Eating Clouds

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Chapter 5: Eddy

Chapter 5: Eddy

The little man coughed and wheezed. His enormous round belly moved up and down and his round cheeks became more red by the second.

Not without effort, Ozzy managed to climb out of the water, and carefully lay the little man in his hands in the grass, where it cried a little further. A little worried, Ozzy sat down on his knees. “Are you alright?”

The little man opened his eyes a little and at that moment he found out Ozzy was there too. He widened his thick eyes and sat up straight. Instinctively he pushed his glasses back on his nose, even though there wasn’t much to see through all the drops and spots. The little man opened his mouth as if wanting to say something, but he stayed silent.

“I’m sorry!” Ozzy quickly said. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I won’t hurt you or anything.” Afraid he did something wrong, the boy moved back. The little man shook his head exactly three times. Then crawled up his own feet, looking up to the boy. Nervously he folded his hands and quickly bowed his head, as if the stare had been long enough. Without looking him in the eyes, the little man mumbled a small ‘thank you’ to Ozzy.

The boy could only stare at the little man, his eyes narrowed. He had brown curly hair which was glued to his face because of the river water, and his eyes were really dark, almost black. Just like his head his belly was really round, like a marble. It made him look like a circle on two sticks.

For clothes he wore a green jumper with two giant knops on each chest, and a red sweater. His little shoes were shining brown.

The little man lifted his head again, inspecting Ozzy with something which suggested something anxious. Ozzy stared back, thinking of the ladybug which he’d met earlier. After a while, the little man coughed awkwardly, and folded his hands behind his back. “The water’s dirty, ain’t it?”

Ozzy blinked of confusion, surprised by the sudden question. “Uh, well, I actually thought it looked beautiful. Very clear, and fresh. It taste great as well.”

The little man frowned. “Tastes? Whatta yah mean, ‘taste’? You didn’t drink it, did ya?”

Ozzy nodded slowly and uncertainly, thinking he might’ve done something wrong. “Well, I did. I did drink the water…is that wrong?”

The little man squinted his eyes and seemed to ignore the question completely. “May I ask you whatcha doin’ here? I mean, a person such as you…must be a long way from home, doncha think?”

Ozzy didn’t quite understand what the little man was getting at. Maybe he lived in the forest and never seen a human before. The boy, in fact, had never seen a man this tiny. “I’m looking for something which is far away from home, actually.”

The little man nodded and smiled. His curvy cheeks curled up. “As I thought. I’ve never seen someone of your kind this far into the forest…” He took his specs from his nose and sighed at the wet glasses. “You got anything like a napkin on you or somethin’?”

Ozzy dug deep in his pockets, but sadly shook his head. The little man looked around thoughtfully, when his eyes locked at a bush not far away from the riverbank. He hopped over, and roughly pulled a leaf from one of the branches. “Cleanherb. Works for me.”

He sat down in front of Ozzy, cleaning his specs. He looked up at the boy, who was still staring in awe. “So, what’s your name? I’m Eddy, by the way. Eddimeus, to be exact. But you can call me Eddy.”

Ozzy crossed his legs, making himself comfortable in the grass. “My name’s Ozzy.”

Eddy nodded, again three times in a row. With a smile he placed his glasses back on his knows, his round head seemed to become even more like a marble.

“Ozzy? Such a strange name. Never heard it before.” With a frown he folded the leaf and put it carefully in his chest pocket. He opened his mouth, as if he wanted to say more, but then blinked confused. Eddy looked upwards, and then slowly searched his head with his hands. In a second his face changed from playful red to pale as a sheet and his eyes screamed panic. He turned around swiftly, turning and turning. He didn’t realize it himself, but he pushed his specs yet again back further up his nose, basically planting it in his fat face.

“Oh no, oh no…” he mumbled in a trembling voice.

“What’s wrong?” Ozzy asked, as Eddy started running around, waving his hands in the air. The boy followed the little man with his eyes, a frown on his face. After some seconds Eddy stopped abruptly with what he was doing, but instead threw his head back dramtically.

“My hat! My hat!” he screamed in total panic. He placed his hands over his eyes and made another turn. “I lost my damn hat! Oh no, oh Lord…not good, not good.”

Ozzy realized then he still had a little hat on his thumb and immediately felt guilty. The marble-like little man had totally lost his cool over that. “Erm, Eddy?”

