The dessie, p.1
The Dessie, p.1Anushka Haakonson
(From The Life And Times Of Gilbert MacDiarmid)
By Anushka Haakonson
Copyright 2002/2014 Anushka Haakonson
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‘Be thankful for what u got’ goes the song. But how can you when the sky is falling down? The day had started so well – that’s what had made things worse. Then the sun had refused to set, picking a fight first with dusk and then with the poor moon. Now the sun was scorching away (a self-satisfied bully) while dusk skulked worriedly in the west and the moon sulked almost hidden over the dazzling sea. The final straw was, naturally, the stars threatening to go on strike, much to the delight of the satellites who never could resist a chance to shine and therefore secretly supported the sun in his takeover. Saturn was away to the Betelgeuse convention and Jupiter was on holiday in some isolated part of the universe: ‘a small galaxy at the far end of the Horse Nebula with no comms reception’ was all he had said. Typical. And with Mars in charge things could only get worse. The last thing we needed was another all out celestial war. But try telling that to Bert.
‘Don’t be stupid,’ was all he had said basking in the sun. ‘So we’ll have a long summer for once. It’s about time!’
I should have known better. Bert was the last person you should bounce story ideas off. Not that he doesn’t have imagination, just that he can’t be bothered about stories, unless they were histories. So it was off to the Greens. Mrs Green was always very inspiring and Scruff could could talk as much nonsense as I could. They would be able to give some artistic support. But it was to be one of those days. I found myself in the midst of yet another of those recurring mother/son arguments. I hastily retreated to the Sycamore tree, notebook in hand.
Forty five minutes later I was still trying to figure out my little conundrum when I heard hoarse shouting and what sounded like a hoard of buffalo approaching. I looked up, catching a glimpse of a little flying glittery dragonlike thingy divebombing a little tour of about eight backpackers. I correctly guessed that they belonged to Kieron’s tour, hugely helped by the fact that in the middle of the group of tourists was a helpless wizardlike figure in full wizard robes and an obviously fake staff. No real wizard would ever have a silver staff. Everybody knows they break at the slightest thing. Bert and Kieron were not far behind. Both looked angry.I wondered why. The dragon thingy was exactly the sort of thing Kieron hoped would happen to his tours. It was typically magical, dazzlingly pretty, and was causing a bit of excitement with no apparent harm. Or was it? I decided to investigate. Notebook in hand, pencil at ready, I set off at a discreet trot to observe.
I lost sight of the tour as they ducked down Rowan Avenue and again as they suddenly dived into the wynd alongside the Abbey. My ears lead me back on the trail as they registered the shouts, screeches and curses in various accents. I almost bumped into Bert who was lying in ambush at the entrance to the ruins of the old Abbey. Actually, he was just standing there watching, but he may as well have been in ambush with the glare I received.
“What are you doing here?” he began at his most scarifying.
“Being curious.” I answered cheekily and tried to duck by him to no avail.
“Go home,” commanded His Menacingness. But I was used to it. I folded my hands and tapped my foot, matching his glare. “You’re not helping any,” he finally said after what sounded like a terrifying roar followed by a terrified shriek.
“But I could,” I pointed out, already helpful.
“Gilbert!” yelled Kieron urgently. Bert sighed looking up at the bright blue sky. Finding no help there, he shook his head in resignation and sighed again. I took it as an affirmative and followed Bert onto the Abbey grounds.
The dragonlike thing had grown at an astonishing rate. It was huge now! More the size of a fully grown Beltie instead of a wee lamb. I wondered how such a humungus thing could still remain airborne. Surely gravity must have registered it by now. It was still divebombing the tour, but more deliberately this time. I reckoned it was aiming for the wannabe-wizard, not caring if the tourists got in the way.
“What is it?” I asked, watching as Kieron tried fruitlessly to distract the monster.
“You don’t want to know,” remarked Bert darkly.
“What does it want?”
“Who cares! Just make it go away!” pleaded Kieron. There was a moment of shocked silence as we noticed the monster slurp up the wannabe-wizard. Then the screaming resumed as the tour scattered, finally realising they would be less of a target individually. The monster gave a satisfied burp, before looking around in anticipation of its next snack. It grew bigger, assuming the proportions of a young elephant.
“What is it?” I asked again in apprehension.
“It’s a Dessie,” informed Gilbert solemnly.
“A What?” exclaimed Kieron and myself in unison.
“A Dessie... a Destructubator. It will destroy everything. If it can’t eat it, it will destroy it, break it.”
“Awright,” said Kieron, “Now make it go away.”
Bert gave his older brother the look, but it didn’t work on him either.
“When you say everything, do you mean everything?” I wanted to be crystal clear on that point.
Bert nodded, “Aye. Everything. The whole Earth, then the moon, the sun, the galaxies... Everything.”
“Oh,” was all I could say, thinking Be careful what you wish for...
“Would you stop phaffing around and do something!” Kieron was understandably losing it. Then again who wouldn’t.
“Well, it was your incompetent wizard that caused it!” retorted Bert, “You stop it.”
“I was forced to use an incompetent ‘cos someone wouldn’t help out. Besides I’m no wizard, am I?” glared Kieron at Bert, remembering that Bert would not crew his tours ever again. Bert squared his shoulders readying himself for what I assumed would be a long and tedious sulk. Meanwhile the world, which immediately consisted of the Abbey ruins, was being destroyed by the Dessie. This was no time for sulks.
“Bert, do something!”
“Can’t.” was the short reply.
“You will stop it now!” bellowed Kieron.
“Can’t,” growled Bert, “Don’t know how. Nobody does.”
Kieron and I exchanged stunned looks. Bye-bye world. Bye-bye universe.
“Well, I'm not going without a fight!” Kieron charged with a battle cry, finding a brick to hurl at the Dessie. Bert followed and made do with a miniature lightning bolt.
The Dessie ignored the two brothers and the other three tourists who tried to ward it off. Instead it was leisurely preparing to eat a fallen silently screaming girl. I have never seen anyone so terrified. I watched in horror as the protective shield that Bert threw around her only seemed to serve as a condiment. Bert stood in front of the whale sized monster, too enraged to moved. My heart stopped. But it ignored him again, preferring to munch on a babbling Spaniard. Again it ignored the spell throwing Bert and the others throwing mortar, going instead for the terrified ones. So... that’s how it worked. You just had to not be terrified. Maybe we could stop it yet! Now, how to feel happy?
“I’m siiinging in the rain, just siiiinging in the rain. What a glorrrrious feeling, I’m haappy again...”
I began to sing tunelessly trying to will myself to feel the song. “I’m siiiinging... and dancing...in the raiiin,” I found that I was doing a weak immitation of Mr Kelly round a broken pillar. The Dessie had stopped and was staring at me. So had everyone else in stupification. “I’m siiinging in the raiiin...” The Dessie began to wretch. Bert caught on, joining in
The Dessie began to throw up; the still babbling Spaniard, the petrified girl; reducing in size as it did so. We sang on mercilessly, actually enjoying dancing around the pillars and broken masonry. The Dessie threw up the wannabe-wizard who looked helplessly around for fate to intervene. One final awful hurl from the tiny dazzling Dessie, and it winked out of existence. We stopped singing breathlessly one by one. “Where’d it go?”
“Don’t know, don’t care, as long as it’s not here!” exclaimed Kieron, “Now where’s that stupid twit of a wizard?” The wannabe wizard was still looking helplessly around for fate to intervene – and save him from Bert.
“Okaay! If everyone’s accounted for...1...5..6,7,8. Right, let’s get on with the tour!” And Kieron began leading us away.”
“But....,” Bert was looking very menacing and talking quite softly to the terrified, soon to be former, practitioner of magic. “What about Bert?” I stammered at Kieron who was leading me away with the others.
“Oh, he can take care of himself,” was the reply.
“That’s not what I meant!”
But Kieron merely grinned, “He deserves it, the lying little sod. Said he could make wee dragons appear and look what he does! Come on, I’ll get you a nice hot-choc with sprinkles on top, you clever little Goose. Of all the things to come up with...”
And so I let myself be lured away by the promise of a nice hot-chocolate...with sprinkles on top, safe in the knowledge that I had saved the world – again.
in which Bert meets giant wildlife and Kieron finds himself skating on black ice.
A Niall The Knight-Farmer Story
The boy staggered up the slippery hill bare-footed. Gaining the summit, he squinted into the freezing wind trying to see. Between the wind and his myopia, all that he discerned were blurry smudges of green, brown and the bright yellow of gorse. Niall sighed, wiping the tears from his eyes that made the valley floor waver. He wondered if he should abandon his quest and return to the keep, to be beaten and bullied by his older cousin. Niall rubbed his shoulders to warm them. He gazed into the distance looking for a sign of the dragon.
He heard it first. A thunderous roar rolled across the glen. His heart beat with joy and excitement. His curiousity drove all other thoughts from his mind.
Niall rushed down the hill towards the source of the sound – half running, half rolling, to arrive muddier and bruised at the valley entrance. He took a second to catch his breath.
“Steady there, lad,” said a kindly gruff voice. Niall jumped, then squinted up at the speaker. He saw a pale face-shaped blur below a vague reddish blur which he took to be hair. It was all a very long way up on the brown cloth that towered over him.
The man considered Niall. He saw a tall gawky boy, no more than ten, but strangely authoritative. The eyes were bright and intelligent behind the long lashes through which he squinted.
“Half blind,” thought the man generously.
The boy looked like a noble, but his clothes were torn and muddy and he wore no shoes. The man smiled, remembering when he was a boy. “A worthwhile one,” he decided.
“Where’s the dragon?” blurted Niall, curiosity overcoming his manners.
“Come,” The man steered Niall forward. Ten steps later they stopped at a hillock. “He’s a wee one,” remarked the man lighting a pipe.
Suddenly, Niall understood. He knelt to the ground, exploring with his hands the scaly texture. He peered closely, finally seeing the iridescence in the weak light. “And the knight? Has he left?”
“Oh, no. He’s still here,” replied the man leading Niall to where the knight lay, armour dulled, companion to the dragon.
“What happened?” asked Niall, disappointed.
“The usual. They fought for a day and a night. The dragon won. There’ll be no ballads about this one.”
“Then who…How did you kill the dragon?” Niall was confused. This was not how the stories go.
The man had taken out a sling.“Got lucky,” chuckled the man. “It’s amazing what a sling and some luck will do – if you use your brain!” The man nodded to Niall, “Take care, lad,” he disappeared down the valley.
Niall stood for a while, thinking. He was sure that luck had played no part in killing the dragon. Which left the sling and the brain. Niall knew he could not use a sling. But his brain…that did not need much to use, not even good eyesight. Satisfied, Niall began the long cold scramble back home.
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The Dessie by Anushka Haakonson / Fantasy / Humor have rating 3.3 out of 5 / Based on20 votes