Tending the Stones for the Lock XII

12th part of the new weekly story.  (1st Part)   The inspiration for this came from an off hand comment I made on Facebook, and since people seemed interested I decided to follow through.  Happy Reading. 

(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20)(Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25)


Meredith put down the phone, no transactions on either her credit card or bank account since the ferry tickets purchase.  St. Petersburg what was her mother going to St. Petersburg, Russia for and why was she lying to her in both e-mails and over the phone.  Meredith considered sending Brodie and e-mail but ruled that out and decided to call her husband and talk over the situation.

Fifteen minutes later she fumed while turning off the phone.  Her husband had not been helpful, his advice send and e-mail, she had argued with him of course, her mother did not respond to e-mails, and if she did and the tone of Meredith’s e-mail was in any way terse or confrontational her mother would either not respond or tell her oldest daughter that whatever was going on was not any of Meredith’s concern.

Meredith sat and stewed for a few minutes then remembered she had Brodie’s e-mail address.  Maybe Brodie would be forthcoming with information,  Meredith began to type.

Brodie looked around the gloom of the predawn.  He could just barely make out other airplane hangers across the runway and would be glad when the sun was up.  He also dreaded the coming of the sun as Mrs. Emily was expecting an answer at breakfast as to weather he would continue with the journey or go home.  Brodie walked around the interior perimeter of the hanger they were parked in.  Dante had told them last night it was an old Soviet Era military base but had since been abandoned by the government and now it served a variety of private companies.  Brodie found an empty wooded crate and sat down and watched as the sky to the east turned purplish then golden then red with the coming of the sun.   He thought about all he had seen, he thought of going home, back to Los Angles a place he had lived his entire life.

Brodie liked Los Angeles it had everything he needed, his small apartment, his local library was within walking distance as was a nice grocery store.  He had lived in this apartment since he moved away from his parents house when he was twenty-six.  He had the same job for twenty years before his retirement, it was a city job as a filing clerk then after that he had gotten training in home health care which lead him to Mrs. Emily’s house which got him here, the foothills of the Ural Mountains watching the sunrise.

“Contemplating the dawn?”

Brodie jumped up startled she had approached without him noticing even though she was using both canes.  “Mrs. Emily how are you feeling this morning?”  Brodie said motioning towards the wooden crate he was sitting on so she could rest.

“No need for that I am fine, a little stiff so I need to walk around a bit, but I just wanted you to know that if you decide to go home I will of course pay for that.”

“Thank you Mrs. Emily.”  Brodie said reflexively.

“Of course you will effectively be laid off until I return as you will not be doing your job until I return but upon my return we can talk about you returning to work for me.”

“Of course.”  Brodie said a little disappointed he would not automatically be hired back to work for her.

“Well I had better continue with my ramble, the dear Dante stated breakfast would be ready in about a half an hour.”  Mrs. Emily smiled.  “I talked him into making pancakes as a little reward for facing down the opposition yesterday.”

“You prefer waffles though.”  Brodie said.

Mrs. Emily smiled.  “Yes I do Brodie, but alas he does not have a waffle iron, just a wonderful cast iron skillet, so pancakes it is.”   Mrs. Emily started to hobble away, then said over her shoulder.  “Don’t be late, not much worse than a cold flapjack.”

Brodie smiled and returned to his seat and noticed the sky had gotten considerably brighter and looked for brightest spot in the sky for the sun.

“Is that box empty?”  A voice whispered into his ear at the same time he was grabbed from behind and pulled to his feet by someone with very rough strong hands.  Brodie struggled vainly for a few seconds and that is when a second set of hands grabbed him and dragged him backwards out of the hangar bay.

“I will ask you again is the box empty.” The voice said in his ear, but this time a flash of metal went by his face and a cold knife blade was placed against his throat.  “No yelling.”  The voice stated again and the hand covering his mouth was moved.

Brodie was scared but answered the best he could.  “I think so it felt empty when I stood it up on end.”

A dry chuckle.  “Oh that is good, I guess you cannot read Russian because if you could you would want to know for sure if the box was empty.”  Again the dry chuckle.

Brodie was confused now. “Why would I want to know for sure if the box was empty?”

“Well according to the words on the box, it used to contain mines, and if my memory serves me correct those mines were notourisly unstable considering how the workers who made them were drunk on cheap vodka most of the time.”

Brodie simply swallowed hard.

“Don’t worry I will not harm you unless you give me a good reason to.”

Brodie nodded, his hands were roughly grabbed and he was bound with some zip ties that while tight were not painful.   Brodie looked around and all he could see was the man who had just incapacitated him and bound him, he was sure he had felt at least another set of hands but when he looked around no one was there.

The guy unceremoniously dumped him on the ground and Brodie looked up at him, we as dressed in military style clothing with a military style vest with pockets and he had a holstered pistol.  Now that Brodie was on the ground the man placed the knife that had been at Brodie’s throat back in its sheath.  The guy was a white male, mid-thirties was a receding hair line.  Brodie noticed his hands they were covered with scars and he noticed the most prominent scars on the back of his hands were giant ragged Xs.

“Ah I see you like my charms.”  The man said turning them over so they were inches away from Brodie’s faces then he took a step back. “Bridger is the name and like I said don’t give me a reason to harm you.  But like I was saying about my charms,”  Bridger said using a finger to point towards the ragged X on the back of his left hand.   “They cost me three inches in height but they are totally worth it, especially when I am with the ladies.”  The man said in a tone that made Brodie’s skin crawl.  “Speaking of ladies, are you bonking the old woman?”

Brodie shook his head. “Mrs. Bartloski?  No don’t be disgusting, I just work for her.”

“Well to each his own, I mean I personally don’t get into old women, of course I will take care of business if it gets my point across but I prefer something shall we say a bit more lively.”  The man said as if Brodie had not answered at all.  “The man paused and put his hand up to his ear and Brodie noticed that he had an earpiece in. “Rodger I got him.”  Then a pause and the man’s face got angry.  “Don’t tell me my job Webb and I am sticking to the plan, you are the one that jumped the gun yesterday trying to be glory hound going one on one with the old witch.”

Brodie looked around hoping someone would come out of the hangar and see him and this man.  Oofff.   Brodie had just been punched in the stomach but when he looked up on Bridger was still four feet away from him with one hand up at his ear and the other stroking the but of his handgun in the holster.  The look of confusion on his face must have been apparent.

“I see you got a lot to learn about charms.”  Bridger spoke and smiled. Then Brodie was slapped violently across the face.”  I told you don’t give me a reason to hurt you, I saw you looking around when I was on the radio with Webb you were looking for a way out.”

Brodie stared at him.

“You see I made a deal, lose three inches of height, but I get to use a set of hands without getting mine dirty all the time.”  Brodie was slapped again with an invisible hand. “Like I said it comes in real handy with the ladies.”


“Mrs. Bartloski we have your man.”

Mrs. Emily looked up from her plate in the RV where she had just sat down to a nice warm plate of delicately browned pancakes covered with strawberry jelly.  “Oh poo.”  Mrs. Emily looked around.  “Dante can you hand me my canes.”

The voice from outside yelled again.  “Mrs. Bartloski did you hear me we have your man Brodie.”

“Keep your shirt on I am coming, I am coming.”  She yelled back as she carefully made her way down the steps of the large vehicle.  She squinted against the sun as she saw a man holding a knife near Brodie’s throat.

“Old woman you are slow.”  The voice of Bridger came across cavernous space of the hangar.

“Yes, yes I am slow, yes, yes I am old, can we dispense with the insults and get down to it my breakfast is getting cold.”

“So are the terms of parlay in effect and your three friends will stand down.”  He said motioning to the monks who had started to spread out, she saw both Dante and Hans and staffs and the High Pilgrim was standing behind her saying a prayer.

“Yes.”  Emily sighed.  “Parlay is in effect.”

The man in black took his knife away from Brodie’s neck and put it down at his side. “Parlay it is then.”

“Lets get this over with like I said my breakfast is getting cold.”

“The book I want it and you want your man back alive.”

Mrs. Bartloski smiled.  “Is that all you want the book?  Hans run inside and fetch my blue bag.”  The monk followed her direction without question and ran inside the vehicle and was out a few minutes later with the bowling ball bag.  She directed Hans to hold the bag while she got the book out with some trouble.

“That’s it, you are just going to hand it over.”  Bridger said surprised when the book was brought out into the morning sunshine, it highly polished wood glowing slightly in the light.

“You have my friend no book is worth my friend’s life.”  Mrs. Emily said then motioned for Hans to back off with the bag but leaving her with the book.

“That is why your side will never win, sentimental attachments.”

Mrs. Emily spoke up now.  “And that is why if your side wins it won’t be a worthwhile victory at all.”

Bridger sneered as he walked forward, pushing Brodie ahead of him. “You are free bud, run along.

Brodie stepped away from his captor and stumbled a bit as he walked a few step past his boss.  Then he watched her give the sacred book to the enemy.  Mrs. Emily stood their defiantly as the man stepped backwards with his prize and nodded to her.

“Well that was easy.”  Bridger said then turned and strode out the large hangar door a few seconds later a car started and tires squealed pulling out.

Mrs. Emily turned and hugged Brodie.  “I am so sorry that happened to your Brodie.”

Brodie was shocked and then felt something cut the zip ties off his wrists freeing his hands.  Hans was putting away a knife and then the three of them walked back towards the RV.  The High Pilgrim stopped Brodie before he entered the RV, he made him stand still then he ran his hands over his body stopping at both facial cheeks and his stomach.

“The man is a bit of a savage.”  The High Pilgrim commented.

“Aren’t the all in someway shape or form my old friend.”  Mrs. Emily responded.

The High Pilgrim nodded his head toward the direction he had gone.  “Him a little more than necessary.”

“Aren’t you guys upset about the book, now the opposition has it.”  Brodie said excited and wondering why they weren’t.

“Oh we will get it back soon enough.”  Mrs. Emily said.

“A think a mile.”  The High Pilgrim said.

“A mile and a half.”  Mrs. Emily said.


(1st Part) (2nd Part)  (3rd Part) (4th Part) (5th Part) (6th Part) (7th Part) (8th Part) (9th Part)(Part 10) (Part 11)(Part 12)(Part 13)(Part 14)(Part 15)(Part 16)(Part 17)(Part 18) (Part 19) (Part 20) (Part 21) (Part 22)  (Part 23) (Part 24) (Part 25)

Not crazy about the title, any suggestions will be duly considered.

The problem I have discovered with this type of writing is if I commit to something in the story there is no taking it back I just have to go with is and write my way out of it.  

If you would like to read my last weekly story, A Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art her it is. (Written in 2013, the same year my wife left me, so I was a different person back then, and I hope I have learned a lot about writing since then.)

If you want to see one of  my complete books try Disconnect in the Outfitters Universe.  


My Response:   The prophecy stated that in 60 years if the Stones were not properly aligned then the world would fall under the sway of the demon king for 1000 years. 1956 21 year old Emily the chosen one starts the quest. She arranges half the Stones around the planet, but then falls in love and life happens. Now it is 59 years later, Emily’s husband of 58 years passed away and one of the monks has found Emily and reminds her that she is the chosen one and needs to complete her task. Anyone interested?

Categories: Tending the Stones for the Lock

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