I did it! I actually managed to dictate a story!
This story was written in answer to the Ragtag Daily Prompt – Lucid
Here’s my story …
A Fall Into Fantasy
Everything dark had become light; Liam couldn’t see, yet his thoughts had become lucid. He’d breathed through his adrenaline spike and thumping heart rate. Lowering his shock, brought his thoughts and fears under control. Logic restored, he could think clearly about rescuing himself.
Moments earlier he’d been walking his dog in the woods. He and Ralph had been enjoying their walk in the warm sunny woodlands. The dog had been chasing sticks and he whistling happily when it happened. Liam felt rumbling through his trainers. The earth was moving, cracking crumbling beneath him. He yelled in panic and then he was falling into the darkness. Liam knew he’d blacked out then, he couldn’t remember the landing.
The darkness was all-consuming. Rocks and earth were falling around him and yet he could see nothing beyond the end of his nose. Ralph was barking frantically above him, he sounded miles away.
“It’s okay, Ralph. I’m down here, I’m okay, boy.” Liam rolled to his side sending earthy debris cascading from his clothes. At once pain flared in his left arm and a groan escaped his lips. “Broken forearm – bloody marvellous!”
Liam forced himself up into a sitting position. Pain emanating from his legs back and stomach told of a myriad of injuries he’d suffered in the fall. ‘You’re okay, stay calm,’ he told himself while taking out his phone. Even in the darkness, he could tell the screen was cracked. Miraculously it switched on, but there was another problem. “Of course, there’s no bloody signal!”
“How kind of you to fall in.”
Liam flinched. He’d never expected such a genial yet funny voice to come from the darkness beneath the woodland. “H – hello, who’s there?” He said while using the light of his phone to peer into the darkness surrounding him.
“You do realise you can walk into my cave. You don’t need to fall and break your neck, to come and see me.” The voice chuckled.
Liam followed the echoic tones but couldn’t see the irritating newcomer. “Yeah, very funny. I didn’t choose to fall through the ground, you know.”
“That’s the trouble with you humans; you stomp about like mad old ogres.“ said the voice.
“What?” Liam squinted into the darkness, searching for being he knew was there – somewhere.
“Yes, I know when you humans are in my woodland. You blunder and crash about worse than thunderstorms. You never realise, just how many times you cause the roof to cave in on my bloody head!”
Liam remembered the torch function on his phone and switched on. He could see he was a confluence of three passageways, each disappearing into the darkness. Yet try as he might, he couldn’t see who was talking to him. “I’m sorry I didn’t know anybody lived below the woods,” he replied truthfully. “I’m Liam. May I know who you are?”
“Apology accepted. They call me Wyrmwood.”
Liam watched in awe as thousands of centipedes and millipedes come together in one writhing mass. They rose to form short, roughly humanoid shape which emitted a lucid green light. In a flash, the glow was gone. There in the torchlight was a little man with wispy earth-brown braided hair. He was no more than two feet tall and as stocky as a barrel. Liam thought his trousers and a waistcoat seemed to be made of woven sycamore, leaves.
Wyrmwood gave a funny little bow and waved, “Hi there, nice to meet you.”
“I – erm. Um … Yeah, nice to meet you too.” Liam scratched his head in wonderment. “I don’t mean to be rude but what are you?”
“Well, I’m a Brownie. I never liked living in human houses though so I picked the woods to call home.” Wyrmwood came forward as he put tiny spectacles on his knobbly nose.
Liam pressed his back to the wall. “Whoa slow down! You’re not going to hurt me, are you?”
Wyrmwood sighed and raised his eyebrows. “Humans! You silly great, turnip! If I wanted to hurt you, you’d be Fox food already.”
Liam grinned. “Good to know.”
Wyrmwood took hold of his injured arm and began murmuring to himself.
Liam felt his arm growing warm. The sensation of hot water flowing through his veins ran from his fingertips to his elbow. “Hey! What are you doing?”
“Relax – Hmm, perhaps not. This isn’t working.”
“What’s not —” Liam felt his panic rising.
“It’s alright, but this is going to hurt,” Wyrmwood gave a calming wink.
Liam braced himself and felt the Brownie straighten his wrist. His whole body tensed as a knife-like pain erupted in his forearm. He heard a loud crack and the pain was gone. Flexing his fingers and arm he realised he was healed.
“There how does that feel?” Wyrmwood asked while rubbing his hands together.
“Much better, thank you,” Liam gave a thankful smile. “So, Brownies are natures healers are they?”
