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Return of the Dwarves

by C. C. Bye

“The one holiday I miss is Halloween. I’m sure you understand.”

“What’s that? You’d still like to hear the whole long story?”

“Well, it’s not so much long as it is convoluted. And you really are interested?”

“OK then.”

The virus cropped up in all major countries at the same time, which had the pundits screaming ‘Terrorist attack!’ And they might be right at that.

But how do you take in something when it appears on Halloween and doesn’t have any long-term, deadly effects?

“hmm?”

“Yes, I know you and I are still Dwarves, but then so is everyone else. 100%. We all have to breathe, and there doesn’t appear to have been any immunity. So you see, no sustainable effects—everyone is the same. The world has moved on and we in it.”

It was even good for the economy; everyone scrambling to re-size things and to be the first on the market with their particular doo-dad.

“What’s a doo-dad? Well it’s a term my parents and grandparents used to describe something they didn’t quite understand. “‘Corina get me that do-dad from over there on the bench!'” or sometimes they’d mix it up and say “‘Get me that Whatchamacallit.'””

“But let’s get back to the story.”

Can you imagine going out on Halloween, being anything you wanted to be, and people pretending with you, so that for a few minutes at each knock you were something or someone else— anything else—other than the boring, every day, you? Then, still wrapped in the charm of the evening, the kids barely containing themselves in their urgent need to dig into their goodie bags, you open the door and…the kids start screaming…and this short, thick-bodied, hairy-headed man with a beard down to his leather belt is trying to get his arms around you…so you take a nearby kitchen knife and lop 3 fingers off the nearest hand, which is the left hand, and that’s a good thing because you suddenly recognize the eyes of the dwarf as your husband’s. And he’s wearing his business suit, but it has been chopped up and chopped off in various places, and he’s right-handed…he’s grabbing for the knife…which is when you look down at your hairy hands…and try to put the knife back, but your suddenly short arms won’t reach far enough over the counter to do so…and you start screaming and screaming and screaming until the black rises up and takes you down.

There were a lot of heart attacks that night.

But the transition wasn’t nearly as bad as it might have been. Good old American ingenuity kicked in and soon people were adjusting their homes with whatever materials they had at hand. Planking for ramps because the steps were too high for everyone’s now short legs. Kitchen stools were in high demand. The president declared a state of emergency in order to set up peace keeping units. I understand his reasoning now. Once people realized their jobs were still going to be there come Monday morning, things would calm down, but until then all bets were off. There was a rush on ammunition; Johnny’s place, just down Cumberland Street was actually looted then burned to the ground.

It was our neighbours, you understand. And who could blame them?

The only thing that brought me any sense of reality was taking Stan over to the hospital to get his fingers looked after. We had to walk, something I always find calming, and when we reached the emergency department, everyone was doing their job—as if nothing had happened. That was a splash of cold water, mind you, an awakening to the fact that this was real and that it needed to be dealt with.

That’s why I did it, you know. What right did someone have to try to drive off with our car, even if we couldn’t drive it at the moment? The old shotgun was right there on a rack, so I pushed a chair over, got up there and grabbed it and a couple of shells. That’s when I found out the little weasel in my car was that Connery fellow from 2 blocks over. He said one too many things though, and I filled him full of heavy shot… twice.

Anyway, the cops came and got me Monday morning. The self defense bit didn’t go over well, seeing as it was a single shot shotgun and Connery was dead with the first shot I made. Still, I was free by supper time. Too many real criminals to attend to, I was told.

What an unbelievable thing! A murderer let loose because there were worse out there. I turned on the TV right away. Sure enough: rape cases everywhere, people being cut down and their life’s work taken too. Then the worst thing. I never would have believed it…

Someone had found a pocket of elves—thin, wraith like beings, white skin and silver eyes. No funny ears though. Anyway, they hung them. Men, women and children. And burnt them. And hacked them to pieces, what was left of ’em.

I don’t get it. With all the prejudice of the old world, why would someone, let alone a group of people, do such a thing? From what I understand they were beautiful beings. Was that it? Because if it was, I don’t think I can stand it.

“What’s that nephew? No, nobody’s going to come and hang you. Because we look just like them sort, don’t we? But let’s forget that for the moment… I’ve just had an idea. You should help me take my son and daughter—we should go out for a boat ride. The water’s just fine. Yes, it’s…just…fine.”

Copyright © 2013 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Write Room Blog

Welcome to The Write Room Blog where friends from disparate approaches to life and writing work together and share. You’ll find great new books to read and interesting new friends. With about 30 different authors adding everything from articles about their lives to posts regarding new releases, this is sure to be a community that will keep you coming back for more.

Why don’t we start right now with a true story to entertain and hopefully fill you with a sense of wonder and the slow recognition of loss…

 

Memories

 Once in a Lifetime

We were mice, moving through a myriad of tunnels in the north field. There were five of us in there. Hadn’t heard or seen anyone in more than half an hour.

I’d come to a crossroads. I was pretty sure the tunnel on the right headed to the northeast, eventually coming up against the eastern fence. The tunnel on the left would take me to the north and another fence, or, if I stayed left all the way, it would split and end at the western opening, near the water pump which sat at the very edge of the woods.

I laid on my back and stared at the sunlit ceiling above me. Someone walked overhead. Searching for mice no doubt. I stayed still and chewed on a long frozen stalk of field grass I’d pulled from the from wall of the tunnel. No danger here. My friends and I had never seen the like: you could jump up and down on top of any of the tunnels and never even make a crack. The crust of ice-fused snow must have been at least two inches thick.

We had played all sorts of games on the field this winter, overtop the tunnels: lacrosse, boot hockey, broomball. Christmas holidays had never been this much fun.

I don’t remember who thought of the tunnels. I think we started out building a fort and someone decided to dig a protective cave at the back of it. Genius from such a simple idea. When we realized the crust would hold our weight—even when all the snow beneath it had been removed, the digging began in earnest.

The adults had no idea what we up to, and in the following days we built such a complex set of trails, you could almost get lost in there.

I used the tunnels as a hiding place when it came time to pump and carry dozens of pails of water up to the house (mom used them for washing clothes).

The girls would disappear at odd times without warning. My brother and I had figured out they had a little room somewhere near the centre of the field. We just hadn’t been able to find it yet; I wasn’t sure I wanted to.

The tunnels became something special to us—magical for sure—but something even more, a thing we could feel in our bellies and in the thudding of our hearts, yet couldn’t name. All I know is that each of us were enamoured for the few weeks the cold weather kept the crust nice and firm.

Then came the day—this day— when with no warning at all a foot appeared through the roof of the tunnel, just a few feet away from my head. A second foot soon followed.

I called everyone out. We gathered in a mournful circle around the hole in our tunnel, knowing without speaking that the fun was over for now. None of us imagined that it would be forever.

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Copyright © 2013 Clayton Bye