Cadrina looked up at the castle ramparts. She would have to wait until it was dark before she climbed up the wall. She was particularly good at not being seen and getting into places she shouldn’t be in, but it was always a challenge. There would be keen-eyed castle guards always watching out for someone like her. She would evade them so long everything went her way, as it usually did. She would sneak along the wall and then down the steps, and then she would gain access to the one place she intended to be. For some rogues it was about gaining riches and notoriety, for her it was always about proving herself to the ones that mattered.
But she wondered would she always be expected to break into the castle so she could spend her evening with the princess every night?
“There must be some way out of here!” Yelmys said to herself as she watched the rising water.
She had sneaked into these caverns searching for fabled treasure. After creeping into this room, the door slammed behind her and water began to cascade in. She tried opening the door, but it wouldn’t budge. What diabolical genius had devised this trap, she wondered. As she stood there watching the water fall, she knew if she was ever going to find a way to escape this room, she had better do it quickly, the water would soon be over her head…
Word count: 99
This was written with the prompt water falls provided by the Carrot Ranch April 11 Story Challenge.
The door to my cell opened and two guards walked in. They looked around in confusion.
“Where is she?” one asked.
“She’s disappeared.” the other said. I stood silently in front of them.
While I’m not adept at great magic, I do have a couple of useful spells up my sleeve. This spell wasn’t a true invisibility spell, it just made people unable to notice me so long as I didn’t draw attention to myself. They searched my cell and then quickly left, luckily leaving the door open. I managed to quietly walk out of the dungeons and escape.
This was written with the prompt disappearance provided by the Carrot Ranch March 28 Story Challenge.
“To conclude my lord, our forces have stopped the Verhern advance and we have even managed to force their troops back in places.” The General informed his Emperor.
‘”I should use the word conclude in one of my proclamations. I know all the best words. I am a genius after all.” The Emperor responded. “Why are we even fighting them?”
“They attacked us my lord.”
“But I have spoken to the King of the Verhern’s. He’s a very nice man you know. He assures me that his forces didn’t attack us and that he has no hostile intentions on our Empire.”
“But he’s our enemy my lord. He butchers his own people.” The General saw the Emperor was now doodling. He had lost him. Trying to give a briefing to a man with the attention span of a goldfish was difficult at best.
The General left the room wondering how had their once great empire fallen under the control of such a dunce. He looked forward to the surety of the battlefield. At least he knew who his enemies were there.
This started off as a response to a prompt, but it got too long. The satire is probably a couple of years out of date, but sadly still rather topical.
Kara ran through the forest pursued by the enemy. She had to get to the Summer Palace to warn the King that the Lord of the Shadow-World’s forces were in their kingdom. The palace was still far away and she doubted she would reach there now.
In the distance she saw shadowy shapes among the trees and realised she was surrounded. She stopped running, and unsheathed her runesword. The runes along the blade shone a deep blue. It was the only thing she possessed that could stop them now. Kara waited for them to approach…
Word count: 95
The second Sky-Pirates of Durn novel (which remains unwritten) deals with the Shadow-World’s attempt to take over the world. Consider this as a sort of preview of what is to come…
Bronwyn and her group of fellow adventurers had come to this small town to find employment. Their funds were running low and they needed supplies. Unfortunately for them, there seemed to be few well-stocked dungeons around these parts for them to explore, or more precisely, plunder. When they first arrived, a town official had employed them to take care of the town’s “rat problem”, which seemed like overkill for them until they found out that the “rat problem” turned out to be large bipedal intelligent rats that lived in some tunnels under the town. It turned out the problem the town official had with these rats was that were very good thieves, rather than the spreaders of pathogens everyone had assumed they would be. In the end Bronwyn’s party begrudgingly slaughtered them all, but it was one of those jobs that raised more questions than answers and which left a bad taste in all their mouths. Still a job is a job, and they got well paid for it.
Upon receiving payment, the first thing Bronwyn did was to find some new armour. She went to the town’s only blacksmith only to find him trying to sell her the skimpiest set of chain-mail she had ever seen. It came in two pieces. The top part just barely covered her breasts, while the lower part also revealed far too much for her liking. Even her underwear provided better coverage than this mail. The blacksmith insisted it provided the same armour bonus as any other suit of armour he had, but Bronwyn was still unimpressed. Dungeons on the whole tended to be damp, cold, and draughty and wearing armour like this seemed terribly unsuitable for it. The blacksmith also insisted, as he leered at her, she could show off her “attributes” as well get full protection from the armour. The last place Bronwyn wanted to show her “attributes” was a cold draughty dungeon full of monsters, thank you very much. To his lasting disappointment, Bronwyn instead opted for a set of full plate-mail, and also got an even larger sword.
