“Who are you?!” he thundered.
“Don’t you know me? You remember us.”
He wrung his hands, trying to say something that would not unleash the panic working its way up his throat. He wanted to yell that he had no idea. But how would that look, admitting that a total stranger had materialized right before his eyes, inside his own house? His reputation for cool rationale, for objective viewpoint would be completely ruined if he admitted to such things.
“We are not strangers, Jack.”
“Who…who are you?”
“I’m Jack, too. Come on, you do know us. Don’t be so strange. Don’t be a stranger!”
Jack gulped, looking at the other Jack. Yes, he did know the man. It was impossible but he did remember. A flash of nostalgia, not entirely pleasant swept over him. It had been years, many, many years.
“We used to be your favorite poem, Jack. Till you decided that you only wanted to read the big people.”
The little Jack stared back accusingly at the big Jack, his words forlorn. The plump matron behind him waddled forward and took his hand. She had been there all along but they’d been standing so close it was like they were one person. With a shock, Jack (the bigger one), realized that she was at least thrice the size of Jack (the smaller one).
“How did you get here? I mean, what are you doing here? I had forgotten about you.”
“It was a difficult journey. First the sea of words that came and washed us all away. And then troops of rote-learning. But the real monster was the scourge of routine when you left the walls of learning.”
A loud harrumph sounded next to the little man. Jack patted the lady’s arm and continued.