November 18, 2003

jimmy was an alchemist. (Part 1)

His grandfather had practiced the art in the old country, before the Germans came, before the Russians took over. Jimmy came from a line of alchemists that stretched back into the bits of time that were foggy. His grandfather had been somewhat of an alchemy prodigy at a young age, the best alchemist in the valley, and people would come from neighboring villages for his services. He had known the Germans were coming. He told the village elders, but there was nothing they could really do, so before the Germans reached the village, Grandfather had packed up his laboratory. He then told his young wife to pack her things and get their small child ready for the journey. She refused. She had lived in the village her entire life, and frankly had no interest in following him across the seas, where she had heard there were no jobs to be found, and certainly no jobs for alchemists. Grandfather spent three days trying to convince the young beauty of the danger she faced if she stayed, but to no avail. So it was that Grandfather left his young wife and took his small son across the broad Atlantic to a place called Georgia.

Since that day, Jimmy's father, Viktor, hated Grandfather with every fibre of his being. Grandfather had been a distant parent, always working in the lab, always smelling of sulfides and iodine, never knowing, or showing much concern for how to interact with the small homunculus his wife's belly had produced. Viktor loved his mother, Eliena, a great deal, and when she declined to join her husband on his journey west, Viktor wanted to stay with her. Grandfather had somehow convinced Eliena that, even if she thought the trip was ludicrious, America was the land of the future, and would offer Viktor better opportunities than the old country. And so Grandfather and his reluctant charge made the journey across Europe and then over the sea. Grandfather tried his best to entertain the child, but he could not stop the wailing of the infant. Eventually, somewhere in the rocking seas, past the Azores, Grandfather gave up trying to satiate the baby. And so, Viktor gave up crying.

Viktor's childhood was a stern, serious one. This was not Grandfather's fault. Grandfather reveled in the wonder of the mundane, as those with fantastic abilities tend to do. A walk in the park, a bird in flight, a balloon in a child's hand. Viktor, however, liked none of these things. Viktor hated Grandfather. His only memory of his mother was an infantile blur of happiness, but he knew that somehow, no matter the fact that the entire village and most of the old country had been wiped off the face of the earth by either the Germans or the Russians, somehow, everything would have been better if he stayed with her. So Viktor concentrated his hate into determination and work, and became a studious hermit, never going outside their little house on Peachtree Lane, never going on walks with Grandfather.

Posted by orion at November 18, 2003 01:33 PM | TrackBack