THE IDES OF FEBRUARY 2019
While renovation of our site continues, we present more of this month’s featured tale. We hope you enjoy it. W.S.
(This excerpt from “The Cookie” is the intellectual property of Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc) – continued from A Story Continues: Chapter Two.
The witch needed to be overthrown; even killed if possible. But he wondered if that could be done. If someone in the town understood the magic Strelia did; why hadn’t they already broken her? It was likely because they couldn’t, he guessed; and defying her meant certain death.
Dab decided that his best chance for staying alive was finding a safe place to hide from the witch. But where in the mine was safe from her? As long as he stayed in her mine, he was in danger. Somehow he had to get away, without Strelia realizing he was gone.
First, however, he needed to discover where he was; and then decide where he needed to go, to flee. It occurred to Dab that he should remove the gemstone from his chest. He could imagine the witch’s rage if she saw him wearing the magic crystal, as if it were his own.
He pulled, twisted, and pried at the yellow rock for some time; but it did not come free. Dab noticed however, that it didn’t hurt; having the magic rock stuck in his chest. He wondered if, may be, that was part of its’ power. The witch had warned gingerbread men not to touch it.
“Could it be just touching the stone gave you a way to use its’ magical power? And if so, what was that magic?” He wondered.
Dab understood nothing about magic, except that it was mysterious, and often deadly. Which meant having a Wizin Stone stuck in your chest was probably dangerous. Yet it was possible that this crystal gave whoever held it magical protection from the magic of others. Snak had certainly believed this; until the witch killed him, that is.
He found that in spite of his determined efforts, he was unable to remove it. Perhaps that would take magic too. Dab was sure Strelia would remove the gem for him, if she caught him with it. But he doubted that he would survive the meeting.
The chance she might find him, left him unnerved; and he stared into the pitch-black darkness around him in panic. She might see him even now, for all he could tell. And the longer he stayed here the more likely that would happen. He gave up the plan of removing the yellow crystal, for the moment. He decided to focus on finding an escape from her stronghold instead.
Dab had no way of telling where he should go. He could only hope whatever path he took was the right one. There was no way to see which direction he faced, but maybe that didn’t matter. He began walking, in what he hoped was a straight line, in that direction. He decided to continue on this path until he found something.
The faint glow of the gemstone showed nothing, as he traveled. As time passed, and he encountered nothing in the unrelenting darkness; he began wondering if he was really going anywhere. Eventually Dab believed he saw something ahead. Sure enough, he discovered he’d reached a wall. It pleased him that he’d found a landmark at last; and felt he was off to a good start.
Dab studied the smooth rock face in front of him; which reached well beyond his sight, in both directions. He looked up, but the wall disappeared into the inky darkness above him; beyond his meager light. He couldn’t guess how far he’d fallen; or how far he needed to climb, to find a way out of the mine. He decided not to worry about that until he found a path that led away from the bottom.
He certainly didn’t want to cross paths with the witch on the way up, while she was on the way down. But that might well happen, unless the witch was able (and willing) to fly down into total darkness. If not, with a little luck, it might take some time for her to make her way this far down. Dab hoped that gave him time to get away safely, before she arrived.
He turned to his left and walked along the rock face in foreboding darkness. As Dab made his way along in the complete silence, his sense of uneasiness became more intense; and a feeling of being watched came over him, slowing his pace. In time, the feeling of an unseen presence watching him became so strong, that he stopped walking.
Dab stood, listening for any sound of someone nearby; in the darkness. Though he heard nothing, his fear was now so great, it finally made him change course and head in the opposite direction. As he walked now, with the wall at his left; the tingling sense of dread which haunted him, gradually faded.
He relaxed a little, and felt that he was now heading in a better direction. Then he tripped over something in the darkness, and stumbled forward several steps. He returned, to learn what tripped him up. What Dab saw frightened him once more.
In the weak light he found the moldering remains of a gingerbread man, and near it lay a well-worn pick. There were a mass of tiny things, which swarmed over, and around it. Dab couldn’t guess what they were, but realized he must have disturbed them; when he stumbled over the fallen gingerbread man. The minute objects moved hurriedly, in what seemed a random frenzy.
Dab stared in amazement, as he watched them for a while; and tried to make sense of what they were doing. Gradually, he came to understand that they were carrying the crumbled remains away; one tiny piece at a time! He turned away in horror, and disgust. He sight of the tiny creatures feeding on the fallen gingerbread man repulsed him.
He couldn’t help wondering how long the broken cookie had laid there; and what caused him to fall. Then he realized there might be more broken victims down here than he could see; or imagine. Dab marveled once more that he wasn’t a pile of crumbs himself. This made him focus again on how he would stay alive.
Dab decided the pick might be useful so he took it and continued on his way. He noticed again how quiet it was here. The lack of any sound coming from the darkness all around, was a new sensation for him. The air was still; which, in the murk, gave him the feeling of being closed it. He hoped it was a good sign; for it suggested no one was near.
He was soon walking at a fast pace, and wondering where to look for a way out of the mine. Without warning, he took a step and his foot did not hit the floor; but empty air. Dab fell forward into a pool of dark liquid, with a great splash! This caused him tremendous panic, since cookies melt when they’re wet; and he frantically struggled to escape.
To read more of the story, follow this link: A Story’s Chapter Two Has More.
J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc