300 years of playing the field!”
Marc smiled, “I know we don’t talk about it much, and you have Tony now. If you ever need me I’m still here. I’m your brother and I’m pretty hard to get rid of.”
“I know” he grinned, “like nail fungus, not actually life threatening, but bloody persistant all the same.”
“You know I don’t mean it”
“Of course.” “I’m just glad to see you happy, we are getting boringly domestic aren’t we.”
The child got up, Tony put an arm around him and they walked over.
“This is Tom he said” “Tom is feeling a bit better now aren’t you.”
The boy nodded
Marc smiled, “why don’t we all get off this roof and grab a drink somewhere Tom. It’s very late for you to be out.”
The boy looked at Tony
“It’s ok, I won’t run off and leave you the Pixie said. They won’t bite I promise.”
The boy whispered into the little man’s ear.
“Oh yes, the big one is called Marc, and the one with the green eyes is called Jon.”
“Say hello boys.”
They found a late opening cafe and squeezed into a booth.
Tom stuck to Tony like a shadow.
“If you want to talk Tom we are all good listeners Molly said. Would you prefer it if we went and sat over there, and you can just talk to Tony.”
Tom shook his head, “it’s ok. I can tell you guys are sound.” “I don’t have that much to say except that people are arseholes, and I’d had enough ok.”
“Fair enough, people can be arseholes Tom.” Especially if you are a bit different, and we know all about that.” Marc grinned looking at the others. “Letting them get to you like that isn’t the answer son.”
Jon said quietly, “it makes you tired doesn’t it kid. So damned tired that you just want to end it all.” “It’s just like you want to lay down in the road quietly and let the traffic run over you.” “Or maybe slip away in the bath with nobody around. it’s just such a fucking effort going on, and you can’t see the point anyway!”
He pulled back his coat sleeves and raised his wrists, showing the scars that they never mentioned. The scars inside were his alone.
The boy nodded, “yeah. I’m sick of the world treating me like a freak. I just wanna go somewhere quiet and leave all the arseholes in it behind.”
He looked at Jon, “you know don’t you, I can see it in your eyes. It’s written on your soul.”
Jon nodded, “yeah I do. But I’m still here and still fighting. The arseholes are here as well, but I don’t have to fight them alone Tom, and neither do you.”
“Freaks like me don’t have many friends, were not allowed, it’s in the rules.”
Jon smiled, “well you would be surprised where friends can be found Tom. You might even have found a few tonight!”
Molly gave him a look, “you keep saying you are a freak, I don’t get it, what’s so freaky that it gets you bullied!”
The boy gave her a look in return , “how old do you think I am he said.”
“We thought 11 maybe 12.”
“I’m almost 16 Molly and I’m fucking tiny!”
“Well that’s not so bad” she said, “I was married to a man who was smaller than you are now and it never seemed to do him any harm.”
“There’s other stuff as well. I can tell you guys because I have a feeling you are going to understand what I mean.” He looked at Tony, “it’s not like I missed the fact that you jumped off the roof of a multi-storey car park to save me and we’re both still here. Instead of inside a body bag where we should be!”
“Yes, I was wondering when you were going to mention it.” Tony said
“You can fly can’t you
The Pixie nodded, “yes and so can Marc, but he does it a different way.”
“I can do stuff too, or at least I think I can. The reason they were chasing me is because I burnt someone’s coat. They think I lobbed a lit match but I didn’t. The flame always happens when I get worked up, it comes from nowhere.”
Jon smiled, “it’s from your wrist Tom, you threw a little fireball. We can all do that.” He looked around.
“Give me a minute then look out of the window.” Then he left and sure enough a shooting star appeared in the sky.
“Wicked” the boy said. You guys are really something.
“So are you” Tony said, “can you do this?” He looked at the others and they all changed their ears for a moment.
“That is sick he said, awesome but I can’t do it, well not yet.”
“Can you do anything else; change shape, feel like you want to run through the forest at great speed, fly, anything like that?”
He shook his head, “but I feel like I might be able to with a bit of help.”
“That’s the ticket Tony said, be proud of who you are Tom.” “We can help you find out what you can do, if you trust us.”
Tom nodded, “yeah you are all sound. Old and weird but totally cool. I know I can trust you, and I don’t say that to many people, so take it as a compliment.”
“Thanks” Marc said, “I guess we will.”
“Where’s your friend gone,” Tom said. “He didn’t come back.”
“Ciggie break probably, he’ll be back in a minute.”
The boy stood up, “do you think he would let me have one.”
“Probably, but he won’t approve. It’s a filthy habit and he knows it!”
Tom smiled and went out of the cafe in search of Jon.
“What do you reckon” Marc said, “he’s one of us I can feel it!”
“Ooh there’s definitely some Pixie in there, you only have to look at him to see that, but there’s something else as well, not sure what.” “Maybe Kit can help out on this one, he’s dying to try out that database of his.”
“Doesn’t feel like a shifter, wrong shape for a start” Marc said. “You got any ideas Mol.”
