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I made this especially for those who hate short submissions, that way for those who want a quick read, then you can read the individual submissions.

Chapter 1

Tom




I

The Robbery

T

he pitch-black sky of night poured down heavy rain as the two men carried on with their hasty business. Suited in many squalid coats and layers that hid their gaunt faces, they made not a sound; at least not one that could be heard over the heavy pounding of rain. The past few days while this heist had been being planned, the sun had shown, and the two men would have fain done this on any of those days. It had been decided though, that on this night, Gillen and Jarvis would rob the bank. It of course was completely unoriginal and they were condemned to be caught from the start it would seem; but this was the twos’ last idea that could get them money without work.
According to Jarvis, whom had laid out not twenty yards away from the bank for every night of the past week, the guard left his post for fifteen minutes to go upon a small break. While at this time, another guard would come on duty to cover for the one going on break. It would take this second guard three minutes to arrive at his post, giving Gillen and Jarvis just that much time to get inside the bank, and then unlock the back window and slip out with the money. It was clearly, a foolproof plan.
“You ready, lad?” Gillen who had basically taken on the role of leader over the years they had worked together asked his younger companion, Jarvis. “No really, you ready? Because the last time you said you were ready, we wound up behind iron bars to endeavor three months of jail time.”
Jarvis looked up and down the street, the guard walking up the road for his break one way, and from down the street the other way, in the far off distance was the second guard; well under go to arrive here in three minutes. The man’s eyes showed fear, but they always did. Gillen showed his yellow and crooked teeth as he grinned at the younger man.
“Relax! Tonight’s the night, lad! Tonight’s the night. Now let’s go!”
Gillen got up off of his propped elbows and half jogged, half somewhat hopped his way while hunched over as if not to be seen. Clearly the hopping would give him away though if a witness were to be observing the scene.
“Jarvis, you slow fool! Do come along!” Gillen hoarsely called back over his shoulder.
“I’m comin’, I’m comin’! Hold your horses!”
“I ain’t got none,” Gillen said with a wheezing chuckle. “I’m too poor!” With this addition he burst out even louder.
“Shut up! We’ll be caught for sure!”
“We’re always caught anyways; and even when I’m completely silent and more stealthy than a fox too,” Gillen said as he rounded on Jarvis with narrowed eyes; those yellow daunted eyes were petrifying to look straight into. And their gazes met dead on.
“I’m sorry, I’m so nervous,” Jarvis said with raised hands in defense.
Gillen’s tense eased as he smiled that haunting smile that never actually told you whether or not he was happy, or just about to burst into a fit of rage. But he waved his hand, and Jarvis made no objection to follow him across the dirt road. Gillen shielded his eyes with his hand to prevent the rain from getting in them and forcing him to blink. He squinted, and with that could see the guard coming their way. A musket was hefted on his shoulder.
“Come on Jarvis, come on!”
The two sprinted across the dirt road as they thanked God that it was raining, else the dirt surely would have caught anyone’s attention that was looking this way. The two ran up the rickety wooden steps that led them up to the porch of the bank. The planks creaked and moaned under the two men’s weight. They were nice and dry since the balcony overhead stretched out to the road. Gillen turned the brass doorknob that the guard had carelessly left unlocked, and the two scrambled in.
It was as easy as that, and the two were inside. The room was empty, aside from a counter near the back where the safe was lurking behind; awaiting to be opened.
“Fools,” Gillen said with a laugh. “Leave the door unlocked for us to come right on in. They didn’t suspect a thing.”
“Yeah? But I did.”
Before Gillen or Jarvis could even comprehend that it wasn’t one or the other whom had just spoken, two giant hands had them each by the collar.
“Damnation!” Gillen blurted out. “And just who might you be?”
“I am Cornelius. And I’m the one robbing this bank!”
“No, no, NO! Now we can’t have two different groups of people robbing the same bank; that’s not how it works!”
“I work alone, there is no group with me here.”
The man was near impossible to make out in the dimness of the room.
“How long have you been planning to rob this bank?” Jarvis asked in his shaky and high-pitched voice.
“Since this morning.”
“Aha!” Gillen exclaimed with triumph. “We have been planning this for a week, so that means that we rightfully get to—“
“Quiet you!” The man shouted incessantly. “I’m inside the building first, I will rob it first!”
“Why don’t we just rob it the three of us?” Jarvis asked. “We’ll split the money three ways. Surely it’s enough so that the amount is not a big loss for any one of us?”
“I suppose we could do that,” Cornelius said. “Yeah, that’s not such a bad idea!”
“Hey, who’s in here?”
The three turned in unison to stare into the doorway where two guards stood. Cornelius hoisted Gillen and Jarvis back into the air by their collars.
“Hey what are you doing?” Gillen screamed.
“Remember?” Cornelius said with a smirk as he pulled Gillen’s face right up to his. “I work alone.”
He hurled the two through the air sending them to crash right into the guards. Before another move could be made, the man had slipped out the back window, and Gillen and Jarvis were in shackles.



II

Back In the Cell


“You would think that the feeling of a jail cell wouldn’t be so vague, yet nothing is familiar to me…nothing,” Gillen said as his head pressed up against one of the iron bars, his face showing glum and despair.
“I’m used to it. But I don’t want to be Gillen. No man should be used to a prison cell!” Jarvis screamed.
A guard hurriedly trotted over from a little ways down the hall.
“Keep it down in there you two. I’ve had you in here a number of times, and I know how to silence you if it need be done,” the guard said, having all authority he wore it clear on his smug face.
Gillen despised that face, and every other face that belonged to a guard. Those faces though made it nowhere close to how much one face stuck out at the current place and time. For a tiny, ever so faint glimpse, Gillen had seen Cornelius’ face, and all he wanted to do was hold on to it. Hold onto that face so that he might be able to find him and give him a good beating. Of course he would bring along a dozen other men so that would be possible.
Gillen walked to the small cot with slumped shoulders, and a haggard and distressed face. The two men were zero out of a million tries in accomplishing their missions that they created for themselves. After a while, it became more than simply disheartening when they would fail, the consequence in prison wasn’t the hard part either. It was the fact that they knew that nothing could go wrong, yet something always did. Being with their own thoughts that they cursed themselves with was brutal.
“Gillen?” Jarvis called from his side of his cell, a downcast voice that fit well with his droopy and depressed eyes.
“Yeah Jarvis?”
“Will we ever make it?”
“Out of prison? ‘Course we will, I already got a plan underway.”
Jarvis sighed, and shifted his gaze to his worn and faded leather boots.
“No, not that. I mean…when we get out of prison, will we always be just two men trying to steal our way to a taste of what it’s like to live normally? Or will we always just be two men with no money lyin’ in the gutter for the other people to walk on us and spit on us and warn their children that if they don’t do what they’re told, they’ll end up like us too?”
Gillen couldn’t meet the pitiful man’s gaze, for it was simply too bleak. But he sighed and thought of an answer that wouldn’t send Jarvis over the edge into the dark abyss of insanity.
“’Course we will. One day, Jarvis. One day.”
As if they had come to a silent agreement on it, not a word was spoken thereafter. Gillen and Jarvis both hated the guards for making them give up their coats. The cell was so cold; they could see their own breath. There was a leak in the damp, moss-covered stone ceiling where the down pouring rain had the freedom to drip all over the cell; including Gillen’s cot. The cot was bolted down to the ground too, so he would just have to put up with it for the nights to come in his white lace shirt, and worn old brown breeches.
“Damnation,” he grumbled, and then rolled over and did what he could to fall asleep.



