I didn’t think this classified as an announcement, so…
In the end, after all of those re-writes, Alexander the Great (Bedtime Stories – why was it called that!? IDK) turned out like this!
Here is the prologue and first chapter. I’m not putting up the whole thing, or at least not until it’s complete (It’s easier to write without the guilt of not updating for ages, and I can concentrate on the story when it’s all on one document) but since it all started here, I thought I should post how it turned out in the end.
Alexander The Great Part One
Artemis Fowl stood arm in arm with Minerva Paradizo, wearing that smug look as they stared, grinning, at the fuming pixie behind the clear screen. Opal paced furiously behind her almost invisible barrier. She’d stopped trying to force her way through. The electric shocks weren’t worth it.
“Seven years of my life, I’ve spent chasing you,” said Artemis. “I think it’s about time I got the upper hand, don’t you?”
The pixie just scowled at the humans.
Minerva was a little out of the zone. She was happy, certainly, but was finding it hard to keep her mind on crazy pixies.
“And you can have a life now, hmm, Arty?” she said, quite forcefully, taking both his slender hands and placing them on her stomach. The smile slid off his face.
Artemis’ heart quivered and his breath caught. In there, was it. And Christ, was he scared.
The act from Minerva only seemed to enrage the pixie more. Anger bubbled in her chest. That stupid human, that pitiful human life was just the result of the removal of her freedom. Given half the chance, she would have done anything, from force feeding Minerva poison to just giving her a good whack in the stomach with an iron rod. Fury was actually wracking her delicate frame.
“You stole my life!” She screamed at the couple. “That baby is living my life, and I can do so much more with it’s time! For science! For the world!”
In spite of his fear, Artemis felt the impulse to step in front of his fiancée with his arms outstretched.
“You’ve lived enough. You’ve done enough. Good and bad. My son is proof something so good can come out of something so laced with hate and evil. One way you can repay this world is to give another a chance at a life. And this life can never exist with you running free.”
“Why should I!?” She screamed and Minerva hugged her little pot belly instinctively.
“Well,” murmured Artemis, almost sounding disappointed that someone so smart was so wasted in her mind. “It’s not like you really have a choice.”
* * * * * *
Holly Short stood, shielded, at the bay window of a picturesque little house just outside of County Kerry, Ireland. Inside, she watched as a young woman with a mane of blonde curls sat in a very comfortable looking armchair beside an open fire, her legs tucked neatly underneath her, holding her child in her arms as if he were made of glass. Holly’s eyes followed her fingers over the baby’s smooth black hair as she stroked it down unnecessarily, more to sooth herself than the child, who was already miles away in a dream.
The invisible elf’s strong hearing picked up the wavelengths of a voice too deep to be a woman’s. The man was too far away for her to make out his words, but she knew who it was without thinking.
Artemis Fowl stepped into the front room from the landing, holding a brightly coloured blanket over one arm. He finished whatever he had been saying to the woman in that low voice as he made his way too her, then raising it slightly as he took the child from her unresisting arms.
“Isn’t that right, Domovoi?” He asked his sleeping son in the most gentle voice, so filled with love that it sounded like his heart had spoken it.
Holly watched every fraction of movement so closely and passionately, you could have thought they were handling her own child. Her heart ached in a way she couldn’t quite fathom the reason behind as she watched the way the baby’s back arched as he was pulled from his mother’s embrace. The way his limbs flailed in a moment of panic as he felt himself falling, before he was safe in his father’s arms, who gazed down as the boy’s eyes opened in one clean blink. No fluttering. First glazed, then that one long, slow blink clearing them so that they rested on his father, bright, blue, and very much awake.
Artemis bowed his head over Domovoi and whispered something unheard to him, then wrapped him in his blanket, kissed the child’s mother on the forehead and left the room.
Holly Short watched her closest friend leave the room, shed a single tear of some unknown emotion and turned away.
Artemis and Minerva Fowl were left forever wondering why their fairy friend never turned up for the invitation she had so excitedly accepted only four days ago. Forever wondering because Holly never told either of them how much she wished to be a part of that scene. A part of Artemis Fowl’s life. His new life. Not stuck like a dusty photograph in the one he’d left behind.