Now it was the evening and they were all in a bar looking for some more employment, and wondering how long it would be until the nightly bar room brawl would break out. Bronwyn sat there in her new gleaming armour watching out for dark hooded strangers lurking in the corners of the room. Across from her was Fingers the Halfling. He had bought a set of new knives and was busily cutting up the table in front of him. No one was sure how he had acquired his name. Beside Bronwyn was Rachel with her long dark hair and dressed in black leather armour. She was the youngest in the party and was originally Bronwyn’s ward. Bronwyn did her best to keep her on the right path, but Rachel just couldn’t stop pilfering things, usually things she didn’t need. Bronwyn didn’t even notice her doing it most of the time. On the other side of her was Aalen, an elven ranger. Aalen considered all other races to be “sub-elven”, and all her senses were incredibly sharp. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t see or hear in her general vicinity. The last member of the party was over at the bar chatting up some random stranger. Her name was Zana, and she was a dark elf wizard. Though on the face of it she seemed nice, Bronwyn reckoned she was at least as evil as Fingers, maybe even a lot more. Bronwyn sighed. How did she end up being with these people?
“Ahem.” Said a voice beside her. “Perchance are you looking for some employment?” Bronwyn looked around to see a tall man wearing robes and a long pointed hat. Obviously a wizard. Bronwyn sighed again.
“Yes we are.” She confirmed.
“Do you mind if I sit with you?” He asked.
“Yes, but I’m sure that won’t stop you.” Bronwyn replied. The man sat down beside Rachel. A little too close to Bronwyn’s liking. If that wizard wasn’t careful, Rachel would pilfer everything he had.
“I have a job for you.” He stated. Fingers grinned at him with his yellowed teeth.
“We cuts them up. We cuts them alls up.” Fingers said in his menacing soft voice. He then padded off to the bar. The wizard grimaced.
“What an odious little man. I take it he’s your thief?” The wizard asked. Bronwyn sighed again.
“No.” She replied. “He’s our cleric.” The wizard’s mouth sprung open in surprise. Yes Fingers was their cleric. She didn’t know what dark gods he actually worshiped, but at least he helped patch up the rest of the party when it was needed, along with her, and his turning of undead seemed more like making friends with them and convincing them not to attack the rest of the party, but it all seemed to work at some level, and at least he hadn’t killed the rest of them in their sleep yet.
“And I guess you’re a fighter of some sort?” The wizard asked her.
“No, I’m a paladin.” She informed him.
“I see. Well my name is Morgon the Only, and I require a group of adventurers to go to a local dungeon not far from here to acquire an artifact for me.” He stated. The three others left at the table nodded amongst themselves.
“Why can’t you do it? You look like a powerful wizard.” Rachel asked him. Morgon began clearing his throat.
“I can’t actually. The dangers I would face there might be too powerful for me to handle on my own.” He explained. Rachel pouted her lips.
“And yet you want a group of less powerful adventurers to go in there?” She asked pointedly.
“For you it will be different. If you go in there you will face creatures at your own power level. At most you might face a beholder maybe? But if I go in, there will be more powerful creatures there that I will encounter on my own.” He explained to her. Rachel sat up looking interested.
“You mean to say that depending on who goes in there they will have different encounters?”
“Yes.” Morgon confirmed.
“How does that work?”
“It’s just the way it is.” Morgon told her in a resigned way.
“But is there some weird god stocking dungeons full of monsters just before you go in?” Rachel asked disbelievingly.
“In a way, yes.” Morgon replied. Bronwyn sighed again. She would have to join in. There were obviously things Rachel didn’t understand.
“Imagine all your skills and attributes are numbers.” Bronwyn said. Morgon nodded, while Rachel screwed up her nose in incomprehension.
“Imagine beyond this world there is a sheet of paper with your name on it. On it is listed all your skills and how intelligent or strong you are, for example. All of these will have a numerical value with them. As you adventure more, some of these numerical values will increase, and you will get more of them. Now along with all these pieces of paper there is something that decides what we will encounter, depending on how powerful we all are and where we go. And that is how it all works.” Bronwyn informed her. Rachel just shook her head in disbelief.
“That’s just crazy.” Rachel replied. “Next you’ll say we’re all holograms.” The rest of them all laughed.
“Now that would be crazy.” Bronwyn agreed.
“I’ll see you again shortly.” Morgon said enigmatically as he handed Bronwyn a map with a set of instructions. He then wandered off and disappeared amongst the throng.
“Goodbye human.” the usually silent Aalen said. Bronwyn turned to Rachel only to see a large purse brimming full of gold coins in her hands.
“Where did you get that?” Bronwyn asked her in an authoritative tone.
“I found it.” Rachel lied.
“I really find that unlikely.” Bronwyn replied. She was about to say more when someone across the room smashed a tankard of ale over the head of another and then fighting ensued. The nightly bar room brawl had begun. Already Zana and Fingers were running into the melee. Bronwyn sighed again and picked up something to use as a weapon before she too ran towards the fight.
Tomorrow they would be leaving, so tonight they could have some fun.
I originally wrote and published this story here around four years ago. I thought it would be good to repost and update it. I had written it for a short story competition, but didn’t complete it in time due to technology issues I was having. Most of the names were from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign I was in at the time.
Cindy was walking back from the mailbox. The only piece of mail she had received today was a letter from Melissa apologising for past events. Cindy followed the path until she came to some old steps. She remembered Grandma saying that beyond the steps was a gateway to Faerie. Cindy had always thought Grandma was slightly crazy, but now she wasn’t so sure…
She went up them and saw a haze in the air. Walking through it, she came to a place she had never seen before. Everything there seemed more green and vibrant.
“You look like Rose, but you’re not her.” said a voice.
Cindy looked down to see a small squat figure with a long white beard smoking a pipe.
“Rose was my grandma. She died a while ago now.”
“I’m so sorry to hear that. I really enjoyed talking with her.” He said.
“Hi, I’m Cindy.”
“Hello, my name in Babradon.” He said standing up and bowing. He was half Cindy’s height.
Just wait till Jess sees this, Cindy thought. She looked down at the small figure of Babradon.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but what are you?” She asked him. He looked at her surprised.
“I keep forgetting in your world humans are mostly the only sentient race there. You’re probably not used to seeing other races like me. I’m what you would call a gnome.” He informed her.
” I see. What do you mean we’re mostly the only sentient race?” Cindy asked curiously.
“It’s not important. There are others like us still living in the fringes of your world, if you know where to look. And being near a gateway means you get a few peoples going back and forth.”
“So what other races live here in Faerie?”
“Well aside from gnomes, there are also elves, dwarves, trolls, goblins, pixies, boggarts, to name a few.” Babradon said.
“There are all manner of strange creatures here, possibly countless numbers of them.” He revealed. Cindy gazed in wonder at the vibrant green landscape before her.
“How far does it go on?” She asked.
“Probably forever.” He told her. “This is your first time here isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Cindy admitted.
“There are some basic rules to Faerie you will need to know. Firstly don’t be so trusting with anyone you meet here and don’t accept everything you see at face value. Always look deeper. And be careful who you give your name out to. Give everyone your nickname or something similar.”
“Why?” Cindy asked him.
“Because if you give out your true name to someone, you give them power over you.”
“Okay.” Cindy replied. “What do you mean by true name?”
“What’s the name you give yourself?” He asked.
“Me.” Cindy replied. Babradon looked away for a moment.
“I mean what name do you think defines you? What name do you think is you?” He asked carefully.
“Well everyone calls me Cindy, and that’s the name I think of myself as.” She answered.
“Then don’t give that name to people here. Are there any other names people call you?”
“I was christened Cynthia, and a lot of people call me Cinders, and when I was at school some people used to call me Cinderella, but that was to annoy me.”
“Maybe use the name Cinders?” Babradon suggested.
“Okay.” Cindy replied. “So I guess Babradon isn’t your true name then?”
“No it’s my use name. My true name I keep to myself.” Babradon revealed.
“So do you live out here?” Cindy asked.
“I have a small house nearby. I help keep an eye on the gateway you came through.”
“It’s so lovely here.” Cindy said as she sat down on the ground with the sun on her.
“You’re very much like your grandmother. Did you know that?” Babradon told her. Cindy gave out a short laugh.
“Yeah some people have said that to me before. I think we have a similar temperament.”
“I’m sorry to hear she has died. I’ll miss her.”
“I miss her too. Me and Jess now have her farm.” Cindy revealed.
“Who is Jess? Tell me more Cindy” He asked.
“My girlfriend.” Cindy answered. “Does it bother you I’m in a same-sex relationship?”
“Following your heart and being with your True Love is what’s important, no matter who they are.” Babradon responded.
“We had to clear all the farmland as everything had become overgrown, and we also had to fix the farmstead, but now we are living there together and I’m very happy.” Cindy told him.
“That’s good to hear.”
“I’ve recently found out that Jess slept with a mutual friend when I was still living in the city. We weren’t together again at that point, but for some reason it’s made me feel very jealous. I just want Jess all to myself and I get very possessive over her, which I know isn’t a good thing. I worry she might have feelings for our friend.” Cindy told him.
“I’m not an expert when it comes to love, but if you fixed the farm together and now live there with each other, surely you’re the one she wants to be with.” Babradon advised her. Cindy sighed loudly.
“I know. It’s not like we both didn’t have affairs when we were apart, but for some reason I feel really threatened by this other person. I was really horrid to her at a friend’s funeral recently.”
“Jealousy is not an attractive trait in anyone. If you continue to be jealous your partner may always feel under pressure when socialising with others and that may end up pushing her away. Always remember if she is with you, she wants to be there. Trust in that.”
“Thanks for the advice.” Cindy replied. “Sorry about unloading my problems on you. I’m not sure why I told you all this.” Babradon shrugged his shoulders.
“When you’re the Warden of a gateway, people tell you all sorts of things.” he said.
Cindy looked at the path that led away and went beyond the trees.
“So where does that path go?” She asked.
“It goes on through the forest and eventually leads to towns and great cities. Just beyond those trees there I think there is a marketplace at the moment. That could be well worth a look, though I would advise you to be careful with everything you say or do there .” Babradon informed her.
“Ooh a marketplace! I would love to check that out! Maybe I’ll have a quick look at it.” Cindy enthused.
“Yes you’ll find it rather eye-opening I’m sure. Just be careful there! Faerie can be quite perilous. And remember what I told you about names.” Babradon warned.
“I will.” Cindy told him.
Cindy stood up and wandered down the path. As she looked behind her she saw Babradon had sat down again and was relighting his pipe. She turned around again and faced the trees. She took a deep breath and walked into the forest.
Cindy didn’t want to admit it, but she was lost. She had followed the path as Babradon had suggested, but then she had seen some beautiful flowers and left the path to have a closer look at them. When she went back, the pathway seemed to have disappeared. She walked for ages, but there was no sign of it.
“You’re lost!” said a voice. Cindy beheld a small figure sitting on a branch.
“I am.” She admitted. “I’ve lost the pathway.”
“Well you’re going the wrong way! For a small fee, I’ll take you back to it.” they volunteered.
“I’m not sure I have anything.” Cindy said searching her pockets. All she had was a letter from Melissa, and a quarter. She handed the coin to the figure.
“Ooh I’ve never seen one of these before! Okay follow me!” the figure sped off in a completely different direction. Cindy followed.
Cindy wasn’t sure where the pixie was leading her. If only she hadn’t walked off the path…
“Just pretend you’re an intrepid explorer,” she told herself.
“We’re here!” the pixie exclaimed.
Before Cindy was a marketplace with strange creatures looking at tables of wondrous items. She had never seen anything like this before.
On the path to the Faerie Market, Cindy came across a small stone well with a stone serpent running along the lip. The pixie alighted on her shoulder.
“It’s a true wishing well.” the pixie told her.
“What does it do?” Cindy asked.
“You cast something personal into the water and make a wish.” the pixie replied.
“Cast something valuable in, you mean?”
“Maybe, or something deeply personal, or even a stone you’ve been carrying in your hand as you walked through the forest.” Cindy smiled at his words.
“Does it work?”
“Verily it does. You wish for something, but here’s the catch: you can never tell anyone what you wished for, even if it comes to pass, or the wish will become undone.” the pixie warned.
Cindy stood there wishing for something deep in the confines of her heart. Then she cast the stone into the water.
Cindy then walked towards the Faerie Market. There were all manner of different creatures wandering around the market place or minding the stalls. She could see elves, dwarves, gnomes, a tree-ish woman Cindy presumed to be a dryad, and many others that she had no name for, while above fairies and pixies flittered around them all.
The market stalls had many wondrous-looking items on display. There were gems, jewels in the shape of flowers that blossomed before your eyes as though they were alive, potions, weapons, small chests full of ointments or perfumes, and many more such things. Cindy stopped at a stall that had various trinkets. An old woman with long silver hair wearing a long black cloak regarded her. Cindy picked up a small silver bell that had intricate patterns etched into the metal. When she rang the bell it made a clear note that drove away her feeling of tiredness.
“You like the bell? Would you like to exchange something for it?” The old woman asked.
“I don’t have anything to buy it with.” Cindy told her.
