Let’s Rock and Roll

Ezra lay back on the blanket and stared up at the sky. In spite of the gathering darkness, Missy and Loki were still playing with some of the other children who had come to the park. Morgan was sitting on the blanket beside Ezra, while they waited together for the show to begin.

“It was a nice day,” she said, her voice soft.

Nodding, Ezra said, “More peaceful than normal – no complaints here.” He sat up and then looked over at the kids. “Loki! Missy! The show will be starting.”

As he was calling their children over, other parents were doing the same. Missy bounded over and flopped down in Ezra’s lap. She leaned back against him, like he was a chair. Ezra smiled fondly and settled the noise dampening headphones over her ears.

Loki knelt on the blanket beside Morgan, his eyes locked on the sky. “What are they waiting for?” he asked, sounding like the impatient child he appeared to be.

Morgan laughed and pointed at the sky. “Begin,” she said, her tone commanding. As if in response, the first firework exploded in the sky, spreading out in a spray of bright crimson and violet.

Loki looked at Morgan and then shook himself and focused on the show. “Time to rock and roll,” he said, grinning.

Ezra reached out and took Morgan’s hand. He couldn’t help but smile as he looked up at the fireworks display. The times when they could just relax and be a family together were few and far between. To Ezra, that made them all the more treasured.

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Here We Go

Ezra looked at the things he’d gathered for their picnic. He had the blanket all set in the tapestry bag that it came with. The little trays were washed and ready to use. Plates, napkins and flatware were all packed in the picnic basket. He’d packed their sandwich fixings into little containers, along with their salads and some snacks. The containers were also packed into the picnic basket. Finally, there was a large thermos with lemonade. They had everything they’d need for the picnic.

He looped the tapestry bag over on shoulder. Then he took the thermos in one hand and the picnic basket in the other. “All set,” he said, grinning at Morgan.

Morgan flashed him a smile and handed Loki a bag of toys that he and Missy could use at the park. Then, she took the picnic basket from him. “We’re ready too,” she said.

“Here we go!” Missy said, as she scampered out the door past them. The little bell necklace she wore chimed merrily. It was the only remaining hint of her former nature.

Shaking his head, Ezra called, “Missy, your hat!” The growl of frustration made him smile. She was, in many ways, still very feline.

“Some of the noises she makes,” Morgan said, shaking her head in amusement. “I’m surprised that no one realizes the truth.”

“People often overlook things when they can’t wrap their minds around them,” Ezra said, shrugging. Then, they were outside and walking, while Missy alternated between running ahead of them and waiting impatiently for them to catch up.

lookin’ kinda cool

Lyn looked over at Ezra and scowled. “Are you well?” he asked, arching an eyebrow.

Ezra pulled his sweater a bit closer and nodded. “Why do you ask?” he said, tilting his head to one side inquiringly.

“You are wearing a sweater,” Lyn said. Ezra shrugged his shoulders, as if it were the most natural thing in the world for him to be wearing a sweater on such a warm day. “Are you… cold?”

“A bit cool,” Ezra said, nodding. He grinned brightly and shrugged again. “I’m still used to warmer weather than this.”

Waking Up

Ezra frowned slightly as he suddenly realized something. Somewhere along the way, he’d gone from being an agent because he had no other choice to being one because he actually wanted to be one. He blinked and then glanced at Tony.

“What?” Tony said, shaking his head. He tilted his head to one side and his wings shifted slightly.

A faint smile touched Ezra’s lips. “Have I ever mentioned what a joy it is to work with y’all?” he asked.

“We enjoy working with you as well,” Lyn said.

Marching On

Ezra frowned slightly at Loki. The boy had grown, as boys are wont to do as time passes. However, some part of Ezra had felt that the spell that had made him a boy would keep him that way.

“Does it bother you?” he asked. He flushed when Loki looked up at him with a confused frown. “H-having to grow up all over again, I mean.”

Loki looked thoughtful and then shook his head. “It did at first,” he admitted. Then, he smiled and shrugged. “School is boring, since I’ve been through it all before. At the same time, though, I spent my first childhood wanting to grow up. Now, I’m just enjoying being a child.”

“So… does it bother you that you’ll leave this childhood behind as well?”

Looking up at Morgan, Loki grinned. “Beats the alternative,” he said, shrugging. “Time passes, the world keeps turning. What choice do we have but to keep moving right along with it?”

“None, I suppose,” Ezra said, nodding slightly.

Oops! Out of time!

Ezra watched the computer files transferring from the hard drive to the memory card. His brows furrowed and he glanced at his watch. He shook his head. He was supposed to meet Lyn downstairs in five minutes. Unless the files finished in the next four minutes, he would late.

He bit his lip as he watched the time left change between three minutes and ten minutes. “Come on, come on,” he grumbled. Finally, it seemed to hit a block of small files. Suddenly, the progress bar flew merrily to the end of the space and the time left dropped to less than a minute.

Ezra sighed in relief, as the transfer finished. He ejected the memory card and tucked it away. As he reached out to shut down the computer, he heard a car horn. “Oops,” he breathed. He clicked off the screen and bolted out of the room. At least he’d finished the transfer.

