The brochure said "Flying Castle Holidays", but it was really more of a well-reinforced guard tower. You know how these advertisers are, always talking things up. It was a really nice guard tower though, granite-hewn by Slorekian stonemasons centuries ago. Quality work. You don't get that these days, it's all grand edifices of sheer adamantine summoned straight from the Plane of Earth with no way to let the breeze through. No craft.
So it was only a guardtower but it had a proper courtyard and they stocked the larder with lots of good food and wine. We thought it would be a good chance to get away from things, sailing serenely over picturesque landscapes for a week. They set it all up for you and send you on your way; you can get servants and cooks and such with the premium package but it seemed a bit much just for Gwendolynne and myself, you know?
A scrawny apprentice came down to trigger the incantations and see us off. The tower perched on top of a steep hill. I thought the takeoff might be a bit rough, as the foundations detached from the ground, but it was smoother than a boat pushing into a stream. The apprentice walked up the hill and waved to us squintily, before wandering back to his little shack.
After dinner on the first night we went up to the topmost level. It was a clear night with the stars out, and a half moon gently lighting the farmland below. Gwen sat on the battlements, kicking her legs in a spot that, if it were a siege, would have left her skewered with the enemies' arrows. It was a warm night, with the movement of the building keeping it from being still, we were talking about something or other. It was - I've got to tell you - it was beautiful.
Then there was a sudden gust of wind, and Gwen tumbled backwards off the parapet with a squeak of surprise.
Good gods, I thought, rushing to the edge. I hope she remembered her potion.
She bumped against the walls a few times, and then disappeared underneath. I ran to the other side. Her dress had billowed out and she was sailing downwind. She waved as she floated slowly downwards and the tower flew on. She must have drunk the potion beforehand.
Yeah, I got the company on their farspeaking service. They arranged to pick up Gwen alright. But they wouldn't bring her back. Told me I had to jump off if I wanted to come back before a week.
Well I read the potion bottle they gave us you know. It said not for the use of people with a risk of heart disease, "wymynn greatte with childe" or children under the age of 8. It also said there was a small chance it would cause Slorekians to "erupt in terryfying pyllarr of flayme", and there was no way I was drinking it unless I was actually at that moment plummetting to my death.
I talked to their people for a long time, but they wouldn't budge, and I wouldn't jump. So I was stuck on a tower in the middle of the god-damned sky for a week.
My over-literal intent was for the first half to be "loneliness" and the second "found object". Looking at it again now I think the castle itself would have done fine as a found object and there should have been a way to bring it to a close with a rewritten version of the above. After all, the whole voice is kind of Ankh-Morkpork dinner party, so a trite little twist or joke at the end would have suited.
Cheers ana for running it and congrats to all who actually got an entry in.
|< Black Belt Testing Time | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >|