By Raji Singh

Our Founder, James Thaddeus “Blackjack” Fiction ‘Tell our stories, Raji. If you don’t, it will be as if we never lived.’ These whispering cries of joy and sorrow rise from the bookshelves and portraits in the Fiction House. I cannot refuse. (Artwork enhancements by: Joseph Rintoul)

Our Founder, James Thaddeus “Blackjack” Fiction
‘Tell our stories, Raji. If you don’t, it will be as if we never lived.’
These whispering cries of joy and sorrow rise from the bookshelves and portraits in the Fiction House.
I cannot refuse.
(Artwork enhancements by: Joseph Rintoul)

I am James Thaddeus Fiction, the Fifth – a true Fiction. Typhoon tears me from my mother and father on board a sinking ferry near the Lindian coast. I alone survive. I become an orphan foundling, taken in by new loving parents Dr. Ben and Indira Singh. Now I am Raji.

I owe my life to my dedicated pet.

*     *     *

Turt purges air pockets within his shell that keep him afloat. He submerges, swims to the ferry, and surfaces beside it. Typhoon escalates from teen rage to manhood’s force. Gale winds, screaming, tilt the ferry. Turt realizes he must trumpet warning to alert the two-legs.

Turt extends neck and blasts his trill. Steady chords, the consistent somber of a foghorn but with a carillon’s tone, resonate, beatific as Gabriel’s herald. It pulls passengers from Typhoon’s trance and helps them briefly forget their sudden fear, petty concerns, and animosities; enables them to look deeply at those they care. Turt is reassured. Humans truly aren’t the uncaring beasts many creatures believe.

Typhoon slaps the sea, thundering curses at Turt for purloining his audience. Smug, theatrically temperamental, Typhoon’s certain he will control the final act.

Only the Fictions know the meaning of Turt’s ominous trumpeting. Last they heard it – at the river nightmare before Turt fetched drowning James. Once again, they’re given moments, precious ones, to take son to bosoms; final moments to say, “I LOVE YOU!” Moments spent dreading, but spent together. James squirms, not understanding.

Pandemonium erupts around them. Deck chairs, Typhoon’s surrogate jaws and fangs, gobble up their occupants. Poles, hoisting multi-colored flags of the seven seas, do Typhoon’s bidding. They snap then swipe into ducking passengers.

Dr. Fiction helps his wife toss out microscope, stethoscope, and medicine from the trunk. They push their confused boy between documents and packing material so he’s egg carton firm. Butterflies burrow close to him.

From fear, from wildly racing heart, James drifts in and out of consciousness. He feels his mother’s kiss. Father’s hard, wet cheek touches his for an instant, but it seems like for a whole life. His breath brushes James’ ear. “I love you, Son.”

There’s a deafening thunder-bust. Son barely hears father, “Obey Turt”.

James closes his eyes and drifts into the calmness of imagination.

Dr. Fiction glares out to sea. He knows Turt watches, and, because of their lifelong friendship, he knows Turt can read his expression, ‘Deliver James, old friend.’

The ferry boat begins breaking apart. Dr. and Mrs. Fiction and other passengers are catapulted overboard. The trunk thunks into the sea. A thousand minus one will die on this dark day. Turt lunges, catching the rope attached to the trunk. ‘I’ll tow James to atop Typhoon’s 70 foot wave.’

Atop it is the safest place, Turt knows. He waits coolly, calmly. When the wave’s angle is gentlest, he bows neck, tucks fin-claws and belly-rides to the crest. Typhoon whips, spits, but cannot wrench away the lifeline to the towed trunk, nor dethrone Turt.

Turt ‘shell-rides’ the curl. Suave, debonair as he hangs ten, he deflects bodies, boards and banana boxes Typhoon spits-out to sink them. Typhoon’s rage is futile.

Turt doesn’t know how saturated the trunk is getting. Midst sea’s clamor, he can hear little boy rasps but no ‘baby’ whimpers. ‘Yes, this is a true Fiction,’ Turt beams.

He knows his canyon-peak precipice is unreachable. He feels he can almost stretch, and tear down Typhoon’s curtain of black clouds. He has outlasted, defeated Typhoon.


(Read more of Turt in the novel, Tales of Fiction House. Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. My novel is available at Amazon, (Kindle and Trade Paperback) and Barnes and Noble.)

©2013 Raji Singh

About Raji Singh

I am a writer, a foundling anchored by tale-telling and imagination. Read my history in Tales of the Fiction House, available at and Barnes & Noble (This is a portrait of my great-great grandfather. He's a handsome devil and I am his spitting image.)
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