Apr 09

In the Company of Angels: Episode 10.1 – The Chase



In the Company of Angels, Episode 10.1 – The Chase


“You cannot stuff a raven into a soup pot!” said Jill, whispering as loudly as she dared.

“Well, then what would you suggest?! I don’t see any bird cages handy!” Sam whispered back, fiercely.

They were still sitting in the Professor’s study, and the raven, for the time being at any rate, remained perched on the floor of the hallway not ten feet from where Sam was seated.

The Professor, too, was racking his brain for any item that might be useful for caging a wild bird, but he, too, was drawing a blank. He whispered,“I would suggest that we determine how to capture the poor thing before we divert ourselves too much with housing options. But while we’re brainstorming, how on earth did the creature come by another crystal?”

The raven, almost as if listening, seemed to tighten its grasp on the second blue gem. It had apparently returned to its hoard atop the wardrobe, discovered the first sapphire gone, and had flown out of the open door to see what might have become of it. The creature couldn’t land easily on the bannisters while holding onto the second crystal, so it had ended up on the floor. From there it had half flapped and half hopped over to the doorway into the study to see what could be seen.

Sam glanced at the Professor. “Do you have a towel or a blanket that we could throw over it?”

“Oh, yes, that might work!” whispered the Professor. He slowly stood up and tiptoed toward the second door in the study; it lead to a bedroom just beyond his office. But the raven was having none of this; it hopped away from the door, all the while keeping a close eye upon everyone in the room.

“I don’t know if it’s going to stay long enough for me to retrieve the blanket,” said the Professor.

“Yeah, but it’s still worth a try. Just move slowly,” said Sam.

Ultimately the effort proved futile. As soon as the Professor returned from the bedroom with blanket in hand, the raven flapped its way back up to the top of the wardrobe. They knew there was no room there to throw the blanket, so they stood in the doorway considering how best to proceed.

“One thing’s for certain,” said Sam, returning to his normal speaking voice. “We have to get the painting of Orbaratus out of the crawlspace, or at least covered up so that the raven can’t fly back into it again.”

“Oh, gee, Sam!” said Jill. “We should have thought of that to begin with! Professor, can we get back into the other crawlspace — the one Mrs. Mills found us in — without passing by the wardrobe? I’m afraid walking past it might spook the raven and drive him back out of the house again.”

“Yes, there’s another way in,” replied the Professor. He pointed to a small hatch in the wall. “That connects with the larger attic space. The section of attic that houses the wardrobe is entirely separate.”

Sam stepped toward the hatchway and opened it. He recognized this door as one of the two they had first discovered when they were exploring the attic. “I’ll go and turn the painting around toward the wall. That will at least stop the bird from using it to escape back to Orbaratus.” He disappeared into the hatchway.

“Professor, do we know how the raven reached the wardrobe? That is, where the hole in the eaves is located that he might have used?” asked Jill.

“No, I don’t believe so. We would have to go outside the house and look for it. I’m assuming we can’t get to it from inside without frightening the bird away, and if we do that, it may or may not return to the other attic.”

“I wonder if there’s any way I could lure it out of the attic?”

“Do you mean telepathically, or by some other means?”

“Oh, I hadn’t really thought of that! But trying to communicate with it telepathically is certainly worth a try! We’re open to anything at this point, I think.” Jill took a couple of steps into the hallway toward the wardrobe. She shut her eyes and tried to “find” the raven. It took her a few moments, but she thought she sensed the bird, still atop the wardrobe. “But what should I do next?” she wondered. She had only just started exploring the use of her abilities with people; how in the world would she know how to “chat” with a bird?

As it happens, she didn’t get an opportunity. Just a few moments after she was sure that she felt the presence of the raven, she realized that it was on the move. She didn’t need her empathic senses to tell her: a loud squawk followed by the flapping of wings heralded the bird’s abdication of its roost. She tried to sense whether it was still in the house, but could detect nothing.

