The Wizard’s Price

And this one is the last one from 2018 – a nice little piece that grew into two, with some more new words. Enjoy!

concert, figurine, customer

Fred walked into the store, taking his top hat off as he crossed the threshold into the cool interior. “Sir?” he called out. “Madam?”

Of it’s own accord, the pipe organ in the corner began to play an enthusiastic concert, causing Fred to wince at the volume of the slightly out-of-tune moans.

“Sir?” he tried again, though he found he was unable to compete with the sound of the instrument.

Fred took a step forward, and the shop fell deathly quiet, not even the echo of music lingering.

“We have a customer!” a pretty voice trilled from nearby, and Fred looked around to see a tiny creature with glittering green wings perched right at eye level on the shelf to his left.

The fairy gave him a wide smile, deep blue eyes blinking at him with warm contentment. “He’ll be out in a minute,” the fairy said, with a knowing nod towards the back of a shop.

“I see you’ve come for the figurine,” a voice melodious with deeper tones issued from the gloom, and then a man with a goatee wearing a vibrant red cloak stepped into the dim light.

Fred nodded, playing with the hem of his hat nervously.

“You have the price?” the wizard continued, arching a brow impossibly high.

Again Fred nodded, and pulled the small pouch from his breast pocket. He held it out to the wizard, fully intending to relinquish it and claim the tiny treasure he sought, but something made him hesitate, and he clenched the pouch tight against his chest.


luddite, shiny, reimage,

Luddite (one of my new favorite words): (noun) “a person opposed to new technology or ways of working”, from early 19th century: perhaps named after Ned Lud, a participant in the destruction of machinery, + -ite1.

And reimage: (verb) to create a new image of (someone or something): such as to form a new mental picture of (someone or something), to impress a new conception of (something) upon a group of people, or to create a new representation of (something, such as a story).

The other definition is a computing definition, and I enjoy that irony of the juxtaposition of the two words above.

Fred leaned against the bars of the cage, his eyes closed as he tried to hold on to the reimage of his life as it might have been had he just handed over the thrice-cursed price to the wizard. A tiny metallic tapping made him look up, and the fairy waved at him from the other side of his prison, her shiny wings beating furiously to keep her airborne. The cage itself hovered without visible support over the gaping abyss below. Even after several weeks, Fred still did not know her name, and though the fairy frequently professed a desire to help him escape, she also claimed to be such a luddite that she could not manipulate even the simple gears within the lock that held him fast. He closed his eyes again and leaned back, then yelped at the sharp pinch on his arm.

“I’ve got something important to tell you,” the fairy said, her voice low and urgent. “Pay attention.”

The faintest flicker of hope kindled in Fred’s chest, and he turned to face the little creature. Her eyes were wide, and alight with an emotion he had never seen: terror. “What’s wrong?” he demanded.

“Shh!” the fairy chastised. “Keep your voice down. She might hear you, and she’s much worse than he is.”


Now that we’re all caught up with last year, time to finally turn the eyes to the future…and see that January is almost over *gasp* Where did the time go?

❤ DragonBeck

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