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Merlin’s Travelling spell goes wrong.

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“I’m sorry,” said a burley man, as he bumped into me on a crowded byway.

I stood up and backed into an open room away from the crowds, but was thrown forward to the floor by an invisible force. “What!”

“Careful,” said the strangely dressed man. “You’ll break the glass.”

“Glass?”

The man picked me up, “Yes glass,” he said, tapping on the invisible barrier. “What are you doing, promoting a play.”

“I have no idea, what is this place.”

“Oxford Street. I assume you’re lost, here let me show you.”

From nowhere he plucked a black box and showed me a picture, all lines and squiggles and red dots.

“Here you are. Where are you going? I’ll set it up.”

“I’m here to see King Arthur,”

He tapped the black box, “Ah yes that’s on at the Odeon, just up on the left past the Virgin shop.”

“Uhh thank you.” I replied, a little amazed. “There’s a shop where they sell virgins, how interesting.”

“Sorry?” asked the man.

“Nothing,” I said making my way through the crowed market place, full of people in the strangest garb.

My last travelling spell had obviously transported me to a major town with all these people, but what were those big red square boxes, full of people, moving along the road without horses.

“What’s the matter with you,” said a young woman as I brushed into her. This one was dressed in more respectable clothes of a lady of the court.

“Sorry, miles away,” literally I thought.

“Love the outfit.”

“Outfit? Oh, you mean my clothes.”

“Yes.” she said. “Well Merlin, are you off to see Arthur?”

“Yes,” I thanked my lucky stars to find someone who understood. “Do I know you?”

“No, but the staff and the hat give you away,” she said “I’m Gwen by the way.”

She linked arms and we wove our way through the bustling crowds.

“So, who built these huge castles or are they monuments,” I asked, looking around at the series of immense buildings, stretching into the distance.

“These things? Oh, they’re just monuments to the Gods of consumerism.”

“That’s a new religion to me.”

“I think we might be late if these people don’t get out of the way,” said Gwen. Seeing a massive sea of teens in matching red t-shirts.

“No problem,” I said with a wave of my arms, parting the crowds all the way to the flashing signs.

“Is everyone off to see the king?” I asked as the signs above flashed ‘King Arthur’ at us.

“Where are you sitting?” she asked.

“I normally stand at his right,” I told her.

“No, your ticket. You do have a ticket?” she said showing me a slip of paper.

“Let me see,” I said, taking it out of her hands. I marvelled at the tiny neat symbols on the bit of paper. I waved my hands once more and handed her ticket back, retaining the copy I’d made.

“Oh, very clever,” said Gwen, admiring my sleight of hand.

She led me down an aisle towards an immense white wall and pulled me down into the softest seat I had ever encountered.

“Nicer than the moss and ferns seats we use,” I told her.

“Where do you come from?” she asked, as the lights dimmed and music started.

I jumped up “What’s happening.”

“SSShh, sit down, people are looking.”

“Oh sorry, very different to the ceremonies we have at home,” I told her.

The white wall in front of us turned black, then changed to a scene of rolling hills and in the distance a castle.

“Have I been transported again?”

“What? No, it’s a picture.”

“How did they paint it so quickly?”

“I beg your pardon.”

“Granted,” thinking she had burped.

“Just watch.” she commanded.

I couldn’t understand how they had all these people, battles scenes and fighting, all on what was such a small stage.

Certainly, there was a king of sorts, and some sort of magician, presumably pretending to be me, who made lights like lightening from his stupid stick, turning people into frogs. What a waste of magic I thought.

The temple lit up again and she took my hand directing me out into the open air and pulled me into a smaller temple to a God called Costa, where people sat around sipping at frothy drinks, leaving milky lips each time they dipped into their pots.

She brought me a white pot filled with a hot steamy drink.

“Is this a magic potion?” I asked. I hadn’t tagged her as a witch.

“No, have you never had a cappuccino before?”

Not in our village.” Wonder what awful fate she had in mind. I waved my hands over the drink to dispel any potion she might have given me, but there were no warning bubbles so I hoped it would be alright to drink.

“So, what did you think?” Gwen asked. “Great film wasn’t it.”

“Is that your idea of what it’s like in King Arthur’s court?”

“Well not mine but certainly the people who wrote it.”

“Well they’ve obviously not been there.”

“Have you?”

“Of course, would you like to see what it’s really like?” I asked having realised what was wrong with my original travel spell.

“I’ve been to Tintagel.”

“I don’t know that place,” I said. “But I can take you to see the real King Arthur.”

“Really, I’d love that,” she answered, with a sparkle in her eyes. “Where’s your car?”

“I don’t know what a car is, but hold my hands and I’ll take you there.”

“Oh no, wait!”

Too late, the temple dissolved and stone walls appeared in front of us.

“Ah, Merlin there you are,” said the man seated at the head of table. “What kept you and who’s this enchanting maid?”

“King Arthur, meet Gwen.”

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Flights Of Fantasy

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“Do you need a lift,” said a growling voice beside Casey, as she walked along the country road, making her turn and jump out of the way.

She hadn’t heard the car draw up beside her, but when she turned it was not a car at all but a purple eyed flying dragon.

“Where are you going,” she asked, thinking it best to humour the scaly monster.

“The hills,” said the dragon, between its huge whiter than white teeth. Trails of smoke drifting out of its wide nostrils.

“There are many hills around here,” said Casey, edging further into the hedge.

“But only one that matters.”

“Why does it matter?”

“It holds my stash of gold.”

“And no doubt the charred bones of unsuspecting maidens.”

“Only the ugly ones.”

“Not the gold diggers?”

“Oh yes, maybe a few of those as well,” said the impatient Dragon, growing tired of trying to make conversation.

“Where do you think I fit in?”

“Well you’re very pretty of course.”

“How would you know. I thought beauty for you would be another lady dragon.”

“Few and far between these days.”

“Dragons or lady dragons?”

“Both. St George has a lot to answer for you know.”

“Yes, bit of a tyrant that one.”

“Yes, he killed my father. Mind you he was a bit long in the tooth.” said the dragon, baring his foot-long incisors.

“Well he was attacking the village, what do you expect.”

“He used a long sword and that wasn’t in the script.”

“There was a script?”

“Figure of speech. Talking of which you do have a fine figure.”

Casey twirled around. “You think so?”

“Yes, so what’s it to be?”

“I prefer to keep my flesh on my bones.”

“Your choice, mind you it would be a shame for people to find your charred remains in a lonely lane.”

“So really there’s no choice then.”

“No, just grab a scale and hop on.”

“I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

“What?”

“Use the word ‘Just’, editors hate it.”

“What’s this, some sort of literary exercise.”

“Much easier than going to the gym,” said Casey.

“You’re just annoying me.”

“There you go again.”

“Stop it, come on I’m a hop on hop off person, I may even share some of my gold.”

“Have you ever done that?”

“Well, no not really but there’s always a first time.”

“Can I bring my sword?”

“You haven’t got a sword, I checked.”

“Yes, but you missed this one here, stuck in the stone.”

“That’s been there for years, no-one can pull it out.”

“That’s just an old wive’s tale.”

“Caught you.”

“What?”

“You used the Just word.”

“Touché,” said Casey, pulling the sword from the stone with an easy sweep and holding it at the dragon’s neck.

“I think I will take that lift to your lair, but on my terms.”

“Are you related?”

“What? Oh, to George, yes my great grandfather.”

“I knew there was something suspicious about the way you were wandering the country lanes. Waiting to entrap an unsuspecting dragon.”

Casey climbed onto the neck of the dragon, careful to avoid a sneaky snort of fire.

“Now then, let’s not get too fiery today, anyway I’ve got my fireproof clothes on.”

“Damn, health and safety gets everywhere these days.”

“Says the dragon wearing a high vis jacket.”

“George and his interfering do-gooders.”

Casey pulled out her crash helmet and strapped it beneath her chin. “I’m ready,” she said digging her spurns into his weak flanks. Soon they were ensconced in the Dragon’s Lair, high in the hills, where Casey descended from the dragon’s neck and set about the next phase of her plan.

“Oh Look! Someone’s stealing your rubies.”

The dragon whipped around searching the depths for would be thieves.

Casey quickly erected a cardboard cut-out of herself made out of old Quaker Instant Oats packages, depicted herself scooping up some nuggets.

She hid behind the immense pile of treasure and helped herself to handfuls of gold and jewels whilst whistling the William Tell Overture. A white drone descended from the roof of the cavern.

“Hey!” said the Dragon. “You can’t trick me like that.” sending a billowing cloud of red hot fire, hurtling to the figure by the gold. Whoosh and the cardboard cut-out was gone in the promised instant.

Casey tucked her bag in her waistband and held onto the drone. “Home James.” Stupid name for a drone really.

The dragon saw her ascending up the ventilation shaft, and despite huffing and puffing could not create another fiery bolt so soon after the first. “Drat,” he said “I won’t get fooled again.”

Back home in her warm kitchen Casey relaxed in her favourite chair and picked up a book. Her husband, Jason, was soon home from making hay whilst the sun shone.

“So, did you get some,” he asked.

“Dadah,” said Casey pointing to the bulging bag overflowing with gold, sitting on the kitchen table.

“Excellent,” said Jason. “That will keep the wolf from the door for another year. So did he suspect anything?”

“No he’s getting old and dragomentia is very useful sometimes.”

“I see you’re reading your favourite Jonathan Swift book again.”

“Yes somehow ‘Gullible Dragons’ seem so appropriate somehow.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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