Derfentwinkle’s Sick Ride
It was not the kind of ride in the country that I really wanted to take. The skeleton walked with a really random sort of limp-and-jerky motion that pitched me regularly out of my seat in the skull.
“Kackenfurchtbar, can’t you control these stupid bones better than this?” I asked the little moron severed demon-head.
“Derfentwinkle, you expect too much! All I am is a head. I have to control this entire skeleton with phantom muscles made out of what little demon telekinesis I have left in my broken little skull.”
“Kronomarke put you under my control and this pile of loosely connected bones is what you are supposed to be in control of.”
“I am doing the skunky best I flipping can!”
I know, I know… You did hear that right. One of the few actual spells the dorky necromancer taught me was how to turn demon swearwords into euphemisms. My name is actually Derfentwinkle. I am a two-and-a-half-inch tall Sylph, six-slow-one-years old, but all the Fey children tend to age two years for every one year a human child would age. So, I am a girl Sylph on the verge of becoming a Sylvan woman.
After the last jolt, I picked myself up and sat back on the pile of dandelion blossoms that I used as a seat to look out on the cornfield we were trying to navigate through. The left eye socket of the empty human skull had a hole through the back that Kronomarke had carved out to serve as a pilot’s window. Being a severed head, Kack needed to see out of the skeleton through my eyes.
“All I can see is corn,” Kack complained.
“Well, you don’t want me to make you walk out on the gravel road, do you?”
“Kronomarke says that the last apprentice did that and got blown to pieces by a slow-one farm hand with a shottygun. That doesn’t sound like a good thing that we might want to happen to us.”
“It’s like a slow-one magic wand. It throws lots of high-speed pebbles at you at very high speed.”
“Did the apprentice survive that?”
“Why do you think the master had to kidnap you?”
“Slow ones are not used to seeing walking skeletons, are they?”
“No, definitely not.”
“Look, we are coming out of the cornfield. Straight ahead is the slow-one village named Norwall.” I pointed as I said it, but the gesture meant nothing to the stupid severed head.
“Good, good. We have almost reached Cair Tellos. It is built into the willow tree on the north side of town.”
“But that thing straight ahead that we have to cross is the Shiggway Drei.”
“Don’t use the gobbellun name for it. Call it Highway Three in English,” Kack said smugly.
“Right. When we cross the thing the zoomdahs ride on… er, the cars drive on… we will be seen by everyone. Including farm hands with shottyguns.”
“But the reason we are walking in an animated human skeleton is that it scares humans as well as the Fey children. We will scare them out of our path.”
At that moment, the walking skeleton we were trying to steer into the human village stumbled into the fence around the cornfield. The fence was made with two strands of barbed wire along the top.
The skull was pitched forward at such an angle that I was nearly vaulted out of the eyehole. “Pull us back a bit, Kack. We’re getting tangled in the barbed wire.”
“Isn’t it called bobbed wire?”
“Only by the dumbest slow-ones I’ve seen. They have to be the dumbest ones if I know English gooder than they do.”
Kack used his magical mind-strings to pull the puppet skeleton upright again. But as we climbed over the fence, the barbs in the wire pulled at the ghost-flesh and ligaments that held the bones together. A lower leg popped off, and Kack had to make the skeleton hop on one leg bone as it reached down, retrieved the leg, and popped it back on the dismembered knee joint.
Then we stumbled across the pavement, hurrying the last twenty yards because a big, big truck zoomdah came roaring at us from the west.
Lurching into town and spinning over another fence, we found ourselves in a field of soybeans. We stumbled on towards the abandoned school yard where the willow tree stood.
Two human boys, each towering at least four feet in the air, were playing a ball-tossing game on the old ball-tossing field.
“Ah! The zombie apocalypse has started!” cried one slow-one.
“Bobby, that’s just a skeleton, like the one that killed you in the Swords and Sorcerer’s game last night. They are only six-hit-point monsters. We could kill it with our baseball bat.”
I was personally very alarmed. I did not know that slow ones had any control-bat spells. And I had never heard of the species known as a baseball bat.
“No! Let’s go get your brother and his squirrel rifle. Zombies are dangerous!”
“We’re doomed now, aren’t we?” I asked Kack.
“Probably. You should’ve worn that armor the necromancer gave you.”
“Nonsense! I’m a Sylph, not an Elf. Sylphs are meant by the god Pan to be naked. Especially the female ones.” I know they only gave me the armor to protect me, but I wasn’t feeling like wearing anything at the moment that I wasn’t willing to die in.
“Well, turn towards the willow tree. If we must die, let’s go out fighting.”
We turned the skeleton towards the tree with the fairy castle in it. We started to run. We were doomed.