I was frightened. Mene was the headman and Achil was his only son. We had both been born ten years ago in the harvest season. That would come in a couple of moons and he was a quarter moon older than I was. As the only child of the headman, he lorded over us. Unlike the other children of our age, he actually wore clothing. He loved to rub it in, telling us that because we wore no clothing we had no importance.
Personally it had never bothered me very much and I don’t think it bothered the other children much either. It was just the way he did it was so insulting, that we felt ill feelings towards him.
However, he was big for his age, he also had hard fists and if he felt we were not giving him what was due him, then he would use them.
As a shepherd boy, I spent very little time in the village. With my friend Tanos, who was just coming into marriage age, we spent most of our time in the hills around the village. We moved the flock of sheep that our fathers and others in the village owned, from one pasture to the other throughout the year.
Generally, one of us would come in every two or three days for supplies and it was my turn to come while Tanos stayed with the sheep. He had told me last night that after the harvest season his younger brother would be replacing him. It was time for Tanos to wed and take on an adult’s responsibility. Despite the fact that it was my older sister that he was to wed, I was feeling sad because while he would become my brother, he would no longer be my companion.
I was not in a very good mood, as you can imagine and it was not a good time for Achil to try to lord it over me. While I had never fought with him before, my fists were as hard as his were and while I was somewhat smaller, I was more aggressive and he wasn’t expecting me to tear into him like I did. I ended up with a black eye, but he ended up with two of them and a very sore nose.
Neither of us won the fight. After five minutes of hitting and wrestling on the ground, we were both on our knees looking at each other, a few feet apart breathing hard. We didn’t say anything but we both knew the fight was over. Ignoring each other, we got to our feet and went on about our own affairs.
I spent time with my family before gathering the supplies that I had come in for, when one of the Headman’s guards came to summon my parents and I. I thought I was in a lot of trouble. The Headman’s word was law. He might have decided to punish me for fighting with his son. That’s what I thought was going to happen and I was terrified at what he intended to do.
Mene was waiting outside his house when we got there and while I wasn’t surprised that Achil was there, I was surprised that he was as naked as me.
The Headman nodded at me and I saw a twinkle in his eyes and I gave an inaudible sigh of relief. I knew I wasn’t in trouble.
Mene said dryly, “It has come to my attention lately that my son has come to be something I have never liked. A bully. The results of the fight he and Delen had are somewhat spectacular don’t you think?
We had to agree, as I said I had given him two black eyes and his nose was swollen up and red and I had one black eye. He said to his son, “Turn around.” And Achil obediently did as he was told. From the weals on his bum he had obviously been whipped.
Mene explained, “A Headman has duties not privileges and what he receives from the people he rules, thank him for ruling wisely. As you can see I have given him a beating to teach him that just because he is my son, doesn’t give him any privileges. I have asked Vantel to have him join our two shepherds in guarding the village flock.”
“For two years he will be a shepherd and like Delen, he shall not wear any clothing during that time. That will perhaps teach him that if he wants privileges he must earn them.”
He gave us a smile and a nod before turning to go back into his house. We went back to our home, Achil trailing along and when I went back to the flock, he came with me.
In the first couple of months, we had four fights and Tanos whipped us both after each one. But as the months passed and Tanos fourteen year brother replaced him, Achil and I became closer and closer friends. By the time six months had passed, he was closer to me than my brothers and sisters, who I rarely saw. Their life was the village and my life was outside of it.
He was the one I missed the most when Zeus changed me.
I don’t know if the mountain we could see in the distance was Mount Olympus or not, but it was the home of the gods. They liked to play in the foothills surrounding it, playing tricks on humans or watching us and sometimes actually helping us.
For some reason they were fascinated by my village and especially me. Neither Tarlan or Achil could feel them but I always knew when they were around. One day about a year after Achil became a shepherd; both he and Tarlan were in the village. Achil was there because it was his father’s birthday. I can’t remember why Tarlan was in the village. Unlike Tanos I can’t remember much about Tarlan, only that he was very dark unlike Achil and I, who had very light brown hair and gray eyes.
I could feel them beginning to gather and there were many more than usual. Some of the younger ones began to bother the sheep. I’m afraid Dalian, Tarlan’s sheepdog wasn’t of much use. He cowered by the campfire and wouldn’t move from it.
Not that I blamed him, I should probably have been doing the same as most shepherds would be doing. But I didn’t think just because they were gods, they should be able to trouble the sheep like wolves would do. However, since they were acting like wolves, I decided to treat them like wolves.
Gathering my sling, I went after them. They were somewhat startled when the first stone hit one of them and they turned and glared at me. I continued to rain pebbles down on them, picking them up and winding up with the sling and releasing them.
I knew from rumors I had heard that what I was doing was dangerous; they could very well decide to kill me for my daring to try and stop their fun. They were somewhat startled at first and I hit several of them, but after that, the pebbles just went right through them.
I was annoyed that I could no longer hit them, but it would have been a waste of energy to continue. I just stood there with my hands on my hips and glared at them bravely. (Okay, so it was probably stupidity, rather than bravery.)
I was a rational intelligent being and I didn’t really believe that they would hurt me despite what I had heard. Knowing what I know now, that I was as unimportant to them as the ants under my feet were to me, they wouldn’t have hesitated to stomp on me.
They could feel something from me that they couldn’t from any other human being and they were wary of me. The wiser ones stayed back but three of the younger ones began to approach me determined to teach me that they didn’t appreciate my actions.
That’s when my ability to drain their power became evident and as they got closer, I began to feel antsy as I pulled energy out of them. Energy that nature hadn’t designed me to handle. They stopped advancing on me and then backed off somewhat until I was no longer affecting them.
I couldn’t understand them because they were talking mind to mind, but I knew without a doubt what was happening. Like kids, they were daring each other to approach me.
After a time one of them began to approach me and I could feel the energy I was absorbing affecting me even more. He stopped and I could see an uncertain look on his face and then he backed off again until he was at a safe distance.
The second one looked at him with contempt and began to advance on me and even when I began absorbing his energy, he didn’t stop. I began to feel hot and the closer he came the hotter I got, until when he finally touched me I felt as if I was burning up.
When he actually touched me, I could feel his mind screaming in agony as all of his power began draining from him. It seemed to go on for an eternity and my body exploded with pain, as the power that I couldn’t use began to destroy me as well.
Suddenly I felt what seemed like a click, in my mind and instead of gathering any more energy it was being channeled through me, taking what I had already absorbed with it.
tremendous relief yet at the same time incredible grief as I felt and
watched the young god die. His body began to unravel, in strands of
light and then finally disappeared and when there was nothing left of
him, I felt myself falling and lost consciousness.
I awakened with Dalian licking my face. I felt weak and very tired, but I was a shepherd and the sheep came before my own welfare. I pushed myself to my feet and began to look over the flock to make sure they were all there. With relief, I realized that none of them were missing.
I suppose I should have been worried about myself. I had just killed a god. The fact that it was his own fault didn’t matter; his agony and his fear would always be with me.
Del stretched and blinked his large eyes in the moonlight. He wondered what had awakened him. It must be something important.
There was no one there, in the moonlight, to see the statue of the naked boy kneeling on the rock at the edge of the pool, push itself to it’s feet. Actually his feet, since he was no longer an inanimate object made of bronze. Though his body was not really flesh and blood either, but something in between.
Every one who had ever seen the statue of the nude boy had been astonished by its incredibly realistic look. Of course, that was not because he was a great artist’s work as many people thought, but because he was a flesh and blood, ten-year-old boy changed into bronze by Zeus almost four thousand years before.
He had been an actual danger to the Greek gods of that time. When they approached him, some of their magic was drained from their bodies and they feared possible destruction. With good reason. One of them, had been dared by another to actually touch him. Del still felt guilty as he remembered the screams as the body of the young god had been disrupted and after several minutes had simply disappeared. In a panic, his companions had demanded that Zeus do something about Del.
The ever arrogant Zeus had come to see him, feeling that Del would be unable to harm him. When some of his power had been drained from him, even the supposedly all knowing god had panicked at that. Outraged, Zeus had changed Del into a statue binding his ability to drain magic from those gods who approached him. Del had thought many times in the past four thousand years on the unfairness of that imprisonment. He could have accepted death; after all, he was responsible for the death of a god.
But the long imprisonment that he had suffered. No, he couldn’t accept that as being a fair punishment. After all, he was mortal, if the gods had ignored him and avoided him, he couldn’t harm them. He didn’t have any power that would let him go to them.
He had always considered it ironic that they had left and he had remained trapped by their magic. Not that he was unable to move. For a few hours every night he changed and was much closer to the human he had once been. However, no matter where he went he would return to his place kneeling on the bronze rock when the sun rose.
In the last few years, he had only moved during the night a few times. He slept more and more, weeks and sometimes months passing between periods of wakefulness and he felt that death was closing in on him. Not that the thought of death bothered him, he would be glad to escape the prison that his body had become. He just hoped there really was a next world and that his family would be waiting for him there. He missed them so much. And he missed Achil even more. Not a brother in name but certainly a brother in spirit.
He shook himself and reached into his memory to see what had awakened him. He realized that it had been a cry for help. There had only been one cry but he could feel the fear coming from nearly and he knew that the one who had called out was still alive.
Turning he let the fear pull him in the right direction. In a few seconds, he was on the paved pathway that was used by joggers and bicyclists.
Coming to a clearing, he heard a voice ask, “What are we going to do with her now, Jimmy?”
In reply, there came an unpleasant laugh and then he said, “I’ll think of something Vinnie. Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”
The moon was full and Del could see a girl lying on the ground. While not badly dressed, at the same time, she wasn’t well dressed and there was a backpack lying by her side. He figured that she was probably a runaway, though she was a older than most of the runaways that he had seen in the park, probably in her late teens.
Del said sternly, “You’re not going to do anything else to her,” moving into the clearing. The two teenage boys jumped at his voice, but when they looked and saw what appeared to be a small naked boy approaching them the older of the teens pulled a gun out of his waistband.
He said viciously, “I don’t know why you got no clothes on kid, but you ain’t leaving here, nor is she.” He brought up the gun that was a .44 Magnum revolver and fired. It hit Del squarely in the chest.
While the boy felt something, even the violent impact of a .44 Magnum bullet only left a small mark which healed in seconds. The bullet did drive him back a couple of feet. However, as Del continued his advance on the two teenagers, the older one emptied his gun at the boy. Braced for the impact of the bullets now ,they didn’t knock Del back again and he continued his inexorable way towards the two.
The older boy kept pulling the trigger as he panicked, the hammer falling on empty shells. Why he didn’t run, Del didn’t know but he allowed Del to come right up to him and grab his arm with his left hand and the right hand closed on the barrel of the gun and yanked it out of the teen’s hand. The second teen broke and ran at that, but though the older teen wanted to run, becoming aware of the danger he was in, he couldn’t.
The steady dark gray eyes of the boy looked up at the teen and he swung his fist in fear and anger, hitting the boy on the chin. He screamed in pain as the impact broke a couple of fingers. Del didn’t even blink, barely feeling the blow.
Del lifted his right foot off of the ground and swung it hard, catching the teen just above the knee breaking his leg. He let him go as he crumpled to the ground, whimpering in pain.
Ignoring the teenage hood then Del knelt down by the girl. She was only semi-aware, pain and fear occupying her mind and she obviously needed a doctor. Though with the senses that had developed since he had been imprisoned, Del could tell that there were no broken bones. Picking up her backpack, he put it on and easily lifted the girl into his arms, he stood up and headed for the hospital on the street just outside the park. Not surprisingly, it was called Park Street and the hospital Park Street Hospital.
Del placed the girl on a stretcher in the Emergency Department of the hospital. If anyone had been watching she just seemed to appear out of thin air as did the pack placed at the foot of the stretcher. However, nobody was watching. They were too busy and when a nurse noticed her, she simply became another patient and they weren’t really concerned about how she had gotten there.
Del followed as she was moved into an examining area and a young doctor appeared to look at her. He quickly determined that she didn’t seem to have any major injuries but he was worried about an obvious blow to the head. He felt it was simply a concussion but he wasn’t sure how severe it was, so he sent the girl up to X-ray and instructed a nurse to summon a neurosurgeon to have a look at her.
Del stayed with her, wanting to know how badly she was hurt. If people had been able to see him, they would have wondered why a nude boy was following the stretcher but most people couldn’t see him. Even when they bumped into him a couple of times, they were still unaware of his presence.
It was a part of the spell that a vindictive Zeus had cast on him when he had allowed Del a few hours of freedom each night. While he could make himself appear as he had done to the teenage hoods in the park, normally he was invisible to adults when in this form.
Almost all children up to the age of five or six could see him, after that as they began to grow up only the occasional child over the age of six could do so. They were usually loners, or children who desperately needed something to cling to because of various upheavals in their lives. Most often that had been the death of a parent or sibling, in more recent times that had included children of parents who were going through a divorce.
Over the many centuries Del had existed, he had befriended many such children and helped them deal with their problems. While he still regretted his imprisonment and he still grieved for the god he had inadvertently killed, he had been able to help scores of children deal with devastating problems. He had watched many of them grow up to become well-balanced adults.
Once the X-rays had been taken, the girl was moved to a room and he stayed with her, knowing the neurosurgeon would show up after he had a look at the X-rays.
Picking up the telephone, he dialed 9 to get an outside line as it said on the cradle and called 911. When it was answered, “Emergency hotline. Which service do you need?”
Del said, “Police, please. A girl was attacked and hurt in Memorial Park. She’s at the Park Street Hospital. Two male teenagers attacked her. One of them ran, but the other has a broken leg. Whether he’ll be able to get away I don’t know.” And he hung up the phone and sat in a chair to wait the appearance of the neurosurgeon.
When he did appear Del’s eyes widened in confusion for a moment. The doctor looked like David Wilder, but then Del realized that this man simply looked like him. David Wilder had been in his early forties at the time and this doctor was only in his middle thirties at the latest. It had to be Owen.
Over twenty-five years before Del had been drawn to Owen, just after his mother died. Perhaps he wouldn’t have been needed, but David Wilder, as grief-stricken as his young son, had thrown himself into his duties at the hospital. He hadn’t even noticed that Owen’s pain was as deep as his own.
Seven-year-old Owen had needed someone to cling to and Del had become that someone. For a couple of years in the late-eighties, Del had spent all of his waking time with Owen. Reading to him, watching television with him and watching over him during the night when he went to sleep. Del had always been there for Owen when he woke up with a nightmare. In the first year that had been several times a night, but as time had gone by, Owen had begun to get over his deep grief.
Towards the end of that two-year period, his father had finally begun to get over his almost unbearable grief as well and begun to realize that his son had suffered as much as he had. He had begun to focus his attention on his young son spending fewer and fewer hours at the hospital, to concentrate on Owen.
Del seeing the two becoming a family again had begun to ease himself out of Owen’s life as he had done so many times before with other children. It was with a deep sadness of his own yet with satisfaction that was just as deep that he had done so. The final event had occurred when father and son moved. Not far, only a couple of miles and Del could have followed them, since once he knew someone he could always find them, or at least know in which direction they were in and how far away they were. Del had decided that it was a good time to make the final break.
Owen Wilder had completed his examination while Del was reflecting on the past. He said to the nurse, “The X-rays don’t show any permanent physical damage, so once she gets over the concussion she should be fine. Though with one hell of a headache for a while. I operated on a young patient of mine this afternoon and I stayed to make sure he wasn’t in any danger, so I’ll probably be here until morning if you need to get in touch with me.”
The nurse grinned, “I wondered why we got the great Wilder instead of a resident.”
He grinned back at her and said, “Please Sally, you’ve got to remember, it’s the great, great Wilder.”
She laughed and he took the clipboard and wrote out his instructions and after handing it back to her, he turned and his eyes swept the room casually. But suddenly he was very still and he frowned as his eyes widened as for a brief moment he actually saw Del sitting in the chair.
Then, shaking his head, as the boy disappeared again as he focused on the chair, he turned and left the room. Del was intrigued, in the past he had met adults he had known as children and only a few times had they been able to see him, even briefly as Owen had just done.
He stood up and looked at the girl for a moment. He would probably have to return tomorrow night to see how she was getting on anyway and she didn’t need his presence. He turned and followed Owen.
Del hesitated for a moment, wondering if he should really talk to Owen again. He felt that death was close and he wanted someone to know his whole story. He opened the door that Owen had just gone through and the man looked up from doing paperwork as the door was opened.
Del closed the door and then made himself visible. He nodded to the man behind the desk who was looking at him with astonishment. “Hello, Owen.”
Owen Wilder said, his blue eyes wide, “Del is that really you? You were so real, but then as I looked back on it, it seemed to be more and more logical that you were simply an imaginary friend that I had made up when I needed one.”
Del shook his head, saying, “No Owen, I really exist, though most adults can’t see me unless I will it. Young children can and older ones who need me, do as well.” He told him. “As they get over their need for me, then they see me less and less often. Your father while he was present physically, mentally he was far away for most of the two years after your mother died. When he began to return, you needed me less and less and you began having trouble seeing me. When you moved I felt it was best not to follow you even though I could have done so. I can always find people I've met.”
Owen nodded thoughtfully getting over his astonishment. He said, “Probably wise. But you were there when I needed you and it was only because of you that I survived that time whole. What exactly are you?”
Del moved over and sat in one of the chairs folding his right leg under him. He said, musingly, “What am I? Well once, I was a ten-year-old shepherd boy. I was born somewhere in Greece around four thousand years ago. Where exactly it was I don’t know, but it was close to the sea, because I can remember swimming in salt water. But my people weren’t from Greece originally; my father and mother could both remember traveling from the north when they were little. Whether it was the beginning of a migration of a lot of my people into the area I’m not sure, but I don’t believe so. There were less than a hundred people in the group and we seem to have integrated very well with the people already there.”
Del shook his head, saying, “Unfortunately, I had an ability which annoyed some and terrified other Greek gods. However, that’s only what I call them, they weren’t of divine origin though the people of my area worshipped them as gods. Do you remember watching 'The Squire of Gothos' from the original Star Trek series with me?”
Owen thought back, then shook his head, saying, “I can remember watching Star Trek with you, but the name itself doesn’t ring any bells. I’ve never been a Trekkie.” He smiled at that.
“Well perhaps you can remember the character's name. Trelane?” Del asked.
Owen shook his head again and said, “The name sounds familiar but that’s all.”
Del explained, “Well, in the story Trelane was a powerful being who toyed with Kirk and his people. At the end, it was revealed that Trelane was simply a child of an advanced species. The Enterprise and her crew were his playthings until his parent’s called him home. That’s really what Zeus and the other Greek gods and in fact other gods around the world at that time were. They were children of an species so advanced that what they did seemed to be magic.”
Owen nodded, “Yes. I remember the story now,” he said.
Del told him, “Well in some ways we can’t understand them, but in others they were like the young of any species including humans. One of the god-like children dared another to approach me and actually touch me. He did it and once he touched me he couldn’t let go. He began screaming as my ability drained all of the energy from his body.” Del shuddered in remembrance and his voice showed his sadness as he continued, “He’s the only being I’ve ever killed and despite the fact that it wasn’t something I could do anything about, I always feel guilty whenever I remember that day.”
Owen’s eyes showed he shared Del’s sadness as he said, “I’ve never killed deliberately either, but on occasion patients die on the operating table. I always feel sorrow as a life is cut short, even when I know that their chance of survival might have been almost non-existent to start with.”
Del nodded, saying, “Well Zeus was the leader of the Greek gods, not because he was wise and all-knowing, but because he was more powerful than the rest. When the others went running to him in panic, he came to see me. In his arrogance, he didn’t believe that I could harm him. He was wrong; though he wasn’t seriously affected, I did drain some of his power from him. That angered him and he turned me into a statue in revenge, not because one of his people was killed but because I had dared to take some of his power away from him.”
Del said sadly, “That wasn’t the end of his vengeance. He decided that I should know what had happened to me, so he awakened me and made me conscious of what was going on around me. At the same time, he decided that I couldn’t be allowed to escape what he considered justified punishment so he made my mind more stable than normal for a human being. That prevented me from circumventing his vengeance by going insane.”
He told Owen, musingly, “Of course he was acting like a spoiled brat and Athena more mature and in some ways more humane than the others felt sorry for me. She kept after him to change me back into human. In the end, she persuaded him to give me a few hours each night to walk the earth though it took a couple of hundred years. But that’s as far as he was willing to go. She came and told me the first night that I could walk and told me what they really were. She said she regretted that she couldn’t persuade him to go any further, simple self-preservation demanded that she stop bugging him. Personally, I’ve always thought that she didn’t really care, she had done certain things for me and was unwilling to do anything more.”
Del explained, “She came to see me one last time, when their parents called them home. She told me that they were leaving and she doubted that they would be back. While most of the gods, like nice children had tidied up, Zeus like the spoiled brat he was had left his toys as they were. She simply didn’t have the power to do anything to help me or others he had harmed in similar ways. She said eventually the spell would wear off and I would be able to move on.”
“Zeus wasn’t a very nice, ah, being I guess.” said Owen.
Del shrugged and smiled, saying, “No, but then again as I said they weren’t of divine origin and they weren’t even human. From what Athena told me over the centuries, most of the children were more like Zeus than like her. She was much older, perhaps in the equivalent of the middle teens. She was more like a babysitter than a companion, while they would have been closer to five and six year olds.”
He explained, “Despite her apparent humane treatment of me, she really wasn’t that much concerned about what had been done to me. To her people, we were of no more importance than toys are to us. Like a mother of a child that has a nice toy and doesn’t want to see it broken but at the same time if it is, first she tries to get it fixed but if it’s not possible, it’s simply thrown away. Actually, she was more interested in the fact that I was a captive audience than about my fate.”
Del said with a grin, “She was a complainer and since I was a being who knew what she was she would come and tell me her troubles. I was a simple shepherd boy, who lived in a tiny village. I had never been more than a few miles from where I was born. So even things that have come to make sense to me didn’t at that time. That angered her at times and if she had been able to interrupt Zeus’s spell, she might very well have killed me out of simple spite. Instead, she would simply disappear for a time. Years, decades and even centuries. Sooner or later, she would come back to the one person who had to listen to her. Even her people certainly wouldn’t tolerate her complaints. Mainly, because like me they weren’t old enough to understand them, but unlike me now that I could no longer drain a god’s power they could be very dangerous and among her many faults she was also a coward.”
Owen asked with interest, “Are you really as intelligent as you sound? Not that I want to be insulting, you understand, but you look like a child yet you sound like an adult.”
Del giggled and put his hand over his mouth to hide it and Owen could see that he was actually blushing. Del said, “No, I’m just a kid, emotionally and while I have a lot of knowledge, much of it is second hand since I’ve never experienced most of what I know. Where I’ve been placed was deliberately created to have an atmosphere that beckoned to academics. I heard someone say that once. Not only have many students studied there over the last hundred years, quite often a teacher would take their students to the park to see me and the other statues situated in various places and discuss the times we had originally come from. Of course, they all thought I was ‘minor masterpiece’ by a great sculptor of the Classical Grecian period. They had no way of knowing that I had been around for over fifteen hundred years before that ever began.”
Owen asked, “How did you get to Toronto?”
Del said, “It was a somewhat roundabout journey I must admit. I ended up in Crete as part of the tribute the mainland was forced to pay them. I was very unusual. Statuary at that time was very seldom as realistic as I was. They thought the gods must have created me, which as I mentioned was true. I was therefore much more valuable than most of the statues of that time."
seriously, "A Viking trader traded some good for me in the eleventh
century and took me to Oslo. One of the benefactors of the university
here purchased me at the beginning of the twentieth century and had
me moved here to the park."
Del and Owen talked for some hours. Del had never talked to an adult before, or at least not who knew his full story. Regretfully Del noticed a glint of the new day beginning through the window.
He stood up and said, "Time for me to go, Owen. I enjoyed our little talk. I don't know if you'll remember this talk or not. On the few occasions I talked to adults in the past, they never remembered any of the conversation. Oh they remembered things I told them, they just didn't remember who told them. I'll return tomorrow night to find out about the girl. Bye."
Del raised his hand and gave a little wave and then simply disappeared to reappear kneeling on his plinth in the park.
When Del woke up the next evening, it was to someone shaking his shoulder. That had never happened to him before.
He straightened up and stretched and looked at the man had been shaking him. It was Owen and Del was suddenly worried.
He asked tensely, "What's wrong Owen?!!"
Owen said in an equally anxious voice, "That girl you brought in last night, disappeared sometime during the day. They left her backpack just sitting on the tray table. The police looked inside it to see if it could tell anything about the girl and there was almost two hundred dollars in it. If she just ran away she would have taken that with her."
Del said grimly, "You're right about that!" He bent down and taking hold of his plinth pulled it out of the ground. "I assume you remembered that I could find anyone that I know." And Owen nodded, "Let's go. Since we don't know how long it will take, I'd better take this with me." Owen nodding in agreement.
despite the situation, "It won't be the first time I've been 'stolen'.
The thieves were always astonished when I picked up my plinth and just
went back to where I belonged. Not that they could see me."
Outside the park there was a running car waiting for them. Owen opened the rear door and Del shoved in the plinth and climbed in after it. Owen got in the front seat and slammed the door behind him.
He said to Del with a grin, "You said you could make adults see you. Well Moira's going to think I went nuts if you don't appear." Waving at the woman who was driving.
Del nodded and with a grin of his own he appeared. He waved at the woman who looking at him in the rear view mirror. She shook her head, "Well, Doc it looks like you told me true. I figured I'd have to shoot you to protect the public." she said with surprise in her voice.
Owen said, "Moira is a detective, a Detective Inspector in the Ontario Provincial Police. She's also my girlfriend and I was almost able to convince her about you. At least enough that she drove me to the park. If you hadn't showed up she'd probably think I'd been in the hospital pharmacy."
Del giggled at that, showing he was definitely still a little boy. Moira said with a grin, "Well, Owen said that you could find people, so which way do we go."
Del concentrated for a second, then said, "Hit the Don Valley Parkway and then onto the 401 East, towards Oshawa. I don't think they're much further than that. I once went to Whitby with one of my charges, we both fell asleep at his aunt's place and I returned here when the sun came up. I could feel him and the feel is just about the same, with maybe a little more distance."
After they came off the highway, they drove along Bloor St, until they reached Ritson Rd, and stopped in a partially empty lot. It had a chip truck and a couple of cars parked with people eating fries.
Owen said, "Well as unhealthy as they probably are, they look good to a starving man. I think I'll take the opportunity to eat. You Moira." And she nodded. He looked in the back, "Do you eat, Del?"
The boy shook his head, saying with some sadness, "I don't eat or drink. It's been so long that I've forgotten the pleasures you can get out of eating. I just remember that it can be pleasurable."
his head, starting to come to an appreciation of what Del had gone through
for the last four thousand years.
Owen and Moira put the garbage in the paper bag and Owen got out and put it in a garbage bin. After getting in he turned to look at Del. He asked, "So, which way now."
Del chewed on his lower lip for a moment and then said, "According to the street signs we're at the corner of Ritson and Bloor. I think if you go north on Ritson, that's the direction we need."
They were about a kilometer north of Ritson and Rossland and Del said, "Slow down." He had his chin and arms on the back of the front seat. After all nobody at the moment could see him except for Moira and Owen.
Del pointed, "That next street. Turn left." A couple of minutes later, "Now, right at that court." Moira turned right, and Del said in an eerie voice, "We're here." And when the two adults turned to look at him, he giggled, then said, "What, did you think you were the only ones to see Poltergeist."
He said with more seriousness, "It's the one directly back where it makes a full circle, in the middle of the court."
Moira was chewing on her lower lip a habit Del also had. She threw up her hands, "We're here. Now what the hell are we going to do?"
Owen was tapping his upper lip, a nervous habit he had always had as Del knew. Finally he said, "You call your partner, I'll call my father. We tell them we're going to knock on a door. If we don't call them back in half an hour, to call the Durham Regional Police Department."
Moira sighed, saying, "Sure Doc. You do know it only takes a few seconds to die, don't you." She complained, but she was getting out her cell phone anyway, which Owen was also doing.
After Moira and Owen made their phone calls, the three of them got out of the car and walked up to the house. Moira crossed her fingers and said, "Here goes nothing." She rang the bell with the hand that was holding her ID wallet.
They could hear footsteps coming to the door and then it opened a crack. Now, that was a bit suspicious. While people looked through peepholes if they had them, here in Canada the usual thing was to open the door fully.
A man's voice, asked, "What ya want."
Moira showed her ID and said firmly, "We're looking for a girl who disappeared from a hospital in Toronto. We know she's here."
The door opened and a huge dark man stood in the doorway glowering at them. He was at least six six in height and bulky with it. He was wearing a blue T shirt and darker blue track pants and sandals on his feet. He had a two barreled sawed off shotgun in his hand and he ordered, "Get in here."
Now if it had been a handgun Moira might have taken a chance on her speed with a gun. Maybe. She wasn't foolhardy, just confident. But she wouldn't take any chances with a shotgun.
She raised her eyebrows and said with a sigh, "I knew this was a mistake. Now be careful, big boy. We called people just before we came in and if we don't call back within a half hour, they'll call the police." As she walked through the door, followed by Owen and Del, though the man didn't see Del.
The man slammed the door behind them, showing his disgust. He yelled, "Boss, we got trouble."
An older man came into the room, about sixty with neatly trimmed white hair and mustache with cold blue eyes.
The thug jerked his thumb at the two adults saying, "They say they called people and if they don't call within a half hour, they'll call the cops."
The man looked at them calmly. He said, "That's all right, Hugo. We're ready to go. We only need ten minutes. Once we switch cars they'll never find us. Take them down and put them with the others."
Hugo protested, "But, boss. . . !!"
"Do as you're told, for once." snarled the older man.
Hugo sullenly waved them towards the hallway. He said, "Take a right here." That led them to some stairs. But he was cautious and they had no chance to jump him. He unlocked a door and pointing the shotgun at Moira he said, "Take your gun out with your left fingers and put it on that chair. Any funny business and you're dead."
With resignation, Moira did as she was told and then went calmly into the room behind the door. Like Moira, Del was worried about the shotgun and didn't want to take any chances, since apparently they were just going to go into captivity for a while.
There were already two people in the room, lying on two of the three beds. One of them was the teenager who had been kidnapped from the hospital.
Owen, immediately showing concern for his patient went over to her, though from the fact that she and the man with her were getting to a sitting position, it probably wasn't necessary.
Owen said, with a doctor's bedside manner, said, "I'm Doctor Owen Wilder, I was your doctor at Park Street Hospital. How are you feeling."
She said ruefully, "I've got a bit of a headache but that's all."
Owen took a small flashlight out of his bag and shone it in her eyes. Relieved that they focused properly, he said, "Well, your eyes look all right, I'll have to do a complete physical to be sure you're all right. You took a pretty good knock on the noggin."
The man said, "I'm Arden Turner, I'm Andrea's father."
"Owen, Moira!!" hissed Del, making himself visible to everyone, "I just heard that skunk tell Hugo to take care of all the witnesses. Also I heard the click of a shotgun being opened and then closed."
Del said, "I have an idea. As soon as he opens the door I'll make sure that he can see me and then I'll take a run at him. The shotgun only has two barrels. I should startle him enough so that he uses both of them.
behind me, please?" Del told them and knowing from what he had
been told that Del was impervious to bullets Owen nodded reluctantly.
