(This excerpt from “The Cookie” is the intellectual property of Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc) – continued from A Story’s Chapter Two Continues.
Dab was completely in over his head, and couldn’t tell where the edge of the liquid was. He was only certain that it was deeper than he was tall. And in spite of his efforts to get out of it, he splashed about for some time; before he reached a place in the pool shallow enough for him to regain his footing. Then he finally waded back to the side of it, and staggered his way out on to the dry floor.
By that time his was totally worn out, and very upset. Although he wasn’t cold, he was shaking. He fear was as great as when Strelia’s cookie-eating dog attacked him. He lay there on the floor trembling, while his scrambled wits slowly settled enough for him to focus again. He was wet! Wet cookies grow soft, and fall to pieces!
He had no way to dry himself off, and so he stayed still for several hours in the hope that he would dry off, without crumbling. Dab rubbed the yellow crystal often, to keep calm. While lying there, he scolded himself many times for not keeping better focus. He felt bitter. The realization he might die from his own blunder made it hard to stay calm.
He remembered the tiny cookie-eating creatures, which might even now be heading his way. That chance made him almost frantic, and he turned on his side; so that the pale light shone on the floor. It calmed him a little when he didn’t see anything coming toward him. Still, he kept a sharp look out for any sign of movement, while he waited to dry.
In time, when it did not seem he would crumble, or fall to pieces; Dab began to feel better. He sat up and checked his limbs and body, for any signs he was soft or gooey. When he found none, he felt better still. In fact, he discovered he no longer felt wet. He stood and found he was completely dry. It was a great relief for him.
A wet cookie was usually doomed. But Dab had not just been wet, he’d been soaked from head to foot. He was sure it took some time to escape to escape that pool; perhaps as long as an hour. Despite the soaking, he hadn’t softened even slightly; and the gemstone in his chest remained as tightly attached as ever. It was as if the liquid had no effect on him.
It was something Dab could not explain, but did not question. He was grateful he’d survived; and spent more time testing every part of his body until satisfied he was alright. It then occurred to him the pick was lost in the pool. He guessed the liquid in the pool was likely water; but one good soaking in water, was more than enough for him.
He wanted to have a weapon but was far too shaken to go back and look for it. The chance he could turn into a slimy mass of goo was just too frightening. So scary in fact, when Dab finally did continue his journey; his caution was at its peak. As he did not want to risk getting wet again, he decided to crawl around the pool.
He took to his hands and knees, and began awkwardly crawling; to make sure of his way around the danger. His fall into the water made him far more careful, as he searched for a way around it. He moved slowly while crawling across the floor. Once he reached the far side of the pool, he returned to the wall and continued on his way.
He noticed eventually the floor had begun a slope up, at a slight angle. Then Dab heard a voice whispering. He stopped at once and looked around, but saw nothing. It was still far too dark. He was sure he hadn’t imagined hearing someone talking; but he couldn’t tell where they were.
Worried, he muttered, “I wish this stone gave more light.”
No sooner than Dab said these words, the yellow light from his chest flared brighter! When that happened, he heard a gasp. He turned to his right and saw in the distance, a small group of workers looking at him.
They hesitated briefly, then walked toward him a few paces. But the group of five gingerbread men stopped some distance away from him. It surprised him to see any gingerbread men here, but workers least of all.
“What are they doing down here?” Dab wondered. “Workers usually did not go anywhere unless told to; and five workers together likely meant they were a work crew. But if so, what were they working on in the dark?”
He considered running away, but wondered if they might be willing to help him.
One of the workers left the others, and came towards Dab.
“Are you real?” The worker asked timidly.
“Yes, I’m real,” Dab said. “Who are you?”
“We’re workers,” he said. “We got lost. It’s so dark down here we can’t find our way out.”
Dab found that difficult to believe. Even if they were lost, why would they go to a part of the mine that had no light; unless they were hiding from something. Or he realized, someone. And if they were a digging crew, where were their tools?
He was sure there was more to their story than this worker mentioned. Everyone lived in fear of the witch though, so it was not much of a surprise that they held back.
“Who are you?” The worker asked.
To read more of the story, follow this link: A Story’s Chapter Two Ends.
J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc