Robert Whiting In search of awesome

Dad's Study


Jack couldn’t sleep that night. Like many nights before, he felt restless as he lay on the bottom bunk. With his feet resting on the cross-beams, he considered waking his older brother so he wouldn’t be alone in his boredom.

Instead Jack lowered his feet and jumped off the bed. Mom wouldn’t approve of late night wanderings unless it was to the bathroom or kitchen for a drink of water, so he wandered down the hallway toward the kitchen. The house was dark, and much more ominous when imagination could easily fill the dark corners.

He heard the muffled sound of his father’s voice coming from the study further down the hall, answered by a low rumbling sound that was definitely not his mother’s. He moved down the hallway. Who would be talking with Dad this late at night?

“Dark stuff that, and too convenient that he died before the questioning…”

Carefully down the hall he crept, now aware of every sound he made on the hardwood floor and his heavy breathing. He lay down on his belly and crawled forward slowly revealing the study to himself in increments, lest he be caught.

“Still think he could’ve done it on his own? It just seems like too complex for a such a simple…”

The far wall was covered in books and various trinkets from Dad’s travels. Then sat Dad in his large leather chair facing toward the fireplace. He had a full beard and balding head. His face looked hard in firelight. The kind of face he had whenever Jack was in trouble, only his eyes seemed more distant staring into the fire. Lucy, his old mutt, laying on her bed next to him.

“I’m not convinced either way, but the justice department seems to be set on the ‘one-man-job’ scenario. I doubt they’ll look into it further.”

The only light in the room came from the fireplace, which seemed almost too large for the room. Large river rock and thick-beamed mantel.

In the chair opposite Dad, sat a giant of a man. Even sitting, he was at least a head taller than Dad, and muscular. In the firelight it looked like he didn’t even have a shirt on, but instead had a thin coat of hair covering huge muscles. He also seemed to be wearing a headdress with giant horns on it.

He turned. It was no headdress, the man was no man at all–he had a massive head like a bull, with two horns sticking out the side of his head then pointing up, huge black eyes, and two large nostrils. The firelight reflected off the golden ring in its nose. Jack tried to suppress a scream as he scrambled back into the hall.

The conversation came to a sudden halt inside the room. Jack heard some shuffling and wood creak. Then his father’s voice, “It’s alright, have a seat. It’s probably Jack again.”

The door opened suddenly and cast the firelight on the terrified boy, still on all fours in the hallway.

“Jack, what are you doing out of bed?” His father stool in the doorway, still holding a glass of scotch. “Come in, you’ll have to meet our guest before going back to bed.”

Jack walked into the room guided by his father’s hand on his shoulder. The man in the chair was standing. He looked so monstrous, like something from Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter. Standing in Dad’s study! His horns were only a few feet from the ceiling, and his bare chest seemed chiseled from stone.

“Jack, this is Sir Galdin Bloodhorn. He’s a minotaur with the department of justice, just came in from Thailand.”

Bloodhorn looked nervously between Jack and his father. “Do you think this kind of introduction is wise?”

“It’s alright, he hasn’t the inborn or training to retain any of this. It’ll slide off by morning.” He smiled down at Jack. “But it’s not every day you get to meet a minotaur this side of the Green.”

The giant creature took two steps and bent down with his massive hand. Jack still stood speechless, but remembering his manners, reached out his hand and heard himself say, “Nice to met you. I’m Jack.”

“And what’s your craft, Jack?” The minotaur’s breath smelled like smoke and jerky.

Uncertain what the question meant, he mumbled, “I’m Eleven.”

The massive head looked up at Jack’s father with a raised eyebrow. “Well, it was nice to meet you Jack the Elven.” And the minotaur let go of his hand.

After a goodnight hug from Dad, Jack wandered back down the hall, still in shock. A minotaur, in our house. Just wait till I tell Hunter about this in the morning.

He stood by the kitchen, trying to hold onto a thought that was just out of his grasp.Why was he in the kitchen? Oh yeah, water. He was tired though, and not really thirsty anyway. He walked up the stairs to his room and lay down on his bed.

A vague image of a giant minotaur silhouetted by a roaring fire flickered across his mind. Then his father’s warm voice, “It’s not every day you get to meet a minotaur this side of the Green… it’ll slide off by morning.”