“You have nothing at all?” The woman clarified looking at her keenly. Cindy dug into the pockets of her jeans. She produced the letter from Melissa, which was the only thing she had left.
“I’ve got a letter from a friend and that’s all.” Cindy said.
“Hand the letter over to me child and let me have a look at it.” The old woman requested holding out her shaking hand with long fingers and dagger-like fingernails. Cindy reluctantly gave it to her. The old woman looked it over and opened it up to read. “Ah a letter of apology from a sorceress. This has much value. Feel free to take any item.” A sorceress? Cindy thought, it’s just plain old Melissa. Cindy picked up the silver bell.
“Okay I’ll take this silver bell. It’ll make a nice gift for Jess, my partner. It will help prove to her I was actually here.” Cindy informed her. The old woman nodded.
“It’s a fair exchange.” She declared. She spat on her hand and held it out to Cindy, who then reluctantly shook hands with her. “It is sealed.”
As Cindy walked away she looked behind her to see the woman hide the letter away amongst her belongings. Cindy began to consider it was time to move on. She should really get home as she was unaware how long she had been lost in Faerie, and time seemed to move differently here. Jess would be worrying about her. And it wasn’t like she anything else to exchange with aside from the clothes she was wearing, and she would rather not part with those.
Once finding the path she assumed would lead her back to the portal, she followed it to see where she would end up this time. The path led her through the forest and then upwards through bush until she came across Babradon who was sitting there smoking his pipe.
“I saw you approaching. You were away for some time. Did you get lost?” He asked.
“Yes. I left the path and couldn’t find it again.” Cindy told him.
“I did warn you not to leave the path. Then count yourself lucky you found your way back to here. You could have been lost in Faerie until you were silver haired.” Babradon informed her.
“I know. Luckily a pixie helped by leading me to the Faerie market. I’m really glad I saw it.”
“All’s well that ends well then.” Babradon replied.
“I better be going home. Jess will probably be wondering where I am.” She looked towards the portal.
“I suspect I’ll be seeing you again. So until next time!” Babradon said. Cindy nodded.
“Yes until next time.” Cindy replied as she walked up to the portal. She was looking forward to getting home.
Cindy jumped through the portal. To her surprise, it wasn’t the familiar buildings of her own farm that she saw when she returned, but someone else’s. She had no idea where she was. For all she knew she could be on the other side of the world. Nor did she have any idea how long she had been in Faerie. She knew Jess would be worried and she imagined Jess standing in the kitchen watching through the windows wondering where she had got to. One thing Cindy was certain of: she had never seen these buildings before anywhere near her own farm.
“Hello!” she called out. “Is there anyone here?” The buildings remained silent. She seriously considered going back through the portal. The feeling that things had gone terribly wrong was growing in her. Just then, she heard a door creak slowly open…. Around the corner an old woman with long grey hair and wearing an old black dress hobbled into sight. She walked with great difficulty.
“Hello my lovely! What are you doing here?” the old woman asked as she approached Cindy.
“I’m lost.” Cindy replied. “I don’t know where I am, or even what part of the world I’m in.”
“Oh dear, that doesn’t sound so good. You’re in my farm, if you need to know. Why don’t you come to my farmhouse and have a sit down? I’ll give you a nice hot cup of tea and something to eat and we can work this out together.” the old woman offered. It sounded good to Cindy, though there was a feeling of misgiving in her heart, as though maybe things weren’t as they seemed. She followed the old woman to her house. The woman opened the door and there was a loud creak, exactly like the one Cindy had heard before. “Now go in my lovely and have a sit down.” the woman suggested.
“Thanks.” Cindy answered. She went inside to what was a musty old kitchen and sat down on a chair by the table. Instantly she felt stuck. She pressed her hands on the table to give herself leverage so she could escape the chair, but then found her hands were also stuck. The old woman laughed.
“You have fallen for my trap my lovely!” The room melted away and Cindy found she was stuck to a huge web. She turned to look at the old woman and saw that she had transformed to the largest spider she had ever seen. “I put this web in-between worlds and catch the occasional portal jumper! So glad I’m back in my true form. I hate wearing that human skin. It’s so hard to walk in!” the spider said as she moved closer to Cindy now showing no impediment in her movement. Cindy struggled, but found the more she struggled, the more stuck to the web she became. The spider approached. Cindy was now almost fully stuck to the web. The spider stopped and towered above her. It’s large eyes looked down on Cindy while it’s fangs dripped with venom.
“I’m going to bite you and turn your insides to jelly which I will then suck out.” the spider declared. “You look so tasty!”
