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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 43: Takano 7
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If Tomiko had had any doubts about whether she might be a witch, or conversely whether this woman she was meeting might be one, they were quickly dispelled as the woman leapt from the precipice and floated down to the ground, landing within arm’s reach of her. She knew it was within arm’s length, because the witch’s right arm extended and her hand grasped Tommy’s chin firmly and turned her head. The witch then leaned in and stared into Tommy’s eye, as if trying to see inside her head.
“Yes,” she said somewhat hesitantly, “I’d say this is a human.”
“I had always been told,” Lancer said, “that they were mythical and didn’t really exist.”
“Well, you were told both rightly and wrongly. They are mythical because they don’t exist in our world,” the witch explained to Lancer, seemingly ignoring the fact that Tommy could hear what she was saying. “They exist in another world, the world of mantales. We know of them because every once in a while one comes into our world.”
“So, you know where she’s from, and how to get her back?”
Still staring into Tommy’s face, the witch continued, “I do not. The arrival of a human always portends ill, and we do not know how they come or where they go when they leave. If they return to their own world, they have never returned here to say so. However, I do know how to help her continue her journey.” Then for the first and last time, the witch addressed her directly. “Would you like that, child?”
What was she to say? “I suppose,” she said. “I need to get home, but I guess that starts with leaving here.”
The witch squeezed her chin more firmly, said something Tommy did not understand, speaking for perhaps a minute in a strange language, and then suddenly she felt that surge of electricity she had sometimes felt when tinkering with gadgets. Her reflex was to attempt to jump away from the current, but the witch’s grasp was secure. Involuntarily Tommy screamed, and then she blacked out.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #333: Uncertain Worlds. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: