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    drsawzall
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
This tale owes a debt of thanks to Shirly Jackson’s 1948 short story called The Lottery.  It is well worth the time to check out.

La Tombola - 9. Chapter 9

“You would have us believe that from your data and the inference derived, would suggest that this planet is a unique lifeform?”
The Galactic Consortium response in ‘Buck Rogers and the Mystery of the Sentient Planet circa 2134 AD

Ned Boone 7

Spring had been early this year, as Ned recalled. With the longest of days approaching, everyone had been had been occupied with helping get the families who would populate the new settlement, ready to make the move. They had already been across the valley, found a suitable location for a new village, put crops in the ground and established temporary shelters. In all, eight families comprising of some odd fifty-five souls had chosen to go. If all went according to plan, semi-permanent central lodgings and barns would be in place for in time for the winter season. It would take at least two full cycles of the days before they were firmly established and individual homesteads could be built. After much discussion, it was decided to name the settlement, New Plymouth.

What had been truly remarkable Ned thought, was the alacrity in which the village of New Boston had undertaken, in making the preparations for the move happen. Seemingly overnight, goods and materials appeared in the town square, safely put away in the warehouse awaiting the day of the move. When the time came wagons and carts of every imaginable size and description were loaded and in short order, the village of New Plymouth was a reality.

~~~

He’d never admit it, but Ned was tired. The preparations for the move had taken much out of him, if he learned anything, it was that he wasn’t a young man anymore. They were but a moon away from the lottery and one delicate issue had just been resolved. None of the young men who now resided in New Plymouth would stand, reducing the number of eligible candidates from twenty-eight to eighteen. At first there were some ruffled feathers but a town-wide meeting with Thery and two of the Gnos elders soon dispelled any angst. By the time the meeting was over it was clearly understood that Mithras had spoken.

He would have to meet with Tom and Billy to begin the final plans for the lottery. They would have to call in Sam Jameson the town administrator and Doc Smith. Both the wooden drum and the black lock box would have to be brought out of storage and gone over. As testament to the serious nature of the work to be done, all five of them would have to be present as any repairs or other work was done, certifying all was in order

The next order of business would be to sign off on the list of this year’s names. Once that chore was done, formal notices would go out to the families involved. Next up on the plate was the planning for the day. Shortly after Ned, Tom and Billy stood so long ago, a decision had been made to reinstitute several of the longstanding traditions that had fallen by the wayside. Now that they were sufficient in numbers, the age of inclusion was raised from twelve to thirteen. The three boys who escorted the boy chosen, no longer had to stand with the others in the succeeding lotteries, even though they were exempt from being chosen.

There would be a remembrance ceremony, honoring all of those who had been chosen, an accounting of the successes each family enjoyed, a pot luck lunch would be served along with a selection of ales and wines, and finally, a short speech just before the drawing of the names. There was much to do and the days to complete the necessary tasks were dwindling away. Ned checked his lists, he was sure nothing had been overlooked, he simply couldn’t help but thing he was overlooking something important.

~~~

Thad woke with a start; the dream was so lifelike and what bothered him was he remembered it in its entirety. Like the other boys of his age who would be standing, he was nervous. Compounding his anxiety was the upcoming end of the school year. The lessons had become much harder, he never realized how much more complicated becoming an adult would be. There was so much more to learn than his letters and the simple math they had been taught. Then there was the trouble of the previous day.

He wanted more than anything to be just like his Grandpa Ned. It wasn’t that he didn’t love his parents. It seemed lately there had been a growing distance between them. What bothered him the most was overhearing his father exclaim to his mother that he was going to be just like his Uncle Thom, that he should be thinking about girls. What hurt, was his mother telling his father to give it time, that it was a phase. He tried to please both, almost the top of his class, he was an exceptional student, a good son, dutifully doing his chores about the farm always making sure any odd jobs were looked after.

And to top it all off, he was growing up, his body had begun the changes, his voice deepening and hair growing thicker on his legs and down there as well. There were times when his feelings would run riot, leaving him all jumbled and confused. Sometime they would surge uncontrollably and he had quickly learned to bite his tongue. It was a point of pride that he wouldn’t talk back to his parents, no matter how much they pushed or angered him.