Sanctuary

Ezra tapped on the door of the old church. “Hello?” he called, looking around. He paused as he entered, making the sign of the cross before he continued down the aisle. “Hello?” he called again, his voice echoing around the large empty room.

“Hello,” a soft voice replied.

Startling, Ezra spun towards the speaker. A petite woman with golden brown curls was padding over to him. “You surprised me,” he said, flushing faintly.

“I’m sorry,” she said, her gray-blue eyes twinkling with mirth. She curtseyed and Ezra returned the gesture with a bow. “I’m Sister Claire. I’m the caretaker of this sanctuary.”

“I – I’m Ezra Pemberton,” he said. His flush returned as he faltered for a moment. “I – I realized that the bells… there’s someone who rings them. I’d assumed they were mechanical.”

Claire nodded. “Many people do,” she said. “Quincy does a very good job ringing them. You’d never know that he couldn’t hear them.”

Ezra blinked. “How does he do it, if he can’t hear them?” he asked, blinking.

“He can feel the vibrations,” Claire said. Her brows furrowed briefly, then she smiled. “Would you like to meet him?”

“Could I?”

“Quincy gets very lonely, with just me for company,” Claire said, nodding. “I think he’d welcome a visitor.” She spun away and headed across the sanctuary, seeming to glide on silent feet as she moved.

Feeling just a bit of a thrill, Ezra fell into step behind her. He wasn’t sure what to expect, but he did want to meet the unseen, unknown bell ringer in the tower.

The Bell Tower

Ezra looked up at the tower as the bells began to chime. For the first time since moving to the city, he realized that the bells weren’t on a timer. They weren’t rung mechanically. Someone was actually up there, ringing the bells manually.

“I wonder what it’s like,” he murmured.

Morgan frowned and shook her head. “What’s that?” she asked.

“Living in the bell tower,” he said, nodding at the tower. “Ringing the bells throughout the day.” He looked over at Morgan and shook his head. “I wonder who it is that rings them.”

“Maybe there’s a way you can find out,” Morgan said, shrugging.

A Line of Greens and Blues

Ezra frowned thoughtfully at the scene that lay before him. He tilted his head one way and then the other as he considered how to go about capturing the image. Then, he began to paint. He was nearly finished with the first layer – the one that captured the general form of the land – when he felt someone staring at him.

“What is it, Lyn?” he asked, his voice soft.

His supervisor gasped softly. Then he stepped closer to Ezra. “Where are the trees?” he asked, nodding at the painting.

Shrugging, Ezra pointed at where the trees would be added in very shortly. “I like to paint in the landform first,” he explained. “Then, I add in the living things – like trees and such. Then, I add the clouds and adjust the tinting so that it fits the light.”

“Is that right?” Lyn asked frowning.

Ezra shrugged. “I taught myself,” he said, shaking his head. He laughed softly. “I’m sure there’s someone else in the world who paints the same way I do, but… is it technically correct? I have no idea.”

A faint smile touched Lyn’s lips and he nodded. “I like it,” he said, nodding. “It’s… closer to the nature of things.” He looked out at the horizon. “Before these trees grew up, the landscape may have looked as you have now captured it.” He stepped back, then, and settled in the grass.

Ezra looked at him a moment longer. Then, he shrugged and went back to his painting. He wanted to finish it before he lost the light.

butterflies and hurricanes

Ezra felt a bit of trepidation as he stepped out in front of the press. He seldom felt nervous when addressing them now. He knew the butterflies in his stomach had far less to do with the press and far more to do with the fact that his mother still hadn’t called him.

Shaking his nervous tension away, he stepped up to the podium. He had just opened his mouth to speak when his cellular rang. His eyes widened. For a moment, he was torn. That ring tone was the one he used for his mother’s cellular! But the press…

“That’s my mother,” he said, his brows furrowing.

“Answer it,” Danny said, nodding. Several other members of the press corps nodded. A few echoed Danny’s words.

Ezra nodded and spun away. Yanking the cellular out of his jacket pocket, he flipped it open. “Mother?” he said, his voice strained.

“Hello, Ezra,” his mother said. From her tone, she might have been calling him from the hairdresser’s, rather than a place that had been struck by record setting rainfall, high winds and flood.

He chuckled softly as all the tension slipped away. “You all right?” he said. He was now keenly aware that several members of the television press were filming him. He didn’t care.

“I’m fine, Darling,” she said. Sounding just a bit annoyed, she added, “The house is a wreck and I’m at a shelter with about a hundred other people, but I’m fine. My cell was absolutely soaked! It’s finally all dried out and charged up. That’s why I called. I’m sure you and Connor were worried.”

Ezra nodded. “We were,” he said. Tears filled his eyes and he shook his head. How could he be smiling so much that his face hurt and still be crying? “Thank you for calling, Mum,” he said. “I’ve got a room full of press here…”

“I’ll let you get back to work, Darling,” Maeve said, chuckling. “I love you.”

Blinking, Ezra nodded. “Love you too,” he breathed. His mother almost never said those words to him. It was a testament to just how bad things were in South Cove if she were going to say that. He closed the cellular and tucked it away again.

Sighing, he said, “Now, then… morning announcements…” He brushed away his tears and then ruffled through his papers, struggling to refocus on the task at hand. He was still smiling, though. His mother was safe and well. That, to him personally, was all that mattered.

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