The direction of travel was a matter of dispute. Wentworth was sure that their destination was right over the eastern ridge. Haymann on the other hand said that it lay to the north. The bickering ended up being so intense that they went their own ways and Wentworth wandered widdershins and found himself in the Valley of the Trolls. Haymann fared little better as he became lost in the glaciers of the north and froze.
It said it was instant on the label. All that was needed was for the requisite amount of chilled milk to be measured and added to a bowl and then the packet added to the milk. This then was to be supplemented with a sweetener of choice to the taste of your choice to be added before whipping on medium speed with a whisk or blender for two to three minutes. This is then to set (ideally chilled) before serving. I think someone needs to consult their dictionary on the definition of “instant.”
“What are you doing here, and who are you?” Dollen demanded of the dark hooded figure standing before him.
The apparition merely raised a bony hand and gazed at trickle of sand as it fell through the hourglass.
“Seriously, what do you want?” Dollen asked becoming unnerved. “You can’t possibly be who I think you are. This must be a dream,” Dollen said pinching himself. “WAKE UP DOLLEN ROGERS!” he frantically called to himself.
“Dollen Rogers?” a crypt-deep voice asked. “Not Roger Dollen?”
“Dollen Rogers, I’m Dollen Rogers!”
“Shite,” the dark figure said. “Sorry to have bothered you.” The spectre then disappeared.
The path was well travelled, yet there seemed to be no one about today. Harn thought this strange as it was his understanding that it was meant to be market day. Surely there would be travellers on the road. Not a soul, however, was seen.
When he arrived in the town, it was equally quiet. The stalls were empty in the square, and the houses all seemed to be locked and shuttered. Had he missed something?
A stray cat darted across the square, but nothing else moved.
He then caught the faint sound of singing on the breeze.
Turning to follow the sound he discovered a lone boy of about six years of age sitting on a balcony backed by a shuttered window.
“You, boy, where is everyone else?” Harn called.
The lad interrupted his melody just long enough to reply, “I sang them away, because they were mean to me.”
Thinking quickly Harn said, “That was very wrong of them. You seem a pleasant chap to me.”
“Do you think so?” the boy asked.
“Indeed,” Harn replied, trying to make sense of it all.
“Well, you can stay here, I think,” the lad said. “But you better not change your tune or I might have to change mine.”
It wasn’t that there wasn’t anything to eat. There were dates, but they were kind of hard to get to. That left the figs. Figs – Dan hated figs. It wasn’t so much the flavour, though he did find it a bit odd, it was the grit between the teeth that got him. That and the laxative effect of his diet.
It was his own fault he guessed. He had been lost in the desert when he found that lamp. The genie seemed generous enough offering him three wishes. He had wasted his first two wishes on gold, and fame. He should have thought the third out better. How did he know that when he asked the genie to get him out of the desert heat that he would just pop him into an oasis?
It was a labour worthy of Hercules. Flynn had hardly slept the night before owing to his awareness of the task that was before. Now the time had come and he would have to pull together every ounce of courage as he was about to enter into the unknown. This was not just the stretching of his comfort zone, but a true unheaval of the established order.
“All you need to do is go in and get it.” The words reverberated through his very being.
He took a deep breath and proceeded into the precincts of the charity shop and approached the counter.
“Do you – do you have a red scarf with dragonflies?” he asked. “My Gran said she thought she saw one here.”
“If we do it will be along the back wall,” the middle-aged volunteer said.
Flynn took another breath before setting out past the mismatched dishes, shapeless cardigans, and the ever present mustiness of the air.
There it was the scarf of his quest. He snatched it from the rack and hurriedly returned to the till.
“That will be two pounds,” the volunteer said kindly.
Flynn whipped out his phone to pay.
“Sorry we only take cash,” the volunteer said.
Cash? Flynn though, beginning to panic. Who uses cash?
Unwilling to be defeated he said that he would be right back and made his way to the ATM.
Flustered but not defeated, he returned and made the purchase.
In so doing Flynn had overcome the most extreme test yet to be encountered by a Gen Z. Little did he know that his greatest labour was yet to come when he would have to do battle with Gran’s rotary phone.