Adding to his angst was Evan Miller, they had gone from best of friends to something more, a connection that in their play together, was intensifying the growing feelings he had for him. There wasn’t any hiding it and he praised his lucky stars the day Uncle Thom found him down by the barn, angrily going about his chores.

A late child, Thom Boone was just but a few full cycles of the days older than Thad. There had always been a closeness between the two as Thad was growing up. Many an afternoon found Thom watching over him. Teaching the youngster how to swim, build play forts, games of hide and seek and most of all, being the big brother, he needed. Concerned for his nephew’s demeanor and calling out, he was surprised to see a good-sized black eye forming and his good school shirt had been ripped.

“Want to tell me what happened?”

“It’s nothing,” came a frustrated response.

“It don’t look like nothing, I think your eye and shirt are evidence something happened.”

Tossing the hay rake into the pile he had been working on, “Jacob Trimble is dumber than a gruntling and a bully,” came the vehement reply.

“What on earth did Jacob do to get you this worked up? I mean he’s two years older than you, why would he be bothering you?”

Moving closer to Thad, it became apparent that there were several spots on his shirt that looked like blood, Thom’s mild alarm quickly changing to a growing concern, there was much more that he needed to find out.

Eyes narrowing, his fists clenched by his sides, Thom watched as Thad’s posture stiffened, “He was picking on little Sammy Johnson, Evan asked him to stop and grow up, when Jacob pushed Sammy down and out of the way, popping Evan in the stomach.”

“Next thing I know I’m rolling on the ground with Jacob. His nose is bleeding and two of the teachers are pulling me off him.”

Looking up at his uncle, Thad can’t stop the tears, “Dad’s gonna kill me, Ma is gonna be pissed I ruined my clothes, I figured I best get as much of my chores done while I can still walk.”

Holding his arms out, Thom grabbed his wretched nephew into a hug, holding the sobbing boy close, letting him cry it out. “Let me worry about that, who saw all of this? It happened during school; or just after?”

“We had just finished for the day, Mr. Reynolds and Mrs. Miller were standing nearby. Most of my class saw what happened.” Was Thad’s soft, tentative response.

“You head up to our rooms, your cousins would love to see you, give your clothes to Graham and get yourself cleaned up, he’ll find something of mine that should fit you, tell him to look in the closet, there are plenty of my older clothes in there.”

You’ll stay for supper with us, I will talk to your dad in the meantime.”

Thad wasn’t exactly sure what Thom said to his father, what he had found out was, that he had spoken to the teachers, and then his father. Ready to face the music, his parent’s anger, he walked back over to his parent’s rooms where he found them both sitting in the parlor.

“Your uncle just left, your clothes have been mended and cleaned, your mother will give them to you. Why didn’t you come and tell me what happened instead of hiding down at the barn?” His father said sternly.

Something snapped inside Thad, rather than over react, as simply and coldly as he could muster simply said, “I figured it was best to get my chores done while I could still stand, I knew you’d be upset. I understand things better now, I heard you telling mother I’m nothing more than an inconvenience to you and a disappointment.” Thad said quietly.

Turning around, he headed off to his bedroom, he had one last comment, “Uncle Thom actually talked to me, asked me what happened before jumping to conclusions.” Looking at his father he knew he was pushing his luck, judging by the look on his face and left the room.

Laying there in bed that morning, the events of the past day, the past few days, had Thad wondering why his life was getting so complicated, it was like he had fallen into a swiftly flowing river and he had no control as to where it was taking him.

Walking downstairs the following morning dressed for his weekend chores, he heard his grandfather speaking to his parents. It was the tail end of whatever conversation they had been having. What little he caught was his father being told to send him over as soon as they talked.

The table had been set, his mother at the stove, his father in his customary seat at the head of the table. Taking his seat, waiting to eat, when his father cleared his throat. Looking up he could see his father was having some sort of difficulty arraigning his thoughts.

“Your grandfather and I had a conversation this morning, he heard our discussion last night, apparently Jacob Trimble’s father was up to see him while you were with your Uncle Thom. He wanted to apologize for his son’s actions.”

