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Isis 12-10-2005 10:44 PM

I'll Commandeer that one, too
I had never expected anything to come out of sitting in his chair, except merely comfort and a sense of power on my part. Its arms curled over to claim Victorian globes in lions' jaws; it was the sort of seat one could rules the world from. that was mostly likely the problem - he had become content in the powerful embrace of his armchair and now, upon seeing someone else sitting comfortably in it, he was orverrun by a sense of propriety.

I could see it in the way that he puffed himself up when he saw me - though always the gentleman, he halted quickly and granted space between us - and I hoped that he hadn't become a simple old toady. Even though he looked ready to croak at the moment he was better than that, or he had been; I hoped not just for his sake but because I hated to find error in my own judgement.

"You're back."

As he crossed his arms, I unfolded my legs. Indian style was a bad choice for a challenger, and though I had used the power of a relaxed stare against people before, I found myself regressing. It was a guilty movement, and I cracked my knucles on my knees, leaning forward; my carefully hoarded patience was frittering itself away. "Yes." I was back, and for a moment it was as though I had never gone. Same chair, same desk, same strings of apprehension pulled tight between us. "I'm glad you've kept things the way they were."

"I'm a creature of habit." True enough - he had always done things in the same order, we had always done things in the same order. He twitched his nose and I was tempted to twitch mine right back at him in defiance, though I had for the most part forgotten that mannerism. "And, I don't like to see my habits broken." He lost his toad-like indignance then, commanding an attitude of menace.

He had grown into his position. No longer was he the awkward gentleman that had put his feet up on the grand heirloom desk his first day alone in this office; he reminded me of a ferret and I mentally kicked myself - hard - because I couldn't seem to get away from the thought of people as really animals. It was enlightening to a persons true character, and amusing, but it was becoming dangerous. I didn't want to dive deep enough into the animal kingdom to figure out what I represented.

He was a ferret in black suit pants, holding a stopwatch in dark mitts. He was waiting for me to get out of his chair, trying to influence me without saying more than he had to. It was his job and now it obviously pervaded everything he did; and I wondered what kinds of quarrels he got in with his wife, if their household was an ever-silent battle of wills.

I wanted to keep reason in my voice. Maybe I tried too hard and I sounded instead like a condescending child, out of place. "Well, Jack, we all end up changing our agendas."

He leaned forward, I leaned forward, and I wondered who was bending the mirror in changing favor. "I want you to get out of my chair."

Grasping ferret hands snapped the pocketwatch shut - I turned to leave behind the sight, leaning back and closing my eyes. It wasn't getting any better than this; the room was a cage, though a well furbished one.

"Don't you look away from me," he warned, reminding me of a father. Maybe my father, his father, the stern man behind the counter who thought he had jurisdiction and wisdom enough for everyone that walked through his general store.

If I said anything, it would have come out as a squawk - the parrot doth protest too much, he would say, misquoting like he always had. Instead I kept my mouth and eyes firmly closed, and without looking swung my feet up onto the desk, crossing my ankles as one heel slid through a pile of papers, ripping one.

I could feel him stand there silently, not moving, just appraising; his stature never demanded patience and he soon got sick of it - he sat down on the edge of his monstrous desk and I knew that this was a concession. "If you're going to sit there like a spoiled brat, at least tell me where you've been," he said. He too was trying too hard; sounding like he wanted a softer tone and was unable to find one.

"I've been as far away from this room as I could get. Ferral places - I went back home, do you believe it? Too bad you didn't chase me. You wouldn't last a day in my hometown." The insides of my eyelids gave a dark background for a downwards spiral, and I could feel it twisting and turning the chair, pulling back into the tunnel where we kept the bulb machinary. The tunnel was the only place where we'd never find the long-spined, long-clawed creatures that dug their way into anything metal; god knows why they couldn't get in there, but they didn't. It was there, working on that last machine with a screwdriver between my knees and bolts in my mouth, that I began to recognize the cages.

"I don't doubt that. I can barely last a day up here."

"We're on the first floor. You say it like you were on top of the world."

"Little do you know the papers you've dug your heels into." There was still the edge to his voice, but he also sounded, not amused - knowing, gloating.

I opened my eyes and swung my feet back off the desk; there was a paper stuck to one heel, a little crumpled where it stuck but still clear. I snapped it off my boot and snapped it again in front of my face, giving myself some extra time to take in what it said. The orders were elegantly worded but still incredibly easy to understand. "How did you know that I was coming back?" I tasted the metal in my mouth as I said this, clamping down on the bit unknowingly until that moment.

"I didn't." He looked proud, his eyes falling not on me - I wished that they would, maybe I could sway their beady blackness to something other than work - but on the stack of papers I had toppled. I leaned forward again, barely able to see that the header was the same on all those that I could see. "I've been merely issuing these for the last three months. You had to get close enough to the signal sometime."

The large desk grew outwards in front of me, the spilled sheafs creating the illusion of greater space. He grew as well, and the walls closed in, pulled in by my own tension - his tension as well. He was preparing to pounce; his face elongated and his shoulder's haunched forwards, though he retained his black villain's mask.

"I didn't," I protested to the jackel. He wasn't going to bring me to my death, to put me before the judgement of his sand-blackened grandfather.

"Then why did you come back at all?"
But I had no answer - none that I could tell him. The return to our old haunts and studies had me lay my mind open to its own inner workings. I had left for a reason. I hadn't been suited to him, to his skills, though I had known how to handle them; now in my time absent he had mutated into something I could not care for.
He was the beast within the cage and now I, the observer, had been thrust in with him.

Ameerah8 01-08-2006 05:43 PM

I don't know where your taking the story, but i like it so far. I'm also not so good at giving good crit so maybe the more people will post who are better at it than me. good luck!

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