The Device Of Many Uses

The Saga Of My Brother, Who Is Not A Fabrication: Part 2.

My brother had been in the shed for several days, and from inside there had been no sign of life for some time. My father suggested that we bring him some food. My mother tired of such foolishness and returned to her work on the car. My sisters threw rocks at the shed, and my uncle just glowed.

No-one saw it, as we were all in bed. But when we rose for lunch the shed was splintered to matchwood and my brother sat in the middle of the wreck, full lotus and with the dust of several days resting on him. "Om", he said.

Quietly and reverently we tiptoed out of the back door to better see what had happened. My brother clasped in his cobwebbed hands a finely etched metal rod. It hummed.

Hearing our approach, he rose. Without a word, he stepped inside the house. We ate lunch in silence. The mysterious device extruded a fork, with which my brother ate his mashed potatoes. We sat in awe of its capabilities, except for my uncle who was above such things by this point.

On the second day my brother discovered that he could be rendered invisible by careful manipulation of the device. He made merry hell all day with childish pranks. When the vicar came to tea he pretended to be a manifestation of Beelzebub. The vicar fled screaming. We thanked my brother, as the clergyman had come uninvited.

On the third day he took a sewing machine up to his room. When he emerged he wore a smart harness, to the back of which the Device was firmly attached. He glided past our bemused expressions and stepped out into the street. He set off at a jog, then reached back and gave the Device a significant twist. He shot off down the street, his feet off the ground. My mother pulled out her pocket watch. As he returned she had him clocked at one hundred and forty-eight kilometres per hour and accelerating. "How will he stop?" wondered my father.

On the fourth day he informed us he had something to show us. We accompanied him to a nearby café. Once there, he requested that we observe discreetly. As he approached a girl I for one knew he had had his eye on for several weeks, we caught him delicately tapping at the Device in his pocket. She seemed entranced. They walked away arm in arm, my brother turning once to grin and wave the Device at us.

It was four o'clock on the fifth day when he called us out to the garden. In the ruins of the shed he had built a curious construction, all scrap iron and vents and cooling fins. When we had all gathered he bade us be quiet. He took up the Device, a small hammer and a length of stout rope. Tethering himself securely to the Device, he laid it in the centre of the iron assembly. There was an expectant hush. With the hammer he tapped it soundly on the top. We held our collective breath.

The Device gushed steam. At the base a glimmer of a flame sputtered. It fell over. Frantically my brother righted it and stepped back. With a crackle it ignited and catapulted into the air. My brother was quickly jerked up behind it on the tether, shouting gleefully. Within a few minutes he was out of sight, last seen heading East.

It was six months later when he returned, grubby, downcast and without the Device. We decided not to ask.

Part 1: Where The Light Goes
Part 3: Why My Brother Is Wanted For Questioning By The United Nations: I

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