Henry and the Malcontents, Chapter 4

Fiction By Annabel // 10/5/2009

 

* This chapter is something of a bridge. Everything will be connected in time. Oh, and I've decided to abbreviate the story as HAtheM (apparently, the choice of abbreviation is highly important.)*
 
 Her day began as it always did, with a desperate wrench at the jammed door knob.
 
Jaasra’s pale face looked pinched and exasperated as she threw her slight frame against the heavy door. It fell open suddenly, and she nearly dropped from her high heels as she stumbled into the room. Abruptly, she recovered herself and stood still for an instant.
 
 Flustered, Jaasra cast a furtive glance about her, knowing that there was a camera hidden somewhere amidst the varnished wood and blinking lights in her office.
 
She had determined to find it once, long ago—she remembered lifting computers, examining outlets, and even climbing bookshelves in her search—but in spite of her zeal, she had failed to discover it. They hid things too well for that. If she asked Them now, she thought suddenly, They would probably have to tell her where it was. They would be obligated to follow her orders—she was higher than They.
 
But who were They?
 
She had known little about the ways of the Capitol as a twenty-year-old secretary, working in this very same office. Of course, she had thought then that she would eventually be illuminated. It seemed only logical to her that what was hidden from the underpaid temp would be revealed to the political assistant—or to the up-and-coming bureaucrat, or to the rising politician. But now, as she told herself, she had finally arrived—there were no more rungs left to climb. And she still had never seen Them.
 
She knew of Their existence by hearsay. She often heard a fellow Councilmember refer to Them casually. “Send this or that to the Capitol and see what they want,” someone might say. Or, “It will be decided by the people at the Capitol. They’ll know what to do.” It was not, apparently, the five Council members, but They who brought regulations into being. They were the people who managed the Krajan National Database, and took action against traitors. They were the ones who suggested that the Council receive higher salaries; They were the ones who hired new staff. They nominated chairmen, appointed committees, and ordered executions. In fact, it seemed that They did everything at the Capitol.
 
It was unfortunate, she thought, that they never showed up at meetings.
 
Jaasra laughed rather grimly at her own joke. She was a tall, narrow woman, of perhaps forty-five years of age, with chin-length brown hair and sharp cheekbones. Her eyes, rather wide-set in her thin face, were murky and of an odd, non-committal color. It would be an overstatement to say, as her official descriptions usually did, that they were brown. Yet they were too dark to be green, and too dull to be hazel.
 
From a small device hanging over the desk, a thin, nasal voice broke through her thoughts.
 
“Ms. Pettel-Turvin, it’s eight o’clock. Shall I come up now?”
 
The thin woman spoke sharply.
 
“No, Elaine. I don’t need you today.”
 
“Alright then. Your first meeting of the day will be at ten o’ clock.”
 
“I know.”
 
“Mr. Braughn has asked to see you in the Capitol Library this afternoon.”
 
“I know.”
 
“And the man from the Environmental Board is in the Visitor’s room, waiting to be called up.”
 
“What?”
 
“He’s been waiting for an hour.”
 
“Elaine, he wasn’t supposed to come until next week.”
 
“He’s here now.”
 
Pettel-Turvin shot an icy glare at the small black box, as if her secretary could sense her exasperation through the soundwaves. “Of course, he’s here now. But what am I to do with him?”
 
There was no reply from Elaine, who apparently thought that silence would be better received by her employer than an inopportune suggestion.
 
Jaasra straightened her skinny shoulders and spoke.
 
“Send a message to the Visitor’s Room’s desk. Tell them to stall him while I get ready up here.”
 
“Stall him,” Elaine repeated flatly.
 
“I don’t care how. I won’t dictate the message, either. Just write something along the lines of ‘Man wishes to see me…tell him much honored, will see him at eleven thirty….etcetera, etcetera…signed, Second Councilwoman Jaasra Pettel-Turvin.’ You know the routine.”
 
“Yes, Ms. Pettel-Turvin. Anything else?”
 
“Yes, Elaine. I need information before I meet him. Who is he from and what do they want out of us?”
 
“It’s the National Board for the Conversation of Endangered Species. He’s from the Dragon Committee. He’ll expect to discuss the bill granting funds for expanding the Krajan Dragon Preserve.”
 
“What? What bill? I don’t remember…and the man himself? Who or what is he? Am I supposed to remember him from somewhere?”
 
“I’m not sure what his official title is within the Committee. I believe he is in a training position—an intern, or assistant, or something of that sort—he’s rather young. You’ve likely met him before—he must have come to previous meetings. His name is Wintra.”
 
“I’ve never heard of him before in my life, Elaine.”
 
“Well, Ma’am.”
 
“What am I supposed to say to him?”
 
Once again, the unseen secretary chose not to respond.
 
“I suppose,”—Jaasra’s voice lifted to a lofty, injured note—“I suppose I’ll have to spend my entire morning researching this dratted dragon preservation bill?”
 
The thin-voiced secretary sighed. “I’ll be up in a minute, Ms. Pettel-Turvin.”
 
The angular woman sighed in response. “Do that, Elaine. I find I don’t care for dragon preserves today.”
 
She started towards her computer, then turned back to the device.
 
“Elaine, please hurry. We don’t have much time.”
 
Jaasra could almost see her secretary roll her huge, marigold-colored eyes as she replied.
 
“I can’t fly, Ms. Pettel-Turvin. I don’t have wings.”
 
The Environmental Board sends an intern and the fairy can't fly,  thought the woman in disgust. What next?

Comments

YAY, you posted another

YAY, you posted another chap!!!!! So glad!

I love this story, absolutely love it! Dragon preserves, They, fairies without wings.... :0) Keeping going, don't stop!

Heather | Sat, 10/10/2009

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
And now our hearts will beat in time/You say I am yours and you are mine...
Michelle Tumes, "There Goes My Love"

!

Great ending of the chapter! I really love this story, it is really well written and just basically good, interesting, cool.... There are not any adequate adjective to describe it's sheer amazingness. :)

Hannah W. | Sat, 10/10/2009

:)

Annabel, I am loving this story! I look forward to your next chapter!

 

Teal | Tue, 10/13/2009

Thank you! You're all very

Thank you! You're all very kind. I must confess, I don't have a well-defined plan for the next chapter, but I'll try to finish it in a few weeks. I'm actually a bit worried--I'm already four chapters in, and there are quite a few charries who haven't been introduced. Is that serious?

Annabel | Wed, 10/14/2009

Naw!

Naw! Not serious at all. Four chapters is not that far. Ya got plenty of time. :)
which does not mean "take your time." Hint! Hint! LOL. ;)

Hannah W. | Sat, 10/17/2009