It was many and many a year ago
In a kingdom by the sea…
The lightning slashed across the stormy night sky over Perthshire, Scotland.
The tides of the River Tay crashed against its banks as the wind blew the water here and there and against the aged rocks forming the small hill holding the old stone house away from the water's curling and destructive fingers.
Another bolt of lightning cracked through the sky.
The house was just outside of the old city Perth, an in-between mark for Perth and a smaller city known as Kintillo. It was a few kilometers up from the Bridge of Earn, following the famous River Tay on its brutal course, just tucked on the outside of civilization.
On this night, the stone house held a foreboding sense of dread. Whether it was the lightning and thunder above it, the angry river beneath it, or the dreary stones upon it, the night spoke to a great misfortune.
Thunder rolled across the sky.
His footsteps where heavy, even in the wet grass they made a harsh and thundering thump.
The wind swept across his broad shoulders but could not stir him from his course.
Each step brought him closer to the house.
There were no lights on inside, no doubt all it's patrons we're fast asleep or watching the storm from the cozy comfort of their beds. Completely unaware of his presence; that's how he wanted it.
He held a tool box in his right hand. An ordinary red handyman toolbox, but in the flash of the lightning looked like the bloody toolbox of an insane killer, ready to make his next strike.
He reached the edge of the stone building and removed his cap and dropped it on the ground carelessly.
He gently placed the toolbox down and opened it, brushing the dripping rain off his face. The toolbox was not filled with the ordinary tools one would use to repair or to build. It contained a small paint container, coated with a thick layer of honey-like resin, a large used paintbrush, and a pair of gloves covered in the same resin as the paint can.
He put on the gloves and gently opened the top of the paint can, grabbing its handle and carefully lifting it out of the box.
In the other hand he grasped the large paintbrush.
Gingerly, he walked over to the stone wall on the east side of the house, careful not to spill a drop of the red, blood like substance in the can.
He found his position and delicately dunked the paintbrush in the resin and quickly began swiping it across the stones. He was writing, and he was writing quickly. Even with the rain, the red liquid ate through his brush, slowly.
He finished his message quickly, and smiled at his handiwork before placing the paint can down and tossing the melted paintbrush away.
Suddenly a guard dog turned the corner and began barking at him fiercely.
The man barely blinked at the intrusion. He picked up the paint can and tossed its contents onto the hound and soon it's fierceness melted in a yipe, and the dog ran away leaving a dripping trail of burning liquid behind him.
The man grinned cruelly and went back to his toolbox putting the paint can back in to it and closing it up again.
He put on his cap and in a flash of lightning seemed to disappear in the night.
The maid was awoken by the most bloodcurdling howling she'd ever heard in her life. It was one of the guard dogs.
"Bloody storm," she mumbled to herself as she ascended the stairs with her candle. "Got them in a fit."
The lightning shone through the windows of the large house as she continued her trek from the lower level sleeping quarters to the main level. She'd put the dogs in the stable and give them a pigs ear to chew on and that would calm the blasted howling that was keeping her awake. It was hard enough to sleep with the storm raging on as it was.
She slipped on her raincoat and stuck the candle into an old lantern.
The howling continued.
Perhaps the dog was startled and found itself caught in the chicken fence, or something.
The maid put on her rain boots and took an umbrella from the stand opening the heavy front door and stepping out into the rain, opening the umbrella.
She followed the dog's noise to the east side of the house.
"Aedus! Darach! Finian!" she called the dogs names.
She heard two of them whimpering.
"Where are you, boys?" she called again.
She followed the whimpering and saw two of them in a frantic state. They were afraid.
"What is it?" she called to them. "Darach, what is it boy?"
Darach whimpered and moved his feet in a hectic and pacing manner.
She reached Darach and grabbed his collar to calm him down.
"What is it..." she stopped once she saw what both dogs were panicking over.
Lying just a few meters away from her was the youngest of the three dogs, Finian, or what was left of him that is. He lay on the wet ground looking almost completely melted.
The poor woman screamed at the sight as more lightning flashed across the sky.
Dr. Helen Magnus descended off the train at the Paris station.
She breathed in the fresh French air, and smiled slightly. The last time she has been here had been D-Day, in Carentan. It was amazing how much of this place had restored its way of life in such a short time.
Aside from a few spots here and there, France was what it always was, a relative culture center.
Paris was back to its bustling life like war had never touched it.
No wonder she had tracked him here. It was a perfect place to get lost in a crowd.
Fortunately she knew him better than that.
