A rough draft with plenty of bad grammar, typos, and poor sentence structure.
Copyright by Jonathan Scott Griffin
Read Ch 1 here.
Back at his cottage, Edgar found himself in deep thought, wondering if what the fortune-teller said was true. An adventure! That was the last thing he needed. Yes, Madame Blue Moon had mentioned agency, but he still felt like she had been trying to push him towards a certain direction.
He looked around his cottage and he hoped not. He loved his warm, comfortable straw bed, the beautiful view the window gave him, and his daily routines. Anything that took him out of day-to-day life was a bad thing. This was his home, where he deserved to be. After a while Edgar just brushed the thoughts away. He was his own man. What did Madame Blue Moon know actually? She was probably just a fraud.
Edgar had been thinking about this as he ate some cheese for lunch and washed it down with a flask of water. Octy had his own bowl of cheese. Edgar had even been so kind as to give the little mouse, named Squeakers, a pebble of cheese on a small plate. Squeakers was greedily gobbling the cheese down like it was a fine cuisine.
Edgar still wasn’t happy that he had to watch over the little white mouse. There was just something so filthy about rodents. Maybe it was the way they foraged through trash, especially rats. Thankfully, Squeakers wasn’t a rat. But he was still a mouse, a vermin. Hopefully he wasn’t carrying any disease. And if the little creature even asked to sleep in Edgar’s bed tonight, no way, he could just forget it. There were some things that just couldn’t be tolerated. Bedding with vermin was one of them.
Squeakers, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to Edgar’s discomfort. He kept thanking him for saving him. “I thank you oh so very much, Sir,” said Squeakers. “Perhaps someday I will return the favor.”
Edgar laughed. “Yeah right. What can you, a little mouse, do for me?”
Not very polite? Certainly not. But maybe one can forgive Edgar by knowing that he was trying to be the best host that he could, even if he didn’t want to be. Why, he even went so far as to make the mouse a little bed from an empty matchbox as well as providing him the covers out of a clean dishcloth.
“Well, Octy, this is certainly a load of rubbish,” Edgar said, patting his dog on the back before turning out the lantern and falling asleep on his straw bed.
Edgar hoped to fall asleep fast.
Skitter, skitter. Skitter, skitter. Squeak, squeak.
“What do you want, Squeakers?” Edgars said grouchily, turning on his gas lamp.
Squeakers was peering up at him from below the bed.
“Begging your pardon, I hate to trouble you, Sir,” said Squeakers. “But I do hate sleeping alone. Can you move my little bed into your room?”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. Absolutely not!”
“Oh please, you can just put me on your dresser. I promise not make a peep.”
Exasperated Edgar took the bed he made for the little mouse, and the little mouse himself, into his room and placed them on his cabinet. He had already volunteered to save him, and now the rodent was asking for more. This was too much.
Edgar turned his lamp off, hoping to get some shut eye. Onty grumbled, hoping for the same.
“Will you be going on that quest, Sir?” asked Squeakers.
“Don’t be silly,” said Edgar, “of course not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bed.”
If only going to bed were that easy. Though Edgar tried to forget about what Madame Blue Moon said, his thoughts drew back to the images he witnessed in the crystal ball. Who was this girl who was floating in the cosmos, only to be tied to an altar?
Edgar didn’t sleep well that night, being plagued with dreams. He saw that same young girl, and that same monster. He had a large claw griped around her waist. In fear she was reaching out to Edgar.
“Edgar,” she screamed. “Please, help me. Help me Edgar, help me.” And she disappeared, along with the monster, into a gray fog.
He awoke, his pajamas drenched in a cold sweat. With teeth chattering he knew he needed to take a nice hot bath in the hot springs.
“Begging your pardon, are you okay, Sir.” Squeakers was wide awake.
“Fine, I’m fine!” Edgar lied.
“You were dreaming about her, weren’t you? About what you saw in the crystal ball.”
“Not at all. I don’t believe Madame Blue Moon for a second.”
Squeakers stared at him. Edgar shrugged.
“Okay I lied. I was dreaming about what I saw. But, as she said, I have my own destiny. I don’t have to seek this girl out.”
But little did Edgar know, that life doesn’t always pan out the way we wish. Sometimes it gives us a little nudge. Or in some cases, a big push.
Not far from him, on the top of a summit of another part of the mountain chain, was a middle-aged man who, aside from Edgar’s guilty conscious, would help be that push. Dressed in tattered clothes, a rugged cloak, he looked up at the moon that was lighting up the peaks of snow. It was cold. His big fat toe stuck out of his right boot, freezing the snow. That was his good boot. Though his toe didn’t stick out of his left boot, the seams were barely holding it together. He couldn’t remember how many times he had to stop and patch and sew up clothing. His trousers were practically all patches.
He scratched his thick, scraggly, unwashed beard. He was near his destination. He could feel it. His rough weather-beaten hand clasped the hilt of the sword at his side. If they came, he would be ready.
Meanwhile, Edgar had just finished bathing in one of the hot springs nearby. Wearing fresh clothing, Edgar was making his way back to his cottage as the sun was rising. This time around, he noticed the mountain chain more so than usual, and for the first time it hit him. It was a large world out there, and it didn’t stop at the end of the long mountain chain that Edgar called home.
Edgar felt a chill, and not from the cold, to know that it was this large world that took his mother away from him when he was a little child. Though he had become somewhat numb to his loss, this particularly morning the memory stung, as he thought back to these cold mornings in which his mother cuddled him against her, feeling her body heat as she sang to him.
It was in the past.
In Edgar’s mind, he was at least mostly safe on his mountain. He would have a nice hot breakfast of oats and fruit, shave the mugroomps, go fishing, and enjoy life with his dog. The world wouldn’t take him. Not like it did his mother.
But as the day wore on, his thoughts kept turning back to the vision he saw. Tinges of guilt crept upon Edgar. He felt low. He was a coward. He was abandoning a young girl to a monster. Slowly he felt more and more ashamed of himself.
Both Octy and Squeakers noticed. As Edgar sat at the table, his breakfast from five hours ago not even touched, Octy put his head in his lap and whimpered while looking up at him with great, big concerned eyes.
“Excuse me for intruding,” said the little mouse. “I know I haven’t lived you with that long, but I feel it is safe for me to guess that you have been most preoccupied. You seem troubled.”
Edgar couldn’t hide it. “Yes,” he said. “I am troubled.”
“Then I suggest we take this adventure.”
“I don’t want to, I love the mountains.”
“With all due respect, good Sir, I don’t think the mountains are helping you much.”
Neither is having a disease carrier in my home, Edgar thought to himself. But he merely said, “No, I suppose they aren’t.”
They all retired early to bed that night. Squeakers still sleeping separately from Edgar and Octy.
You’re a coward, Edgar thought to himself. How could you let a girl die? Then he shook his head. She wasn’t his problem. Was she?
“Octy,” he said suddenly. “We’re going to find out who that girl is. We’ll see if we can help her.”
“Oh, that’s wonderful, Sir,” chattered Squeakers. “When do we leave?”
“We?” asked Edgar. “I didn’t mention you. Octy and I are going. You can have the house to yourself while we’re away. Just try to keep it clean.” Edgar looked at Octy, who looked back at him with somber eyes. “As for when we leave,” he patted his dog on the head, “I’m not sure yet.”
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