III

Three Months Gone


“Did you enjoy your stay?” The guard asked as he unlocked the gate to their cell.
Gillen glanced at him but said nothing. Jarvis didn’t look around at all, but followed on the heel of his leader. They were escorted right outside the stonewall that ensured no one escape if they were to somehow get out of their cell in the first place.
The road that led away from the prison ran parallel with the town, and so with a few short strides the two were right back into where they had started, three months earlier. The bank was thriving with people, and the streets carried on their usual cluster of bustling and impatient folk.
“Well, Jarvis lad,” Gillen said as he swung his arm around the man’s shoulder. “Where to?”
Jarvis frowned at the strange question that he soon realized must have been a joke. But the seriousness in Gillen’s eyes didn’t waver, and he stood looking Jarvis hard in the face.
“Well…we need some money. We need jobs.”
“Jobs! But of course!” Gillen cried with delight. “How is it I had not yet thought of such a brilliant solution?”
“Are you all right Gillen?” Jarvis asked, worry edging its way into his eyes.
Gillen laughed heartily.
“Of course I’m all right! I simply state that your idea is that of a fine one, and nothing more!”
Still that look of frowning curiosity remained evident in Jarvis’ eyes, but they continued onward anyway, with the hopes of finding a job. Not a penny in their pocket and not a morsel in their bellies, they began to wish they could have a bit of food. Of course this was far out of the question, and the statement of it would make a shopkeeper laugh.
“I have no idea where we should even start,” Jarvis said with his hands thrust into his faded brown greatcoat pockets.
“Well, there obviously has to be somewhere that one must begin his journey of success. All we have to do is find it!”
Jarvis was still bewildered at this sudden change in heart that Gillen had had, yet he found it all rather satisfying and most uplifting to his mood. Maybe they would actually find a job…maybe. As they walked along the cobble-stoned main street, Jarvis’ whole face seemed to light up with excitement.
“What is it?” Gillen asked.
“Well I was thinkin’, my uncle owns a small business, and we might be able to find some jobs there.”
Gillen removed his brimmed hat to scratch his stiff, matted black hair as he pondered the idea.
“Sounds alright to me. Let’s go have a look at your uncle’s business. What is it anyways?”
Jarvis frowned as he bit his lower lip.
“I don’t know actually.”
“Do you know where it is?”
“I know where it used to be, I don’t know if it is still there though.”
“Oh well. We’ll go look there for a start.”
The two continued on through the neighborhood of wooden and brick buildings that sat usually two stories tall. The people were of a more sublime stature than most towns, and had more money as well. Gillen and Jarvis stuck out like sore thumbs, with the tattered and faded jackets, and their unshaven faces, with patched and off-colored breeches to complete the dirty ensemble.
“This is it, or at least where it used to be,” Jarvis said as he thrust out his arms to show the building.
“Well then lets take a look inside,” Gillen said as rubbed his hands together vigorously. “Just keep your fingers crossed Jarvis. This could be the place!”
Jarvis sighed with the heave of his shoulders. He brushed the dust from his sleeves, licked his palm and slicked his hair back as best as he could. Gillen arched an eyebrow at the peculiar action, and then copied him and wet down his own hair.
The building was a harshly thrown up piece of brick and wood, that stood only one story high, with a wobbly brick chimney puffing smoke out from the top. The building had quite an exaggerated roof that resembled something of that of a steeple. The paint had stripped and faded and gave the buildings ragged appearance a ghostly and deserted look.
“Well…let’s go,” Gillen said unsure as to what this place would bring them. “We have to start somewhere. Just remember that Jarvis. Just remember that.”
Jarvis nodded his head fervently.
“Of course.”
The two of them walked through the splintered wooden door that seemed to be hanging by one overly rusted hinge. With high hopes, the two of them walked inside the deadly silent room. Deserted.



IV

The Uncle’s Business


The dust on the floor was thick enough to serve as carpet under the feet of Gillen and Jarvis, who hung their heads in dejection and turned back around to the door.
“Wait a second!” Jarvis said as he put his hand on Gillen’s shoulder to beckon him back into the room. “What about the chimney? Wasn’t there smoke coming out of it?”
Gillen ran out the door and into the street, pushing people out of the way in his hastiness. He peered up on top of the roof, shielding his eyes from the sun. A wide grin spread across his face as he nodded to Jarvis, and came running back inside.
“There’s smoke alright! That means that someone has to be in here.”
Jarvis nodded, and then began to look around.
“Hello! Hello, is anybody in here?”
They called out a few more times until finally, an older man came out from around a corner in the back. He was rubbing his head and blinking repeatedly.
“Sorry, I was sleeping.”
“Are you Tom?” Jarvis asked the man with eagerness in his eyes.
“Yeah, that’s me. Who are you two?”
“Uncle Tom!”
“Uncle? What are you talkin’ about?”
“It’s me, Jarvis Hanson!”
The man with the weathered and hard face stared at the two for a few moments, taking them in from head to toe. He stood up straight with his arms folded beneath his chest. His thick white eyebrows shadowed his astonishing blue eyes. Finally he smiled.
“Jarvis, my nephew! It has been too long!”
The man named Tom walked up to him with open arms and they embraced each other.
“How is my brother?”
Jarvis’ gaze shifted to the floor, and his grin seemed to have been slapped off his face.
“He passed away.”
Tom’s grin faded as well, and his eyes went from cheerful to cheerless.
“How?”
“Pneumonia.”
Tom shuddered.
“That’s hard news to hear for me.”
Jarvis bit his lower lip and nodded. Tom sighed and then slapped his hands to his thighs.
“So then, what brings you two here?”
“Well, we were hoping that maybe we could get some work. We really need the money, and we’ll do any job you assign us to do.”
“And who are you?” Tom asked pointing to Gillen.
“I’m Gillen Radcliff.”
“Nice to meet you Gillen,” Tom said as he extended his hand to him.
“You too.”
“So you say that you’ll do any job that I assign you two?”
“That’s right,” Gillen answered. “Any job.”
Again Tom eyed them and he scratched his gray beard.
“Do you even know what my business is?” Tom asked a little vexed. “It isn’t you’re general idea of easy, I’ll tell you that right away.”
Gillen looked at Jarvis for guidance, hoping that maybe he had some faint idea what his own uncle did for a living. But Jarvis returned the stare with a blank face, and he finally shrugged.
“No, we don’t,” Jarvis replied rather embarrassed.
Tom nodded as he wiped his hands on his shirt.
“Well that’s alright, I guess. Just as long as you’ll do anything like ya say you will, and work with unabated commitment. The job is printing press. You have to take books, and copy them word for word to put them down on paper. You will create books, and then give them to me to sell.”
“That doesn’t sound too hard,” Gillen said. “Alright, I’ll do it!”
“Me too!” Jarvis echoed.