She hailed a cab and was quickly on her way to the one place she knew he'd be.
It was a beautiful morning, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and Helen reveled in the fact that finally the war was over, sometimes she forgot it was. She watched the Parisian world whiz by her window with new eyes. It was the same Paris, as it always had been, yet it was different. She couldn't explain why.
The cab stopped in front of an old hotel and she got out and graciously paid her fare.
The hotel had an outdoor Veranda for its cafe. There were several guests seated in tables and chairs under the shade of the upper balcony, over looking the park and the Eiffel tower standing majestically in the distance. Pigeons pecked absently at their feet and no one really paid them any mind.
He would come to a place like this.
She scanned the morning diners as they enjoyed their breakfast. There were couples, old and young, business men discussing business together, housewives out with their girlfriends, but then she spotted him.
He sat in the back of the veranda all by himself, reading a newspaper and occasionally throwing his toast crusts to the flurry of birds on the road beside him. His biggest give away of course was the glass of deep red wine he was drinking despite it being 9 in the morning.
She smiled to herself. Some things never change.
She weaved between the tables of guests towards his table in the back.
She sat down across from him without saying a word and he didn't look up from his paper.
She stared at the half empty wine glass sitting on the table between them for a moment.
"Hello Nikola," she said finally and he peeked over the paper.
"Helen," he smiled at her and folded up the paper. "What a pleasant surprise. He stood up and grasped her hands, pulling her to standing and giving her a quick peck on the cheek, then sitting down again. "I won't do it," he said suddenly.
"Won't do what?" she asked, taken aback that he knew she wanted something.
"Whatever it is that you've come here to ask me to do, I won't do it, I'm on vacation," he said sternly.
"You're supposed to be in hiding," she grumbled.
"Well I got bored of that so now I'm on vacation and I won't let you ruin that for me with one of your blasted favors," he muttered adamantly. "I've paid my price, now I'm going to enjoy myself."
Helen rolled her eyes, he was always so stubborn.
"It's for a friend," she continued despite his denials.
"Not a friend of mine," he shook his head and opened the paper again.
"She's willing to pay you," Helen continued.
"I'm not broke," he chided.
"It's in Scotland..."
"Why the hell would I want to go there?"
"It's a meager security position, and it'll only be for a month, maybe two."
"I mean it's dry and humid, it would mess with my hair..."
"She really needs your help."
"For a meager security position? Your words not mine."
"She's single," Helen added.
Nikola put the paper down.
"Now we're getting somewhere. Is she single because she chooses to be or single because she's so frighteningly ugly..."
"Nikola," Helen rolled her eyes.
"Answer the question," he snipped at her.
"She is very attractive," Helen sighed.
"You see, you should've opened with that," Nikola teased.
"So will you do it?" asked Helen.
"Mmm...no, goodbye!" he lifted the paper up again.
Helen groaned. Why'd she think this was going to be easy, Nikola Tesla was never easy.
She took a moment to take him in. His hair was a bit more unruly then she was used to, his electricity work had always put it in a state of cowlick, but he had always been so diligently slicking it back, now it seemed he let it maintain its strange form. He wore a crisp clean white Oxford shirt with its top two buttons undone, and a cream colored vest that no doubt matched his pants. His jacket hung over the back of the chair, and strangely enough there was no tie in sight. He really was on vacation.
His hand rested on the table, just meters away from his wine glass. Her hand slipped across the table and gently grasped his hand. His head slowly peaked from behind the paper.
"Please Nikola, do this one favor for me," she pleaded.
"Why me? Why not get one of your lackeys to do it?" he grumbled.
"You know very well that we are establishing a new Sanctuary in America," Helen sighed.
"Right in that no name city of wherever," he muttered, looking from her to her hand still gripped in his.
"I wouldn't ask you unless I was sure you were the only one I trusted enough with this," she said earnestly.
He looked at her thoughtfully and then let out a sigh.
"What would I have to do?"
Oddly enough this story came to me in a dream. It was lovely, so lovely in fact that a sighed myself happily awake, only o disappointedly realize that it was in fact a dream, and not an episode of Nikola Tesla being downright gorgeous. But I couldn't shake it and I began writing. This was back in August, I've now decided to publish my findings. Even though I was going to wait for Here We Meet Again to be complete...but what can I say, I'm impatient.
Thank you to Chartreuseian for beta'ing. Otherwise it would be full of strange and seemingly obvious grammar mistakes, but what can i say, iPhones suck when it comes to grammar.
Enjoy! This one is a bit different than my usual taste and you'll see how as we go along :)