(This excerpt from the “The Cookie” is the intellectual property of Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc) – continued from A Word More About Chapter Three.
“There’s no water down here!” Quick insisted. “You’re leading us into the witch’s trap!”
“Get out of his way, Quick.” Sly said. “You’re starting to sound like Fret.”
“That’s not true!” Fret and Quick said in unison.
Sly, Snap, and Bleak, began laughing at their companions’ irritation. It was again Dab’s turn to be amazed. He had never heard laughter from anyone, except the witch; and he certainly had never laughed, or ever had reason to laugh, in his life. He had no sense of what to make of it; except that they were enjoying themselves, even though no one was being hurt or killed.
“What are you laughing about?” Dab asked.
“Quick’s becoming a worrier, just like Fret!” Sly said, laughing again.
“I’m not a worrier,” Fret complained, “I just like to be careful.”
Quick said, “I am worried. I’m sure that you’re under a witch’s spell. You’ve all seen how sneaky she is! After she’s had a bite of you, she can even take your shape! And if the witch isn’t down here herself, you can be sure that if she really wants Dab; she’s already sent beasts down here to get him. And she commands creatures that can easily catch us all.”
“That’s true,” Fret said. “And supervisor Goodie did say the witch always has someone watching us.”
“Not always,” Sly said. “No one was watching us when we escaped, to come down here.”
“Someone could have been watching,” Bleak said.
“No.” Sly said, firmly. “When we left the digging, there was no one looking. I made sure of that.”
“I’m sure you’re right, Sly,” Quick said, as he stared at Dab. “That’s why I believe the witch sent him down here to look for us.”
“We’re wasting time,” Dab said. “I’m not sure the witch care’s about any of you. Or if she’s even aware you’re down here. But I’m certain that she wants this stone back; and wants it badly! She saw me fall with it, and I’m sure that soon enough she will come to claim it. But I’m not going to wait around for her to get here.”
“And what can you do to stop her from catching you anyway, and taking that stone back?” Fret asked. “Where will you go that she can’t find you? What can you do to avoid her?”
Dab hesitated before answering. He still wasn’t sure whether or not any of this crew was helping the witch. On the other hand, he couldn’t tell where he was, or how to get out of the mine. Nor did he have any understanding of what town was, or where it might be found. If these workers could tell him anything useful, it was worth taking the chance to find out.
“Somehow I have to find a way out of the mine,” Dab said. “Supervisor Snak believed there was someone in town who was willing to help him learn how to use this magic stone.”
“Why do you say that?” Sly asked.
“I overheard him say that to the witch, before she killed him.”
“Now why would he tell her anything?” Quick wondered.
“He was holding this stone when he said it,” Dab answered. “He believed it could protect him from her.”
“Not hard to guess how well that worked,” Bleak muttered.
“I still don’t understand. What is a town? Snap asked.
“I’m not sure,” Dab said, “But it must be a place, of some kind, that is outside of the mine.”
“I’ve never heard of anything ‘outside’ of the mine, except the witch’s kitchen.” Sly insisted. “Are you sure what you heard Snak say is really true?”
“No, I’m not sure. I only hope it’s true.” Dab said. “Because if it isn’t, then it means there’s no escape for any of us. And that we’re all doomed no matter what we do. Sooner or later the witch, or one of her pets, will find us; and that will mean our end. We can’t hide in this mine forever.”
“We can try.” Sly said. “The mine is vast, and we are small. It may be we can stay hidden here, for a very long time. Anyway, I don’t believe she will send a servant to get that stone; her pets are much too valuable to her.”
“I’m not sure about that.” Bleak said. “It’s clear these magic stones have great power. They may mean more to her than even her pets. And since it’s her mine; she likely understands what is in it even better than anyone else.”
“The witch is not aware of everything,” Sly said. “I’ve seen her make mistakes before. We just have to be careful.”
“What are we going to do about him?” Quick demanded, as he stared at Dab.
J. A. Stubbs, Editor-In-Chief
Forgotten Lore Publishing, llc