The New Adventures of Jamie

by Jamie Mac

Chapter 6

Magic Abounds

Jamie, still nervous, started to walk towards the front steps leading to the large covered porch on the old house. He looked on amazed at the architecture of the massive home. There was a large single turret ending with a small cupola on top with windows facing in all directions. A second story patio covered the one on the main floor and ran around the octagon shaped turret, which stood out visually with its red tiled roof ending in a cupola high above. Jamie was certain that he would be able to see quite a distance if he were to stand in the little room at the very top.

The large lower patio that Jamie walked up onto was grey painted wood with white wicker furnishings. The upper deck was protected by a wrought iron railing with sharp points along its top, as well as intricate designs in the ironwork itself. He also noted another window jutting out above the second floor indicating the existence of a third floor to the home. This window looked almost like an eyebrow with its half-round shape. Under the eaves of the roof were small decorative corbels placed every couple of feet, these also were carved in various fantastic gothic shapes.

Thondir stood by the massive double oak door. It had etched glass windows in it and on each door the handles had small loops which fell from the mouths of what appeared to be some type of gargoyle. Eric followed slowly behind Jamie taking everything in as well. The size of the house in addition to the number of windows facing in every direction indicated that the house had a large number of rooms. It looked almost as if it needed to be set inside large walls like a castle would have, with towers on each corner. The turret on the top of the house added to the feeling of it being a small castle.

Jamie stood next to the big man for a moment shaking a bit as he was still rather wary of everything. Thondir looked down on him and smiled, noting the apprehension in the small boy. He knew that either Swift or Kyle would soon fill him in on all the details of life here.

The boys stepped over the threshold into the spacious hallway which had sliding hardwood doors on either side leading to other parts of the home. A large staircase greeted them as well as a wide hallway running along the left side of the steps. All the boys having entered the house, Swift then took the lead.

Swift spoke, "Follow me, I will show you guys to your rooms. Each has its own bath, and there should be clothing to fit you in the closets and dressers. You may have to sort it out a bit, since we have visitors stay often as well."

Kyle added in "I know my room. I need to talk with Thondir a minute. I'll catch up with you all at lunch time."

Jamie looked back a bit confused but then remembered that Kyle had been here before and therefore he knew the home that they had just been introduced to. The floors of the entryway were very elaborate. Someone had taken a lot of time hand carving each piece of wood to make an intricate design in the middle of the floor. It was stained with a clear varnish to show the details and bring out the colours of the wood pattern.

The hallway and staircase were a dark stained hardwood, with runners of carpet in fancy patterns running along at different points making a nice setting. Large paintings hung in the hallway each depicting different beings some playing, some fighting. From Satyrs to Dragons, each image was fascinating and expertly done. Some of the paintings looked fairly old, while others looked almost new.

To the left of the main entrance sat a preacher's bench with hooks alongside, as well as an assortment of footwear under the seat. Some gloves and hats were hung on some of the hooks and there was a mirror in the centre. It looked as if it had been built with the home itself. It was quite obvious that whoever designed the home had had an eye for artistic detail. Neither Eric nor Jamie had seen anything of the sort in their admittedly somewhat limited travels.

Jamie just stared as they walked towards the steps, still not quite trusting his senses. "Swift, I'm still scared. This is all very cool and everything, but ... I mean, I can still go if it's not?"

Swift looked at Jamie slightly puzzled then comprehension dawned on him, "Jamie, I didn't think, I had forgotten a couple things. First, yes you are safe. Second, there is no cost as you heard Thondir say. He just wants you to be happy and to learn. I am sorry I guess I should have explained it better. I respect your fears, but you are safe here," putting as much emphasis on the word 'safe' as he could.

The two boys climbed the stairs and followed Swift as he walked down the second floor hallway aiming for the next set of stairs. Looking at the walls and ceiling which were done in an old style wallpaper with a floral print. The edges of the ceiling had sprung moulding that looked like bunches of grapes in a golden colour. While gold leaf covered the rest of the ceiling in more floral designs. On each side of the hallway there were doors to rooms along with more paintings similar to those on the main floor. Eric was looking about taking it all in as they approached the next set of steps.

Eric paused for a moment and then said, "Thanks Swift, I was kinda wondering like Jamie, but not as bad. This place is awesome. So which rooms are ours?"

Swift could sense Eric's excitement and replied, "We'll all be together on the third floor. It's set up for kids more than the second floor. You'll love it trust me."

He said it with a pleasant smile, calming more of the boy's fears. He thought about how they would really be surprised by what the rooms themselves offered. He came close to telling them more details about the rooms on the third floor, but then thought he would let it be a surprise.

The next staircase was not as wide as the main one. It sat on the right-hand side of the hallway set back in such a way that it did not fill the hall. The handrail was stained black matching the steps, while the balusters were painted a brilliant white making the balustrade stand out impressively. The stairs led to the uppermost reaches of the home, while underneath the steps was a small door that if opened revealed a small storage closet under the stairway.

When they got to the top floor Swift pointed to the first door, slightly down from the railing that ran around the top of the steps, and said, "That's my room."

Both Jamie and Eric looked and saw the door was plastered with some posters depicting dragons fighting knights in fancy armour. There was also a 'Keep Out' decal in the middle of the door, and a 'Do Not Disturb, Already Disturbed' sign hanging from the doorknob. Jamie and Eric chuckled as they read the little placard. They both smiled at Swift and he then motioned towards the next door, which was much like Swift's. It too was covered in posters and drawings. One of the posters was quite old - it was all black with a prism on it and a rainbow was coming off the end of it.

Jamie said "This has got to be Kyle's room. The poster is a dead giveaway."

Jamie had recognized it as the same image on the jewel case of one of Kyle's discs. He tapped on the poster smiling, knowing for certain that he was right about it being Kyle's room.

Swift nodded at Jamie, then pointed down the hall. There were six other doors, making a total of eight rooms on the third floor, "You guys can pick any room you want, they are all about the same size. Then you can get cleaned up I need a shower myself, to get rid of the stink of that gang. Once you are ready we'll get some lunch."

"You mean they'll be our rooms?" Jamie asked in disbelief.

"For as long as you want them, if you choose to stay on. I really hope you both decide to, there's a lot I can show you if you'd like. I know you're both still feeling shocked by everything. Everything you see is real, and the offer is genuine," Swift replied, hoping to put them more at ease.

Eric asked, "So no funny stuff, eh?"

Swift grinned and added, "The only funny stuff that happens here, is when two people care about each other and then it's just their business and nobody else's."

This cut the last of the tension he sensed in both boys as they giggled and walked down the hallway. Eric and Jamie walked side by side to the first blank door. Swinging it open both their eyes lit up and both exclaimed loudly "WOAH!"

Swift looking back as he opened his door smiled, and said, "Like them?"

"Are they all the same?" Jamie asked.

"Pretty much the only real difference is the bathrooms, they will be reversed in them sorta like back to back," Swift replied, noting that both boys seemed to have finally overcome the last visages of their fears, at least for now.

Jamie looked back at Eric and feeling a bit shy and not wanting to be rude asked his friend, "I'd like this one since it's next to Kyle's, if that's okay Eric?"

Eric smiled with understanding. He felt sympathetic since the small boy in front of him was dressed in jeans that were way too short, as well as about two sizes too tight even on his slim frame, "Go ahead, I got a feeling there is something more to this house than we are seeing."

Eric was right. When he opened the door to his room and walked in he saw that there were things in his room that he liked as well as noting that there were interesting things in Jamie's room as well. Some of the mysteries started to be noticed by him, as he entered the large room. A four-posted bed stood along one wall facing French doors that looked out onto a balcony. A large armoire with a mirror on the door stood next to the bathroom along with a large desk also adding to the decor. Hanging on the front of the armoire was a nice set of clothing that looked like it had been picked out just for him.

Looking about the room Eric also saw an easy chair and a flat screen TV with a video game system attached. The carpet on the floor was older but in very good shape. The easy chair was a large black leather chair with an ottoman that matched. At the foot of the large bed was a large cedar chest, with a seat cushion on top.

Eric took his shoes off, and placed them by the door, he hung his backpack on the hook next to the door. Closing the door behind him, he started taking out a few of the things he had in his backpack, and set them on top of the desk. He then walked to the bathroom and admired the handiwork in there. It was large with a full bath as well as a shower. Deciding he too could do with some freshening up he closed the bathroom door behind him and prepared to take a shower.

Jamie stood in the middle of his room simply looking. The room looked essentially the same as Eric's, the only big difference was the bedding which made him smile. Since he had a love of camouflage patterned clothing, that was the first thing he had noticed. The bed was covered with a large comforter in a tree and leaf pattern. The layout of the room reminded him of things he had seen in some of the books he had browsed in different libraries back in the city. A desk stood by the windows which looked out over a vast garden of flowers and what appeared to be a large pond with a waterfall.

Jamie still had a lot of reservations about everything. He wondered just how anyone could know of his love for camouflage, then again perhaps this room had been used by another kid who had stayed here before and was now gone. He slowly walked around the room, running a hand over the bed covering. He noted the hook by the door and took his pack and hung it there. Unzipping the pack he pulled out a dirty worn teddy bear and set it on one of the pillows on the large bed. Running his hand again along the soft comforter Jamie walked around the bed. Nearby was another cabinet with a glass door, as Jamie looked in he saw a handmade longbow about his size and a quiver of arrows next to it. He looked at it curiously and then continued his inspection of the room.

Walking up to the desk there sat a laptop computer with the screen saver running. He looked at it as he ran his hand over the smooth surface of the desk spotting a large book. The cover simply said 'Druhull.' He picked the book up and flipped through a few pages, his eyes wide as it gave descriptions and pictures of the different whimsical creatures that were on the preserve. Setting the book back down Jamie headed for the bathroom.

Stepping in and closing the door behind him, he looked about the bathroom. It was expertly tiled with a mosaic pattern depicting Satyr's playing in water along with creatures that looked like women, but only in their facial features the rest of their bodies looked more like fish. He reopened the door remembering that he needed to find some clothes, when he glanced past the armoire he saw hanging from its knob a set of clothing. Thinking carefully, he tried to remember if he had missed noticing it when he came in the room, but he did not remember seeing the clothing hanging there. Carefully he fingered the clothing almost as if making sure it was real. Deciding it was, he lifted the hanger from the knob it hung from and walked back in the bathroom. Smiling since everything was camouflage pattern, as he undressed and got ready for a shower.

The shower felt amazing with its pulsing massage as Eric stood under the warm water. He thought as he showered, trying to remember when the last time he bathed was, but could not remember. Life on the streets meant that showers were few and far between, if one could even get a shower. The closest lately he figured had been the rainstorm earlier that morning. Stepping out feeling refreshed, Eric got dressed and headed back into the main bedroom. Not sure how long the others would be he decided to flip the T.V. and game system on and relax. Getting in the large chair, he sank back with a controller in his hand and started to play.

Meanwhile with Swift showing the boys around upstairs Kyle sat in the kitchen with Thondir. They were busy discussing the events of the morning culminating in the decision to come to the preserve. Kyle explained that for the last couple weeks he thought Jamie had figured out the secret but had not been certain until the events that had unfolded that morning.

"I watched Jamie close. I know he didn't realize I was even doing it, but I could see he kept looking at me on the sly. Every time he looked away he had this look of curiosity, even rubbing his eyes as if they were playing tricks on him," Kyle stated.

"I think Kyle, that you both may have found him. You mentioned he could see the barrier around the preserve as well?" Thondir asked, trying to fill in the whole puzzle.

"Yeah he did. He was pointing at it, even trying to see how far above us it went. We all looked and even Swift couldn't see it. That actually surprised him, I think even more than me," Kyle said in response.

"It is beginning to sound like the mysteries are going to pile up on Little One," Thondir replied, having given Jamie the nickname that would stay with him for a while.

Kyle grinned, "The best part was when we met up with Swift in the alley before the fight. That was when Jamie asked Swift about his pointy ears, calling him Spock! That really took him by surprise. I knew Swift could change his appearance so he looked more human, I really thought he had just shifted. Until Jamie let on he had seen him in his true form from the beginning. That and the fact Jamie spent so much time reading up on things they finally kicked him out of the library."

Thondir smiled as he spoke, "Then Kyle, I am sure we really have found him. To see beyond the spells, we use for cloaking and perceive the barrier says his vision is pure; he sees everything. I now wonder if he has seen other beings that are not on the preserves as well. It is good you brought them here, I am also glad. As will be some of our protectors on the streets, knowing that the kids will be much safer since you disrupted the activities of the gang this morning."

"This had always been a problem with the protectors, they could never get at the large body of the gang to deal out the justice that you and Swift managed today. Thank you very much, they will be very pleased with this. Is that all we need to speak of, you seem like you could really use a shower as well," Thondir finished, pinching his nose closed and smiling at Kyle.

"I think that covers everything, I'm sure Swift can fill in any holes I might have left. I really do stink!" Kyle laughed as he stood up and pushed his chair back under the table.

"Okay, when you are done bring everyone down and we can have a good lunch. I am sure your friends Eric and Little One will love three meals a day," Thondir smiled back as Kyle started to walk from the kitchen.

Heading upstairs Kyle ran into Swift on the second floor, "So, did everything go good with Thondir?" Swift asked him.

"Yeah I think he has the full picture now. I figured since I was with Jamie the most he'd want to hear from me right away. He also thinks Jamie and Eric are the ones. I think he feels there is much more about Jamie we have yet to discover," Kyle replied.

"You're probably right, and Jamie is still very afraid. I think the fight earlier may have made those fears stand out much more, than if we had missed out," Swift said with a sigh, as he hated to see anyone hurt.

"Hey bud, I was just as afraid too when you first brought me here. I know what Jamie is going through, I'll stick close and make sure he gets over his fears. Go talk to Thondir now, I'll make sure Eric and Jamie are settling in after I shower," Kyle spoke, while lifting an arm pretending to smell his armpit and wrinkle his nose.

Swift laughed, "Okay it is nice to get clean. I felt nasty after that fight. Oh by the way, Jamie choose the room next to yours. See you at the table in a bit then, eh?"

They parted ways as Kyle half ran up the third floor stairs and stopped; he heard the video game in Eric's room and laughed thinking just how amazing this home was. He walked into his room and threw his bloody jacket in the direction of the clothes basket, just missing it. He finished undressing while walking into his bathroom. Shutting the door, he could hear the water running through the wall, and knew that Jamie was still in the shower.

Jamie stood in his own shower as the warm water cascaded down, turning under it just enjoying the warmth. It had been colder than usual that spring, and along with the storm that morning he felt like he would never be warm again. Innumerable doubts still ran through his mind and he wondered how long this new situation could last. He stood in the shower for quite a long while, amazed the water never seemed to run cold. Finally, he got out and dried himself off.

As he stood on the bathroom's tile floor, with a towel around his waist, he looked in the mirror on the back of the door. Turning just enough so that he could get a look at his back, he was relieved to see it had finally scarred over and no scabs or infections had set in. He moved back and forth to check from all angles and he also noticed that most of the bruises had faded as well. He picked the hanger up from off the door and began to put the camouflage-patterned outfit on, he was even impressed that the underwear matched. He smiled and giggled when he thought about it, pausing a moment to admire the camouflage underwear he just put on while looking at himself in the mirror again. The funny part of the whole thing was everything seemed to fit his small frame perfectly.

Leaving the bathroom for the spacious bedroom, he saw the hamper next to the nightstand by the bed and he threw his old clothing in it. Once again he looked around the room, taking in all the detail. From the king sized four-poster bed, to the fancy wood trim along the ceiling. Instead of a light in the centre of the blue ceiling there was a fan hanging down. He did not see a pull chain, but noticed by the door leading to the hallway there was a glowing knob along with a couple other switches. He walked over, turned it, and nothing happened, then he pushed it and the fan started to rotate.

Curiosity is the province of young boys, and Jamie was the most curious of them all it seemed. He checked each switch out to see what they did, finding that the other switches turned on different lights in the room. That investigation over, he found himself still standing there just taking it all in, when the glass case with the bow and arrows caught his attention once again.

He walked over certain that it would be locked. It was, but the big surprise was the key was hanging alongside of it. He thought to himself that Swift did say they were our rooms. Even if the logic did not quite fit the reasoning, he opened the case and took out the bow. It felt like a toy in his hand since it was not very heavy, but yet when he drew back the string he could feel there was real backbone to it. He looked closer at the bow and saw that it was carved with as much detail as Kyle's gauntlet had.

Setting the bow down on the bed, he pulled the quiver of arrows out. Each one was handcrafted with the feathers from the wings of turkeys. They were expertly applied including the hand wrapping of the threads wound through the fletching around the ash shaft. The arrowheads appeared to be handmade as well from flint. Jamie touched the edge of one very carefully, but still managed to draw a bit of blood from his finger. The flint was attached to the end of the arrow and locked in place with sinew. Jamie realized these were far from toys and put them back in the case, closing and locking the door as well as hanging the key back up.

Jamie walked back to the desk, picked up the book laying there, and walked over and sat down in the big easy chair that also adorned his room. He felt like he just jumped into the mouth of some big dragon, feeling like it had swallowed him. He enjoyed the comfort and the softness of the leather and settled in.

Flipping through several pages and reading descriptions of the different beings that could be found at Druhull, Jamie drifted off into a light doze. The morning had undoubtedly been the most eventful in his entire life, even thinking back to his home life. Only half aware of what was going on around him, he roused at a sudden sound he heard. Looking around the big room he quickly reassured himself it was not a dream. Then the knock came again a bit louder and he turned his head towards the door of the bedroom where it had come from. Jamie quickly slipped out of the chair, the book falling from his lap with a thud to the floor as fear and panic started setting in. He hid himself as best he could behind the large chair.

"Who- who's there?" Jamie asked, the shakiness clearly echoing in his voice.

"It's me, Kyle. I was just checking to make sure you're okay. I wanted to know if you were hungry as well?" he replied to Jamie's question, sensing that Jamie was very scared. "I can come back later if you want."

After he said that Jamie slowly opened the door, the look of a trapped animal showing clearly on his face. Kyle reached out slowly, and then feeling no resistance pulled Jamie close to him, giving him a big hug. As Jamie started to sob a bit, Kyle just held him gently.

"I know you're thinking there's something bad coming. Maybe someday out there in the world there is, I don't really know. But, I can say this - you are safe here," Kyle whispered softly in his ear. Kyle knew this was one of Jamie's panic attacks, since he had helped the small boy through several others, and that at time like this what was needed most was reassurance.

Kyle continued to hug Jamie close whispering in his ear when Eric opened his door. He looked at his friends and saw immediately that Jamie was out of sorts. Not fully aware of what had happened to his younger friend, Eric stood there a second just watching Kyle whispering in Jamie's ear.

"He okay?" Eric finally said quietly not wanting to make matters worse.

Kyle nodded, "He will be. He's had this happen before." Then turning his attention back to Jamie he gently added, "Come on back, Little One."

Jamie practically jumped out of his skin when he snapped back, that was fairly typical of his attacks. He started to cry hard. Kyle just hugged him a bit more tightly, and Eric walked over and laid a hand on the small boy's shoulder hoping it would help. Jamie's first words were too shaky to understand, then his crying slowed as he finally started to relax. Kyle let him go, and Eric took a step back as well.

"I- I'm s-s-sorry," Jamie stuttered.

"I w-w-was, sleepin. I heard the knock and, and I- I, just freaked," he finally managed to get out, after a few moments passed.

"It's okay, Little One. I know you've had a rough morning. You and Eric are really safe here. If I felt you were in danger I wouldn't have brought you here," Kyle said trying to reassure Jamie that he was safe.

"I agree. I've known Kyle for a bit longer than you, he has never led us wrong Little One," Eric replied picking up on the nickname from Kyle.

Jamie's voice a bit stronger now said, "Do I smell food? It's making my tummy rumble." both Kyle and Eric could hear Jamie's stomach rumble in protest.

Kyle and Eric both started to chuckle at Jamie's question. It also said Jamie was now fully back with them and had snapped out of the panic attack. Jamie now had his special little smile etched on his face, the one that could charm the devil himself into selling him hell. That was one thing Kyle admired the most about Jamie, his ability to snap back almost anything and move forward. Kyle felt that in another lifetime he knew Jamie, and that they were very close - maybe somehow he was right.

"I know you are back now! Yeah I think lunch is about ready that was why I came to your door," Kyle said smiling at the impish grin on Jamie's face.

"Good I'm starved, let's go eat!" Jamie said as he wiped his eyes on the sleeve of the new camouflage shirt he was wearing.

"Sounds good to me. I'd race you but I don't even know where the kitchen is yet," Eric piped in.

Kyle said, "Just follow your nose, the food odours will get stronger the closer you get. Or you could just follow me," whereupon Kyle stood and dashed for the stairs.

"We'll get you!" both the smaller boys shouted giving chase.

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