Ajax Spartianos and the Fractured Gem

An Espresso Tale

By

Accipiter G. Goshawk

This is a story based on ABK’sSeer” Fantasy prompt.

What if peering into the future was not all it was cracked up to be?

Enjoy!

Ajax hated college.

He wasn’t cut out to be a seer; everybody knew it. When he entered a classroom, the teachers would sigh and shake their heads; his classmates would point and jeer.

Things had been this way for two years, three months and seventeen days. Moreover, there were still five dreary years in front of him. Five years of failure, humiliation and loneliness.

Part of the problem was that he came from a long line of seers. His father was a seer, his mother was a seer, his grandfathers were both seers and grandma was the Oracle of Delphi, for Zeus’ sake! Everybody had expected him to take up the family business and become the brightest star in the future-peering business.

The rest of the problem was that he was terrible at it. He couldn’t predict the future to save his life (literally: he’d almost been run over by a chariot once). His first year was a catastrophe; he’d been sick for most of the journey home for the summer holidays, dreading his family’s reaction.

He needn’t have worried.

“Of course we knew dear,” his mother said calmly, as she handed him back his report card, “grandpa Ulysses predicted it in a cow’s intestines months ago. But don’t worry: grandma says she’s given your future a good hard look and everything will be fine!”

Everything wasn’t fine. He hated school, he hated the teachers and he hated his classmates. Furthermore, he was certain that this was the only school in the Universe, were a boy could be turned down by a girl three months before he even realized he wanted to ask her out. Everyone around him already seemed to know everything: that the food would be bad in the cafeteria on Tuesday, that he would forget his homework in three days, that he would make a fool of himself…

The third of November of the previous year, he had exited the building to find the whole school standing in the yard, staring at him. Confused he had tried to run away, causing his bag to get tangled up in his legs. He fell down and broke a tooth. In silence, the teachers and students had left.

He was a source of constant entertainment, nothing more.

“Pst, hey kid!”

His miserable reminiscing came to a halt, as an odd lopsided figure peered out from between the library bookshelves.

“Me?”

“Yeah, you. You’re Ajax, right? The time-blind?”

He grimaced and turned away angrily.

“Yeah, I figured as much,” came the wheezy –yet friendly- voice. “Listen; I heard about your predicament and I’d like to give you hand. Here,” he said, scuttling closer and placing a small parcel on the table, “this should help you break free.”

Ajax eyed the parcel critically.

“Is this a joke?”

“Nope. Just a small gift from one time-blind to another.” The odd, dark haired student winked and then disappeared, swallowed by the library’s shadows.

Hesitantly, Ajax opened the parcel. Inside he found a small red, uncut gem, hanging on a golden chain. He peered at it curiously: something was radiating from its depths, but he couldn’t make out what.

Shrugging, he put it on.

I an instant, his mind was unlocked. For the first time, he could see the future! He could see the orderly path laid out for him by his family and teachers: it was silver thread, twisting through the decades like a placid snake.

Then, it exploded and time bloomed before him in a shock of crimson. Chaotic lines formed all around the edge of his vision and he saw all the possibilities, all the opportunities and all the outcomes.

Now, he was bound by none of them.

Grinning wildly, he got up, packed his bag and left the library. The librarian stared at him in shock.

“But…you were supposed to study for another two hours! I saw it!”

He ignored her and passed through the school, upsetting the predictions of every single person he met.

He had become a seed of chaos in an otherwise orderly world, and where before his passage would have invoked ridicule, now it caused dismay.

He loved it.-

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