She shook her head, “not really, but he’s definitely got ability. Throwing a fireball isn’t easy, even a little one.” “You ok Tone, you look miles away.”
“Yes I’m fine, just thinking. Perhaps we should do more for the younger members of our little community. It’s giving me food for thought though.”
He raised an eyebrow, “perhaps we should start with telling Our young friend, that smoking stunts your growth, although I doubt if young Tom is ever going to be much more than 5ft anyway, bless him.”
Jon blew out a plume of smoke, it was only his second today and he really was trying to get it back down to just the one!
Tom sat on a dustbin beside him, after a bit of a struggle, he had persuaded the Elf to let him have a cigarette.
“How do you feel” Jon said. “It’s ok you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. I never really talk about my bump in the road.”
The boy stared into the distance. “I don’t remember much, except looking down and thinking it was all going to be over in a minute.” “I wanted it to end you know. I just wanted the peace of leaving it all behind me for the bliss of nothingness.”
Jon nodded, “and now”
“I don’t know, it will probably be the same old shit tomorrow!”
“Doesn’t have to be, you have us now.” “We can show you a world where nobody gives a rats arse about who you are and what you look like.” “There are people in our community who can do extraordinary things that the human world is not yet ready to understand.”
“First I need your promise that you won’t go shooting your mouth off to everyone.”
“Good” he grinned, “because they would probably lock you up anyway.”
“So come on then”
“Well, Marc can turn into a bear, he generally only does that when he’s upset.” “Mostly he does birds, a hawk for preference. He likes to fly, it relaxes him.” “I have another old friend who turns into an Orangutan, but he also does other creatures.”
“Molly is partly Dryad, so am I, that’s why I have the weird eye thing going on, do you know what one of those is?”
“A tree spirit, but her father was an elf, same with me and Marc.”
“A few years ago I was best man at a wedding between two werewolves.”
“Tony can fly, that’s because he isn’t human at all. He’s a Pixie Tom, he wasn’t even born on earth.” “He only came for a single night and he’s been here for 6 years.”
“He hates the winter and he thinks that humans make everything way too complicated.”
“We have a hell of a job finding him shoes that aren’t made for kids, and underpants without cartoon characters on. Currently he’s rocking dinosaurs in that department!” “Don’t even go there on what he thinks of our bathroom cleaning habits.”
Tom laughed, “why does he stay then, can’t he just fly back where he came from.”
“That’s the problem” said a voice from the darkness.
“On that single night, I managed to get myself hooked up with a bit of a looker.” “There was this Elf you see, tall with gorgeous bright green eyes, rides a motorbike. A total pain in the arse he was, been one ever since to be honest.” “Causes me no end of trouble and worry I can tell you.”
Jon blew him a kiss and passed him the end of the cigarette, he took a drag.
“Gets me into all sorts of bad habits” “He’s a grumpy old sod in the mornings, so I’m not quite sure why I stick around.” “But he doesn’t smell or snore, and at my age I’m unlikely to do any better, so I figure why not. Anyway he’s loaded, so I can always take the money and run if it gets too bad!”
“Yeah that would be about right Jon told the boy. I’ve been trying to shift him for ages because of course I’ve had much better offers. But he’s taken up residence in my house and he won’t budge, so I guess I’ll just have to keep him.”
He’s kinda cute, if you ignore the revolting coffee he drinks, and the relentless fucking cheeriness first thing.”
“He’s also useful for clearing out the gutters and painting ceilings, so all in all I think I’m up on the deal!”
Tom laughed, “you guys really are an item aren’t you! A gay Pixie shacked up with an Elf, and I thought I was different.” “You guys must take the prize for original couple of the year.”
“In our world we’re just the Professor and Tony, no one cares.” “Half of our clients have enough trouble deciding what shape to be when they wake up every morning.”
“Nobody gives a monkeys if you are gay or straight, or tall or short, there’s more important things to worry about.”
“In the human world it’s taken a bit longer, especially as Jon is a widower with a grown up son and grandchildren. Finding little old me in the bed was a bit of a shock” Tony grinned!
“I told you before” Tom said, “humans are complete arseholes about change!”
“We know all about that one kiddo. Now it’s late, perhaps we should be getting you home.”
Tom shook his head, “its fine nobody cares.”
“What does that mean,”Jon asked him
“I’m in care, we all do it. It’s a home for those of us who exhibit challenging behaviour. Nobody expects us to turn up for dinner and as long as I don’t get arrested I can pretty much do as I like.”
“Excluded, I kept burning things.” “ I didn’t mean to, you know what I mean, but it just kept happening.”
“Yes I can see that it might.”
“Well we run an organisation for people like you, beings like us. We can help you decide what it is you are and what you want to do about it.” Jon said.
“Tony has some ideas in that direction.”
“Can we go back in it’s getting chilly, and maybe tomorrow we can have a proper talk. How does that sound.” “If those arseholes where you live start on you again, just remember that you have friends and that you are about to step into a world that they would never even imagine exists.”
