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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Short Little Jaunt - Part 11

The following is a short story revolving around the fantasy story 'The Wall Outside'. There will be serveral parts, one each day until Oct 31st. It uses some of the characters of 'The Wall Outside', but is not part of main book. 'The Wall Outside' is currently available in digital format at

And now, 'A Short Little Jaunt' . . . part 11

The thudding had started up the stairs.

“A little girl,” Jonna surmised.  “This man had daughter.”  Moving toward a dresser, he spotted a picture sitting on the corner.  By the way the adult female held the little girl in her arms, it confirmed what he thought.  “And a wife.”

“Jonna,” Bob ran a finger across the dresser, brushing away the dust, “this dresser was made from the fae’s sacred tree.”

Jonna sighed.  “It must have been a gift for his daughter: something that would never rot or decay.  It was protective magic.”

“But it backfired,” Bob shook his head, “and now he lives in agony, never knowing release.”

The cracking voice roared behind them.  “Get out!  Get out of my daughter’s room!”  The man lunged forward as if to enter, but abruptly jerked back as an unseen forced slammed toward him.  He gasped for breath.

“Innocence,” Bob stared wide-eyed.  “The magic of the tree protects her innocence.”

Jonna nodded.  “From the madness in her father’s mind.”

The cursed man roared.  There was no evidence of the burning he had suffered down below; there was only the continual decay and rot.  A true curse indeed, to suffer forever and never be consumed.

“You gave this to her, didn’t you?” Jonna turned to face the man.  “You gave it to her as protection.”

The faraway look was back in the man’s face.  “I didn’t know.  They said it was strong magic.  They said it would it protect her.”

“The best of intentions does not negate a wrong,” Jonna shook his head, “but it does allow for leniency.”

The man’s head shot up, but his eyes were hard.  “There is no way to break the curse.”

“The heart,” Jonna thought back to his wife Stephanie.  “The heart can find a way.”

“No,” the fire was back in the cursed man’s eyes, “you shall never leave that room!”

A tiny voice called behind them.  All three caught sight of a tiny orb, floating just below the ceiling.


The man turned, refusing to look at the voice.

“Father, why do hide your face from me?  Why do you not listen?”

“My daughter is dead.  You are of the faeries.”

“I was dying, father.”  The orb began to descend.  “I was sick, and the faeries had mercy.”

“They killed your mother,” the man roared.  “They cursed me!”

“No,” the girl sighed.  As the orb reached the floor, it began to change shape, morphing into that of a girl, certainly older than the one which had slept in the bed.  “Mum died of broken heart, after I was gone.  Instead of letting me die, the faeries gave me life.”

Bob The Pixie landed lightly on Jonna’s shoulder, and leaned near his ear.  “They changed her,” he whispered.  “They let her grow up in magic.  It is a great honor for a human!”

Silence.  As the flickering of the light in Jonna’s hand cast shadows, so those shadows waited.  Jonna realized the cursed man had to do more than ask for forgiveness; he had to forgive himself.  The man believed that by cutting down the tree, he had killed his family.  Jonna turned to the girl.  “What is your name?”

“Elpis, Sir.” the girl’s sweet voice responded.

“And your father?”


Jonna looked up at Byron.  “I have a girl named Elpis as well,” he smiled.  “I miss her very much, and if we don’t get out of here, I’ll be missing her even more.”

A tear showed on the cursed man’s face.  “I can’t forget--what I did--the trouble to my family--”

The girl chimed in, smiling brightly.  “It is all forgiven father.  The faeries are waiting for you to forgive yourself.”

A tear rolled off his cheek, striking the floor, splashing in all directions.  “They are?”

“Yes,” the girl stepped forward, extending her hands toward her father.  She could not pass the doorway.  “Forgive yourself, and I can reach you.”

“Forgive,” the cursed man shook, fist clenched, his whole body one in the effort.  “I--can’t--let go.  I can’t--”  In one massive effort, he dropped to his knees, the tears of pain spilling across the floor. 

“I’m so sorry.”

The girl smiled, took a step forward, and crossed the threshold.  Her two hands touched her father’s shoulders.  “You have forgiven yourself.  The curse is gone.”

The room began to glow; tiny orbs of light appeared in all directions.  The man began to change: the cut and torn skin faded, his eyes became light blue, the gray beard darkened, and his skin took on the resilience of youth.  With widened eyes he stood to his feet.  The pain was gone, and for the first time in a very long time his mind was at ease. 

Reaching over, Elpis took her father’s hand.  “Come.”

His hand encircled hers, gripping it tight.  “I’m ready.”

“And so is mum.”

A second orb, larger than the girl’s, approached.  As it touched floor, the woman Jonna had seen in the picture morphed into view, “Byron!”  As she stepped across the threshold, all three vanished in a surge of bright light.  The inn began to shake.

“Time to go!”  Bob zipped for the stairs with Jonna right behind him.  Whatever had kept this old inn together, it was gone now.

The floors shook.  Jonna grabbed for the rail as they hurried down the stairs only to watch it break apart.  The whole building was aging and aging fast.  They made it to the hall, reached the door to the main room, and skidded to a halt in the doorway.

The flames in the fireplace were gone; only the red coals glowed beneath the kettle.  The kettle was no longer red, but black as the night outside the inn.  Bob The Pixie pointed, mouth agape.  “Look at that!”

Tiny wisps were escaping the kettle, one right after the other, flying off in all directions.  They avoided touching the wood of the structure, slipping through the gapes in the roof.

“They’re free,” Jonna marveled as part of the wall collapsed behind him.  “And we better ‘get free’ too!”

They ran across the main room, but before they could reach the door, the building lurched to the side.  Walls creaked, the roof shook, and the stones of the chimney began to topple.  The door they had been running toward jammed tight.  Bob grabbed the handle and tugged.  “No, no, no, no!  Jonna, grab on!  Pull!”

An orb appeared beside them.

“Never fear,” Elpis voice called from the orb.  “The faeries have not forgotten you.”  As she finished her words, the main door to the inn lurched off its hinges, toppling to the floor.  “Go!”

The cold of the night struck them the moment they stepped from the inn; it put out the lighted wood Jonna carried.  He flung it back toward the building.  There was a tremendous crash as the building imploded, dust rose, and then all went quiet.  Except for the door, the inn was gone.

A light wind began to blow, creating tiny dust devils in the remains of the building.  Jonna breathed a sigh of relief.

“Yeah,” Bob The Pixie stared at the building.  “So much for a warm place for the night.”

“Bob,” Jonna laughed, “I’d think you’d be glad to be out of there!”

“There is that,” the pixie grinned.  “Come on Jonna.  Now that you reminded me of my pixie sight, I might just know of a place.  They say that there’s a pixie circle, and they like to give hospitality to strangers.”

“Bob, all I want to do is rest.  First clearing we come to, we stop for the night.  Got it?”

“Aw, come on.  It’s just a short little jaunt.”

~ James William Peercy

For those interested, what is 'The Wall Outside' about?

Step across the barrier and what will you find?
A place of magic just out of sight?
A pixie, a leprechaun, or even a sprite?

What starts as a vacation, turns into a mess. For Jonna, there's
more at stake than meets the eye. Through pouring rain,
misdirection, and a curious mind, Jonna crossed the barrier
between our world and magic.

Now forced to return across the barrier, Jonna battles Dark Mages, angry leprechauns, and a ruthless Minotaur, all in an effort to find his wife. To do this, he must locate the stolen Rune Blade and rescue a beautiful elvish princess.

But what can a human do when faced with a world of magic?

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