* * * * * *
“Butler, old friend, Domovoi is one today. I brought him to see you again, though I still don’t think he understands. I talk to him about you all the time, about his Uncle Dom, but he doesn’t quite grasp it yet. Maybe next year.”
The boy strapped into the buggy stared silently at his father, who stood with his head bowed before an immaculate grave. The same age as the child who bore the same name.
Little Domovoi was immaculate for the very occasion. Pale green shorts and a green and white stripy shirt, both unnaturally clean. His hair was brushed, neat, no food somehow stuck to ridiculous areas of his face. For such a loud, bright child so full to bursting of his life, he was very subdued. Maybe there was a slither of understanding that he held on to. Maybe he knew he owed this man his every day, spent and forthcoming.
I’m sorry I was never there for you when you needed me the most. I was watching someone helpless. Oh why didn’t you help yourself? Well we can’t look back now. Look up. Your son is looking for you. ~ Artemis Fowl II’s diary – year 31
Lately in the Fowl family, things were always tainted. Domovoi’s birthday with the death-day of his name-sake, his sister’s brilliance with her desperate plea for a normal life and the birth of their twin brothers with the looming shadow that hung above them. That never mentioned elephant in the room.
Minerva Fowl could not find it in herself to nurture the joy and happiness of her two youngest sons through the hazy cloud of worry and fear that squatted in her stomach like some parasite that only grew with every slowly passing minute. Days had ceased to exist. Time just crawled by for the benefit of those people in another private world. What did the physical darkness matter when a much stronger one grew in her mind all the time?
Minerva Fowl never felt herself falling. Artemis wasn’t looking when she fell. Nobody was there to catch her, as the darkness of fear and constant anxiety grasped her tightly, pulling away her hope and leaving her an empty shell. And where was everybody?
Around a hospital cot.
In which were two children who so resembled their mother. The expressions more than the hair or eyes. Moments of Minerva’s surprise, shock, fear and peacefulness flashed across their faces, like a familiar wave of a long lost friend. Alexander slept when Sylvian slept, their tiny fingers touching. Sylvian cried when Alexander cried, two screwed up faces, identical tiny tears.
Alexander Artemis and Sylvian Jonathan, so inseparable it was a pity that they had to be ripped apart. Two identical coughs, identical harsh breaths, and by the morning, only one lonely beating heart, looking around for his other half only to find his shell cold and still by his side.
Their fingers were still touching, but Alexander cried alone.
Minerva, by this point, was way too far gone. Too far out of touch with reality that the news of the passing of her son hit her about as hard as a bubble colliding with her arm. It was just some other event in a world to which she felt herself and her sorrow did not belong.
Alexander began to get better, and eventually the family moved from the hospital back to that deceivingly picturesque house just outside of County Kerry, where Minerva kept up the same routine of not eating, not talking, never sleeping, but in her observer’s eyes, never quite awake to the world around her. She just existed, her beautiful shell the cage for every sadness in her life, as though every tear in the past month had leaked out another happy moment, another dawn, another joyful memory. Minerva Fowl simply existed for the hardships of the world.
* * * * * *
Months passed in a dizzying inconsistency, some days flying, others crawling, and Artemis learned to become accustomed to being almost utterly alone in the raising of his three children, Domovoi Lewis, Samantha Alison and Alexander Sylvian Fowl. Domovoi was everything to be expected of a ten year old boy. He was bright, athletic – a football fanatic, cheeky and popular. The kind of person who knew everybody, and who would mix with anyone as long as their heart was in the right place. He was naive and never judgmental and as a result, had a generally happy existence as far as his attitude could influence. Though he was the spitting double of his father, in looks, it was plain that he had a personality that was completely his own.
