Get tangled and lost in a book!
You'll get out... eventually.
You'll get out... eventually.
Note: Old stories may not be continued, at least for a period of time
Her eyes glistened with unshed tears. For a brief second, I felt her pain. Then my thoughts drifted to my dad. I can’t imagine a world without him, without seeing his smile or hearing his laughter. It would all be gone if I didn’t do something.
“Teagan,” I slowly said.
“If there is a cure… we have to find it now,” I rubbed my arms.
“Why?” she curiously asked.
“Because my dad is dying. Villagers are dying each day because of this plague. I’ve seen the symptoms and it’s just awful,” I said sadly.
“Give me a few days, I’ll be back by then,” Teagan turned to leave.
“Wait! I want to come with you!” I blurted out.
“My dad is dying! I have to go! Besides, you’ll need me. Two pairs of hands are better than one,” I pointed out.
“There is no way I’ll ever go with you. You’ll just mess everything up.”
“I won’t, just take me with you,” I pleaded.
“Fine! But don’t expect me to wait for you! Meet me at twilight where the cow wizard lives,” Teagan huffed.
“Thank you! Thank you so much!” I cried in relief.
“Whatever, if you’re not there by then, I’ll just leave by myself,” she threatened.
“That’s fair enough.” I stuck out my hand for her to shake.
Teagan stared disgustedly at it, “What are you doing?”
“It’s a handshake. So I know you won’t leave without me. Just take my hand and shake it,” I said.
“I won’t shake your hand but you have my word,” she nodded.
“Fine. I’ll see you tonight,” I put my hand down and walked away.
“Mhm,” she nodded and went to untie her horse from a pole.
Though I still disliked Teagan, I was glad that she had found a cure and we were able to have a civilized conversation. We were now acquaintances, or at least I considered us to be.
Now, I had to figure out where the cow wizard lived. But I knew just the person to ask.
* * *
I knocked on the small oak door of one beige house out of many in the residential areas of town where all the middle-class citizens lived. I wasn’t entirely sure I got the right house, all of them looked the same.
I wasn’t entirely sure this was even a good idea.
Rasheed was a merchant well known for his cheap trades and tall tales. Children, including myself when I was little, would always go looking for him to tell a story.
He was now retired, widowed, and isolated. He hardly ever went out into public anymore, and children forgot about him. The whole village did. I didn’t.
The door opened and an elderly man with dull grey eyes appeared.
“Rasheed! I’m sorry for bothering you at a time like this, but I have to ask you something, it’s about one of your stories,” I explained.
His eyes brightened at the sound of ‘stories’.
“Come in,” Rasheed widened the doorway. “I’ve just made cocoa.”
His house was modest, not over decorative, but souvenirs from his previous journeys sat on shelves. I sat down on his patched-up sofa. A mug of brown steaming liquid sad on the table next to a teapot.
Rasheed took a seat beside me.
Gesturing to the mug and teapot, he said, “Have some. It’s called hot chocolate.”
My eyes widened, “Oh, no, I couldn’t. This is expensive stuff. No thank you.”
Cocoa powder was a rarity only the rich could afford, and I couldn’t bear to drink it knowing that people like Nikolas were starving out there.
“Alright then, what is it about one of my stories?” Rasheed took a sip from the mug.
“Is the Cow Wizard real?” I asked.
“Ah, him. Yes, yes, he is real. The Cow Wizard was banished from the village, for he was an absolute madman. Constantly performed strange acts like arbitrarily shouting in the square, picking lint off of the blankets hung out to dry, and asking around for lizard eyes,” he said humorously.
“Do you know where he lives?”
“The old tower north of here, but visiting him is a privilege only the mayor and his family have. Not that anyone would ever want to visit him,” Rasheed chortled.
“Thank you. I have to leave now, my parents are waiting for me,” I stood up.
“Alright, it was nice to have some company for a change,” he opened the door for me.
After leaving the village, I ran as fast as I could towards the old tower. It was said to be abandoned and closed down to the public. I could see it was just a cover story the mayor made up to prevent anyone from visiting.
It was dark by now, and difficult to see the narrow path leading me to the tower. I almost tripped over several roots and stones. The tower itself was easy to see enough, the one tall building in the midst of hills and cottages.
I stood before a heavily rusted metal door and knocked. But instead of the usual metal to metal sound, a chicken squawked every time I knocked. ...That wasn’t very promising.
Stumbling back in surprise, I nearly tripped over the untrimmed grass. The long, withering blades curled around my ankles. It was almost a sea,
A booming, “WHO’S THERE?” finally tipped me over. I landed with a soft oomph onto the gnarly grass.
A bald man emerged from the shadows. He wore a midnight zijde robe, and his eyes glinted in the moonlight. They twinkled with mischief and had sort of edge to them, but they were not unkind. Rather, they were kind of unsettling… fit for a supposed cow wizard, I figured.
It seemed ridiculous that he of all people would be able to cure my father, but you never know about madmen.
“WHO’S THERE?” he repeated, looming over me.
“Elliot of H-Hawthorne Farm… ” I whispered. Then, gathering my courage I stood up. “I’m here to find the cure for the Mad Cow Disease. I heard from your niece Teagan that you might know one.”
The wizard looked at me for a second, rubbing his long brown beard. He then looked at me seriously. “Come on in.”
* * *
“More milk?” He offered.
We were sitting on colorful rugs, facing each other. The walls were stacked to the top with curved, curled cabinets and gadgets that balanced precariously on top, all that looked like they could fall at a moment’s notice.
I shook my head at the offer. couldn’t stomach anything after learning what he knew about the cure, much less milk. Either this guy was insane, or he knew a lot more about the world than at first look. I was more inclined to trust the former.
“Thank you for…” I trailed off. The Cow Wizard nodded.
“I’m afraid I have to leave.” I got up and brushed my thinly worn pants.
“Alright,” he cocked his head to one side, smiling strangely. It was almost a maniacal smile. Goosebumps rose on my arms. I wanted to get out of here.
“Be careful,” the wizard said cheerfully as I sidled out his door. It was such a simple warning, but I knew it went deeper than that. There was something he wasn’t telling me.
I had to get back to Teagan as soon as possible.
As I walked back through town towards my house I slipped a note under the Mayor’s door.
Teagan—meet me by the outskirt of town. Skip the Cow Wizard, I met him and there’s something he’s not telling us.
Kaylee C. (Cow Chron. and TSC)
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