Thursday, December 21, 2006

Man Of The Worlds, Part V

A man would not have lasted this long if the thing had grown to adulthood. He had known, of course, that this was a child when Soot's boy said the creature was just a little bigger than he was. A thought struck him. It was bigger. Keeping his head down, he crawled back into the passage. The thing was too angry and senseless to grab him. It simply dropped more blows because that was all it knew how to do.

The Blue Man slithered on one elbow from the rain of huge fists. He had slipped from danger, as the passage was too small for the creature to enter. His lungs struggled for air as he hit the cold dirt floor. Lying there in the darkness, he listened to the unceasing screams and mindless flailings just a few feet away.


Soot, his family and some friends from nearby placed themselves at what they thought was a safe distance from the outside door to the cellar with pitchforks at the ready. The bravest of them was covered with sweat on this temperate day as they listened to the unholy wailing from below. Soot let out a weak sound when the door was raised.

From the depths rose the Journeyman Exterminator, looking like he had spent a day in the cellar rather than a just a few minutes. "It is time for a new plan," He shouted to the onlookers.

Some laughed, but Soot's spirits sank when he saw the bug armor shattered like a mirror. The Blue Man walked toward them with obvious fatigue. "I'm going to try something else. If all goes well, I may disappear suddenly. Don't worry."

He went to his mount and reached into a saddle bag, pulling out a small clay pot filled with muddy, black paint. Dipping in two other fingers, he applied it across his eyes until it seemed he was wearing a mask. The pot was returned to its place and the ropes tying down the lizard's snout were loosened. The reptile's master then whispered something into its ear hole. It responded with a hiss and worked its jaws slowly while the Blue Man went back to the gathering crowd.

He looked around the back of the house, screaming to nobody in particular:

"Are there any doves in the area? I need a white bird called a dove."

The people looked at each other mumbling, until finally a young farmer said, "I got a white chicken."

"No," he said patiently. "I need a dove. A small, white bird." He cupped the air to indicate its size. "In many lands it is the symbol of purity or peace. A dove. A sort of pigeon, I suppose, but I need one that's pure white."

The crowd quietly stared at him with a host of blank expressions. Looking at the ground beneath his feet in frustration, he finally said, "Let me see the chicken."

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