Well, this will either be seen as a treat or another case of me just being lazy. I like to think that it's just funny after a video of two holographic campers being violently beaten to death by a space-hockey player to follow up with the first chapter of my fairy tale novella. If you like it feel free to buy it on Amazon and validate my existence.
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Gently Down the Stream
Little Sophie Weaver lay in her bed with a yucky tummy and a runny nose as she had done for two not very fun days now. Being sick and getting off school always sounded like a good idea when you are eight years old, when they talked about it at school everyone seemed to forget the actual part about being sick. The dizziness was awful and there was a small fortress of snotty tissues building up around her bed.
There was little to entertain during the day when you had to stay wrapped up, there were no cartoons on television just some people fighting on a stage, and some guy with mad hair looking at antiques. Sophie hated antiques, why did people pay so much for old junk when you could just go out and get new stuff that looked good?
Adults could be quite silly sometimes.
But not daddy, he called her his Little Buttercup because of her blonde hair; he made her feel strong and protected. She didn’t see daddy so often these past few days, he had been away from home a lot recently though he had been with her more since she got ill. As long as daddy was there she knew that everything would be alright. He needed to be strong because mummy cried a lot. She spent a lot of time with Sophie, helping her and looking after her, but sometimes it felt like it was too much.
She was happy now to be tucked up in her bed with her funny green nightlight glowing in the corner next to her gently bubbling fish tank.
As she cuddled her Floppsy Bunny her eyes were starting to get heavy and she could feel herself starting to drift off to sleep. She kissed Floppsy on the head and hoped that her tummy would feel better tomorrow; she was getting lonely away from all of her friends.
A thump came from somewhere at the end of her bed like a toy had been knocked over or a pillow had fallen.
Sophie didn’t think much of it until she heard a slightly squeaky voice say ‘Whoopsie’.
“Is somebody there?”
That was a silly question to ask she thought, of course somebody was there, he had said ‘Whoopsie’.
“Oh my,” a tin face popped up at the end of the bed, “the last step is always a bit higher than you think.”
A small tin man with an oversize pointed nose and a rakish tricorne hat climbed up onto her bed and sat down, crossing spindly legs that ended in oversize shoes and leaned gloved hands on his ball shaped knees.
“You would not think that would be tiring,” he wiped his brow, “but let me tell you...”
“I think I have a fever,” Sophie said, unsure if this was real or a dream, “who, or what are you?”
“Oh right, you do not know me,” he backflipped into the air like his legs were on springs before doing a cute little curtsy, “I am Walker, knight and guardian to the Weaver. That would be you.”
“Weaver is my surname, my name’s Sophie.”
“Yes, Ms Weaver,” he did another little bow and Sophie saw a large brass key sticking out of his back, like an old windup tin soldier or something.
Crawling out of her bed sheets she touched one finger to his pointy big nose and gave a gentle push that made him fall to his backside with a cry of ‘Hey, quit it.’
“You’re made of metal?” She looked at her finger, his skin had felt cold and hard.
“Do not be so judgemental,” he crossed his arms and his robot lips did their best impression of a trout-pout, “it is what is on the inside that counts.”
“Oh, sorry,” she hadn’t meant to offend him, “like a soul?”
“No,” he sprung from one foot to another like a hyperactive Jack Russell terrier, “clockwork. I am a Clankydoodle.”
“That’s not a word.”
“A robot guardian,” he flexed his arms like a body builder, the thin bit of tin actually seemed to bulge, “not as impressive as my big brother though, I just cannot get the Austrian accent right.”
“But why are you here,” Sophie sat on her feet, “why would I need a guardian?”
Walker climbed up the bed to sit opposite her with his legs crossed, he smiled and pushed his hat brim back with one finger like a cowboy about to slur some greeting.
“I am to protect your Lucining,” he said.
“I don’t think that’s a word either,” she crossed her arms, “what’s a lucining supposed to be?”
“You will find out in about three seconds,” he stood, Sophie watched as he came to stand beside her with his hands out and palms open.
Her eyes got heavy and she tipped forward, Walker caught her and gently laid the little eight year old Sophie back in her bed and tucked her in. He placed a hand on her forehead and felt how warm it was.
“See you soon.”
Sophie awoke in near darkness staring at what looked to be the inside of a drain pipe that had not been cleaned in a very long time. The ground beneath her was soft and spongy, like moss, and as she sat up she realised that it was moss.
Looking around she saw that she lay in a small cave and the scraggly bits hanging from the ceiling were actually small roots poking through from the plants above. The dim light of cave was by a small purple thing glowing in the corner, like some weird kind of firefly or glow bug.
“Good morning,” Walker jigged happily through the cave entrance, Sophie looked past him to the starry night time sky and wondered if there was a screw loose in his clockwork.
“Why am I in a cave,” she was pretty certain scary stories started like this, “where did you take me?”
“The Kingdom of Trancelvania,” he said cheerily, “we are not far from the village of Cuddleton.”
“And how did I-oh!”
Sophie stood up and banged her head on the ceiling, which caused her to fall backwards onto her bum, she looked up at the roof and it was far too high for her to have hit it.
Getting onto all fours to stand she noticed that her arms had gotten a lot longer and more slender than the slightly chubby and awkward little things she remembered. As she rose the ceiling got close very quickly and she found that she had to crouch.
“I’ve got bigger,” she said as she patted her arms, chest, and legs, then checked her bum to make sure that she wasn’t massive but it was hidden under layers of lace in a green ball gown, “what’s going on? Why am I in a gown?”
“You are the Weaver,” Walker shrugged with a slight whirring of gears, “you must see yourself as a princess.”
“Princess?” She gave the dress a little test swish, “I didn’t know I was so precious.”
Sophie realised that it was not just her body that had changed but her voice too, she sounded like her mummy. As she stepped carefully out of the cave so as to not bang her head again she felt a smile spread across her face as she was able to stretch out her arms and raise her head high.
In the end Sophie couldn’t help but laugh, this was wonderful, it was amazing to be able to stretch so far. She had always thought it would be scary to be so far above the ground and that big people must have being walking around with this constant dread of tipping over. Now that she was here though it all felt so natural and being small by comparison felt clumsy, and well, a little bit silly.
She fell backward into a bed of moss and kicked her feet into the air, giggling at how long her legs and arms were.
“Did that bump on the head drive you mad?”
“No,” Sophie sat up with a broad smile across her now elegant face, “I’ve never been this big before, it’s amazing. How did you do it?”
“I did not,” Walker offered her a hand, as he pulled her up he seemed to grow in stature as well, “you did, you are the one weaving the world around you.”
“I’m doing it,” Sophie looked puzzled as she was able to look Walker in the eye as she had done when she was the height of an eight year old, “how?”
“I do not know,” he shrugged his shoulders and then spotted her toy rabbit on the ground outside the cave, as he passed it to her he said, “you are the Weaver, I am just your guardian.”
Walker then drew a long and curved sword, the type that Sophie recognised from all the old pirate shows, a cutlass she was pretty sure they were called. He checked that the blade was sharp by slicing through a weird purple plant that looked like a carrot and deflated with a farting sound, and smelled just as bad.
Then as he sheathed the blade he rolled his shoulders in a way that caused his clockwork insides to click and then jumped back and forth from one foot to the other. She noticed that the key on his back had gone soft and was hanging like a rather fetching bronze cape.
“Well, I’m wound up and ready to go,” Walker stretched his shoulders back and struck out his chest, “we should make a start, we have to find the bravest and strongest heroes of the land.”
Sophie never noticed that the firefly that had lit the cave was actually a small sprite who was watching on with interest. When the girl left to follow the clockwork man the sprite let her light dim and she became the pixie that she was, she watched the Weaver walk off and she smiled to the twinkling stars.
“Walker,” Sophie caught up with the tin man and stopped him in his tracks, she looked nervously at Floppsy Bunny in her hands as she knew that she wasn’t going to like the answer to this question, “why am I here?”
“To save the Kingdom of course,” he said with an oblivious smile, and Sophie felt like she needed to go to the bathroom.
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