HillFinalProject6043Spring2016 .pdf

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Title: The Fairborn Chronicles: Volume I
Author: Mark H ill

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The Fairborn
Chronicles: Volume I
By Bill Hill



Fisher Price Castle - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 3
Cincinnati Baronet - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 9
Letter from Amos Cartwright - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 15
Shoes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 21
Mission Diary - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 28
Brain-Wraith - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 32
Phuphu - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 36


Fisher Price Castle

The Four-Year-Old slept quietly on the sofa, draped in ramparts of blankets
and pillows. He was going to be a Five-Year-Old as soon as the morning came,
much too anxious to sleep in his bedroom. When finally he awoke and opened
his eyes, he found a large, cube-shaped parcel resting on the kitchen table. Its
wrapping was bright and banana-yellow, giving it (to the Five-Year-Old, at least)
the allure of some fated treasure chest.
The gift inside was not unlike a treasure to him; for it was a toy castle that
he found within the box, complete with a ten-piece battalion of miniature
knights. Whenever he laid his eyes on it – even years later, when others
wondered if he was too old to haunt its grey watchtowers – there was a certain
glow in his vigilant eyes, as if he himself were king of the keep.
The castle was perched on a mound of sea-green plastic, three principal
turrets towering over the non-removable sticker of its moat. A triptych of banners
hung on each saw-tooth battlement, bearing the images of lords, dragons, and
crowned griffins on crests of gold. Near the central parapet stood a painted
drawbridge, overshadowed by a retracted portcullis – so that the bridge, when
lowered, was like a red tongue in the gateway’s mouth, while the fangs of the
portcullis loomed behind.


The accompanying knights hailed from two separate kingdoms, which the
Five-Year-Old named The Good Kingdom and The Scary Kingdom. The Good
Knights were clad in golden mail, their helmets graced with sky-colored plumes;
upon their shields were the heads of lions, wreathed by golden manes and
floating in pools of blue paint. The Scary Knights wore ink-black armor, their
plumes a fiery shade of red. Upon their shields was the head of a horned beast,
whom the Five-Year-Old called The Dayton Dragon. Some knights wielded
swords, others axes, and others still held maces and chains. Each knight,
regardless of kingdom, had a loose pair of limbs which would creak faintly when
they moved (which the Five-Year-Old said was the clinking of their breastplates).
So, too, there was an oily scent in the warriors’ mail, though the Five-Year-Old
insisted that the odor was worse in the Scary Knights.
Despite several imagined wars between these factions, each battle
seemed to draw toward the same conclusion – the Five-Year-Old, kneeling at
eye level with the plastic towers’ embrasures, would take the Scary Knights one
by one, and drop them into an opening on the rightmost turret. This delivered
them to a lonely castle dungeon, causing a slight plink as though they were
stones dropped into a well. And one afternoon while dropping them thus, a very
strange thought occurred to the Five-Year-Old. The gold-plated knights,
clustered on the wall-walk beside the catapult, suddenly looked as though they
were alive and moving: drifting, phantom like, into the inner wards of the castle
to speak with one another.


Wonder what they’re saying, the child thought. Maybe the King can help
me fight. Maybe we can fight Him together.
The Five-Year-Old crept on his hands and knees, venturing lightly to the
rear of the castle. The hall there was encircled on three sides by a stony wall, the
fourth left open so that the castle grounds were often cooled by a passing draft.
As the child spied the cobbled floors, he saw a host of knights conversing – most
importantly, the King of the Good Knights, a great barrel-chested warrior with a
beard nearly as large as his head.
‘Hi, Your Majesty,’ said the Five-Year-Old to the King. ‘How is your
The King glanced upward through the cavity in the stone, greeting the
child with a careworn smile. ‘Not too well, I’m afraid,’ he answered in a clear
voice. ‘Or perhaps you’ve noticed that our lands are in a great deal of trouble.’
The child’s mouth dropped open like a loose shutter on a window. ‘You
did win the battle with the Scary Knights, didn’t you?’
‘Yes,’ said the monarch. ‘But those rascals are the least of our worries.
There are many filthy creatures in a kingdom as large as ours, some armed with
weapons much worse than swords. Or haven’t you noticed any of the monsters
that have come?’
The Five-Year-Old’s head flicked over his shoulders, searching the premises


for the rumored intruders. ‘I thought we were safe, as long as we stayed here,’
he replied, pulling himself closer to the green basin around the castle.
‘Here in the Toy Room we are safe, yes. But that is only because our
stronghold guards it. Our scouts have found many terrible spies in the other
rooms, especially in the halls by night.’
The Five-Year-Old felt a tremor in his teeth. ‘What kind of spies have they
‘This morning,’ said the King. ‘I was told of a wandering monster with a
head shaped like a long finger. The day before, our court learned of a creature
dwelling in the Family Room – shaped like a beast, but dressed as a man.’
The Five-Year-Old winced, wishing he could hide in the castle’s rockstrewn hollows.
‘And weeks ago,’ continued the King. ‘There were rumors of a monstrous
young woman: a one-legged dancer, who, between the hours of eleven and
midnight, would drag herself between the Loft and the Bedroom, bringing
strange messages to her master. These are only stories, however; and should you
see any such miscreants with your own two eyes, you would do best to escape
as quickly as you can.’ The monarch’s tenor was grave and glum, his gloves
stroking the scabbard on his waist.


The Five-Year-Old, meanwhile, flung his arm around the perimeter of the
toy fortress. ‘Your castle has many cannons and catapults!’ he cried. ‘If we hit
the monsters, maybe they’ll get hurt and they won’t ever come back.’
‘Our time and resources are limited, I’m afraid,’ said the King. 'Should our
army leave the castle, we would be struck down before we had reached the
lowest step of the Stairway. No, sir, this battle is not ours. We would do best to
discuss the matters within our castle walls, and pierce only those enemies who
arrive at our drawbridge.’
‘Then I will fight them,’ proclaimed the Five-Year-Old.
The King seemed to stifle a chuckle – ‘You?’ he muttered. ‘Weren’t you
the child who placed a key inside an electrical socket?’
The Five-Year-Old’s heart flared coldly in his chest. It seemed the story of
the key had been twisted into legend – a mortifying one besides, which would
not rest until it had wafted into every last room of the house. It’s gossip for the
toys, he thought. And probably the monsters, too.
‘Yes, I think you are,’ said the King as he surveyed the child. ‘And it gave
you a terrible shock, now didn’t it?’
But the words of the King fluttered beyond the child’s ears. They will not
help me fight Him, the Five-Year-Old thought. That’s all I needed to know. He
slipped like a spider over the woolen rug, then slid nimbly out the door.




Cincinnati Baronet

‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ Vanessa asked, her hand spread lazily
over the steering-wheel. ‘He’s old. He’s sleepy. He has bad eyes. And chances
are, he doesn’t have anything to say about those maps.’
Dirk smiled and saw the reflection of his teeth in the window. ‘But you
know I love maps,’ he answered. ‘If I’d gone with a different career, you know it
would have been cartography. I just can’t figure out why an old man would
draw a dozen maps of his childhood house – did he want to be an architect?’
Dirk peered through the glass to find a parade of rose-bushes, dazzling in a blur
as the vehicle passed them.
‘No, not that I know of,’ said Vanessa. ‘Just one of his thirteen-million
hobbies, I guess. Good thing you didn’t go into cartography, by the way – I
could never have helped you get that promotion.’
‘True, I guess. True.’ Dirk heard the crackle of crushed pebbles outside as
the car veered onto a gravel road.



‘He had the door painted red,’ said Vanessa. ‘I couldn’t say why.’

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