Valiant: Knock Knock…The Sandman…The Gift…Part 13…

1559 Nuremberg, Germany

He looked into the light and saw
Things beyond reason and words and
Measure. There was no fear nor
Bravery there, just the overwhelming
Need to do. Some celestial instinct
Had been placed within his mind, guided
By time and a mysterious intuition…
Forever changed.

Jon lay in his bed asleep but not asleep,

Put in some undefinable state. It was like
He was another person, or many in one.
It was there within him…and when it
Woke, his eyes flew open before the
Sound came.

Knock knock…

Morning. His family was awake early,
They had no idea of what happened to
Him just days before; he kept it secret.
Then he heard his sister call out…

‘Jon, there’s someone at the door for you.’

His eyes moved fast back and forth as
He sat up in bed and pulled on his pants
And put on his shoes. The air felt different.
He listened and heard his family talking
To someone at the front door very merrily.
That was odd, they were always friendly
To everyone but this wasn’t right. The
Air was heavy, very heavy.

He went out then once he was dressed
To see who it could be. His father and
Mother stood at the front door chatting
Away with someone, just laughing as
Though it was someone they had known
For a long time. When his father saw
His son, he turned and smiled at him.
‘Ah, here he is now. It’s about time he
He showed up.’ He had the biggest
Smile on his face that Jon had ever seen.
He held his breath fast. Just what
Had come over the man?

Jon just made a puzzled expression then
Stepped up to the door with a grin. But
When he looked out the doorway it
Was no familiar face he saw…It was
Some very tall stranger, about 6’5” or
6’6” with silver hair, built wide and
Solid looking…smiling as though he
Were an old friend.

His father patted Jon on the shoulder,
‘This is Mr. Kingsman. He’s come
To see about buying some of your
Pets for his family. Why don’t you
Show him some of the livestock and
Be neighborly.’

Jon nodded and shook the man’s hand.
But he was so taken back by the man’s
Size…He was so tall, he had never
Seen an older man like that so tall.
It almost reminded him of that time
In the city…by the river, those men.
He swallowed awkwardly and tried
To dismiss it. ‘What did you have in
Mind?’ Jon asked. ‘Goats, rabbits…
Some ducks?’

‘I was thinking…doves.’ Mr. Kingsman
Said. ‘I like birds. Birds are a hobby
Of mine. They’re remarkable creatures
Birds. You can train them to do all
Sorts of things.’

‘Doves?’ Jon laughed. Yes, he had
Some. He loved birds. Most people saw
Them as a nuisance. But to him birds
Flew so high and free and saw so much,
They were amazing. ‘Yes, well I have
Some. I can sell some.’

He led the man to the barn where he
Kept the cages for his animals. But with
Every step his insides began to churning,
Burning. He just smiled it away for the
Moment. ‘Are you new here?’

‘Ah well, yes…sort of.’ Mr. Kingsman
Said. ‘I just moved here…For now…
Up the river there.’ He pointed with his
Eyes as they went in the barn and Jon
Showed him the dove cages. ‘I’m just
Here…looking around, managing the
Area.’ He stood next to Jon towering
Over him admiring his doves. ‘These
Are real nice doves that you have here
Jon, real nice. I will take some. I need
Them for training.’

‘For training?’ Jon laughed. ‘Doves?
What for?’

‘Oh, I have some hawks I train.’ Mr.
Kingsman said.

‘Hawks?’ Jon asked nervously.

‘Oh, I won’t hurt them.’ The man said.
‘No, no…see I like to train them, to
Train things. That is what I do.’

‘Oh.’ Jon said as he watched the birds,
Then slowly looked at the man through
The corner of his eye…His words
Struck a chord within him some where
Deep inside…The man was a GIANT.

‘I will take 3 or 4.’ Mr. Kingsman said
As he pulled out a gold coin from his
Pocket. ‘You take good care of them.
They’re real nice, Jon, real nice.’

‘Thank you.’ Jon said as he took a
Small crate and slowly grabbed a
Few doves and put them inside for
The man. He did have a lot of birds,
And Mr. Kingsman swore that he
Wouldn’t hurt them…. But inside his
Mind could not help moving so fast,
No words just a strange feeling.

‘You know, Jon….’ Mr. Kingsman
Started to say slowly. ‘You would
Make a great assistant. I haven’t
Had one in a while, I’m very picky.
I’m very hard to please. But I really
Like you.’

Jon hesitated. He barely met the man
And he was being offered a job? He
Felt like he was being sized up. ‘I
Don’t know. I have a lot to do here,
I don’t see how my family would like
That.’

‘Oh, your family likes me Jon.’ Mr.
Kingsman said. ‘I wouldn’t worry
About that. I know what I like.
Everybody loves me, Jon, everybody.’

Jon froze. Those were words that he
Had heard before…by a bridge by
A river…It was as if time stopped.
He looked down and thought for a
Moment then something else too
Over. ‘Oh, no thank you.’ He smiled,
Then grabbed the crate with the doves
And handed it to him. ‘Here you go,
I hope they do well for you.’

Mr. Kingsman smiled and took the
Crate then handed Jon the coin.
‘Think about my offer, Jon. I don’t
Make this offer to just anyone. I
Like you. How about you think
About it?’

Jon grinned politely and nodded.
‘Sure. I will think about it.’ Then
He turned and started walking out
Of the barn for the house…

‘Hey Jon?’ Mr. Kingsman said as
He followed him. ‘You know there’s
Some very powerful men in the
World…They would like you. Think
About what I said, alright?’

Jon just smiled again. ‘Alright.
I have to go now.’

Mr. Kingsman smiled. ‘Yes, I do
Too. Think about it…Be careful
What you say. You know how it
Goes. Just think about it.’

‘I will.’ Jon nodded. ‘’I have to
Go now.’ And he smiled very
Politely
As did Mr. Kingsman…then he
Watched as he took the doves and
Rode off on his horse. Jon waited
Until they were out of sight before
Going into the house. His parents
Were very pleased, but he told them
Nothing. They would not understand
Anyway. He did his chores that day
In silence, haunted by the memories
From the past and watching everything
Carefully through the corner of his
Eyes. The world seemed to be getting
Smaller somehow, like something
Was closing in upon him.

He withdrew to himself quietly for
The remainder of the day, avoiding
His family and thinking as little
As possible. But his mind just kept
Whipping flashbacks through his
Eyes…of faces, feelings, and
Conversations. No matter what he
Did he could not fight it. Still he
Tried to forget, but it was impossible.
He was kidding himself at every
Turn…chilling feelings would not
Go away.

Evening came, and with that the
Usual family supper. Everyone
Talked but Jon. No one noticed,
They all liked to do most of the
Talking anyway. Then after the
Meal he retired to his room, again
Quietly with hope…A wayward
Attempt at finding some peace
And maybe some more comforting
Sleep that night.

Once everyone else in the house
Had also retired to their beds and
Found their own rest in sleep…Jon
Just lay in his bed with his eyes
Wide open. He tried forcing his
Mind to remain blank, but it was
Impossible. He felt numb yet aware,
Caught in some state of knowing and
Worrying memories. Hours seemed
To pass this way, so slowly it was
Hard to measure. Only the darkness
Of the night and the star light
Outside told him the time. The
Entire world seemed surreal. And
He just lay there listening to all the
Tiny sounds that he could hear….
An owl outside, the occasional gust
Of wind or cough from someone
Turning in their sleep. There was
Some ominous sense of just
Waiting…

As he tried to squeeze his eyes
Tight to force himself asleep and
Block everything out…he heard
A shuffling sound from the corner
Of his room. Then a man’s voice
Said, ‘Jon?’

His eyes flew open and focused
Straight at the shadowy form
Standing in the corner. He knew
The voice, he had heard it in dreams,
Met it once from a man in the city
Who had mysteriously appeared
Out of nowhere. Jon felt a chill,
Then went numb. He watched as
The man emerged from the shadows
Into the slightly more illuminating
Light from the window by the
Stars. It was him, the tall pale
Stranger with creamy hair and
The mesmerizing eyes. ‘Hello
Jon.’

Jon winced, then looked again.
The man was still there. ‘Hello.’

‘I’ve come to talk to you.’ The
Man said strangely, very calmly.
To describe him was nearly
Impossible…Tall, intimidating,
Charming…a good looking man,
With a powerful presence. He
Dare not ask how he got into his
Room, the man was filled with
Mystery. ‘I need to show you
Something now.’

Jon could only say. ‘Alright.’
Was there a point in arguing? Maybe
He was dreaming.

‘Now, I need you to come with
Me and do as I tell you…exactly,
Please.’ The man said.

‘Why?’ Jon asked as he sat up.

‘This has to happen right now.,
Right now.’ The man said in a
Tone that was gripping at once.
‘Please get dressed and come with
Me.’

Jon’s eyes widened. Then he put
On his pants and shoes and did
As the man said. He had to admit
He was curious. He simply did as
He was told. Then went to him.

The man smiled at him. ‘Good.
Now I want to show you something.
I need you to do something for
Me. It is very important. Don’t
Ask questions, just do as I tell
You. It’s not bad, I just need you
To do this for me…RIGHT NOW.’

‘Alright.’ Jon said with a strange
Expression as he stood next to him
Trying not to study his face to
Much. It was hard, the man towered
Over him…and held the impression
Of chiseled like something from
Another world or time. ‘What do
You want me to do?’

‘Just watch, listen…and do exactly
As I tell you, alright?’ The man said
Carefully with a gently smile. Then
He took something from his pocket,
Some sort of thin black rectangular
Object with glowing lights on it.
He touched it a few times, there was
A bright flash of white-golden light…
It engulfed them both…Then all of
A sudden they were standing…
Someplace else…

There were trees lining a long
Road that looked as though it was
Made of some uniform flat rocks
With straight lines in yellow painted
On it…lined with tall poles that
Held these dark ropes…And at
The top of some of the poles were these
Bright lights that looked like they were made
Of metal. Jon was in awe. It was
Freezing but he didn’t mind, it was
All just so shocking to see. Jon
Just looked all around taking it all
In…Then the man nodded and
Guided Jon’s eyes to a pebbled road
That led into a dark tree line.
‘Come this way.’ Then they walked
Down the pebbled road up to what
Looked like some kind of house, but
None he had ever seen before.
It really was too dark to see details.

The man brought Jon to the front
Of the house where they stood for a
Moment quietly. He allowed Jon a
Minute to take everything in. ‘It’s
A house.’ The man said calmly as
Though it were nothing. ‘The year
Is 2012…’

Jon’s eyes opened wide again. ‘What?’

‘There’s no time to explain,’ The man
Said. ‘Now, I’m going to tell you something,
And I want you to do exactly as
I tell you. Nothing more, nothing
Less. Do you understand? We only
Have a little while. Now you must
Do this…right now.’

The shock was overwhelming. Jon
Told himself it had to be a dream,
It had to be. So, he just went
With it. ‘Alright.’

Then the man quickly and
Specifically explained to Jon what
He wanted him to do and say…
And NOT under any circumstances
Change or add a single word. Jon
Was so shocked he could barely
Think at all, making it impossible
For him not to follow these directions,
He simply couldn’t think a word beyond
Them.

The man went up to the front door
Of the house and went inside…
Everyone was asleep, that
Much was clear. Then a few
Moments later he reappeared and
Waved for Jon to follow him into
The house.

Inside was an even stranger sight,
The house was cluttered with all
Sorts of things beyond description.
Furniture, odds and ends that made
No sense…Only the paintings on
The walls caught his eyes, even in
The dark, he found them amazing
And intriguing. But there was so little
Time to take it all in, the man
Would not allow it. Jon looked
Around then saw the man standing
In a large more open room with lots
Of furniture and things…all dimly
Lit…with odd looking lights coming
From surfaces that seemed impossible.
And there, standing with the man in
The middle of it all, was another man
Seemingly half-awake, yawning
Looking like he was half asleep. He
Had loose, long dirty blond hair and
A medium build, and had a
Very similar height to the sharp
Dressed man that brought him. In
Fact, somehow in the dark, they
Seemed very similar.

‘Jon.’ The man carefully said, ‘say
Hello to Jeff. Talk to him…And
Tell him EXACTLY what I said. I
Will be waiting just outside for you…
Come to me when you are done.’
Then he left Jon alone with the
Stranger.

‘Hello,’ Jon said to this new person
He could barely see in the dark.

‘Hi,’ Jeff said to him half yawning,
He really appeared as though he thought
He was asleep.

‘He said I have to tell you something.’
Jon said as he studied the stranger.
He looked so familiar…somehow.

‘Okay. What is it?’ Jeff said as
He fought to be more awake. Then as
He studied Jon, his eyes began to
Bulge wider and wider.

‘You’re going to write stories for the
Internet.’ Jon said to him. ‘This
Is going to happen, it’s already
Happened. You’re going to do this for
7 years, write about your dreams…
You will be criticized, say nothing.
Then write this part right here.
(this part). You will do this. You
Already did it. Do you understand?’

‘What are you talking about?’
Jeff laughed. ‘What is this?’

‘You have to.’ Jon said carefully
Eyeing him, more intrigued each moment.

‘What? Why?’ Jeff laughed. ‘This is
A joke, right? Oh, sure it is.
Nothing’s going to happen.’

‘No, you will.’ Jon told him.
‘He said you did.’

‘What is this?’ Jeff just laughed.

Jon couldn’t think, he just could
Not help walking around and
Looking at everything. ‘He said
I have to tell you this right now.’

Jeff scowled and shook his head
Fighting to understand, but could not
Help studying Jon. ‘Who are you?
What is this?’

‘You know.’ Jon answered cautiously
Following his instructions.

‘This is NUTS. I’m not doing anything.’
Jeff laughed. ‘I’m done.’

‘You’re going to do this.’ Jon
Said, looking closely at the furniture.
Even in the dark, he could see how
Sharp everything was made.

‘You’re nuts. Do you have any idea
What the world is like right now?
HA! Forget it.’ Jeff said as he
Started to turn away. ‘I’m going back
To sleep.’

‘You can’t stop what has to happen.’
Jon told him.

‘What?’ Jon snapped. ‘You can’t make
Me do anything. I told you…I’m done.’

‘You will.’ Jon insisted.

‘This is nuts. I told you, I’m done.’ Jeff
Said angrily.

‘It will happen. It already did.’ Jon said.

‘Oh yeah?’ Jeff laughed. ‘Try and
Make me. There’s nothing you
Can do or say to make me, I
Told you…I’m done.’

‘You will.’

‘Bullshit.’ Jeff laughed. ‘After
Everything…’ He paused. ‘Never mind,
Forget…There is nothing you can say,
Nothing to make me.’

Jon turned and looked at him slowly.
‘There is…’

‘Oh yeah, WHAT?’ Jeff laughed. ‘Then
Tell me something about me that
No one knows, genius. Not some
Story, garbage about a dream about me.
Tell me something – ‘

Jon walked up to him and
Leaned in closely and whispered in
His ear. The words immediately made
Jeff freeze still.

There was a frightening moment
So tense the silence was painful.
Jeff took a step back
As Jon moved away just watching
The shock on his face. ‘I’ll do
Anything that you want.’ Jeff
Said then with a shaky voice.

Then Jon gave him specific brief
Instructions and said, ‘Now I have
To leave.’ Without hesitating
He left through the front door
Without looking back.

Jeff stood shaking a moment then
Followed Jon to the door and
Looked out to see the familiar
Stranger standing outside…just
Far enough away to escape details.
‘Who are you?’ He called out to
The tall stranger. ‘What is going on?’

And the tall stranger simply
Smiled in the dark and said.
‘Why you know me. We’ve talked
Before, and we will again.’

‘What kind of answer is that?’
Jeff half laughed.

‘You told him exactly what I said,
Nothing more?’ The stranger asked
Jon.

‘Yes, exactly. Nothing more.’ Jon
Answered.

‘Then you know all that you need
To right now.’ The stranger told
Jeff. ‘Now, watch and wait. And
Follow the instructions carefully.

‘But how will I know what to – ‘
Jeff started to say…

‘It’s happened already. You will
See.’ The tall stranger said, as
He guided Jon away.

‘What kind of answer is that?’
Jeff laughed, thinking of the
Strange things he was told not to
Repeat. Many would guess, but none
Would ever get it right anyway. He
Just stood there a while before going
Back to bed dismissing it as a dream.

The tall stranger then returned Jon
To his own room to return to sleep…
Where he too would try to dismiss it
As a dream…That’s simply how it was.

Valiant.