Broken from Reality

I always wondered what it would be like to experience a dream on the same scale that we lived our tedious lives: Now however, I wish I never had the thought as I'm now trapped within, broken free of my Earth bound body and stuck in this 'other' world that mere humans should never want to be in. I am broken in mind, body and soul... I am...broken from reality...

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5. Out With Callum

   I woke to find myself back in my room at the manor as everything was the way I left it when I slept last. The shades were drawn still as small cracks of the faintest light managed to crack through and create rays of pale light to stream across my room. I heard a familiar knock at the door which was followed by the quiet but quick movement of his feet as he swung into the room and swiftly shut the door. In the faint light of the morning and the dim  shading of my room he did look like a bit of a dark creature I suppose as he seemed to glide over to my bedside.

   "Young lord, it is time to awaken," his smooth voice lulled me into willingly rolling over and opening my eyes which were greeted by his.

   "Hello Callum," I smiled drowsily as I patted the bed next to where I lay and obediently he sat down beside me as I scooted myself into his lap. "How'd you sleep?"

   "Fairly decently I must say though... the dreams I've been having lately.." he trailed off as I adjusted my gaze and looked at him with an inquisitive nature. He stopped then as he knew what I wanted to know; what were in his dreams?

   "Callum, may I ask?" I smiled as I pulled myself into a sitting position beside him, my arms wrapping around the opposite side of his neck as I clung to him in a manner a child might cling to its parent. "About dreaming..."

   "Perhaps a bit later, right now.." he left off as he swept the shades aside, flooding the room with light, "we have buisness to attend to; you've a busy day ahead of you." I playfully dove back under the covers and hissed at him which only resulted in a sigh and a quiet creeping mischief in his voice. "Ah, a vampire are you then? Very well, I shall have to find a way to get my master back then." He flew onto the bed and began to try and untangle me from the sheets as I fought playfully with him like I had occasionally done on several occasions.

   "You'll never win," I grinned as I readied myself for the bite, "One bite and you'll be mine, oh dear friend of mine!" I lunged but he expected the tactic and instead I got locked in a vice-like hold within Callum's arm. "No, don't you dare..." I pretended to be afraid of the light as he undid the blankets.

   "Not to worry master, I'll save you," I heard a chuckle in his voice as he stole me from the sheets and hid me in his arms as I pretended to wither and burn. 

   "Why Callum?" I whimpered in false pain as I clung to him, "Why'd you hurt your master in such a way?" I had all I could do not to crack up with laughter at our childish game.

   "You know it's only because I care," he smiled as he then laid me gently onto the bed as he slipped a pair of grey trousers on me. "All because I care, young master," he smiled as he covered my face to continue the charade. 

   "You know..." I stated after a while, "I think my heart's beating again... I must be fine then," I smiled as I threw back the sheets and stripped off my night gown. He placed his hand gently against my chest and smiled.

   "I would say so," he grinned, "Now, shall we finish dressing you so we can start our day?"

   "Indeed, good sir," I smirked as he began to button up my cream colored shirt as I adjusted the collar for my own comfort. Slipping on a timberwolf colored vest he stood up and allowed me to stretch and adjust myself before slipping an overcoat on me as I slid into my shoes. "Now... Shall we start our day?"

   "I'd like nothing more," I smiled as I moved towards the door out of my room with my loyal butler and friend in tow. He managed a mild grin as he followed me out the door and into the hall where he soon shot ahead of me, on his way to make sure the carriage was prepared and ready. 

   "It is Sunday I believe..." I whispered to myself as I wandered down the wing of the house towards the atrium, "Oh bother, that means that bloody painter is here to do my portrait... How inconvenient this will prove to be." The painter was not an overly rude or impatient man though I still found the notion of sitting in a specific pose for more than fifteen minutes rather maddening. It took over three hours for him to complete it; when it was finished, both Callum and I were looking over when he asked with a sudden gesture of curiosity.

   "Young lord, what's this?" He was pointing to my face, my lips in particular.

   "What do you mean? Looks fine to me," I responded with minor indignation as I couldn't quite understand what he was on about. "I look appropriately serious as the soon to be house head should; dignified with an aura of pride and responsibility."

   "You've grown a small grin, almost childish," Callum pointed out, "What were you thinking during your period of pretend frozen movement?"

   "What was I thinking?" I replied as my father walked in, "Well what matter is it to you?"

   "Just curious, I suppose," he smiled quaintly as my Father examined the work. I had the distinct feeling that somehow, he knew what I was thinking about and now he was mocking me about it.

   "Well I think it's marvelous!" My father piped in, "You look good with the minor grin, makes you seem both dignified but still young enough to be humorous." He patted me on my shoulders as he stood behind me. "Dignified but childish, that's you alright, my son," he chuckled. "Callum, put this piece in the East Wing, close to my son's quarters. Mr. Pinnet, if you would so kindly follow me to my study I shall pay you for your excellent work." 

   "Thank you monsieur," the painter bowed his head before following after him as they returned to his study and office. I looked after Callum as he took the painting and disappeared with it down the hall and then mosied out to the waiting carriage. Stepping into it I took my respective seat and proceeded to stare out the window as I waited for him to come back and the two of us head out to complete the tasks at hand.

   "Alight then, shall we be going then?" I heard his voice as the carriage shifted slightly as he hoped into the driver's seat and tugged on the reigns to make the twin stallions move. We were heading on a four hour journey to London to pick up a few things and to settle some buisness with one of father's contacts in the medical field. Once that was all done we would retire to our family's small townhouse just a bit away from the River Thames. 