Samantha was very obviously brilliant. She’d inherited her parents’ brains, as much as her grandmother’s looks. Her long, curly brown hair and chocolate coloured eyes and a generally pretty, expressive face had completely skipped Artemis and fallen on his only daughter. Not that he was disappointed. She excelled in every subject, and always had her nose in a book, was artistic and witty and deceivingly mature for an eight-year old. Though unlike Artemis had been, she had the ability to relax and allow herself to be a child, to be dim, and to be silly. To act her age. When at times, she could be found looking through A level books on Chemistry or Maths, or holding internet debates with people sometimes over quadruple her age, she could also be seen watching baby’s TV with her younger brother, or dancing in the snow, at ridiculous times in the morning. In her pyjamas. She was saved, it seemed, from her father’s childhood downfall, because she did not feel the need to know everything. She was quite happy to leave mysteries as they were.
Alexander was another story entirely. Small for his age, slight and blonde, with wide, blue/silver eyes, not like his father’s at all. He was a bright, bubbly baby, with a wide grin, that would have showed all his teeth, if he‘d had any. His hands were clumsy, as if his tiny fingers had been numbed, and he stumbled and slipped when it came to picking things up. He could not walk, or crawl, his lack of co-ordination wouldn’t allow it. Instead he commando crawled, dragging himself across the floor with his arms, not getting anywhere fast.
Alexander, generally lived in a world full of colour, hugs and love. One of those children people just want to pick up and squeeze, who were bought books and toys and he felt a feeling of warm contentedness holding his heart as his father laid him in his cot every night, safe under the Christmas-tree lights that hung on his ceiling, making convincing stars.
But the child barely knew his mother. He didn’t remember being held by her, feeling safe in her arms, or hearing a comforting voice emit from her. Artemis often tried to coax Minerva to talk, hold, or even look at him, but whenever her eyes rested on that face, that smile that was her smile, she couldn’t bare it. It destroyed her heart. Why should she inflict her miserable existence on someone so care-free and pure. No. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.
So she’d turn the other way, tears pooling in her once bright green, but now dull eyes. Artemis would sigh, pick up his son, and resolve to try again tomorrow. Knowing it would all be the same.
* * * * * *
Artemis Fowl was painting a masterpiece, with poster paints, at the huge farmhouse table in his kitchen with Samantha and Alexander. On the paper there was a wonderful, bright picture of a dark haired boy in white T-shirt and shorts, bouncing a ball on his knees. Artemis glanced up again through the kitchen window into their back garden to get another quick glance at his model, who was outside enjoying the last of the Autumn sunshine, rays of which pooled through the south-west facing window to swaddle the huge kitchen in afternoon warmth.
Alexander giggled and rubbed his paint covered hands back and forth over the little plastic table that clipped onto the front of his high-chair. His sheet of paper and brushes had long since fallen to the flagstone floor, but his sister and father had both failed to notice, so engrossed they were in their own paintings. Deciding to be a little more adventurous, Alexander began to smear the paint up and down his arms, around his face and on his shirt. He was just about to see what the stuff tasted like when Artemis looked up just in time to catch his youngest with his gloopy fingers inches from his mouth.
Artemis shot out a hand and grabbed the boy’s wrist.
“No, Alex. You must not eat paint. It will make you sick.”
“Ah!” Insisted the small boy, struggling to inch his hand further to his mouth, the paint seeming even more desirable now that it was denied. Artemis rolled his eyes and locked both of Alexander’s wrists in a vice grip with one hand, then used his other to scoop the boy up under his arm and carry him to the kitchen sink. Artemis was just washing the last of the paint from behind Alexander’s ears when Domovoi made his presence clear, accidentally closing the door a little too loudly and making his sister jump. The glass of water she’d been rinsing her brush in clattered to the floor, where it smashed.
“Oops,” muttered Domovoi, quickly averting his eyes from his sister’s death glare. “Sorry. It was a fantastic jump you did though, nearly shat your-” He caught sight of her picture and snatched it off her for closer inspection.
“Hay, is this Alex? Where’d you learn to do this stuff? Not school? It looks just like him. I mean, it doesn’t just look human, it looks just like him!”
Samantha scowled and grabbed the paper back, muttering sourly, but her cheeks were flushed red. “’Doesn’t just look human.’ You always had a way with words, hmm Dom? And if you hold it like that, the paint might run!”
