The High Queen Sorceress (complete)
Author: jessicaw

Chapter 10
chapter 10

It was mid-morning by the time Gorden and the thin old man arrived back at the farm. It was browner than he remembered it. Everything seemed to have been covered in a fresh layer of dirt. The white of the man’s clothes stood out worse than the red tile had on the kitchen table. 

A little face in the window of the house watched them approach. The curtains swung back into place as it disappeared. Moments later the front door creaked open just ever so slightly. “Papa!” Pab’s happy little voice danced across the farm as she ran to her father’s arms. He scooped her up and twirled her around, a smile bigger than her face erupted from her lips as she giggled.

Mada appeared in the doorway, her presence announced by the intense moaning from the old door. “Well?” she asked, expectantly. Her eyes went to the stranger and she looked him up and down. He grinned at her, bowing so low she could see his bald head and all of his ribs. “Good day my lady” He said brightly. Mada snorted. “There is no such thing as good days anymore. Have you come for the cow then?”  

She asked, crossing her arms. “As a matter of fact, yes, I have.” Said the man, smiling so wide, it rivaled Pab’s smile. “Good” She snorted. It’s about time. There might not be much to her, but I want a good price. Gorden balked and the man started laugh. “No, I don’t want to buy her; I just want to see her.” He said. Mada eyed them suspiciously. Gorden tried to smooth things over.

“It’s alright, Mada, he is just surprised she has lived this long. Apparently no one else around us has cows anymore. “That’s because everyone else around us has common sense and they have sold or slaughtered their cows so that their families can eat.” She retorted, her hands on her hips.

After a moment, her expression softened. “The cow is in the barn. I don’t know why, but she won’t come out. Maybe she has been looking for a place to die. Animals know when they are going to die you know.” She gave them all a menacing glare and walked back into the house. The door argued, upset with the burden of moving as she swept through it.

Pab’s stomach growled. “Papa, did you find any berries while you were out?” Her face looked hopeful. “No Pab, I’m sorry, I didn’t look for any.” “Oh” she said, her expression wilting. The strange man reached into his small bag and pulled out a plump, juicy pear. The green color of its skin dazzled in the brown world around them. Pab eyed it lovingly. She adored pears. They were a special treat even when the crops were plentiful. The man smiled and handed it to her. “Would you take us to see the cow, my dear?” He asked. His voice had a soft, loving glow to it. Pab eagerly accepted the pear. “Yes!” she said, excited at the prospect of having a job. “She is over here!”  

Pab skipped down to the barn, biting into the pear and letting the juice stream across her dirt covered face. It left trails across her cheeks and enveloped her hands with a sticky residue, but she didn’t mind, she was just happy to have it.

Gorden could not believe the cow was still in the barn, but as they rounded the corner, he could see her shadow just inside of the door. Pab wandered off, content with the pear, leaving Gorden left alone with the man.

They were standing at the entrance to the barn, watching in awe as the cow sat chewing on a large, lush patch of dark green grass. She looked up at them, chewing happily and gave them a greeting moo before lowering her head for another tasty bite. 

The man turned from the barn to survey the rest of the farm. Everything was just as brown as everything else. All the crops were dead, the fence was brown, the house was brown, the little girl skipping around the yard with the pear in her hands was brown, the barn was brown, Gorden was brown, even the cow was brown.   

He blinked in surprise wondering exactly how this grass could grow in such a strange place. Something else was wrong. The ground in the barn was a dark dark brown, while the ground outside of the barn was a light brown, the color of dried dirt. The floor of the barn was completely covered with moisture. Here and there, small sprigs of grass were beginning to appear.

“This cannot be” He said in a low, shocked tone. Gorden, even more surprised than the man looked at him. “Do you know what’s happening?” he asked, worry creasing his face. “It’s magic” The reply was barely audible. “Magic?” Questioned Gorden. “There is no such thing as magic.” The hairs on the back of his neck began to tingle; he had a bad feeling in his gut. 

“Tell me,” Said the man, straightening up. “Has your cow ever been attacked by wolves, or do you keep her in the barn most of the time.” “My cow hates the barn. Until yesterday, I have never seen her use it.” The man began muttering to himself and pacing slightly. He watched the cow eating the grass but he didn’t dare step into the barn. “There is no such thing as magic” Gorden said again in a louder tone. His voice was shaking just a little bit with uncertainty. He was, after all, very superstitious.                

The man looked up. “There is no such thing as magic in the mortal world. It cannot exist here.” He said. “That does not mean that magic does not exist, just that it cannot exist here. It’s like putting a bird in water. There is no air for him to breathe and so he cannot survive. Without air, his lungs will fill with water and he will drown. There is nothing here for the magic to feed off of. Because of that, because our world is not laced with the elements the magic needs to survive, it withers and dies.                   

He stooped down and ran his hands over the long blades of grass. It was lush and wet with morning dew. The cow watched them, happily chewing. She looked a little fatter today than she did yesterday. “Why do you seem so shocked?” Gorden asked. “When I told you about the grass last night, you were not this concerned."

The old man looked up from the grass. “Because I thought it might of just been a chance happening. Strange things have happened before that didn’t mean anything. I had thought maybe it was a sign of good luck for you at the most, but I was wrong. I was very, very wrong.”  

“Wrong? Why is this such a bad thing? My cow can eat and that means she will produce milk. We can cheese and butter. I will be able to sell them and get someone chickens. We will be able to eat again.” Gorden looked hopefully at the cow as she chewed lazily on the lush blades.

“No. The man stood up. No, it means that the worlds are lining up. My god, has it already been 4000 years?” Gorden stared at him like he had gone crazy. What on Earth are you talking about? What do you mean the worlds are lignin up? What worlds?”

The man stood up, rubbing his bald shiny head and staring at the ground. “Something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. The worlds shouldn’t be lining up already. It’s just too soon.”

Sharply, he looked up, grabbing Gorden’s attention. “Close the barn. Don’t let anyone in. Don’t let anyone see that grass. Whatever you do, keep your mouth shut. If anyone, anyone at all finds out about this, it could mean death for you and your entire family.” He rushed and began pulling the doors to the barn shut.        

“Hey, what about my cow?” Gorden asked, attempting to stop him. “Leave the cow. She is already growing plumper. Someone will notice. Someone will notice and kill you. Don’t take any chances.” The man slammed the barn doors shut as Gorden stood dumbfounded. There was genuine panic in the man’s voice. “I have to go.” He said. “Tell no one, you hear, no one. Magic cannot and should not be in this world. Bad things are going to happen. I’m going to get help. Don’t tell anyone.”                 

Before Gorden could even move, the man ran behind the barn and headed towards the trees. Gorden followed, calling after him, but as he rounded the side of the barn, he realized the man was nowhere to be found, it was as if he vanished in to thin air.

 

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