“Well, I guess we either go outside and see if we can find where it’s ended up, or wait here and see if it returns,” she said.

The Professor was just about to respond when they heard a loud yell and a crash come from the office hatchway. They hurried into the office and Jill stooped down and entered the attic.

“Sam? What happened?” she called out. She could see nothing in the gloom.

“Over here,” said Sam. “The bird came back. It flew past me and startled me. I knocked over something as I tried to see where it was headed, but I lost it in the dark.”

“Quick, Miss Jonsson,” said the Professor from just behind her,”let me in and let’s shut the hatchway door.” Jill stepped further into the attic and the Professor ducked and came in as well.

“Sam, can you hear me?” asked the Professor.

“Yes, Sir.”

“Sam, do you know where the bird came from?”

“Yeah, there’s a hole over here at this end of the attic. Jill and I saw him come in that way before Mrs. Mills found us.”

“Can you stop it up with something? Anything will do: a box, a blanket, whatever you can find.”

“Yes! Good thinking! Let me see….” Jill and the Professor heard a rustling, then a scraping sound from the far end of the attic. By now their eyes had become accustomed to the gloom, and they shut the hatchway tightly behind them.

“Sam, is his escape route closed off?” asked Jill.

“Yeah. I don’t think he can get back out that way at least. Doesn’t mean he hasn’t some other hole in another part of the attic, though. This is a pretty large place to hide!”

Jill moved toward Sam and the Professor followed her. She passed by the spot where the painting of Orbaratus had been and saw that Sam had turned it around and propped it against the wall. He had shoved a small box up against the back of the canvas to make sure no opening remained for the bird to fit through.

“Professor, did you bring your flashlight?” Sam asked as they all collected at the farthest end of the attic.

“My electric torch? No, I left it in my office.”

“OK, we’ll just have to use mine.” Sam took his flashlight out of his pocket and switched it on.

“Oh my! That is an extraordinarily bright torch!” said the Professor. “I’ve never seen anything like it!”

Sam was about to explain about the LEDs, but Jill nudged him and he remained silent.

“Let’s stick together and go through the attic slowly. If anyone sees anything move, holler,” said Sam.

They stepped through the entire length of the attic twice and never saw the bird, nor any other movement other than the stirring of dust.

“There appears to be no sign of it,” said the Professor, “so either it has a second nest and is in it trying to remain quiet, or it has found another way out of the attic.”

“I think it’s the latter,” said Sam, “but probably not in the way you’re thinking. Jill do you have your ring on?”

“Yes, but I’m not touching the crystal.”

“Better do that now and take a look around us.”

Jill turned her ring back around and clenched her hand shut. The gloom of the attic was suddenly punctuated with a half dozen glowing images. These were the paintings they had first noticed when they arrived in the attic.

“Oh my!” she said.

“Why? What are you two looking at?” asked the Professor.

Sam reached out and grasped the Professor’s wrist. “Take a look at the paintings,” he said.

“Why, they’re glowing!” said the Professor. “Is that how they always look if you have one of the crystals on?”

“Yes, Sir, they do,” said Sam. “We don’t have time to explain everything right now. But we do have one enormous problem to solve.”

“And what is that that?”

“We need to figure out which of these half-dozen worlds the raven flew into! And even if we knew that, how on earth would we ever be able to capture him there?!”

They all stared at the various images and Jill felt her heart sink.

         [ To read Episode 10.2, click here…. ]




1 ping

  1. Rachel

    i think you meant to said Jill instead of Polly in this sentence.

    “Sam was about to explain about the LEDs, but Polly nudged him and he remained silent.”

  2. Jef Murray

    Rachel, yes indeed! Good catch! Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. It’s been corrected now….

  1. Στη Συντροφιά των Αγγέλων, επεισόδιο 10.1 – Το Κυνηγητό | tolkien.gr

    […] Για το πρωτότυπο κείμενο: http://jefmurray.com/framerunners/uncategorized/in-the-company-of-angels-episode-10-1-the-chase […]

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