Thursday, July 7, 2011

Travel Update 3 - Booby Trap

Traveling on "the other side" can be a lot of fun and very exciting but it can also be tricky or even dangerous. Today I want to talk about a close call I once had and how falling for one of the oldest tricks in the book meant disaster for someone else.

It was a cold and wind swept Saturday afternoon in late November.  I was doing my best to keep up with a kid in front of me whom I had been following for the past several hours. He was leading the way south along the Kenilworth Station Road, heading for the now popular King's Head Tavern, a cozy little pub still a few miles ahead. I was hungry and cold and wanted nothing more than to get there as soon as possible, sit by the fire and have a hot meal.

We had reached a bend in the road when he suddenly stopped. As I closed the gap between us I could see that his attention was fixed on something sitting by the side of the road. I got closer and was able to make out a wicker basket containing a half dozen apples, apparently left there by the owner who was presently out of sight but likely close by. I had been warned about situations like this but had expected to encounter one so soon in my career. I was just about to say something clever like " I wouldn't do that if I were you" when he reached for one of the apples. He must have been as hungry as I was because he took a bite, but then immediately vanished. His now empty clothes, with nothing to support them, fell to the ground in a heap. His cap hit the ground last and rolled into the ditch.

Instantly my ears began to ring and there was a strong smell of sulphur in the air. The tell-tale signs of a dark magic spell having just been worked. I was rooted to the spot. A wave of vertigo was overtaking me. From the trees at the side of the road emerged a very unwholesome looking woman, her eyes looking straight at the pile of clothes nearby. Her skirt came right to the ground but could not hide the fact that her feet were large and bird like.
She moved right past me and out onto the road where she picked up the clothes and cap. She then went back into the trees to whatever evil purpose she had planned for the boy. Something very lethal had just crossed my path and only luck and a bit of good advice had saved me.

I was now alone on the road. The sun was going down, it was getting colder and I was immobilized.  The heavy cloud of sulphur was beginning to clear and I started moving, somehow making it safely to the King's Head Tavern. I booked a room upstairs and spent a sleepless night watching the road from my window. There was no sign of the woman or the unfortunate boy. I left the next morning, but only when the sun was well up and there were other travelers on the road.

The King's Head

It was very unlucky for the boy that he had not been made aware of this kind of trap - all too typical on the roads "over there". Fortunately for me I had been warned and I'm passing the information along to you - safety first.

More soon and happy traveling.

Peace be with you.

8 comments:

Sabine said...

O____O Waaaaw.... Thanks for the advice !!

Poor boy ! -_-

WOL said...

Yeah. That's what my dad told me. Watch out for those traps, booby.

Larry MacDougall said...

Sabine, Wol - thanks guys - you gotta stay safe out there !

John Vargas said...

Was the horrible creature a Baba Yaga? Great short story. I liked that the effect of evil magic paralyzing people nearby.

Larry MacDougall said...

Thanks John - not quite a Baba Yaga but something almost as bad. Dark Magic is very dangerous - you don't want to be near when it happens. Good luck out there.

Jim Nelson said...

I'm really enjoying this travelogue through faerie, Larry. Each entry just draws me into that other world. The sketch of the Old Lady in this entry was excellent, both creepy and evocative.

Larry MacDougall said...

Thanks Jim ! That's the kind of feedback that will give me the audacity to keep going :)

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