Sunday, 8 April 2012

The Chronicles of Jack The Axe

Prelude Part One

Murderer in the Kingdom

Jack had very reliable sources in the town market and this time he was sure he was going to get his man … animal … whatever… He was finally going to get the beast that had been eluding him for weeks.
The town was in a panic because of some rather gruesome murders in the kingdom. What made these murders the more disturbing was the fact that each crime was done in the victim homes after the murderer had been openly invited in.

Jack had been thinking of some sort of Fairy shape shifter. Heaven’s knows what these crazy creatures were capable of; the way they had become part of the Kingdom and the King’s acceptance of them was staggering. While most were harmless, every now and then something more sinister surfaced and this - thing - that Jack was now pursuing was one of the exceptions.

Jack led his men into the forest, not the safest of places now the seam had opened and others had started leaking through.

No one who came through knew how to return, thus the influx of Fairy people became a steady flow, with many a Kingdom dweller thanking the Gods that it was only the Fairy world that appeared to be connected.

Fears of the appearance of Dragons, Giants and Trolls were always being discussed in hushed conversations behind hands in the market square.

Dragons, Giants and Trolls, thought Jack, if only the people of the Kingdom knew the truth. Jack, being an important and high ranking member of the King’s elite guard was privy to probably more than any other living resident of the kingdom except maybe the King himself, and he had already done things he was not proud of for the survival of his home land and for his King. But those things were pushed far to the back of his mind as he prepared to hunt down his prey, the friendly killer as the locals had dubbed it.

Jack’s information had come from the Market Controller, a large egg type creature that had appeared several years ago in the first wave of immigrants from the seam.

He had been a novelty at first and till this day there had not been an appearance of anything like him.

He was unique.

The King took a liking to him and gave him a plum job controlling the traders at the market as a part of the new assimilation program for Fairy folk.

It was a role the Egg took on eagerly and it wasn’t long before Jack discovered that if the egg supplied information to the elite guard his other subtle indiscretions would be ignored.

Jack found the round, over dressed controller no more than a bullyboy and only ever acknowledged him when he had something Jack considered useful. The information on the killer was useful.
Humpty Dumpty - what’s with the stupid names wondered Jack – wouldn’t reveal how he got the information but hinted he had heard it on the grape vine. Jack was seriously thinking of going back and using a bit of pervasive force to extract the knowledge a bit later just for the fun of it.
There were still a few matters pending, like the disappearance of Pinocchio and who stolen the goose to settle yet.

As Jack approached the small cottage he positioned his men around the perimeter that way, if anyone was still inside they would be seen if they tried to leave. Jack himself was more than capable of taking on anything that may present any danger inside.
Silently sliding up to the front door he withdrew his axe from the holder that he strung across his back.
The last time he used his mighty axe in an act of violence it had earned him a new name from the King.
“Jack the Giant Killer”. A name he asked the King never to call him again if he wished him to remain in Royal service.
The memory still depressed him.
Moving closer to the door Jack noticed it was ajar and in one fluid motion burst in prepared for anything.
He knew immediately he was too late.
Slumped next to a bed at the far end of the one room cottage were the remains of a human, a girl by the looks of it.
A red cape had been discarded on a nearby chair, a popular fashion item for young women these days. On the bed were the bed clothes of an older person, but the person themself was nowhere to be seen. It looked like the killer only got one victim this time.
On closer inspection Jack found something positive about this awful scene, the killer had got careless. Though the girl had been mutilated in the usual manner, the bed clothes had traces of thick wiry hair all through them, indicating that the killer may have been interrupted and that this was no man, this was a wolf.
There could be no mistake. Jack had one of his men confirm it, a well-trained tracker who also said there had been another here - a human. And from the evidence presenting itself it looked like they had both run out and headed into the forest in the direction of the seam.

The seam or the gateway (it had so many names) was generally thought to be deep in the woods in a southerly direction from the Kingdom, but no one knew for sure, because the Fairy folk never remembered coming through it and no one on the Kingdom side had ever seen it. Jack and his men were not interested one way or the other in the seam just the murderer of the young lady in the cottage.

To be continued.......

Edited by Cathie Tranent, original art by Simon Sherry

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