   "I've odious joy bubbling inside me," I scowled in reply as we moved along. London was such a noisy and bothersome city, fog hung over the place like a shroud of sadness and death. The city was also quite filthy, especially if one went to the East End of the city where the poor beggars lived in squalor and filth. I could thereof understand why Uncle Vincent had a distaste for our country's fine capitol; it in itself was a thriving nest of corruption and filth and I hated it.

   ********************

   Once we had collected the new cane for father, deposited some of our fortune into one of our several accounts and paid our respects to a family client who had just lost someone in their family we moved onto the destined meeting with Professor Norman Scanlon. Scanlon was respected man in the medical and scientific community, more directly in London and the surrounding area ofcourse. I always thought of him more as a sham or con artist and as such I had a habit of calling him Professor Scamling instead of Scanlon.

   "Ah young Mr. Crawford!" called the over boisterous tone of the man as we arrived at his home. "Come in, come in my young lad!" He was dressed in white with a yellow flower on his breast pocket. His salmon colored buttoned down beneath shown from the opening between the folds of his white jacket that hung rather snugly onto this man's somewhat bulbous frame. 

   "Alright, my master and I have come to settle some buisness with you Professor," Callum mused as we entered the house and sat within his parlor. Scanlon took to his roost behind his oak desk as he eyed us with a wary sense, his joy now gone.

   "Business you say?" he nervously asked, "Ah... that buisness, yes well." He scratched his head as he tugged on his poor excuse for a beard of tainted goldenrod. "In terms of the mechanics your master requires of me and the chemicals for his.. how did he put it? Psycho-active medication? Well, I am able to attain all he needs, no doubt, but I do hope he realizes the ramifications that some of the requested materials would bring up if they were discovered to be in someone's care such as he?"

   "Do you dare question our request!?" I cut in, "We've paid you, we've put our faith in you and one not need dredge up the things we've uncovered about you Mr. Scanlon and the reason you can never return to the port town of Calais in France."

   "No... No, I suppose not," he sat back in his chair as he snipped the tip off a cigar and lit it. "very well then, you've my last required payment?"

   "One-hundred thousand pounds, yes, it is in a trunk attached to our carriage outside; safe and secure I assure you." The two men shook hands and disappeared for a bit to retrieve the trunk leaving me to stew about what father had put me up to. He only let me on this errand because he was busy and he felt that sense I was aware of the Annex that it would be safe if I finished buisness with Scanlon on his behalf. As I said, Scamling here was a rather crooked man indeed. Why it was his malpractice under the assumed named Birkenau that his greed and idiocy resulted in the poisoning and death of two children and an elderly clergyman. The man seemed to have a ghastly knack for picking out the sick and feeble and, with the support of that one's family would 'help' them until at which time they could no longer pay and soon after, the patient would die. A mercy killer my father would say... To me he was nothing short of a murderer who should be hung; ironically his talents and connections is the one and only reason he escaped France and was of use to my father who around Scanlon had become quite the shrewd businessman. 

   "Very well, now, if you don't mind, the master and I shall be going," Callum's voice sounded along with the distinct thud of a loaded trunk as they reentered the house. Standing up I walked into the narrow entrance, swiped the final marque of payment from Scanlon and bade him farewell and left.

********************

   "Ah, that was overly tiresome," I nonchalantly spoke as we moved into the living room to our family's townhouse later that afternoon. I sat in a wicker bound chair and examined the table in front of me; a chessboard of black and white sat in front of me, its black pieces worn with age and thus lacking any sort of sleek sheen. The white had yellowed with age and worn into an ivory sort of color, all the pieces had a worn smooth feeling to them and the board scratched in one corner.

   "Ah, a chessboard, how lovely," Callum mused as he sat in the opposite chair and gazed at me with whimsy and mischief. "Care to play master?"

   "I uh... Er rather I don't... know how," I blushed out of embarrassment, "Please don't think less of me, I know all nobles should be aware of how to engage in such games."

   "I would never think less of you," he reached across the space and patted me lightly on the shoulder. "If you'd like, I can teach you."

   "Would you, please?"

   "I'd be honored to, my young master," his face grew into a broad grin as he began his lesson, starting with the most abundant of pieces; the pawns....

********************

   "And this move, young master, is called castling," Callum mused as he spoke with calm comfort. There was a sudden shift and the young master's body slumped slightly. Callum looked up from the board to see his master asleep in the chair. He couldn't help but chuckle quietly as he stood up and lifted his master from the chair.

   "Falling asleep during a lesson?" he smiled to himself as he carried the sleeping adolescent up the stairs, "I must say young master, tis quite rude of you.." he gently lay his master onto the bed and removed his shoes and leggings, tossing the latter into a nearby laundry hamper. He then removed the overcoat and vest and hung them on the coat rack nearby and unbuttoned the first two buttons on Mason's shirt so he could breath better while he slept.

   "I have to wonder, my dear Mason," Callum whispered as he tucked the boy into bed and moved towards the door, "What is it you've been dreaming about? You always seem so joyous and playful upon awakening..." With that he closed the door and moved towards his room as the one and final thought went through his mind; how would Mason treat him and his father if he only knew the truth about how Callum came to be in the employment of Simon Crawford.

   "When the time is right, I suppose," he whispered to himself as he blew out the candles and became enraptured in darkness, "All will be revealed in due time...everything...."

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