Henry and the Malcontents, Chapter 6

Fiction By Annabel // 4/24/2010

 

* I must begin by saying that I realize it’s been a shamefully long time since I’ve posted. While I have been rather busy lately—with conferences, SAT preparation, paper-writing, and the usual schoolwork load—I know there is no excuse for a writer’s not writing. That said, here at last is the sixth chapter (yes, I know it’s short. I just don’t have anything else right now). I could definitely use some advice—both criticism on the writing itself, and names! “Otis Krieger” is just a temporary name…any suggestions, first and last, for my wingless fairy? Or last name suggestions for Gabe?*
 
The room Henry was standing in was a parlor, papered with blue and white flowers and furnished with high-backed wooden chairs with overstuffed cushions. There were a multitude of framed photographs on the wall, of two red-haired children—this was obviously the Wallis residence—in various stages of development. It seemed a cheerful, sentimental sort of room, and Henry could not help but wonder how it had ever come to be the meeting place of a revolution.
 
Wintra did not leave him to his musing for long.
 
“Well, now that we’ve stared each other sufficiently out of countenance,”—and Henry laughed nervously, realizing that his silence had not been polite—“don’t you think we ought to be introduced?”
 
Without waiting for an answer, Zael strode to the front of the little crowd.
 
“Mr. Henry Limminer, it does me great honor to present to you the Malcontents. Let us start with the smallest, shall we? This is Luna Soleaster.” He pointed to the brown-eyed girl, who just smiled shyly. She seemed to be the youngest of the group, perhaps about thirteen years old, with shoulder-length hair, neatly-trimmed bangs, and delicate small features. She wore long turquoise earrings that tinkled whenever she moved her head.  
 
“And this sweet young lad is Michael Connor.” Zael continued, pointing again, as if the “young lad” was a museum piece.
 
“No. Mike,” the centaur grunted laconically. His voice was a surprise—though deep, it was still rough and scratchy about the edges, decidedly a boy’s voice. At a second glance the towering, grim-looking, mohawked centaur was no more than a skinny boy of perhaps fifteen years. The light blue eyes in his rock-hard face were mild, perhaps even weak. Henry relaxed a little.
 
“That purple caricature of the Grim Reaper”—Zael gestured dramatically to the tall, thin fairy (who was very tall and very thin indeed, and conjured up images of snakes and sticks and straggly trees)—“is Otis Krieger.” “Hey,” said Otis, mumbling, as no Grausam student of Henry’s ever had or ever would mumble. He had drawn back his hood, revealing an emaciated, vaguely blue face that was gaunt to the point of being skeletal. His wide eyes were yet another shade of violet-blue, a rich, sparkling color, and were fringed by somewhat effeminate white lashes. 
 
Zael’s voice when he spoke next was suddenly, unexpectedly gentle. “Gabe?”
 
It was the other fairy, the one with wings. Henry felt his breath catch.
 
The fairy was not as short as he had seemed at first. He had a rather square, faintly brown face; long-lashed eyes that were curiously pale under his black brows and that might have been blue, green, grey, or even brown; and a vaguely troubled expression. He had been standing against the wall with his eyes cast floor-wards, his stone-grey wings folded and held over his head. Now he looked up and smiled, tentatively. Henry, seeing the boy’s uncertainty, pushed aside his fear of those powerful wings and smiled back.
 
“This is Gabriel Mieke. Don’t expect him to talk much—he’s kind of shy around strangers,” Zael explained, in a voice that was just saved from being patronizing by a touch of kindness. “And you’ve already met Immer and Wryre Wallis. They own this house and everything in it. Except us. And—I’ve saved the best for last—this is Zael Cambion Wintra.” He bowed elegantly. Henry smiled in spite of himself. “Now then, I think we should open this up for discussion. Do you have any questions or comments, Mr. Limminer?”
 
Too many to count. Henry realized, suddenly, that the squirming, fearful excitement that had been surging through him all day had left, leaving only an unpleasant numbness of feeling in its place. He looked at their expectant faces and groped for words.
 
“I—I don’t know—what do you expect of me.”
 
It felt flat, a statement rather than a question. They looked disappointed. He hastened to explain.
 
“You see, Student Wintra told me very little about this…”—Movement? Organization?--“group, and what role I was to fill in it, and…it’s been a long time since I’ve engaged in work like this.”
 
“Perhaps you should know a little more about us, then,” Immer Wallis responded, calmly. “We’re a small group, and very much an underground one. We have no official contact—at least as of now—with any other branches of the nation-wide anti-Council movement. Our focus is almost entirely on computer work. It might not make a very sizeable dent in the Council’s armor, but it’s better than nothing, isn’t it?”
 
“Oh, certainly,” Henry replied. He wondered, but decided against asking, what “computer work” could possibly mean.
 
“But we don’t know very much about the business, and can’t accomplish very much on our own. So when Zael and I discovered that you had been one of the first generation of Anti-Council workers, we decided to ask you to join forces with us.”
 
Immer spoke quietly and precisely, but his expression was abstracted, his soft greenish eyes focused on something quite different than the oddball assortment of half-grown children standing before them. Henry reflected that, though he had always liked Student Wallis, the boy had never been very down-to-earth.
 
“I see. And how, exactly, can I help?”
 
“Well, Mr. Limminer, we thought you might be able to tell us that yourself,” Immer’s sister interrupted, beaming. Wryre, Henry noticed, did not seem to be able to keep still. She had been moving the entire time the others had been talking—bobbing her head to some inaudible music, twining her fiery wild curls about her fingers, rocking back and forth slightly on her heels.
 
“I see,” he said again, dully. “And are you…the only ones?”
 
“As I said,” Immer explained, somewhat apologetically, “we are quite a small group. Of course, we’re not the only resisters of the Council in Kraja—“
 
“Oh, but of course. But I meant…are there any other adults?”
 
They did not seem to have expected the question.
 
“Oh,” Luna began, then stopped.
 
Mike opened his mouth, then shut it again and glowered openly at Henry.
 
“Well,” Wryre began, “not exactly. I mean, there are! As a matter of fact, all of our parents are in it…that’s how we got started…well, almost all…’cause Zael, you know…or do you? Come to think of it, you probably don’t, yet...but anyway, they’re all in it with us…but they’re not here now…they’re…”
 
“Dead and gone,” Zael finished smoothly. “All of them.”
 
“Ah. How did they die?” Henry gasped.
 
Zael did not flinch. “Slowly.”
 
“I see,” Henry said again. He could not clear his throat before he spoke and his voice was hoarse.
 
There was a pause for some seconds—a polite, patient pause, it seemed to Henry, as if they were allowing him time to recover.
 
“Welcome to the group,” Otis added, irrelevantly.

Comments

Wow! I'm so glad you posted!

Wow! I'm so glad you posted!

This is really short, but that's OK. It was a really good chapter! I don't have any name suggestions for you as yet, but I'll certainly be thinking about it.

Heather | Mon, 04/26/2010

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

I just got this, and I'll

I just got this, and I'll read it later tonight. I'm so happy to see more Henry!!! I'm going to be gone for two weeks, though, so I'll think of names while we tour the Smithsonian and the Washington Mall...lol. I'll comment when I get back.

 

LoriAnn | Mon, 04/26/2010

Ha-ha!

So, Grandma let me on her computer four hours away. I LOVED this chapter, except that it was unbearably short. :) Personally, I like the name as it is...but that's just me.

Keep up the good work!

LoriAnn | Tue, 04/27/2010

First of all, I am so glad

First of all, I am so glad you posted, Annabel! It has been a terribly long wait... :) Secondly, I have sooo many questions whirling around in my head! You don't have to answer them of course, if it will spoil the story, but just to let you know that this chapter was incredibly mysterious. (By that I mean very very very good!) :) So... Why did Zael's parents die, and how? What is the organization specifically? Why is Gabriel Mieke so quiet and troubled? What is the "Council"? I am so looking forward to the following chapters. Whatever you do, don't stop writing! :)

Teal | Tue, 04/27/2010

love

For a while I was worried you quit on this!! So glad to see you haven't!!! Every time I read a chapter  can't get your story out of my head. I don't think I've ever read anything like it before. [Which is saying a lot, because I read everything.] I love the characters, they are so varied and interesting. I especially like Zael, and Wryre, and Henry too. Zael the most. I also agree with Teal-- I have the same questions, too... Interested to read on and find all the answers. And I liked the way the chapter ended.
I am really, really looking forward to more.

Hannah W. | Thu, 04/29/2010

Heather: Yes, I know it's

Heather: Yes, I know it's short. But it was all I had at the moment--hopefully the next one will be longer.                                                                                                             

LoriAnn: Haha, thanks! Yes, after awhile, Otis' name started to grow on me...I think I'll keep it.

Teal: Well...you'll see. :)

Hannah: I'm so glad you like it!

Thank you so much, girls! You're so very encouraging.

Annabel | Thu, 05/13/2010