As promised, herewith begins the Tober Chronicles.
I am anxious for your take on this story, and challenge anyone to guess the style I have chosen.
North and South do not exist,
East and West are a game we made;
Borders are a mark of greed, and
Time, the illusion we blame for our failures.
See, life is the thing, and even that
We make into something less or more than it is.
It is not a philosophy
It is not a god
It is not a political stand, no
It is the day. It is the current breath.
It is life.
And the purpose of life is to live.
They say it is difficult for a shadow to hide, but there was one, in all of time, that knew the secret. Calibre was a shadow among shadows, it existed outside of life, in exile, so to speak, but it could make itself invisible in a strong day’s light, or allow itself to be seen in the deepest night.
Some would say that this could only be possible through magic. Others would say that even with magic involved, the idea of a sentient shadow was an odd one, but Calibre had no care for the thoughts of others. Calibre had only on task to perform, but more of that later.
Enoch Tober was an ordinary young man, in spite of his name. Everyone said he had a good life, and who was he to doubt it? He could reach the highest shelf in his house without stepping onto a chest or chair unlike the barber who had to stand on a box to cut some people’s hair. He could get through the door without turning sideways, or holding in his stomach, unlike the baker who was also the tavern keeper, and who was known for a life of quiet self-indulgence. He could sleep at night without his feet hanging over at the foot of his bed, eat his meals at regular times, and he could take a day away from work one day a week.
He had the cleverness, and the wherewithal, to read a book now and then, and had a fit memory so that he would remember some of what he read.
He was neither rich, nor poor. His daily life was adequate, and he fit well in the little village of Goodhope.
He had what all the villagers said was a good and decent and important job, and was well-respected for his daily efforts.
Life was good, it seemed, because everyone told him it was, and who was he to doubt the word of so many good people?
In short, it would appear, he had everything he needed. Every “thing” but one.
Truth to tell, he had no idea what that missing thing was. It wasn’t friendship. He had a friend, Karn the stable master’s son. It wasn’t education. He had been to school and could read and write as well as any in the village, and he understood something of numbers and reckoning.
It wasn’t religion, for in fact while he had been religious from birth, the faith of his parents had deserted him, for one day a traveling salesman had come through town, and as he sat drinking at the tavern, had told of the other towns he visited; what each was like, and to Enoch’s great surprise, what each village and town believed god to be like, and what this god expected of his or her followers.
“I am not uneducated,” Enoch told himself while puzzling how one town could have this god, and another that. “Someday I must discover for myself which religion is correct.” Until then, he decided, religion would be something for the future.
It was learning of the existence of different religions that planted the seed of unrest in Enoch Tober. Thinking of how the world everywhere must differ from the village of Goodhope bothered him at first, but as he pondered the possibilities, he grew restless to see the truth of it.
No, none of these things were missing, for how, he wondered, could something be missing if he knew what it was? Perhaps it was only his imagination playing a trick on him, like it did sometimes when he carried a candle from one side of his room to another. Shadows would jump, grow, shrink, and twist in the oddest ways, and would seem, now and then, as though they had a life of their own.
Putting off a decision about religion had changed his life, although he had yet to learn that it was so. To be fair, it could have been anything he put off for the future that would force a change in his fortunes, for it was just that putting off that turned his daily life to a life of preparation for life rather than life itself.