January 20th, 2019 by Patrick Starks
Waterfalls plummeted down like ink from a wet canvas. The trees danced with the wind, and the grass that sprouted from the ground made everything within its midst appreciate the true meaning behind a breath of fresh air. All about the wildlife was beautiful and refreshing, some say like a painting from DaVinci himself. No doubt about it, Kazu was a place of magic, however, many scientists disagreed with this notion for nothing of the sort existed, at least not to them. Sere fairytales or it’s all in our heads, some of them would say. But at the end, out of all they disagreed with, there would be Trey Tomkinson to prove them wrong.
Mrs. Tomkinson, Trey’s mother, of course, disapproved of the whole thing. Any mother would towards a fifteen-year-old, especially an adventurous, gullible boy like himself, Trey that being. But Mr. Tomkinson, on the other hand, felt differently about the situation, felt it be good for him.
“It’ll put some hair on his b… I mean… It’ll turn em into a fine young man,” he said, holding his smile as best he could.
Mrs. Tomkinson would then stare at Mr. Tomkinson with poised eyes as if she were trying to find a message within a bottle. Luckily for Trey, his father was a perfectionist at persuasion. And it wouldn’t be a surprise being the car salesman that he was.
“Trey did you get all your things!” yelled Mrs. Tomkinson, voice carrying up the stairs and underneath the crevice of the bathroom door like smoke.
Trey’s ears tingled to the call of his mother. He’d just jumped out of the shower just moments prior, and nothing but a Marvel towel remained wrapped around him, with a toothbrush lodged in the side of his mouth. Coming, he mumbled.
Sooner or later, Trey would run down the stairs with so much as a backpack around his shoulder and one leg through his denim jeans. He was excited, although, not quite prepared for the day it seemed.
“Boy. I know you don’t plan on going out there like that,” said Mrs. Tomkinson.
“You see that right there, that’s what I’m talking about. I swear these boys nowadays don’t know the definition of a belt,” said Mr. Tomkinson, pulling his pants up over his belly button. “Tuck your shirt in boy.”
Trey then chuckled and shrugged, to the sounds of his father’s belly popping a button. Unlike the boys at his school, Trey was a lot smarter than what he’d let off. And both Mrs. And Mr. Tomkinson knew that, more so, his teachers who always urged him to enter into the competitions that they knew would bring them credibility knew that—self-interest at its finest. He had beaten a few college students already in the arts of smarts. Some from prominent schools like Harvard and UCLA. And doing so would get him just the adventure he’d long for. Or then again, maybe he had signed up for more than what he had asked for, he pondered. Nevertheless, he was prepared to prove the world wrong, no matter what dangers would come his way. And Mrs. Tomkinson… Well, let’s just say she obviously wasn’t for it, but they’d struggled enough already. From eviction to eviction, to nearly being homeless, whatever the stake, Trey was on the verge of either changing their lives for the better or putting them out of their own misery, and that was just the thing Mrs. Tomkinson would be told from her Mr. Tomkinson. They had nothing to lose at this point.
As the day had gone on, it would be nearly noon, Pacific time. Trey and his parents were now on the Delta flight to South Africa. Trey curled and squirmed in between Mr. and Mrs. Tomkinson, holding on for dear life, holding on to his soul, in fact, that was trying to run away from him. He had never been on flights before and it wouldn’t be long before he’d realize that heights weren’t his strong suit.
Mr. Tomkinson was already night, night for the flight—seven small bottles of Jim Bean sitting in front of him like an ashtray of cigarettes. All while Mrs. Tomkinson who gawked at the young flight attendant that reminded her of the husband she used to have—the young man had a chiseled body like the sculpture of David, smile whiter than the paper plate that sat in front of her, and well-groomed hair that went everywhere, like Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf, when he was a werewolf. But all that was left now was an alcohol-filled belly, the scent of Old Spice, and a receding hairline that was running away from its owner faster than Trey’s soul. And the saying goes; beauty fades over time, but Mrs. Tomkinson wasn’t doing so good herself as the wrinkles she hid around her neck were now beginning to be a little more noticeable as the years went on.
