This is an excerpt from a series I'm writing about a small group of adventurers in a fantasy world. It tries to be both funny and meaningful, but in so short a passage it probably won't have much deeper meaning. So don't expect any.

Imaginary Playground 1

Wren lifted her head upward, her gaze piercing through the clouds of an overcast day. But, try as she might, she couldn't see the sun just yet.

"Ah well," she said to herself.

Young Wren, a girl of seventeen, was out on her own for the first time, and despite some minor pitfalls she claimed to be having fun.

Part of the fun she'd been having had been in discovering that some of the people she had met had magical powers.

One of those people was not Orion, the tall and strongly built swordsman with little maturity and even less tact. Orion was quite an excellent bodyguard for Wren, if he could be called a bodyguard at all; if anything he was more of a sidekick. After all, "there be monsters about this land," and Wren, knowing this, had convinced the whimsical Orion to accompany her on all manner of crazed adventures.

Today, though, they were arriving in town, to rest from a previous trip.

Orion caught up to Wren, and she pointed toward the town entrance.

It was indicated by a large wooden sign, with the words


painted on it.

"Here we are," said Orion, and looked onward into the town.

"Here, indeed," said Wren sarcastically. Orion glanced at her.

"What?" he asked.

"How would you pronounce this?" she asked.

For the first time, Orion read the sign. He stared for a moment, and after a minute or so Wren realized that he could not possibly be taking this long to read twelve letters.

"Well? How would you pronounce that?" she asked.

"It puzzles me..." he said, staring into space. Vaguely he muttered something; then Wren got tired of waiting and snapped her fingers rapidly.

"Any ideas?" she asked when he had recovered.

"Not a one. That one's just plain weird."

"You're telling me," Wren said, and went back to staring at the sign, as if daring it to move.

After a moment of this, Orion entered with "Are you waiting for something?"

"Yes," said Wren without turning to look at him. "I am waiting for it to make sense. I am waiting for one possible pronunciation of this word to leap out beyond the multitude. I am waiting in vain, I realize, but it is a noble fight."

Orion looked puzzled.

"Shouldn't we be going in now?" he asked after another pause.

Wren sighed in defeat, and turned to her friend. "Yes, you're right," she said, and went forward, beckoning for Orion to follow. But a moment later, she glanced back to the sign, and (despite knowing perfectly well that it was inanimate) could not help but mutter to it,

"You and I aren't finished yet, you strange... word."

Satisfied with herself, she entered the town.

Later that day, Wren would learn that the word was in fact pronounced "Shoe." It didn't make any sense to her either.

Short story by Wehpudicabok
Read 746 times
Written on 2006-09-25 at 00:02

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keith nunes
you're telling a colourful story with well chosen words and dialogue. keep it up