Read an Excerpt
THE LEGEND OF THE SHEPHERD
By Ioannis Night
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2012 Ioannis Night
All right reserved.
Two boys are walking inside an underground parking and straight ahead, the pathway leading to the upper floor. The parking was full of cars, each one in their attributed emplacement.
This is a huge parking as it was for the four buildings above. This complex comprises four buildings and all connected by this underground parking.
Hanged on a support pillar, is the red fire extinguisher which was placed here in case of fire.
The two boys are heading to an open green gate.
The first boy is nineteen years old and his name is Tony. He has an average body type with a shaved head. He has brown skin and he used to walk chin up. This day, Tony was wearing summer clothes and his mood was really good.
The second boy, who accompanied Tony, is of the same age. His name is Panos but his friends called him with a nickname. A name he got few years ago by a certain someone. Because he used to have a hunch like back at the age of fourteen, this certain someone started calling him "hunch man" or just "Hunch". Hunch has a fairer skin than Tony who is more in concordance with the rest of the people. This fairer skin made him look like a stranger in this own country. He did not really like to look than different and was trying to fit better among others working on this physical appearance. He got somehow a slimmer body but, he had only achieved to make it look even weirder than before. He was not fat neither slim. He was something in between but with wrong proportions.
Hunch's head had also his head shaved, not only because he likes the haircut, but as he admires Tony, he was taking him as an example to follow.
"It is annoying my friend, Hunch. Why is Nick always late?"
"He he ... I don't know" he answered scattering his word as he was laughing.
"Stop laughing. You were also late! We were supposed to meet up at exactly nine o'clock." Tony stated with criticism.
"Yes, I am well aware of that but still, I am the first one to arrive even if it was not at nine o clock sharp!" he pointed his index finger as to make a point.
"First of the late ones ..." Tony interjected gritting his teeth nervously.
As mentioned before, this parking was for the use of the resident of four buildings. Each buildings has two accesses to the parking underneath, one as the main entrance, the second was used for emergency.
Tony lives in one of the four buildings but not Hunch.
The pair was heading to a main entrance, the one from Tony's building, when a loud noise suddenly happened out from nowhere.
Someone was running towards them.
Tony stopped just before the entrance. He nodded at Hunch to do the same. A boy came out running and he seemed like someone was chasing him.
"Run! Run! He is coming!" he started shouting to Tony and Hunch as he pursued his race.
"Can you stop fooling around Nick? We have to go." Tony said with an annoyed voice.
Nick was making lots of noises, running in circle around them, screaming and laughing hysterically. After what he paused and stroke back.
"But it is true! There is someone coming after me! He was behind me, I saw him! Someone with a hole on his head!". At the same moment from this same entrance, a tall bald boy appeared.
"Hahahaha! You meant Jim? Now I got it. A hole on his head ... funny." Hunch laughed.
Nick was built and shaped as a professional athlete. He was a soccer player with a promising future and he had the style. He also enjoys making fun on people, including strangers, friends and even family members.
Nick was seventeen years old and he was tawny. The baldy one, Jim, was twenty four years old. He was the tallest of the four, and he already started showing the effect of alopecia. Probably for this reason, he started to shave this year as to hide the condition. To him, he was too young to lose his hair this way.
Tony didn't join in. He found the joke stupid and respected Jim above all.
Even though Tony liked having fun, most of the times, he was keeping serious, making jokes only when the situation was appropriated. This time was not.
Tony reached a red van and he started unlocking the door in the driver side.
The second thing he did, was to unlock the passengers door from the inside as well as the back sliding door. He ordered everyone to put their luggage at the back and to step in.
"I have an objection Mr. president! This boy here doesn't have hair, maybe it is contagious! I don't want to seat in the same car as him!" Nick requested making fun at Jim.
"Do you want me to beat you up now or later?" showing him his fist. Although it was a bad joke, Jim didn't seem to mind that much. They were all friends after all so they knew each other's reactions and weaknesses.
Tony sat in the driver's seat and he inserted the key on the starter. The engine began to roar. They were ready to depart.
They have planned that trip months ago but it is not until five days earlier than they started realizing that this trip could be one of the best time on their lives. They got organized for the trip and finally the time had come to live an experience all together. As they were all in their teen age, to be away from parents, only between boys, planning to act as they like, sounded like an ideal plan, on the way to paradise.
But it was only five days prior to the big day that they realized the importance of this trip. It was not only an excellent opportunity to have fun but it was as well the right time.
Good timing as they were young, innocent and excited to experiment the life of freedom. They were between friends, knowing each other from childhood and heading to freedom the time of the trip.
* * *
Golden summer morning. The light appeared when Tony activated the mechanical gate to open. The beams of the sun made their first steps into the garage.
It has been a relentlessly hot day. Jim stood from the window of the car, shaking his head, marveling at this exceptional weather. The sun was bright and the sky was clear. It may only was the ending of June, but in Greece the weather from May to September is crystal clear like this one.
Before they ride on the road as they were going out of the garage, Tony captured a familiar face crossing the street. Mr. Dimitris, 51-years-old professor, full time teacher of philosophy. A man they all knew, apart from Hunch, but they were all scared of.
In fact, he was not the most pleasant person in the world.
They waited for him to cross the street and they were also hoping that he had not noticed them.
All things set up, they were ready to take the road to their planned destination.
Tony's village was their destination and they had planned to stay for three or four days. His village was two hours away from Athens, their point of departure.
"And the trip began with Tony on the wheels!" Jim poetically said.
"And you are bald and the sun reflects on it!" Nick also poetically said to Jim, making fun at him.
"If I pour the juice that you are drinking on you then you will stop laughing!" Jim seriously answered to Nick's stupid joke.
Hunch was eating different kind of pastry snacks, from a box he was holding. He was sharing them with the others enjoying the idea of having a trip all together. Despite the fact that Tony had forbidden Hunch to eat inside his car, he did otherwise.
"Hunch! Are you stupid? Didn't I tell you to do not eat inside my car? I don't want you to make a mess and spread crumbs in my cleaned car." He yelled at him.
"And on top of it, I don't want you to eat them all. Should I remind you that your father gave that snack box for all of us to share!"
"I know. Have one if you like." Handing him the box.
"How am I supposed to eat it? Are you blind? Don't you see that I'm driving?" still yelling at him.
It was already not a long drive and done between friends makes it pleasant and always better than being on your own.
They were enjoying rock music from cd's they have burned especially for the road trip.
Because there was a bit of traffic, they assumed that it will take them a bit longer to arrive than they have planned.
All around them, the scenery was truly exceptional.
On one side of the road there were green plains and on the other side, there were big mountains covered with colorful trees of all kind. Only few kilometers away from Athens and the landscape was already astonishing.
They had nothing to be worried about. Four teenagers going on summer vacations, all together, is something that makes you feel utterly free and responsibility free. It was a good feeling.
Not that having a road trip was something new to them. They have done something similar by the past but they was accompanied by their parents. Not that they did not enjoyed it at the time but this time all parameters were different.
It was their first time, this gang, to be all together, away from parental supervision and allowed to be alone in country house, just there to enjoy every moment to the most and have fun.
There were still a bit of traffic jam but it was getting better so they could speed up a bit. They did not have any appointment so they were not in hurry but they wanted to get there and start the fun. The reason was simple: they wanted to spend as much time together as possible and to do not lose any minutes of it.
A car overtook them and Jim made fun of him saying that he was going so fast that soon he will meet with the reaper on the side road. The reaper was a character out of a scary movie who acts and killed road trippers.
Hunch started to say to Jim.
"Do you know about the legend of the shepherd?" He said mystically to him.
"The legend of the shepherd? What is that?" Jim started to wonder with excitement.
"You don't know about it?"
"No, tell me."
On his side, Tony looked at Hunch's face with a tiny smile.
"Well, Ioannis told me a story that happened thirty five years ago and his father was present. His father told him that one day, while he was coming back to the village from one of the surrounding town, he saw something strange ..." Hunch wanted to say more but Tony cut him off.
"Hunch, man ..." Tony said trying to speak clearly as he was eating one of the pastries.
Jim had given him to choose from the snack which he did but as he was also driving he could not hold it with his hand so filled his mouth with it. After he finally achieved to swallow the last piece of it, he used the back of his hand to wipe his mouth from any remaining crumbs around his mouth. Then he continued.
"Hunch, man, if you want to say a story you have to be more specific and give all the details." Tony was encouraging him to continue the story but giving some hints about how to make it more captivating.
"Ok ..." Hunch replied and turned red as to apologize.
"So I will take it from now!" Tony decided to take over the story narrative from Hunch.
Tony and Ioannis are brothers and the story is about an event that happened to their father years ago. A story their father told them once when they were younger.
"Well my father once told me that when he was still living in the village, he was attending classes at a school outside. The village was small with only few stores and a church so he had to travel everyday by train to study in the near bigger city. Sometimes it happened that he took the night train because he had to stay longer there for unpredictable reasons.
That day, he took the night train and arrived to his village after midnight. Also in this small village, past midnight, lights are switched off leaving the road in the dark.