Wyrmwood nodded, “Sort of, yes. The missus and I go into your city and help a few deserving humans each night. We fix a few broken things, we heal some humans, we repair a few trees and plants and such. We particularly like helping and troublemaking for those wronged by criminals and bullies too. When our work is done we disappear into our cave before morning arrives. That’s when you humans wake up and destroy everything again.”
“No kidding! We humans are too good at wrecking everything, aren’t we?” Liam agreed.
“You sure are. Why you humans do more damage to Earth than hurricanes do!” Wyrmwood slapped his chunky thighs in frustration.
“I know. I’m always telling people to recycle more. I put videos online showing people how to reuse and repurpose things too. Sadly, people only chuck things away and damage the environment.” Liam looked at the Brownie, “I’m amazed people never see you.”
Wyrmwood threw back his head and let out a guffaw of laughter, “See me? Haha! Why you humans are so attached to these new-fangled thingamajigs.” The Brownie pointed to Liam’s phone. “I could dance around naked right in front of your nose; swearing and cursing like a drunken bullock and you’d never see me.”
Liam nodded. “Fair point.” He looked around him as a little fear returned. “Not be rude, it’s been nice meeting you and all, but can you show me the way out? I need to find Ralph my dog and be going home.”
“Now this is where you’re lucky I’m a Brownie and not a hobgoblin. Those ugly little buggers like to keep people like you as pets. Some like young humans for dinner too. Me though, I’ll be glad to have you as a friend.” Wyrmwood extended a hand.
Liam shook it at once. “It’ll be a pleasure, Wyrmwood. I hope Ralph’s okay, he hasn’t barked since you appeared.”
Wyrmwood beckoned him to follow. “He’s just fine. Laurella my missus went to take care of him when you dropped into our home.”
“That’s very kind of her.” Liam felt aches and pains all over his body as he forced himself to stand. His bones cracked as he straightened and followed the Brownie “I’m sorry about that, I hope you can repair the ceiling,” he said as they traversed a narrow passage.
“Don’t worry yourself, I’ll have it fixed in no time.” The Brownie led on at a quick pace.
Liam felt like a rabbit crawling around its warren of tunnels as he followed the little man. Several times he was forced to duck and squeeze into narrow passages which never troubled the much shorter Brownie. “That’s good, I’d hate to have ruined your home.”
“It’ll be good as new before you get home.” Wyrmwood rounded a corner marked by a couple of large scarab beetles. It was there natural light filtered into the caves. “Here we are. You’re outside again,” he remarked as they emerged at the entrance to the mossy cave surrounded by ancient gnarled oak trees.
Liam let out a sigh of relief. “Thank —” he was cut off by a fast-moving wall of white fur.
Ralph the labradoodle leapt on him with gleeful whines and barks.
“Woohoo! Look at me, Wyrmy! I’m riding a big doggy!” A high-pitched squeal came from somewhere on the dog.
Liam fended off his over-friendly labradoodle and saw the female Brownie hanging onto Ralph’s collar like a bizarre-looking superwoman wearing an oakleaf dress.
Wyrmwood groaned, “Argh, you daft acorn, get off the dog before you hurt yourself.”
“Oh, Wormy. You never let me have any fun.” Laurella complained, she let go of the collar and performed a forward roll through the grasses. Coming to a stop she stood beside Wyrmwood and scowled at him.
“I know but our magic can’t heal you if you break your neck. You know it only works on other beings.” Wyrmwood told her.
“Yes, I know, Wormy.”
“Then please stop doing things like this. I love you too much and don’t want to lose you.” Wyrmwood put an arm around her.
“Aww, Wormy. I love you too. I’ll try my best.” Laurella reached and kissed him.
Liam felt fond toward them and smiled, he wished he had a lady in his life. “I must be going, thank you for helping me and Ralph, we appreciate it.”
“Our pleasure, but please keep us a secret.” Wyrmwood tapped his nose.
“Of course. Certain humans would like to catch you. What they’d do to you doesn’t bear thinking about. I promise never to speak of you to anyone, not even my parents.” Liam shook Wyrmwood’s hand again “I hope we get to meet again though.”
“You bet we will. When you come to our woods, we’ll look out for you. If you’re alone we’ll join you on your walk.” Wyrmwood said.
“That’ll be great. Can you point me back to my path, please?” Liam turned about realising he didn’t know where he was.
“You need to walk two hundred yards that way to regain your path.” Wyrmwood indicated between two large old oak trees with a thick finger.
Liam took hold of Ralph’s lead and began walking. “Thanks again Wyrmwood and Laurella. I’ll be back for a walk soon.”
“Until we meet again.”
Liam looked over his shoulder to wave but the two Brownies had already vanished back into the caves they called home. Liam knew then that they’d let him in on a big secret. One which had given him two new friends he could never tell the world about.
Have a great day!