“Then loudly cried the bold Bedivere:
“Ah! My Lord Arthur, whither shall I go?
Where shall I hide my forehead and my eyes?
For now I see the true old times are dead,
When every morning brought a noble chance,
And every chance brought out a noble knight.
Such times have been not since the light that led
The holy Elders with the gift of myrrh.
But now the whole ROUND TABLE is dissolved.
Which was an image of the mighty world;
And I, the last, go forth companionless,
And the days darken round me, and the years,
Among new men, strange faces, other minds.”
SHINING KNIGHT: FRAGMENT I
The rain comes down in blistering sheets, beating the yew branches she’s standing under until they are stripped bare of spring needles. The thin parka around her body is little more than paper as she huddles around the warm thermos of coffee she prepared this morning. Her ears pick up the crunches of sodden dirt behind her followed by a loud yawn.
“ Christ, I fuckin’ hate this weather,” Julia, her supervisor, grunted lightly, lighting a cigarette. She drags the blunt along her lips and breathes out a wispy cloud of smoke that is quickly cut apart by the rain. “ Can’t believe we had to drive all the way down to Manchester when the EMTs are already here picking over the body. I don’t care if I get the stink eye from Wisdom. I’m sending an email to HR as soon as we get out of this dump. ”
Ystin nodded in agreement. The director of M113 had sent them all the way out here to Cornwall out of all places. Ystin was hoping that their next assignment would be located in Bristol so that she could use that favor from her ex in time for Glastonbury. Instead, she had to drive all the way to the middle of nowhere to some glorified ditch filled with swamp water with possibly the most crankiest person she ever knew on this earth.
Julia flicked away the cigarette and stamped it under the sole of her boot. “ Well, enough standing by, kiddo.”
She then glanced cheekily at Ystin with a lopsided grin.
“Wanna see a dead body?”
Julia began walking down the hill and Ystin followed whilst putting on her hood. The bright yellow uniforms of the EMTs reminded Ystin of the rain jackets she would wear on rainy days to kindergarten. As the pair got closer to the scene, Ystin’s first impressions of the dead man was that he was enormous. His chest was barrel-sized and his arms could wrap around an entire oak with enough room to touch his elbows. Judging by the defibrillator that was hurriedly unpacked at their feet, it seemed that they’d already tried resusticating the man.
“Well, what do we have, officer?,” Julia gruffly spoke.
The EMS stood up, a curl of ginger hair peeking out of the parka. She looked up from the neoprene clipboard she was scrawling on.
“ Well, we got a John Doe. No wallet or any ID on him. Guy’s built like an ox, though. Took the three of us to drag him out of there. Time of death is 11:45.”
Julia tilted her head pointed towards the large stretch of mottled scar tissue that stretched across his belly in swollen bubbles.
“ What about this?”
“ What about it?,” The EMT shrugged casually, his face lined with decades of caffeine fueled nights. “ If you’re suspecting foul play, there’s no blood loss. It’s not up to me to figure out what junkies do in their spare time.”
The EMT jotted down another note, giving a brief nod towards one of her partners. The partner unzipped a bag and took out a paper tag, tying it around the victim’s ankle.
“ Alright, we’re done here. Let’s see if we can get this sucker to the morgue - “
A hand around the EMT’s neck paused him mid-conversation as the man suddenly gasped and woke up hyperventilating. Bloodshot eyes flitted back and forth between her and Julia as he shakedly scrambled up to his feet. His steps were unsure, sometimes treading on his own feet like he was a newborn. Julia immediately whipped out a taser, the contacts buzzing with static.
“ Sir! Let go of the man, kneel on the ground and place your hands behind your head,” Julia barked out.
Ystin, meanwhile, wasn’t concerned about the fact that somehow, a man had seemingly risen from the dead in front of her. She was more unnerved by how the man wasn’t fazed by the pistol in her supervisor’s hand. He stared at it as if it was an annoying fly more than something that could end his life in the pull of a trigger. His ventilation slowed down and he let go off the EMT who fell down on the ground, skin paper white with fear. The other EMTs began walking away slowly as the man kneeled onto the ground.
“ Alright, now, place your hands on your head.” The man didn’t respond, his hands still hanging by his side. “Are you deaf? I said - “
In one swift movement, the man dug a handful of dirt into his palm and tossed it wildly at Julia’s eye. Ystin heard her supervisor swear out loud in frustration, coughing as some of the mud made it into her mouth. In the next second, the man was in front of her, swiping to knock the pistol out of her hand. His arm then wrapped around her shoulder whilst his left hand grabbed her thigh before proceeding to flip Julia over as if she was a sack of potatoes, slamming her into the mud. Beads of sweat ran down Ystin's forehead as she was determined to get away from the man who had somehow treated a M113 agent like an overgrown toddler. She looked around, to see the fading yellow jackets of the EMTs flapping away in the distance.
A quiet cough broke her out of her reverie as the man gave a tiny little wave.
“ Hey,” Ystin said unsurely.
“ My apologies for how I treated your colleague.” The man was busy taking apart her supervisor’s gun with one foot on her torso. “ Rest assured, she is unharmed. Do you have any means of transport out of here? A car or -”
“ A truck.” Ystin paused before detailing further. “ Toyota 1984.”
“ Then, that is satisfactory.” The man took off Julia’s jacket whilst she was still unconscious, wrapping it around his body. “ What date is it?”
“ July the 4th.”
“ 7 days…..but how…”
The man looked in disbelief at what she said, somewhat bug eyed, before looking down at the scar on his chest in wonder. He opened his mouth, the edge of asking a question, before clamping it shut deliberately as if he was holding himself back.
“ I must take my leave. I have matters to attend to. I apologize again for borrowing your friend’s vestment. I will repay later when I am able to do so. I bid thee farewell.”
The man then gave a bow (Who the hell gave bows?) and began to trudge away on his bare feet.
“ Wait, Wait!” Ystin shouted out. “ Who the bloody hell are you?”
The man stopped and his head swiveled back slowly, his haunted slate eyes seeming to expose every inch of her soul.
“ My name is Justin Inse Ghall, my lady, and I am a knight.”
Then, thunder flashed, making Ystin’s world white, and when she lowered her arms down from her eyes, Justin Inse Ghall was gone.
THE SHINING KNIGHT: FRAGMENT 1
CHAPTER TWO: FELLOWSHIP
THE SHINING KNIGHT: FRAGMENT 1
CHAPTER TWO: FELLOWSHIP