left Sigworth's Dust: William

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


Quibley walked down the dimly-lit corridor alongside Umpwiffle. Umpwiffle was carrying a small black bag in one of his hands.
‘Do ya want me to come with ya, this time?’ said Quibley, who was getting more and more worried about his friend’s state of mind.
‘Don’t botha.’
‘I said I woz sorry for leaving ya stood on ya’s own in the workshop,’ he said sulkily as they reached the end of the corridor to encounter daylight.
‘Pity ya didn’t think that at the time, isn’it!’
He gave Quibley a dirty look before leaving him stood at the entrance to Zlexis. Quibley stayed there for some time thinking how easily he had just lost a good friend.

George wondered if she was going mad as things were going from bad to plain ridiculous. She sat down.
‘Hello,’ said George calmly, so as not to scare the tiny man whom she thought hadn’t seen her.
On the contrary, William had infact noticed her on her arrival in his home town but was playing it cool.
‘Excuse me,’ said George slowly, thinking the creature could not understand her.
Innit’s, the species to which, once upon a time, William belonged, find it hard to get a minutes peace. His beautiful voice faded and before George could say any more, he had disappeared. George hadn’t seen him go anywhere, it was like he had just melted back into the tree. She reached her hand forwards and gently felt the outside of the stump. It was completely solid. All she felt against her hand was the weathered, crumbling bark and the twisting stems which caressed it.
‘Wait...come back!’ she pleaded. ‘Ooh!’ she moaned in a huff.
She slumped against the tree stump. As she lent against it, she swore that she felt it throb as if it had somehow managed to acquire a heartbeat.
‘Great!’ she muttered. ‘Now I think the trees are alive!’
She reasoned that it must be connected to a lack of food and drink on her behalf. She crawled on her hands and knees and peered around the other side of the stump, which was quite wide in diameter. Her curiosity was, once again, getting the better of her.
‘Hello?’ she whispered. ‘Please come back. I’m not going to hurt you. I only want to ask you a few questions...like what you are for a start...’
She listened...nothing. Well it was worth a try. She leaned against the tree again and looked around. If she was to find her way out of here, she needed to re-fuel. Perhaps there would be a River or Lake around here and maybe she could collect some berries...no..she had always been warned against that. Oh well, water would do for now. It was just a case of finding it.
It was a shame the miniature man had disappeared, he might have been able to point her in the right direction. Never mind, she concluded, standing up.
‘I’m cold in the summer, warm in the winter but whatever the weather, I’m always.....forgetful?’ came a jesting voice.
‘Excuse me?’ said George, her eyes frantically searching for its owner.
‘Why, what have you done!’ it chuckled.
George finally located the little fellow. He was perched on a branch suspended from a large Birch tree not far from her which, incidentally, had not been there a few minutes ago.
‘Who are you?’ asked George, fascinated with this bizarre place.
The leaves on the branch rustled as the Innit practised his type-rope walking skills, holding his arms, complete with the strands of dangling greenery, out to his sides for balance.
‘Now, let me see,’ he pondered. ‘Yesterday I was cheerful, tomorrow I’ll be frightful...so today I must be...William!’
‘William?’ repeated George, slightly bemused, ‘that’s a strange name for an….’
‘Not at all,’ William replied oddly. ‘I’ll have you know that William is a very traditional name amongst the Innit’s.’
‘Sorry,’ said George. ‘I didn’t mean to offend you. My name’s George. Many think that’s a strange name where I come from.’
‘Not at all, I think it’s a good sturdy name. Well, George, what can I possibly do for you?’ William gracefully dismounted the branch, landed deftly on the spongy ground and bowed.