Did you know that today is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day? Isn't that just perfect timing for the next part of An Odd Tale?
"But who's nation?" you ask.
Don't be meticulous. That doesn't matter. (Translation: I haven't the faintest.)
So here's the first part of An Odd Tale if you haven't read it yet. Otherwise, here's the second installment (yeah, there will be a third).
An Odd Tale
Part the Sequel
Rocky climbs a tall tree for a better view. Grab a branch here. Swing up there. It’s nice mind-numbing actions like this that keep him from thinking too much about his fairy friend. He can’t believe the nerve of that—
No. He will be calm, not angry. Remember? Think about climbing. Then wait for that old giant Corn Stalk or whatever his name is to come by so that—
See, with the anger again? He has to be calm to get this done right. Rational. That’s what Skyler would say. Use tact, not brute force.
Yeah, says the Fairy Who Commandeth All the Winds. Sheesh.
A sharp snarl. His head jerks to peer between the tree leaves. A snap of twigs. He can’t see anything!
He’s caught the little giant now! Rocky climbs downward as fast he can. Most of the branches and grass hiding the huge pit are undisturbed. Funny. Corn Tall would’ve smashed through the whole covering. Still, there’s certainly something growling and thrashing down in the pit.
Oh, great. Not another animal.
Rocky sighs. That’s the fourth time today. How many false alarms until he gets a strike at ol’ Cornbread? He peers through the not-giant-sized hole in the pit covering.
Rocky steps back. A Beastie Wolf? Way out here? That could only be the Northern Beastie Wolf. Isn’t he supposed to be trapped in some enchanted wood?
Whatever. Just get him out.
Rocky waves. “Hulloo!”
“Get me out now!”
Oddball is trying to climb up the muddy pit walls, if you need to know. All he can think is losing sight of those flying wolves and Peril.
“Mind if I throw you a rope?” Rocky grins.
“Yeah.” Oddball glares at him. “If you could hurry with that. . .” He hears himself snarl. He hadn’t meant to snarl. It’s better to be nice to this guy, if he’s actually got a rope.
“Just a moment.” Rocky disappears.
Oddball scratches absently behind his ear. Something thumps him on the head. “Hey!”
A rope. Or. . . No, it’s a bunch of beanstalks twisted together. He glances upward. What wacko is he going to meet next?
Once above the ground, the guy’s lop-sided grin has officially gotten on Oddball’s nerves.
“Name’s Rocky.” He holds out a hand.
“Yeah, Oddball.” He skims the sky, but there’s not a flying wolf in sight.
“Would you at least be so kind as to help me fix the trap that you’ve ruined?” Rocky adjusts branches over the pit.
“Oh, I’m so sorry.” Oddball feigns a bow. “If there’d been a warning sign, I would’ve known better.”
“How do I catch a giant if I warn him about it?” Rocky gives him a puzzled look.
Oddball blows out a long sigh. He does help Rocky though. “Now look, did you happen to see some flying wolves with a girl come by?”
Rocky stares blankly at him. “I’m sorry, flying wolves?”
“Yes, I’m sure that’s not too much of a rarity for a story like this,” Oddball says through clenched teeth.
He very pointedly
does not look at me.
“Hm, so the wicked witch has released you from the enchanted wood?”
“No, but someone has stolen a friend of mine.”
Rocky gives another one of those lop-sided grins. He claps a hand on Oddball’s shoulder. Rocky thinks he’s in the best of luck.
Oddball on the other hand brushes Rocky’s hand off. He’s thinking that this has been the worst day of his life.
“Great!” Rocky says. “She stole one of my friends too.”
Oddball sits to scratch at his bur again. “And this is great, how?”
“We can work together, duh,” Rocky says. “In fact, now we don’t have to wait for old Cornball to come out of his cabin.”
“Who is Corn-whatever and why?”
On the way to the giant’s house, Rocky and Oddball swap stories.
Sort of. I mean, they are in the same story, but—
Oh, you know what I mean.
You see, Rocky’s friend Skyler, is a fairy. But she doesn’t have wings. She has a dragon. Yes, a dragon. But when you’re a Fairy that Commandeth All the Winds, who needs wings? Anyhow, these fairies can move the air on their own, but most of their power lies in their dragons. . .
It’s strange and confusing, as most fairies are.
