*Authors note: The content of this post is intended to follow that of my backstory. If you have not read that, it is located in the "About Me" tab in my profile.
The Last Apple:
A Bayes Cabral Adventure.
Part One: The Witch.
Bayes had only been a part of the world again for about eight months and the first snow he'd seen in a lifetime was falling all around him in peaceful, windblown drifts.
He’d made his way to America.
After awakening in the cave, he had explored his homeland as it was now. Bayes went back to his hometown and found that the word “town” no longer applied. Buildings were larger than they used to be, streets were wider and clogged with new, strange looking cars and the whole spirit of the place had changed: things needed doing, and people were hurrying to do them. It reminded him of toolmaking. He had known it would be like this, he had seen it in the mind of the man he met in the woods, but he’d went anyway, he had had to.
His father was dead, he found out. Killed in some war he only knew the name of. His estate(what there had been left of it) was claimed by the government and the old cottage torn down long ago to make room for some development-or-other. Bayes didn’t care what now held its place, he left England without visiting it.
Why he left, he wasn’t exactly sure. It had changed a great deal, but the image of it, as it had been, would always exist. All he had to to was call it up, but he didn’t want to. That was what really struck him—he was perfectly content to let it die, and so was everyone else. Sure there were statues, and plaques and a most of the old buildings still stood, but it had forgotten itself, the town. He couldn’t sense it in his mind and that worried him, scared him. Not because he couldn’t but because he didn’t want to. The image slumbered, a dead weight in his mind.
He stayed a while and learned. He took from people’s minds what he could without harming them and for the rest he read. Great texts of history and science and philosophy. Libraries were in Bayes’s mind a very great invention and he spent a lot of time there, reading the minds of those who went there as much as the books.
After he felt like he had a basic grasp on the world and what it had been through since he’d been gone, he left England. First he traveled around Europe, wandering and seeing sites. Eating food he grew and Sleeping in shelters he made with a thought. He hitchhiked when he needed to, but he didn’t like doing that. No one would pick up a scraggly looking man on the side of the road in the middle of the night unless he compelled them, and he hated compelling people. It made him think of the sheep he used to tend, and people weren’t sheep.
The traveling was nice, but everywhere he went he felt echoes of the same thing. Of oldness and past lost, buried under a patina of shiny newness. Past and present are two poles of the same thing and he felt them both equally. The old cities of Rome and France and everywhere just had so much. They crashed down on his mind like an avalanche and evidently how to tune it out was not something he had been taught.
Eventually he could stand it no longer and he went to America. There was past there too, but so long as he stayed off any reservations there wasn’t the bone-deep sleeping past of Europe. And to his surprise, he found that he liked it. It was a place that encouraged imagination, and he felt that reflected in the mind and spirit of the land and everyone in it. Bayes had been to all the major cities from New York to Los Angeles but something had drawn him back to Chicago. And standing on the street of a sleepy suburb(as sleepy as they get in Chicago), snow falling all around him and gleaming in the light from the streetlamp overhead, he thought he knew what it was.
The house was two stories and white with gray shutters. Yellowish curtains were drawn across the windows but Bayes could see light coming from behind them. It was not the largest house on the block, nor the nicest, yet somehow it stood out. Paint was peeling in some places(but not any more than any of the other houses), one of the windows looked as if it had a crack, but not a large one. The lawn was tidy, but not remarkable so. Nothing about the place stood out in any way, but Bayes was inclined to look at it above all the others.
He watched the house, feeling somewhat a fool, but watching it nevertheless. the fine snow was collecting on the grass and slowly beginning to dust the cupola of the roof. It looked beautiful, almost like a cloud in the low light.
And then it hit him.
The rest of the roof’s slate gray shingles were dry. Snow was being drawn there, to the point. Bayes walked to the house and ascended the two steps up to the door.
He thought he heard a faint noise from within, but no one opened the door. He shuffled his feet and waited. He knocked again, louder and this time the door swung in almost immediately. Warm light spilled from it and outlined the form of a woman. Bayes hesitated.
She wore black leggings and a heavy black sweatshirt that fell below her waist. Her hair was light, but not quite blond, and was done up into a bun, hair pulled away from her neck. She was pretty, and young. Perhaps no more than twenty. She had a sharp nose, high cheekbones and a square jaw. Her eyes were blue and her face was lightly freckled, and now Bayes realized, very annoyed.