Cindy shook her head. How did she get into this mess? She thought about Jess who would be wondering where she was. She would never know what became of her. What would happen when she never turned up? How long would Jess wait for her? What would happen when Jess finally realised she was gone for ever? She felt overcome with sadness.
“I’m sorry Jess!” she called out into the void, hoping her words might get to her love as tears began to fall down her cheeks. Maybe Jess would be alright. Maybe she would hook up with Melissa again… Melissa? Suddenly a light went on in her brain. What had they said at the Faerie Market about Melissa, of all people? It had been rather surprising…
“Aw you’re crying! Don’t worry, it will all be over soon!’ the spider said as it’s fangs began to bear down on her.
“Melissa!” Cindy called out into the dark hoping her voice and thoughts could reach their target. “Melissa, I’m sorry for what I said when we last met. I was jealous, but I need your help. I’m trapped between worlds by a giant spider. If you can hear this, please help me!”
“I’m trapped too.” a voice abruptly said in Cindy’s mind. “But I’ll do what I can. I can see you in my mind’s eye. When it hits, get ready to run as fast as you can, no matter what condition you’re in.”
“Okay.” Cindy replied. Beyond the web, floating in the dark she saw a light in front of her in the shape of her friend.
“Now!” said the voice and suddenly the entire web was hit by lightning. The spider screamed and recoiled, while Cindy was thrown from the web and landed on solid ground.
Without a thought Cindy stood up and ran for the portal. She heard the spider behind her and knew she was being chased down. She didn’t dare look back as she ran straight for the glowing portal in front of her. She could hear the spider catching her up and suddenly felt the spider’s legs try to grab hold of her. Cindy managed to dodge them as she jumped through the portal. The last thing she heard was the spider scream with frustration and anger.
Cindy landed on some soft earth. When she opened her eyes, she saw she was in Faerie again. That was close, she thought. In front of her was Babradon smoking his pipe, as always.
“You weren’t gone for long.”
“I tried to leave, but there was spider in-between the worlds that caught me. I only just managed to escape.”
“Ah yes, Her. You were lucky. Few ever escape her dark web.” Babradon replied.
“I had some help.” Cindy said. “But how do I get home? The way through that portal is trapped now.”
“I understand. Follow me.” He led her to a large tree that leaned. “There is a portal in this tree. Go through the opening in the trunk and you will get back to your world.”
“But I won’t fit in there.”
“You will.” He replied. Cindy looked at him doubtfully, but to her surprise the opening was now large enough and she suddenly found herself sliding down into the darkness…
Cindy landed on the ground with a thud. She sat up rubbing the back of her head. Babradon hadn’t warned her about the rough landing. She wondered where she was this time and spotted a middle-aged woman walking a fox terrier. Cindy walked up to her.
“Excuse me, where am I?” Cindy asked. The woman looked at her as though she was crazy.
“You’re just outside the town of Lawrence.” the woman told her before hurrying off and occasionally looking behind her. She was home! Finally! Now all she had to do was walk back to the farm…
Within half an hour she was at the front gate. She walked down the driveway to the homestead. As she approached Jess ran out the door and grabbed Cindy in her arms.
“Where have you been? You’ve been missing for days! People are out searching for you. I’ve been so worried.” Jess blurted out quickly as she hugged Cindy tightly.
“I can’t breathe!” Cindy got out. Jess relaxed her hold, and looked into Cindy’s eyes.
“Oh sorry! I’m just so relieved to see you. I really feared the worst. Let’s get you inside.” The two of them walked into their home with Jess leading the way. Cindy sat down on the couch in the living room while Jess kneeled in front of her. “Where have you been? Were you attacked? Are you hurt?”
“I got stuck.” Cindy replied.
“You got stuck?” Jess frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I got stuck in Faerie.” Cindy clarified. Jess sighed deeply and shook her head.
“Not this again.”
“I knew you wouldn’t believe me so I brought you back something from the Faerie market.” Cindy dug into the pocket of her jeans and produced a delicate silver bell and handed it to Jess. She looked at it moving it around in her fingers.
“And what did you use to trade for this? Magic beans?” Jess asked.
“I had a letter from Melissa. They were quite happy to exchange it for that.”
“You exchanged a personal letter from a friend for this in some market stall? Why did Melissa write to you?”
“She wanted to apologise for sleeping with you.” Cindy replied.
“Melissa had no need to apologise to you. When we had sex, you and I weren’t back together. You were still in the city.”
“So why all this jealousy with Melissa? Surely when you were in the city you dated other woman?”