“Mam are you cold,” ask the young flight attendant. “I see you got your scarf around your neck still. We could possibly turn the heat up a little if that’ll help.”
Mrs. Tomkinson just smiled and nodded, for she did not want to reveal her age, physically. Still, out of all that has been said, Mrs. Tomkinson loved Mr. Tomkinson dearly. The plane had finally landed. And all who could splurge out of the only exit way like a herd of wildebeest. Everyone had longed for a standing ovation. Not for the pilot but for their legs that had been so patient, jokingly.
“Trey! Mrs. Tomkinson! Mr. Tomkinson!” yelled a man. “You made it!”
The man was tall. Beard like a schnauzer but eyes like a snake. It was no secret to anyone that he was the man they were to meet. Tan shirt, khaki pants, no, shorts to be exact, and a hat that sat on his head better than a pat.
“Is this really the man we want to leave our little boy with,” whispered Mrs. Tomkinson.
“Yeah. Well… I don’t know. Just smile honey. And let’s hear the man out,” replied Mr. Tomkinson.
The man would then grab their luggage and guide them all to the front of the airport where they could catch a cab. They, meaning just him and Trey, unfortunately. Although it had already been discussed over the phone, Mrs. Tomkinson still felt that she and Mr. Tomkinson should stay at least for a few days until things had gotten settled. But again, she was persuaded by the master himself, Mr. Tomkinson, number one salesman in the city of Seattle, previously, two thousand and eight, but not currently, sadly.
“Oh, where are my manners. My name is Professor Pudding. It’s such an honor to meet the parents behind the genius himself. I honestly can’t even believe that he’s fifteen. Your fifteen, look at you! Remarkable!”
Mrs. Tomkinson grabbed Trey’s hand and pulled him behind still unsure of the whole thing. She had never even let him even spend the night over at a friend’s house. But here it was she was leaving her little boy in a place they knew nothing about, and for a whole year.
A car pulled up. And smoke spewed from its exhaust pipes like a nicotine addict. But thankfully it was a windy day. The car was yellow like mustard and rusted as if ketchup was mixed in with it a little. And just the thought made everyone’s stomach growl for the everything on the plane that they tried was as stale as a taco shell that had been left out for a week.
“Are you all getting in or not,” yelled a woman.
“You’re a cab driver?” Professor Pudding questioned.
“Yeah. What of it? Are you getting in or not? I don’t have all day safari boy”
The woman’s hair was no shorter than Treys or Mr. Tomkinson. Her eyes were hazel, matching the blonde coffee she’d pulled up to her marshmallow lips. Professor Pudding now looked confused just as Mrs. Tomkinson once did. He was attracted to the woman but also very intimidated all in one.
“Uhm… Yes. Yes, we’re getting in,” he said, sweat pouring down his forehead as if he’d just ran a marathon.
While Professor Pudding loaded the cab, Trey turned back to say goodbye to both Mr. and Mrs. Tomkinson. Tears were exchanged. And as much as he was excited to unravel the secrets of magic, being a year away from his mother or his father was something that Trey still felt was a tough pill to swallow. Mrs. Tomkinson clinched onto Trey one last time.
“This isn’t goodbye… You call us sweetie if anything goes wrong okay. We will be here like that,” said Mrs. Tomkinson, snapping her fingers to the wind.
Trey nodded and before he’d realized it, he was all alone, and amongst nothing but strangers.
“So, where you two headed?” asked the cab driver, with her eyes reflecting off of the rearview mirror.
“Well… Where going on… No. I probably should be quiet about the whole thing until we arrive,” hesitated Professor Pudding.
“Well if you ask me, you’re coming off as quite the pedophile, ya know. I mean, a young American boy in South Africa of all places with a fifty-year-old man who he just met. I’m sorry but…”
“Excuse me! But first of all, I’m thirty-three, and second, you have no idea what we are on the verge of discovering.”
“Yeah I’m sure that boy doesn’t realize it either,” said the woman sarcastically. “Say, boy, what’s your name?”
“Shh… Don’t be saying your name around her. She might be… Um… We don’t want to cause any attention to ourselves you see. If the locals knew who you were they would probably…”
“Probably what?” asked Trey.
“N-nevermind. Look. We’re here. Sir, I mean, mam if you could please,” chuckled Professor Pudding.
“Yeah like I haven’t heard that one before,” replied the woman.
The cab then pulled around the corner to a neighborhood. It wasn’t quite the luxury motel Trey had been expecting.
“Come. I’ll introduce you to the rest of the kids,” said Professor Pudding.
“Ugh. Hmm. That’ll be seventy-three-twenty-three,” said the woman.
“Your joking… I’m not paying that.”
“Well, it looks like I’m going in with you guys then until I get my payment of course. Besides, it’ll be nice to see what kind of perverted setup you got running here. Probably should have the cops on speed dial just in case.”
“Oh go to…”
“What is this place?” pointed Trey.
It was a castle of some sort. Or at least what Trey thought it to be. Grey all over. And narrow at the top where it pointed towards the golden skies like a spaceship.
“That my boy is the place we will be staying, your new home. Welcome to Nightwell Keep,” said Professor Pudding.
When they walked in the smell was the first thing Trey had noticed. It was something he’d studied or had done a research paper on at some point.
“Yes. It is the Pelargoniums your smelling,” said a voice.
“Who, who’s there?” yelled Trey.
To his right, Professor Pudding then walked over to a garden of pink and purple flowers, and in the middle of them, all lied one that was as big as his head.
“I told you to be quiet when we arrived. I asked you just ten minutes, just ten freakin’ minutes, and still, you find a way to run your big fat mouth. Christ… you’re going to scare him off. Don’t forget that he is the key,” whispered Professor Pudding aggressively.
The woman who had entered with them had a blank expression on her face. And her phone had already been pulled from her pocket, and ready for speed dial.
“Umm… Hey kid… You sure you want to be here with this man…” she said, on hold to the South African Police.
“Sorry about that, where were we. Right, let me show you to your room. We will have a long day ahead of us tomorrow. No telling what we’ll find in Kazu,” said Professor Pudding. “Sir, will you be staying with us for the night.”
“Haha. Yeah. Just don’t try anything funny ya pervert,” said the woman, tucking her phone back in her back pocket. “And the name is Oshay, Karma Oshay.”
Professor Pudding then guided them up the stairs to Trey’s room. Pictures were all over the walls, most of Professor Pudding himself and his adventures, and his discoveries. Karma would roll her eyes to the sight. Conceded are we, she whispered, elbowing Trey. Trey chuckled.
“Ah. Here we are, home sweet home my friend. Be sure to get a good nights rest will you. I mean it, tomorrow will be a long journey and quite the hike from what I’ve been told. And for you… Karma was it? Will the couch downstairs be good for you?” said Professor Pudding, with the smile of an orangutan.
Karma smiled back, but the only difference was her smile was a lot more pleasant to Trey than what he had just seen from Professor Pudding. I should as her out, no, I should tell her how beautiful she is, no, you are the sun and I… no, no, no, no, get it together Tomkinson, he babbled.
“You mean that couch that looked like it had just been pulled out of a dumpster. Yeah, no thank you, but I’ll stay with the boy,” said Karma
Trey’s heart began to jump a beat. He’d never spent the night with anyone, let alone a girl, more so, a woman that he was to love blind to realize.
“That’ll be fine…” hesitated Professor Pudding. “I guess…”
“What about the rest of the kids,” asked Trey.
“Oh right, well there all probably tucked in for tonight. And I don’t want to startle them so late with two new face’s. We’ll have a meet and greet in the morning. Pinky swear it,” replied Professor Pudding, with his pinky out towards Trey.
Trey’s pinky then wrapped around Professor Puddings. Right, he said.
“Alright then, night, night Trey. And sir, I mean, mam, sleep tight will you,” laughed Professor Pudding on his way out.
Little did Karma know, Professor Puddings heart was pounding in excitement behind the door. What a woman, so beautiful, so strong, he said.
Not long after both Trey and Karma would be asleep. And when they’d awaken they would be given a whole new perspective about what life truly was. After all, they were in Nightwell Keep.
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