The door opened inward, so Del had to wait until the door was fully open and then he catapulted himself towards the huge man. As he had expected Hugo had a twitchy trigger finger and let go with both barrels of the shotgun.
Unexpectedly Del was slammed to the floor and Moira going over his head caught Hugo's arm as he was frantically trying to break the shotgun to reload.
The man had just tried to kill her and Moira had no intention of playing with him. Her rising foot caught him in the groin and with a shrill cry of protest he began to fold over. Jerking the shotgun from suddenly palsied hands she drove the butt behind his ear.
Hugo continued to fold landing on the floor out cold. Spying her gun still on the chair, she scooped it up, ready for anything. She heard a door slam and was about to race upstairs when she glanced into the room they'd been imprisoned in. She saw that Del was still on the floor, Owen kneeling by his side.
She thrust her cell phone at Turner, saying, "Call 911. You know more about what's going on than I do anyway."
She knelt on the other side of the small boy named Del, she'd only known him a few hours, yet she was already starting to grieve. Del smiled at them and said hesitantly, "I guess I'm not completely impervious to bullets like I thought."
Owen asked through clenched teeth, "Are you in pain, Del?"
"No. No pain, Owen. I just can't move my arms and legs. Don't look so sad, Owen. I've been around for four thousand years. I've been sleeping a lot in the last few years. I'm tired and it's simply time for me to die."
Owen sighed, saying, "And it seems that you've been doing good for most of that period."
Del smiled, saying, "I've been trying, Owen. Goodbye to you and Moira. I hope you have a lot of kids." And he closed his eyes for the last time.
Owen stood up looking down at the one who had been there for him when he needed him.
He exclaimed, when suddenly Del's body shimmered and out in the hallway the statue that had been Del was suddenly kneeling on its plinth and a small naked boy was lying on the floor.
Del opened his eyes with wonder, as Owen hurriedly knelt down beside him again. Owen put out his hand and put his hand on Del's ribs, running his hands over them.
Del giggled and said, "Stop that, that tickles." And then his mouth was an O of surprise as he realized that for the first time in thousands of years he was flesh and blood again.
They all heard the voice that spoke then. Well not heard since it was in their minds. Interestingly enough it was a woman's voice. It said, "You are human again, Del. We have watched you over the eons. We were sad about your plight, but my son Zeus is the strongest of us, even though he is only a child. We could do nothing for you and we could not persuade Zeus to free you. All we could do was wait for the spell to wind down. It would have needed several more centuries before it would release. To free you before that you needed first to die."
Owen helped Del to his feet and then took off his suit jacket and offered it to the boy. Del looked at it and asked, "What's this for?" then realizing he said, "Oh, damn, now I got to wear clothes." As he shrugged into the jacket, he said, "You realize I've never worn clothes in my whole life. Only diapers when I was a baby."
Owen hid his grin, as he said, "You'll get used to it. Maybe whoever adopts you will be nudists."
At that moment they heard sirens heading in their direction. Moira said, "I'd better go up and open the door, otherwise they might break it down."
Turner said with a grin, "That would be appreciated. Jenson got
most of my business assets so I'd like to keep this one intact. Luckily
he didn't get into my private funds. I have enough to salvage my business
and start over."
They never did find Jenson and his compadres. Hugo wasn't willing to talk, though he got a long term for attempted murder. Jenson got away with about two million dollars from Turner's business.
Turner had been worried for some time and unfortunately that made him a little strange. Andrea was worried about him, so like many teenager she did something dumb, which in this case was running away. Though in the long run things ended up very well.
Del looked up at the recently married Owen Wilder and Moira Evans. He asked, "Are you sure that you want to do this. You don't owe me anything, you know."
Owen looked down at the boy, he and Moira planned to adopt. He put his hand on his hair and caressed it, saying, "I liked you, Del when I were a boy and in my life. Liked and maybe it was more than just liking. I certainly love you now. Moira has told me that she loves you as well."
He gave a laugh, "Besides, who else knowingly is going to adopt a four thousand year old boy."
Del giggled and offered his hands and each of them took one of them. Content, the three of them walked into the courtroom.
|Achil – one of the village children|
|Dalian – Sheep dog|
|Delen – usually called Del|
|Evans, Moira – Police Detective Inspector and Owen's girlfriend.|
|Mene – village headman|
|Jenson, Paul – chief thug|
|Lefert, Hugo – One of the thugs.|
|Tanos – sherpherd boy|
|Tarlan – son of Vantel|
|Turner, Andrea – girl who was attacked in park|
|Turner, Arden – Andrea's father|
|Wilder, Owen – Doctor|