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Writer wftl
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
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PAPER: Full story
By wftl
Oct 13, 2017
12 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!h92BkuRFz8ofhLqmRwiyposted on PENANA

Fascinated, Daniel followed his grandmother's old fingers while they deftly wove magic in their mathematical dance. Wrinkled folds of skin draped almost casually over their old bones, moved in ways that mocked his own taut fabric of youth. Every motion was elegant choreography, each fold an artful rendition of an exact science. Two days of insistence had finally convinced her to share her secrets. This was the initiation. Her price was his rapt attention.copyright protection13PENANArEhDbIyU1W

Displays of her handiwork were everywhere. A veritable menagerie including birds, fish, flowers, and sometimes entire scenes spread throughout the house. One shelf displayed a barnyard diorama complete with pigs, horses, chickens, and a farmer watching over them all. On another shelf, she had gathered an entire orchestra. Before the assembled musicians, the black-clad conductor stood on a podium, his baton held high. Other objects were strictly decorative in nature, strange boxes and shapes of various colours. She, herself, wore a pair of earrings from which dangled two identical deep-purple birds.copyright protection13PENANAJj5LUpgL5Q

This week of forced confinement with his grandmother was turning out to be interesting after all. Daniel could almost forgive his parents for abandoning him here while they took a holiday without him.copyright protection13PENANAUt5cfwy63Q

The paper opened briefly and collapsed again under her fingers as she worked the crease into a point that had not existed before.copyright protection13PENANAFuuW8GFGAH

"That's called a petal fold," she said. "This point could just as easily be one of the bird's wings as its head and tail. In a somewhat more complex model, it could become the head and tail of a dinosaur."copyright protection13PENANACj0I5U8lGd

A smile of wonder crossed Daniel's lips as a breathy "Yeah?!" escaped. The lumbering crash of a great beast sounded in his mind, the mental camera panning up and up to catch the terrible gaze of the prehistoric monster. Heart-pounding music rolled in the background as the ear-splitting roar tore into the score.copyright protection13PENANAbBHhNXNl3Q

"Will you do the dinosaur, Grandma?"copyright protection13PENANAcJlHGtolaZ

"That's a little bit harder than what we are working on here. You have to walk before you can run," she said.copyright protection13PENANA3Nj3woYEKE

The smile turned to a frown. "Aw, c'mon, Lorraine!"copyright protection13PENANASVfAd3x0oB

Lorraine put the model down and pierced Daniel's eyes with her own. "What did you call me?"copyright protection13PENANARBkci0GHmR

The old woman held a great deal of power in those eyes. Daniel shrank beneath the steady gaze.copyright protection13PENANAGpEZtanrP7

"That's what Dad calls you," he explained.copyright protection13PENANA5H3lhgoOhN

"You father is thirty years older than you are. When you get to be forty, then you can call me Lorraine, but right this minute, I am Grandma to you. Understand?"copyright protection13PENANAp9oKlHL2o7

Daniel nodded soundlessly.copyright protection13PENANAT4xx41Irsy

"Now, where were we?" She carefully picked up the paper model.copyright protection13PENANAzyfDTxUimc

"We were going to build a dinosaur," Daniel attempted.copyright protection13PENANA6LluwHchJB

Lorraine gave a small laugh. "Nice try, but first things first. This particular fold will become the classic Japanese crane."copyright protection13PENANApDGWbKYTcq

"But a bird is so boring. A dinosaur at least looks like it could do something."copyright protection13PENANArMYHpSekbA

"Birds look like they can fly. That's something. Let's finish this and then you can tell me if it was boring. Until then, observe."copyright protection13PENANAwhmSMSzYaj

She finished one side, turned the model over and stopped halfway through what she called a kite-fold. She looked at him and smiled. "You try it."copyright protection13PENANAAzWgw71u1d

The youth shook his head, an uncertain smile crossing his lips. "No, I couldn't do it like you do."copyright protection13PENANAUtZTapMpJX

She took his hands and directed them to the paper before her. "Yes, you can. Just follow the pictures in the book," she said tapping the open volume on the table before her. The book was at least three inches thick and contained thousands of step-by-step diagrams to hundreds of papyrus creations.copyright protection13PENANA0gfn81gI0q

Daniel ran his fingers over the paper. The multi-coloured sheet had a cloth-like texture. He smiled and looked up.copyright protection13PENANA1AZYRv5SZ7

"A friend who taught me like I am teaching you now sent them to me." She tapped the package and a faraway look entered her eyes. "These are special papers. Very special."copyright protection13PENANA6UA5NLvAaf

"What makes them so special?"copyright protection13PENANAxbvMyEOOmO

She reached out to touch his chest with her index finger. "Whatever is in your heart. That is why your heart must be filled only with good thoughts and beautiful things. Honi soi qui mal y pense." The finger moved to his head. "Remember that."copyright protection13PENANAeopemgJs9I

Daniel looked questions at her. "Remember what?"copyright protection13PENANAzfCakqVQ06

"Evil be to him who evil thinks. King Edward III of England said that a long time ago when he felt a lady in his court was being insulted."copyright protection13PENANA5yhBlQg9FC

With a shrug of his shoulders, Daniel let the quiet wisdom slip away. He played with the paper, looking back and forth between it and the pictures in the book, then with a sigh, pushed it away.copyright protection13PENANAYU1n8oERQN

"You better do it, Grandma. I'll try one after you finish this one."copyright protection13PENANAAq2dAnEveF

With a disappointed shake of her head, Lorraine quickly finished the last folds. The head and tail came down, followed by the wings, then a squash fold of the centre point to hold the wings in place. "There." She held the bird up to the boy's glowing eyes and turned it over in her hands.copyright protection13PENANACjdTVzKbJp

"Wow!" The word came out nearly a whisper.copyright protection13PENANAOHkQ5seKk5

Lorraine smiled. "See how easy it is? Like magic."copyright protection13PENANAxVvA86YMCc

In a blur of sight and sound, the paper bird in her hands was transformed into a brightly coloured beating of real wings that quickly took to the air. The avian guest grew larger and larger as it rose to the cathedral ceiling whereupon it disappeared as though it had simply passed through an open window.copyright protection13PENANAsewF8rfTDY

"Grandma!" the boy shouted. "How did you do that?"copyright protection13PENANAirGDhM5wwq

She laid the book down in front of him and passed him a package of square papers of various flat colours. "Everything you need to know is there. Just follow the steps--" She waved a hand over the line drawings. "--and you'll make your own bird just like I did?"copyright protection13PENANAB4l6FtdDgP

"Will it fly like yours did?"copyright protection13PENANAQI4mocOD5r

She gave him a quizzical look. "Fly? Humph. Only in your imagination." She paused. "Which is more than enough." She rose to her feet and started to turn away. "I've got things to do now. Practice that one just like I showed you, then we'll work on something more complicated."copyright protection13PENANACoTi1b47HA

"But you saw it fly away!" he protested.copyright protection13PENANAxiFSpkmCYC

She smiled, amused. "Nonsense. I'll check on your work later."copyright protection13PENANAsOlwbJI0nO

She turned and headed up the stairs, taking her cloth-paper sheets with her.copyright protection13PENANAsZclhexmle

# # #copyright protection13PENANAXTxCLWX7zW

Daniel's first attempts were disastrous. The results of his efforts resembled badly folded road maps and not graceful birds, but he was determined to achieve the magic he had witnessed with his own eyes. After two and a half hours of folding and throwing away failed experiments, he managed a respectable imitation of his grandmother's crane.copyright protection13PENANAK1L5xWPgXd

With a toss, the bird was airborne only to tumble ignominiously back to earth, never having beat a single wing; not even in Daniel's imagination. He picked up his bright pink creation and repeated the failed experiment with equally negative results. Applying a little scrutiny, he decided that the model was really fairly shabby, and tried his hand at perfecting the fold.copyright protection13PENANA4pchLuwiQS

