Written by Jennifer Joy Brenley Nyhof.
i. ‘Man | Myth | Machine
Your presence is respectfully requested.
A Celebration Event.
In honor of the establishment, designate “Evynlee Marren” & “Nathaniel Lennyn”, of the Keeper, JayCee HaLLows on the 22nd day of the sixth month, of the Right.
Part I. The End of the Beginning.
Chapter 1: The Inauguration.
The night, now summoned
to end this beginning.
A new day, a new dawn.
The premise, now told.
One view, one storey
The house, JayCee HaLLows.
The Cards of Kind.
Twenty-two days had passed since the start of the Celebration. The Inauguration was so becoming that I would be remiss to speak first of anything else. The Ball, now balanced atop thin air, left many gasping for breath.
Each adornment in the room was purposefully placed. The chandelier projected a metallic sheen onto the floor below. The bold hues of scarlet, tarocco, and aquamarine complemented the reflection nicely.
Suddenly, the bustle of the evening fell silent. I heard the faint echo of a whispered reply. An enchanted evening it was.
Nearly six fortnights had passed since the end of the Running. That was the last time I had a moment to collect my thoughts. So recollect I shall. This would surely be a change that would sway the ladder of the monarchy.
They had done it. A feat that turned heads far and wide. The scales were once tipped in favor of the opposition; a time when there
was no sign of justice amidst a fight marketed as fair.
Here, the digression is in the details.
Never had a Running shown such little mercy. Of course, the victors escaped near certain elimination by virtue of their Gift. Her pleas for clemency had, for the most part, fallen by the wayside; shattered like a looking glass.
She struggled to find a reason for their treason. Each obstacle
seemed impossible, impassable, impenetrable.
He leaned over and touched her shoulder softly. His touch was all that was needed to fix her gaze. Finally present, she looked into his eyes and smiled. Now out of their grasp, she slid into his. It felt easy.
It felt really crowded with a lot of people there. It was starting to get really dark outside. I was standing there and they didn’t really see me because I was behind the pocket door that leads to the kitchen. I was really, really quiet and I could see and hear him and he was tall and I liked his jacket. They were up and running around and still getting everything ready. They saw me standing there and then they all looked at each other and then I had some apple juice and a few of those cookies, but only a few. Then I got a little sleepy, but it was OK because my PJ’s have feet on them and I like that and I was all ready for bed.
The sound of waves crashing against the break washed away the stresses of the day like a libatous lullaby. She was awakened by the terrors. She had been away from the comforts of one far longer than expected. He pulled her close, conforming his chest to the arched shape of her back. She looked out toward the water. The calm was now restored by tempered stillness.
The call came shortly thereafter, garnering attention from the masses. They were huddled together when they first saw the sea of approaching spectators. The voice boomed overhead, delivering with it a confident sounding commentary. She knew little about the man that authored the voice. His words commanded such attention. They couldn’t yet see him over the horizon, sohe called out again. Taken aback by the sense of urgency in the voice, they scrambled to their feet.
Her boots were dusty. The worn, thinned leather gave glimpse of her soles. The skin on her hands attested to a day’s work. Perhaps even more than a day. They turned to each other. No words escaped themoment. One look delivered a message so subtle it bordered implication. The twenty-six needed to become one hundred. The marathon was now a sprint. A sprint that needed no block in the back.
It burned. Every breath. Every sinew of every muscle. She knew exactly where he was. He knew the same of her.
A single line can change everything.
And it did. They were free.
The Day of the Inauguration.
She awoke to the quiet creak of the bedroom door. The quiet was interrupted by the sound of a million shards of glass hitting the wooden floorboards. A crisp breeze carried their stifled sobs in her direction. She was still splayed atop her bed when, in unconducted unison, they stammered “I’m sorry, Evie”. They tiptoed around the mess of a mosaic. She glared at them, with a grin, then nodded.
Her wide eyes insinuated that care was needed as they made their way over. The daisies in the plastic pop bottle serendipitously became an offering of remorse. It was an offering initiated by Charody.
The change in motivation for the gift saddened Evynlee, but she tried not to show it in front of the others. Instead, she bowed her head slightly, smiled again, and reached out her arms.
“Good morning Miss Evie <hiccup> we made you breakfast in bed but the juice is gone now”, Brynn said, lightening the mood.
Evie chuckled as she took the daisy dish in one hand and the overflowing bowl of Cheerios in the other. The rest of her body, now nearly healed from The Running, was where their wiry arms ended up. Their four little bodies were wrapped tightly around every piece of her. She hadn’t met two of them before, but would certainly hear their story in time. She really was home.
It never seemed to take Evynlee very long to get ready. The house felt calm and quiet all day. It was hanging neatly on the front of her closet door. She carefully removed the dress from the hanger. Stretched satin with a jewelled fit. The soft scoop neckline was neither sweet nor sinister. The bodice highlighted her scarlet silhouette. Covered buttons. The back tapered and tightened to the V. The pockets protected her hard-earned hands.
Her feet were clothed all in leather. The softness of the Oak extended up her leg. Each piece of the pair tied just below the knee. Many a cloudy morning was spent working the beads into their ornate pattern. She could almost feel the smoothness of the thimble on her index finger. She closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them again, she was standing in front of the mirror.
Evynlee appeared at the top of the two interwoven spiral staircases. She arrived at The Right only a few moments prior. A situation at the Tower required her undivided attention. She had wanted to arrive early enough to visit with the guests, many of whom had travelled a considerable distance to attend. The opportunity for socializing would have to wait until after the Ceremony.
