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The Bleak Tale of Jones

By Tyler Woodward All Rights Reserved ©

Humor / Fantasy

Chapter 1

In a little boat, on a little sea, in a little story, there was a little boy. This boy was only at the age of twelve, and already he was on his own in a big wide world. He took out his telescope and put his eye up to it, looking out into the open ocean and having the biggest adventure of his life. Sadly, however, this adventure of his was destined to be cut short, for in the next few sentences, this boy's life will end. As the boy, whom we will not name, was looking through that tiny telescope, a shark was looking through her tiny eye, at the boy, to be exact. The shark, whom we will name, is named Francine.

Francine was a starved little sharkling; she hadn't eaten for days, and finally she saw above the ocean the greatest meal of all: an unnamed and unremarkable twelve-year-old boy looking for adventure in a big, wide world. Francine's stomach growled as she drew closer to the boy; he was completely intoxicated by the beauty of the ocean around him. In an instant, Francine swam up and devoured this poor boy. She also devoured half of the boat, his clothes, more than likely some water as well, and maybe a few extra fish here and there. As said previously, the poor boy's life ended then and there. This act had nothing to do with our hero, Jones, and in no way effects him or the world around him, so let us proceed to the true story of a boy named Jones.

In a fairly large boat, on a fairly large sea, in a fairly large story, there was a fairly large boy. This boy was only thirteen and was actually deemed worthy of a name, and that name is Jones. Yes, he only has one name, and yes, it sounds more like a last name, but that is indeed the boy's name. When he was born, his parents forgot to fill out the first name section of his birth certificate, making him simply "Jones."

Jones was never the most popular person; in fact, he's dead last when it comes to popularity. Perhaps it was because at his age, he was already 5'10” and towered over his fellow 8th graders. Perhaps it was because his curly, red hair could give even a clown a run for his money, and freckles accompanied his ghostly pale skin across his face and arms. Perhaps it was because he rarely washed his overused and much-too-tight white and blue striped tee or his beige cargo pants. Perhaps it was because his brown shoes looked even older than himself, because they were. Perhaps it was because he spent all his time inside and was a quiet and shy young boy. Or perhaps he wasn't popular because his mother was the worst taxidermist in history and his father was suing the church for not allowing him to become a nun.

I wish I could say I was exaggerating or lying to you about our poor young Jones and his parents, but I cannot. Jones's mother, Ellen Jones, literally was the worst taxidermist in history. She once tried to merge together an octopus – which was still living – with the skeletal remains of a marmoset. The result was disastrous, as Jones nearly lost an arm in that battle, and the police were called in to deal with the octopus. Suffice to say, once they were done, she finally finished her work on the truly dead octopus. Sadly, the result was even worse than when the octopus had been alive.

After that incident, Jones had no hope of ever having friends again. I'd like to say he had friends before, but he had only two. Josephine had lived nearby, so they became friends; she was as beautiful as the sun is sunny, but she moved away years ago, leaving Jones with his other friend: Morgana, the devilishly delightful dame; but sadly, she was also very much imaginary.

Jones was on this fairly large boat in an attempt to make some new friends. Earlier in the day whilst he was at school, two of his classmates approached him and had a dare for him. Scare Old Man Jenkins, and they'd be friends for life. Jones wasn't in a position where he could very well say “no;” even his parents refused to add him as Facebook friends. He replied with an excited “yes,” without even thinking about it.

Now, Old Man Jenkins is a pretty scary guy. Everyone in town had heard the stories about how he was a marine back in the day and killed people with his bare hands. How he went mentally insane after his wife left him for another man. Even how he kicked an adorable little puppy that was in his way.

In reality, however, Old Man Jenkins was just an old man who had stolen a marine's dog-tags, he left his wife for a person of the same sex, and… well… he did kick a puppy that was in his way, so you (and the rest of the town) are fully justified in hating him.

Jones's plan, which he aptly named "Scary Plan Alpha! In beta testing." consisted of him jumping out as soon as Old Man Jenkins got on the boat, scaring the man, then running away at top speed, with his worst case scenario being to dive into the water and swim away. Not the most ingenious or detailed plan, but what can you expect from young Jones? Not much; in fact, expect nothing.

Jones waited in his cramped and dark hiding spot on the boat for hours, his need of friends far outweighing the discomfort he was feeling in his body and the unease he felt as something trickled down his leg. If only Jones had remembered there was an ocean surrounding the boat, he could have relieved himself in a less pathetic and pitiful manner.

Suddenly, Old Man Jenkins arrived at the dock and promptly boarded his boat. Jones saw a small knife on the man's belt, likely used for gutting whatever fish he might catch, but Jones couldn't help but grow scared. If he had had anything left in his bladder, by now it'd be gone. Also, if he had any intelligence, he'd realize the knife was dull, rusty, and a butter knife. Why Old Man Jenkins had a butter knife in his belt for gutting fish was beyond me; maybe he was hoping to find a piece of bread floating along the ocean accompanied by a stick of butter. Always be prepared, right? Right.

Jones's fear overcame him, and instead of scaring the man, he stayed hidden whilst Mr. Jenkins started going out to a fairly large sea. As the boat sailed farther and farther from the shoreline, Jones finally remembered one of the many fatal flaws in his plan: he could not swim. Not a very bright kid, is he? He sat there, cradling his knees into his chest, waiting, and waiting, and waiting… did I mention the waiting? Well, he waited much too long and fell asleep whilst the boat drifted farther and farther out to sea, and with it, Old Man Jenkins's spirit drifted father and farther into the sky. He died. So there's the wonderfully brilliant and talented Jones, sitting on a boat, sleeping, drooling, and pee-stained, with a dead man just ten feet away. You can imagine that this story does not end well, right? Well, you are right! Unless you weren't thinking that, of course.

Jones awoke to a large slam and an even larger crash, however a slightly less large wham as he whammed his head onto the port-side railing of the boat.

Jones winced in pain, then screamed in pain, then chuckled in pain. He'd always heard laughter was the best medicine, but in this case it seemed not to work at all. He took a moment to collect his thoughts as he surveyed the area around him. Black. Lots and lots of black. He felt around and, after touching Old Man Jenkins's corpse numerous times, he found a flashlight. He turned it on, nearly blinding himself in the process as he thought to himself, "and then there was light." He looked down, away from the flashlight, and the first thing he saw was Old Man Jenkins's corpse, which he was sitting on this very moment. The second thing he saw was the ocean, as he proceeded to be sick over the side of the boat.

After steadying himself and gaining his bearing, Jones finally noticed that the boat was no longer moving; instead it had broken in half on a massive grouping of rocks. Once again, not a very good scenario for Jones. He looked around, trying to find some way out of this horrible and dreadful scenario. Deadly rocks, deadly sea, dead guy, but oh! Some gum! Jones quickly grabbed the gum and plopped it in his mouth, savoring the stale sweetness and trying to relieve his nerves. That certainly made his situation better.

A flash came from the distance, distracting Jones. He peered out to sea and shined his flashlight, squinting to see what it was. He could make out some sort of circular object, but not much more than that. Jones decided the best course of action would be to investigate; he just needed a way over to it.

Carefully, Jones searched the boat for anything that may be useful; he certainly wouldn't find a second, intact boat in the wreckage to help him, but maybe, just maybe, he could make something to help him swim the distance. A long thick rope, a torn cloth which looked to have been part of the sail, splintered and broken planks of wood all about, two batteries, and a partridge in a pear tree. The bird squawked.

"Shut up, bird! I don't need your help; I know exactly what to do!" Jones yelled at the bird, as though either of them could actually understand each other. Jones used all of his intelligence, all of his wit. He grabbed all of the various items from the wreckage, throwing them together from left to right, toiling away, his brilliance shining. Sweat dripped from his brow whilst he made the one item that would be his salvation.

Jones's final result ended up being an unexplainable mess of an object which had absolutely no function nor purpose other than to sink at the bottom of the ocean, which it promptly did when Jones dropped it in. The bird squawked its last squawk as it sank, and Jones grew more desperate. Truth be told, I have no idea what Jones could have possibly been thinking when he made that object or how it may have helped him, but Jones's look of disappointment and desperation certainly made it seem like he had some sort of plan with it.

To make matters worse, a storm quickly blew in; the moon and stars became overshadowed by clouds, and rain began pouring almost immediately. The roar of the waves started getting louder, and Jones's feet were getting wetter as the boat sank. Thunder struck nearby; nervousness filled the boy. This was it; he accepted that this was his time...