Eddy looked between his fingers, swallowing back a sob. When his eyes locked at the little object on the boy’s thumb they widened, and almost popped out of his round head. His purple hat hung there around the nail, as if it waited for its owner to pick it up. The round little man slowly removed his hands from his eyes and sniffed his nose. Ozzy waited patiently, afraid the little man would hate him now and call him names like ‘thief’ or ‘traitor’. Then the little man screamed, and the boy bowed his head in shame.

“Hurray! You found my hat! You found it!”

The marble-man hurried over to Ozzy and held out his hands, like a dog waiting to receive a cooky. The boy carefully removed the small hat from his nail and placed it in the hands of the owner. Despite his guilt the boy smiled at the happiness of the little man. “Don’t lose it again, alright?”

Eddy shook his head (three times) in shock, as if the boy had insulted him. “No, ain’t happenin’! If I lose my hat, I’ll lose my gramps! He’ll be mad at me for sure!”

Eddy voice then faded out, as if someone turned down the volume. He turned his eyes to the sky in shock, as if he remembered something important. Ozzy followed his eyes, but couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. “Oh Lord, gramps! I gotta go back to the village! Right away!”

“Village…?” Ozzy asked curiously. Eddy started walking away from the riverbank without answering, so the boy quickly got on his feet and followed him. “You live in a village?”

“Yes, of course!” Eddy answered, again seemingly insulted. “Everyone lives in a village, neh? Otherwise none of us can survive, not alone. Well…your kind, maybe. But mine ain’t.”

“My kind?” Ozzy repeated, and stood still in his tracks. Eddy kept walking, climbing over rocks bigger than hi mand jumping over roots. He had put his hat back in place, but while moving he kept one hand on top of it, pushing it down so he wouldn’t lose it again. With every step he took drops of river water splashed around from his wet clothes and hair.

Ozzy stared at the little man for a while. If he lived in a village, he might knew where the little elves lived. Unless he was a gnome, or a small troll. The boy read they were real archenemies, and always at war. If Eddy was a gnome, he probably wouldn’t know where to find the little elves. The elves used special magic to hide their villages from intruders and enemies, especially from gnomes.

“Eddy?” Ozzy asked carefully. The little man glanced over his shoulder, but kept walking. “What are you exactly?”

Eddy’s pace slowed down a little, as a reaction to the, in his eyes, odd question. “What I am?”

“Yeah, you know…maybe you’re a goblin….or a gnome? A troll, maybe?”

The little man stopped with whatever he was doing. He froze completely. He still had his back turned to the boy. Ozzy saw the little man folded his little hands in little fists. His whole marble body trembled, and when he turned around slowly he showed his angry face. The round cheeks hung downwards, his dark eyes spit fire, his mouth showed sharp teeth. Then he started roaring to Ozzy in a language he did not understand.

“QOERKE SAVALSA KANTALOPA VALASARASSA!” and other phrases. Ozzy jumped back in surprise, holding his hands in front of him, as if protecting himself form a deadly animal. The little man switched back to the language the boy could understand.

“A gnome?! Did you just called me a gnome? How dare you!”

Ozzy swallowed his dry throat, feeling uneasy by the change of atmosphere the little man carried out. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean it like that!” He didn’t really know what he did mean.

Suddenly, the little man jumped up from his place in the grass. What sounded was a loud bang, like fireworks. White dust fell down from the sky, and a weird aroma filled the air. Something Ozzy had never smelled before. Fresher than the forest, fresher than the water.

When the dust disappeared, Ozzy widened his eyes in awe. Eddy, the little man, was floating in the air before him.

He couldn’t believe what he was seeing. From Eddy’s back two small mint green-shaded wings grew, which moved around slowly. They glimmered in the sunlight, showing off the curly patterns imbedded in the new limbs. Eddy crossed his arms proudly, looking down at the little boy below him.

“I’m an elf, you two legged freak!” he said, making a gracious turn, showing the wings again. He was spinning faster and faster, till he seemed blurry like wrinkles in the river. The drops which had hidden themselves in his clothes flew around and landed in Ozzy’s face, who watched the little man as if he was doing a performance. He even applauded.

“That’s amazing! How do you do that?”

Eddy stopped, but instead of answering he held up his hand. He made a gesture he couldn’t speak at the moment, swallowing something down his throat. “I should stay off the pearlemon juice before work…”

He landed carefully back on his spot on the ground. There was the sound of bells, a soft sweet twinkle, and with that his wings disappeared, leaving only a tiny glimmering in the air around him. Eddy stroke his now dried curly hair with a satisfied expression on his round face.

Ozzy waited patiently for the little man to talk, curious about what more he had to say. He didn’t want to ask about it, afraid he might say something wrong again. He’d never felt such discomfort.