So there’s a giant who is quite obsessed with small things. He has frog eyes, and a frog tongue that randomly snaps out at any nearby insects. He wants Skyler for his Giant Collection of Smallish Things as she is the smallest of all the wind fairies. He also has the power to turn things into stone. He happened to turn Skyler’s dragon into stone. So Rocky and Skyler were going to rescue her dragon when some flying wolves snatched little Skyler up (she was very disoriented without her dragon).
This is how Rocky knows that the wicked witch (who has flying wolves) and the froggish giant (who wants Skyler) are working together.
By the way, the giant’s name is
Frog-Tongued Giant, Oh His Ughness.
It’s all very easy. Giants are so very gullible. Rocky leans against the wall and twirls the keys to the giant’s dungeon. (All giants have dungeons, even those who live in “normal” houses.)
Corny whines behind the bars. “Make him go away! Oh make him leave, Jack!”
Rocky shakes his head. What is it with giants and calling everyone Jack? Rocky strides over to the door and raps on it.
Oddball howls and snarls on the other side, obligingly.
Well, actually, if you look on the other side of the door, you will see him sighing and letting out a sharp howl. He bangs his fists on the door and whimpers a bit, all with a roll of his eyes.
“So?” Rocky says. “That nasty Northern Beastie Wolf is here. I think I could persuade him to leave. Even though he’s very hungry and I’ve heard he’s particular to giants. But you’d have to help me first.”
“Yes, yes, Jack,” Cornhead said. “Just make the dog go away.” Cornhead happens be to very afraid of dogs. (
Which is totally not for
the convenience of this story.)
“I need to know about your cousin.”
Corn Brains blinks at him blankly. “Which one?” This is the drawback to dealing with giants. They’re all related.
“You know. The one who’s got the tongue.” Rocky snaps his fingers. What was the name again? “He’s got the long name?”
“Frog-Tongued Giant, Oh His Ughness?” Cornish asks.
“That’s the one.”
Corn Yellow lets out another wail, as does Oddball, thankfully.
“Just tell me, and I can make the Beastie Wolf disappear.”
“I can’t tell Jack about Frog-Tongued Giant, Oh His Ughness.” Corn Yellow’s eyes dart from side to side. “If I do, do you know what he will do?”
“Turn you into stone?” Rocky gives his voice a bored tone.
“Yeeeehaaaasssss!” Corn Pick wails again. A few tears drip out this time.
Oddball goes wild on the other side of the door. (In truth though, he’s stubbed his toe.)
“Listen,” Rocky says. “If you tell me then I can defeat him. He won’t bother you anymore.”
“Really?” The giant sniffles. “You would do that?”
“Yes.” Rocky’s voice becomes hard as iron. If it’ll save Skyler, than he’ll do it.
The giant wrings his huge hands together for a while. “He lives up the giant beanstalk.”
“Which one?” Rocky frowns. Hopefully, not the one near the Troll Bridge. That’s at least two days away.
“Just west of here. He’s working with. . .”
“The wicked witch.” Rocky waves him off. “I know.”
The giant shivers. “All her flying wolves.”
Rocky nods. If that FTG has done anything to—
“Huh, I’m sorry?” Rocky stops twirling the keys. What was he doing again?
Thinking rationally. Right. Of course.
“Okay.” Rocky gives the keys one more swing. “Take these and count to one hundred. Then we should be gone, got it?”
The giant gives Rocky a confused look.
“Twenty,” Rocky says. “Count to twenty.”
The look doesn’t change.
Peril is dropped to the ground. She quickly stands as the garden is soon filled with more winged wolves. She can’t fend them all off and she backs into. . .
A very life-like statue of a king running in horror. The garden is filled with more life-like masonry, immortalized with terror on their faces. The garden holds a heavy, decaying kind of scent. Akin to mulch. It’s a garden of briers and thorns, moss covered logs, and time standing still.
The dogs herd her toward a huge ruin of a mansion. Once she realizes this, Peril holds her head high and doesn’t even look at the dogs. She marches straight toward the mansion. She knows exactly who brought her here and she’s ready to have it out with that wicked witch.
It can’t be anyone else but the Frog-Tongued Giant, Oh His Ughness who the witch has teamed up with. Not even the wicked witch can turn people to stone.
The dogs strangely do not set foot up the porch steps as Peril pulls herself up them. (They are very tall stairs.)
What if they don’t even know she’s here yet? And since the dogs don’t seem too eager to enter the castle, she could sneak in and gain some sort of upper hand, perhaps?