Being a religious boy, Jones turned to his last hope – prayer. Sadly, he forgot which religion he subscribed to and instead began to pray to his favorite superhero "Titanus." It seemed his prayer was answered as the sound of the waves was quickly drowned out by a sweet and soothing sound. This voice was so beautiful that it cannot even be described in words, so instead I'll use gibberish, and you can pretend to understand. Lala skittle-flipper strumpet. The voice surrounded Jones and became his world, as everything around him seemed to disappear. He was drawn in, almost hypnotized by this beautiful song.

He looked towards where the singing was coming from and shined his flashlight outwards, to a dark figure sitting atop a rock. A beautiful girl with long, brown hair was singing that equally beautiful song. These were words of power and grace, something no one on this earth had ever heard before. The song soothed both the boy and the waves around. The sea began to calm, and peace formed around him.

The girl continued to sing, and Jones began to walk towards her. He was completely entranced, nothing in sight but the beauty. Her eyes were as the ocean was now, calm and blue. Her smile was more radiant than… something really nice and white. She was the epitome of perfection.

Though Jones was approaching the edge of what was left of the boat, he did not stop. He couldn't stop even if he'd wanted to. He continued walking off the edge and into the water. Yes, that is correct, he is secretly magical and can walk on water. Well, that, or he is walking in water up to his torso because the water was only four feet high – a fact Jones missed during his "careful surveying."

The girl on the rock watched the boy in the ocean as he got closer. She did not move, she did not blink, she only continued to sing. The boy got closer to the girl and extended his hand. Just then, a wave came crashing over, knocking the girl off the rock and into the ocean behind her. She really should have been looking at the water rather than Jones. Completely soaked, the girl started yelling obscenities at the ocean as she lifted herself out of the water and made her way towards the shore of what appeared to be an island, the same direction that the reflection was coming from earlier.

Jones, being broken of the spell, quickly realized he was waist high in water and believed himself to be swimming. Joy filled his stomach immediately, and he smiled from ear to ear. Not long after, he began to dance a horribly embarrassing jig, which lasted only moments as his stamina was quickly depleted. It was then that he looked up and saw the small, circular, metallic disk which was reflecting the light. It sat on a small, stone pedestal and almost appeared to glow from the way the moonlight hit it. It caught his attention only for a moment, as the girl's beauty far surpassed that of the disk. He walked onto the shore and sat next to her. Being incredibly shy, Jones sitting "next to" a girl actually means he sat about 25 feet away from her and wouldn't dare to even make eye contact.

"Hey," the girl said in Jones's general direction. Of course, Jones knew this could not be directed at him, because he is not nearly interesting enough for the girl to be talking to him. Yet when Jones looked around, he realized there was no one else there. He lifted his eyes up and looked towards the girl; she was even more beautiful than he'd originally thought. Water dripped from her hair and onto her hand, from there down to the sand beneath her feet. Jones inched a bit closer; however, he did not dare respond.

"Heeey," she said again with a curious look. Once again, Jones inched a bit closer, but still could not bring himself to respond.

After several minutes of "hey"s and Jones inching closer, they finally reached a reasonable distance of five feet, and Jones finally said his first word to the girl. "H-" He only got out the one small letter before another wave came crashing into the pair, shattering his self-confidence and filling his mouth with the delightfully salty taste of the sea, which instead of spitting it out, he decided to drink.

The girl stood up and squeezed her clothes and hair dry as she walked backwards and sat down, not wanting to get wet a third time. Jones realized this was likely a good idea and followed her.

"My name is Henrietta. Henrietta Olivia Winstromp, to be exact. How are you?" Motionless, nervous, and with the aftertaste of seawater, Jones mumbled to himself. He then mumbled towards the girl. After mumbling to himself, Henrietta, a couple of trees, three specific grains of sand which he respectfully named Moe, Curly, and Bubba Lee Curtis, his long lost imaginary friend Morgana, and then himself again, Jones finally worked up the nerve to respond to the girl once more.

Jones darted his gaze left, making sure there was nothing that would interrupt him this time. He then focused his attention forward at the calm, blue ocean; no waves for now. His eyes switched to the right, where Henrietta sat, and he began his awkward greeting once more.

