03 - Chapter 3 - Mourning Prince
Webmistress's Drawing of a Sculpture.  Artist Unknown.
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The Mourning Prince



Chapter III 




  The turn of the century home sat on a bluff overlooking the city. It had begun to be buffeted by the strong winds and blowing snow about midday the previous day. A pair of baby blue eyes stared out a window at the front of the house. The owner of those eyes sat in the window enclosure watching the barely visible lights from the city below. Bored from watching the lights, she turned her attention to the sleeping figure next to her. She decided that it was time for him to wake up. She was hungry. As she stretched, her front legs went forward. Combining a yawn with another stretch, she sent the full power of her leg muscles vibrating through the cushion of the enclosure. The vibration didn't even wake him.

Extremely irritated now, she decided on a different approach. She was getting hungrier by the second. She moved until she was inches from his face. She stared down at him. He looked so peaceful this way. As of late, he did not always look this peaceful. Leaning towards his face, she pressed her wet nose against his dry one. Nothing happened. She cocked her ears back in irritation. She was hungry, didn't he realize that. She would have to try another way.

Leaning forward again, she nuzzled his face with her head. That did it. He began to stir. His gray, bloodshot eyes shot open, and he smiled as he spotted the furry figure in the darkness just inches from his face.

Propping the right side of his head on his right hand, he just stared at his furry companion.

"Good morning Ming, you must be hungry," Kelson Haldane said.

Kelson scratched underneath her chin and she began to purr with great abandon.

"Well I guess I had better feed you, huh?"

Kelson glanced away from the rotund Siamese cat, towards the fireplace. The fire had gone out, but he could still see faint embers burning there.

"Damn, its cold in here," he thought to himself, "someone must have turned the furnace down."

He started to get up, but the cat refused to move from her spot in front of his face.

"C'mon Ming, move so I can turn the light on." Kelson said as he gave the cat a gentle nudge off the cushion. At being forced to move the cat jumped off the cushion with a thump. After she had moved from her spot, Kelson slowly swung his legs around and hovered his stocking feet just inches above the hardwood floor. Unsure of how close his feet were to the floor, because of the darkness of the room, he slowly lowered them.

"Ming, I don't know about you, but I am freezing," Kelson said to the unseen cat in the darkness. Being unable to see where she was, he quested forth with his senses. She was usually under foot, and when he had located her, he found she was sitting crouched by his left leg. Straining to see in the early morning darkness, he looked for the lamp on the nearby desk.

"I can't see a damn thing in here," he thought.

Smiling to himself, he once again quested outward with his senses to the nearby hallway to see if anyone was up and about. He sensed no one in the hallway. He had displayed the use of his powers in front of people before, but not this particular one.

Cupping his hand, he concentrated ever so slightly and a small ball of red flame appeared in the hollow of his hand. Slowly he lowered his hand and the ball of flame floated freely.

Glancing down towards his left foot, he spotted Ming staring up at him patiently. Looking up, he turned his attention to where the desk was. He could just barely make it out even with the help of the handfire. Slowly standing up, the handfire rising with him, he took two steps. Reaching towards the lamp sitting on the edge of the desk, he switched it on.

It took several seconds for his eyes to adjust to the sudden brightness, but once they did, he dispelled the handfire with a wave of his right hand. After that had been accomplished, he began to search for his glasses and a pack of cigarettes. He finally located them sitting next to his laptop computer. Picking up his glasses and placing them on his face, he reached down and picked up the pack of cigarettes, removed one and lit it.

Glancing to his right, towards the fireplace, he again noticed that the embers had not completely died out. Walking forward, with cigarette in hand, he passed between two high-backed chairs. Kneeling down, he extended his left hand forward towards the fireplace, nudged slightly with his powers and fire sprang back to life.

Standing up a little bit too quickly, the room appeared to spin. Steadying himself on the fireplace mantle, he closed his eyes, giving himself several seconds to recover. He thought briefly about using a fatigue banishing spell to get rid of the sudden tiredness he felt, but he thought that might come back to haunt him later on.

Slowly he opened his eyes and saw his family portrait right in front of his face. But it wasn't his family anymore; it was just a picture.

He stared at the picture for several seconds. He looked at his wife, Anna, smiling, with her long dark hair and green eyes. To her right, was his oldest son Malcolm. With his raven hair and gray eyes, he looked very much like Kelson's father. Sitting in her lap was his youngest son, Nicholas; who looked just like his older brother. And finally, to his wife's left was his daughter, but he didn't want to think about her right now.

Turning away from the ghosts in the picture, he saw the last member of his family, sitting a few feet behind him waiting to be fed. Ming just stared up at him with hunger in her eyes. Well Ming, you're the only one I have left who loves me unconditionally, Kelson thought to himself as he walked towards her and scratched underneath her chin.

Standing up, he took a drag off his cigarette and turned towards where the heating vent was, behind the window enclosure on the floor. Walking towards it, he bent down and felt for heat. Nothing.

"Gee I wonder what idiot turned the heat off," Kelson thought, knowing full well who it might have been.


Turning to his right he spied Ming just sitting there with her ears cocked back, irritated about having to wait to be fed.

"Are you hungry sweetheart?" Kelson asked, picking the cat up as he stood. With the cat in the crook of his left arm and the cigarette in his right hand he slowly walked towards the desk. Reaching the desk he took one last drag from his cigarette and extinguished it in the ashtray in the middle of the desk.

Picking up the pack of cigarettes and lighter, he spied the letter from his father-in-law behind his laptop. "Well, I guess I'd better take care of that letter later," he thought to himself.

As he made his way around the desk, the cat began to squirm. She wanted to be let down; she didn't like to be held for a long period of time. Setting her down, she sprang towards the closed door. Upon reaching the door, she looked back at him with an innocent look on her furry face. As he reached her, he saw that she again had her ears cocked back in irritation.

Chuckling to himself he opened the door a crack. Looking up at him, with rage on her face, she opened the door the rest of the way with her paw and bolted through. Opening the door farther so he could go through it, he followed behind her.

Kelson glanced first left, then forward as he entered the dimly lit hallway. The kitchen light was on. As he made his way forward, he glanced toward his left at the front doorway. Noticing it was empty, he moved slightly to his right to where the thermostat was. Getting in closer to it, he noticed that it was set low, and with a mischievous smile on his face he readjusted it to a more comfortable temperature.

"Take that you jerk," Kelson thought, as he glanced up the stairway that led upstairs. "I hope your sinuses dry up and your allergies kick in."

With that task completed, Kelson turned his attention back to the brightly-lit kitchen doorway. Then he heard Ming's plaintiff meow coming from inside.

"All right Ming, I'm coming, hold your horses," Kelson said.

Moving to the kitchen doorway, he peeked around the corner and saw a gray haired figure seated at the kitchen table reading the newspaper. With a sigh of relief he proceeded around the corner.

Sitting just inside the kitchen doorway was the cat, who took off upon seeing him; her ears cocked back to build up speed.

"Good morning, Dean," Kelson said as he approached the kitchen table, "At least someone in this house got some sleep last night."

Dean looked up from the newspaper and smiled, his smile pushing up his gray mustache. "Morning Kel, from the looks of it, I'm the only one that did. What time did you finally get to bed?"

"About one," Kelson said, as reached in his pocket and retrieved another cigarette and lit it. He started to sit down.


"All right, I'm coming!" Kelson said as he placed his cigarette in the ashtray on the table.

Kelson walked to the left of Dean. There, sitting next to her food and water bowls, Ming sat looking up at him patiently waiting to be fed. Kelson filled her food and water dish. As soon as he had his hands out of the way, she attacked the food as if she hadn't been fed in months.

As Kelson watched her devour the food, he heard a chuckle come from Dean and turned to look at him.

"Don't you ever feed her?"

"Does it look like I don't feed her?" Kelson retorted, as both men watched her continue on with the food. Sensing that she was being watched, the rotund cat looked up at both of them then returned to eating.

"God I'm tired," Kelson said as he sat in the seat opposite Dean.

"Go back to bed then."

"I will later. I think I should really be up when my uncle gets here."

Dean got up from his seat and picked up his coffee cup, which was sitting in front of him.

"You want some coffee?"

"Sure, black please."

Dean walked around the table to where the coffeepot sat on the countertop. After pouring another cup for himself and pouring one for Kelson, Dean returned to his seat.



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