To Gerald he dared to say anything, but Eddy just had this aura around him which made him feel humble.

Was this little man really…?

“Yes, I am an elf” Eddy announced with the same pride as before, even though he seemed to feel a little sick after all that spinning. The little elf felt like he could really show off his talents and could prove himself to someone who actually cared. He wanted to enjoy this feeling a little longer, before returning to the village. Seeing the little boy’s uncertain expression however bumped his confidence.

“But…if you’re a little elf…well, I thought little elves…the book said…” Ozzy didn’t know how to put it. Eddy just didn’t look like the pictures. The little elves were handsome and beautiful and shiny and slim and smart. Eddy seemed…different.

“The book said the little elves wear clothes made of leafs and flowers and…”

Eddy nodded three times. “That’s true in some ways. But…you see, the thing is…I ain’t got the body for such clothes…”

Ozzy nodded as well. “I understand. Sorry for calling you a gnome. I promise to never do that again.”

The little elf nodded three times, again, and slimed happily. Finally, someone who listened. “I’ll accept your apology, legs.”

“Can I ask you something?” the boy carefully said. Eddy nodded slowly. Three times. “I also read little elves do magic. I mean, ‘use’. What kind of magic do you use?”

The elf crossed his arms contemptuously. “I figured it was obvious. I had higher expectations for you, mate; I use Maker Magic. To make wings. Because…” He suddenly paused, as if he’d said too much. He hesitated, but decided to continue. “I ain’t got wings of my own. That’s why I use magic. So I can fly, like the others.”

“Elves live in a village, right?” Ozzy continued his questioning. He tried not to get too pumped. It was all so exciting, he finally had the chance to go to the little elves’ village.

If Eddy wanted to help him, of course. He could only hope for that to happen.

“Yes. My village’s called ‘Gilmore’” Eddy explained. “We live close to a hollow tree. Our ancestors did that themselves and it’s now our city hall where the jobs are bein’ announced every day. We’ve built our houses close to the HT, from braided grass. What a work, lemme tell you. I’m always so depressed when I’ve to help build them. I love explorin’, but they never lemme go. Although I tried sneakin’ after one of the squads, but the bloody general found out. Lord Hal, our leader, always puts me with Gardenin’. Not that I can’t do it, but it just gets really boring after a while.

Sometimes, they lemme do Fruit Search, mostly pearmelons. Today, I’d to make due with banapples, which’re hard to find. But we’re not allowed to return to Gilmore without. Lord Hal won’t be happy with me today, and I’ll never get to go explorin’. Maybe I ain’t get to do anything anymore, or use my magic. And gramps…oh, he’ll burn my eyebrows.” A clear watchable shiver went down the little man’s spine. “And I can’t go to the Harvest Festival. But I’ve been practising with dancin’ since forever! I can’t miss out!”

The little elf seemed to panic once again. Ozzy sat down in the grass in front of the elf, feeling a little sorry for him.

“Shall I help you?” he asked friendly. The elf, on the other hand, frowned.

“With what? Dancing?”

Ozzy shook his head, laughing. He opened his mouth to explain the elf had clearly misundersood him, but he didn’t get the chance.

“This ain’t somethin’ to laugh at, legs!” Eddy spit angrily.

“The fruit!” Ozzy said loudly. “Can I help you with finding the fruit?”

He’d never seen a pearmelon or banapple, he’d never even heard of it before. Or read about it, which was a first.

Eddy’s face brightened. “You mean it? But…you needed to find somethin’ yourself, didn’tcha? That’s why you’re far away from home, you said. Don’t you’ve to go back to your rocks or somethin’?”

Ozzy shrugged. “The thing I was trying to find was the little elves’ village. I want to learn magic.” He frowned. “Use. Learn to use magic.” A smile cracked around his lips. “I’ll become the best wizard ever!”

Eddy placed a hand on his round chin. “I see. You’ve come to the right place, mate. I’ll take you to Gilmore!”

“Really?” Ozzy almost screamed.

The elf nodded. “Lord Hal’ll be pumped to meet you. And after all those things you’ve done for me, this’s the least I can do.”

The human boy picked up the little elf from the ground, dancing around. “Thank you! Thank you so much!”

Eddy desperately tried not to lose his hat again as Ozzy swung him around in his hands and jumped around like an idiot. The elf managed to escape between the fingers and fireworks sounded.

He wiped his forehead while lightly hovering in front of the boy. “You’re welcome!”

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