Gerome # 2
GBE 2: Week #78 Numbers
Gerome walked through the forest towards the river’s edge. There, the Lord’s family would fish and picnic, wining and dining the young lady. The village would rejoice at the Lordship’s nuptials. Many visitors would journey to the village making the preceding days very profitable, indeed.
His mind off thinking of the ladies ankles he might glimpse, as they wheeled and danced. Their supple breasts pushing for escape from the lace at their bodice, as they poured another flagon of wine.
A loud crash brought his head upright. Stepping into the brush at the side of the path, he peered about him. Locating the cause of the noise, revealed it was a.........caravan. Roughly eight wagons had made a campsite in a grove of beechnut trees.
“Oh no!” Gerome moaned. “Not the Gypsies! No, no, this will never do. Not now. There are too many important things about to happen.” Gerome set himself in the direction with the intent of bringing their stay to a swift close.
“Hail hunchback!” A tall dark man with flashing eyes smiled and waved to Gerome. “Come join us for our breakfast. We have been traveling far and would hear the stories of this land.”
Moving as quickly as his club foot would afford, Gerome made exceptionally quick time. While the people of the caravan were safely hidden, Gerome could feel their eyes upon him as he neared the encampment. Moving to the fire pit, he settled onto a log they had perched for just such a use.
“Tis a cold morning for a lone traveler in the woods.” remarked the tall man. Gerome assumed he was the leader as he was the first to acknowledge Gerome’s presence. “I be Rudolph, King of the Gypsies!” Rudolph’s dark mane was slung back into a ponytail reaching nearly his waist. Over the top he wore a bright multi-colored kerchief knotted at the back of his head. His gold hoop pronouncing to the world he had traveled both by land and sea.
Gerome nodded and accepted the steaming cup Rudolph extended towards him. The two men settled next to the fire, sizing one another up. From near the middle of the encampment shuffled a wizened old woman. Her worn rose colored shawl wrapped around her head spread over her weathered shoulders fluttered as she moved through the camp to stand at the side of Gerome. “Who did this to you?” She demanded waving her arm through the air gesturing to Gerome.
“I was born this way; no one did anything to me.”
“So, cursed at birth. Oh my, your family did something to irritate one of the Fates. But which one? Look at him, Rudolph. Is he a number or a letter?” Rudolph stared intently at Gerome, who promptly turned a bright red. “With that lump on his back he is either a 9 or a P. Or perhaps with the lame foot dragging his leg he is an R? So, did his family insult Zenia who is obsessed with letters? Or was it Nargrith of numbers? Either way, this is a strong curse to afflict him for so long. From birth…mmm.” The old woman began to walk around Germone looking more and more intently as she did.
“Mama, can you correct his destiny?” Rudolph looking just as intently at Gerome furrowed his brows and frowned.
Gerome leapt to feet; with fists clenched he took a deep breath. Exhaling slowly, he looked from Rudolph to the old woman. “You cannot stay here. His Lordship is entertaining today by the river. He is wooing his future bride. It would be unseemly to have a band of Gypsies so close. It would be improper to allow you to stay. You must pack up camp and be on your way immediately. And I was BORN this way, there is no family curse. There is nothing to be done. I have been poked and prodded by every known physician in the land. There is nothing to be done.” Gerome’s clenched and unclenched his jaw.
Hearing the loud threatening tones of Gerome’s voice, soon the whole encampment had spilled out into the fire pit site. Gerome was surrounded by the Gypsy family, some carrying weapons. No one said a word, just carefully watched under hooded eyes.
“Go ahead and leave, your Lordship and his Lady will not see us in the woods. We will not molest them. We will not sell them any of our wares. Preferably, we would travel to the village where we might make a few transactions. Then in two days time, when the moon is at its Crescent, you will return. We have a destiny, you and us. We must make amends, heal old wounds, and atone for our family that we might find a place to call home.” Rudolph held his arm up, pointing the way to the river.