“Needless to say, your grandfather was a tad upset, with both your mother and I, upset in the way you have come to feel as to how we are treating you. He reminded me of something I had long forgotten when I was your age.”

“I had become fond of one of the porcums we were raising. It would follow me around everywhere. I decided that I was going to train it and make it a pet. I was convinced that I could housebreak it and was sorely disappointed when all my efforts came to naught. In tears I went to my father and asked, just what was I doing wrong. I could not break it of its indiscriminate bathroom habits. It went wherever and when it wanted to. Your grandfather told me it was its nature, something I could never hope to change.”

“While the situations are completely different, there is a similarity. The lesson I needed to relearn, is that you are who you are, and will always will be. I needed to be reminded of that and to let you know your mother and I are proud of you for standing up for what is right.”

“I believe your grandfather is waiting for you, he’ll feed you, and the both of you are going fishing. I think you have earned a weekend without chores.”

Giving both of his parent’s a hug, the dust had barely settled by the time he reached his grandfather’s rooms.

~~~

It was a glorious morning Thad thought, the morning was warm, it was going to be a fine, late spring day heralding the summer to come. There was just enough breeze to keep the skitos away. The fish had been biting all morning, there were more than enough to feed everyone up on the farm, there were enough to have used a couple of strings to keep them in the water. The sun shining through the newly formed leaves of the tree they were sitting under. The wirrels and monkychips were scampering to and fro, the birds singing out their songs and later this afternoon he’d go get Evan to come up for the weekend.

“You know young feller,” Ned began, “You are so much like your grandmother, your features favor her. You have her hair and eyes, more importantly, her sense of what’s right.”

“Tell me about her, would you please?”

Giving it some thought, Ned figured it was time to share with Thad a bit more about himself, going back to when he was his age. It was a story known only by two other souls, Billy Dunbar, and Tom Harrison.

You must promise me what I tell you today is just between the two of us, you are old enough to know, some you will find out later, but the gist of the story goes like this.”

Ned’s memories ran deep, taking a breath he began, “When I was your age, I fell in love. I knew, just knew with all my heart that this was the one. Growing up I was a bit different that the other boys, somewhat like you are today. We tend to be longer between the legs. I was teased unmercifully when I was younger, when I got a bit older as you are now, it faded and other boys were a bit envious. All the while this was going on, one boy, Peter Miller became my friend, never making fun of me and together we learned how to play boy’s games. That friendship blossomed into a love so pure, I carry it with me to this day.”

“What happened to Peter gramps?”

Letting out a long sigh, “Peter was chosen the first year we were eligible to stand for the lottery, and I along with Billy Dunbar and Tom Harrison were his escorts to the Gnos. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, was to say goodbye to Peter. But Peter taught me that I was just like you, I liked boys. Billy and Tom helped me after Peter was gone, helped me fill a need.

Confused, Thad asked, “How does grandma fit into all of this?”

“It was a couple of full cycles of the days later when I truly met her. She was Tom Harrison’s sister, a little younger than me. Turns out she liked girls the way I liked boys but wanted in the worst way to be a mother. We began seeing a bit more of each other, our parents were glad we were seeing each other and as things happened, she convinced me to lay with her.”

“We came to care for each other and as these things happen, she was soon with child or so we thought. I asked her to be my wife and boy we were surprised when she gave birth not only to your father but your Uncle James who runs the farms glassworks.”

We still, with each other’s blessings, sought out the companionship we needed from time to time. Life was good, we truly loved each other as man and wife. Not so long ago, just a few cycles of the days older than you are now, she was with child again. That child would become your Uncle Thom.”

“Not long after his birth, she became ill, at first, we thought it was nothing, growing concerned when she wouldn’t get better. Mercifully, whatever was wrong with her was quick, she didn’t suffer and passed peacefully in her sleep. “

“We only get so much time Thad, it’s up to us to make the most of what we’ve been given, now…help your old grandfather up, we’ve got some fish to fry and let’s do some tubers as well!”

Thanks for reading, as always, thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated!
Copyright © 2022 drsawzall; All Rights Reserved.
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Thanks for reading, your comments and thoughts are appreciated. Please take a moment to let me know your impressions.
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

