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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 84: Takano 12
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Previous chapter: Chapter 83: Kondor 170
Sitting on the bench staring into space, Tomiko was lost not exactly in thought but in absence of thought. Abruptly, though, this changed. There was someone in the park who had not been there a moment before. This person obviously had not walked into the park, because she--Tommy decided it was a woman--was on her hands and knees. Besides, dressed in that bright red robe over black chain armor, this was not a person you would overlook; and there was a wagon beyond her a short distance that also had not been there a moment before.
There was also a feeling that had not been there before, similar to the feeling Tommy sometimes had pointing to her belongings, but different, as if she was supposed to meet someone--and the feeling pointed directly at this woman.
Uncertainly, Tommy stood. As she stared, the woman went from kneeling to sitting, appeared to be looking around, and then stood.
Tommy’s wondering was interrupted by a scream behind her somewhere, and then the blare of a horn which drew her attention to the road. Not far from her was a little girl, toddling across the street toward the park. Just beyond her was a very large truck barreling down on her. She heard brakes squealing, but felt quite helpless as the truck skidded forward and began to jackknife.
The woman in the robe was suddenly there, running into the street. She yelled something; it sounded like “Catch.” Then the woman collided with the child, and hurled the child directly at Tomiko; instinctively she opened her arms, and the girl hit her squarely on her chest, knocking her backwards off her feet, but she wrapped her arms around the child as she fell, shielding her from the fall. She also heard an impact, and knew that the truck had hit the rescuer.
Sitting up and hugging the now screaming child in her arms, she looked back at the jackknifed truck. There was no sign of the robed woman. Nor could she see the wagon, although she wasn’t sure whether that was because the truck was now in the way.
Another woman suddenly took hold of the little girl. Tomiko readily surrendered her package, still stunned from the entire event.
“Oh, thank you, thank you, so much, thank you,” the woman was saying in a near hysterical effusion of gratitude. “I don’t know how you did that--”
“I, uh, well, I didn’t. At least, I didn’t do the important part. There was someone else, a woman in a red robe, who ran in front of the truck and threw her to me.”
The truck driver was by this time standing in front of his truck staring at it. Apparently hearing her, he turned toward her. “You saw her, too? I was beginning to think I was crazy.”
“She’s gone, isn’t she,” Tomiko more stated than asked.
“I obviously hit something,” the driver said. “This grill is pretty badly dented. But there’s no blood, nothing, no trace of whatever I hit.”
Now in what Tommy took to be its mother’s arms, the child was calmed to a quiet cry; the mother was also crying. Tomiko could hear a siren approaching.
“Well,” she said, “I probably should be going.”
The driver looked at her with some suspicion. “The police are going to want to know what happened.”
Yes, that was what worried her. She really did not know what just happened, but she was not sure she could adequately account for herself to the police. This was going to be a problem.
Perhaps, though, it was not as much of a problem as any of the others she had recently faced. Maybe she could learn something if she stayed.
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 #347: Versers Scrambled. 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: