Saturday, March 12, 2005

Meet Joshua Wander, Part Nineteen

Art by Sherlock, adapted from an early draft of Rani's portrait.

Joshua Wander's story is too long to summarize here. Please see Part Seven, Part Twelve, and Part Eighteen for episode summaries. Links to each installment are on the sidebar of this blog.

Part Eighteen: Harry questions some of Josh's behavior since returning to Syracuse, while Jerry questions how John could possibly have faked Rachel's appearance. To satisfy him, Josh uses a broadcast signal to make Jimmy Carter's image appear on the sidewalk. Jerry asks to go to Angland with Onclemac and Josh.

Part Nineteen: Quick Trip

Harry looked at him. “Do you really want to do that? Have you no family or friends to miss you and mourn for you, no education or career plans that matter enough to keep you here?”

Jerry nodded. “I have all those things. But I’m not talking about leaving Syracuse and this world forever. I just want a quick visit, to reassure myself that it’s all real, and that you both made it back to Angland okay.”

“And what if you’re the one who doesn’t make it back okay?” Harry asked.

Jerry smiled. “I’ll take my chances.”

“Can you do it, Harry?” I asked. “Can you get all three of us to Angland?”

Four of us, Rachel remarked.

“Of course I can do it,” Onclemac said crossly.

“And can you get Jerry home safely afterward?”

“Almost certainly.”

“Then why try to scare or discourage him?”

“I’m not. I just want him to realize the possible consequences. This multiversal travel can be dangerous. It shouldn’t be done as a lark.”

“Except by the two of us, you mean,” I teased.

Harry shook his head. “I’ve had five years to learn the right spells and develop protocols to minimize the danger,” he said. “And you—you have no choice. You’re going to be a multidimensional Billy Pilgrim for the rest of your life. But Jerry still has a choice.”

“And I’ve made it,” Jerry said. “If you’ll take me, I definitely want to go. To visit.”

Harry sighed and shrugged. “We’ll all go. Take my left hand, Jerry. Josh, place your left hand next to my right hand as if they were touching. Ready?”

“Ready,” we both said.

Very ready, Rachel said.

Onclemac said the words of the “home” spell. The Syracuse University campus disappeared. We were in darkness. I nearly stumbled as I suddenly felt the weight and balance of my body again. Onclemac’s hand gripped mine as I steadied myself.

I smelled hay and animals.

Welcome home, wizards, the cow said.

I suppose that at this point, anyone who reads these memoirs will be wondering what adventures Jerry had during his visit to Angland. The truth is that he didn’t do anything very interesting, although of course Jerry himself was thrilled.

Jerry spent that night in Harry’s spare room, while I slept in the hayloft again. This was Rachel’s idea, but I didn’t mind. I liked Ed and Elsie, as did Rachel. They both promised to keep quiet about Rachel, so she and I were able to talk that night in relative privacy.

And no, I won’t tell you what we talked about. But it wasn’t a romantic conversation, if that’s what you're wondering.

In the morning, Harry—or Onclemac, as his spell soon forced me to call him, even as he was unable to call me Chris—showed Jerry his spell book, and demonstrated a few small, amusing spells. I countered by making the chair in the wizard’s study sing Love of Chair from the CTW show The Electric Company. After that, Onclemac took us into the nearby village of Riverton, where he graciously bought Jerry a pair of soft boots and a small silver knife, both calculated to impress Jerry’s D&D friends. Then Jerry saved the world when he—no, actually he didn’t. All he did was go safely home with his gifts and his memories, while I stayed behind in the hayloft and sulked a bit.

It wasn’t that I was jealous of Jerry for his new accessories, or his ability to go back to Syracuse. Not exactly. But I had just cut myself off from home, family and friends, made a potentially powerful enemy, and embarked on an unsettled and unsettling new phase of my life. I was depressed and irritable, and more than a little scared. It was Rachel, of course, who eventually coaxed me out of Onclemac’s barn and helped me get my new life back on track.

But that’s a memoir for another day.

The End

Next week: new serial--I think! Help me decide which project to tackle next in this space.

If you're one of the few people who are sorry to see this one end, don't despair! The next part of the JW novel will be available in weekly emailed installments to a limited number of beta readers. Drop me a line if you're interested. Beta readers will be expected to give feedback on what works and what doesn't, and any typos or errors. Okay? Okay!

The Real Joshua Wander
Joshua Wander: Two Fragments
Joshua Wander Lives (the history of the character)

Joshua Wander on BlogSpot (use sidebar to get to the individual installments)

Joshua Wander in Musings:
Part One Part Two Part Three Part Four Part Five Part Six
Part Seven Part Eight Part Nine Part Ten Part Eleven Part Twelve
Part Thirteen Part Fourteen Part Fifteen Part Sixteen Part Seventeen Part Eighteen Part Nineteen

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