Sunday, August 30, 2009

Daily Story 137: Tradition

It's 1970, spring, and Doctor Calamity is young. It is now - at the beginning of his career, fresh out of an accelerated medical program - that he is thinking of quitting. The sun is rising over the village of Entbehrlichburg, its orange fingers reaching through the towers of the obligatory castle. Children are laughing and playing in the streets, while their mothers tend to housework. On a hill just outside of town, the midpoint between the castle and the houses, a dozen patchwork monstrosities are milling about aimlessly. Doctor Calamity watches them, depressed.

A figure is approaching him, a young woman in the traditional homemade simple clothing of the area. As she gets closer Calamity can see she is carrying a tray of food, and he waves the misshapen beasts aside so the girl can reach him.
"Good evening, Baron."
"Doctor, please. Doctor Calamity."
The girl nods, and smiles politely. "Doctor, forgive me. Most of our lords come here to claim the title."
"I understand. I'm actually only renting from Baron Deathfist, it seemed like a good place to practice before heading back to America. But I'm being rude! What is your name?"
With a slight blush, the girl curtseys. "Shelley, Doctor."

An hour passes in relative silence as the two eat from the selection of bread and cheeses Shelley has brought. She compliments the stitching on Calamity's monsters, and he tells her all about the Calamity family and his time in school. Below them in the town, windows glow with candles and gas lamps.
"They aren't judging you, Doctor Calamity."
"Excuse me?"
"I know you are disappointed that no hero came to save the town, but understand that none of us blame you. You tried your best, and we don't doubt that those creations of yours would have caused an incredible amount of destruction."
"It's the terms of my lease," Calamity explains, "some damage during a conflict with the forces of good is expected, but outright obliteration of the entire village..." He shrugs.

Shelley leans against Doctor Calamity and drapes his arm over her shoulder. "It seems to me," she says, "that you need to enact a more sustained attack. Something that gives the hero more time to respond."
Calamity looks up at the stars as he thinks, enjoying this moment of planning after spending the afternoon wallowing in self-pity. "Do you have anything in mind?"
"As a matter of fact, I happen to be the mayor's daughter... and they say there's nothing better than a good old-fashioned kidnapping..."

The gentle calm of a spring evening is interrupted by maniacal laughter, and the villagers nod to themselves. Everything is right with the world again.