A sort of longish chapter tonight. Merle explains a bit of the time travel business to his new apprentice; Gwen becomes a damsel in distress, and Seamus gets into trouble... Intrigued? You should be. ;)
Seamus was either the brightest kid I've ever met, or the dumbest. The jury was still out. Still there was an air about him that I found charming. I hadn't brought many of my rookies to my home, let alone on the first lesson. But in order to keep this as off the trail as possible, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
"So. Uhm, Mr. ?" The kid pulled out a chair and sort of floated down into it while eyeing the steeping pot of tea on the table.
"Merle. Just Merle. No Mr. Nothing, no last name." I pulled out an extra cup from the cabinet and poured some for each of us.
"Merle?" He knitted his eyebrows together and took a cautious sip.
"What? You don't like it? I suppose Seamus is a normal name for around here, is it?" I resumed my seat beside him.
"No, it's not that. You don't look like a 'Merle'. You look more like a..."Sam" or an "Elliot", I guess." His hands went from cup handle to hair to back to cup handle again. All the while keeping eye contact with the floor. "I was named after the poet. Heaney? Mom's a bit of a nut over him." I couldn't help but chuckle.
"I suppose you have a lot of questions. Mind if I go ahead and answer all of them?" He looked a little shocked, but nodded at me.
"My name is Merle, as we've now established, and I am a time traveler. You are to be my student- the last one." He had been taking a long swig of tea, which he nearly choked on.
"I know you think I sound like some sort of fruit cake, but when you go home tonight you'll think differently."
"Uhm. Alright. Suppose you're not a complete and total fruitcake," finally he manned up enough to look me in the face, "what exactly does a time traveler do? Doesn't seem like a very lucrative profession."
"To be honest, Seamus it's not. There's no money in it, stuff gets confusing, occasionally it all goes to hell in a hand basket. Nothing you can't fix-thankfully. As to what I do- that's a little complicated- but essentially I chart time. I don't change it, don't mess with it. I leave it alone. I observe, record, and report back. That's what I'm going to teach you to do."
"So- this is all going to be one giant history lesson?" Now he just looked disappointed.
"It's much more fun than that. You'll see. The first thing you have to know is that you can't..." Before I can even get one rule out someone starts beating the sawdust out of the front door. I already know who it is, and it's the worst timing ever. Women have a way of doing that.
"Excuse me Seamus, but could you... make yourself scarce?"
"Excuse me?" The banging on the front door kept on and was beginning to make my ears ring.
"Look, just go in another room. This won't take five minutes. I just don't want anyone to know you're here. I'm saving your ass, so be grateful and GIT."
He got. I opened the door to let Gwen in.
"Woman, you have got the worst, and I do mean the worst, sense of timing. Arthur had better be dead or dying or so help me..."
"That's just it, Merle!" Gwen was breathless and her face was red from crying. Her strawberry blonde hair was matted down to her scalp. "The Agents came and they took him. I had just left the house to go meet...and then I saw them. When I got back it was too late. Arthur told me not to trust anyone in the Ministry but you, so that's why I had to come here."
Okay, this day was becoming more spoiled than a trust fund kid on payday.
"Alright, Gwen. It's going to be fine- we don't know that they've done anything to Arthur, but we are going to find out. You take Lily's old room, and I'll be there in a minute." She nodded, and made her way back towards the bedroom. All I had to do now was find Seamus and tell him to come back tomorrow after I'd straightened everything out with the Agents at the ministry.
I turned to see where he had run off to when I noticed the back door ajar. Of all the doors he had to pick the one that went to nowhere. "Oh hell's bells." I'd have to figure out how to retrieve him later. He was in Magda's hands now. I just hoped she didn't scare him too badly.