The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 3

Realization

Kyle quickly led a stunned Jamie out the door of the buffet and down the vast concourse of the busy City Centre Station through a mass of people. After having seen a dragon shoot flames at the irate restaurant manager, the blood had drained from Jamie's face. Had what he just seen been real? Or was it just some kind of trick? In spite of the questions swirling in his head, Jamie was certain he had already put some of the puzzle together. As they rushed to get out of the station he pondered these thoughts, trying to fit all of the pieces together.

While making their break from the restaurant and through the station, Kyle led Jamie towards the main doors which opened out onto the main road in the core of downtown. They moved fast, knowing full well that soon the police would be arriving in force and they did not want to tangle with them. At the same time as the boys were escaping, Swift followed by Eric were leaving the diner they were in at the far end of the food court. As they went out Eric spotted Kyle and Jamie in the distance making their hasty retreat.

"I wonder what their hurry is?" Eric remarked, as he pointed to their friends who were fleeing City Centre.

"I'm not sure," Swift replied with a strange look on this face while he watched the two boys making a beeline for the exit.

Swift quickly added, "We should head after them. If they're in trouble our butts could be in a sling as well."

Both the boys took off after Jamie and Kyle, aiming straight for the exit doors. They knew once outside it would not be very difficult to find them. There are many places to hide and some are closer than people see or realize. Consequently, finding Kyle and Jamie should not be very complicated. That was unless they really did not want to be found, in that case Swift would have to use other methods to locate them. He knew either way he could find the two boys before they got too far ahead, as long as they stayed on foot.

Kyle led Jamie down the street to a nearby alleyway that was always overlooked by most people. Even the police usually ignored it unless there was trouble serious enough to warrant a search. The alleyway was much narrower and dim compared to other alleys in the city. It was more of an old unused pathway, but with piles of rubbish scattered here and there. Only someone on foot or perhaps a bicycle could navigate the narrow passage, so this meant that they were safe from prying eyes deep in the shadows.

The alley sheltered them from the worst of the rainstorm that grew steadily in intensity over their heads. Reaching the middle of the alley Kyle and Jamie sat down underneath a stack of pallets that were shaped in the form of a mini-shelter and covered with an old beat up tarp. Clearly assembled from discarded leftovers it was probably used regularly at night by street folk, but this morning the boys were safely alone in the dark shadows of the alley. They made themselves as comfortable as they could by moving things around to make some sitting room, and by throwing some of the built-up trash out the front of the shelter into the alley.

"After what you saw, and what happened, I guess some explanations are in order," Kyle stated finally.

Jamie, still a bit pale, looked at Kyle and sitting on his shoulder was the same golden dragon now with a smile on its face. How could it not be real? Shaking his head he looked again and it was still there. Still slightly rattled he breathed deeply trying to calm himself down and after a couple moments he finally settled down.

Now that he felt more in control of himself Jamie started, "I see it, I believe it, but how? I mean I've read about them. I know there are several types. What gives dude?"

Kyle leaned back while the small dragon climbed down from around his neck and walked to the opening of the little shelter. There it laid down and stared off into the dimness of the alley. As the dragon did this, a million questions raced through Jamie's head. Kyle sighed and then turned back to Jamie knowing it was time to have a long talk.

"I guess the cat is out of the bag, or in this case the dragon. I've been wondering if you could see him or if you noticed anything was different about me. I've had a few changes happen to me over the last year," Kyle spoke with a clarity that said there was much more to talk about.

"I think so," Jamie replied. "I have been seeing strange stuff for quite some time, but this has got to be the biggest thing of all. I mean I have noticed changes in you lately, actually quite a few."

Suddenly both boys turned as the dragon raised his head and began watching the end of the alley they had come down. The dragon looked into the dim alleyway towards the main road, repeatedly flicking out his tongue as if tasting the air. Then the dragon sat up sensing that someone was coming. Both Jamie and Kyle noticed the change in the dragon's demeanour and they both got ready to make a dash for it. Then in the dimness they saw who was approaching, it was Swift and Eric. Even in the dull lighting of the alley they could make out both of the boy's spiky hair.

Jamie looked up at Swift and saw a dragon sitting on his neck and shoulders that except for coloration looked very similar to that of Kyle. He also noted a bewildered look on Eric's face that he could relate to as a result of recent events. Jamie realized that both Eric and he had just learned that there is more to reality than meets the eye. Kyle's golden dragon laid back down as Fáfnir climbed down Swift's back and then took up position next to him. Both dragons were on watch now, each keeping a close eye on opposite ends of the alleyway. The tiny shelter was cramped but luckily the four small boys seemed to have just enough room so that all of them could stay dry in the morning storm.

A brilliant flash of lightning lit the sky once again and for an instant the dark alley was brightly lit and the dragon's scales reflected the light in a dazzling brilliance. The thunder roared almost as quickly as the lightning flashed. The rain started to come down in torrents, almost as if the full fury of the storm had fallen directly on the alleyway.

The boys huddled close together in the shelter. Even the narrowness of the alley was not sheltering them from the worst of the storm now. The dragons also moved back from the small opening of the makeshift shelter. The boys tried to rearrange themselves so that they could all stay dry from the deluge of the powerful storm that had hit the coast and was temporarily making the day rather miserable.

"I would hazard a guess from the expression on Jamie's face when we arrived that he's figured things out on his own?" Swift asked Kyle, with a very impressed look on his face as he regarded Jamie.

"Yeah he did, we were sitting eating and he seen Nidhogg take form at that new buffet in the city centre," Kyle responded. "The manager was being a jerk and …"

Jamie suddenly interrupted, "He set the dude on fire! I'm still kinda freaking out. And I swear the dragon winked at me too before going all nuts on the manager. Will someone please tell me what the heck is going on?"

Kyle continued, "Yeah, like Jamie just said ... the guy went to grab Jamie and me, so Nidhogg lit him up a bit. Jamie was so shaken I had to half-drag him out of the place."

"It was freaky and awesome all at the same time!" Jamie interrupted again still feeling the excitement of the moment.

Eric chimed in as well, "Okay, as I said earlier I already peed and crapped my pants once, now will someone please explain everything? I see a couple of dragons in front of me, one that was licking his chops and smacking his teeth at me, and now a second one. What's up?"

"I think Swift they are going to need you for this part. I could trip my way through this, but you have a lot more information. I'm fairly new at all this," Kyle added.

Kyle had only recently learned about the world that existed out of the sight of most people. He therefore bowed to Swift who had a vast knowledge of the world they had both just recently exposed the two younger boys to. Although Kyle knew his part, which had been explained to him almost a year ago, he wondered how their two friends were going to fit into everything.

"I guess that means we can't just pretend these are some specialty stuffed animals that Kyle and I are testing for a big toy company and forget the whole thing?" Swift joked to lighten the tension around him.

"Kyle, what have you told Jamie so far?" Swift asked.

"Umm not very much, we pretty much just got here and Jamie was still really freaked by it all. So I haven't said much to him yet," Kyle responded.

"Okay, so we're not far behind you then. Eric figured it out on his own today as well. I was really surprised by that. Jamie did you notice anything before you saw the dragon?" Swift inquired trying to get a full picture so he would know where to start.

Swift waited as Jamie considered where he should begin. While he waited Swift's thoughts wandered to the odds of both of these boys figuring matters out at the same time on the same day, and why had this unusual storm suddenly appeared. The more he ran over things in his mind the more he began to notice the number of seemingly coincidental events that were involved. Swift had always been suspicious of coincidences.

Jamie sighed then started, "Umm yeah it was kinda odd. For the last few days Kyle and me have been hooking up to try and make money for food and stuff. It seemed like every time something big was going to happen he would just look at me and I just knew okay we need to get the heck out of there."

Jamie paused a second then continued, "Today I noticed it even more so and there was a strange glow around Kyle's head and shoulders. Then when we got on the train ... Wait first it was the storm. We ran and made the station, then on the train I noticed this gold glow like it was sitting next to Kyle. Then at the restaurant ... HEY, your dragon ate my plate of bacon!"

Nidhogg, listening to the exchange, turned and looked at the boys with a grin, gave out a loud belch, and then he turned back to continue his watch on the alley. Everyone in the shelter burst out laughing and it continued for a few minutes until they all settled down.

The thunder and lightning continued as they sat talking. Kyle slipped on a pair of headphones. He had managed to grab his small CD player and a couple of discs when he decided he had had enough of the abuse at home. He did not turn it on but he liked the comfort. It muffled the thunder a bit and kept his ears warm as well. As they sat in the makeshift shelter it became very cold due to the weather. Jamie opened his pack and broke out some candles he had absconded from a sidewalk sale. He figured that he could make better use of them and since they were only marked a nickel he just pocketed them. Jamie lit the candles and placed them in a small circle in front of them and their little shelter soon glowed with a flicking golden light. The boys settled in for what they thought would be the day.

Swift was having a big debate with himself. It was not unexpected for one kid, maybe two at most, to figure things out or at least suspect something. However he was now sitting with three, one of whom was a natural dragon tamer. What did it all mean?

Swift finally spoke, "Eric, since you already know this part, this is for Jamie's benefit and to help him catch up. Okay?"

Eric nodded indicating that he understood. He sat quietly while Swift prepared to explain everything to Jamie.

Jamie interjected before Swift could begin, "So does this mean I'm finally going to learn why you have those pointed ears?"

"What? How long have you ... Umm ... Did you just notice them now?" Swift stuttered.

"No, I've seen them since I met you. They always seemed so cool to me. Like you were Mr. Spock, but with a cooler haircut. Why, was I not supposed to see them or something?" Jamie said with a smile honestly meaning what he had said.

Swift thought rapidly for a moment, "Is it possible? You would be the first in a very long time to have seen me as I really am. Okay, what colour is my hair?" he asked Jamie still very perplexed.

"It's quite blond. Almost a silvery colour, and long and spiky like always," Jamie answered with a puzzled look at the unusual question.

"Then you are seeing my full true form. What else can you see?" Swift asked, with understanding dawning in his voice.

"Well there's that big long sword you always carry across your back, and the funny looking tattoo on your upper left arm. Sometimes it looks like a dragon and sometimes it's weird. I can't really explain it, but it almost like it looks like a burning flame, moving and shifting," said Jamie, while trying to determine where Swift was going with his questioning.

Eric then piped in, "What long sword and what tattoo?"

Swift looked at Kyle who shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't see the tattoo, but I do see the sword. It doesn't hide from me anymore."

"So it is possible I have found him," mused Swift. "The sword on my back is cloaked with a distracter spell so anyone who sees it will not know that it is there. They might catch a hint of it, but the spell will distract them from what it really is. If you can see it Jamie, you are fully aware of the world around you. I suppose it goes without saying then that you know what I am?"

Jamie, a little hesitant, replied, "Yeah, you are Elvish. You live an incredibly long time. Some would say forever, depending on what you read and who you believe."

"How long have you known?" asked Swift.

"Since the first time we met. I knew there was something different about you, but I had to spend weeks at the library to be sure. That is until the librarian thought I smelled the place up too much and threw me out. So I never got a chance to totally understand it all," Jamie responded.

Eric sitting there getting a bit fidgety piped in, "This is cool and all, but I already know this. Well other than Jamie can see what you are and some big sword I'd love to see! So what more is there?"

Swift looked at Eric, "I'm sorry Eric, I didn't mean to leave you out of this. It's just that Jamie has abilities I've not seen in almost a century. Normally only whimsical beings can see what I truly am, unless like with you earlier I intentionally showed you my true form. So for him to be able to see on his own means that he has a gift. So now I need to find out what I can about it. You can ask me questions any time you want. As far as my big sword goes, hold out your hand, and please don't drop it."

Eric's eyes lit up as Swift reached for the scabbard strapped across his back which held his sword. Pulling the sword out it made a ringing sound. As Swift drew it forth, Eric let out a low whistle now that they could all see the sword and blade for what it was.

Swift handed Eric the sword and in spite of the warning almost dropped it because it was far heavier than he expected. Eric managed however to keep a good grip on the sword's hilt, although it was a close call.

"Holy cow! This thing is so cool! Heavier than it looks too," Eric said full of enthusiasm.

Touching the blade Eric cut his finger. His sharp intake of breath was heard as he held up his finger. A little blood began to trickle out so he quickly stuck it in his mouth licking it clean. As he looked at the sword and then back at Swift he just had to ask another question. Just as if were still in school he raised his hand and waited until Swift noticed and chuckled.

"What's up Eric?" Swift asked. "You really don't have to raise your hand by the way."

Eric asked, "What kind of sword is this? I've seen a few swords in museums from like King Arthur and his knights, but this is different?"

"It's a Japanese Katana. Unlike the swords the knights carried which did their damage by chopping and smashing, this blade is made to cut. A well-trained person can slice you apart layer by layer with this kind of sword," Swift replied in a very matter-of-fact fashion.

"Cool, maybe I can learn to use it," Eric replied, going back once again to giving the sword a close examination. His mind running wild with thoughts of being a sword expert, and being able to defend himself on the streets. If only he knew just how true his thoughts at that time were.

"Jamie, why didn't you ever say anything to me?" Swift continued, now that Eric was smiling and fully absorbed with the sword.

"Well to be honest I thought everyone knew. I was being nice cause I didn't want to make you feel bad about your ears and stuff, so "I just didn't say anything. I figured if you wanted to say more you would when the time was right." Jamie replied shyly.

"Okay, we'll have to find out more about how you were able to see my true form. You already figured out on your own that I am an Elf, and I explained about that to Eric this morning when we had breakfast. I think however, we'd better pick this up someplace a bit more safe and without any distractions. I see Fáfnir and Nidhogg are getting that wary look. I think we had best leave," Swift said, pointing at the two dragons who seemed to be tasting the air and sensing something.

Swift took his sword back from Eric and Jamie blew out the candles and gathered them up. Kyle quickly grabbed his gear as did the rest of the boys. When Swift slid the sword back home into its scabbard, Eric looked on open-mouthed in fascination.

"How come I can still see it now?" Eric asked Swift.

"I'll answer later. We need to get out of this alley and move some place safer. Kyle what's about in the area?" Swift quickly asked.

Kyle tilted his head a second to think, "Follow me, I know just the spot."

Grabbing the rest of their gear they made ready to head for the other end of the alley. Swift looked out around the corners of the shelter, seeing it was clear he headed in the direction Kyle had pointed and they quickly started walking away. It looked like they had left none to soon as a group of older kids were just entering the alley from the end the boys had first entered and were now heading directly towards them. Quickly the boys ran out of the alley not wanting to confront the street gang that was rapidly approaching from behind them.

Unfortunately as the boys emerged from the alley into the street they discovered the rest of the gang. Divided into two groups to the left and right of the alley's exit, along with those approaching from behind, the boys were now blocked in all directions. This gang had been enjoying themselves terrorizing street kids for a long time and Swift was finally roused to anger by their incessant bullying tactics. He made a quick decision and then gave a few fast commands to the dragons which flew up and disappeared into the darkness of the clouds above. Although hidden, gold and purple flashes of light let the boys know they were not far away. With a determined look Swift then reached back over his shoulder and drew his sword out. The time to settle matters once and for all had arrived.

Jamie being the youngest and therefore most vulnerable was the main target of interest for the gang. One of the bullies started shouting, "Give us little blond cutie boy there and you can walk away. Refuse and we'll make your lives even more miserable than they are already are."

Swift stood motionless with his hands together holding a sword that no one could see other than the boys with him. He smiled grimly at his friends and the look told the boys that a battle was almost certain to take place.

"You're going to regret it if you come any closer," warned Swift. "I'd suggest you rethink this and take off. You really do not want things to get nasty."

Swift's warning was greeted with laughter and the gang members on the street began to circle him. Kyle backed both Eric and Jamie up towards the wall of a nearby building keeping the smaller boy as far back as he could. Kyle waited anxiously, he knew this was just the beginning.

Jamie shaking with fright stood motionless watching the scene unfold. Slowly the older boys in the gang closed in on Swift who had moved to stand in the middle of the road. His legs slightly spread for balance, sword in one hand pointing at the ground, and the other hanging down by his side. The blade of the sword reflected another flash of lightning from the storm which continued up above. Suddenly four of the gang members rushed at Swift who stood ready for them.

There were loud shouts and cries as the bullies collided with Swift and it was difficult to see exactly what was happening. Amazingly and with incredible speed the four who had attacked Swift had been bloodied and were falling back.

"He moved so fast," Jamie whispered to Eric as they stood near the wall. "Now I know why he's called Swift."

The attackers regrouped and launched themselves at Swift a second time. Now the carnage was even more intense and the screaming and shouting began in earnest. Once again the gang fell back looking even worse. Blood could be seen pouring down some of their faces from multiple cuts and gashes. Moving with lighting speed Swift was efficient but careful, and was trying to distribute punishment without doing permanent damage. As the cries from the battle continued to echo off the buildings, the rest of the gang suddenly poured out of the alley.

Neither Eric nor Jamie had noticed the appearance of the other part of the gang, but Kyle had. He quickly reached into his pack and then let it drop to the ground, a short sword appearing in his hand as the pack fell away. Not as rapidly as Swift, but with an agility that made it plain that he had been training, Kyle then ran to face the advancing ruffians. A shout was raised, the gang swarmed for him, and the young boy rapidly began to lay into them with the flat of his short sword. Cries of agony soon rang out from the gang members that had clustered around him thinking they had an easy target. It only took a few moments and then they began to stagger backwards with blackened eyes, bloodied lips, and one could hear the occasional crunch of bone or teeth as Kyle fought like a demon possessed.

As the battle became ever more one-sided the dragons swooped down and made their appearance. Flashing into existence in front of the gang the bullies froze in their tracks struck by fear radiating from the dragons. The dragons began picking up the fleeing members of the gang who had not been injured and dropped them back into the melee at the hands of Swift and Kyle for real punishment.

Jamie looked on with a fascination that spoke volumes, but he said nothing. He had read about how dragons could radiate fear and how it would freeze anyone who gazed at them. In spite of this however, he noticed he could still move as he grabbed Eric's hand more out of fright than any other reason. Eric looked back at Jamie also not feeling the effects of the dragon's terror. He smiled at Jamie and was happy to help comfort him, all the while not letting him know he was just as scared as the smaller boy.

Beaten almost before the battle had begun and then taken totally by surprise by the dragons, the gang's will to fight evaporated. Some fled, some seemed frozen in place, while others appeared to suddenly fly across the street without even knowing what had hit them.

The fight was clearly over and Swift shouted over the rain that began to pour hard again, "We need to run before the cops come! We did some pretty good damage and those gang bangers are not going to forget this."

"I agree!" Kyle shouted back. "We should split up. I've got Jamie, you take Eric. We'll meet at the usual bus stop."

Swift and Kyle retrieved their packs and then took off running in different directions. Kyle grabbed Jamie's hand and led the way almost half-dragging the stunned boy along. Jamie snapped back quickly however, realizing this was now a flight not to avoid the gang but the police. He knew if they caught them it would be a bad ending. It would mean either him landing in jail or even worse, being sent back home.

Watching Kyle and Jamie leave, Swift grabbed Eric by the hand and in his ear said, "Let's go. Jamie and Kyle will be fine."

Swift looking up at the dragons shouted, "Eitil ar shill leis an chaomhnú!" Both dragons then immediately flew off in different directions.

"Wow! Yeah, let's run," Eric replied a split-second later as they dashed off together in a direction opposite to that which Kyle and Jamie had taken.

After splitting up, Kyle and Jamie suddenly heard a siren begin to wail and headlights of a police car could be seen coming towards them. Kyle quickly increased his hold on Jamie's hand so they would not lose each other.

"We need to get off the streets," said Kyle panting. "Jamie, you up for a run in the underground?"

Jamie looked at his friend and nodded, "Lead the way. I don't know the layout very well yet."

"Lets go. There's an entrance at the edge of that building over there," Kyle stated as he pointed out a tall office building not far from were they were.

As the boys ran along Jamie was concentrating on who might be following. He accidentally bumped into a man heading towards the entrance of a tall dark grey office tower that housed the headquarters of a large computer services company. For a brief instant they looked into each other's eyes and both felt like they should be recognizing one another but then the moment passed.

"Careful there son, you don't want to get hurt," said the man kindly.

"Sorry sir," replied an apologetic Jamie as he ran to catch up with Kyle hearing the sirens in the distance.

Kyle lifted the grate in the street quickly and Jamie jumped down landing with a splash, the water in the storm drain coming up to his knees. Kyle then jumped after him, the grate crashing back into the opening in the street. Their move into the underground was none too soon as the sirens overhead gained in volume and then passed right over the hole they just dropped down into. The racing police cars were then followed moments later by a few more as the boys safely made their way through the knee-deep water.

Police cars blocked both ends of the street where the battle had taken place. Gang members were being interrogated by uniformed officers and were telling wild disconnected stories. Due to previous run-ins with these ruffians the officers for the most part did not believe what they were being told – the tales were too incredible to be taken seriously. This changed somewhat however, when it was discovered that they all seemed to be consistent about fire coming from nowhere. This finally got the attention of one of the senior officers.

"Did you hear that?" he mumbled to partner. "They're all mentioning the same thing – fire from nowhere. I've heard that said before by similar sorts."

His partner nodded agreement as they collated the information on what had supposedly taken place trying to make sense of the situation. Finally it was apparent that four boys seemed to be at the heart of the matter. Descriptions of two boys between eight and ten-years-old were given out as well as for two boys closer to fifteen or sixteen. The descriptions gleaned out of the disjointed tales given were not the best but two of them seemed to match up somewhat with a wild story told by witnesses at a buffet earlier in the day.

Meanwhile, Swift and Eric ran down the street, then cut up another, and soon doubled back again. They did this several times while simultaneously putting increasing distance between themselves and the battle scene. This would help to ensure that if someone was following them the pursuers would be lost soon enough. Swift knew his trade and not being seen was a specialty of his. They ducked into a building and Swift quickly led Eric to the basement. They then walked through a tunnel to a connecting building and finally emerged far enough away from the neighbourhood of the alley that they no longer needed to worry.

Swift finally wiped his sword off and set it back home in the scabbard that was across his back. Eric watched knowing the older boy had held the sword in his hand the whole time they ran and people really did seem oblivious to the fact he had it out.

The street gang that had tangled with them had learnt their lesson the hard way. They also seemed to vanish once word got around. The story that gained currency out of the wild tales was that they had been beaten up bad by a couple of martial arts kids who apparently used only their fists to do it. So the story was told as it spread to other gangs in the city, gaining embellishment as it spread as is common with all tales.

Attacks on street kids dropped after that day, since word spread that there were a couple of supposed super kids out there. Thereafter gangs for the most part decided to leave street kids alone.

"Finally they are destroyed. It has been too long with them ruling the streets, thinking they can exploit and terrorize everyone," Swift said, through clinched teeth, and it was finished.

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