Domovoi ripped off his filthy t-shirt and slung it unceremoniously into the laundry basket just outside the door. “The paint’ll run? It’s diluted poster paint! The paint’ll run. Don’t give me that rubbish. Honestly, I wish I was good enough at art to hope I didn’t do my homework too well. What was the actual task?” He asked, taking her school planner from the kitchen bench without waiting for a reply. “Oh yes ‘draw a live subject.’ Not ‘create a masterpiece,’ ‘draw a live subject.’ They mean draw your pet goldfish, or next door’s cat, not create a picture so like the original it could be it’s twin-”
Domovoi stopped himself when he heard his own words, not realising that no one would have batted an eyelid if he hadn’t made it so obvious. Quite abruptly the air in the kitchen became cold, despite the evening sunlight. It was an odd sort of cold. The one that clasps at your lungs and makes you fear for a moment that you won’t be able to breathe. An awkward silence, a moment of stillness, and then the painfully forced jolly tones of Artemis as he tried to force some life back into the room.
“Yes, well, your sister is quite the artist. Why don’t you go and have a bath, Domovoi, saying as you are, to put it frankly, filthy?”
Domovoi nodded, thankful for an excuse to leave the room.
Artemis went to place Alexander back in his chair and unclip his paint-smeared table. “Oh and if you meet your mother on the stairs, just tell her ‘I’ll deal with it.’”
Samantha made herself busy clearing away the mess of spilled water on the table before it crept any closer to Artemis’ picture as her father disappeared under the table to get rid of the broken glass. As soon as he was out of sight he took a deep breath through his nose, running a shuddering hand through his dark hair. Ten months had passed and the wound still bled if prodded. Would it ever completely heal? He didn’t think so, but he hoped one day the scar would fade so close to the colour of the surrounding skin that it would only be noticed if carefully pointed out. He hoped that someday, when the scar was pressed, the pain would be a memory, not a recurring feeling, because he knew that once the smothering hold of that pain was gone, he could look back and see the good in Sylvian Jonathan Fowl. After all, his memories were what built up who he was. It had been proved decades ago when he was thirteen, that he’d do anything to keep hold of them, good or bad; they’d changed him forever. And every moment had a rippling effect somewhere, somehow. To him, a moment might be worthy of only the smallest of space in his mind, but to some other being, his friend, a stray dog, anyone, it could be the biggest moment. No memory was worth forgetting if it was ever worth making, after all.
As it turned out, Domovoi did meet his mother on the stairs. She was standing on the gallery that ran between Domovoi’s room (closest to the stairs) to the bathroom at the other end, the three other bedrooms in between. Minerva was leaning inquisitively over the rail. Domovoi stopped at the top of the stairs where she did not notice him and took a good look at her for the first time in weeks. His first impression was that she looked childish. When he saw documentaries on TV about people who were depressed, or stayed in bed or were recluses in their houses, they generally looked old and tired, but to him, his mother looked like a teenager who’d just managed to rouse herself at midday. She was wearing clothes that were not really pyjamas, but then weren’t really clothes that you’d go out in either. Her hair wasn’t brushed, but it wasn’t a mess really. She looked thinner than she had been a year ago, but not concerningly so. Domovoi summed her up as just ‘dreary.’ That was it. She looked tired, dreary and lifeless.
She probably needs a hug or something spontaneously Samantha-ish like that, he thought. But didn’t actually give her one. Instead, he tried to announce his presence in a way that didn’t startle her by giving a little cough. She jumped a little, but at least didn’t fall over the slightly precautious looking wooden rail.
“Dad said… He said, er, that he’d ‘deal with it’ or something… I dunno.” Domovoi rubbed the back of his head nervously. He hadn’t spoken to her in so long he’d forgotten how to. Minerva gazed at him for a while, which began to unnerve her son slightly, before asking;
“What was that?”
“What was what?” asked Domovoi, utterly stumped.