“Try not to throw fireballs or incinerate any one until tomorrow” Jon said. “I’m sure Molly will give you a lift home and I’ll take Tony on the bike.”
They arranged to meet up the next day and Tom climbed into Molly’s car. “Best drop me at the end of the road” he said. “If anyone sees you, there might be questions.” “I can walk through the trees and in the back door, nobody will know.”
“If that’s what you want” she said. Marc yawned, “don’t know about you but I’m just about done in. It’s been a bit of a night hasn’t it.”
“Yeah, you oldies need your sleep!”
“Cheeky.” “ You do have to promise me no more car parks ok, or I won’t get a wink!”
“Yes mum” he said.
“I wanted to say thanks, I feel like I had a lucky break tonight.”
“I mean you are all seriously strange” Tom continued “but perhaps I’m learning that it’s not such a bad thing to be a bit different.”
“Say thanks to the other two for me, really nice guys.”
“Tony is a sweetie, he kept patting my hand and calling me Chickie, it really helped” he smiled, “a bit like having my Granny back again. And Jon, well I guess he understands doesn’t he.”
“Yeah he does, he’s been so much better since Tony came along, but we all keep an eye on him just in case.” “He’s a sensitive soul our Jonny, always has been, things go very deep with him.”
“Night then.” He climbed out of the car, a tiny figure under the streetlight. As he walked away into the darkness it moved. A figure walked swiftly along the darker side of the path, the only thing showing was a tiny flash of silver from one hand.
Molly stopped the car, “go on then sort it she said, before it gets sorted for you!”
Marc nodded and got out of the car. For a big man he was surprisingly swift. He caught the figure up, just as it caught up with Tom and “whispered Oi freak, what about my coat.”
Tom stopped, “come on then” he said “let’s get it over with.”
The larger boy stopped, “think you’re somebody because you just met some old people who gave you a lift home. Only friends you can get freak boy!”
Tom tensed up, he knew it was coming and it did. A punch in the face which knocked him over, followed by a flash of silver as the knife moved in.
It got no further, a strong arm knocked it from his hand
“Piss off grandad the older boy said, picking up the knife and preparing for a fight.
“Go back to your nice car and your nice missus mate and leave the little freak to me.”
Marc shook his head, “I don’t think so sonny, now put it down or you and me are gonna have words.”
The boy laughed, “funny.” He stuck the knife into Marc’s hand.
“You wanna see a real freak kid, he said because you asked for it.”
He was cocky, “sure pops let’s see what an old fucker like you can do.”
“Oh this old fucker is doing just fine” he said pulling off his shirt and jacket as both boys watched.
Then he undid his jeans and kicked off his shoes.
“What planet are you on you old perv” the boy said!
“Sometimes I wonder Marc said, stretching out his arms which became paws.
Suddenly the bear was there, large and growling, dripping blood from a large cut.
The boy stepped back in terror as the snarling bear went for him and he suddenly found himself running for his life through the trees.
It didn’t take long and Marc was back, naked and cursing.
“That was wicked” Tom said
Marc smiled, “but you didn’t see anything did you.”
“Oh no nothing”
“Did you hurt him”
Marc laughed, “no of course not, but I think he may shortly need new underwear.”
The boy whistled, “that was amazing.”
“Don’t expect it every time, it’s just that he had a knife.”
“Now get indoors and find yourself somewhere safe, I don’t think you will have a problem again tonight.” “I’ll take this” Marc said, pocketing the knife.
“See you in the morning Tom, you will find that old as we are we can be surprisingly useful when you need us.”
The boy smiled, “yes I’m beginning to see that.”
Jon switched off the bike.
The Elf took off his crash helmet. “I know that look, what’s the matter he said gently.”
“Nothing” Tony said jumping down
Jon sighed, “Anatantonituanous Anachratidides I thought we had no secrets, now come on out with it.”
The little man looked fretful, “I was just wondering what it was like to get to the point, where you have so little joy left in life, that you don’t want to carry on. We have never really talked about it. But tonight, the look on Toms face when I grabbed him, sheer terror. The relief when I put him down on the roof was indescribable, his as well as mine.”
“Did you feel like that, did you change your mind?”
“No, but I was pretty much out of it by the time Marc found me.” “To the end of my days I will never be able to repay him for what I put him through. I think young Tom will probably feel the same about you in his own way.”
“You were amazing tonight Tone, and I have never been more proud of being your Mr Right.”
“I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, so I just kept trying to get through to him. When he opened his eyes and looked at me it was an incredible feeling of connection. I was so pleased when he seemed to trust me. Is that what it’s like being a dad?”
“Yes, when you know you did the right thing, and they know it too.” Come here Jon said, he slung an arm around the Pixie. “You look shattered, shall we just leave our half eaten supper and go up to bed.”
“Tomorrow morning I will make you breakfast, yucky coffee and everything, no arguments.”