Short Stories

The Bronze Praetorian

Jonathan gently grasped the brass handle of the huge wooden door. Pushing down, he quietly opened it.   Standing there for a moment; he let his eyes adjust to the dim light in the great room.  The walls before him were covered with paintings and photos of generations upon generation s of his family.  On every table and shelf sat wonderful pieces of art and collectibles.  The fireplace, at the center of the far wall, was the focal point.  There was a glowing fire which made the room feel warm and cozy.  Light and shadows created by the dancing flames, seemingly gave life to the many paintings and statuettes.  Jonathan always enjoyed visiting his Grand-Father during the winter season.  

I watched as Young Jonathan approached the empty chair to the left side of the fireplace.  Glancing at his Grand-Father, he pulled himself into the big comfy chair.  Sir was sitting just across, in his favorite chair.  For a few moments the pair said not a word.  Jonathan followed Sir’s example, enjoying the quiet solitude and the warmth of the fire.  Glancing once again in his Grand-Father’s direction, Jonathan caught the smile Sir was casting his way.  Smiling, he leaned back, and for a few moments more they both sat there in deep thought.  Sir gently drew smoke through the stem of his pipe.  Then slowly, he let it escape from his mouth, filling the room with the sweet aroma of cherries.  Even his pipe had historical and sentimental value.  Jonathan liked the smell of the pipe.  Cherry was his favorite, although Sir used orange and other flavors as well.

Sir spoke first.  “So… what’s new with my favorite Grand-son?”

It was sort of ritual between the two.  Sir would ask the same question, and Jonathan always answered the same.

“The same Sir.  Nothing new.”

They both laughed.  For the next while, the two shared news and special events which had transpired since Jonathan last visited.  Sir and I got to see Jonathan just twice a year.  He and his parents; Sir’s son and his wife, came to visit on Thanksgiving and a few days each summer.  Sometimes during the summer, Jonathan would stay for several weeks.  What a great time he always had.

Sir reached for the large amber ash tray sitting on the table next to him.  Holding it firmly, he tapped the pipe against the center.  Time for a fresh bowl of tobacco, I thought to myself.  Story time will surely follow close behind.  The lighted match in place above the pipe bowl, Sir took a few draws.  Flicking the expended match into the fire, the tobacco glowed.  Blowing a cloud of smoke towards the ceiling, Sir sat back in his chair.

“Jonathan my boy!?”  There was a hint of an inquisitive tone in his voice.  “Jonathan my boy?”  He said again.  “Have I ever told you…

Jonathan; was now leaning forward, his arms wrapped around his knees.

Please forgive me.  I haven’t introduced myself.  My name is, Jonathan Willamus Praetor, formally known of as the Praetorian.  I am here.  Standing proudly on the mantel in my usual place.  Sir placed me here many years ago.  He had discovered me in an English antique shop while on one of his many journeys abroad.  I am the Bronze Praetorian.

Prater Coat-of-Arms on Tomb of Richard Prater

'The Bronze Praetorian' was originally written as the intro' to a Short Story titled 'The Story Teller.'  As the 'Story Teller' failed to find its way to the pages, I decided that 'The Bronze Praetorian' was fine as a stand-alone piece or as the introduction to a future (book), a compilation of short stories. 


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