Her three allies were poised on either side of her, ready to descend from their elevated position. They had been loyal to Evie for as long as she could remember. Each of the men exuded boldness and humility; their attire reflective of their character. A fit to suit the man, and fit to make a statement.
Their pace was tread in time to the Canon. A Canon that could be heard amidst the din below. A staggered, synchronous meter.
Evynlee peered over the railing. He was already at the front of the hall, hands clasped behind his back, standing tall next to His Master’s Voice. The prism dangling from the chandelier projected a polarized rainbow, from edge to edge. It made it seem as though he was in the spotlight. Perhaps he was.
Chapter 2: The Gri*d.
Evie regarded herself as neither special, nor like everyone else. That particular Tuesday started off as having similar qualities. She was headed to a job interview and arrived back in her old neighborhood precisely 60 minutes before the scheduled meeting time. In her own mind, if she wasn’t early, she was late.
The bustle of the Main Street traffic slowed for a moment. The keeping of a slower pace could now satisfy both her penchant for coffee and simple spontaneity. She caught a glimpse of the café out of the corner of her eye.
It was the maroon-colored exterior siding. It was the chairs on the boulevard; their backs forged of wire and woven into the shape of a heart. It was all of that and more than that.
She turned left at the intersection in her quest for a parking spot. Trees lined the side street. Their Y’s provided shade and protection from the drizzle. A sun shower. The scene, a spitting image of something she remembered fondly from her past. The café was quaint. Warm and inviting. She smiled and chuckled shyly to herself when she saw an electric guitar sitting in the corner. She hadn’t been back to the neighborhood for a while, but in that instant, it was like she never left.
Wakefulness ensued a few moments later, attributable to the coffee, of course. Brewed to perfection.
She ended up getting the job. It was almost as if the coffee was lucky.
Chapter 3: The Isles of Licitation.
Chapter 4: Scholar, Valor, and Dae.
Chapter 5: Bound and Bridged.
Chapter 6: The Edge of Everlasting.
Where the colors kaleid.
The hand turns to the eagle,
The feather to the word,
The roar to the lion,
Life to the undying.
The force and the try
The hold it back and the cry
The making up for the lie
The answer and not knowing why.
Far from fair for the rest and the few.
Finally fair for us.
Part 2. The Cure.
Chapter 1: The Fire of Angels.
Despite what happened. In spite of what happened. She was here. Four shadows, once cast by the trees, became clear as the fog lifted. If only the same clarity would be the mark of hindsight.
They had the answer. The pieces of the puzzle were waiting to meet back at the corner. Foresight brought with it an offer of hope, prosperity, and kindness.
Bringing harm to no one undeserving, she continued her story.
He was noble, revered.
He saw through the plume.
A field not envisioned,
was now in full bloom.
Hardened, not hollowed.
Love, if you can find it.
An error-prone event.
Gazing off into the distance
In pursuit of rank, relegated out of her league.
Chapter 3: Nia (Swahili)
Part 3. ARise.
Chapter 1: Lyze.
Now embedded is the code.
Gives rise to what has been foretold.
Unrest, unless right by the see
So pinned to the periphery.
Chapter 2: Self-Deprecation.
Man the rain of dead poets.
The detention center.
A scholarship program.
Chapter 3: <em>
Something you can’t consciously perceive nor believe. Even after hearing it. Something so valuable, it evades recognition. Something that escapes the realm of the conscious yet it’s not a sub[conscious] at all. Instead, a higher order [processing].
The double blind. The control. The standard.
A muse, amuse.
Chapter 4: Yes.
Ok. Sure. If time permits.
I’ll allow it.
Chapter 5: I – A.
The P-R Segment
Names have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.
She turned her head just in the nick of time. The flag read “Police Lives Matter”. Her attention was stolen as it waved from the driver’s side window. The three vehicles were parked alongside the bridge, bringing with them a sense of uneasy, ordered chaos. The plea from a close friend appealed to all of her senses.
He was hurt. Bad.
There wasn’t a lot of time. or there might not be, anyway.
The 22 on the dash silenced the 808.
Words ran down his face and they refused to dry quick.
Please help. Anything you can do. Please.
The parking lot was nearly empty. She tossed a few essential items into her purse. She locked the doors to her truck and started walking South.
She boarded the train, north bound, 12 more stops.
Exit. To hospitals. A few more arrows. A revolving door.
Information. The quiet of criss-crossing paths. She sat in wait.
A blessing. An offering, one that could be given without expectation.
The plate remained empty, uncirculated amongst the Masses.
There was no need for her, after all.
The trauma, handled. The tone of the machine dictated by others.
A difficult sort of complex, one now considered the norm by others.
The quest for a perfect trace, rather than an accurate one, bothered her.
But who was she. Really.
She got back on the train and headed home.
A test all along.
She didn’t want to pass.
An alternate ending.
Chapter 6: Refine.
Part 4: Transcendence.
Chapter 1: Casualty.
Chapter 2: Causality.
Chapter 3: Deliberation.
Part 5: The Execution
Chapter 1: A Plea of Penetance.
Chapter 2: Governance.
Chapter 3: The Medium.
Part 6: Regeneration.
Chapter 1: The Rose.
Chapter 2: The Rebel.
Chapter 3: The Relay.
Chapter 4: The Revolt.
Chapter 5: The Running.
Chapter 6: The Rest.
She's a resident. 3rd year. Pediatric Oncology. 4th floor. They get her right back.
True to his name.