“Yes.” Cindy answered.
“And I did likewise when I was here on my own. Who I slept with then is not really your business. I don’t ask who you slept with in the city do I?” Jess asked while searching Cindy’s face.
“So why all this jealousy regarding Melissa? Are you afraid we’re going to hook up again?”
“I do worry about that.” Cindy admitted.
“She has her own girlfriend now, that tall pale blonde, and I’m sure they’re quite happy together. You have nothing to worry about.” Jess reassured her. “I think you should be more worried about your delusions.”
“Speaking to fairies and visiting fairyland.”
“My grandmother could see the fairies and speak to them. I’ve inherited her gift.” Cindy told her.
“Yes your grandmother told everyone that she spoke to the fairies, and she was nuts. Everyone knew that. I don’t want to see you go the same way.”
“I wish you’d believe me.” Cindy implored her, but Jess looked at her concerned.
“Your delusions are getting worse. Now you’re disappearing for days. What’s next? One day you don’t come back at all? You’re covered in dirt, your clothes are all ragged, and you really smell. It looks like you’ve been sleeping in a ditch for several days. For all I know that’s what you’ve been doing.” Jess informed her. “I want you to get help.” Cindy rolled her eyes.
“Okay.” Cindy replied, hoping this would appease her.
“We’ll talk more about it tomorrow. Right now you need to get out of those clothes and have a wash. And then get something to eat or maybe some rest?” Jess told her softly. “I have some phone calls to make.” Jess gave her another long tight hug and left, Cindy slowly got up from the couch and walked to the bathroom. Maybe it would be better if she just kept quiet about Faerie from now on. If only Jess would believe her.
This is a collection of eleven Jess and Cindy stories that followed a continuing narrative.
“Yes a giant.” the teapot confirmed. “She is sleeping nearby.”
“She?” asked Jack. “Funny, I thought it would be a he.”
“Well I think the author likes to flip the genders in traditional stories. Total lesbo. You never know, maybe you’re actually meant to be a boy.” the teapot told her. Jack briefly wondered what it would be like to be a boy. There was a sudden honking noise.
“What’s that?” Jack asked.
“That’s just the giant’s pet goose. It lays golden eggs you know.”
“Lays golden eggs? How does that work?” Jack asked. The teapot shrugged a little, which was surprising given it was a teapot.
“Everyday it lays an egg of pure gold. Don’t ask me why this happens, it just does.”
“Eggs of gold? Wouldn’t that destabilise the gold market?”
“What do you mean?”
“The price of gold is driven by it’s scarcity. So suddenly having a supply of it that is inexhaustible would surely make the value of gold crash.” Jack told the teapot.
“You’re thinking too deeply about it.” the teapot answered. Jack looked around and spied the goose. It also had golden feathers. If I grab that goose then our money problems will be at an end, Jack thought. She crept up to the goose and suddenly grabbed it. The goose suddenly let out a loud honking noise. The giant awoke to see Jack running off with his golden goose.
“Thief! Bring back my precious! We hates you! We hates you forever!” the giant shouted as she stood up. A man in a suit suddenly appeared.
“Hello I’m a lawyer and I’m serving you with a cease and desist order from the Tolkien Estate for using dialogue that mimics a well known Tolkien character. If you persist with this then I’ll be forced to shut this story down.” the lawyer warned.
“Oh. Okay.” the giant responded. The giant stomped after Jack. “Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of a les-bi-an.” Jack was already running back to the beanstalk. She could feel the giant striding behind her as though there was an earthquake, or more like a cloudquake. She got to the beanstalk and slid down it with the goose under her left arm. She could see the giant approaching.
When Jack got to the bottom she could see the giant already beginning to slide down. Jack’s mother was still standing there with her mouth wide open. Jack thrust the goose into her mother’s arms.
“What’s this?” her mother asked.
“It’s a golden goose that lays golden eggs. We’re going to be rich!” Jack told her.
“But wouldn’t that destabilise the gold price?”
“No time to explain.” Jack shot back as she ran into the shed. Moments later she came back with an axe and then started chopping at the beanstalk.
“What are you doing?”
“There’s a really angry giant coming down the beanstalk. I’m trying to stop her.” Jack informed her.
‘The giant’s a female?”
“Yes I’ve already been through that.” Jack replied as she chopped through the stalk. All of a sudden the stalk collapsed and the giant fell to the earth landing on a nearby house and demolishing it. “Oops.” Jack’s mother shook her head.
“What am I going to do with you? That was the Petersons that just got squashed by that giant.” They both looked as the giant lay there lifeless.
