This is a fan fiction set in the world of Michael de Larrabeiti's Borrible Trilogy, whose heirs own the copyright and may order this story removed for any or no reason at any time. I certify that I am making no financial gain whatsoever from the writing of this story. Tom Mazanec
The Making of a Borrible
Jack Dawkins could still remember when life was better, before his mother died. They were just a few dreamlike memories, but they were there. When she died, his father began drinking. He would go off by himself when he was drunk and leave Jack alone, unless Jack interrupted him. Then he hit him, once sending him into a wall as a result. His father used to get drunk a couple times a week…then Obama got elected and his father, a dyed in the wool Republican, started getting drunk every night.
Jack's father was a policeman in the Borrible Unit of the Maple Heights Police Department. Maple Heights was a suburb of Cleveland, and Borribles were just a minor nuisance, only petty thieves and nonconformists. And almost indistinguishable from normal kids. His father was at the bottom of the MHPD pecking order, and felt he deserved better. And Jack thought he deserved better than his life. He learned about Borribles from his father's talk, and that sounded preferable to walking on eggs in fear of his Dad. So he began reading up on Borribles in his father's books, and using his father's computer to research them on the Web.
Borribles started out as normal kids, like him. If they lived a Borrible lifestyle they turned into Borribles. Their ears grew pointed and they grew smarter and more dexterous. They also stopped growing older. A very smart, very careful and very lucky Borrible could live to be 100. Heck, he could even live to be 1000. They lived as parasites on society, shoplifting their food and living in abandoned buildings. They also lived in fear of being found out as Borribles. If the police caught them they clipped their ear points off, and the Borrible turned back into an ordinary child. They forgot about their adventures as Borribles, but were left with a lifelong depression as they grew old. So Borribles hid their ears under hair or a cap. They also gave up their previous name. They were known as "Hey you" or "Buddy" or "the new girl" until they took part in an adventure worthy of granting them a name. If a Borrible was introduced to another by name, they always complimented the named one and said that they would like to hear the story of the name someday, for Borribles loved stories, especially about Borrible adventures.
Jack knew where an abandoned house was, weed grown and with broken windows, one of the desolate houses which were starting to pop up in the suburbs in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. It was near the Southgate Shopping Center where a Giant Eagle supermarket was located, where he could flinch food. So one warm August night in 2009, in the wee hours of the morning, Jack took a can opener, a woolen cap, and a few other things that he thought he could use. The summer had been cool and wet, but the first heat wave was beginning. He walked to the house and entered by reaching in through a broken door window and unlocking the door. He lived as a Borrible in that house and supermarket. He just took a can or two at a time, hiding them under his shirt. In a couple days his ears had grown points, and he always wore his hat when he went out, even if the heat was in the nineties. He also started looking for gatherings of kids and joining in the discussion, about how the Cavaliers had teased Cleveland with its shot at a championship last year, only to let the city down as every team had done for nearly half a century, or someone whose older brother was fighting in Iraq, or whatever. When he got to know them better, he would ask their names. They would say "Tom" or "John" or "Richard", even the ones with caps, for some kids liked to play Borrible and wear the caps even in hot weather. But one day a child walked off after he arrived, and turned to look at him a funny way. He was wearing a cap.
Jack ran after him and asked him what his name was.
"I go by the name Rumblestick. I rather prefer that." He scratched his head, where his ear would be under the cap. "What is your name?"
"My name is Jack Dawkins, but I don't have an interesting nickname like yours. How did you get it?" Jack replied, imitating the gesture.
Rumblestick lifted his cap a moment and showed his pointed ear. It was even more pointed than Jack's. Jack did the same. "If you are my friend, follow me around the bend." said Rumblestick.
As they walked along, Rumblestick said "There are Rumbles living in Shaker Heights. Back in the Fifties they tried to start up a Burrow in Maple Heights. We got the tribes together and formed an army. Over a hundred of us. We went to the Burrow and killed half of them, sending the other half running back with their tails between their legs. I was the one who killed the leader. Speared him through the throat with his own Rumblestick."
"I thought Rumbles were just stories, like Bigfoot or UFOs." said Jack.
"They are real enough. Like Borrible sized rats up on their hind legs and talking like no animal should. They think they are better than us, but they are thieves just as much as we are."
They walked down Libby Road for a distance until they reached the closed St. Wenceslaus building. Rumblestick worked the lock a bit and opened the door and led Jack inside. He walked down a short stairway, just a few steps, and gave a strange knock on the door on the left...one long, two short and one long. The door opened and Rumblestick said "Welcome to the Wenceslaus Wonders."