I Go Back: George Bondell's Story
Chapter 21: I Go Back: George Bondell’s Story
All fruits are the most delicious just before they begin to rot.
The following are the accounts of one George Bondell, grandfather of Tyrone Bondell, and one of the remaining survivors of the “Crazy Plant Mansion.”
Date: June 7, 1961
Time: 3:15 PM. CST
Time Passed Since Incident: 5 Months
Recorder: Norman Calvin Other: Those present when these accounts were recorded included: Officer: Rocky DeLancie, His Nurse: Ann Porter, and His Fiancée: Sarah.
“Where should I begin,” the patient got himself comfortable on the bed.
“Let’s start off with who you are and your involvement at the Fabulist residence,” Officer Rocky began.
“Alright,” the patient took a breath, to steady his thoughts, “My name is George Bondell. I am currently 23 years old and have been working for the Fabulist family for about thirteen.”
“So you were ten when you started working for Mr. Fabulist?”
“You could say that, yes… but not exactly…”
At a young age, I started my work at the Mansion. The original Master was not as kind as I had hoped he would be. I never knew what his first name was. It was considered improper to call your master by anything except their title as “Master”. I may have heard it once or twice, but I don’t remember what it was. He kept going off about the smallest of details. No matter what I did, it was never good enough for him. Not to say that it didn’t help me. His nitpicking gave me a reason to work to my fullest. However, that wasn’t the reason that I stayed.
I stayed because of the people who also worked there. Ms. Coiner, for example, wasn’t much stricter than the original master, but at least she worked hard and was much friendlier than the Master. Also, Ms. Coiner’s stories of her homeland were incredible. I’ve never heard of the Jufuca Region before I met her. Her stories and her cooking made the entire day worthwhile.
Her son, Tarsa, was not as hard working as his mother. He spent more of his time slaking off than doing any actual work. I’ve had to clean up more of his messes than that of the Master’s entire family. He was a good friend of mine. On our days off, we’d spend our time playing near the creek or going into town for some fountain sodas. I never thought that he was a bad person, but there was something odd about the way he looked at the Master’s son.
When the first Master passed on, his son took over the estate. The second master, Lord Pseudo Fabulist, was much less tight fisted. He seemed to live without a care in the world. When he came into power, the name barrier between us servants and the nobles of the house vanished. That day, Lord Pseudo made it very clear to everyone else on the staff that he was not to be called Lord, Master, or even Sir. Working became an enjoyment, I guess.
The work that needed to be done was still to be expected, but the environment had changed drastically. The entire aura of the mansion became brighter. Even the children of Lord Pseudo were happier. He had a daughter, Serafina, who was the sweetest angel. Now I had been there while Serafina grew up, but we’ve never really spoken to one another before her father took over. While the rest of the Lord Pseudo’s children spent most of their time out in the gardens, Serafina stayed inside and…
“So what are your names,” she asked as we were setting the table one quiet afternoon. (Well, as I was setting up the table. Tarsa was ‘setting up’ the chairs.)
“They’re unimportant, my Lady,” I told her respectfully as I had done many times before. This time, it really was out of habit.
“They are important to me.”
“Coiner, my Lady.”
“Bondell, my Lady,” the pair of us bowed out of respect to the Master’s granddaughter.
“Stand up straight,” she told us, “you don’t want to get stuck like that do you?”
We did as we were told. Serafina was much like her father, however, she didn’t show it before that day. She was the youngest of the five children but was in her prime age.
“Now what are your names,” she smiled, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell Grandfather.”
“Well, in that case, my name’s Tarsa,” he said loosely, “it means ‘Worshiper of Fire’. Awesome, right?”
“It is indeed. Splendid,” she cheered, then looked to me, “and yours?”
“Bondell, my Lady.”
“What does it mean?”
“Farmer… I think…”
“Okay, Tarsa…? Bonny, do you two go into town a lot?”
“Not really,” Tarsa yawned, “We spend most of our time working here.”
“Excuse me,” I glared at him, “we?”
“Okay, okay,” Tarsa corrected himself, “He spends most of his time working… While I supervise.”
“Have you two ever seen Yokai battle?”
“You mean like,” Tarsa pulled out a chair and sat in front of Sera, “when two Masters bring their best Yokai and they start fighting with one another. The Yokai giving everything they’ve got to win for their Masters?”
“You’ve seen one,” the Miss was at the edge of her seat.
“Nope. Not a one,” Tarsa shrugged, “But I bet Bonny here has seen a few.”
“I’d appreciate it, if you wouldn’t call me ‘Bonny’.”
“But she gets to,” Tarsa pointed out.
“Well, she’s different,” I huffed trying to get back to work, but Serafina would have none of it. She pushed her way between me and the table with her questions.
“Oh please tell me, what was it like? What kind of Yokai where they? Who won? No, better yet, tell me everything!”
“Whoa, slow down there Miss,” Tarsa laughed, “Give the guy some room to breath.”
“Don’t call me ‘Miss’, call me Sera.”
“Yes, call her Sera,” Lord Fabulist said from behind us, “then you can join the Nidhogg for dinner tonight.”
“Gah, Lord Fabulist,” Tarsa screamed as he fell out of his chair.
“Kidding,” Lord Fabulist laughed, “That was a splendid impression of what my father would have said, was it not?”
“Quite, my Lord,” I bowed in respect. Tarsa quickly got back up on his feet and did the same.
“Oh pish posh! No need to be so formal anymore, boy,” he laughed again, “Call me Pseudo.”
“Yes, Lord Pseudo.”
“No, no, no. Pseu-do. Just Pseudo.”
“Daddy, I wish to see a Yokai fight!”
“Then I’ll take you with me to my next match.”
“But you already tell me about all of those,” Sera whined, “I want to see a battle where I don’t know who the winner will be.”
“Very well, dear,” Lord Pseudo smiled that smile of his, “Boys, I how would you like to escort my fair daughter into town.”
“Really,” Tarsa lost his balance for a second, “I mean, it would be an honor, sir.”
“I told you, call me Pseudo,” Lord Pseudo laughed again, “Now go show my daughter a good time.”
“Hold up,” Officer Rocky stopped the story, “How is it that Serafina Fabulist came into town without anyone noticing her?”
“I was getting to that,” George smiled as Sarah snickered, “You see…”
“Miss,” I knocked.
“I thought I told you, call me Sera.”
“Sera,” I sighed, “If you’re so excited to see a match, then why is it that we needed to change our clothes?”
“Because…,” she opened the door, “I don’t want to draw attention to myself.”
We stood there blinking at the image that we saw. She was wearing baggy clothes that barely fit her, black shoes, brown pants, matching shirt, and her hair was bunched up inside of the cap that she was wearing. I could hardly believe that it was Lord Pseudo’s little girl.
“I don’t think think that’s the best way for you not to draw attention.”
“So basically she dressed like a boy so that she wouldn’t be seen,” Officer Rocky interrupted again.
“She used to do it all the time with her father,” Sarah explained, then paused, “Or as George told me.”
“If you don’t mind, Miss, I was asking Mr. Bondell the question.”
“Well, it’s just like Sarah said…”
For the next few years, we had become Serafina’s personal traveling companions. We were the ones who made sure that Miss Serafina did not get into any trouble. That was our duty since her father could no longer go with her. We watched battles, ‘hung out’ at soda shops, got ice cream, and watched picture shows. She acted like a normal kid, but then that day came...
“Miss, it’s getting late,” I warned her.
“Oh, lighten up for once Bonny,” Serafia took another sip from her float. She never got out of the habit of calling me that. Here she was at the age of twenty and she still acted like there wasn’t a care in the world.
“How can I lighten up when your father’s been getting on edge lately.” I sighed, there’s really no point in arguing with Serafina when she had made up her mind. However, I didn’t want to suffer another one of Lord Pseudo’s “penalties”. Something was stressing him to no limit. Even before his Nidhogg lost in the first round of the Golnar’s RTC.
“But if you’re that worried, then let’s find Tarsa and go.” She finished quickly and got up to leave. We got outside just as the rays of the sun turned red.
“He said that he was meeting someone, somewhere around here,” I said, “He should be back by now.”
“I found him,” Serafina pointed to an alleyway. Tarsa was talking to a man in a dark dress suit. The man gave Tarsa a rather long package. The two of them shook hands and went their separate ways.
“Hey Tarsa,” the Miss ran up to him, “Who was that you were talking to?”