It is also worth to mention that back then the roads were not all equipped with lights anyway.
So, it was completely dark outside, my father could barely see where he was stepping. The wind was howling in a weird way. It sounded like the whistle of thousands ghosts flying around. The trees were bent by the strength of the wind which also made it hard for my father to walk against it.
Struggling to hold his coat closed against him, he felt like every step he was making was getting harder. Although the adverse circumstances, he had no choice, he was on his way home and there were no other way to make it.
The train station was on top of the mountain. Do you remember it? We have been there before. This old station, which is now abandoned, was working, on a daily basis forty years ago. It was the only connection between the village and the town. As the station was located on the mountain, my father as soon as he got off of the train, had to walk by foot to finish his journey and get home. It was a long walk, a walk he was doing every day and lasted about 20 minutes."
All in the car were listening to the story and impatient to know what happened next in the story. The story got the audience and they nodded when Tony mentioned the distance his father had to walk every day.
"Take it from now on Hunch. I show you the right way to tell a story." Tony gratifyingly gave him the right to continue.
Hunch was excited; he could finally be the narrator again.
"OK, so luckily for him, even with not much light to show him the way, the Moon was big and bright that night. As he made it down off the mountain, at some point even the wind stopped blowing but it got replace by a thick fog. It was not hard to walk anymore but with the fog, the vision got impaired and gives him this time a hard time to see. He could barely see.
Nevertheless, he did not really mind and knew that he will eventually make it to his house. Thus he was used to live under this weather. Those conditions were not really unusual to the region and in this period of the year. While he was walking, he suddenly saw someone coming out of the fog and quickly fainted away.
At first he thought that it was nothing and that it was just from his imagination.
But a blur image in the fog took shape.
In the middle of the night, nobody was out, not even the shepherds whose were numerous in the area. So he did not pay attention to it and kept walking. He was struggling to make his way home and all that mattered at that time what to be done with all that as fast as possible.
Out of the fog, a person appeared. It was a shepherd but he got no sheep with him. Not only that, this shepherd was wearing an old brown rotten hood on top of.... Nothing!!
He did not have head!!" said Hunch with enthusiasm as the story turns more interesting.
"I don't get it." said Jim.
"Ioannis, and of course Tony's father as well, is a serious person. So I don't think that he could tell you a story of that kind. Your story is preposterous, it does not make sense. There are lots of inaccuracies as well!" He protested.
"First of all, I said that Ioannis told me the story and His father confessed it to him. Right, Tony? Your father have told you the story as well, haven't he?" looking in the direction of Tony.
"Yes ... That's right." He dully answered.
"However, what do you mean by there are lots of inaccuracies?" Hunch asked Jim, impatient to know the answer.
"First of all, how do you know that he was a shepherd since he was not accompanied by sheep? I am sorry but that made me doubt. And secondly, he was beheaded? How was he wearing a hood then? You don't need to be a genius to figure that out. And anyway, what had happened after? Is that the whole story?" Jim started to lose his interest.
"No! I don't know all the details. I am just reporting you what their father had witnessed that night. I am sorry that I didn't finish my story. So, it got weirder as the shepherd disappeared as fast as he appeared. That is when their father froze in fear in front of that phenomenon. Standing still in stupefaction, the shepherd faded his way to the fog." Hunch said, completing the story for good this time.
"And you are expecting me now to believe that this is a true story?"
"I don't know. Their father would not make up a story just to scare me. He is a serious person with no interest on that kind of jokes" he blurted out. Jim didn't continue the pointless conversation. Even though he looked scared for a second, he didn't say anything more.
'Why do you say that their father did not want to scare you? Wasn't it Ioannis that told you the story? Will you decide and make up your mind?" Nick said, made a remarkable point.
"I have heard some parts of the story from the father himself but because he didn't really want to admit what had happened to him that night he did not go deeper in the narrative. So I asked Ioannis to tell me about that encounter and what exactly happened. Tony knows it all as well." Pointing at Tony, Hunch started protecting himself passing the attention on Tony.
* * *
They were going a lot faster now. The traffic jam was not surprisingly only in the suburb of Athens, now it was all cleared up and they were getting closer to the village. They were passing by a small town located near the village.
In this small town lived Tony's Auntie so they all decided to have a stopover to visit her and her son.
Tony had to slow down once more but this time it was because of some traffic works going on. The road had narrowed quite a lot, creating an alternated circulation. They were refreshing the road.
Excerpted from THE LEGEND OF THE SHEPHERD by Ioannis Night Copyright © 2012 by Ioannis Night. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.