Urban Space

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jethro's picture

Urban Space - Chapter 11

Kat and Robin arrived at the surf club not long before lunch. As they pulled into the carpark Robin checked to see her boyfriend’s car was there. Kat parked and put the top up before looking the car. Shouldering their beach bags the two girls sauntered out of the heat and sunlight into the cool dark surf club.

Greg worked behind the bar most days and today was no exception.

“Hiya sexy” he called out to Robin as he saw the girls. Robin waved and the two girls walked down to where he was working and sat on bar stools in front of him.

“Hey gorgeous” Robin replied.

It was their standard form of greeting and Kat had never observed them break it. The two had been going out for over 3 years now having met while in school. Greg was a year older and had been around the beach all his life. The job at the surf club was a means of bankrolling his passion to be an iron man. He trained everyday at the beach, and then worked behind the bar for around 6 hours or so. He had already won a number of junior titles and last year had hit the big time. Here he was a small minnow in a big pond, but already he had gained a rising star award in his local club as well as getting increasingly improved results in the national events. Robin didn’t share his athletic skills but was his most passionate supporter. Kat had come along several times to the local races, though had not attended any away events.

Greg poured the two girls a drink and took a pause from his labour of stacking glasses and refilling fridges. He leaned on the bar in front of them and Robin leaned over for a kiss.

Kat felt an instant pang of jealousy, not over Greg, but the fact that she was boyfriend less. She grudgingly admitted to herself that having had Mario as a boyfriend would have been something she would have enjoyed, but not now. Boys confused her. They either were coarse vile creatures who repulsed her or they were absolute spunks who made her weak kneed and blushing like Mario had. She envied the easy familiarity that Greg and Robin shared. Their camaraderie she mused was the attribute of the relationship that she desired the most. She had never experienced that with a boy. Robin told her frequently she was too intense and to loosen up.

“Kat” she heard.

She snapped out of her internal reverie to look up and find Greg and Robin watching her amusedly.

“She’s pining for Mario” Robin laughed good naturedly digging her friend in the ribs.

“I am so NOT pining” Kat responded indignantly.

Greg laughed out loud, his melodious voice echoing through the empty taproom.

“Robin told me,” he said. “You looked a million miles away.”

“I was,” she admitted. “Hey lets get some lunch from the bistro Robin. We can leave this hunk to attract the ladies in here.”

“Humph!” Greg snorted. “Lady cockroaches and blue rinses oldies are all we get in here this time of day. Not til the nippers arrive after school and all the mums come in here will it get busy. What are your plans for the day?”

Robin ticked off on her fingers, “Lets see, lunch, sunbathe, spy on gorgeous hunks on the beach, chat up sexy barmen and get them to take me home after they finish work, and the rest can’t be mentioned in front of young ladies.” She giggled as she reeled this off with a pointed finger at Kat as she said the last bit.

It was Kat’s turn to snort now. She followed on with her own list, “Lunch I agree, sunbathe yes, hunks on beach yes but not any old lowlife barmen for me. Diamond rings, Gucci dresses and fast sports cars are a must and they must have a penthouse overlooking the beach.”

“You don’t want much do you Princess Katarina,” he mocked.

“Grrr,” she responded and playfully swatted his cheek.

He caught her wrist and then held her hand up to his face pressing his lips to the back of her hand in a mocking imitation of chivalry.

He turned serious as he released her hand.

“It’s not what’s in the bank account that you should be chasing Kat but what’s in their heart. Don’t worry you will find the man of your dreams one day. Now get out of here you two, you are keeping me from other customers.” He waved an expansive hand toward the rest of the empty room. The girls laughed and got up to go.

Robin asked “See you at four?”

“Count on it” replied Greg.

The two lasses grabbed a sandwich each from the bistro then headed down to the beach where they chose a spot to spread out their towels. Slipping off their mini skirts they sat down cross-legged on the towels next to each other to start spreading suntan lotion. As they massaged it in Kat looked over at Robin and asked suddenly, “You’re going to marry him aren’t you?”

Robin looked surprised by the question but answered immediately, “The second he asks me!”

Kat stopped rubbing lotion and looked down at her blanket glumly. “What am I doing wrong?” she asked. “Why can’t I find a nice man?”

Robin looked concerned not hearing this sort of emotion from the normally sunny natured Kat.

“Your man will come Kat” she responded, gently laying a hand on her friend’s arm. “Just hang in there and don’t fall for any more smooth talking snakes.”

Kat agreed and the two girls lay down, tipped their hats over their faces and basked in the sun.

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Urban Space - Chapter 10

Jord pressed his back to the sacred stone. Its roughness was comforting. He pulled the hood over his head and almost cried out in shock as his newly lighted world went black.

Then there was a flicker and it came back, but this time there was blue symbols and lines over the sides of his vision. As he moved his head from side to side the view of the world changed but the lines and symbols stayed static.

Jord may have been blind, and he couldn’t read, but he wasn’t dumb. He almost instantly guessed that the hood contained a display that was superimposing over this vision, and then he realised that probably the coat was providing the vision too. Deciding to test the theory he slid the coat hood off and once again experienced the momentary disconcerting blackness and flicker as the image settled. Sitting forward he slid the coat down over his arms. As it came free his world went black and this time there was no flicker. He was still blind.

But as has slipped his arms back into the coat and his vision was restored, he knew that now he had a piece of technology that could counter his handicap.

Slipping the hood back up again he hunched back against the stone and looked down at the coat once more. He noticed as he moved his head around the superimposed images and lines seemed to change slightly. Looking down at the coat he noticed that it looked different from when he had observed it for the first time. Taking the hood off he looked down at the coat with ‘normal’ vision. It appeared like any other coat. Buttons, zips and piping along the seams. Coloured patches, breathable inserts under the arms and a couple of pockets. Nothing abnormal.

Putting the hood back on again Jord looked back at the coat. This time as he looked at the raised emblem over his left breast on the coat the display changed slightly. He noticed that a little circle of hieroglyph images on the right hand side rotated and one in particular stood out. Looking at the pocket over his heart he saw that the images rotated to a little picture that flashed slightly. As he watched it suddenly bloomed into an image filling all his vision. The background seemed to fade away. As he looked he felt the tingling in his arms again and then suddenly when he looked down the coat seemed have turned a shimmery blue colour.

From a distance he heard Arutha say “The Whitefaces have gone. You can come out now.” Arutha stumped around the side of the stone and then looked at Jord in a puzzled way. ”Where have you gone boy?” he said. You were right here; don’t say the stone has swallowed you again?”

Jord went to say something, puzzled as he was as to why Arutha seemed to be looking right through him at the stone. But Arutha walked off before he could speak. He got to his feet and walked around the side of the stone. Arutha was standing there talking quietly to Lena and Marick. Neither of them even glanced at him as he walked up.

“You would think that you are the blind one Arutha,” he said. “I was right where you left me.”

The three adults completely ignored him; it was as if he was invisible and unable to be heard? The thought struck him, maybe he was, and maybe the coat was making him invisible the same way it made him see. He looked at the image over his heart again and it seemed to fade away.

Arutha jumped with a start to see him standing there. “There you are boy; you gave me a fright sneaking up like that.”

Lena and Marick just stared in awe and seemed to Jord as they were on the verge of dropping to their knees in front of him. He turned to Arutha and asked, “So what am I supposed to do? It’s all very well having a prophecy made about you, if that’s true, but how does that change things? We still live here in the meeting place surrounded by Whitefaces who only visit us when they want us to work for them. The rest of the time we may as well be invisible.” As he spoke the word ’invisible’ the small image flashed up on the right hand side of his vision, but not large. It was ready for him to activate, but he chose not to look at it surmising that this would activate the invisibility function. He didn’t want to scare the adults any more.

“I am hungry” he said. “Do you have any food paper?”

Lena dug into her pocket and hauled out a wad of paper notes. “Take some of these,” she said. “They will get you food from the Whitefaces.”

Jord pocketed the paper and turned to walk off.

“Do you want to me to come with you boy?” Marick asked uncertainly. It sounded like he was almost in awe of Jord.

Jord shook his head and said “No. I shan’t be long.”

He walked towards the entry way, went through and off out of sight from the 3 adults. They stood gazing after him for a while, each lost in their own thoughts.

Finally Arutha broke the silence.

“We had better arrange from him to and see the elders.”

“Yes” said Lena. Marick just nodded as if he was fearful of voicing his thoughts out loud.

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Urban Space - Chapter 9

Simon waited as the sounds of the doorbell echoed away inside. He could have sworn he could hear voices and assumed that Chris was home. After a couple of minutes had passed he pressed the bell again. The peals of sound mimicking a grandfather clock echoed away again, but no one came to the door. Simon pulled his communicator out and spoke “Chris”. The device dialled the number and gave an engaged signal. Simon pressed his ear to the glass inserts in the front door but could hear no ringing noise. Damn he thought. The TV is going too loud for Chris to hear the doorbell and he is on the phone. He looked around. The driveway led up from the street to the triple garage doors where it opened out into a turning circle. This had a path leading to the front door. The whole area was flanked by low hedges and these were backed by an 8 foot stucco wall with small embrasures containing potted figs. The wall was topped with a short iron railing with spikes. Simon looked around and then decided to head for the back yard. He jumped onto a pot, grabbed the fig’s trunk and walked his feet up the wall. Pushing back on the fig he was able to reach up with one hand and grab the railing at the top. Pulling himself up onto the top of the fence he was able to step carefully over the railing. Dropping his bag to the ground he swung down the wall and then jumped the remaining 3 feet to the ground.

