Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for the ‘Cautionary Tales’ Category

I have a confession…..

with 16 comments

I have a confession to make.  I feel safe in saying this here because I KNOW you guys, (Anita Marie), will not blow razzies at me or shun me for revealing myself…. anyway, (deep breath), here it is…..  (gulp)….okay, here it is…..


THERE! I said it.  It’s out there! 

Yes, I watch reality TV…. these days I have been watching Survivor, Ghost Hunters, and Deadliest Catch. 

I know, I know– you are all repulsed and ready to throw me out of the SFC.  I don’t blame you.  I know your faces are buried in your hands and you are sobbing, “Why, Lori, for all that is good and decent, why?!”

I don’t know. 

Watching reality shows is so destructive to the creative spirit.  It sucks up time that would best be used for writing or making compositions.  It does not teach me the art of story-telling.  It does not teach me the art of creating snappy dialogue as every other word on these wretched shows is a bleeped out Anglo-Saxon invective.  Reality shows do not inspire, nor do they instruct.  They are the highest pinnacle of the visual media dung pile.

I know, you are crying aloud right now: “Lori, stop this madness!  Turn from your evil ways! Repent, repent!  You are headed for destruction! ”

Yes, you are right.   I will, I MUST…..  Thank heaven for the summer.  No more new episodes of Survivor until the Fall.  I know I can dry out by then.  Yes, I can.  Yes, I WILL.

Is there a 12-Step for Reality Show junkies?

I hope so.

L.Gloyd (c) 2008


Written by Pelican1

May 14, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Posted in Cautionary Tales


with 4 comments

Photograph(s) copyright Shaun O’Boyle

story by

a.m. moscoso


It was me and two of my friends and we were going into a room that’s hidden behind a false wall.

We were back there because I promised to show them a workroom I found after an earthquake hit Seattle in 2001 and after going into it that one time I never went back into it again.

Until today.

We took a flashlight and forced the door open and standing as close together as we could inside of that small doorway we looked inside.

It was the same as when I looked into it just over seven years ago- the same coffee cup was still on the little shelf right by the door-

the same cup in the same place where someone left it in the 1970’s.

And then I said, ” there’s a light switch here” …and I felt along the door frame and my friend reached over my shoulder and hit the switch and nothing happened.

” No here.” I said.

I hit the switch and a row of lights went on for few seconds and then went off and the little room was dark and my other friend said, ” Come on let’s go.”

I looked to where my friend was shining his light on the light switch.

From the pale stream of light from his flashlight you could see where the wires from the light switch had been corroded and completely pulled out of the wall.

And then the lights went out.

We backed up and out of the room and then my friend pulled the door shut and kicked it back into it’s frame. He tried to open it and it was jammed shut and my other friend said.

” We did NOT see that.”

But as we left the building the feeling I had the feeling that maybe we had let something out…and then tonight I saw this news article:

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – Scientists listening to underwater microphones have detected an unusual swarm of earthquakes off central Oregon, something that often happens before a volcanic eruption — except there are no volcanoes in the area.

Scientists don’t know exactly what the earthquakes mean, but they could be the result of molten rock rumbling away from the recognized earthquake faults off Oregon, said Robert Dziak, a geophysicist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Oregon State University.

I don’t know why this bothers me…Seattle is a long ways from central Oregon…but it does.
A lot.

Written by Anita Marie

April 12, 2008 at 10:12 pm

Ghost Of A River

with 3 comments

( poem )

The Garden of Proserpine

by A. C. Swinburne, 1866 

( historical )

 Photos of The Duwamish River, Washington State



Here, where the world is quiet;
     Here, where all trouble seems
Dead winds’ and spent waves’ riot
     In doubtful dreams of dreams;
I watch the green field growing
For reaping folk and sowing,
For harvest-time and mowing,
     A sleepy world of streams.



I am tired of tears and laughter,
     And men that laugh and weep,
Of what may came hereafter
     For men that sow to reap:
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
     And everything but sleep.



Here life has death for neighbour,
     And far from eye or ear
Wan waves and wet winds labour,
     Weak ships and spirits steer;
They drive adrift, and whither
They wot not who make thither;
But no such winds blow hither,
     And no such things grow here.



There go the loves that wither,
     The old loves with wearier wings;
And all dead years draw thither,
     And all disastrous things;
Dead dreams of days forsaken,
Blind buds that snows have shaken,
Wild leaves that winds have taken,
     Red strays of ruined springs.



We are not sure of sorrow,
     And joy was never sure;
Today will die tomorrow;
     Time stoops to no man’s lure;
And love, grown faint and fretful,
With lips but half regretful
Sighs, and with eyes forgetful
     Weeps that no loves endure.



From too much love of living,
     From hope and fear set free,
We thank with brief thanksgiving
     Whatever gods may be
That no man lives for ever;
That dead men rise up never;
That even the weariest river
     Winds somewhere safe to sea.



Then star nor sun shall waken,
     Nor any change of light;
Nor sound of waters shaken,
     Nor any sound or sight;
Nor wintry nor vernal,
Nor days, nor things diurnal;
Only the sleep eternal
     In an eternal night.

for more information on the Duwamish River visit

Life on The Duwamish River

A River Lost

Written by Anita Marie

April 10, 2008 at 5:39 pm

She Will Never Give You Up

with one comment

A Mad Challange

from The Headlines in Washington State


Once I was sitting on a beach late at night when a man walked by me and said, “It’s  dark down there ” and as he walked away from me I realized he had been looking to his left as he spoke…and from his left I thought I heard an answer


nobody was to his left.

Except for the Ocean.

All these years later I’m glad for one thing…that I never got a good look at his face.

Strange things happen at Sea.

This true story is one of them.

Crewman’s disappearance during rescue in Alaska unexplained

Crewman's disappearance during rescue in Alaska unexplained
Story Updated: Mar 29, 2008 at 10:02 AM PDT

By JEANNETTE J. LEE, Associated Press Writer

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – As the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger sank to the bottom of the Bering Sea, crewman Byron Carrillo and 1st Assistant Engineer James Madruga struggled to stay afloat in the rough and frigid waves.
With Carrillo drifting into hypothermic shock after nearly five hours, the arrival of a Coast Guard rescue helicopter was a blessing, Madruga said Friday. He told the rescue swimmer to “take Byron first” and watched the panicked crewman being loaded into a dangling basket.
But when he reached the helicopter himself, Carrillo was nowhere to be seen…
 ( full story HERE )

Written by Anita Marie

April 9, 2008 at 2:33 pm

Welcome To Bocksbohne

with 7 comments

By Anita Marie Moscoso

Based on The Soul Food Cafe Prompt:

Rear Vision Mirror Memories


Have you ever been on a road trip, and ended up driving down those dirt roads that lead into the dead empty towns with boarded up fast food places with names like “ Chicken Basket “ or “ Hank’s Hamburger Haven “ and have you noticed  there’s always a gas station with those funny tin signs advertising a brand of cigarettes or beer that no one’s seen on a shelf in over 50 years?

No doubt on these trips you’ve seen the houses too, the odd gray houses sitting up off the road.

You’ve probably even seen curtains hanging in the windows and you weren’t  sure but you think you may have seen someone looking back out at you as you drove by.  Maybe you’ve even seen one of those old time drug stores with the Soda Fountain in the back but you know, you wouldn’t stop there on a bet to check it out because you’ll tell yourself you don’t have the time…you’ve got somewhere to get to.

There, you’ll reassure yourself that sounds good. But that little voice, it’s  the real reason you don’t stop because it’s screaming at you, “ don’t you dare stop! Hey are you listening to me? I don’t care if you run out of gas! You will not stop in this town because if you do you’re going to have to get out and push. Don’t you even think about stopping here, is that clear?”

Then when you hit the other end of “ Main Street” (which will only take about three minutes) and you’re back on that long empty dirt road that some joker of a map maker called “ interstate 101 or Highway 19” you’ll have forgotten you were afraid. 

After a few more minutes that empty little town that scared you half to death will be long behind you and it’ll be like you were never there at all. 

That’s what the town of Bocksbohne is like; once you leave it you’ll never be sure you were really there.

One summer Audley Frame was driving to Seattle and somewhere along Amorita Pass high in the Olympic Mountains she passed through a town called Turnsole (clearly marked on her map) and after a few miles she was on a dirt highway that lead straight into Bocksbohne.

That’s what the white sign with the peeling black letters read. Welcome to Bocksbohne 

It wasn’t suppose to be there according to the map, it had no reason to be there out in the middle of nowhere but it was there all the same and before she knew it Audley Frame was speeding passed a drive in theatre with a rusted swing set and a fallen over carousel under a weather-beaten movie screen. Across the street from the drive in was Chieko’s Drugstore and further up from that was little brick building with a sign in its window.

She slammed on her brakes and was snapped back in her seat by her seatbelt and she hardly noticed the pain because all she saw was the sign. It was a simple sign, the background was flat black and the letters were neon orange and the sign simply said: 

Help Wanted. 

The window was caked with dust and grime and right there in the center of the window screaming in brand new orange neon letters was the word: 



Now it just said  HELP.

Audley’ s foot came off the brake and she let her car roll forward and she turned to watch the window as her car tried to pull itself away from building.

Now the sign read   “ HELP WANTED INQUIRE WITHIN “.

The letters were blood red and the ink was so fresh it had smudged a little on the filthy glass window.

“ Red Ink” she heard herself say, “ it’s red ink.”

Then her foot found the gas pedal and Audley’ s car roared passed buildings and houses with broken windows and doors that were falling off of their hinges. She ignored the rusty children’s toys abandoned on the sidewalks and she hit a few curbs and before she knew it she was out the other end of Bocksbohne and when she looked into her rearview mirror she saw her dark brown hair had turned white. 

She put her hand to the mirror and turned it down, she had no intentions of using it until Bocksbohne was behind her. 

Far behind her.


Written by Anita Marie

March 19, 2008 at 3:44 pm

Devil’s Luck

with 2 comments


by anita marie moscoso


Did you ever have one of those days when everything went wrong?

Maybe you knew it was going to be bad when your alarm went off  20 minutes too early and to make it worse it was one of those nights where you woke up every half hour and when you got out of bed you knew, you could feel it was going to get much worse.

Veta Trella had a night like that.

After she got out of bed she went  to take a shower and as she stepped into her tub she slipped but was lucky enough to break her fall with her knees.

That  was okay because Veta wasn’t the kind of person anyone paid attention to so if she had to limp and shuffle no one was going to notice.

That was the only lucky break Veta had for the rest of the day.

When Veta dried her hair she was distracted by the sizzling sound the wires made everytime she turned her wrist and just before her hair was completely dry some blue sparks flew out of the wall and all of the lights in Veta’s house went out and stayed out. 

She guessed all of those black scorch marks all over her walls by the electrical outlets she saw on the way to her basement to check her fuse box was not a good sign.

When Veta  finally made it out thedoor she looked down in time to see her that not only were her shoes not tied, they were different colors and just as she turned to go back into her house the door swung shut and she knew that not only was the door locked she had never taken her keys out of the candy bowl she kept them in.

But none of that mattered for very long because as she took  a step she tripped on her laces and went face first into the door.

It was only a matter of seconds- not minutes before her nose started to swell and she could feel her lips start to go numb. She poked at her face and sighed and then Veta walked around to her back yard.

She walked slowly up the steps to her back porch and when she reached down to pick up a little clay flowerpot to break the little glass window in center of the porch door she felt her fingernail peel back and then it came off with a sting.

She held her hand up, looked at raw  finger tip and sighed.

Veta made it through her kitchen safe enough but when she got to the living room she scared her cat Blitzer right off of the couch he knew wasn’t suppose to be on.

Veta didn’t have the heart or energy to yell at him because she shouldn’t have had to break into her own house and put herself in the position to scare her black cat into running straight across her path.

In fact, he was so startled by her that he jumped straight up onto the mantle piece above the fireplace and sent Veta’s antique mirror crashing to the floor where it didn’t just break.

It smashed into millions of little shards and a cloud of dust and glass wafted up and into Veta’s face- Veta’s bruised and swollen face that was now in the process of working it’s way into a full fledged allergy attack.

” Oh, why the Hell not ” Veta said and then she sneezed and her nose started to bleed- all over her brand new white blouse.

When Veta made it to her bus- well it wasn’t her usual bus because she missed her regular bus- she almost tripped over a woman who had suddenly stopped to pick something up off of the ground and that sent Veta and her things flying  in about four different directions.

Veta sort of shuffled and cringed all the way to the back of the bus and when she sat down it was on something wet and sticky and she closed her eyes and when she opened them she looked up and then down and then from her left to her right and then slowly behind her. When she was done she slouched down and held her belongings to her chest and tried to make herself breathe.

 She thought if she concentrated on doing just that she wouldn’t start screaming.

Then the woman Veta had tripped over took the seat right in front of her and she was jabbering and laughing and chatting away to the very good-looking man next to her.

” Can you believe it? ” she sang, ” first I find a hundred dollar bill right there on the curb on the very morning I’m thinking I’m going to for sure  miss my bus and then…” she leaned towards her seat mate and nudged him with her shoulder ” you ask me out and look! “

 She was holding her phone up and the man read the text message and he congratulated the woman on her promotion and then he moved a little closer to her and put his arm over the back of her seat.

” I mean, I don’t know where all of this is coming from.  I’ve never had luck like this before!”

” My Grandma would have said you have the luck of the Devil ” he told the woman happily.

And then Veta reached over she tapped them each on the shoulder.

When they turned around they were looking straight into Veta’s bright yellow eyes which were ringed with bruises and they saw the little white horns she normally hid under her blow dried hair and then her forked tongue shot from under her broken nose and swollen lips and she hissed “ your Grandma is liar.”



Written by Anita Marie

March 15, 2008 at 6:17 pm

My Coco Pop Day

with 9 comments

When I opened the box of Coco Pops this morning and this vile old troll was looking at me, sneering, telling me that I was a naive simpleton to believe in people, I should have known that it was not going to be one of my better days.
I gasped and shut the box, gulped down a quick coffee and turned on my computer. Alas, as I opened the Pythian Games there was the creature, jeering, mocking me, laughing, taunting me. She had stripped the place and had a look of utter self satisfaction on her face.
“What a fool I have been” I thought to myself as I looked, stunned to see that so much of innocent people’s work had been so deftly deleted. What had they done to face the wrath of the troll, this horrid cyber criminal?
My elderly mother only reinforced my feelings when, upon hearing my tale of woe, asked, ‘but how was this possible Heather?”
I gritted my teeth. No old troll, no sabotage freak was going to spoil my day.
And she didn’t!
Ravens flew to the rescue, lovingly replacing things that had been removed.
The moral of the story is that good does outweigh evil. Good does triumph, especially when you focus on the positive and put the negative in to perspective. Just because the coco pops are filled with bugs does not mean it is going to be a really bad day. It just means you are going to be forced to have a reality check.
Coco Pops are best kept in a sealed container and if you value a collaborative blog it is wise to be prudent and take precautionary measures.
Heather Blakey – Webmaster, Soul Food Cafe.

Written by Heather Blakey

March 9, 2008 at 12:48 pm

Behind the Gate

with 2 comments

Alex edged closer to the rusty wrought-iron gate. He could barely see it in the blackness of the moonless night; it stood out as darker in the darkness around him. A delicate breeze sifted past him, just enough to make the leaves rustle on the trees. The sound should have been normal and reassuring but instead it was ominous. Everything seemed ominous right now, in the deep of the night.Alex put his hand on the gate and pushed. It didn’t move. It was too much to ask that the gate be unlocked and open. He clicked on the miniature flashlight his mother had put on the keyring with his house key. “So you won’t have to fumble around in the dark,” she had told him, “You’ll be safer this way.” Alex had rolled his eyes at the time, but now he was glad it was here.

Carefully, shielding the tiny light from the view of the huge old house at the end of the driveway, he played the beam over the iron curlicues on the gate, looking for the best foot and handholds before he climbed over it. He frowned.  Up close, he could see tiny skulls and skeletons hidden in the fancy rusted iron flourishes. There were faces, too – and not of anyone he’d ever care to meet, especially on a darker-than-dark night like this one.

He turned off the light and stood there for a minute. If he turned back now, he knew the guys would never let him forget it. He really didn’t want to put up with the razzing…and he needed to be part of their group.

Jeremy’s voice came back to him. “All you have to do, man, is go in and get the scarf I’m gonna tie to one of the tree limbs on that big old oak by the house. Then come back out and show me that you got it. Then you’re in!” Jeremy had smiled then, his brilliant white teeth shining. Oscar and Joe had nudged each other with their elbows and grinned, too. “Unless you don’t think you can do that. And if you’re scared, I understand, man. There’s only been a few of us that did it, right guys?” Oscar and Joe had nodded, looking important. “And hey, remember, I have to go in and hang up that scarf every single time! So, you know, you’re not the only one. I’ve done it again and again! But you know, we’re the best.   Everybody knows we’re not afraid of anything, and nobody – nobody – messes with us!” He had nodded emphatically at that, and Alex had nodded too. 

He had liked the idea that no one would mess with him. He was the new guy, and well, sometimes that wasn’t easy. He was always the new guy and he knew how it went. This looked like an easy in with a crowd that would keep him safe. And when school started again, that would be important.

He had questioned Jeremy, though. “What if the dude who owns the place has a gun? Some people shoot trespassers, don’t they? And dogs? Are there any dogs?”

“The old guy who lives there is a distant relative of my dad’s. He’s grumpy, and he likes to be alone, but he won’t do anything. Just don’t go and mess around by the house, and you’ll be fine. I mean, it’s not like you’re stealing or anything. You’re just going to get a scarf that belongs to me. And he doesn’t have dogs. Doesn’t like animals.” He had smiled sort of strangely at that. Then he said, “So what is it? Are you in?”

And Alex had said yes. And now he was skulking around this creepy gate, looking for a way over it and onto the property to retrieve the scarf that Jeremy had tied there earlier in the day. He knew where it was – they had all come by in the afternoon and Jeremy had pointed it out – a faint smudge of red dangling from the oak tree nearest the house. “Just jump up and yank it down, and come back out! And poof! You’re in!”

It had seemed so much easier then. Even though the grounds were overgrown and looked like a snake factory and the very old house looked haunted and ready to tumble down, the light of day had made the idea of sneaking in and getting the scarf seem do-able. Even when Alex was sneaking out of the house after everyone else had gone to bed, it didn’t seem so bad. But now, in the dark, dark night, Alex was ready to forget it and go back home to his warm soft bed and plug in the night light he had told his mother he didn’t need anymore and listen to the radio until he fell asleep.

He slumped against the gate, smearing rust on the back of his shirt. He stood there for a few minutes and then, before he could think about it anymore, he grabbed the bars of the gate and swung himself up on them. Avoiding the spikes on the top, Alex clambered over and then he was panting, standing on the other side on the overgrown gravel drive.

Alex looked around. He was almost half-way done, he told himself. He just needed to run down the drive, grab the scarf, run back and get out. Then he could go home. And tomorrow, he could give the guys the scarf, his golden ticket to acceptance when the new school year started.

Except that he didn’t run. He was too frightened. There was something about this place…there were no animal noises here and it just seemed spooky somehow. He crept down the drive, staying to the sides near the cover of the bushes, placing his feet carefully and trying not to make any noise at all. He slowed his breathing to quiet that down too, but he couldn’t stop his heart from pounding so hard that he was sure someone could hear it three feet away. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing up, and every primeval instinct in his body was telling him to get out of here NOW!

The walk down the drive seemed to take forever. Alex startled and froze at each little sound he heard – the wind in the trees, a car out on the main road, something in the bushes nearby. When he finally reached the end of the drive and stood near the oak tree with the scarf, he was drenched in sweat and shaking with fear and he really couldn’t say why. He stared at the house looming in front of him. Was that a flash of light he saw in the windows? No, but now he noticed that the breeze had stiffened and had blown up clouds. He could hear thunder booming in the distance. He needed to finish this; get the scarf and get away.

He could see the scarf dangling a few feet away and just out of arm’s reach. One good jump and it would be his.

Alex gathered himself and leaped. As his hand wrapped around the fabric of the scarf and he pulled, something else wrapped around his legs, catching him and freezing him in mid-air.

Alex let out a screech that hurt even his own ears, feeling foolish even as he did it. It must be the guys, waiting here to scare him when he came in to get the scarf. He looked down, expecting to see Jeremy or Oscar or Joe with their arms around his legs, grinning up at him, laughing at him for screaming.

But it wasn’t. What he saw made him scream again, this time until the breath ran all the way out of his body…

Dirty fangs in a hairy, filthy face. Arms the size of small trees. Eyes that glowed red in the night.  And then the smell hit him, too. How he could have missed something that rank he didn’t know. He gagged, and the thing holding him chuckled in a raspy bass voice.

“Well, what have we here? An interesting little morsel?! Come with me, morsel, and let’s get acquainted!” The thing was carrying him towards the house as it spoke. Alex started wiggling and flailing his arms and trying to kick at the thing, screaming all the while.

Inside, the thing dumped him on the floor in a room with a single oil lamp and piles of rubbish everywhere. Alex instantly scuttled backwards until he hit a wall and huddled there, shaking, his eyes never leaving the thing that had grabbed him. He whimpered with every breath and could feel a growing dampness in his jeans pooling underneath him.

The thing watched him, an evil smile on its face. “So, little morsel, what do you think? What are you imagining right now? Because whatever you are imagining, I can make it come true. Your dreams, mind you, not your wishes. And only certain kinds of dreams at that.  I believe your kind calls them nightmares?” He laughed again. “But first things first. I am forgetting my manners in my eagerness to get to know you better. I am Corrock. And you are…?”

 Alex just stared at the thing. He pushed himself against the wall as if he were trying to push through it.

“Manners, morsel, manners! What is the matter with you? You’d think you never saw an ogre before! But then perhaps you haven’t. I forget how uneducated and ignorant you modern youth are. The old ways, the old beings, have been forgotten.” It shook its head and stared Alex right in the eyes. “I am an ogre. One of the last of my kind. I am bound to this estate and may not leave it. So my prey must come to me.” He looked around the room and licked his lips. “I must say, I am ready for a change of diet. The local animals bore me.” He  looked around the room and Alex, following his gaze, could see piles of bones. There were squirrel skulls and deer skulls  piled in a little heap nearby. He noticed the smell in the room for the first time and gagged again. Bile rose in the back of his throat.

Corrock laughed. “Good. The more scared they are, the juicier the flesh is when I finally get around to tasting it. I like it well seasoned with fear!”

Alex gasped and managed to croak, “M…my…my parents. They’ll know I’m gone. They’ll come and find me!”he finished in a rush.

“By now there should be note in your room, in your handwriting, about how you didn’t like it here and have run away. So sad, another runaway who disappears. Oh my. He must have fallen in with the wrong crowd. Too bad, but it does happen,” said the ogre in a grieving tone.

“A..a…a note?” His voice was hoarse from screaming.

“Didn’t you wonder how the scarf could get here, without Jeremy, as he is calling himself these days, being caught by me? Jeremy and Oscar and Joe are mine. Think, morsel, did you ever go to their homes? Meet their families? No, you only saw them in public places. And had school begun, you’d never have seen them in school.” It laughed, moving closer to Alex. “They bring me the young and the foolish, the lost and the desperate – anyone they can fool, in short – to stave off the pangs of my hunger.”

“Many, many years ago, when I was first imprisoned here, these cocky young toughs decided to rob the place. I caught them, of course, and since I wasn’t very hungry at the time, I made a bargain with them. They would bring me prey – tender, juicy young prey by preference, although I am not really picky – and I would let them live. It has worked well. They supply me with treats that I would not get otherwise and they are allowed to live – and live many more years than they should live by nature. In fact, they not only live, but have a glamour that allows them to seem any age they choose. I have been repaid many times over, and they get to live. It was a bargain well made.” He smacked his lips in satisfaction and anticipation. The saliva dripping from his fangs glistened in the lamplight.

It was reaching for Alex who was cowering away when the sound of a door opening and closing stopped it. Footsteps echoed through the house and then Jeremy, Oscar and Joe entered the room. “Oh, you aren’t done yet!” said Jeremy. “I thought you’d be finished by now. We’ll wait outside.” He smirked at Alex. The trio suddenly seemed much older than they had. As the glamour that surrounded them faded away, they began to age before his eyes and now appeared ancient and evil. They all grinned wickedly at him with dirty, broken teeth in straggling and stained grey beards and Alex wondered why he hadn’t seen how evil they were from the beginning.

The ogre said, “No, no – I think you should stay. You never stay for dinner. It’s not very polite you know. You really should stay while I dine.”

The three moved uneasily and their smiles died.  “I insist,” hissed the ogre.

“Right, sir. Whatever you say,” they mumbled, trying to move to the door without seeming to.

The ogre turned back to Alex. While it had been talking to its three henchmen, Alex had been feeling around on the floor nearby. Now he had a squirrel skull in his hand and before the ogre could reach for it again, Alex hurled the skull at the oil lamp.

The skull hit it with a smash and the oil from the lamp flew everywhere, bursting into flames as it did. Some of it splashed on the ogre, who roared in pain and rage. He whirled around, trying to reach the fire and put it out. Alex scrambled to his feet and ran toward the window, grabbing another bone as he went and throwing it against the glass.

The three in the doorway had rushed over to help their master, but when the glass in the window shattered they shouted and ran to stop Alex from escaping. In the confusion in the room, Jeremy got tangled up in a bone pile and fell to the floor, while Oscar got too close to the flames from the lamp and caught his clothing on fire. Joe was the only one left to pursue Alex and he was the farthest away, with the most obstacles in between them.

 The bone had broken the window, but the hole wasn’t big enough for Alex to get through without slicing himself so badly that the ogre’s work would be done for him. He swerved at the last minute and then ran through the door where the ogre’s three cohorts had been standing a few minutes before. He could hear Joe shouting and then a crash that suggested that Joe had fallen into the remains of the window. He pelted down a dark and dirty hall – there was a door at the far end. He could see the window in it lighting up with the lightening from the storm that was almost on them.

He raced to the door and yanked on the knob. It opened, and he nearly sobbed with relief. He was out onto the porch, dodging holes in the rotten boards, and then leaping down the steps in one leap; he was running for his life and he knew it. He listened for the sounds of pursuit behind him, but the shouts were still coming from inside the house. On an impulse, Alex swerved off the  drive and into the bushes. He would find a tree and use it to get over the wall instead of going directly to the gate like they would expect.

The storm broke overhead.  Rain poured down, drenching Alex in moments, and lightening flashed with thunder right on its heels. In the flashes, Alex navigated through the heavy growth. The rain masked the sound of his travels, but he knew it would also hide the sounds of anyone chasing him. He opted for speed instead of stealth and made for the wall as quickly as he could. There was a tree just the right size right by the wall and Alex swarmed up it as quickly as he could, expecting to feel arms pulling him back down at any time.

He leapt from a tree branch to the top of the wall which he straddled, getting his balance. He looked back at the mansion. As he did, a slash of lightening came down from the clouds above and struck the oak tree that loomed beside the house. In the light from the lightening bolt, Alex could see one large and three small figures illuminated on the porch. And then the blazing branch from the tree came crashing down through the rotten porch roof onto the figures and setting the whole building ablaze. Alex could hear screams and roars echoing as he slipped from the wall, landing in the overflowing ditch beside it. Staggering to his feet, he ran all of the way home as if he could still feel the hot breath of the ogre behind him.

An article about the fire appeared in the local paper a few days later. There were some inquiries being made, it said, about all of the charred bones found in the ashes of the fire. Some in particular had been disturbingly strange. Alex could tell them why, but he wasn’t sure they’d ever believe him…

-She Wolf (c) 2008

Written by Jane

March 9, 2008 at 1:22 am