Unknown Date 2479 A.R.T
The day following our failed mission to the forest I had been involved in the most distressing and painful episode of toe stubbing I have endured in my one-hundred and seventy years, an event which led me in later years to founder a class to educate people in the importance of good toe spatial awareness and the dangers of hard, low-lying angular objects.
The day had started like any other. I had awoken at daybreak feeling revitalized and full of energy. The plight of the bunnies had soon begun to play on my mind however and so I had pondered their predicament as I’d taken a stroll to the comfy rock Po-po had introduced me with. I had greeted my brothers and sisters as I went, and had stopped to chat to some along my way. The topic of conversation that morning had mainly been the mystery of the disappearing forest though I do recall Magpie filling me in on his latest crystal finds, showing me a handful of sparkling gems. Along the way I had met an individual named Smoke and I had stopped to question him, curious about his activities. He had been striking two stones together, causing them to produce a spray of sparks.
Smoke had told me that he was knocking the fire out of the stones. He’d said that he’d done it before and had informed me that he needed some dry wood or moss for the fire to live in. He had been very vocal about the fire and had lectured me on its benefits. Fire is warm, he’d written. Fire is cozy. Fire is bright. Fire cooks sausage. Fire warms hands. Fire is pretty. Fire toasts bread. Fire smells good. Fire destroys evidence. He’d pointed to himself. Fire makes Smoke. Fire brings the phoenix back to life.
Though he had seemed pleasant enough I had found Smoke’s pyromania rather disturbing and I’d quickly said my goodbyes, deciding that I would try to keep Smoke away from any possible sources of ignition. The greatest thing Smoke ever taught me about fire was a gem of wisdom which he shared with me some years later. Fire destroys paper.
I recall greeting Po-po and his friend that morning before meeting Bubbles, Mistletoe and Sir Bartholomew I who had all been attempting to play hopscotch on a grid which they’d scratched onto the floor. I had been tempted to ask if I may join in with their game, hoping that some lightheartedness would help relax my mind and allow the solution to the bunnies’ dilemma to come to me. It had been then that I’d noticed Oats. He had been standing at the rim of our rocky ledge, examining an odd fleshy plant which clung to the rockface. I had remembered that I’d yet to question him about his extra digits and so I had begun to cross towards him.
It was then that it had happened.
My mind had been so filled with thoughts of bunnies, vanishing forests and green fingers that I had failed to notice the moss-covered rock which had been lurking in the blind spot created by the rim of my goggles. I had been walking with quite a determined stride and my smallest toe, which was only protected by a thin layer of leather, had been moving at terminal velocity on the pendulum of my leg when it had struck the rock.
Pain the likes of which I had never known before or since had engulfed me, devouring me feet first and I had crumpled to the floor in agony, clutching what at the time I had imagined to be the pulverized remains of my left foot. Knowing my plight all too well, Butter had rushed to my aid, losing her sunhat in the process. Unfortunately, she too had tripped on the offending rock, an ill-fated factor which had sent her crashing down upon me. Her elbow had bayonetted me in the stomach and her face had struck my already tortured toe with the force of a sledgehammer. A second wave of white-hot pain had burned the world away and I had been plunged into the dark, hushed world of unconsciousness.
To this day I have not regained feeling in that toe and I often suffer flashbacks of my ordeal.
I teach my toe spatial awareness classes fortnightly in a large hall of Bedlam called the Midnight Chamber. I currently have a class of sixteen, each of whom tell a similar tale of toe related tragedy. My student with the longest attendance is a middle-aged human male named Slippers. Slippers’ ordeal had begun when he’d got up in the early hours of the morning to visit his outhouse. He’d had one too many ales at his local tavern, The Comfy Snug, the night before and his mind had still been clouded. He had not seen the open bedroom door in the darkness and in his drunken stupor he had stubbed multiple toes at once, kicking them against both the doorframe and the leg of his dresser. The impact had been so great that three of his toenails on each foot had turned black and fallen off. Slippers had spent the next three weeks bedridden and unable to walk, an inconvenience which had cost him his job at the Hocus Factory warehouse in Gashanava. Following his ordeal Slippers had become a shadow of his former self. The loss of his job had caused him to have spiraling money problems which had cost him his home and ultimately his wife. He attributes his toe stubbing that day to his current mental state and he speaks very highly of my teachings. He now lives by a strict don’t drink and walk policy and he has minimized the amount of foot level objects within his personal chamber.
Though I am a fan of the Architect’s work as a whole I think his creation of ‘the toe,’ particularly the small toe was a terrible idea, an unneeded appendage which is both badly designed and poorly executed. Why any deity would choose to give his creations such a delicate appendage in such a prone position is beyond me. I think the hoof which he gifted to minotaurs, satyrs, fauns, horses and a myriad of other cloven hooved creatures is by far the better designed foot apparatus. Much like the appendix found in humans and indigelfs, small toes seemingly have no other propose than to cause pain and misery. If the Architect is indeed omnipresent as the Ochre Chronicles suggests then I hope one day he will drift into our library, take an interest in this diary and read the following message -
Dear Architect, please rethink your policy on the usage of little toes and end the suffering endured by countless generations of toe-equipped beings.
I understand that I am once again deviating from the purposes of my diary and I am sorry to lecture you on the dangers of toe stubbing but it is a subject that I feel very strongly about. To that end I have included some steps which may be taken to minimize if not eliminate the likelihood of you suffering an agonizing injury to your floor-based digits;
·Never wear sandals with an open toe, instead opt for steel toe capped boots.
·If you often awaken with the need to visit the outhouse during the night then consider wearing your boots to bed. Also have an emergency supply of candles or a good quality syphon orb which can help you spot foot-level objects which may be lurking in the darkness.
·Minimize the amount of floor-based furniture in your home. Remember any hard object is a potential cause of toe stubbing.
·Alcohol can severally affect your sense of toe spatial awareness. If you intend to drink then sit or lie down. Do not risk walking.
·Avoid public places which have an overabundance of steps or bollards.
·If you become agitated with an inanimate object please count to ten and resist the urge to kick it.
·If frolicking through autumn leaves or snow be mindful of natural hazards such as rocks and fallen branches which may be concealed beneath them.
·Wearing multiple pairs of socks can offer extra padding in the event of a stubbing.
·If the unthinkable happens and you do stub your toe then attempt to breathe through the pain, think of loved ones and try to remain calm. I do not advise that you attempt to stand and leave the scene as this could potentially lead to further stubbing. Instead lie still and wait for help to arrive.
·If the toe is bleeding do not attempt to stem the flow of blood by wrapping it in any form of paper wadding. This could potentially turn a bad situation into a deadly one.