In times of plague it was always best to err on the side of caution where pustules were concerned. Even without the secret soothsayer’s custard based predictions, cutting one of the strange mounds open suggested an up close, all round, surround sound, pus experience. Spontaneous Bucket took a deep breath, whatever happened this would be a shot to remember. He glanced over at Lucian, ‘Here goes nothing.’
Which actually was what happened. Nothing.
Sure there was a small amount of seepage and what might be described as a modest, brimstony kind of smoke. But that was it. There were certainly no pitchforks, frogs or indeed custard skins to be seen.
‘Pass me the stick with a spoon on it,’ Spontaneous whispered.
Lucian groaned, experience had taught him that it was unwise to poke your spoon stick into anything that smelled worse than you did.
‘Hurry up, I think I can see something.’
‘Fine,’ Lucian threw the implement at his companion, ‘but don’t blame me when your pottage tastes of rhubarb.’
Spontaneous lay down on his side and gently slipped the edge of the spoon into the cut, the flesh wobbled threateningly, but so far so good. ‘There IS something in here,’ he called over to Lucian, ‘I can almost touch it.’
‘Poke it with a stick.’
More than anything Spontaneous wanted to poke it with a stick. But he was shrewder than his name suggested and instead he twisted the spoon inside the gap and opened up a small, gore dripping oval which looked alarmingly like the empty eye socket his uncle had once showed him for a laugh.
‘Is it a frog?’
‘No!’ Spontaneous sounded more confident than he was. Truth be told frogs came in many shapes and sizes and this could quite possibly be the hopping vanguard of a large I-told-you-so army. He swallowed back a mouthful of bile and hooked his finger into the hole. The pus mound squealed.
Spontaneous had never moved so fast in all his life. His heart was still somewhere in the clearing and both of his legs thought they were arms, but at least his mouth was still working, ‘What’s it doing now?’
‘Why do I have to look?’
‘Because It think my eyes have looked at more than enough already.’
Lucian wriggled and squirmed his way around the countless answers he could have given, ‘Fine, but you owe me two free goes on the ducking stool.’ He peered around the sturdy trunk like he was trying to sneak a look at the exam answers over the headteacher’s shoulder. After a while he pulled back, chewing at his lip, ‘Do you remember that summer when Toothless Fortitude baked a communal casserole?’
Spontaneous shuddered, ‘I still can’t look at a pair of shoes without crying.’
‘Bear that in mind.’
‘Damn, is it that bad?’
‘No,’ Lucian inhaled from his feet up, ‘I just wanted to give you a base for comparison.’
There is a silence that is more terrifying than any amount of noise can ever be. Spontaneous gathered up a small bundle of sticks and crept forward. The clearing was more or less how he’d left it.
Except for the dragon.
to be concluded tomorrow….
Should you have inexplicably missed it, you can read part 1 here
©2017 Jac Forsyth