Hi All, I haven’t guest blogged here in a while, but what a fun bunch of prompts I was given to welcome me back! I had the following to choose from:
Amy- Mozart, Mice and Men
Cameron- I didn’t know whether to be flattered or insulted
Erika- Like a Rainbow in the Dark
Jen- Christmas in July
Wendy- When Oompa Loompas play Candyland
The short story that follows is just a bit of backstory to my new adult fantasy trilogy ‘The Blackness’ inspired by Wendy’s prompt: When Oompa Loompas play Candyland. It shows what my main characters life was like before the events in the first book, ‘Dying was the Easy Part’ and before she became known as Jocelyn Hardy. I hope you enjoy!
Never Play Candyland with Ooompa Loompas
The paint was the first thing the old jewelry maker and royal guard noticed, smeared across the edges of the glass display cases in his shop. Tiny fingerprints, smudged from their mistress’s quick movements. A smile tugged at his face under the long white beard and he followed the trail, the orange growing lighter with each print, until he cleared the edge of the case and found a little girl sitting on the floor. Three strange little creatures all with orange skin and green hair fanned out in a circle around her with a board game on the floor in the center.
“No, Oompa One,” said the little girl sternly, the fabric of her white dress crinkling as she leaned forward pointing at the board and the little green gingerbread man serving as a gaming piece. The little gingerbread man waved at her, but she ignored him. “You have to move it to the purple space because that’s the color on your card.”
The orange creature named Oompa One simply blinked at the jeweler’s charge, the young princess Penelope—or as she insisted she be called for the duration of this game: Princess Lolly.
“Oompa One want chocolate. Chocolate now please,” it said pointing to Gloppy, one of the many creatures printed on the faded Candyland board.
The Princess sighed, a sound the jeweler knew well. “Oh, Oompa One, no. Gloppy is made of molasses. There isn’t any chocolate in Candyland.”
At that the three Oompa-Loompas started to mutter, what sounded suspiciously like the beginnings of a song starting to form between the trio—a song about lying princesses and cacao beans.
The jeweler cleared his throat and Penelope’s head shot up, aqua colored eyes wide. The Oompa-Loompas dissolved into swirling particles of orange and green, the tiny gingerbread men board game markers returning to their plastic staticness.
“Smithy! You’re back!” Penelope scrambled to her feet, black patent leather shoes squeaking as she threw herself at him, tiny arms, fingers still dusted with orange paint fisting his pant legs.
“Och, my ghile,” Smithy said, scooping her up. “What would your mother be saying if she could see ye now? You know real Oompa’s are not that ghastly color.”
“Oh, but they are. They’re orange and green. Like in the movie.”
“Hmmph. I think someone’s been seeing too much of that Hollywood tripe. I’ve told ye before that that rot will rot yer brains.” He coughed awkwardly at the unintended pun.
Tiny eyebrows, rose at that. “But why were the Oompa’s I called orange then?” She held out her hand, fingers splayed. “See? They got their color on me!”
Chuckling, Smithy used his handkerchief to clean the fingers waving at him. “You didn’a so much call them as create them, my ghile. I’ve told ye that your magic is a powerful thing.”
“Can I make anything then?”
The question was innocent, the eyes wide and guileless, and Smithy was struck again by the singular power of his little charge. If she wanted she could upend the Earth, create creatures of all shapes and descriptions that would be fully and totally loyal to her.
And she wouldn’t even need the usual magic paraphernalia. The pendants and the chants that ordinary witches relied on. That sort of power was staggering. Dangerous.
“Anything you wish, my ghile,” he said. “As long as it fits inside Cook’s breadbox that is.”
That got a giggle and a sloppy kiss on the cheek before she was demanding to be let down. Since Smithy was well aware of the girl’s ability to simply order his arms to release her, he was gratified to hear the words—even if they weren’t the most polite.
“Should ye be here, my ghile?” he asked, moving around the display case towards the back room that held his tools, the loose product that he would shape and twist into the jewelry lining the inside of his displays.
“No.” The little girl skipped after him, settling down on the end of his workbench where her own tiny pliers and length of coiled gold wire waited. “But Mummy said that Daddy wasn’t to be disturbed. She says that all the time now and I didn’t want to be quiet and play in my room like a good girl.”
The last part of her sentence was said in a near perfect imitation of the girl’s mother and Smithy ducked his head to hide a smile. “Aye,” he said, smile fading as he thought of the girls father. “Yer papa has a difficult job, dear one. Ye must give him time. He’ll be right as duck sauce by the Winter Solstice, just ye wait.”
The little girl didn’t ask the obvious question; one an older child would have asked immediately. Instead the worry lines wrinkling her forehead smoothed away and she began to tell Smithy about her day. About wanting to play Candyland which she’d found when visiting the city of Chicago months ago with her father—before her father had gotten too unstable to leave his lands.
These are dangerous time, the princess’s mother, told Smithy the last time he’d seen her. Soon it will be too dangerous for her to be near him. If it breaks free. If it sees…
She’d broken off then, but both knew the danger. Knew that if the thing inside her husband woke up when Penelope was in the room the consequences to them all would be horrific.
But for now, the man still held up to his sanity, his consciousness. The evil within did not yet realize the potential power source next to it. But it was just a matter of time. A waiting game that Smithy was growing tired of playing.
And unlike made up Oompa-Loompas playing Candyland, once this game ended (or started?) there’d be no going back.
It’d be war.
He gazed at the innocent child and knew in that moment that his days with her, like this were numbered. Soon she’d have to be sent away, hidden. But for now he listened to her babble on about Gramma Nut and the Ice Cream Sea, and thought of silver blades and golden arrows.
If war came, he’d be ready.
Just let it not be now.
He cleared his throat.
“How about another round of Candyland?”
Megan Wahl lives in San Jose, CA where she is currently busy editing her first novel ‘Dying is the Easy Part’ and starting on her second, ‘Caught Between’ both part of the planned trilogy, ‘The Blackness’. When she’s not buried nose deep in her own fantasy world she can be found at the local bookstore, nose first inside someone else’s fantasy. Or as she likes to justify it, ‘doing research’.