“What do you want?”
“Er… Excuse me, Miss.” Bayes cleared his throat. “I’m sorry to bother you, but may I come in?” He reached out to touch her mind, but found nothing there. As far as he could sense, she didn’t exist.
“Are you a vampire?” Her eyes narrowed with the question.
“Would you believe me if I said I wasn’t?” Bayes asked.
“I’m not a vampire.”
“Come in then, you’re letting in the cold.”
The girl stepped aside and let him pass and then hurriedly shut the door. Bayes felt the door shut, not only in the physical realm, but in the mental also. She protected herself well, and Bayes wondered why. She guarded her mind and her home with magic, but that was what had drawn him here. It likely did more harm than good.
“Go on and sit down in there.” She pointed down the hall to an open door. “I’ll go and make some tea.”
Bayes followed the ruts in the old shag carpet down the hall and through the door. It lead to a living room, warmly lit and apparently furnished by a blind person. A bright yellow armchair was jammed in one corner and an antique wooden sofa met it at the wall, the upholstery well stamped down from long use. A gigantic leather couch swallowed the opposite wall and it was covered in a layer of clear plastic as if it had only just arrived. Four cement blocks with a tray across them served as the coffee table in the center of the room and a floor lamp occupied the far corner, flanked by kitchen chairs
A ceiling fan spun on the lowest setting overhead and from it dangled a string of bright, multicolored Christmas lights. The entire scheme suffocated in the already small room. Bayes made his way, with difficulty, to the plastic covered couch and sat down. His hostess scurried in a moment later with two teacups, trailing steam.
She saw him eying the painfully yellow recliner and said, “Do you like it? I thought it was quite a fine piece, myself.” She set a cup on the coffee table and took the other and sat down on the edge of the before mentioned armchair.
The Christmas lights made a slight whooshing noise as they spun and threw dancing shadows on the walls. It was a moment before Bayes answered.
“It’s very nice. How did you fit it through the door?”
I have my ways.” She smirked and took a sip of her tea. “It’s hot. Be careful.”
Bayes felt for the tea with is mind, and pressed very slightly, cooling both their cups just enough so as not to scald. She felt him do this, she had to. Yet she didn’t try to stop him or even mention it. She cloaked herself from magic so thoroughly as to almost be invisible, but she was okay with letting a magic-wielding stranger in her home, and seemed not to notice when he used his powers for a task that could be achieved by simply doing nothing.
“Is there anyone else in the house?” he asked abruptly.
“Yes, so if you’re thinki—“
“Oh no, you’ve got it all wrong. I was just wondering.”
“May I ask who?”
“Who else is in the house? May I speak with them?”
“I’d have to be able to tell her who is calling, wouldn’t I?” The girl gave him a pointed look over her tea.
“I’m so sorry, I should have introduced myself before now. My name is Bayes Cabral.” He was about to go on, to tell her about how he was drawn here because the magic of the world wasn’t, but before he could speak again the girl stood, her steaming teacup shattering on the floor as she dropped it.
“Bayes? The Bayes?”
“You know of me?”
“What? Everyone does! You are famous!” She skirted the broken glass on the floor and came to sit beside him on the couch.
“What for exactly?”
“You are the student of the Magus! He who is thrice wise, thrice great, and thrice a mage. You are the only living person to have even spoken with him, let alone studied with him.” She giggled and fixed her blue eyes on his.
“Does this mean your study is over? What a windfall is this! You have been eagerly awaited by the occult for a hundred years, and now here you have emerged from cloister and I am the first to meet you!” She grinned wide and drew herself closer to him, laying a manicured hand on his knee. “Did he tell you his name?”
“So it is you who cloaks this place from magic. Why?” Bayes said, doing his best to draw away from her without being to obvious about it.
The girl didn’t answer his question, but she moved with him as he slid to the other arm of the couch.
Bayes stood and said, “Stop that!” His voice sounded rough to his ears.
The room began to spin.
“what is this?” he said, looking desperately at the girl sitting serenely on the plastic couch. Her blue eyes were still fixed on him but now she seemed to sway with him, to become one of the dancing shadows on the wall.
Bayes fell and immediately pushed himself back up on his knees, broken glass stinging his hands. He tried to stand but he felt the girl’s warm breath on his ear.
“Sleep,” she said. And he did.