A Fantasy Adventure
was as bright as Glasonbury Bridge.
Trees of various sizes and shapes littered a pond under a bridge. The stone bridge was bereft of any foliage; it had been constructed during the times of Morrander and the armies of Coranderrick when times had required quick access to all parts of Glasonbury and the Sskisen region. Those times were long gone and the once gushing water now made way for an almost stagnant pond that didn’t justify the stone edifice. The bridge stood proud, the pond meek, but something interesting was happening in the silver waters.
Dilbert Spoonwiter liked to laugh, especially at himself but not while he worked. Most of the town’s folk had just assumed that Dilbert was a bridge troll. He wore loose clothes; his pants were tattered and permanently stained, his shirt was fashionably without the top buttons, never ironed and hung from his body without form. He didn’t like the fashion of the day and had decided a long time ago that he would wear the same clothes for the rest of his life or as long as they stayed together. His jacket was an intricate weave of light brown with elbow patches slightly darker – actually much darker. He didn’t wear shoes because he liked to feel the dirt between his toes; it was also the way he knew when trouble brewed.
Of course he wasn’t a bridge troll although he did live under the bridge. The slope under the bridge had become less cumbersome over the years since the water subsided and the small pond had remained constant for the last twenty-five years. It provided shelter from the elements and a place to stow his meager belongings. He didn’t believe in ‘having things’ as he thought that just led to quarrels; and confrontations were his least favourite thing, after the Psrion family, whom were always bothering him and frequently asked him to move on. He ignored their pleas expecting that one day soon they would depart for richer pastures.
Glasonbury was a small hamlet that sat in the very North of Sskissen along the edge of a pine forest. The forest was the biggest pine forest in all of Coranderrick at almost one hundred and fifty hectares. The main street of Glasonbury was home to many a store; places to eat, drink and a central Hub where Glasburians could store their grievances for public access – once a fortnight the Hub with its daub and wattle walls would open the oak and steal doors to take in whomever had a grievance to air. Books lined the solitary room while a giant wooden table stood in the center; and it was on this day – the day of trials that the latest of leather bound journals as thick as a man’s thigh was opened – its lock removed and a quill and ink placed at the ready.
Although Glasonbury was part of Sskissen, it followed a different path. The wars of old took a heavy toll on the empire; centuries passed in which families were divided and the ordinary lives of most people in Sskissen could never recover from the losses. This is how the Glasburians had grown aloof to their fellow countrymen; a group of elders had decided that war, crime and general unhappiness was not for them and the town of Glasonbury was founded on said principles. It would forever take responsibility for peace and keep the citizens of the small town happy. Cruelty, malice and disputes were not accepted and so the Hub had been set up as a repository of anger and ill feeling, of which, any grievance could be aired without any fear of repercussions.
Dilbert awoke to the incessant chirping of a few sparrows and one baby magpie. The baby magpie thought that the sparrows were its parents, following them around with its head tilted to the sky and beak open while at the same time squawking like a child crying for breast milk. Dilbert had nowhere to go, just like most other days. It was only when he found himself on a walk past the Porter’s farm house that he’d hear the cry of Leslie Porter - who’d be standing on her adequately sized porch, holding a post and leaning forward trying to reach Dilbert - he knew he had something definite to do.
He brushed himself down. Small leaves and dust had settled over the night and his face, smutty with remnants of dry mud left him feeling stiff. He walked over to the pond-looking river and bent down to splash some water on his face. The caked-on mud mask washed off, spilling to the ground dirtying the silver waters. As he opened his eyes and his view of the world refreshed, he welcomed the view of a duck paddling slowly on the far side near the other side of the bridge.
He remained squatting, not wanting to startle the elegant creature. Dilbert loved animals and welcomed any interaction that nature prevailed upon him. He failed to see a swirling motion that was beginning in the very middle of the waters. It began slowly, gently twirling and when it became quite fierce, he noticed the movement, only because the duck had to paddle with quite an effort as it leaned forward - struggling. Eventually it made its way to the bank where it walked onto the sloppy mud and up into the brush.
Dilbert had never seen the waters so agile and especially in this circular motion, turning as if a twister had gotten hold of the water and wouldn’t let go, but there was no wind, none at all. He held up his hand to feel for any breeze; nothing.
The water swirled as if a plug had been removed from a bath, becoming intense with a spiral motion, except it wasn’t being drained like a bath; the violence of the suction drew in leaves, sticks, and anything else that was in the vicinity. Dilbert looked on in abject horror. What had happened to his little still and silent home? He wondered if this was magic, some attempt by the Psrion’s to evict him from his home.
Dilbert stood up, deciding that to stay sitting while the water was so fierce might not be the best vantage point in case it got out of control. He tried to walk away from under the bridge, but only made it several feet before he could feel a force, beyond him, higher than him. His body stiffened. He couldn’t go forward or back; trying to turn his body in different directions, moving his legs was useless.
He decided not to fight this thing that obviously wanted him to stay put. Just as he did, he was released and his tensed muscles relaxed. His body fell to the ground. Now, a wind appeared from nowhere, as if a switch, depressed by God had been flicked. He noticed the wind was mimicking the circular motion of the water, starting off slight and becoming a gale-force in no time at all. Dilbert’s hair waved about in the wind attacking his face.
“What do you want? Who are you?” Dilbert muttered; his words lost in the strong wind. He could hardly hear his own voice. He looked toward the water and it had become still; the duck returned from the brush to swim, preferring to get away from the winds that now circled only around Dilbert.
Suddenly, as quick as it had begun, the wind stopped. Leaves dropped to the ground, dust settled and his hair fell back into its normal disposition. Dilbert didn’t understand what had happened; it couldn’t have been a freak of nature, it had to have been perpetrated by someone. He clenched his fist and turned his head. He had control of his body. Looking around, under the bridge, across the water and to the other side of the bank, he couldn’t see anything or anyone.
He looked up. On top of the bridge, was a woman; he didn’t recognize her from the town and he knew everyone that lived in Glasonbury. Her hair was ragged, long and she wore a hood. Her long gown flowed down to the ground almost concealing the walking stick she used to prop up her body and move through the street.
The old lady squinted, her face belied her age. Her gaze was only broken by the sound of horses echoing from the north. She was gone. Dilbert’s eyes hadn’t left her, as she stood on the bridge looking down on him. She had just disappeared. A witch, he thought; that explains it.
What would a witch want with him; he was nobody, and even the Psrion’s wouldn’t have stooped as low as to set a witch upon me, he thought. He had a lot to think about today, more than he usually had in a month.