Early on the morning of Mathilda’s ninety-seventh birthday a miasmic fug, reeking of all that was rotten, descended on the village of Upper Weeping. Most of the citizens, including the battle hardened inhabitants of the lower town, elected to remain inside until it passed. Even the youngest of children had heard stories of the horrors contained within The Sorcerous Smog.
Mathilda, former proprietor of Click Clacks, the wool and knitting shop, took up her usual spot on the old bentwood rocking chair at the entrance to the store. She had sold the business to Maude Philpott seven years before on the condition she could remain until her death. It was here she knitted a little, slept a lot and told tales to Maude’s two young apprentices, Velella and Marcus.
As soon as Maude had departed for a very important business meeting at the local pub, The Faded Boot, Velella and Marcus slipped out of the shop and settled at Mathilda’s feet eager to hear tales of the horror smog. Velella was a very pretty little Wolfpack Demon with cute long ears and masses of reddish gold hair. Marcus, the Diminutive Dwarf was neither diminutive nor a dwarf. Both adored Mathilda, preferring to listen to her stories and gossip over wool carding and sorting.
“The last time I saw this smog my dearies, I was nineteen years old and very much in love. Alain was the most beautiful man I had ever seen: tall, dark, eyes as green as the moss from St. Willaston’s Park.”
Velella and Marcus giggled and nudged each other in embarrassment, fancy old Mathilda being young enough to be in love!!!! Mathilda, lost in the past, did not notice.
“Handfasted we were, in that glade in St. Willaston’s Park where Nigel now raises them dragons. Oh it was wonderful my dearies, we danced all night under the moonlight and when the smog came in we moved to the main street and just kept on dancing. We were so happy we never felt the menace in the smog; we never saw the tentacles descend until he was gone. The smog took him from me.”
Mathilda’s voice trembled as she slipped into that dream of dancing whilst Velella and Marcus, under the influence of the Sorcerous Smog, dreamt of dragons in the park.
A young man with moss-green eyes stepped out of the smog.
“Mathilda” he said, “I do believe this is our last dance”
Mathilda, bent and wrinkled and frail, took his hand and rose from her chair. The young man and the old crone danced off together into the murk.
Later, after the smog had lifted, Maude returned from The Faded Boot, to find her apprentices asleep and the rocking chair empty. Mathilda never returned, her disappearance becoming a new tale in the legends of The Sorcerous smog.
Copyright September 2014