Jacob is an ordinary guy. He goes to school, he plays videogames when he gets home and meets up with friends when he’s done gaming. He gets average grades; not good grades, but good enough to pass tests. They say Jacob should step it up because he can do so much better, but he doesn’t feel like it. Jacob doesn’t want a girlfriend. He has never met a girl who he likes more than the average girl. His best friends are Tom and Johnny, who are also classmates of his. Besides playing videogames and meeting with friends, he likes listening to music. Rock music, mainly, but from time to time he listens to electronic music, the kind they play in clubs, with some guy standing behind a counter with one hand on the knobs and the other in the air, making weird movements. Oh, Jacob’s not really an ordinary guy; he’s got superpowers. Jacob can fly.
I just saw a man get hit by a car, fly up in the air and fall to the ground. Now he lies there without moving. Must be taking a nap. The person who was driving the car is getting out, speeding toward the man on the concrete. The driver bends forward and pushes on the chest of the man lying on the ground. He keeps doing this for some time and then stops. He shouts and cries. I think he’s sad. Mommy comes into the garden, mommy sees what’s happening on the street as well and carries me inside. I say I want to keep playing outside but mommy keeps on telling me I have to play inside. OK, if mommy says so. I play with my police car, on the new carpet we got. My police car used to make the same sound as the siren which I hear outside, but it doesn’t work anymore. Might be because I dropped it from the kitchen table once. It fell to the floor, just like the man outside did. I think that man is a stuntman. I want to be a stuntman when I am bigger.
“How long before extraction?” Wallace shouts. He’s in contact with Eyes, who provides him with intel.
“Can’t –ell, bu- on th- -ay,” the voice on the other side of the comms says. The line is filled with static, as Wallace’s comms are jammed because of the fall he made.
“Copy that,” Wallace says.
The contract was simple: travel to London, kill the target, obtain the briefcase and get out. The reality turned out quite the opposite, however. He’s taking cover because he’s under fire from several directions. Wallace wipes the sweat from his forehead and reloads. He looks at the stairwell leading downstairs behind him, but if he heads for it, he’ll definitely get a bullet in his back. With his back against the flipped table, he looks to his right. There are several windows, some of them shattered by bullet fire. It’s cloudy outside and there’s no sun to be seen. The clouds are dark, indicating it will rain soon. On his left there’s the bar, where he drank a Dashford just minutes ago when suddenly all chaos broke loose. Lots of glass and bottles hanging from the ceiling, ready to serve anyone, but not in these circumstances. At the back of the bar there are mirrors, reflecting the assaultants firing at Wallace. Some bar stools in front of the bar, half of them fallen over, the plant, which miraculously is still intact, and the lights, one of them unlit make up the rest of the bar. The four hostiles are closing in on Wallace, taking pauses between firing to keep the agent behind the table oppressed. He has to come up with a plan fast, or the glass in the room won’t be the only thing shattered.
Wallace looks at the mirrors and sees the four guards are close now, only a few more meters and they’ll have him surrounded, with nowhere to go. He closes his eyes and focusses. No escape possible via the stairwell. A leap through the windows might do the trick, but he’ll never be able to run around the guards. The colours of the environment become black and white and every sound present in the room vanishes. Time slows down and his mind leaves his body, ascending to the ceiling. The enemies are slowly drawing nearer. Wallace notices the wall behind the mirrors at the bar. Besides a waterline and the frame of the walls there’s a powerline running through it. Within less than one fourth of a second Wallace’s mind returns to his body, he aims his gun to his left, at the exact place where the powerline runs and fires. Instantly, all the lights go out and the whole room becomes dark. The guards start shouting in surprise and empty their clips at the table, speeding up their pace. As they blast around it, there’s no one behind it. Wallace looks over his shoulder, at the guards who are starting to rage and jumps out one of the shattered windows. He drops onto a scaffolding, opposite of the building he jumped out of and descends it quickly, by gliding down one of the bars. As he sprints back toward the city center, Eyes contacts him again.
“Wh-t’s yo-r stat-s?” he asks. Wallace doesn’t respond at first, but starts talking after a while.
“I lost him.”
It’s thursday. Norman is visiting townhall because he has to pick up his new identification card. His old one expires in a month, so he had new photos taken and applied for a new one. Upon arriving at townhall, there are seven other people waiting before him. He didn’t think thursday mornings were this crowded, but he can’t change anything to the fact, so he draws a number, finds himself a place to sit in the waiting room and waits for him to be called. The walls in the waiting room are coloured red. There are two plants standing in two corners, green ferns, contrasting with the red walls. Looking at them for a while longer however, the colours seem to blend together. On the table in the middle of the room several magazines lie. A fashion magazine, a magazine about boats, one about countryside life, and a magazine with the royal family on the cover.
Only four people in front of Norman now, the waiting room is becoming less filled with people. A few minutes later, a man walks into the waiting room. There’s sweat on his forehead and after sitting down, he moves around in his seat several times. He mumbles something, but Norman isn’t able to hear what he says. Five minutes later, the line decreases again, one less person waiting. Norman looks forward, with a satisfied smile on his face. He’s got time. Thursday and friday are his days off, so he doesn’t have to go anywhere. The hurried man is still moving around in his chair and says something to the woman sitting next to him. “Darn cityhall, always taking this long.” The woman turns her head as he speaks, but turns it back as soon as he’s done talking. Her facial expression leans toward the ‘mind your own business’-look. The display above the door displays numbers 653 and 654 now. Only one more person and it’s Norman’s turn. He takes a look at his old ID card. He looks a lot younger in the picture, which was taken eight years ago. His hair was full, with its typical black colour. Norman smiles at the fact his hair has been receding for two years now. “Baldness runs in the family, no escaping it,” he thinks to himself.
Three more people come in the room. They sit down and stare in front of them, in silence. One of them takes a magazine from the table, the one about the countryside and browses through it. The rushed man sighs. “Hurry up, lazy civil servants,” he says, moving around in his seat again. The person sitting next to him, the one next in line, looks at him and frowns. The hurried man notices it. “What’re you looking it?” he says. The frowning man turns his head back and matters return back to normal. 655 and 656 appear on the display. “Ah,” Norman thinks to himself. “My turn.” He stands up and walks to the counter. There’s a kind looking lady sitting behind it, smiling as Norman stands in front of her. “Goodmorning sir, here to pick up your new ID card?” she asks. She already knows the answer, but that’s how things work, of course. Norman nods and smiles at her, handing over his old card, which they’re going to destroy to prevent people from counterfeiting it.
After trading cards and filling in some paperwork, Norman and the woman say goodbye and he walks back in the direction of the waiting room, toward the exit. As he walks past the waiting room, he sees there are five people sitting in the room, waiting for their turn. Among them is the hurried man, whose face is completely red and his forehead has even more sweat on it than before. He’s swearing, angry with why he has to wait so long. He gets up and wants to walk to the counter when he sees Norman standing to his right, looking at him. “What’re you looking at, asshole?” the man says. “Nothing,” Norman says. “Still waiting for your turn?”
“Yes for God’s sake,” he says, clenching his fists. “They don’t know even know how to work fast in this stupid place.” Norman smiles, infuriating the man even more. “Why are you laughing, dickhead?” Norman points at the device in the wall of the waiting room.
“Should have drawn a number.”
My grandfather died three years ago. It was the first death I experienced in my family and because of this, I’d never experienced what a funeral was like. Everyone in my family is farmer. Rough people, down-to-earth, but with big hearts. Emotional and kind people. That’s why on the day my grandfather was to be buried, lots of tears were shed. It brought us closer together, as a family.
My grandfather served in the army, where his duty was to drive a high-ranking officer around the battlefield, which was nice, as he didn’t have to do any hard work and he got to drive a jeep. You could say he was a private chauffeur.
After the war was over and he was dismissed, he conducted more creative activities. He ventured the lands of painting, writing, photographing. He even tried sculpting. None of these satisfied his wants however, until he stumbled upon the activity he did until his death. At first, no one knew what that was until after the funeral. The notary read his will and while it were emotional but beautiful words, the last two sentences stuck with me especially. “…and for Garreth, my youngest grandchild, I leave my notebook, which contains all my inventions, as this was what I spent doing the last years of my life. I hope it grants you the same joy I experienced while exploring the world of invention, dear Garreth. Curiosity is a fortune in itself,” the notary read. When he finished, everyone went quiet. Of course, these are the final words our loved one, who has left this world, leaves us with, but the silence also appeared because everyone was reflecting on the things that were mentioned in his will. All grandchildren inherited something from his possessions. I could name it all, but it wouldn’t be of any meaning to someone who doesn’t even know the meaning of them. The notebook however, is a different thing.
My grandfather was a wise man. The moments from my childhood he was in were always filled with words of his wisdom. Advice and tips, on hardships, on joy, on fortune; on life. The notebook he left me had to be a combination of pages filled with this wisdom, written down so it won’t be forgotten. When a twenty year old gets a book while there are videogames, social media, parties, and girls, it might seem unfitting, but in this case, it was a precious gift. As soon is I browsed through the book, I saw lots of notes, in his typical, neat handwriting. Some of them I was able to read, others I wasn’t (at least, not at a quick glance). On some pages, there were drawings. Drawings of machines, objects, and formulas, but also drawings of landscapes, animals, and people. When we got back home, I spent the evening looking through the notebook. Reading his notes, looking at his drawings, and remembering him for who he was and what he meant to me. The evening went and so did the days. I put the notebook away, to read it again later, but that later didn’t come soon. The following days were filled with college, hanging out, parties, and other activities a twenty year old does. The days became weeks and the weeks became months. The notebook gathering more and more dust on the shelves.
Until much later, half a year or so, I was browsing through the shelves, looking for a studybook, when I came across the notebook again. I took it, to browse through it for old times sake. I sat down and read some of the notes I’d read half a year ago, looked at the drawings again and thought about my grandfather. Pages were turned and I was about done reading the notebook when I saw the binding at the back of the book was coming off. “Shame,” I thought, because I wouldn’t want the book coming apart. I took it to the kitchen to try and fix it, when I saw something sticking out of the backcover. A closer look at it determined it was a little piece of paper. The piece of paper turned out to be the edge of a larger piece of paper. Another note, but this one not written down in the notebook but hidden in the cover. It was folded two times, and as I opened it, I saw it was scribbled with words, little notes, and a lot of numbers. A lot of the notes I couldn’t make out and I definitely didn’t know what the numbers were about, but looking closer, I could read some sentences; one at the top and some at the bottom. As I read them, my heart skipped a beat. I didn’t quite believe what I’d read, so I read it again. “Curiosity is a fortune in itself, dear Garreth,” the top sentence read. Even though that sentence had left its importance on me, the sentences at the bottom made no sense. They were unbelievable, but the thought my grandfather had written them made them believable. “While there still is a lot of work to be done, I was already well under way. I hope you will venture onward and complete my life’s work. The notes on this piece and the ones in the notebook are the base of what they call-
As you might’ve read in my previous post, I’m going to write stories to prompts every now and then. This is the first one in a (hopefully) long series of stories.
Here it is, as I mentioned in the future of education post. It’s a short one, but I think it conveys an image that might even be possible..