Hallyx - way to make me blush, mang.
But awh, thank you. There's no greater compliment a writer can get than being read. And yeah, I have fast tracked things a bit from outset to present, but keeping fish was always a secret yearning for me, and I'm loving it s much now I finally got around to it.
And since you like my stories so much - I included another one just for you today. =P (did I mention that writers also have giant egos, albeit made of silly putty and eggshells?)
LBF: I was so going to call you 'Grandma' if this spawn happened. :D
Thanks for the well-wishes. :) We're hoping to move locally, maybe no further than a suburb or two away. I like this general area, and Daughter's school is here and all.. the house we are going to look at was postponed til this week some time as apparently the prior tenants made a bit of a mess of it, so it's still being cleaned up -- I love the sound of this place, and reallllly hope we get it.
Irish is a great housemate, more like family than not (we've been friends for many years now, and our various neuroticisms tend to align quite nicely for the most part which is awesome) so I don't mind sharing a place with people like him. Passive aggressive door slammers suck, however. So do terminally unwilling to fix anything landlords. Can't wait for a nice new house.
Anyhow, here's the story. I'm too weary to scan it for terrible swears, so if there's one or two I apologise in advance:
by Aus 2010
Simple Gint tore up the last of the floorboards, his short forehead buckling into a frown so deep that his hairline almost met his eyebrows.
He raised his voice, in order to be heard over the storm and the din of what must be a couple of thousand wind-chimes hanging outside on the decrepit shack's porch, some made of old brass forks and bits of tin, others of bone or seashells, and most painted with the symbol of the Eye, a supposed ward against black magic.
"Ain't no treasure here, Padrick. An' this place is givin' me th' willies. Feels witched, it does."
O'Malley was the second man hired to help find the rumoured loot. "I say we wait this squall out an' then get oursel's back te th' pub and a pint fer our trouble. Waste o' feckin time..." He was almost spherical and had the face of an over-fed cherub, but O'Malley was also no easy prey; not a few men had fought with him and died for their trouble.
A third man sat amid the rubble on an upturned crate. Known to the others only as Padrick, he spoke in a low rumble of a voice which somehow sounded clearly over the racket outside, and the wind's eerie whistle through the salt-buckled walls. "Aye. Witched."
Simple Gint lifted his chin toward Padrick. "Know a tale, do ye?"
"Aye." Padrick nodded, tugging thoughtfully at his beard.
O'Malley's corpulent body wobbled with a shiver that had nothing to do with the chill, dank air. "Awa' wi' ye daft shite."
"Abou' seventy year ago, in this very shack," said Padrick, ignoring O'Malley, "A man by name o' Dooley got rich, after killin' off his rivals, smugglers all."
"Th' murderin' bastard," gasped Gint, being himself no stranger to treachery nor profiteering.
"Aye," Padrick drew a pipe from a pocket inside his oil-skin coat. "An' not only tha'…" He struck a match against his boot. A cloud of blue-grey smoke billowed, sweet and spicy, as he puffed the pipe alight. "Dooley sold his god-given soul awa' to a devil's hag, a real sea-witch from th' deep, in exchange fer seventy extra years o' life'. An' seventy he lived, to th' very day, afore she came to get her due."
There was a sharp grunt from O'Malley. "Wha's with all them feckin' chimes, then? Did he aim te go mad wi' th' bloody racket, as well be damned?"
Padrick's lips drew into a smirk. "Tha's how he kept th' witch at bay, long after she came to collect."
Simple Gint's stubbly jaw went slack. "She come fer 'im, then?"
"Aye," said Padrick. "On a night when no wind blew, an' Dooley was too weary and crazed te keep th' chimes soundin'."
"Why didn't he jes' move away?" O'Malley sounded bored. His stomach let out a loud rumble.
"Because a witch scorned will follow ye like th' hounds o'hell itself. Besides, Dooley was safe here, where he could keep his chimes playin', a sound she could no' bear."
"So wha' happened to 'im then?" Simple Gint's cordy arms were wrapped about himself, his protuberant eyes fixed widely on Padrick.
"The wind stopped an' did not start up again. Dooley lasted fer days withou' food nor sleep, sittin' out on his porch, bangin' on them chimes wi' a broom for all he was worth. Bu' there's a limit te a man - in the end he could do no more bu' lie down an' wait fer his fate"
Padrick's voice grew deeper still as he lowered it, and as if the wind was in concurrence with his mood, it too quieted. "She came slitherin' outta th' waves, wi' her lower limbs them of an octopus. Bu' her upper half were a woman, an' there she was comely as any milkmaid, wi' these great big titties like tha', and eyes green as the deep itself. Feckin' lovely -- e'en wi' her sweet mouth openin' up te a mawful o' shark's teeth."
"I must ask ye." Gint blinked, and swallowed. "Ye say it was nigh seventy year ago, bu' yet ye speak as if…?"
A crooked smirk spread over Padrick's lips. "As if I saw it, fer meself? Aye, that I did."
"It's jes' shite ye be speakin' now!" O'Malley's patience only went so far. "Yer no' a day older'n forty. How could ye have witnessed anythin' at all seventy years ago?"
Gint frowned at Padrick. O'Malley had a point.
"Seventy years, my arse." O'Malley drew to his feet, resembling an indignant puffer fish. "Yer full o' shite, you are."
Padrick stood up, too, towering over the fat man. "I ne'er spoke a truer thing in me life."
It was then Simple Gint noticed that the wind had died down utterly. The chimes went quiet. "But h..how's it true?" His fishy eyes blinked again. "Unless…"
Padrick laughed. "Ye've guessed me secret an' all, lad."
"What secret?" O'Malley demanded.
"He's sold his soul, Darbin." Gint said, quietly. "Te tha' witch."
Before O'Malley could protest, Padrick cut in, "I did, indeed."
"Shite," said O'Malley.
"What was that?" Gint shot to his feet, whey-faced. "Did ye hear it? Somethin' outside th' door, just now… slitherin'?"
O'Malley rolled his eyes. "Storm or no, I'm gettin' th' feck out. Mad bastards."
Padrick watched the tubby thief waddle toward the door. "As I was sayin'… she warmed te me, after I asked her to be me missus."
O'Malley snorted his derision, and opened the door.
A soft gurgle, like water draining down a hole, was drowned out by the fat man's high-pitched screams, and Simple Gint hit the floor in a dead faint half a second after.
Padrick's wife gurgled again, in approval of the lovely gifts he'd brought her.
Padrick grinned happily, "There y'are, Mrs. Dooley. A fine supper for ye, from th' pub. Happy anniversary, m' darlin'."