(This excerpt from “The Cookie” is the intellectual property of Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc) – continued from A Story’s Chapter Two Ends.
Chapter Three: Rock Bottom
Quick slammed the rock down on Dab’s head so hard it flew from his remaining hand; and clattered to a sliding stop on the floor nearby. The force of the vicious blow made a loud cracking sound. Not unlike that of a pick-axe rebounding off a vein of ore in a rock face. But the face being struck here was made of gingerbread.
“Ow!” Dab yelled. “That hurt!”
He continued to struggle with all his might to escape his captors; but his efforts were in vain, for they had too tight a grip on him. He was again panicked and desperately feared for his life. It seemed everyone, and everything he met sought to destroy him, and he was completely helpless against them.
The other gingerbread men, however, looked at each other in amazement.
“That should have turned his head into crumbs!” One of them said. “He must have been sent by the witch!”
“I am not spying for the witch!” Dab shouted once more. “I wish you would believe me!”
“Well I don’t believe you.” Quick said, as went to retrieve the rock, for another try at Dab’s head.
“I do,” one of the workers holding Dab said, as he let go of him.
The other three workers then released him as well. Now it was Dab who was amazed. It was as if they let him go simply because he’d asked them to! Once freed, he hurried to his feet and stepped away from them; before they could change their minds.
“What are you doing?” Quick shouted in alarm.
“I’m letting him go.” The worker said.
“But he’s the witch’s spy! Quick said.
“I don’t believe that.” The worker replied. “I’ve decided he’s not a threat.”
“I believe he is a threat!” Quick said. “A little while ago, you did too!”
“Do you believe I’m working for the witch too?” The worker asked.
“There’s something wrong here!” Quick said. “He wishes for you to believe him, and suddenly you do! He’s using the witch’s magic on us!”
“If that’s true, why don’t you believe him?” The worker asked.
“I can’t tell why, Sly; but I’m beginning to wonder if he’s put a spell on you!” Quick insisted.
“I don’t feel enchanted,” Sly said.
He turned to his other companions and asked, “What about you Snap?”
“No.” Snap said.
“Bleak?” Sly asked.
“Anything’s possible Sly, but I don’t feel any different.” Bleak told him.
“What do you say, Fret?” Sly asked.
“I didn’t believe so at first.” Fret said. “But now I’m not sure. Quick makes a good point. We’ve been looking for a safe place to hide for weeks. And now, no sooner than we finally find a dark place in the mine; he shows up with a light. I do believe what he says, but who can tell what the witch’s magic may be able to do.”
“You said you don’t feel ‘enchanted’ Sly; but what does it ‘feel like’ to be enchanted?” Quick asked. “You might be under a spell, and not realize it!”
“You should realize by now Quick that I am not easily swayed,” Sly said in a quiet voice. “Not by the witch; and certainly not by you.”
Dab watch them quietly; listening to their conversation while he recovered from the stinging blow to the head he’d just taken. He was angry about the way he had been treated. As he listened to them talk however, he began to have some sympathy for their caution. If he were in their place, he was certain he’d be suspicious too. But at least now he saw why the were down here.
Sly abruptly turned to Dab and asked, “What about it, Dab.” Are you casting spells on us to help the witch?”
“I need to hide from the witch as much as you do, maybe more.” Dab told them.
Then he tapped the crystal that was stuck in his chest, and said, “The witch wants to get this stone. I have already seen her kill a sorter and a supervisor to get it; and I don’t doubt she has killed others looking for it. It’s only by chance she hasn’t killed me; so I will not do anything to help the witch.”
“I’m glad to hear that you’re not helping the witch.” Sly said. “But tell me, are you casting spells?”
“I can’t tell how to cast spells.” Dab said. “And I’m only just beginning to understand a little about magic. I can’t even guess how it works though, or why; and it’s always a surprise when I see something magical happen.”
“He’s lying.” Quick said. “How could he fall all the way down here, without breaking up into little pieces?”
“It must be that jewel,” Sly said. “I guess it has made him unbreakable.”
“I don’t believe the witch would give any gingerbread man, that kind of power.” Fret said. “I guess it’s possible that he really didn’t fall and is lying about it.”
“I haven’t told you any lies.” Dab said.
“There’s something you’re not telling us,” Quick insisted.
“How can I trust you when the first thing you did was lie to me; and then you tried to break me!” Dab complained.
“What lie?” Snap asked.
Dab pointed at Sly and said, “He told me you didn’t have names.”
“That’s not what I said.” Sly responded. “I told you that the witch didn’t give us names; and she didn’t. We named ourselves.”
“The witch let you do that?” Dab asked in surprise.
“She never said we couldn’t.” Sly replied. “You must be fresh-baked not to understand that. When you’re part of a work crew, you need to have a name. If the witch doesn’t give you one, sooner or later a supervisor will; and if not, someone on the crew will.”
“That is, if you last long enough.” Fret added.
“How long has it been since you left the oven?” Quick asked.
To read more of the story, follow this link: A Word More About Chapter Three.
J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc