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|An story I am stuck on. I am putting it up in hope that someone will comment and my imagination will start firing again.||
It was dark that night, and the moon was obscured by unnaturally thick black clouds. The only light in the world came out of two burning orbs that glared hotly from beneath a ragged cloak. The Nameless One was on the prowl. Silently, it glided through towns and villages, never stopping, searching for something. When it passed by, children moaned in their sleep and the glows of late night candles flickered dangerously, as if the dark being’s very presence could quench them.
After a time, the speed of the infernal apparition increased. It traveled more quickly now, still searching, still bringing with it an aura of indescribable doom and despair. It had not found what it was looking for, and morning, though safely hidden several time zones behind it, was approaching. Its movements became more urgent, more erratic, and its gliding became almost a whir. The snapping of its threadbare cloak became apparent and the intensely glowing orbs in the hood moved quickly in all directions. Still nothing!
And then, relief. The Nameless One decreased its speed. Finally, its target was in sight. The orbs seemed to focus, and the darkness surrounding it thickened perceptibly. It read the sign of the shop with satisfaction. Then it gripped the shiny brass doorknob and went in.
In the Tickety Boo Name Changing and Magical Accessory shop, the counters were always gleaming, the potions always bubbling, the knobs of the cupboards always shining and the owners constantly bustling about. Thus it happened that when the phantom entered with all its darkness and aura of fear, the shopkeepers didn’t immediately notice. It was only when the phantom rustled its cloak impatiently that one of them realized its presence. “Ah, a customer!” said one shopkeeper, and hustled around to the counter. “How can I help you?” he asked, taking note of the phantom’s dreadful appearance over the top of silver rimmed glasses. The dark creature said nothing. I have heard you offer name-changing services. A smile lit the shopkeeper’s face. “A telepath! Nard and I haven’t met one in years! Very nice to meet you indeed!” He offered a hand, but the Nameless One just stared at him balefully. Do you or do you not change names? It demanded in an icy mental hiss. “Ah…actually we don’t change names so much as make new ones stick. Any fool can change names you know. Oh, and if you don’t mind, I’ll just stick to actually speaking. I happen to have a slight head-ache.” He paused for a breath, and the red eyes glaring from beneath his customer’s hood flickered in annoyance. Just…help me out a little, will you? It snapped. I want a name.
“Oooh of course, of course! What would you like to change your name to? One coin per syllable, and if you want a warranty in the odd case that it doesn’t stick, it’ll be another 3 coins. Ah…silver if you have them, please. And preferably not cursed. We can deal with curses of course, but they are such a load of trouble that we hardly consider them worth our time.” There was a long pause and then the Nameless One’s shoulders sagged. The shopkeeper patted its shoulder awkwardly. “It’s quite alright. You aren’t the first not to know what name you want, especially seeing as you’ve never had one before. Perhaps I can think of name for you. Hmmm…”
There was quite a lengthy silence, and the shop keeper scratched his head. “I’m afraid I just can’t think of anything.” He said at last. “But don’t give up hope just yet. My brother might be able to think of something.” He rang a golden bell on the counter furiously and his brother Nard came running. “What is it now?” he sputtered. “I am NOT to be disturbed when I stir the witches’ brew. That stuff is deadly poison. You know what could happen if…” – he broke off when he saw the customer standing dejectedly in front of him. “Oooh…a Nameless One, and clinically depressed at that.” He smiled sympathetically. “Can I help you?”
The first brother nodded impatiently
. “Yes, it needs a name, and I’m no good at that sort of thing.”
“Ah, a name for a Nameless One.” Nard smiled at his own dubious cleverness. “How about Gordon?” The shadow winced, and Nard’s brother stifled a laugh. Nard flushed. “You aren’t helping, Bard, so be quiet.”
“No wait!” said Bard. “I have it!” He paused for dramatic effect. “Slaughterer” The Nameless One perked up a bit but Nard shook his head in disgust. “No good for going to parties or making friends. Who would invite someone called Slaughterer, anyway? I think it needs something more…elegant. How about Frag? It’s exotic, not to mention inexpensive.”
Nard doubled over in spasms of laughter and Bard gave him an irritated glance. “What’s wrong with Frag?” he snapped. Nard gasped for air. “You obviously don’t remember what that means in orcish, Bard. Remember that time when Ulk Nahg…” He began to giggle helplessly again. Nard’s eyebrows arched. “Oops” he said guiltily. “Ummm…never mind that one then.” He tried desperately not to think of the particular implications of that word.
“Well, we don’t seem to have anything available just now. Perhaps if you come back next week, we’ll have something for you.” The Nameless One hissed its disappointment and turned to leave. With a heavy sigh, it glided mournfully to the door and pulled it open. “GAAAH!” it screamed, because the early dawn light was scorching its eyes. Acting quickly, Nard and Bard pulled it back into the shop by the hem of its ragged robes and slammed the heavy door shut. “Shoulda known it was morning by now,” Bard apologized, and shot an irritated glance at Nard who was busy sweeping up the left over sun beams. “What??” demanded Nard when he noticed his brother’s annoyance. “Last time you left these lying around, a vampire tried to sue us for attempted murder!”
Bard muttered something obscene under his breath.
|The Garish Gardens Award|