A month in Fyrkat had gone by fast. Calvin Murdoch had never done so much in so little time before. In the same amount of time as he made a couple of paychecks back home, he had discovered a whole other world, encountered strange new life, boldly went there. Ok, so he got a bunch of girls in the sack in their own home, but hey, it was still a great way to pass the time. To be honest though, this place had gone a long way to stifle his eternal boredom. How long that would last was anyone's guess.

The villagers were an interesting lot with the multi-colored Farming People, and his inner anime fan was enamored with the cat-girl-like Hunting People. The biggest shock had been the rat-like Leaping People. As the month wore on, the initial shock had dissipated, but the interest had not. As he ventured through Fyrkat, day by day, he made sure to bask in the diversity of it's peoples. He sketched many of them often, and the more intriguing ones repeatedly. He thought his candid sketches had some of the best results.

Although he drifted around the village often, much of his time was spent in Herger's shop. The good humored Leaping Person was a hell of a carpenter and had taught Calvin the basics and a few tricks of his trade. On top of that he was turning out to be one of Cal's favorite drinking buddies and a favored subject for Cal's incessant doodling. His braided hair was to blame for that. Herger's wife's work always impressed Cal. Hildegunnr, the village barber, had to be the most curvaceous of the Leaping People, and possessed two things that Calvin admired greatly. Creativity and passion. She even braided Calvin's hair. Twice. The cunning woman had distracted him with a delicious lunch, and went about her craft. He thought he looked kinda silly, but it was the thought that counts, right? 

All of these thoughts brought him back to the present. The warm smoke from the fire filled his nose as he sat in bed in the longhouse, pouring over his myriad sketchbooks. The last bit of battery life in his flashlight still holding strong as he thumbed through the books one by one. The mini-mag-light made it on board the plane with his keys inside his carry-on bag, surprisingly. A slight noise caught his attention as he was reaching for another book. Probably someone turning over in the night. Sounded like it came from where Marcus usually slept. He dismissed it absently as he pulled out a large black book.

Back home, it was customary (he assumed) for one to make note of their conquests. Most men often had a little black book with all of the phone numbers taken all through the years, either as a record or for that one call back later down the road. Calvin didn't know. He didn't have a little black book. He had a BIG black book. It was a rather large tome with a black leather cover. Inside, on myriad pages, were nude drawings of Cal's 'experiences,' all but two of which were natives of Fyrkat. The first was a girl he went to high school with. The next three pages were all of one of the 'mermaids', the Undines. An experience Calvin is sure will not be spoken of, that one. Swore off of fish entirely, afterward. Beyond that was a seemingly random assortment of Fyrkat femmes. The ever-voluptuous farming women all detailed and shaded in the appropriate tone, courtesy of that pack of colored pencils he'd just brought before the trip. All of those years trying to find a brand of colored pencil with a decent skin tone and here he was getting an accurate hue with basic Crayolas. The irony gave him a slight smile. Intermixed were some of the Hunting People. The cat-girl idea seemed quite cute and novel in concept to him. The odd reality was their behavioral proximity to actual cats. The purring was adorable, but the claws and their fixation on dangly things made them quite a handful. A stranger turn beyond them were, again, the Leaping ones. The idea itself bizarre enough Calvin thought it mad at first himself, but here he was. The biggest question he about them now was how well they could keep him warm in winter weather. He had to chuckle at the thought. As a whole, the book had quite a few people in it. Most making an appearance or two at the most. Then there was Authfrithr.

Herger's dark-furred daughter had made numerous appearances in Calvin's Book. Maybe it was her willingness to pose for him. Maybe it was for her award winning smile. Maybe she really liked him. Maybe it's Maybelyne. He was certain of one thing, however. It was always her idea. After the Undine incident, word of Calvin's book spread quickly, and many women took interest in comparing themselves to his latest subject. Authfrithr was a little different. While Herger had been training Calvin in carpentry, Calvin had been teaching Authfrithr to draw. He even gave her one of his empty sketchbooks for her to practice with. As it turns out, she was a quick study. She watched him draw from life, and mimicked what he did. It was a bit of a gift, how well she did. She had her Mother's creative drive and her Father's eye for measurement. She enjoyed having a talent she was suddenly good at, while Calvin enjoyed having an equal.They had some long discussions, mostly about drawing. Many turned inevitably to art from back home. It was during these discussions, that he learned she was picking up on his witty retorts. Not what he wanted her to learn, but such is life. At one point she asked when she would get to draw him in the buff. When she got better, he had promised. He noticed she seemed to study harder at that point. As Calvin turned the page in the Book, he came across the loose sheet that had appeared in there one day. It was a drawing, done candidly, of himself in turn drawing someone else candidly. The day he found it she was waiting at the door to the longhouse, a sly grin that said 'Am I good enough now?' on her face. Promises, promises.

Calvin had done a lot in his life that he wasn't proud of. Hell, some of the things he'd done here in Fyrkat would make a wild night in Vegas look like an afternoon in Amish country. The one thing he was definitely uncertain of was where this was going. He was aware that most of the village knew of his late night (sometimes early afternoon) activities. He was sure Herger and Hildgunnr knew about him and their daughter, and occasionally got the impression they were encouraging things. They all knew about, and accepted, the inevitable outcome of these things. Something still seemed amiss. It's like those weird sensations of Deja' Vu he kept having. Nothing was concrete about it, but it just felt...  off.

Another noise brought him out of his reverie again. Either Marcus had a 'guest' in his bed and was totally unprepared for it, or someone else in the longhouse had had too much mead with dinner. Ah well. He could feel sleep calling him. He put the Book and his flashlight back in his bag. Authfrithr was hogging the blanket again. (another one of the comforts of home he managed to smuggle away from the plane.) Calvin pulled the blanket back over himself again and nestled back in with the dark-furred woman. (going to take forever to get used to that) As the night claimed him, Calvin sighed in resignation. After all, who knows what tomorrow brings.

Return to The Well Of The Worlds