Worlds for Throng
Author's note: Every one of my experiences and fully formed thoughts went into this, as well as my feelings on... Show full author's note »
Part I: Utterance; 1“This weight feels like the weight of the world. And I look up and there’s nothing there holding me back. I hate it. I tried, but people seem to form their own truths. I’m a journalist sent from England, assigned to interview the abusive father of that child on that island north of the UK. Shetland Islands, originally part of the UK, recently bought by the US in some shady transaction. I got a story, but I don’t know how to write it down, so I’ll just tell you what happened:
I arrived just at daybreak. A ship took me in to the north end; they lent me a horse of all things, for transportation, and left in a hurry. The air looked clear but when you looked at the moon, you saw the layers of smoke and whatnot its light filled up. I looked east and the flat ocean horizon radiating a terrible red. Dying, fading clouds off in the distance, looked so smooth, rolled into the light. It went on forever. It felt like something out of a dream. If I hadn’t had a watch I wouldn’t have known what time it was; 7am. We walked up the docks, and I tied the horse around one of the pegs sticking from the ground when we got to land.
There wasn’t much light other than the just rising sun and the moon’s. There was a single, two story building off to my right, with an exterior staircase leading to a catwalk, and then a door to check myself in, but no first level door that I could see. A single lamp lit up the covered walk. I headed up the cement stairs and across the walk. The hallway was white and well lit. It felt like it went on forever. I opened that big, metal and glass door and headed down it. No one was anywhere. I hadn’t seen a single person yet. No one had heard much about the island, no one knew how old the town was. I certainly knew nothing. It’s my first job though. Just forgot to do a background check. No one ever really thought about the island, West of Norway, North of Scotland. They didn’t even use it to transport goods; it was totally closed off from the public. America has bought the island, and luckily we knew a fellow Englishman, Smyth, I think his name was, that was good friends with some high-up American, and he got me in.
One of the rooms was open, and an old, portly man sat at a desk, looking through some papers. He glared up at me, “Yes?” he said with a thick, American accent.
“I’m Timothy Crowling, from the UK Paper, for the Foxx story. I’m sure they called.”
“He’s expecting you.”
“Well, where is he?”
“Head down the hall and down the final flight of stairs. A cab’s waiting.”
“Thank you, sir.”
The hall branched off in so many directions, but I headed straight to the end, and across another catwalk, and down more stairs, and an old, dirtied cab waited. I waved and he unlocked the doors.
“Thank you for driving me, sir, shall I pay you?” I asked as I got in.
“Oh no, it’s free.” this gentleman, as well, had the accent.
“Thank you very much then, I will be sure to tip you.”
The land was, for the most part, untouched. It all looked dirty though. A few old, feeble houses held up with thin, warped wood. Some were brick, when we got farther in. We stopped at a small brick house with a low-gated back yard. I thanked the man, tipped him in ten American dollars, I don’t know, grabbed the brown suitcase I carried from the seat next to me, and stepped out. Immediately the driver took off, leaving me in the dust. An old, broken swing set’s chain tapped the pole as the wind pushed it gently. The sun was higher in the sky now; it’s now gold rays piercing through the clouds. The air looked terribly dirty and greasy, it’s hard to describe. I assumed there was an industrial plant nearby. I knocked on the security door and the metal sheet clanged back and forth in the framework. Mr. Foxx opened the inside door, I could barely make out his face, “yes?” he asked.
“I’m Timothy Crowling, from the UK Paper, to interview you. Remember?”
“Of course,” he opened the security door, “come in! Did they set you up with a hotel?” I thought all this was odd, considering the reason he was being interviewed.
“They did not, but I’m sure I can find one myself fine, thank you.”
“We had one, though it might have closed down. You’re more than welcome to stay here, I enjoy your accent, and the company’s always nice.”
“Well, thank you very much. This has been very interesting for me thus far. A bit of a culture shock in the few moments I’ve been here. You’re all American, in this part of the world. Fascinating, to say the least.”
“I hope to keep it that way.”
“Thanks. And you’re sure I could stay here? I don’t want to impose.”
“Not at all, we seldom get visitors.”
“Well then, thank you.”
“Seth,” he called, “Mr. Crowling’s here.” The handsome boy, thirteen or fourteen, unusually muscular, came out and tipped his head to me, I returned.
“Pleased to meet you.” he said.
“You too my friend.”
“Mr. Crowling’s here to interview us.” Mr. Foxx said.
“About what?” Seth asked.
“I don’t know exactly, could you clarify, Mr. Crowling?”
“Well,” I started, clearing my throat, “The UK seems to have an interest in your parenting methods, and would just like to know more about them. We find them very, old fashioned, if I might.”
“Nothing seriously wrong with it, is there?”
“They do find it questionable, but nothing seriously wrong, as far as I know.”
“Having newspapers and TV stations coming in here asking about my son. A man gets defensive.”
“I understand sir; I’m just doing my job.”
“Do you agree with them?”
“That it’s questionable.”
“Just odd, I suppose.”
“There isn’t any other way to connect with people at his age.”
“And now you’ll have a chance to defend yourself.”
“I’m surprised they let you in.”
“What do you mean?”
“To the island, I mean. If it wasn’t for Smyth you’d have no story. I’m doing this only because he okayed it, is that clear?”
“Well, yes sir. How do you know about our connection with Smyth, does everyone know?”
“No, just me. It doesn’t matter yet.”
“Right now?” I scrambled through my suitcase for a notebook and pencil.
“Alright, well, did you move here, or have you been here all your life?”
“When was that?”
“Couple months ago.”
“What was the reason?”
“His mother died.”
“Is your son in school?”
“Why don’t you ask him directly?”
“Okay, if you’d like,” I turned to the boy, “you go to school here?”
“My dad teaches me.”
“Your dad… do you ever plan to move back to the US?”
Mr. Foxx answered: “It’s been speculated. Nothing definite yet. Just seeing how it plays out here.”
“Well, how do you like it so far?”
“I don’t have an opinion of it yet.”
“Well, Seth, do you think your father’s teaching methods are, adequate? And, do you like them? Feel free to answer in any way you like.”
The boy turned to his father, who nodded, giving him permission to speak freely. Still, he wouldn’t: “They’re fine.”
“Yes, I like them.”
“Anything in particular you like about it?”
“I don’t know.”
I glanced at Mr. Foxx, who sat back in a desk chair, monitoring. He glanced at me and I looked back at Seth. “Well,” I said after clearing my throat, “If you’re serious about having me stay here, I think it’d be very beneficial to the case if I could just view the situation for a while.”
“Did you call it a case?” Mr. Foxx asked.
“Story, whatever you’d like to call it.”
“It is a story. For a paper.”
“That’s right, sorry.”
“Now let me ask you something.”
“Did your employer give you any specifications on my methods of parenting?”
“He said you use physical force, and are damaging him psychologically.”
“Those were his words… do you think the boy should hear this?”
“Yes I do.”
“How can it benefit him?”
“He should hear my justifications.”
“Well, that statement alone should help your argument, I will make note of it.” I said, jotting it down. He was far more dignified and socially attractive than I’d expected. He’d be the popular kid at a high school, or the friendly boss at a work place. “If I may speak frankly for a minute, Seth, there aren’t any bruises or wounds of any kind on you that I can see, so I don’t know where my sources got that info, I will take note of that as well.” I continued writing.
“I’m glad everything seems well and good.”
“Me too. What are some of the core values you as a parent, try and pass on to Seth?”
“Honor, respect, duty.”
“Are you religious?”
“We try. Catholic.”
“Alright, duly noted. And is there anything in particular Seth’s future holds for him?”
“The military. Ideally the United States Marine Corps. Well, that is if it doesn’t play out well here.”
“And you seem to think it won’t?”
“I don’t know.”
“But you’re planning against it. So if he stays here?”
“Then he’ll join the forces here.”
“Is there a military here?”
“Really? How serious is it?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, are there a lot?”
“And how do you know about it, if they’re supposed to be secret?”
“Then how is it secret?”
“You haven’t seen them yet.”
“I suppose, not yet. So you eventually take note of them if you stay here long enough?”
“It only took you, a few months.”
“Well I’ve been socially active.”
“Then I will too.”
“They’re not particularly friendly.”
“Well, if I can be honest with you, I did notice that coming in here. Though the cab driver didn’t want to get paid.”
“There is no currency here.”
“What? Its US soil now, right?”
“Yes, well… so, what’s going on here?”
“And look, we’re off the subject. Far off.”
“If I feel this has anything to do with the story I’m after, I will ask about it.”
“Don’t get too deep.”
“What happens then?”
“I couldn’t say.”
“You don’t know?”
“Even if I did, it probably wouldn’t be smart to.”
“Should I even stay here for the night?”
“Maybe I will.”
“Maybe.’ Yes or no.”