Since Thad had a “special” dream, I’m pretty sure he will be either chosen as the sacrifice, with Evan holding the knife, or the opposite. I agree that Ned will probably be reunited with Peter soon. I’m not forgetting the looming contact with the spacecraft. It seems the storylines are converging. 

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Is it time to consider that the introduction to each chapter tells us something about the impending visitors and accept the conclusion that the planet is alive and a thinking being? Could Mithras be the device that the planet uses to talk to its inhabitants ?

 

“You would have us believe that from your data and the inference derived, would suggest that this planet is a unique lifeform?”

The Galactic Consortium response in ‘Buck Rogers and the Mystery of the Sentient Planet circa 2134 AD

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There are some very interesting points and speculations in the comments.  I do agree that both Evan and Thad will be in the group that is the result of the lottery. Thad's problems with his parents was distressing until his dad talked with him in the morning.  Grandpa must have read Thad' father the riot act.  Ned's talk with Thad was so gentle and loving.  I felt the love for Peter that Ned described was so special.  Ned's wife must also have been a wonderful person.  I hope that Thad and Evan can face their future calmly and with loving acceptance. Great chapter.

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On 3/22/2022 at 11:36 AM, scrubber6620 said:

Ned opens up and imparts his wisdom about male-female relationships to his grandson, Thad, who is like him and needs guidance, Thad likes boys. 

This interchange is happening before the next lottery. I have the nagging feeling Thad might be called to serve Mithras. Ned is clearly aging and not long for his world. He could meet Peter soon and anyone taken by the lotteries,

The boys that are chosen is random, with no predestination, however at the same time no one boy is immune...

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On 3/22/2022 at 12:27 PM, CincyKris said:

Since Thad had a “special” dream, I’m pretty sure he will be either chosen as the sacrifice, with Evan holding the knife, or the opposite. I agree that Ned will probably be reunited with Peter soon. I’m not forgetting the looming contact with the spacecraft. It seems the storylines are converging. 

At the heart of the matter are those dreams, where will they lead to?

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On 3/22/2022 at 2:59 PM, weinerdog said:

Since Thad is such a focus of the most recent chapters it makes sense that either he or Evan will be chosen.I loved the way Even explained things to Thad dad (unintentional pun)

This is just me and my goofy thinking but is the lottery really random?Maybe Mithras has a way to make sure a certain somebody is chosen.Peter got chosen and if Evan or Thad gets chosen it makes me wonder if Mithras chooses people who she knows will not reproduce this could also include straight people who for one reason or another Mithras knows won't have children.Just a thought

The lottery is random, it all comes down to the luck of the draw...

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On 3/22/2022 at 4:32 PM, Mawgrim said:

That's really good point and one I hadn't thought of. I agree it seems as if Thad or Evan are going to be chosen this time around.

It's a good point, what role will the boys play?

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On 3/23/2022 at 6:22 AM, raven1 said:

There are some very interesting points and speculations in the comments.  I do agree that both Evan and Thad will be in the group that is the result of the lottery. Thad's problems with his parents was distressing until his dad talked with him in the morning.  Grandpa must have read Thad' father the riot act.  Ned's talk with Thad was so gentle and loving.  I felt the love for Peter that Ned described was so special.  Ned's wife must also have been a wonderful person.  I hope that Thad and Evan can face their future calmly and with loving acceptance. Great chapter.

Thanks, I appreciate the kind words...

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On 3/22/2022 at 10:27 AM, CincyKris said:

Since Thad had a “special” dream, I’m pretty sure he will be either chosen as the sacrifice, with Evan holding the knife, or the opposite.

This is where my thinking was going, despite @drsawzall telling us it is a random draw!

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5 hours ago, Al Norris said:

This is where my thinking was going, despite @drsawzall telling us it is a random draw!

The draw is random as much as it can be organized, who knows what outside influences may impact it.

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Well, we learn so much about Ned life and all the things that Thad be like Ned! Most enjoyable I think that Thad maybe going to be with Mithra, but time will tell!:yes:

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31 minutes ago, Albert1434 said:

Well, we learn so much about Ned life and all the things that Thad be like Ned! Most enjoyable I think that Thad maybe going to be with Mithra, but time will tell!:yes:

We will see what the lottery brings as to who will go...

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