gnomeward bound

Writing Prompt #680

I’m always looking for new sources for story prompts, mostly coming up empty. This week, however, I discovered that Tumblr is chalked full of blogs with all kinds of story prompts. Why didn’t I think to look there sooner? This week’s prompt comes to us from Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck.

Like last week, I have no explanation for this story. It just came to me.

Unlike last week, it’s lighthearted. Even silly. Give it a spin and tell me what you think in the comments.

gnomeward bound

As a general rule, pixies are spazzes. Trying to carry on a normal conversation with one of them is like watching five TV shows at the same time. While doing Sudoku.

I hate Sudoku.

But I kind of like Lítt. She’s adorable, but that’s a given. She’s a fucking pixie. They’re all adorable. You get over that quick. Anyway, it’s not her looks. It’s the fact that, unlike most pixies, she’s genuinely loyal. I helped her out a few years ago with some nasty business involving a particularly mean spirited gnome.

I know that sounds like the basis of a Travelocity commercial, but it was a big deal for Lítt. Her home and family were at stake. I wasn’t even trying to do anything noble. The gnome was messing with some of my herbs, so I…encouraged…him to move on to another garden. In doing so, I became Lítt’s hero.

Her family doesn’t get it. To them, I’m just one of the big people. Trouble on two legs with no wings. Utterly useless. But since that day, Lítt has been my constant companion. If she’s not with her family, she’s with me. She’s welcome in my home, fluttering in and out of open windows at will. She even shares the occasional thimble of spiced rum with me.

Like I said, I’m fond of her. Even when she says brilliant things like, “Remember that time you did a thing and something happened. That was pretty cool, right?”

We were sitting by the fire in my living room. I had a few spell books scattered on the coffee table. I’d been playing with the idea of using dreams to create a spell-based virtual shared space that could be used for everything from communication to training. (If that sounds like the Dungeons and Dragons version of Inception, that’s because I stole the idea straight from Hollywood.)

“You mean getting the gnome to leave?” I asked.

Lítt was fiddling with her vest. She loved to look through my closet. She was fascinated by people clothes. After weeks of hearing her flip out about my wardrobe, envious of my ridiculously large collection of skirts in particular, I started making alterations to Barbie clothes for her. She now has a respectable collection of her own threads. Her visits always include playing dress up.

On that evening, she was sporting a fierce look from the ‘Malibu Barbie Meets Tinkerbell’ collection.

“Yeah,” she said, laughing. “That was awesome! He was so angry!”

It was my turn to chuckle. The little guy was peeved. He made several gnomish gestures before his departure. They weren’t familiar to me, but I’m fairly certain they were obscene.

“All’s well that ends well,” I declared.

“And I’m sure it will end well!” Lítt said with wide eyes and bubbling confidence.

I was halfway across the room in search of a refill when the context of her statement hit me. “What do you mean?” I asked. “He left. It’s over.”

“For now,” she said in that sing-songy voice.

“What do you mean, ‘for now’?”

“You heard him before he left,” she said. “That was part of what made it awesome. You didn’t even flinch!”

I bit my lower lip. “Lítt, I don’t speak gnomish.”

“What’s that?”

“Gnomish. I don’t speak it.”

“Oh. I guess that explains it. Tell me, do you think this top would look better with jeans? I like this skirt, but some skinny jeans would kick ass, too.”

I’d forgotten all about my drink. “What did he say?”

“Hello, rude. Have you seen my friend, Evie? I was trying to get her opinion on this outfit.”

I signed. Arguing with a pixie is like trying to get your car to run on peanut butter. In short, it won’t work.

“Skinny jeans would look great,” I said. “Especially if you paired them with boots.”

Lítt beamed. “Good to know. But I do like the skirt. I think I’ll stick with it for now.”

I held my tongue for a moment, not wanting to upset her again. If she lost her temper, she might not speak to me for days. After 20 seconds or so, she continued.

“The gnome army,” she said quietly.

“The gnome army?” I asked.

“Yup,” she said. “That’s the one.”

“Army? You said army?”

“Yeah. You know what those are, right?” she asked.

“The gnomes have an army?”

“Of course, silly. How else would they deal with big people when they get chased off?”

“And he’s bringing the gnome army here?”

She sighed. “That’s what he said. But they’re no match for you. I mean, if any big person can stand up to scores of angry gnomes it’s Evie, the Kind Witch of East Texas!”

For a moment I wasn’t sure which bothered me more–the title Lítt had given me or the idea of scores of gnomes leading an attack against my home. Then the lights went out. The wind howled and hundreds of raspy voices let out a shrill cry. That’s when I decided the gnome army definitely bothered me more.

I’d set her straight on the lame title later.

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About Ash Martin
Ash Martin writes dark fantasy and horror, has a thing for classic monster legends, Nordic mythology, coffee, and sarcasm, and is currently working on multiple books.

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