Six of them stood under a sky crackling with frequent
Five of them stared at the ramshackle framework of the novel
from which they’d been excised.
‘What’s he going to do without a cheerful character?’ asked Shoat,
a man in a heavy raincoat (it rained often in his country). ‘I was the best he
had. That other bloke’s a villain.’
The woman to his right ignored his question, glared ahead.
‘I was coping with the sour, self-focused dialogue he gave me...’ She spat on
the ground, to Shoat’s surprise. He’d thought her genteel. ‘But killing me off
with cancer was the last straw. Before the book even started. Obliterating my name!’ She strode off amidst thunder, after
sending a long, thick spittle at the building.
Bemused, the wizard Mukkeljugson half-heartedly cursed the
It was oblivious to his magic, although it shivered. Its
appearance altered continually.
Shoat’s enormous draught horse, Arnold, said nothing ˗ as
you’d expect ˗ though he nodded in agreement with the others’ complaints. He nudged
Mukkeljugson, who, not being familiar with horses, jumped back, unsure if it
was a warning or an encouragement.
The last two, a middle-aged man and woman seemingly joined
at the hip, scowled like souls lost, silent. Then the woman burst out at no one
in particular, ‘The whole idea began with us, you fool!’ She hammered at her
mild-mannered husband with her fists. He knew her anger was directed at the
The downpour began.
This story was originally published in Flash Frontier, November 2015. The characters had all begun life in a children's fantasy I was writing at that time: The Disenchanted Wizard, and had all been cut from the finished novel.