I know, I know, I keep dropping off the face of the earth. This time, you can blame formatting. It's my nemesis and I'm stressed to the hilt trying to make sense of it. I have realized, however, that not writing is only adding to the stress, so I'm making sure I make time for it. So here we go again with good resolve to be more regular. I really want to tell Owen and Bran's story because it's such an interesting journey. We'll see
“What are you going to do with it?”
“Never you mind. I’ll have it turned to plastic by tomorrow.”
Bran looked alarmed. “It’s not that kind of gold, Lady. It doesn’t transform. Nor for us.”
Aggie smiled kindly at him. “Oh, it transforms, dear, but not in the way you think. Trust me, I’ll see you right.”
“Of course, I trust you. Come husband, lets finish our excellent meal.” He returned to eating with gusto, leaving Owen still staring at the chest.
“There are up sides to dealing with the fair folk,” Aggie said, a smirk in her voice. “At least this lot won’t turn to leaves when the sun goes down.”
Once breakfast was out of the way, Aggie handed Owen a debit card he didn’t know she had.
“Spend what you need,” she said. “I’ll get it back from this.”
“What should I buy?”
“I didn’t think I’d have to tell you that. How should I know what boys need to live these days? Start with clothes, I would think. He can’t be wearing those, he looks ridiculous, and don’t forget who he is. Get nice ones. And one of those things you’re always looking at.”
Owen puzzled for a moment. “My phone?” he ventured.
“Whatever. I’ve never understood why you have to carry computers around in your pocket. A telephone is for making telephone calls. Always was. That’ll do for me. And why would I want to take one with me in my pocket? If I’m out I’m busy and I can’t be doing with people disturbing me with idle chat or to sell me things I don’t want?”
Owen sighed. They’d had this conversation many times.
“Come on,” he said to Bran. “She’ll only keep on about it if we don’t escape now. The twenty-first century seems to have passed her by. No scrap that, I don’t think she’s got into the twentieth yet.”
Bran smiled in that vague way people smile when they haven’t got a clue what you’re talking about, and Owen sighed again.
The trip to town was…interesting. Bran was interested in everything. Apparently, he’d flows over the town before, so he wasn’t unfamiliar with its workings, but he was clearly unsettled, if not frightened by the fast pace and loud noise. Owen realized half-way to their goal that he knew nothing about the environment in which Bran lived and hadn’t once thought to ask.
“What’s it like where you live,” he asked as they walked down the main street. Bran was walking so close he kept tripping Owen who’d had to ease him away more then once. He found that holding Bran’s hand helped, but that brought a whole new set of problems, and Owen was almost as uneasy and on edge as Bran.
“Not like this.”
“I suppose it’s quieter.”
“Yes, very much so. The sound here is clearer, but harsher. Everything is brighter and faster and louder. I think it’s going to take quite a time to get used to.”
“The worst thing is the smell and the poison in the air. Honestly, I don’t know how you can live in this environment and not get sick. There are places in the river where we don’t swim because of chemicals dumped in the water, and I’ve heard of other places where the poison is so bad it kills everything for miles, or…changes things. Here, the poison is in the air and it can’t be avoided. I don’t understand why you do it, or how you can stand it.”
“I can’t lie, I don’t understand why they do it either. As for why I live in it or how I can stand it, I suppose it’s because I don’t have a choice. This is the way it is everywhere. You’ll get used to it.”
Bran looked fearful. “I don’t think I want to. Can we not live with near the lake, or perhaps in the mountains. I like mountains, although the air makes me dizzy and silly.”
“That, I’d like to see.” Owen smiled at the pictures in his head and squeezed Bran’s hand. “One day soon, I’ll take you, but I have to go back to the city, to university. I have to finish my degree.”
“Because I’ve worked hard to get this far, and I’ll need a degree to get a good job.”
Bran nodded seriously, although he seemed unconvinced.
“What’s a city?”
Owen considered. “Like this, but much bigger.”
Even through his hand, Owen felt the deep shudder that passed through Bran.
“Do I have to live there? Can I not stay here? Or perhaps we can have our own house. You don’t need to go to the city anymore. Not now we have the dowry. We can have our own house wherever we want and we will have enough to but food and anything else we need.”
Owen shook his head. “We’ll talk about this later,” he said. “Right now, we need to concentrate on shopping. What do you want to look at first?”
“Everything,” Bran said, his eyes wide.
Owen sighed. “It’s going to be a long day. Come on, let’s find you something to wear that fits you better.”
“That would be nice. Can I have blue ones like that?” Bran pointed across the road, where a boy and girl, both dressed vaguely goth were leaning against the wall outside the pub, smoking. The boy was wearing trousers that appeared to be leather, with inches of bare skin at the sides and plenty of silver chains and buckles.
Owen groaned and shivered at the same time. He yanked Bran’s finger down and hurried him onward, afraid the two teens might take offence at his staring. The image of Bran dressed in those leather trousers lodged itself firmly in his brain.
“I don’t think they’d have them in blue,” he said.
Now, go read the rest of our talented crew. We've got quite a selection this week