There were seven birds on the table when he finished his prize. The black bird was a masterpiece of sharp lines and rapt attention to detail. Proudly holding up the model, he tossed it into the air, and watched it tumble to the ground.copyright protection13PENANAxOL4rw0oEA

A scowl of grim determination distorted his face as he tried desperately to figure out what the difference was between his creation and his grandmother's. He had followed the instructions step by step and his black beauty was perfect in every detail.copyright protection13PENANAkoB5u92kq0

The rainbow aviary remained on the table as he got up to fetch his grandmother. It was time to ask her. Besides, she had to be proud of what he had achieved.copyright protection13PENANAxvpKNbfju6

She was in her back yard garden, planting some purple flowers when he spied her through the double glass doors. He put his hand on the door to open it when his memory filled in the missing piece. Quietly, surreptitiously, he stepped back from the door and ran upstairs.copyright protection13PENANAb1UW5lt6J8

# # #copyright protection13PENANAG4wia1sdmS

The tension was almost more than he could bear. The package of cloth-paper was not sitting out in full view as he had hoped. He had needed to search through all but two of her dresser drawers before locating it under a liner that smelled of roses.copyright protection13PENANAdUnCEaOTti

His heart was racing by the time he had completed the bird base. "From here," he recited silently, "you can make a bird or a..."copyright protection13PENANAZFjUCpf5vZ

Like waking from a dream, his hurried panic faded. He picked up the book and searched the pages for the object of his new purpose. There were several dinosaurs, but he passed over the first few with detached interest. He turned one last page. Finally, standing on its hind legs with two little arms up front, was a real dinosaur. The name was unpronounceable to him and he would have preferred a T-Rex, but this looked enough like one. The others reminded him more of lizards than the terrible beasts of his imagination. Real dinosaurs were fierce, frightening creatures that tore through flesh with razor-sharp teeth. The others were just vegetarians.copyright protection13PENANAdc3KveMXr8

"Begin with a bird base," the instructions read. He had a bird base. He was ready.copyright protection13PENANAPE2dhHo5BS

Each fold that followed was increasingly difficult, but with a perseverance born of a real goal, he pushed on, doing and re-doing folds as needed. This project was important and substantially more interesting than a stupid bird.copyright protection13PENANAnBxGv95KfB

When he sat the finished figure proudly before him, it took only the sound of the table cracking under the rapidly increasing weight to make him understand that he had made a terrible mistake.copyright protection13PENANAJtONej10gs

# # #copyright protection13PENANA967ckoUItv

By the time the creature stood at what Daniel could only hope was its final height, Daniel was running for the stairs up toward the bedrooms. Nearly ten feet tall and full of primal fury, this dinosaur was everything he had hoped for. Now he hoped pessimistically that his creation wasn't hungry.copyright protection13PENANAAQ68xChDmx

A snarl was followed by a short growl as the beast sensed his presence. The tail swung about and collapsed what remained of the table sending the chairs sailing across the room.copyright protection13PENANAf603TemVfD

From the stairs, Daniel caught sight of his grandmother running back toward the house. The crash of chairs and table had not gone unheard. Behind him, the beast was already making for the stairs and, an instant later, Daniel felt his leg being jerked back. His pant leg was pierced by one of the lethal teeth. The monster bashed his leg repeatedly against the stairs as it shook its head furiously in an effort to get the uncomfortable and annoying material out of its teeth. Daniel screamed in pain. A tearing sound signalled his release just as his grandmother entered the room.copyright protection13PENANAooKvB4TvNn

"What in the world is going on here?" she asked surveying the damage. Then, her answer turned on her with a growl. "My God, Daniel! What have you done?"copyright protection13PENANA0ne7vLJNp6

Forgetting the boy on the stairs, the dinosaur spun its leathery head with lightning speed to face her.copyright protection13PENANAlEclH6A41P

Lorraine stepped back slowly, calculating her odds of making a run for the back door.copyright protection13PENANAHqerVPwPkj

Daniel suddenly felt the full weight of his actions. "She's going to be eaten," he thought. "And it's my fault." He took off his shoe and threw it at the beast's head. The creature stopped suddenly, momentarily confused at the new disturbance, then lookedcopyright protection13PENANAclHqtdcc1B

straight up at the ceiling to find the source.copyright protection13PENANAimfvIXBj1D

"No!" Lorraine shouted.copyright protection13PENANA8J3nbYcHOx

The other shoe followed the first and this time the animal swung around fully, its tail catching the old woman and sending her crashing among the debris of her dining room furniture. She lay there motionless while the monster set its attention back on the boy. Instead of running, Daniel stood there and looked at his fallen grandmother.copyright protection13PENANA10TJrmXDzY

The creature moved slowly. The prey wasn't running anywhere. Size and strength were evidently on its side, but it was suddenly wary. Daniel sat, waiting for the end. Perhaps his grandmother would forgive him when she saw him again. A moment of panic washed over him then. Surely, he would wind up in a very different place from her.copyright protection13PENANAfSlvn4sYnt

Something stirred from within the debris.copyright protection13PENANACwcFTnE65s

"Daniel." The boy turned, startled.copyright protection13PENANAE7txQUUNxt

Confused, the beast also turned toward the sound.copyright protection13PENANAMNl7iIbKHy

Lorraine started fumbling for her earrings, taking each one off in turn. She carefully tore the hooks from the backs of the twin birds and threw both into the air. Upon leaving her hand, the birds breathed life, and took on an olive-brown colour. By the time they reached their evolutionary ancestor, screaming and tearing at the animal's eyes and face, they had grown nearly a foot in length.copyright protection13PENANAek5r0YPE5U

A great roar shook the hou se as the deadly carnivore tried to shake his attackers. Lorraine rose painfully to her feet and carefully approached the screaming, thrashing beast. Her hands weaved mysteriously over the animal's skin, and seconds later, she was holding a relatively harmless-looking model of a prehistoric raptor. Her avian helpers, a pair of mourning doves, alighted on the banister and stayed there, cooing softly. Meanwhile, she quickly and deftly unfolded Daniel's creation.copyright protection13PENANA7J1BhSvbG3

"You did good work, Daniel, but you didn't follow directions. Furthermore, you did not use the paper I gave you, and worst of all, you went snooping in my room."copyright protection13PENANAEsQ0z8JLTq

Tears started flowing. "I'm sorry, Grandma. I almost got you killed."copyright protection13PENANAk7LpyLonqt

"Not to mention yourself." She was surprisingly calm. "You forgot the king's lesson, and you did not follow mine."copyright protection13PENANAixdk9ucEGT

She walked over to where the boy sat on the steps and bent down to encircle him in her arms. Suddenly, she did not seem so old or frail.copyright protection13PENANAIklzlVH4GB

"I really am sorry," he sobbed.copyright protection13PENANAv0Igqh1OFs

"Yes, I'm sure you are. The question now is, how will you pay for the damage you have caused and make up for all the trouble you have made for me?"copyright protection13PENANAiX0vi90vOG

"I'll work," he said through the tears. "I'll get a job and..." His plans for retribution were lost in a well of tears.copyright protection13PENANAow1J5nENrk

"Oh, stop this nonsense," Lorraine said, getting up. She walked to the debris of her former dining room and retrieved the Origami book from the rubble. When she returned, she flipped quickly through the pages until she found what she was looking for. "I still have work to do out there and you have a mess to clean up. When you get this room back in order, I want you to work on these." She pointed to the diagrams on the page.copyright protection13PENANAoXl7dMofA3

Daniel wiped his eyes. The words he read forced him to look around the house once more and wonder.copyright protection13PENANAHT0HpjRqOF

"Table and six chairs," the heading read.copyright protection13PENANA6cb8VhvA4X

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