- Strange – 4 Pages –
The little girl found a nice place in the grass and sat down near the stream. The sun was setting and the faint smell of a forest fire filled her nostrils.
“A full moon!” she said aloud, smiling at the sky.
As she watched the giant, pale circle move slowly across the sky she caught glimpse of another curious sight. In a high tower against the mountainside, five tiny dwarves with white beards and pointed orange hats struggled with a giant wheel. The little girl watched as they tried moving it slowly down the winding trail encircling the tower. It was very difficult, and one of the little men nearly lost his footing on the Cliffside. Luckily, a fellow dwarf grabbed him by the suspenders and stopped his fall.
“Easy now-” the leader said over the tiny men. “Keep it slow and steady. We’re almost there.”
The little girl watched the men struggle and slip with the wheel. Her eyes opened wider when they turned the road and disappeared from view. Then, moments later they were visible again, a little further down. She hoped with all her heart that none of them stumbled. It would be awful to see any of them get hurt.
“Ouch, my toe!” a dwarf shouted to another who had stomped on his foot.
“Watch out!” another said as he eyed the edge of the turn, nervously.
“Be careful.” The little girl whispered towards them through the night air. The wheel turned quickly and wobbled on its way. Soon, the dwarves would be at the bottom of the twisting road and they would be safe. Or so, the little girl thought. For, as she stood up to get a better look at the happenings, she spied an evil cat perched at the very bottom of the ridge, waiting to attack.
“Oh no!” she exclaimed.
The cat waved his tail back in forth in a slow, hypnotizing way. His eyes were fixed intently on the dwarves and his front paws sat clenched against the earthy floor below.
The girl got up and ran towards the cat. She waved her arms and yelled “Shoo!” at the cat but it didn’t notice her. She was too far away.
The dwarves disappeared around the back of the tower. They were nearly at the bottom and by the time they came around again, the cat would surely eat them.
The girl ran as fast as she could, racing with all her heart to save the tiny creatures. Her lungs filled with the cool night air, her bare feet beat against the rough ground below, and her head swirled with the image of impending doom.
The dwarves were inching the circle into the last stretch of road. The cat moved forward on his front paws and pounced through the night sky, sleek and threatening.
The poor dwarves never saw it coming.
In less than a second, the cat jumped onto the circle and clutched it in his teeth, and then he scurried off into the night leaving nothing but paw prints behind.
The girl stopped running at the bottom of the hill, in front of the exasperated dwarves. She looked down at them and offered her hand for the little creatures to climb on. They were crying and shocked at the occurrence, but happy to be unharmed.
“That was close!” one of them said and then looked up at the little girl’s warm face. “We really need our circle back!”
“I’ll help you.” The girl said. She turned in the direction of the cat and started running with five little dwarves cupped in her hands.
The little girl ran with the tiny dwarves cupped in the palm of her hands. Through the trees they went looking this way and that for the cat who stole the circle.
“I don’t see him.” The girl said.
“There!” one of the tiny dwarves shouted. “I see him behind the trees.”
The girl ran into the trees where the dwarf pointed. She came to a clearing and found herself standing on the shore of a cold, misty lake. The cat ran alongside the water, making sure not to get himself wet. The circle hung from his mouth.
“Kitty!” the girl shouted, and slowed her pace. “Nice kitty. Good kitty.”
The cat stood in place and looked back at the girl. The little dwarves grew anxious in her hands at the sight of the circle and squirmed frantically about. One of them took off his pointed orange cap and threw it at the cat.
Surprisingly, the cap soared fiercely through the air and struck the feline square between the eyes.
The cat hissed which caused the circle to drop on the ground. The dwarves cheered and shouted at the cat, wishing him away. The cat, confused and frightened, turned his head twice to the left and ran into the woods away from the circle, the tiny dwarves, and the girl.
“My hat!” said the little dwarf and jumped down from the girl’s hands to retrieve his torn headpiece. He ran into the woods and disappeared from view.
The other dwarves scurried down the sandy beach towards the circle and lifted it off the ground.
They began walking with it back towards the castle.
“What about your friend?” asked the girl. “You can’t leave him in the woods alone with that cat about.”
“We have to.” Came the reply. “We must put the circle away before midnight.”
“But…” the little girl started to argue but decided against it, for the tiny dwarves had already made up their minds. As they walked along they struggled and grunted trying to keep the circle balanced. It proved quire difficult without the fifth dwarf to help, but they managed.
The girl decided the dwarves would be safe enough returning to the castle on their own. She decided to go into the woods and find the little dwarf who ran off. Once she found him, she would return him to the others.
The girl ran into the woods and fell immediately into a giant hole in the ground. She could see very little of anything on her way down but from the roots and pebbles striking her face she assumed the hole went deep underneath the earth’s surface.
On her way down she nearly toppled onto the tiny dwarf who had chased after his hat.
“Hello!” she said as they fell. “I came looking after you and there you are!”
The dwarf looked up at the girl, both of his hands clenched tightly around his orange cap.
“Hello.” He offered. “We’re falling!”
“Yes, we are.” Replied the girl. “Do you know where to?”
“Not really. Somewhere down below.”
Not soon after that the two landed in what appeared to be a giant pile of goose feathers. The girl suffered minor bruises on her arm but the dwarf seemed fine. In fact, he was already up and running towards a wooden staircase.
“This way.” He called, and disappeared behind a tiny wooden door.
The girl watched him close the door and crawled as fast as she could towards the staircase. She got to her feet on the way up and opened the wooden door. On the other side was a brightly lit room with a wooden table standing alone against the wall. The dwarf was nowhere to be seen and the girl was feeling put out by his quick abandonment. After all, she’d gone into the woods to make sure he was all right and he goes running off without her. Hmph!
The girl walked cautiously towards the table and gasped as the floor gave way underneath her feet. She slid down an immense metal slide twisting this way and that, surrounded by bright red colors. It might have been fun if she knew it was coming, but the swiftness of it startled her and she screamed all the way down.
Soon the ride was over and she was again flopped into a brightly lit room, this one hyper-violet with dark circles on the wall. Quickly, she got to her feet and did not dare take a step for fear she might again fall deeper into the underground.
“Hello?” she called out, hoping with all of her heart to hear the little dwarf’s reply. But only silence called back to her. Complete and hot in its stillness. “Is anybody there?”
As she waited for a reply she quickly scanned the room. Her eyes must have been playing a trick on her because the circles on the walls seemed to be moving. They wiggled and bounced against each other falling up into the ceiling. The girl followed a circle with her eyes up the side of one wall. To her astonishment, as saw the circle move through the ceiling and continue upwards into a misty hue.
Without hesitation, the girl grabbed hold of the next large circle and clung to it with all of her strength. She put her feet into other circles coming up from the floor and was easily lifted out of the room into the misty glow above…
Originally posted 07/18/2003