I’ve enjoyed our Friday Fantasy Reflections posts, but I thought I might try something new for this summer. This idea has been nagging at the back of my mind for some time lately, but I finally decided to make it happen. So this summer, every Friday, I intend to post the next installment of a serial “short-ish” story for your enjoyment …
Nothing serious. Nothing edited or polished. Just something fun I’m scribbling on as the mood strikes me. A fun mash-up of something reminiscent of the early to mid eighteen hundreds with cannons and firearms, as well as magic and common fairy tale/fantasy tropes.
But that’s not it. Not only do you get to read it, you get to help decide what happens. Yep. You heard right. Feel the power! Curious how it will work? Read Installment One below!
When Destiny comes calling, it’s usually best to open the door.
So Alexander Mitus Scott Beauford III discovered when the passionate ringing of the doorbell disturbed his contemplation of the inner workings of a cannon. With a sigh, he set aside his wrench and pliers and slid out from beneath the twelve pounder, smacking his forehead on the barrel as he tried to sit up. Clutching his head, he stumbled to his feet and nearly tripped over a ramrod. He surveyed the stain damage to his trousers and white shirt, and the cannon parts strewn across the wood floor of the study from the paneled door to the base of Father’s massive desk.
The mess was unavoidable. One could not become a militaristic genius without a considerable amount of chaos and destruction. But that did not mean Mother would be pleased. The Baroness of Midsig could spot a speck of dirt on the floor from a dozen yards away. And to say the study floor was filthy might be putting it mildly.
The doorbell shrilled again. Alexander swiped grimy hands across the knees of his trousers, shoved the flapping ends of his shirt into his belt, and muscled into his waistcoat and jacket. It wouldn’t do for the son of the Baron of Midsig to answer the door in his shirt sleeves. Then again, he shouldn’t be answering the door at all. Good servants might not be hard to come by here in the center of the realm, but they were certainly hard to keep. He denied any part in orchestrating the mass desertions that took place nearly monthly from the servants’ quarters, but truth be told, he was scarce sorry to see the servants go. Most of them simply got in the way of important things like research.
Alexander made it halfway down the front hallway before noticing his stockinged feet and the hole over his right big toe. Shoes … shoes … of course, he would have left them in the study with the cannon. Typical.
The doorbell rang a third time. A long, drawn-out buzz.
Alexander scuffed his stockinged feet against the floor. No time to go back for his shoes now. “I’m coming! I’m coming! Hold your horses!” He flung the door open and poked his head out to see a tall woman in a fitted, steel-gray dress, standing on the stoop with a notebook and pen in hand and a disapproving expression on her face.
“Is this—” she consulted the notebook—“Is this the home of Baron and Barroness Midsig and their son Alexander Mitus Scott Beauford III?
Alexander eased the door closed just a tad to conceal his shoeless state. “It is. Can I help you?”
The woman adjusted her spectacles, staring down her pointed nose at him. “That is the question, isn’t it? Ready or not, chosen or not, incompetent fool or not, I suppose we shall see. Follow me.” She brushed down her already smooth skirts and glided down the manor house steps.
Alexander paused on the stoop. “Wait … what? I don’t understand? What’s this about? Who are you?”
The woman swung back around, graceful as a bird on the wing. “Your kind call me Destiny.”
So of course, Alexander Mitus Scott Beauford III did what any reasonable person would do when confronted with such a statement. He …
* * * * *
What did Alexander do? Help me decide by picking your favorite of the three options below and voting in the comments. Thanks!
1) Smiled politely and slammed the door shut on Miss Destiny’s primly upturned nose.
2) Stammered an incoherent reply and beat a hasty retreat to the study where there were enough firearms on display that he should be able to defend himself against the attacks of any number of insane persons.
3) Swiped his hands on his trousers again, took a deep breath, and pulled his cloak from the hook by the door and his dueling pistols and sword from the umbrella stand. “Right,” he said. “Let’s be off.”
Tune in next Friday to see your vote determine the course of the next installment.