“That noise,” she clarified. Her voice sounded small. Not whispery, not shy, just smaller, Domovoi thought. Then he realised, there was no authority in it. It was not the voice of a person who felt she had any control over him, but not as if she felt he was out of her control either. It was just as if it wasn’t her problem. As if he wasn’t a person she was responsible for. Not that there was no love, or that she didn’t care, just that she felt herself equal or below. Despite all the times Domovoi had complained she was ‘over-protective’ or ‘bossy,’ it made him feel uneasy without those bonds holding him down. He felt too free. Like he’d float away.
Domovoi took a moment to rewind his mind back to a few minutes ago. It felt like hours.
“Oh, right, Sam smashed a glass. ’S no big deal.”
“Is that what he meant?”
“Is that what who meant about what?” asked Domovoi, getting annoyed at how vague his mother was being.
“Is that what Arty meant about ‘taking care if it?’”
Domovoi shrugged. “I suppose so. I thought it was some secret code between you two, but if you don’t know, it can’t really be anything else, can it?”
There was a silence and the younger wished his mother would turn away, because it felt rude just to turn and walk past her. Eventually, though, she spoke.
“I suppose you’re right but…” she seemed to be in deep consideration of whether she should proceed with what she wanted to say, and when she did, her words were timid, as if she felt it were not her place. “Domovoi…?”
Minerva hesitated. There was a look of confused longing on her face and Domovoi couldn’t quite reason it. Minerva herself was having trouble too. She was overcome with the urge to do something, or say something motherly, something loving, comforting, but instead, she just muttered; “Never mind,” and walked back across the gallery to her and her husband’s room, looking a little desolate, almost rejected. The sight of that lost expression on her face made guilt rise in her son’s throat like vomit, and he sat in the bath with his knees pulled up to his chin for nearly an hour, not moving. Just thinking and feeling utter confusion.
* * * * * *
By ten o’clock that night, Artemis’ eyes were beginning to tingle. He’d been staring at his computer screen for hours. It seemed every time he finished replying to another student query on some coursework or event, another email would pop up. Artemis was feeling quite irritated by this point. After an hour of reading other people’s issues on his foolproof instructions, he was developing a burning hate for the general university population.
Deciding that it would be better to just answer the other fifty-two waiting emails tomorrow when he was well rested and less likely to bite their heads off, he switched off his laptop, stretched and appreciated, for the first time all day, being alone. Not that he didn’t mind being with the people he shared his house with. He liked having them around him. But he liked being by himself too. He liked not having to think about anyone but himself from time to time.
Artemis let his mind wander and it wandered right onto the problems of others. This time, Holly Short, not Minerva, was the one occupying his mind. He’d noticed the elf was giving him a bit of a cold shoulder. She’d done a similar thing before, about nine or ten years ago, when they’d been closer, and were used to talking every other day. He’d invited her over, she’d been so excited about it. It would have been the first time she’d seen Domovoi. And they’d waited hours and hours and she’d never arrived. And then, she never answered his phone calls the next day, or the next, for a few weeks, and even after that, she’d sounded different, distant. As if he’d done something to offend her.
But that had worn off, and also, Artemis had grown up. That was the curse of it all. Of him being human and her fairy. A decade was like a year to her. It was a seventh of his lifetime.
But they were still good friends. The best of friends, one might go as far as saying. And the children were fascinated with her. But she was becoming distant again. Was it something he’d done? Artemis felt himself panic. Was it Minerva? Was she shy to be around her in that state?
Or was she getting her own life, like he had his? Had she met someone? Were they together? Artemis felt rejection like a kick to the stomach. He did not want to become a background figure, to have someone else steal his spotlight. He’d never felt more than a brief teenager’s crush for Holly, but it didn’t lessen the pain. He felt like the main character in a much loved book series, read again and again and again, and then grown out of. Stood proudly, but dusty, on a shelf. Pride of place, but outdated. Once loved.
Which, sadly, was the way she felt too.
So, any good?
If there are bits that repeat over, it’s because I copy and pasted this over from a Word Document, and WordPress doesn’t like that, I don’t know why.
There shouldn’t be any mistakes, it’s been read over many, many, many times… I started this at about the beginning of last year, I think.
Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one!