Monday, July 26, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #45

Tavernier Dimensions
by Aidan Fritz


The wind off the Moskva River ruffled Jean-Baptiste's fur-trimmed coat as the bells of St. Basil's Cathedral rang. Jean-Baptiste swore. Respect required you arrive on time. Jean-Baptiste, purveyor to kings, deserved respect. An eccentric place for business, but he'd learned to trust in eccentricity. It had given him Hope.

A slit-eyed man wore a coat that puffed over his scarf and three sweaters. The seller from the Far East. Jean-Baptiste wagered the seller was fifty, a youngster.

"Sorry I'm late. Cold?"

"Warm enough," said Jean-Baptiste. "Do you have it?"

The iron box filled the seller's hand.

Jean-Baptiste gripped his jeweler's glass waiting for the stone's debut. "I must appraise the stone."

The seller withheld the box. "Different. Unlike any stone you've had."

Jean-Baptiste closed his eyes, counting three winter breaths. "Different?"

"Gem marks a split-point in our reality where wielder can fold fourth dimension through fifth dimension."

"Nonsense," said Jean-Baptiste.

"Man who touches the facets can travel through time."

Jean-Baptiste listened to the seller's raving. Yet, the man's pupils glowed with an iridescence reminding Jean-Baptiste of his first trip to India. Gems did that to one. Gems that mattered. The money was Louis's and besides hadn't he earned the right to take a risk after eighty-nine years.

He exchanged gold for the box and lifted the lid to caress a facet. The world spun in a cacophony of reflected light. He released the gem. His wrinkled skin warmed by spring sunlight cascading across trees dotted with buds along the Moskva.

20 comments:

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Love the concept of this one-a gem that could help you travel through time...

Loren Eaton said...

Interesting, Lovecraft-ian premise, although the ending is much more upbeat than anything old H.P. wrote. Nice, Aidan.

Aerin said...

I agree with Loren - nice. Tight pacing, vivid imagery, fantastic dialogue. Lots done here in a small number of words.

Peter Dudley said...

I have to agree with those who commented before. I really like the way you weave the sentences so that it flows, very smooth. I especially love the three winter breaths and the single word reply, "Nonsense." Very well written.

Erratic Thoughts said...

Very well written-I really liked it..."Seller was fifty, youngster" was a nice thought...

Jade L Blackwater said...

Lovely writing - like Peter's I'm smitten by the winter breaths and the other subtle touches. The whisking of spacetime at the end is my favorite part.

Aniket said...

I loved the dialogue here. Crisp and two the point. No word was wasted.

Aimee Laine said...

I want to travel through time, too! ;)

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Aidan

I was thinking HG Wells. How are into the future/past did he travel?

Nicely done, I enjoyed this little bit, so much more to tell.

Dottie :)

Joni said...

I'm a sucker for time travel.

Great imagery.

Laurel said...

Cool story, well told, and I'm smitten with your take on not just the photo but the whole theme.

Nice job!

AidanF said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments.

Dottie, far enough to leave his old life behind. It can be how you want, but I envision it short enough to still fit in.

Aerin said...

Hey Aidan - I keep coming back to this one. I want to call "no fair" for using Tavernier (considering the judge)...but mostly I'm jealous I didn't think of it. This piece is just so well written, and I love that it's not doom and gloom.

So....what else do you write? I wanna buy your novel.

Mike Robertson said...

Very nicely done Aidan. First paragraph pulled me in completely, though I had to read it twice to fully digest it. It was reminiscent of Tolstoy or Turgenev in its flavor.

The time travel (time shift?) theme was smoothly integrated into an otherwise realist historical fiction setting. Well done.

AidanF said...

Aerin, I'm glad you enjoyed this. I currently have short stories wallowing in slush piles, but hopefully that will change soon. I do post shorts (not all are this good) on my blog.

I hadn't planned on "cheating", even had a rough idea but when I read about Tavernier his death/disappearance opened questions that I had to answer.

Vincent Kale said...

Love the direction you took this. To me, everything else disappeared but the two men, the box of jewels and the swirling winter scene around them. It was almost as if it was a solitary event happening outside of time.

The jewels themselves reminded me of a portkey, or a token from Inception or something from LOST. Jean-Baptiste is gonna need a constant!
Now if only he can figure out a way to go backwards, get rid of some of those wrinkles...

JR's Thumbprints said...

This is good. I'm wondering where he time-traveled to. I like the fact that you left it up to the reader.

JaneyV said...

Aaargh! How did I miss this? I read through each entry (or so I thought) chronologically! I'm so glad I came back and found yours Aidan. The writing is tight, I love the concept and you have two excellent characters here.

Well done!

That line Peter picked out was a stand-out for me too!

Catherine Vibert said...

And so he goes from winter into spring. Wonderful imagery...