V

Tom’s House


After arranging with Tom to stay in the cramped attic of his two-storied home, Gillen and Jarvis found that there was nothing to do except get to work. Tom showed them the basics of aligning all of the stamps in the manual printing machine, and then pulling the large lever to stamp it down on the paper. It took a good twenty minutes just for him to get that one page done.
From that point, he left the two alone in the back room of his building where there was in the center, the large machine, and on the back wall a rough desk where the paper was to be neatly stacked in the order of page numbers from first to last. The walls were wood and the floors were too, and that meant that the loud and most annoying creaking and moaning of the floorboards was to be put up with all the daylong.
“Well, let’s get started. We can switch off every page I think,” Gillen said as Jarvis began to collect the correct stamps for the page.
“Switch off on what?”
“Well, you can do the first page, and I’ll then take it to set on the desk. Then I’ll do the next page, and you take it to set on the desk.”
“Oh, okay.”
So it began that way that they switched off all day, and completed a total of nine pages.
“Well,” Tom said as he entered the back room, “you’re free to go for the night. Jarvis, do you know how to get to my house?”
Jarvis shook his head.
“Well, it’s down the road. I suppose I could take you there, and you two could settle in the attic by yourselves, I presume?”
“Of course we can!” Gillen said. “I was wondering though, might there be a chance that we could get some food?”
“Yeah,” Jarvis echoed, maybe a little too defiantly.
Tom shrugged.
“You could talk to my wife about that, I have no idea.”
Gillen nodded, and Tom began for the door with the two following him. Down the street they went, which was rather deserted compared to the way it had been a few hours ago while the sun was still up. Now though, the moon had taken its place bringing the shining light that it withheld to the damp, cold streets.
“Well, this is it,” Tom said as they walked up the two-cemented steps to his home.
It was a lot more welcoming than his work place was, with the paint still on the walls, and the walls themselves all healthy wood; no splitting or cracks in it. There were paned windows, and through them could be seen a warming and well-lit house, with a chandelier of candles hanging over a dining table. Tom opened the front door, and in the two went with the usher of his hand.
“Courtney!” Tom called.
The scuffling of feet, as a plain-faced woman with a blunt nose and gray already swarming her hair made her way to the door hurriedly.
“You’re home, Tom?” She inquired.
“Sort of. I’m only here to drop off my two new assistants. Aren’t they wonderful?” He added sarcastically.
Courtney frowned and looked at them.
“Why are they here, Tom?”
“Because they need a place to stay, and they’ll need food too. Don’t worry, the first few weeks they’ll receive no money from me. That way they can pay for rent and the food we provide.”
Gillen frowned at Tom at this undecided negotiation. But Tom did nothing, aside from smile back at the two. Jarvis didn’t seem to have any objection at all, but instead walked into the house and then into the kitchen.
“Well, I’ll leave you three to be alone and get to know each other. I have to go back to work and finish up a few things, and I should be back by ten thirty.”
Courtney still had somewhat of a shocked expression on her face that had appeared when she discovered the news of Gillen and Jarvis living with them. She managed to nod her head though, and the front door was closed as Tom took his leave.
“So, can you boys cook, or would you like me to prepare something for you.”
Gillen grinned.
“Don’t worry. After being stoic vagabonds for the past decade of our thirty-one year-long lives, we’ve managed to learn how to make do with what little we can get.”
Courtney rubbed her forehead in distress and turned to walk away.
“Then make do!” She said, and she stormed out of the room and up the staircase that was contained behind a wall on the far side of the entering room.



