Copyright 2013. PATG LLC. All rights reserved.

Chapter 21

Bobbing Apples


Poepi screamed and closed her eyes,

All went black, and she surmised,

Her body falling cold through air,

Rushing fast, past her hair,

Until she landed with a crash,

And her mind went dark as ash.

Lying in leaves, Poepi awoke,

And checked herself, and felt unbroke,

Her face and neck and legs and arms,

And sighed relief she was unharmed.

She laid back down and deeply breathed,

With eyes closed, and mouth uneased,

And let her fingers feel the soil,

And smelled the scent of mineral oil,

Still fragrant in her dirt caked hair.

She harkened to sounds soft in air,

A breeze of wind, the creak of trees,

A song bird sing, her own sharp sneeze,

But then she heard, something odder:

The splish and splash and thrash of water.

She had not seen it lying cool,

Next to her, a glassy pool,

In which a rolling ring of ripples,

Roiled a line of bobbing apples,

Fallen from a gnarly tree,

Over hanging Poepi free.

Poepi quickly looked around,

She questioned if the splashing sounds,

Came from apples felled to water.

Then she saw a shiny otter,

Swirling, twirling, making splashes,

Slick dark fur, whiskers and lashes.

It turned over on its back,

And took an apple for a snack.

Poepi sighed, and smiled relief,

Yet munching otter made her grief,

Of losing smith and elves and blink,

As she stared at water’s brink.

She stood up straight and took a breath,

And tried to survey to pools depth,

But only saw the water surface,

And its waves reflective purpose.

Her stomach rumbled loudly then,

And seeing apples that was when,

She squatted next to pool’s edge,

To reach an arm out like a ledge,

Ready to snatch the tasty loot,

Of dipping bobbing juicy fruit.

Suddenly an armored hand,

Of scaly green and black and grand,

Broke through the cold and shiny water,

With serpent speed that easy caught her.

It closed around her outstretched wrist,

As water’s surface steamed up mist,

And slowly raised her off the ground,

And threw her back to leafy mound.

She could not see what rose above,

The pool to throw her without love,

Upon the piles of deadened leaves,

Beneath the massive tree branch eaves.

It reflected back sun’s light,

Ten to one at least as bright,

So that a visage of great height,

Was blinded from strewn Poepi’s sight.

“Don’t hurt me!” A scared Poepi cried,

One hand held up, covering eyes,

Seat hunched over, legs pulled tight,

Cowering, shivering, full of fright.

And as reflected rays of sun,

Slow dissipated down to none,

What Poepi saw most crystal clear,

Was a creature, tall and fair.

But it was not a sight of fright,

When creature’s body did alight,

Next to Poepi, eyes unveiled,

Thrice her size from head to tail,

Dipping into pool’s water,

Bearing chains that long had caught her.

One scaly hand clasped Poepi’s chin,

And lifted up, and stared within,

And saw the fear there burning bright,

And sympathized, but with delight,

At its own imposing presence,

And effect on Poepi’s senses.

Its green brown hair was slick and rough,

Like thick sea kelp, tender but tough,

Its arms were covered all in scales,

And breasts and back of armored mail.

Hard covered in the deepest blue.

Its lengthy tail had hard scales too,

Which were purple, gold, and plum

But its face had not a one.

Long and smooth the face was white-ish,

Like the belly of a night fish.

Its wide red lips and the lower jaw,

Were broad and square and set and strong.

Big brave eyes shone round and green,

As long black lashes blinked and seemed,

To hold in them a secret pain,

Of loss, regret or long held strain.

This flashed there momentarily,

So Poepi had just time to see,

And then the creature went to speak,

Showing rows of sharp white teeth,

And bony fingers ran through hair,

Sharp claws stroking strands with care.

“Tell me your story” the creature said,

In a whisper, cocking head,

Looking deep to Poepi’s pupils,

Which were widened to their full.

“Tell the full truth, and do not try

To lie or else you’ll surely die,

And join the countless other fools,

Whose bones lie deep, down in my pool.

Then the mermaid warrior slipped,

Into water past her hips,

And came to rest at pool’s edge,

Folded arms, on its ledge.

With one finger, gesticulating,

Watching Poepi, patiently waiting,

It giggled quietly inside,

At its own despicable lie.

Poepilandia felt not well

She felt compelled, under a spell.

And something else had called her fear,

What it was, she was unclear.

She had thought to turn and run,

Concerned her life might be undone,

But just as quick discarded it,

Since Mermaid warrior could have bit,

And pulled her down to drown before,

When she had knelt beside pool’s shore.

So her courage, up she screwed,

Stomach growling, wanting food,

And bowed and walked toward the water,

Where mermaid’s claw, first had caught her.

The mermaid heard all Poepi’s story,

In full detail, even the gory,

Bits with wolves and Blink’s demise.

When Poepi was done, she dried her eyes,

And told the mermaid of her sister,

As well as just how much she missed her.

“My friends and I will rescue her,

From the giant’s scheming jailer.

I must with haste, quick quit this place,

To find her trail and best her pace.”

The mermaid spoke, scratching her head.

“I must repeat just what you’ve said”

“You have not come here on your own?”

“This place and me you find unknown?”

Poepi nodded and then again,

Noticed the thick and iron chain.

She stepped up strong to pool’s edge,

And slow peered over the earthly ledge.

The chain ran from the mermaid’s tail,

Down to the depths, like a rail,

Dropping down a steep descend

Until it reached an unseen end.

She could not guess where sad chain stopped,

Or to the depth at which it dropped,

Only that it carried weight,

And that the cuff was over tight.

A question formed sharp in her brain.

She asked politely, “why are you chained?”

A sad smile filled the mermaid’s face.

Her eyes a-wrinkle, like frilly lace.

Her breasts were heaving as if grieving,

For a guest who’d soon be leaving.

A blade of grass she slowly plucked

And then with lethal speed she struck.

Her two clawed hands, shot straight out,

Grabbing Poepi with a shout,

And pulling close, both their heads.

“Let me show you” the mermaid said.

With a swish-swash of her tail,

Above the pool they rose and flailed.

Poepi fought, as if death caught her,

Plunging into pool’s dark water.