The Jade Camel–Sidestep

The thing about these rooftops that’s really useful is the many ledges and nooks and crannies which allows a person to observe all around for miles, without being observed.

I noticed Joey scrambling over a couple of walls earlier and decided to see what he was up to; he’d never have seen me, but he wouldn’t really have noticed me if he had – he seemed to be on the run from someone, for some reason. I saw him jump from a roof, away from a couple of people, and I was able to follow him here. He’s now standing outside a door, where I can hear music coming from behind it – it seems to be very loud.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to climb down to investigate things myself. Depending on the music, I sometimes have to get closer to find out what’s going on… I was in Manchester once and heard Margarita Pracatan singing loudly from one of the bars on the other side of the canal – I had to dash across the bridge and burst through the doors,  only to be faced with a couple of people looking at me open-mouthed, sat at a table about to take another forkful of food each… although why Margarita Pracatan would be singing live on a Wednesday afternoon still baffles me to this day… not that she shouldn’t have been singing on a Wednesday afternoon if she wanted to. Anyway, I digress.

By the time I’d got to the door, Joey had vanished. The music was still playing, and it was definitely calling to me. I pushed the door open, and walked inside the darkened room.

The door slammed shut behind me, and it must have been that what brought me back to my senses. I realised inside the room, there was no music, just darkness, apart from a strange glowing object in what I presumed would have been the corner of the room.

As in horror movies, instead of turning and getting out of the room, I walked toward the object. It wasn’t in the corner after all, and just a couple of steps ahead of me – I walked into it, and as it touched my chest an odd-shaped rectangularish portal or something opened right in front of me. Beyond, I could see figures, some moving, milling about, talking, laughing, others just standing; they didn’t seem to be aware that I’d opened this thing, which was framed with bright white tiny bolts of lightning – not bright enough to lighten the room, but bright enough to light up my chest, and I could see a small object attached to my jacket… some kind of animal curled in an amber casing – it could’ve been amber, but it wasn’t the colour of the amber traffic light; it could’ve been glass, or plastic, thinking about it – it vanished as soon as I touched it.

I looked back through the portal, and noticed not all the figures were interacting with each other. Some were in groups of two, three or four, others were alone, just standing, waiting by the looks of things. I could see animals too – there was a cat and a, was it a monkey? Why would it be a monkey? One of the standing figures seemed to be quite close to the entrance of the portal, and the closer I looked at her, the stronger the sense came over me that I knew her. Ceridwen. Her name was clear in my mind. Quite close to Ceridwen was another pair of people, a man and a woman, standing and waiting. They seemed to be in a different shade of light to Ceridwen, and as I looked closer at them, their names appeared to me – Lucy and Pierre.

The more I looked at these various characters, which I noticed were all in different shades of light, as though they were in different places, some in daylight, others night, it made sense why they weren’t interacting with each other – they were in different places. And that explained why they paid no attention to me looking through the portal at them – I was in a different place to all of them.

As my attention had gone back to the portal, I noticed that it had changed shape a little – the top right corner seemed to be folding downwards, towards me…like the folded corner of a page in a book, no, not the folded corner, it was the shape a page makes as it’s being turned. The portal was the page to a book… I was looking inside the page of a book!

The door burst open behind me, causing me to jump and stumble forwards in the darkness. I saw a few shortish people standing in the doorway just before I fell through the portal. I’d put my hands out to stop myself falling, but realised my error when I passed through the shimmering barrier. I closed my eyes, not knowing what would happen next.

I felt myself land on the solid ground, on all fours. I opened my eyes, and found myself back on the rooftop again. I looked down to the door below, and saw Joey standing outside, and I could hear the music playing.

I walked around the side of the roof, and decided to look at a different view. Joey would be fine, I told myself.

Written in response to a comment from Chris Hall on ‘The Jade Camel’, her latest series on her blog, Luna’s On Line, and featuring some of Chris’ characters.

11 responses to “The Jade Camel–Sidestep”

  1. Spira avatar

    Well, here goes you…and man did you go!
    The sense of the characters, their places interwoven with previously appeared “threads” is so well executed; it seems that’s one of your “super powers”.
    In other words, 👏.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tom avatar

      🙂 Nice play on words there, Nick!
      I have many super powers, all variable and intermittent in equal measure! Pleased that this time, the one used seemed to work! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Chris Hall avatar

    Oh, I love this, Tom! What a hoot, you fell into my book. Phew, at least you managed to climb out. True Superhero stuff! My characters, of course, thank you for the mention. 😱I just had a thought. What if they manage to follow you? Maybe I should arrange a few understudies – just in case!😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Tom avatar

      Pleased you liked it, Chris… at least this way I didn’t alter Joey’s path at all! I’m not sure your characters were even aware I was there, but when we open portals anything is possible! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chris Hall avatar

        And we do love a portal, don’t we, whatever the consequences!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Tom avatar

          Oh yes… especially when we can …reimagine those consequences when they occur! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Tom avatar

    The suspense mounts 😉 Keeps the reader anxious for your protagonist. Great immersive snapshot, Tom! 👏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom avatar

      Thanks, Tom… but through all this I was just an observer! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. europasicewolf avatar

    Why does it not entirely surprise me that you fell into a book Tom?! You have been portalised!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tom avatar

      That’s very true, Icewolf… but I’m always surprised when this type of thing happens…! 😀


      1. europasicewolf avatar

        Not too surprising really!😅

        Liked by 1 person

Would you like to leave a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: