left Sigworth's Dust: The Mares

Sunday, 17 February 2008

The Mares

‘What’s in there?’

‘Well...’ Ponkle hesitated, wondering if he could trust a girl wearing checked pyjamas. ‘Oh, alright. I don’t suppose I could be in any more trouble than I am already.’

Ponkle was extremely weary. He was perched on the end of the bed and rapidly losing heart. George gave him a comforting smile.

‘They’re mares,’ he said at last, staring at the floor.

‘What?’ said George, soundin worried.

She didn’t like this any more. She desperately pinched herself. Yet to her utmost dismay, she didn’t wake up. She was beginning to get scared.

Ponkle shrugged his shoulders. He had been contemplating his actions for a short while now and had decided that this was his only option. Well, the only option which meant he might still be alive at this time tomorrow anyway. He stood up, walked over to George and firmly grasped her arm.

‘Look, I’m very sorry to inconvenience you but I promise it wont take long,’ he said, leading her back to the bed. ‘All you need to do is go back to sleep.’

Ponkle liked to think that he had a dominant streak. George, however, thought differently and squirmed out of his grip.

‘Keep away from me!’ she said calculatingly, ‘or I do one of two things. Either I run downstairs and tell my mother there’s a burglar in the house...or I stand right here and scream as loud as I can. Your choice.’

Ponkle sunk down onto the soft bed, his spirit well and truly deflated. He did not enjoy his job but he could just about perform it when the creatures were asleep. He had never encountered a real human in a waking state before. He felt exceedingly bad about the whole thing.

‘Well?’ threatened George.

‘Um.. to be honest, I think I’d prefer it if you didn’t do either of those things,’ said Ponkle on the verge of tears.

‘Then explain to me what all this is about,’ said George warily.

Ponkle saw no point in hiding the truth now. He didn’t think there was a fate worse than death. He didn’t think even the Judgess could manage that! Unless you counted being wrapped up and delivered to the Mountain Gubwats as a new plaything......he imagined that would be slightly worse.

‘Well,’ started Ponkle...and then there was no stopping him. ‘Judge Biffleworth went and fell in love…even married her…died a couple of weeks after the ceremony…broken heart, some say…witnesses say she turned into a snake….sucked the very life from him…now she rules over the Kingdom of Valdox……Stop that!’ he yelled at the sack which was slowly squirming towards a captivated George.

George gasped as Ponkle pulled her away from the advancing brown sack and sat her down next to him.

‘They’ve got a mind of their own,’ he said quietly. ‘That’s the trouble with magic. Tolita thinks that eventually she will be able to control everyone’s minds. You’re next. Wants to rule all the Worlds. These things are just the beginning. A small taster of things to come.’

George was finding this somewhat hard to take in.

‘Us? What does she want with us? …..And what do you mean, Worlds?’ said George.

‘Oh, never mind that. Yes, I’m sure she’ll find some good use for you, there’s always vacancies for Invention testers,’ chuckled Ponkle.

‘Invention testers?’

‘Oh, there are plenty of jobs going if you’ve got the right qualifications.’

Things were getting too much for George. She rapidly pulled herself up off the bed and walked swiftly over to a wooden chest of drawers at the side of the square room. She opened the top drawer and reached in. Her hand returned with a pair of blue and white striped socks.

‘Well, it’s been an experience meeting you,’ said George nearly losing her balance whilst trying to put a sock on her left foot, ‘but I’m afraid you must leave now as I’m going to be late for school.

‘No..No..No!’ Ponkle protested, his brain telling him that letting the girl go at this stage would be his biggest mistake yet. Especially since he hadn’t delivered the goods. She’d want an explanation. Wait, he had an idea. He wondered where in goodness name it had come from. The girl could simply tell the Judgess that she wouldn’t co-operate.

Before George realised what was happening, Ponkle had grabbed the sack in one hand and was now speedily coming towards her. She had only got the second sock halfway up her foot when, to her utter disbelief, she was thrown over Ponkle’s free shoulder. The next minute they were gone.