Friday, September 21, 2012

Say Goodbye to Normal - Part 1

Title: Gate of Shadows
Chapter: Say Goodbye to Normal - Part 1            
Author: Jon Harrison & Alanna Cormier
Copyright: 2012

When Jim woke up this morning, it was the start of a normal day.  He got dressed in his favorite grey pinstripe suit, flat black tie, highly polished shoes, black trench coat, and kissed his wife goodbye.  Everything had gone so well. There was hardly any traffic so he actually had time to stop for a cup of coffee before getting to work and still had time to spare before heading into his morning meeting.  In fact, Jim couldn't remember the last time a morning went so smoothly and believed he'd be home early.  After lunch, he found a small square package on his desk.  It was wrapped in brown paper and tied up with black twine, but what was really unusual about it was the lack of any markings whatsoever.  Jim picked up the phone and dialed shipping.

"Hey Bob, it's Jim.  Did you leave a package for me on my desk?"

"No man. Nothing's come in today," replied Bob.

"Seriously?" Jim said incredulously.

"Yeah.  Somethin' wrong?"

"Ummm...I don't think so,"Jim hung up the phone and looked at the box in front of him.  "Where did you come from?"  He carefully shook it hoping that the sound would give him a clue as to the contents, but alas he resigned himself to opening it.   Jim carefully untied the black twine and unfolded the neatly wrapped brown paper and revealed a plain black stained wooden box.  With one hand, he gently slid back the top.   Before him lay an unfinished cherry wood totem no more than three inches long by one inch wide sitting in a perfectly shaped recess in the center of an otherwise seamless surface.  The side facing him had three Japanese symbols burned into it and when Jim picked it up and turned it over he saw three parallel slashes neatly carved into the wood at an angle.  He threw the totem down as if he had picked up a red hot poker and fell back into his chair speechless.  Staring at the totem, Jim knew he wouldn't be going home early, or at all. 

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Click here to read part 2