Ya, I was playing around with random titles again. So far that seems an interesting way of finding the Friday piece.
Compared to some of the darker stuff we have been exploring this one is a nice change into something much lighter. Granted this could transform into something much larger but it is nice as a quick taste of possibility.
Granted The theme isn’t very new. We have seen stories of this nature on numerous occasions. But like I said this is something light and fun to change the dark mood we have been living in lately.
The Wizard’s Door
The front porch of the grey house, slightly run down, slightly out of style, the place where it all began. Tony Erickson and Jim Peters stood at the front door. Tony held the knocker at a precarious angle, a sneeze and it would fall. Jim poised to bolt looked over his shoulder, eyes locked on the metal door knocker.
“Just let it go,” Jim said. “Quit bein’ a wuss.”
“You were afraid to touch it,” Tony said. His hand trembled with the effort of holding the knocker away from the door. “I don’t think we should do this.”
“You’re the one that got us into this in the first place.”
He was right, of course. Tony knew it and hated to admit it. He accepted the dare for the both of them, didn’t give Jim a chance to back out. He looked over his shoulder. “When I reach three, I’ll let it go. One… Two… Three. Run!”
The knocker hit the knocker plate with a resounding crack. They raced from the porch to the bushes ten yards away. Jim ran around them and ducked behind. Tony leapt over and rolled when he hit the other side. They dropped down as the door opened.
An older gentleman dressed in a faded black suit stepped onto the porch. His gaze lingered on he bushes they hid behind as he scanned the yard. But he said nothing before he turned around and went back inside.
“That was close,” Jim whispered. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Give it a few minutes. I bet he is waiting for us to run right now.”
“You’re crazy. I’m outta here.” Jim changed to a crouched position and moved along the bushes as far from the house as they went. He sprinted to the sidewalk and safety.
Tony kept his eyes on the door.nothing changed when Jim made his bid for freedom. He followed the same path as Jim, all the way to the end of the bushes. In his mind he counted to three and took a deep breath ready to sprint to the sidewalk.
His first step sent him to the ground. Vines from the bushes tangled around his left foot and he lost his balance. He yanked and pulled at the vines to pull his foot free. They wrapped tighter around his foot and ankle.
“Dude, let’s go,” Jim said. “We need to get out of here.”
“I’m caught up in some vines. Go on without me,” he said. “I’ll catch up.”
Jim didn’t look back. “Nice to know who will stick around when you’re in trouble,” Tony said. He pulled his knife out of his pocket and cut away at the vines. For every section he cut a new one would take its place.
“Michael Erickson’s boy.” To y jumped at the sound of the deep voice. “You sure have grown. Do your parents know that you are running around, beating on stranger’s doors?”
Tony struggled to pull his leg free as he hacked at more of the stems. The old man walked up beside him. Even if he managed to get his leg free, the old man left him no chance of escape.
“Caught up in some netweed I see.” The old man mumbled a few unintelligible words and the plant lightened then released its grip on his ankle. “You need to keep peaceful to avoid the grip of the netweed. Now then, let’s have a look at you.”
The old man used the tip of his cane to lift up tony’s chin. “Well this is interesting.” He reached down and pulled Tony to his feet by his shirt.
Tony struggled and fought but could not break the iron grip. “Let me go,” he said. “I’m telling my dad about this.”
“Well now, that was just what I had in mind.” He sniffed into the air. “Here is the choice I have for you; we can walk together as civilized people, or I can drag you home by your ear. Which will it be?”
“What’s that?” He asked. “I’m not sure I heard you. Us old folks are hard of hearing you know.”
“I said we can walk. We can walk like civilized people.”
“Good, now stay ahead of me where I can keep my eye on you.”
Tony sprinted ahead when they were a few houses away from his own. The old man smiled but continued his pace. He reached the house as a car pulled into the driveway and gave a slight nod to the man in the driver’s seat.
“Mr. Jasper, what brings you out this way.” The man stepped out of the car dragging a briefcase with him from the passenger seat.
The old man leaned on his walking stick. “Always so formal Michael, I have told you in the past to call me Barry.” He stepped forward and offered his hand to Michael.
Michael shook the offered hand and said, “Is there a problem?”
“Yes and no. Seems your boy has been playing some games in the neighborhood.”
Michael’s face switched from friendly to a deeper red. “Tony! Get out here!”
“What’s wrong dad?” Tony came around the side of the house.
“What did you do?”
“But dad,” he said. “I didn’t do anything. I swear I didn’t.”
“If I may interject,” Barry said. “The boy did no harm, at least that I know of. Really why I am here is I have need of some work done around my house.”
“What kind of work?” Tony and his dad said in unison.
“Cleaning and minor maintenance,” he said. “Seems the older I get the harder it becomes to mow my yard and such.”
“Sounds reasonable,” Michael said. “Maybe some work will keep him out of trouble. Let me talk this over with his mother. When could he start?”
“If you agree, send him over in the morning.”
“Don’t I get a say in this?” Tony asked.
“Not at all,” Michael said.
The door knocker, the very thing that got him in trouble the day before, now it taunted him. This time a bigger dare than what started the whole mess was in front of him ready to change his world.