This post is for my wife.
I was searching for a topic to post about this week, and she wanted to suggest something. She was joking, of course, but her suggestion was that I write about tiny little people held in dungeons. So, completely off the top of my head, here it is:
Yarel paced back and forth. Being only 16 inches tall, his stride was short, which meant the dungeon provided plenty of room in which to pace. The rock walls closed in on him, despite the fact that this room was larger than his entire yard back home.
How to get out? That maniacal scientist that captured his people — his entire village — in a ruck sacks was doing experiments on them. His entire village may be wiped out before long. Already he had seen twelve of his friends disappear up the vacuum tube, sucked into the who-knows-where. How many more would disappear before he, as the leader, found a way out?
Just yesterday they had been busy planting their elderberries in the fields. Now they were stuck in this dank, dark place. His cell contained a dozen of his fellow villagers, the with the rest scattered throughout several other cells in the dungeon. He could hear the other whimpering and crying out, but he could not see into all the other cells to know who was in each.
Now he studied the bars across the front of their cage. As small as they were, the Lilites were too large to fit between the bars. If he could only unlock the gates, but there was no key. Even if there were a key, how could they open the large steel door at the top of the stairs?
“Yarel,” he heard a voice say. “Yarel, are you in there?”
It was Blue, the village smithy. Yarel and Blue had been best friends since they were wee Lilites playing the mushroom fields together. Blue could be counted on to sneak truffle-ale from his father’s cellar when they were young, providing many days of stuper-filled joy for the lads. But as an adult he could barely be counted on to get out of bed each day.
“I have an idea.” Blue said.
“What idea?” Yarel said, rushing to the front of the cell to better hear.
“If one of us could be lifted up, maybe our hands would fit inside the lock and we could turn the tumblers. I saw the key, it looked pretty simple.”
“That isn’t going to work!” someone else shouted.
“Give it a try, Blue!” another voice answered.
“We’ll give it a shot in here too, Blue.” Yarel said, already trying to figure out the steel door at the top of the stairs.
The plan worked to free them. It was simple, really. Some cells did not have enough people to securely hold others up to open the lock, and one didn’t have anyone strong enough to turn the tumblers inside, but once those in the other cells had freed themselves they were quick to help them.
“Now what?” old lady Vera asked. “We’re still trapped, just in a bigger cell.”
“He’s coming!” one of the children shouted.
The Lilites scattered around, trying to find a place to hide, but there were none. Soon the scientist would slam open the door and feed yet another of them up the vacuum tube.
Yarel didn’t want to find out where that tube went, no matter what. Even if it cost him his life or the lives of all his fellow villagers.
“Stand and fight!” he shouted. “Every one of us, even the children. It is our only hope.”
When the scientist stepped through the steel door he was surprised by fifty Lilites climbing his pant legs, biting and kicking as they went. When he shook off those fifty, thirty more took their place. Before long the scientist tripped and tumbled down the stairs, banging his head.
He was knocked out.
“We did it!” Blue shouted in triumph.
“My Willard!” old lady Vera cried.
Yarel could not see Willard anywhere. And then he spotted him. Or part of him. One bright pink shoe was poking out from below the scientist. There was a sickly spatter of blood near it. Willard had been squished by the scientist’s fall.
They found some rope and trussed the scientist up like a Harvest Eve Guinea Fowl. It was an effort that seemed insurmountable, but the men-folk were able to drag the scientist to their village. Twice along the way they had to bash him with a stone to knock him back out, and once along the way they even camped near a brook for the night. But eventually they made it to the village.
Once there they buried their revered dead in the cemetery, along with a plaque dedicating a new holiday to those who had passed. The village masons mixed up a strong batch of plaster and coated the scientist, who had passed on by then, with a thick layer of the white plaster.
It took everyone in the village, along with a giant pulley system, but they managed to pull the scientist into a standing position before the cemetery. And to this day, forty years on, there he stands, a symbol that when they work together the village can overcome all odds, no matter how large.
Everyone enjoy their week!