FREE STORY FRIDAY: Laundry Knight

This is a story that is in the world of Tommy Twilight. Further stories about Tommy are available on Amazon here.


He found himself once more under the harsh glow of the laundromat’s fluorescent lights, scrubbing stain remover onto his ‘The Who’ t-shirt from the Riverfront Coliseum. He was rather glad he had decided to go casual today but still mourned the likely loss of his t-shirt. He should have known better than to tangle with a demon of filth with clothing that he would like to wear again. Tommy sighed.
It wasn’t the loss of his t-shirt that was bothering Tommy. He could feel it in the air, it was charged with a momentous energy. Something was coming and he dreaded it. He didn’t know what but, as one of the Fey, he could feel melancholy hanging heavy. It would be some sort of parting. Two thousand years and he still hated those.
Tommy felt a chill pass over him and then the dead tonal beep of the door. The attendant behind the desk didn’t even bother to look up from his smartphone, fingers moving rapidly across its face. The young man’s shaggy head was bobbing up and down to the Tokyo-pop music blaring from his headphones. No witnesses.
Reality warped in the laundromat. Tommy heard two sets of steps coming towards him, saw two men walking towards him. He’s Glammered, Tommy thought. He focused his senses, piercing the veil of the glammer and saw the man walking towards him. He recognized the man immediately: Bors the Younger. He was a giant of a man and wore his traditional raiment of a knight of the Round Table.
Bors stopped a respectable distance from Tommy and sketched a formal bow. When he spoke his deep, gravelly voice was steeped in solemnity, “Sir Tomas of the Fading Light, I have come for succor.”
And it shall be yours if it is within the power that God has given me,” Tommy said with equal formality, mirroring the bow he had been given.
You know what I’ve come for,” Bors said, eying Tommy critically.
I have no leave to give you such. You know the aid you want is not mine to give.”
Bors squared his shoulders and his voice filled with weight and gravitas. “I have come to request the rite of passage of you, Tomas Luaileas, Knight of the Failing Light. As payment, I bequeath a seed of Irminsul, the pillar that sustains the sky.” Bors held out his hand.
Why do you come to me with this, when there are others and most you like more than me?”
When Tommy would not take the seed, Bors sat down heavily upon one of the plastic chairs. It groaned to hold his weight. Tommy glanced at the oblivious attendant still rocking away. “Your kind, the Fey, are notoriously fickle. While I like some of the others more, none of them would I trust before you to keep their word.”
So, you think I’m honorable?” Tommy asked archly, “But why now? I’d wager you’ve had that seed for a great long while, why do you wish passage now?”
Because I’ve grown old and weary. The age has moved on and there is no place for men like me. The days of glory are past and the world has no need of honorable men. And I wish to be with my king once more.”
You’re wrong,” Tommy whispered fiercely, his throat constricted by the well of strong emotions, “I’ll honor that which you were pledged but you’re wrong. The world may not want honorable men but it needs them.”
Would you have me stay? Find myself at the bottom of each bottle like Gawain? Or lose myself within the wet embrace of whatever whore strikes my fancy like Galahad? No, sir, I shall leave this world with my honor unsullied by vice or sin.”
We are few and far between, those of us that make it to such an age without a psychotic meltdown,” Tommy said, giving Bors a tight smile.
Bors sighed heavily and said, “I know. But I’m not Fey. Not even half. Not like you or that child. What was his name? That scruffy little urchin and his gang of ne'er-do-wells? The Wyld Lads or something?”
You mean Peter?”
Yes, he was 800 if he was a day. But I’m human. I wasn’t meant to live this long and it’s about to get to me.”
Then let’s see you off,” Tommy said and extended his hand to Bors. They clasped wrists and Tommy drew him to his feet.
What now?” Bors asked as Tommy paced several feet from him.
Draw your blade,” Tommy said as he pulled an unadorned knife. Tommy intoned the word “fás” and the knife grew into a sword. Tommy smiled at Bors shocked expression and said, “I don’t follow the Lady of fluffy bunnies. She’s the chooser of slain warriors and she demands blood.”
A few minutes later, Tommy watched the crow take flight, Bors limp form clutched in its talons. The Morrigan would see him safely to Avalon. He would see his beloved king once more and a magical seed would be planted within the safety of Avalon’s shore. Tommy wiped his blade off on the already ruined t-shirt then threw the t-shirt in the trash along with the jeans he had worn.
He took one last look around the laundromat and saw that everything was the same. That irked him. This place had witnessed the passing of a good man and yet nothing had changed. The world should be darker but one couldn’t tell under the halogen glow.
Tommy sighed and packed up his things. Laundry could wait for another day. He walked up to the front counter. It took a moment for the heedless attendant to even notice him. The man could have witnessed the passing of a legend. He looked at Tommy with annoyed expectancy.

Just wanted to say goodnight.”

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