Inside when the doorbell first sounded Chris was out cold. By the time Simon sounded the bell again he was groggily coming to. He had enough wits to lay still however and keep his eyes shut. Peeking through hooded lids he was able to check that he was not restrained and that he was lying in the middle of the room where he had been attacked. He could see the phone over the other side of the kitchen on the floor. Although the case had come open he could see the talk light was still on. He hoped the emergency services had heard the commotion and his cry for help and were despatching the police. Then the doorbell sounded again. Suddenly heavy footsteps sounded behind his head and then thudded down right in front of his face as the intruder stepped over him. They headed down the corridor toward the front entry way. Chris didn’t dare move in case there was someone behind him still but he was able to get a fairly good look at the person heading down the hallway They were wearing a heavy leather jacket and faded jeans. Scruffy work boots on his feet. A balaclava covered his head so Chris couldn’t see the colour of his hair. By the time he thought to look the intruder was out of sight so he didn’t get a look at the colour of his hands. A thought crossed his mind that it was the gardener. There were no further sounds so Chris risked a look over his shoulder. It appeared clear and he rolled carefully into the middle of the kitchen before rising cautiously to his knees. There was no one in sight in the kitchen or family room. His head throbbed where he had been hit. He thought about getting a kitchen knife but didn’t want to risk making a noise with the cutlery so instead he decided to grab the phone and hide somewhere. As he picked up the phone he heard the footsteps coming back. No time to talk he thought and quickly eased the pantry door open. Slipping inside he cautiously pulled the door behind him. The louvered panels on the door allowed him a view downward to the floor of the kitchen but effectively hid him from the view of anyone standing in the kitchen. He heard a curse as the intruder came into sight of where he had been lying and he could see their boots as they stopped. Hoping they wouldn’t open the pantry door Chris looked around frantically in the darkened room to see if he could locate a weapon. A bottle of cooking sherry on the top shelf looked like the best choice. Grasping it by the neck he carefully turned it up without sloshing the contents. Looking out the door he could no longer see the boots. He hadn’t heard them walk off but he was taking no chances. Crouching down he tried to get a better view through the louvred slats but could only see a few feet of kitchen floor tiles. Suddenly he heard a tinny voice. He remembered he was holding the phone and held it to his ear. A voice was talking.

“Is anybody there? We heard a cry for help. Help has been despatched.” The voice repeated the message again. Chris didn’t dare answer and covered the speaker with his hand.

Simon walked across the manicured lawn and through a shrubbery toward the back of the house. As he came round the side of the house he saw the pile of bloody meat lying with the head on top beside the hedge next to the patio. He stopped dead in his tracks. He immediately knew something was wrong and that Chris needed help. He snuck back into the shrubbery and tapped the talk button on his communicator. “Emergency” he whispered. Within seconds he had been connected and was talking to an emergency operator. After telling them the address he noticed a difference in the way they were talking.

“Has something already happened” he asked.

The operator said there was already a call out on that address. After getting the story from Simon the operator instructed him to either stay hidden in the shrubbery or if he could get back over the wall without being seen then to do that and wait down the street for the enforcers to arrive.

Simon agreed before terminating the call but there was no way he was leaving his mate. Cautiously looking back round the side of the house he could see no movement near the patio.

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Urban Space - Chapter 8

Kat and Robin said their good byes to Lara and Kim and headed for the carpark. Halfway there they were walking toward a small quadrangle when from up ahead round the corner of the building they could hear male voices laughing. The next thing they heard was an Italian voice saying Princess Katarina in a mocking voice. Enough to stop them in their tracks just short of the building’s corner. With bated breath they waited to hear what was next.

“Ice Princess Katarina I should call her” the voice grumbled. I don’t know what it will take to break that barrier. Every advance I make is rebuffed. You would think she couldn’t stand me, yet every now and again I will catch her unawares and she blushes so much you’d think she was sunburnt. Yet next minute she’s aloof and wary as a caged eagle.”

“You should give up mate. There are plenty more single women on this campus, and they are all eager to get the Italian stallion.”

The two girls listened spellbound.

“Maybe, but I set the goal of the hard to get Princess. I get her and the rest of the campus is mine.”

“Well let’s make a bet then. I bet you won’t bed her before the end of this semester.”

“You’re on buddy.”

The sound of skin meeting skin as the two boys clapped hands together sealing their bargain broke the trance the two girls were in. “Quick” whispered Robin, “Come the other way in case they come towards us.” The two girls quickly scampered round the other side of the building and into a little alcove in the side of the building just in time before the two boys came round walking back the way the girls had come from. They didn’t see the two girls pressed against the side of the building and were soon out of sight.

“Oh the pig!” exclaimed Kat.

“How could they?” Robin inquired.

“I am so over him” Kat responded. “I thought he was too smooth to be true.”

“Let’s make his life hell in class then,” Robin said. “He won’t know what hit him.”

“Shall we tell the other girls?”

“It’s a matter of national interest” Robin replied, “We should tell the campus radio reporters!”

“Come on lets go,” Kat said heading off once more toward her car. “Beach here we come!”

The two friends got into the car and Kat let the top down. Her t-shirt was flung into her bag, her sunnies hooked down and a basketball cap placed on her head. Robin followed suit and in a short time the two girls were rolling toward the beach in bikini tops and denim minis with the breeze whipping their sun bleached blond hair around their ears.

“This is the life” Robin called over the wind as she thrust her arms up and out. “Roll on the end of study!”

Kat blipped the convertible’s accelerator as they waited for a traffic light.

The light turned green, she stepped on the gas and off the clutch and with the tyres howling in protest launched the car forward. Shrieking with delight the two girls grinned at each other and called out in unison “To freedom!”