The next morning Jack looked out the window. The giant’s body was still there, but various emergency crews were now scratching their heads about what to do. Jack then saw a cloud appear moving across the sky quite quickly towards their house. It seemed to flash with blue and red. Once it got to their house, it abruptly stopped, and then began to sink down to ground level revealing the largest police car Jack had ever seen. Two giants got out dressed like cops.
“We’re looking for Jacqueline, also known as Jack.” one boomed out.
“That’s my daughter.” Jack’s mother told them.
“She’s been charged with home invasion, theft, and murder. We need to take her in for questioning.” One of them picked up Jack with one hand. “You’ll probably be going away for a long time missy.”
“And we need to take this.” said the other giant as it picked up the golden goose.
“Aw! I hoped we might be able to keep it.” Jack’s mother replied.
“Are you crazy? You’ll destablise the gold price.” the giant told her. They got back into the car and then the cloud floated back up into the sky and sped off. Jack’s mother watched it go. She was going to miss her daughter, despite everything. She looked at the ground. At least the goose had laid one golden egg before it was taken away. She picked up the large solid golden egg.
“My precious!” she said as she held it in her hands. The lawyer reappeared.
“You sold Bessie for a handful of beans? What possessed you to do that?” Jack’s mother angrily shouted at her.
“But they’re magical beans.” Jack explained.
“Magical beans? Are you stupid?” Her mother shouted as she threw the beans out the window.
“You need to work on your anger issues Mum.” Jack suggested. Her mother looked crossly at her.
“And what do I tell your brother and sister? That they have nothing to eat because their stupid big sister sold our cow for some beans? I am so done with you!”
“Don’t say that.”
“If I threw you in the oven, at least you would be of more use than you are now.”
“Wrong story Mum.” Jack told her. Her mother looked at her uncomprehendingly.
“Just get out of my sight. I can’t even bear to look at you. You’ve really let me down. I thought I could trust you with some responsibility. Obviously not.” Her mother told her. As Jack began to leave the kitchen, her mother noticed her new boots. “Where did you get those boots?” Jack stopped and looked guiltily at her mother.
“I bought them ages ago.” she lied. Her mother just shook her head and turned her back on her. Jack went to her bedroom and stayed there all night.
When Jack woke up in the morning and looked out the window she gasped in wonder. There was a huge beanstalk that rose up into the sky. She ran outside and looked up. The beanstalk was so tall it disappeared into cloud.
“Awesome!” she said. Her mother came outside and looked up at it too.
“What the hell…” her mother said surprised.
“I told you the beans were magical.”
“We need to chop it down.” her mother stated.
“Well I can’t imagine air traffic control being thrilled with the new hazard.”
“Let me climb it first.” Jack said.
“Why do you want to climb it?’
“Because it’s there.” Before her mother could answer, Jack was already beginning to climb.
She climbed for what seemed hours, occasionally stopping to rest. She could still see her mother below as a distant speck looking anxiously up. Eventually she climbed into the cloud layer, and was expecting to find it cold and damp, but found that the clouds instead were dense and… fluffy. Once she got to the top layer of the cloud, it stretched away like some never ending plain of cotton-wool. She thought her eyes were deceiving her when she thought she could see a castle in the distance. She put one foot on the cloud and found the surface was unexpectedly springy. With her heart beating wildly she put both feet onto the cloud surface and found it could support her weight. Jack thought clouds were made of water vapour, but maybe she had been wrong all this time… As she cautiously walked forwards, the castle slowly got nearer. She wondered how the cloud could support the weight of a stone castle.
“I hadn’t expected a castle. It doesn’t make any sense.” she said to herself. The castle rose taller and taller as she approached it, until she figured out that it’s dimensions seemed to be for someone far bigger than she was. When she got to the main door, she found it slightly ajar. It wasn’t too difficult for her to slip through the gap. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she saw everything was oversized. There was also a noise like someone snoring. It was so loud that that ground itself seemed to vibrate with it. Jack leaped onto a chair and then then climbed up to the surface of a table. In front of her was a huge teapot. Jack almost fell of the table when the teapot suddenly opened it’s eyes.
“Hello!” said the teapot enthusiastically.
“Er… hello.” Jack replied. “Aren’t you a teapot?”
“Yes.” the teapot answered. “Though I think I’m in the wrong story.”
“Never mind.” the teapot said.
“What’s that loud noise?
“That would be the giant sleeping.” the teapot told her.
“Giant?!” Jack exclaimed.
to be continued…
I’m hoping I should be able to wrap this up with one more part.