Dr. Fuddle And The Gold Baton


High on his cloud-shrouded tower upon a desolate mountaintop stood a royal-looking figure faintly lit by the crescent moon. But a king this was not. His menacing shadow paced, and his black cape billowed, affording an occasional glimpse of a bony wing amidst the folds of red satin lining. He peered out over the mountains and valleys, relishing the sight of darkness over the land.

A small musical sound caught his attention behind him, causing him to turn and step inside his chambers. He stopped at an antique table holding a large carillons á musique, his treasured nineteenth-century music box. But this was no ordinary music box. His bony fingers caressed the ebony roses gilding the mechanical instrument. When he lifted the ornate cover, the box played an eerie metallic tune. A smoke-like mist rose from its mirrored interior. He stared at the waves of sounds forming images before him until a moving picture came into focus:

A young blonde boy with blue eyes walked down a street lined with oak trees. The boy bounded up the steps into his New England Colonial home. The house was alight with music and happiness as the boy's mother played the piano and his young sister listened joyfully. Their reserved father sat in his favorite chair reading the newspaper.

"Isn't that sweet?" mocked the dark one. "But why are you being shown to me?" Two others stood in the shadows behind him viewing the images, not daring to say a word.

The waves of sound contracted. The picture changed. The colonial home had grown dark and the music had stopped. Upstairs in the master bedroom, the boy was sitting in a chair beside his mother’s bed, his head buried in the crook of his arm, and clasping her limp hand in his. In the doorway, the little sister clung to their father.

"Ah, so sad, so sad," said the cloaked one in a whisper, studying the boy with interest. "But again, why you?"

The boy turned as if he could hear the question from far, far away. Without warning, a blazing light radiated from the music box, sending the dark one reeling. He clutched his chest and struggled to close the lid and shut in the light. His voice turned ominous, "Now I see...I see... You are the one I must watch out for."

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