Punch's Cousin, Chapter 247

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


As Naasir spoke, the light in the phantom room grew all the brighter and warmer. Mr. Punch could feel his face bathed in the sunrise glow of bronze, amber and gold. He shivered as the light enveloped him, and though the radiance was warm, he couldn’t help but feel cold.

“It is written,” Naasir began, “in the tale of ‘The Great Man of the Rocks,’ that he should wish for a family.”

“I got a family,” Punch interrupted. “I got a big family. I got Robert, and Cecil and Adrienne and Fuller.” Punch said innocently. “And, I got Marjani and Meridian and Gamilla and me puppet, and sweet, furry Toby.”

“Yes,” Naasir nodded.

“I’m part of the ‘Great Man of the Rocks,’ yes?” Mr. Punch asked.

“You are.” Naasir smiled. “You and His Grace are, together, the Great Man who is two men in one.”

“So, I got me wish. I got a family. Even you, Chum, though you’re dead. And even Charles and Barbara in their own way.”

Naasir grinned. “You have all of those people, Sir, including me.”

“Let Naasir continue, dear Punch,” Julian said softly. Even though the light around them was quite brilliant, Julian, somehow, still sat in cool blue shadows.

“Thank you, Your Grace.” Naasir replied.

“I’m listenin’. “ Mr. Punch shrugged. “Didn’t know I wasn’t ‘sposed to add things. Go on.”

“’The Great Man of the Rocks’ wished for a child to carry his name,” Naasir continued.

“I got that—Colin.” Mr. Punch interrupted again.

“However,” Naasir said, ignoring Mr. Punch. “The child was not his.”

Mr. Punch looked over his shoulder at Julian who nodded.

“We know he ain’t really mine. He’s Barbara’s son. Barbara’s and that terrible Arthur. But, who born him don’t matter none. It’s who’s gonna raise him to be a man what matters.”

“And, that’s just it, Mr. Punch.” Naasir shook his head.

“I don’t understand.” Punch grunted.

“Perhaps if you let Naasir finish,” Julian whispered.

“But, I don’t wanna hear it.” Mr. Punch muttered.

“You must, dear Punch.” Julian said quickly.

“Do you know what he’s gonna say?” Punch asked his master.

“I do.” Julian sighed. “However, you need to hear it yourself.”

“I don’t wanna.” Mr. Punch put his hands over his ears.

“You must.” Julian said firmly.

Mr. Punch removed his hands from his ears and frowned.

“The child is named ‘Holt.’” Naasir spoke up.

“His name was such, but it ain’t no more.” Mr. Punch argued. “He’s called Colin like our pa.”

“The child is named, ‘Holt.’” Naasir repeated. “And he grows to be a wonderful man with a kind heart filled with love and respect.”

“That’s good to know.” Mr. Punch grumbled.

“Despite his parentage and despite the home in which he is raised.” Naasir continued.

“But, he’ll be raised in a good home. Me and Robert—we’ll take good care of him.” Mr. Punch replied emotionally.

“You and the Doctor will always be a part of the child’s soul. The love you feel for him will be what drives him into a life of kindness. He will be so much like you—both of you. The way in which he loves and the kindness that he shows those who culture would beat.”

“I don’t wish to hear this.” Mr. Punch began to cry.

“The child is called ‘Holt.’” Naasir said firmly. “And, like his uncles, gives his life for the greater good.”

“After living it long and full.” Mr. Punch said, wiping the tears from his eyes.

“After fulfilling what is written.” Naasir shook his head.

The light around them faded from bronze to lavender and Mr. Punch suddenly felt warm and began to perspire.

“No.” Mr. Punch shouted. “I ain’t gonna listen.”

“You can ignore it, Sir,” Naasir answered softly, “but, it won’t change it.”

“He’s mine. Mine and Robert’s.” Punch stuck his legs with his own fists. “We’re gonna raise him.”

“Like you, Sir, he belongs to fate.” Naasir smiled.

Mr. Punch began to pant.

“I don’t understand,” Punch wailed.

“Dear Punch, the child is not ours. We must return him to where he belongs.”

“Not you, too, Master.” Mr. Punch turned around and looked at Julian who was no longer shrouded in shadows, but rather, glowing as Naasir did—in a rosy brightness.

“We must accept it.” Julian said.

“But, why?” Punch moaned.

“Because it is what is written,” Naasir replied. “We cannot fight it.”

Did you miss Chapters 1-246? If so, you can read them here. ads

Most Reading