And how is she to have an upper hand on the wicked witch and the FTG with ONLY A KNIFE? She thinks some dark thoughts that make me wish I’d listened to Oddball earlier.
She creeps along the mansion’s dilapidated wrap around porch. (Yes, mansions have porches, especially if they’re owned by a giant.) Soon she finds a huge crack in the wall. Well, huge for her. But for a giant, it’s nothing. Wearily she slips through the hole and –
“Well, well. Who is this, but dear Peril, herself?” The wicked witch snickers by a fireplace with a cauldron boiling over it. “And you thought yourself lucky you escaped me, did you?”
Something huge and fleshy snags Peril up. The FTG opens his hand and Peril stands on his palm. The giant brings her closer to his bulging crossed eyes.
“What do you want?” Peril puts her hands on her hips.
“Well.” The giant’s tongue suddenly snaps out of his mouth and snags a fly. In blink, he’s swallowed it. “The witch wants you, dear Jack maiden. Though whatever for it is impossible to say. What good can you do?”
“What does that matter?” The wicked witch hops about. “Turn her into stone, would you?” She climbs a ladder up to the roiling cauldron. It’s taller than her head. She dumps some foul-smelling herbs into it. “I already caught that fairy for you, so—“
“Oh, yes. The little it (“it” is giant speak for “fairy”) will make a beautiful addition to my collection,” the FTG says. “Don’t you think?” His eyes roll around in their sockets.
“To stone! To stone!” the witch screeches. “Turn her feet to stone, so she won’t ever get away escape again!”
“Tsk, Tsk,” the giant shakes his head. His tongue makes another flashing appearance before he continues. “Art takes time. Patience.” He holds up a finger.
“You turn things into stone,” the witch says bluntly.
“I must be in the frame of mind. There are preparations. You don’t just turn people into stone on a whim. The stars must be aligned!”
The witch grumbles. “Fine. Lock her up then, but you’d better do it tonight.”
“Of course, of course.”
Peril is dumped on the ground rather ungently. A sack is dashed over her head and her hands tied before she can reach for her knife again.
The witch drags her. “I still don’t understand why you cannot just—“
“What would you know?” FTG says. “Can you turn people into stone?”
This shuts the witch up.
A huge force pats Peril on the head. “I am sorry little Jack maiden for the discomfort. It is sad indeed that you shall be taken away. You would’ve been nice along my new it in the smallish collection.”
“Hey, she’s mine!” The witch says and tugs on Peril harder.
The FTG mumbles something airy under his breath. Peril is pretty sure it’s Pektiller.
“And stop with the poetry!” the witch screams again.
With a lot of awkward wrestling, Peril finds a way to retrieve her knife from her boot and cut her hands free.
The dungeon cell is rather gloomy. Some old, smelly straw is piled in one corner. There’s the keys on a ring on the far wall outside the cell. Worst of all, it feels like the whole cell is filled with ice cubes. And over in the corner is—
A bird cage?
She tiptoes to it and gasps. A fairy shivers violently inside it.
“Skyler,” Peril says. “Skyler?”
The little fairy lifts her head. “P-p-peril?”
Peril forces the bird cage bars apart. She gathers up Skyler. The fairy is so cold, she’s nearly blue.
“What happened?” Peril asks. But Skyler is too cold to answer. She may be unconscious. Peril digs in her satchel and finds some matches. She lights one and holds the flame close the little fairy.
Another match later, the fairy’s shivering has calmed. Peril gathers some of the straw into a small pile. When she lights it, it’s like a bonfire to the fairy.
You see, Peril and Skyler know each other. In fact, they were inseparable until the wicked witch stole Peril away.
Finally, Skyler seems to wake a little. “You got away.” She gives a weak little smile. “I was coming for you when—“ The fairy coughs.
Peril adds some more straw to the flame.
“The FTG turned Bolt into stone.” Bolt is Skyler’s dragon.
“What?” Peril says. “But then you—“
“I know.” Skyler sits up now. “That’s how the witch’s wolves caught me.”
“How long have you been here?”
“Well, we’re getting out now.”
“What happened to your hair?”
“Oh.” Peril gives her head a shake and the red fluff bounces. It used to be excessively long. “That’s how I escaped.” Peril shrugs. “I tied one end to the bed post and lowered myself out the tower window. Once on the ground I cut it.”
Skyler stands shakily. “I think I’m okay now.”
“Well, we have until tonight.”
“Must we wait until the last minute?”
So what do you think? See anymore fairytales in there? Have you joined Starting Sparks?