"H-" He stumbled as he watched the waves and his surroundings closely. "Hello there, Miss Henrietta, everyone calls me Jones… so… you can, too, if you want." Jones made eye contact with the beautiful stranger only for a moment, before quickly looking back down and drawing in the sand with his finger.

Henrietta looked at Jones – more like stared at Jones – which made him even more uncomfortable. Did I say something to offend her? Does she already see how worthless I am and hate me? Oo this gum is tasty!" All of these things were running through his head while an awkward silence took place. Jones attempted to blow a bubble, hoping to ease the tension between the two. His plan worked, although it quickly popped all over his face and got stuck in his red, tangled hair.

"Well, Jones, you can call me 'How,' and I must say, you've got some really pretty eyes," she said as she smiled at Jones. Jones blushed and looked towards the girl, but couldn't bring himself to meet her eyes. Another awkward silence took place.

Jones, for the first time in his life, was complimented. He had been complimented before; however, they were all backhanded. For instance, the time he was complimented by his former classmates for being the biggest teacher's pet they'd ever seen. They certainly didn't mean it as a compliment, but he took it as one, nonetheless. Or the time he had been applauded by said teacher for his astounding ability to bore everyone to sleep, including her. He had even been complimented for being the world's worst son; his parents had a custom trophy made for him as a gift. He polished it daily, with great pride. Really, though, the compliment he had just received was the only one that wasn't also meant to insult him at the same time, so we're counting that as a first.

"So um… How… where am I?" Jones finally broke the silence after what felt like a lifetime to him, though in reality it was only about two and a half minutes.

"Oh, yes, I completely forgot! Welcome to your new home! It's known as Char," How stated loudly with excitement in her voice. People dressed in strange clothes suddenly began walking out of the woods behind them, surrounding the beached area and the two children. Jones became frightened by their sudden appearance and immediately started his first defense.

Defense One - Dig.

Jones began digging with his hands right where he sat. The group of odd looking people did not stop or even slow; digging isn't a very useful defense, after all. They did, however, give each other strange looks and wonder why this new arrival was digging in the sand so frantically.

Jones realized that his first defense seemed to have no effect. If anything, it had the opposite effect, as the strangers got closer and closer to the boy. Jones jumped to his feet with eyes of confidence, he was sure that his second defense would work, no doubt.

Defense Two - Fake Death.

Jones stunned the group briefly with his sudden movement. Perhaps Jones's plan would work! No, not really, that's why it's called the "Bleak Tale of Jones," not the "Oh Goodie Jones Will be Happy and Lucky Tale."

Jones started what he called "acting" by grabbing at his chest and stumbling about as though he had just gotten shot. He then fell to the ground in an overly dramatic way, making overly dramatic sounds.

Jones is not, was not, and will never be a great actor, or a good actor, or even an okay actor. Jones is a bad actor. If a bear were ever to attack Jones, and he pretended to be dead, he would be eaten. If Jones were ever to be compared to an actor, it would be himself, because only he is as bad as himself. If Jones's life were ever in danger from a group of strangers surrounding him at an extremely slow speed after he was shipwrecked on a beach, and his first defense had failed him, then he would be killed. Luckily for him, however, that was not the case. Jones's life was NOT in danger from a group of strangers surrounding him at an extremely slow speed after he was shipwrecked on a beach. Instead, his life was in danger from a thirty-foot-high wave coming at the island at tremendous speed to sweep him back to sea.

Jones heard the wave and turned around; his eyes grew wide with fear, and he began digging again immediately. Perhaps both defenses combined could save his life. They couldn't, but don't tell him that. You'll hurt his feelings, and we wouldn't want poor Jones to be hurt now, would we?

How, too, realized the wave just as Jones did. How was not nearly as daft as Jones, and instead took action. "Hurry, everyone, grab him, and get us back now!" She yelled to the people. At the sound of her voice, the group ran to Jones and grabbed the dead-yet-still-somehow-digging boy. How ran towards the metallic disk which had been reflecting Jones's light earlier and grabbed it. The earth beneath them began to tremble as soon as she took it from the pedestal. Not long after, she vanished, taking all the people, including Jones, to somewhere far, far away. Not too far, though, but still pretty far. To be more precise, it was a few hundred million miles, three black holes, eleven dimensions, and four universes away. Too far would have been at five universes. Nobody wants to go where the Quazoids rule, though, as that is a tale for another time. Well, not really; you'll never hear that tale.

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