VI

The Other Assistant


It was the two’s second day working for Tom in his business of the printing press, and operating the printing machine. Gillen and Jarvis kept to the same routine, and they continued throughout their day at work to switch off with every page. They gradually became faster and were completing more pages as the morning went on. It was not until mid-afternoon that Tom came in claiming he had a special surprise for them.
“What is it?” Jarvis asked.
“I have hired another assistant!”
A man of colossal size and rather broad shoulders that nearly filled the doorway came walking into the room, a smile on his smug face.
“Cornelius,” Gillen whispered under his breath.
“Who?” Jarvis whispered back.
“The man at the bank.”
Jarvis’ eyes widened.
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“Well, I’m sure you two can show Cornelius what to do. If you need anything, I’ll be out purchasing more ink. I should be back around two.”
Gillen nodded and waved as the man turned and walked out the backroom.
“Hello,” Cornelius said. “So what is it I’m supposed to do?”
“The money from the bank wasn’t enough for ya, eh?” Gillen said.
Cornelius frowned, and then quickly smiled.
“Ah yes! How could I forget about that? I’ve decided to store the money away for now and begin working here.”
“Why?” Jarvis asked, the whole idea sounding a little ridiculous and pointless too. “If I were you I would go buy a house and then open my own business. That was a lot of money!” He added a little heatedly and irritated; that money could have been theirs!
Cornelius sighed, a little vexed himself. He waved his hand away as if to drop the whole subject.
“Why don’t you just show me what it is I need to do? I haven’t spent that money yet, and I can’t help but feel somewhat guilty about what I did to you two. How long did you get in prison anyways?”
“Three months,” Gillen muttered with his gaze fixed on the wooden floorboards.
“Three months; that’s not too bad.”
“I got sick and nearly died,” Jarvis said. “It was hell! But I knew that before I was put in there for the seventh time of my life.”
“That’s right. And if we are put in prison one more time, there will be no way out,” Gillen said with his index finger pointed accusingly at Cornelius. “We’ll be in there for the rest of our unsuccessful lives.”
“All the same, your tale of little sadness has not improved my knowledge of how to operate this machine,” he said observing his hand and showing little interest to what the two had been saying. “So I was hoping that you might get on with explaining its functions and how I can compensate with them.”
Gillen looked back at Jarvis who scratched his head, and then smiled for no apparent reason. Gillen shook his head and looked back at Cornelius who stood with his arms crossed, and his muscular form stood ready to kill with one swipe of those tree trunk-like arms.
“Well…Jarvis and I have established a bit of a routine, which I’m sure you can easily fit into. We don’t really have a third job, so that means that one of us will always be on break.”
“Okay. What’s the routine?”
“Well, one arranges the stamps on this machine here,” Gillen set his hand down on the printing press to show that he was referring to it,” while the other awaits for a page to be complete. When the page is done, it is handed to the awaiting man to take it and arrange it on the desk by order of page number. Does that make sense so far?”
“Sort of,” he said with a shrug. “I still don’t know how to work the machine though.”
“Right. Well, you can be the first one on break, I’ll do the next page, Jarvis; and you wait for my completion.”
Jarvis nodded, and Cornelius moved his back up against the wall to get out of the way.
“Don’t be shy now, you’ll have to be close enough to see what I’m doing, you know?” Gillen said as he grabbed Cornelius by the arm to bring him back over to the printing press.
Quickly, Gillen began to arrange the stamps in their proper order to match the page that had been set out in front of him. Once they were laid down perfectly, a sheet of paper was placed on top of the stamps, and by the pull of the lever came down the compressor of the machine. The paper was pressed up against the stamps, and when the lever was released and the paper pulled loose it showed an exact replica of the other page, used as an example.
“See?” Gillen said with a grin.
“I guess,” Cornelius replied. “I think perhaps I will just try it myself.”
Cornelius did his best to do exactly as Gillen had done, and he successfully completed his first page. So for the rest of the day, the routine was set and the three carried on with ease having this third addition to help them.



VII

Three More Months


Another three months sailed by rather quickly for Gillen and Jarvis, and they soon found that within their wallets, they had enough money to pay rent at Tom’s house, purchase their own food, and now had enough to move out and begin to stay in a boarding house. Gillen and Jarvis made sure that the house that they found had two open rooms so that they could stay in a place together.
Cornelius had grown to be just as close with the two as they were each other, and even Tom was considered their best friend.
“Thank you Tom, for everything,” Gillen said as he shook the man’s hand on his front doorstep. “You have resurrected our lives so that we are now like commoners ourselves.”
Tom smiled.
“I’m glad that I could help you two out. You’ll still be working for me I presume?”
Jarvis nodded.
“Of course.”
With a few more abruptly exchanged words, the two parted Tom’s doorstep, and began their hunt for the boarding house that would meet their requirements.



VIII

The Boarding House


Walking down the cleanly swept streets of Copeland, they kept a keen eye out for any boarding house available. Most of the signs made clear how many rooms were available, and that was usually no more than one.
“We could always stay at an inn. They have rooms for rent too,” Jarvis said as he racked his head for solutions. “And we don’t have to be in the same place, you know?”
Gillen scratched his ear and nodded.
“Yeah, I know. Well if we see another place that’s good price, you can go ahead and take it, and I’ll keep lookin’ for somewhere else then.”
“Alright.”
The next boarding house that they came to was renting their room for a penny a day. The two’s wages were three pennies if they worked a whole day. Two pennies if they worked until one o’ clock. That would leave two pennies a day for food and then saving on the side for better furniture and everything else that Jarvis would need.
“Well?” Gillen asked as looked at Jarvis, and then back at the house. “The outside looks real nice and decent. And for only a penny, that’s a little less than the others we’ve looked at.”
Jarvis felt around in his pocket to count the money he currently had in them. He knew already, though that he had an exact fifteen pennies. It would last him, easily.
“Yes. This is what I shall purchase.”
“Aren’t you at least going to see what it is you’re purchasing? Don’t you want to know what the room looks like? Surely you will not purchase a small space of a dirty, rat-infested room?”
Jarvis shrugged.
“I shall see it first.”
Gillen nodded.
“Good choice.”
The two walked up to the door and brought the knocker down hard on it three times. It opened shortly after, answered by a friendly-faced woman, who appeared to be in her fifties. She had nothing but gray hair and wore a plain gown that appeared to have been worn while she was cleaning; for there were smudges all over it.
“Yes, can I help you?”
“I saw that your room was for rent?” Jarvis asked her.
Her eyes widened with excitement.
“Yes! Yes! Come in, please.”
The two of them walked into the house that was acceptably clean. The entryway was a circular room that was tiled and had a winding staircase on the left wall. A large clock was near its base, and straight through was what appeared to be a dining room.
“Up the stairs is where the rooms are.”
She began the climb to the second floor with Gillen and Jarvis following right behind her. At the top of the stairs was a hallway with doors on either side. The wallpaper was green with lighter stripes on it, and the floors were wooden. She took them to the end of the hall and unlocked a door on the right side. Within it was an empty square room, aside from a bed with no sheets on it and a window directly ahead.
“You’ll have to fill it with your own furniture,” she said.
“Of course,” Jarvis answered.
There seemed to be no signs evident that there were any existing rats in the room.
“Well?”
“Yes. This will do just fine,” Jarvis said as a smile slowly spread over his face. “Will do just fine.”



IX

The Promotion


It was in the morning of one day, two weeks after Gillen and Jarvis had each found their places to live that Tom pulled Jarvis out of the backroom so that they could talk without being bothered.
“What is it?” Jarvis asked once they were in the front of the shop. “I’m not in trouble am I?”
Tom chuckled.
“No, of course not.”
“What is it?” Jarvis asked once more.
“I was thinking Jarvis, that now that there are three of you working here, and only one of me purchasing and transporting the ink; they may be too much help here, and not enough help where I am at.”
“I see,” Jarvis said. “So what is it that I should do to help?”
“I would like you to come with me from now on, and help with the transportations. With it will also come a raise in what I am currently paying you. It’s only one penny, but that penny will add up, you know?” He said as he pointed his finger at him.
Jarvis smiled, delighted by the proposition that had so unexpectedly arisen to him. It had been though, four months of unabated commitment, as was all that was asked of them to do; and the requirement had been carried out wholeheartedly.
“Of course I will!” Jarvis ejaculated.
Tom chuckled and patted him on the back.
“Glad to hear it.”
“When should I begin?”
“Today, right now.”
Jarvis rubbed his chin and nodded.
“Then I shall go and tell Gillen of this situation as quick as I can do so, and I will be back out so that we can be on our way, if that of course is alright with you?”
“Yes, it is.”
Jarvis scurried back through the door and informed Gillen of all that had occurred, and Gillen smiled and congratulated him. As did Cornelius. Jarvis then left the building in matched stride to Tom, with a grin of pride laid plainly across his excited face.
“So, you three finally have the letter press down?”
“The letter press?” Jarvis repeated the peculiar title. “What’s that?”
“The machine you three have been operating for the past four months,” Tom said with a laugh.
“That’s what it’s called?”
Tom laughed even harder.
“Of course that’s what it’s called!”
The two laughed together as they walked down the packed streets, shoulders brushing with the crowd it was so tight and bursting at the seams, the town was. Twenty thousand people were a lot to fit in one town; a great lot.
“Well, this is it,” Tom ushered to the small building, that was in much the same condition as his own was, rather unwelcoming.
“What goes on in here?”
Tom shrugged.
“I don’t pay much attention while I’m inside; I usually just take up the bottles of ink that I need, pay them and then leave. Of course you can look around if you would like. All I need you to do is help carry.”
“Right.”
The two walked in where there were a dozen men, hard at work over whatnot. The bottling of inks, the making of ink in vats and so on and so forth. Jarvis was immediately distracted from Tom’s side and he soon had wondered off to observe these processes. Meanwhile, Tom stood at the front counter where he was taking out the proper amount of money for his weekly order.
“Where did Jarvis go?” He asked himself when he finally looked up to see he was talking to no one. “Jarvis! Come on, I need you to help carry now!”
Jarvis heard the man calling and trotted out to the front again.
“There you are. What were you doing?”
“You said that I could look around, and so I was doing just that.”
“Oh. Well, it’s time to leave, grab one of those crates there,” Tom said pointing to a case that contained a good two-dozen bottles.
So the crates were taken and Jarvis’ first trip to the small ink building was a success.



X

The Deceased


Two years seemed to go by faster than a week, and over that time, Gillen and Jarvis had put away their small savings, which had added up to a large amount for themselves. They continued to work for Tom and live in their places they had purchased. One day, in the mid of summer Gillen and Jarvis arrived at their workplace to find the most disturbing sign one could imagine to see.
Evicted.
“What does that mean, evicted?” Gillen asked in shock. “Our jobs then are lost!”
Jarvis shook his head in wonder.
“I think we should go to Tom’s house.”
So they took off at a quick pace down the street, not even bothering to be concerned about the crowd. They banged their fists hard on the door, once arriving at his house, and awaited with their hands behind their backs impatiently. Courtney answered shortly after. Her cheeks were stained with tears and her puffy eyes were red.
“Yes?” She asked in a miserable voice.
“What has happened?” Jarvis asked.
“Tom…has passed on,” she said with a fit of crying. “He died in the night. At least he was in peace,” she added as more tears slid down her cheeks.
“What about the store?” Gillen asked. “What about the store!”
She shook her head grimly.
“They took it. They said that our funds were lacking of late to pay the required taxes and so they had to close it. I’m sorry boys, but you will have to find a new place of working I suppose.”
“Who should care about that?” Jarvis asked, teary-eyed and his voice quivering as he fought to hold it all back. “When is the funeral? I must attend!”
“A week from today.”
“I will be there.”
“So will I,” Gillen said stepping in.
He put a hand on Jarvis’ back to try to comfort him. He wasn’t concerned; however, with Tom, though he knew his emotions would begin to run sooner or later for his beloved friend, he was concerned about their pay, and how they would make it now. Two years of this luxury which was living normally like any other person in Copeland was too long to have to then go back to poverty. The change would be so great, that he should probably die if it occurred.



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The following comments are for "The Companions: Chapter 1 (Combined)"
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