“No one important.”
“Then what’s in your package,” Serafina asked.
“It’s not mine. It is your fathers,” Tarsa grinned, “Let’s go. Your father wanted everyone to be present for his big announcement today.”
“I wonder what it’s about,” I wondered out loud.
“Let’s not be late to find out,” Tarsa pulled for us to get going.
“Knock Knock,” Tarsa said as he knocked on Lord Pseudo’s bedroom door.
“Be careful Tarsa,” I warned him, but he just shook it off.
“What do you want,” Lord Pseudo nearly barked from the other side of the door, “I’m busy.”
“Package for you,” Tarsa smiled, despite the aura that Lord Pseudo was emitting. Lord Pseudo quickly opened the door and took hold of the box. He crushed its outer rim, as he brought it back inside his room.
“Thank you,” Lord Pseudo huffed, “Now go! You have work to do.”
“Brrr,” I shivered, “How can you still be smiling.”
“Because he looks like this,” Tarsa turned to look at me and made a grouch’s face, “No soup for you!”
I smacked him upside the head for the disrespectful comment.
“I’m sorry, but would you get on with your account about the incident.”
“I know,” George sighed, Sarah took his hand for support, “It’s just hard to remember what had happened…”
“Now why did he call everyone to the meeting?”
“That’s just it, he didn’t call for an announcement …”
Everyone had gathered in the main hall, Tarsa and myself included. With all due respect, the members of the family were to stand at the bottom of the stairs, while us, servants, stood against the walls. As you know, I was one of the lucky ones who stood near a window. Lord Pseudo stood at the top. He asked if everyone was there. He didn’t take the time to hear an answer. Lifting up the bell containing the family Yokai, he called Nidhogg right there before everyone’s eyes.
“Kill them all,” Lord Pseudo yelled.
Nidhogg was confused at first, that man couldn’t be Lord Pseudo. Then Lord Pseudo stamped his cane on the ground. Nidhogg stood up straight. Then Nidhogg leaped down to the middle of the room below. I wanted to do something, but I was frozen in place. Nidhogg used its most powerful attack in the middle of the room. Giant vines burst forth from the earth. Left and right the people that I grew up working with were… were…
“They were…,” George’s grip on Sarah’s hand got tighter.
“It’s okay…,” Officer Rocky assured George, “We know the rest.”
“I wanted to protect Serafina, but I wouldn’t have reached her in time,” George sighed, “She was like a little sister to me.”
“But there’s a problem that still needs to be answered,” Officer Rocky looked at George in the eyes, “Do you know what happened to the bodies?”
Let it be recorded that: Police had found only two bodies. That of Nidhogg curled up in the center of the forest that it had created and the body of Mr. Pseudo Fabulist lying halfway on his bed. His body had a foreign substance circulating in his system. The substance, unfortunately, dissolved before any real tests could be done and was never identified. The bodies of the family and the remaining servants remain unaccounted for. All are assumed dead.
“I don’t know,” George touched his forehead, “I was knocked out the window. I- I must have passed out.”
“I found him after that,” Sarah spoke up, “I was working in the gardens when it started happening. I heard people screaming. When I got there It was already too late. His leg was torn a-and, and…”
Sarah started crying. She couldn’t finish her sentence. It was now George’s turn to comfort his future wife.
“I’m sorry Officer,” George apologized, “Can we pick this up another time.”
Officer Rocky nodded as he led the rest of us out of the room.
And so ends the official report…
“I told you that you didn’t have to be here,” George caressed his fiancée’s hair, “I don’t like to see you cry.”
“Why,” Sarah cried, “Why did this have to happen to you?”
“It couldn’t be helped,” George reached for his missing leg. The doctors had to amputate it, the magic vines had just caused too much damage. George was lucky to have been passed out for days. Sarah didn’t leave his side the entire time.
“You didn’t have to… come after me.”
“People do strange things when they are in love,” tears started to form in George’s eyes.
“Then why did he do it,” she cried quietly, shoving her face on George’s chest, “I thought he loved us. Bonny. Why did Daddy…?”
“I don’t know Sera,” he held her closer, she gripped his nightshirt. She didn’t stop crying for hours after that.
George never could get back to Officer Rocky about the incident.