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Stories from the Verse
Old Verses New
Chapter 46: Kondor 57
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Previous chapter: Chapter 45: Hastings 58
Kondor sat up. The images faded. It was that stupid half-dream state Bob Slade had mentioned, in which bits of reality and bits of dream and fantasy intermingle. He was surrounded by the dead, all right, but he wasn't in the afterlife. He wasn't even in a graveyard. He was in a museum.
The polished wood floor beneath him was clean and slippery against the cloth of his fatigues. The high ceiling was visible due to moonlight filtering through tall windows. The room was a showplace. In front of him was the facade of a mausoleum, strangely familiar but not in any way unusual. Next to that was a mummified wrapped body, human or close to it. He stood up. He was dimly aware that there were freestanding displays in the middle of the room, but for the moment he followed the perimeter. At the door were the simple stone columns and rusted iron bar gates of a fence. A number of tombstones stood against one wall, and there were glass cases containing the skeletal remains of several people, plus a few mummified bodies. It was too dark to read the plates or the display signs, but some of the cases were lit and the diffused light was sufficient to give an eerie almost-there feeling of an ancient graveyard. He shuddered; cemeteries always made him a bit uneasy. He always said it was because they stood as mute witness to his mortality, but even now that he was immortal there was something about the presence of the dead which was disturbing.
He turned around. He was on the opposite side of the room from the door, and in the center of the room there was a statue of what might be a man with something on his back, but it was the back of the statue that he viewed. He walked toward it slowly, studying it as he approached. Although it was on a raised pedestal, it was about life sized. It had the familiar look of a soldier in the cut of the clothes, a bag under one arm, and the style of what he now perceived to be a backpack on the back. It appeared to have something like a rifle slung over one shoulder. He walked around to the front, and looked into the face, a face of a man, young but experienced. His hands were extended in front of him, and they held a separate piece, a sphere of marble about the size of a bowling ball with flecks of mineral in it that sparkled even in the dim light. The face had a very familiar look to it, like someone Kondor once knew well but hadn't seen in a long time. It only took a moment for recognition to come.
It was a statue of Joseph Wade Kondor, holding the strange reputedly magical object he once stole from a graveyard not unlike the one represented here, the Vorgo.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with eight other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #91: Novel Mysteries. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: