Up Up Up and Away

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Tall tale, or no, Samuel had a hard time under The Table one night

The four labourers sat nursing their pints, in a dark corner, of the tavern. Despite the darkness, Samuel’s eyen showed that he had had a rough time. Gazing down, at his tankard, Rupert demanded, “Well? What happened to you? Where did you get to…”

Samuel shook his head; “You’d never believe me, even if I were t’ tell you.”

Hal took a swig, then stared at Samuel, “Of course we’ll. Just spit it out and stop playing t’ coy little virgin.”

Samuel slammed his empty pint down hard on the table; “Fill it and I might. Remember the night of the big storm and lights in t’ sky.” That had been nearly a month earlier and the night before it, was the last time they had seen Samuel, in The Man In The Red Hat.

Euria signalled, to a victualler; “It’ll be here in a trice.”

“When t’ first clap, o’ t’ storm, echoed off T’Table, I was down, in Ostler’s field.” With unsteady hands, Samuel paused and held up his empty pint, as the victualler finally arrived with the jug. Whilst Euria poured the beer, Samuel continued; “A ball of light rose and hovered o’er T’Table. An age later it rose up high int’ t’ sky and then it soared down towards I.” Once the treacle like beer had filled his tankard, he paused in his story. He raised his tankard to his lips, then thirstily Samuel gulped at the heavy, dark, potent brew — that some now call Last Hope.

Euria laughed, “What’d they want with you, Sam?”

“After that, I can’t remember, much clearly. Their faces! By Branwen! Their Faces;” Samuel’s face was crimson, as he ran his hand down over his face; with his eyes he made an exaggerated surprised expression. “They’re now’t like ours. They’ve eyes like cooking apples. You should’ve seen ‘em. Their… save me from D’Rom, their bodies; they make old Bony Mary look like some huge wet nurse.”

Several around the table commented; “Fie! Man! Fie!” This was a common reaction, of the friends, to one of Samuel’s tales. His normal reaction, to their comment, would have been to laugh and continue, with his relation, of the tale. That had always been the case in the past, but it was not this time, instead he just fell silent. Silence was not something that the friends were used to, from Samuel. “Sorry, please go on.”

Silently, Samuel supped at his pint, until it was nearly gone, then, with haunted eyen, he continued; “To me ’twere as if but a single day, was all time that these events took. They — I will not name ‘em, for you know who they are — spirited me away, up, up to where they live.” As he had spoken up each time, he had looked up towards the sky. “’Twere so bright, up there, that I could not see and my eyes hurt, e’en when closed; they wailed and shrieked so much, that that was all I could hear.” His eyen were closed tightly and he had his hands, over his ears, as he said it. That was the way that he was to remain, until Euria tapped him, on the shoulder, to inform him, that there was more beer.

Slow sips where what he took. Slow! Laggardly quaffs were how he sampled his third, Last Hope, a preternatural placidity fell upon the bar, when he started, to speak, again; “The stories about ‘em are all wrong.” He reached into his pocket, upon withdrawing his hand, there were held in it a metal cased note book and a pocket knife. “Neither offers protection against the…” Samuel opened his collar to reveal an old, battered crucifix, “Nor does that. Singing Bodkins! They’ve bodkins, that sing when they’re used. They’re so weird. They make you swell up, in a way that no bulk, of ale, can do. Snakes! Oh! I kill every one I see.” He pulled open his pocket knife and plunged it into the table, next to his lantern. “Bodkins! You fell ‘em go in, but they do not hurt, save for the noise, that they make, it fair rips your ears off. No matter what the offer is, I will never ear Ostler’s field, again.”

When Samuel fell silent, an air of eager expectancy remained throughout the bar. Slow sips of more ale. Euria enquired, “How’d you get away, from ‘em?”

“The wailing bodkin came at my head, I screamed and then it touched I and I swooned, like a wench. Two nights ago I awakened against a yew, up there, on T’ Table. Now, no more, one more jug and it’s home for me.” Several people asked him, to expand, on what he had said, but he would not.

After his final jug of ale, he left, as he did so, Hal shouted after him, saying that he had forgotten his note book, that had a four-leafed clover upon its front cover, as well as his Sheffield Steel knife.

Samuel left; “They’re no good to I. They dan’t work against ‘em dammed fairies.” An eerie silence once more fell upon the bar, for he had finally said the word, that he had avoided using in his story. After that night there is no record of what happened to Samuel Teller, though some claim that occasionally you can, on stormy nights, hear his screams, carried on the wind, if it blows from the direction, of The Elfs Table.

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