Wethersby’s Wakening

Submitted into Contest #96 in response to: Start your story in an empty guest room.... view prompt

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Adventure Bedtime Fantasy

   Sir John Wethersby, for the life of him, could not recall which town he was in, nor in what quaint innkeeper’s room he had suddenly awakened. The last thing he could recall, was hearing the distant mewing of a spectral cat, after partaking of a particularly bland bowl of porridge, and a rather unsavory piece of stale mutton. But why could he not recall anything from even a few days past? 

    Sir John, managed to get dressed, in a quite stylish set of breeches and long tail coat, previously unfamiliar to him. He made his way down the rickety, uneven steps of the narrow oaken staircase, which led to a small room containing a bar set up and a few modest seating arrangements. After calling out, in vain, nary a soul to be found, he headed out the large stalwart steel-enforced door into the sun-bleached street, of the still, unfamiliar, hamlet. 

    Here and there, a few civilians went about their everyday, mundane tasks. What with the work of leading cows to pasture, or sweeping sidewalks, there seemed to be a vague malaise about the place, which fogged John’s mind in a veneer of mystery. Not a soul meet eye contact with him, nor did they even take notice, as if he may not have even been present at all. He couldn‘t quite place it, but if he had to guess, the dialect with which they spoke to each other had the resonance of Gaelic sounding tones. 

    Finally after walking down unfamiliar cobblestone streets, with unpronounceable names, in a foreign script, he decided he would take charge of his current predicament. It was then that he saw the door to the Grimalc Inn was wide open, with a sign beckoning patronage for those in want of a hearty meal and a grand old time. 

    Sir John reticently stepped across the golden inlay of the establishment’s threshold, only to be quite taken aback by the glorious sight that beheld his eyes. There before him, in what would have been considered a quite normal Irish eatery otherwise, was instead one embellished with a mountain of intricate decorum from floor to vaulted ceiling. Every incarnation, idol and effigy of fairy, cherub, woodland creature and spirit, adorned the place, carved in everything from porcelain, to fine silver and gold, to ivory, as well as rare and exquisite wood from a seemingly enchanted forest. 

    John laid his hat upon the table as he stared up at the incredible and the unfathomable images before him. He rubbed his temples in disbelief at the mere thought of the handiwork, and hours of labor, that must have went into the creation and collection of such a menagerie. It was only then that he noticed the pleasant Maiden, who had been staring at him the entire time. She seemed tall for a woman, with long flowing fiery curls, as red as volcanic fire. Her ample bosom and resplendent curves were welcoming In a way that was neither fully matronly or sexual, but whole-heartedly appealing, nonetheless. Her smile shined like a beacon, and she had a bronze glow about her, like that of a pregnant woman, although she was not with child. 

    John was inwardly startled, at first, but something beyond him beckoned him to engage the middle-aged maiden with all of his very being. After a brief swallow, and some inner self-encouragement, he chose to speak first. His tone was solemn, as if in a church or on hallowed ground, though he knew not why he spoke as such. 

    “Pardon me, fair lass. But could thou tell me of what land I am in, and how far is it from the Queen’s, for I am, as of yet, unfamiliar of its trappings.” 

    The Maiden continued her busy work of polishing chalices and crystal goblets, although it was clear she offered her full attention to the perplexed man. The words, she spoke were in an accent so strong, yet somehow Sir John, understood them all, if only in his mind‘s eye, and not altogether on the surface. 

    She spoke of a land of enchantment. Of a decision to continue to seek out the elusive, or to perhaps settle in the here and now. Her smile was mischievous, and the glint in her eyes tempestuous. John felt as if he were a sailor starring at a Siren, not knowing if he would experience unbridled sensuality or be dashed upon the rocks. Opposing feelings of fear and inquisitiveness clashed inside of him, lapping like tumultuous waves at his rib cage. The more she spoke, the more he became intrigued, until he felt hopelessly enamored and unequivocally beguiled by her aura and words. 

    John felt himself slipping from the mortal coil, to go down a path of no return. He felt as though his body hung, now perilously, on the precipice of a large drop into the bottomless pit of the cosmos. He struggled between trepidation and curiosity, the fair Maiden’s charms now enthralling him beyond simply mere carnal desires. All he needed to do was let go. 

    The harsh cry of a flustered feline broke John from her gaze. It had been the same cat’s cry that led him to this far away land of mystery, mirth and perhaps malevolent spirits, in the first place. But this time when John awakened, he was not in a far-off land of Irish folklore, but rather the creature comforts of his own bed. Like Ebenezer before him, he laughed until he cried, as his furry feline friend licked her white and beige paws, before bathing her own ears awash, and John in her indifference. 

    John now fully awake, sucked air through his teeth, happy to be alive.  Never again would he forget the indescribable Grimalc Inn, nor its seductive unearthly inhabitant that took the female form. He knew not where he had traveled during his unconscious state, but only that even the furthest reaches of his intelligence and experience combined,  could never have imagined such a place, even in a lucid dream state. 

    He knew not it’s name, or language; nor could be place any of it’s vaguely familiar, although hauntingly unfamiliar, traits. All he knew was, heavenly or hellish, that place had not been of this world, or even dimension, and he was merely happy to be wide awake once again. With a renewed sense of vigor and a redound zeal for life, his thoughts once again returned to their earthly pursuits. A bowl of bland porridge and a piece of stale mutton, would be more than greatly appreciated, upon the breakfast table, rooted firmly in place, on this, the familiar and terrestrial ground of his hearth and home. 


   





May 31, 2021 12:06

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2 comments

Austin Diaz
18:08 Jun 09, 2021

I like this story. Particularly the idiom in which you write it. It would be interesting to learn more about John's waking life and how it contrasts (or doesn't) to his dream/hallucination. The detail of the bland porridge is nice (and I think it works that it pops up twice), but other small windows into his daily life would, I think, bolster the impressive dream sequence you've sown together.

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Delphine Hintz
16:34 Jun 09, 2021

You have a very interesting writing style. A couple prepositions seem out of place, but the flow is pretty decent for a story with only one line of dialogue. That one line kind of sticks out like a sore thumb, actually, just so you are aware. Your word choice was extremely varied and impressive. It was cool to read all those words that we never really get to hear. Thanks for sharing you story!

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