The Pipers legacy

This is a resurrected and revised piece of work I wrote some years ago. I am submitting it now for publication in our church magazine in answer to the theme of music.

Piper

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

The Piper’s Legacy

by John Yeo

 The two brothers, Donny and Flip were out playing in the fields, wandering around at the bottom of Piper’s Hill. This steep local hill was suffused with local legend and magical tales were told about many mysterious occurrences throughout the ages. The two brothers were as alike as chalk and cheese as the old saying goes. Donny was tall and thin with a shock of black hair and piercing blue eyes; he was the oldest of the two by eighteen months.

Flip was shorter, much to his chagrin, with brown straight hair and brown eyes to match. A daredevil, always game for anything.

The one thing the brothers had in common was their quick wits and friendly demeanor.

 Flip was acting as a hunter and racing along ahead of Donny.

  ‘Slow down Flip, we don’t want to lose track of each other, it’s getting late and we don’t want to get lost.’ shouted Donny.

  ‘It’s OK, I know exactly where we are. That’s old man Grieves farm over there.’ replied Flip. A startled Blackbird flew up as he continued to run, making the familiar squawking sound that is the Blackbirds cry of alarm.

 Then he suddenly shouted, ‘Hey Donny, come quick.’

 Donny pushed his way through some bushes at the bottom of the hill and suddenly saw Flip standing in front of the strangest wizened wrinkled old man he had ever seen. This man was wrapped up in an incredible multi-green coat, covered with streaks of brown that looked suspiciously like mud. The old man had a twinkle in his green eyes that were almost dazzling when he looked directly at Flip and Donny.

  ‘Hello,’ he said, What do I see here? Two young escapees from humdrum, looking for adventure? Sit on this handy log here and I will tell you a story.’

Donny sat down straight away and signaled to Flip to join him. Both of the boys were captivated by this strange old man with his merry grin.

The old man picked up an intricately carved wooden tube that was lying at his feet and waved it in front of the boys.

  ‘You see this? This is an ancient tube, in the right hands, it makes the sweetest sounds you have ever heard. I inherited this from its mysterious owner many years ago. When I was your age, our town was plagued with vermin. The town council hired the man who owned this magical tube to get rid of them. A price was agreed and the fun began.’

 The man then suddenly picked up the tube, put it to his mouth and blew once. Soon every tree and bush in the vicinity was covered with hundreds of birds of all shapes, sizes, and varieties.’

The strange old man continued.

  ‘This musical man dressed in a strange multi-coloured costume was leading the thousands of assorted troublesome vermin from the town. My Mother and Father watched with glee, as the Piper worked his magic. Just as he had predicted, his music was hypnotic to the ears of the vermin and his assignment to clear the town was an instant success. I was 7 years old at the time, and the sight of these vermin leaving the town produced loud cheers and much happiness from the townspeople.’

The old man continued, laughing loudly.  ‘What do you think happened next?’

 Both boys were dumbstruck and simply shrugged their shoulders.

   Flip piped up and said, ‘Can I have a blow on that whistle?’

Donny kicked him in the shins and said,

 ‘Shut up Flip! Please carry on with the story.’

The old man smiled. ‘Well, the mayor decided not to pay the agreed fee and tried to cheat the piper.

The piper was angry at this and blew a strange tune on his whistle. A tune that got into the ears of every child in the town. I remember beginning to dance along with hundreds of my friends. The urge to dance was overwhelming. We followed the piper, dancing to the merriest tune you have ever heard. We danced to this very hill and suddenly two huge cave doors appeared and we all danced inside, to find a Wonderland. A place where dreams come true in the blink of an eye.’

The boys were overwhelmed with curiosity.

  ‘Why have you come back?’ Asked Donny.

 Then Flip interjected. ‘Can we come with you to see this place?’

With a shake of his head and a wave of his hand, the ancient traveler suddenly disappeared in a puff of smoke.

 Then Flip bent down and picked something up, something long, tubular, intricately carved, with holes in. ‘Look, Donny, he’s left the pipe behind.’

 Donny grabbed the pipe and put it to his lips but nothing happened. Flip tried to get a sound from the flute without success.

Both boys then returned home with their treasure. They tried many times over the years to get a sound from this pipe, without any success.

 The boys didn’t let on to anyone about their magical meeting with the little old man on Pipers Hill.

However magic certainly came from the meeting as Donny became a talented well paid Flautist and Flip made a name for himself by playing the Saxophone in a famous orchestra.

The brothers later became renowned as a duo that rocked the jazz world.

Written by John Yeo, (With apologies to ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin.’)

© ~ All rights reserved.

 

Advertisements

THE MORNING AFTER…….

31 st March 2018 A Reedsy Prompt

“He woke up and all seemed normal. Little did he know that before he’d even had a chance to get out of bed, he would become the subject of a prank.”

~~~

First of April

THE MORNING AFTER THE NIGHT BEFORE

by John Yeo

   March had stormed through to a windswept close with frost and snow combined. They say a whole generation of unwanted bugs and vermin die as a result of a harsh frost. The parents are unable to forage for food and the young die off. This is Nature’s way of culling the overpopulation and striking a balance. Extreme but effective, clearly a supreme example of survival of the fittest in action. Scooter Danes was a smallholder and a budding pig farmer, he sighed as he did the rounds of his smallholding, feeding and checking on the animals. Scooter was a hard worker, a broad-shouldered man of medium height, whose most distinguishing feature was his head, which had a curious shape with a protruding forehead that was absolutely devoid of hair. Scooter worked tirelessly to make ends meet. He was well known in the community for his sense of humour and his laid back style of leaving the unimportant things to chance.
Scooter sighed again and thought, ‘At least I can feed the dead rats and other vermin to the flocks of local scavenging crows. The vermin are so hungry at the moment they make no attempt to conceal their whereabouts.’ Scooter loosed off a couple of blasts from his trusty shotgun and picked off a few of the blighters who were busily engaged in making a meal of his overwinter greens.
  Violet, his young wife appeared at the cottage door and called to him, ‘Come inside Scoot, your meal is on the table, it’ll get cold if you don’t come in soon.’
       ‘Coming Vi! I’m starving hungry, this weather really does give me an appetite.’
Violet straightened her pink striped apron and put her hands on her extremely generous hips. She was a comely woman in every sense of the word, a typical farmer’s wife who never stopped working from dawn to dusk. Flicking a few strands of her loose greying blonde hair from her eyes, she grinned as she said. ‘ Charles from Willow tree farm telephoned to ask if you would be going for your usual pint in the Crown tonight.’

      ‘Of course, I will my darling, ‘ replied Scooter smiling broadly, ‘I never miss my usual pint of draught ale with the lads.’

    ‘That’s what I told him, now eat the farmhouse stew, it will warm you up before you go out.’

  Later that evening, Scooter joined his pals Chas, Mick, Pete and Phil in the local. They had all grown up together in the area and they were firm friends.
Chas was his nearest neighbour, who lived on the next small holding to his, a friendly man who always had a good word to say about everyone else. Unlike Scooter, who had his own way with words when he put a slant on reality to the detriment of anyone who displeased him.
  Mick and Phil were firm friends who worked for the same building firm together and shared a lot of common interests. Pete was the joker in the pack, a short man with a huge personality. A local builder, he had built a thriving business from scratch and often kept Mick and Phil in work.
    Scooter was warmly welcomed by everyone, especially Pete who was secretively grinning as he chatted with everyone.
  Scooter immediately took his position in front of a brightly illuminated one-armed-bandit and began feeding £1.00 coins in. Ever since he had hit the jackpot some months ago he was hooked, chasing money he had been piling into these machines ever since.
Pete and Mick sidled up alongside him and Pete grinning broadly handed him an envelope.
     ‘We’ve had a bit of luck Scooter, our syndicate has won a nice sum on the Lottery. This is a copy of the letter confirming the win. The cheque hasn’t been cleared yet but I intend to post cheques for the winners through everyone’s letterboxes first thing in the morning.’

    ‘The drinks are on me!’ Exclaimed Scooter excitedly, but he was a little disappointed when the rest of his pals declined. Except for Pete who accepted a double scotch and Scooter joined him in a toast.

   The evening passed swiftly and Scooter wended his way back to his cottage and was soon fast asleep.

   The next day he was up with the lark. To his delight, there was an envelope lying on the doormat. Without opening it he rushed into the lounge and hugged Violet. ‘Our lucks changed Vi! This envelope contains the answer to all our worries’.

  Violet opened the envelope to find two words boldly emblazoned across a dummy cheque. APRIL FOOL.
Scooter then realized the horrible truth, it was April 1st and he had been the victim of a cruel prank.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

 

 

A PANOPLY OF FOOLS

 I wrote the following piece of Flash Fiction for our Church magazine in response to the monthly theme of Fools.

Bottom in the Dream

A PANOPLY OF FOOLS

by John Yeo
  

 

    It was a rather special afternoon at the village drama society, all the members were holding their breath in anticipation. Today was casting day for a performance at the local theatre, rumour had it that some celebrity guests would be attending the auditions. 
The play we would be performing was to be William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
 I had reluctantly joined the West Chester drama society at the behest of my dear wife Penelope, who is a regular performer. This was to be a first, I have never acted in my life before and I was feeling incredibly nervous about the prospect. I gingerly made myself known to the other members of the group as we entered, The Leering Donkey, a local pub.

     ‘Hello everyone, I’m Norman, nice to meet you all.’

There were several nods and smiles of welcome and approval from the assembled members of the drama group.

I was a bit unnerved when a tall young man came bustling up and said;  ‘Hi and welcome I’m Lawrence. Wow! You will be perfect for the role of Nick. Penelope darling! Well done; your husband will be perfect for the role I have in mind.’

 ‘Nick?’ I asked, ’I don’t remember a character by the name of Nick in Midsummer Night’s Dream. I read the play last night at home!’

Lawrence smiled and said, ’Don’t worry Norman, the character you have been selected for has an important role to play! I think you will be perfect for the role of Nick Bottom. A very sought after role indeed!’

’BOTTOM!” I exclaimed: “You mean the character with an Asses head. The fool?’

 ’Norman this is not just any old fool you will be playing here! Bottom is a very important fool. Out of all the panoply of Shakespeare’s fools Bottom is the finest. I think this role could be the start of a well-revered career: Bottom was one of the leading performers in the Mechanicals. I think you will be perfect for this part. Am I not right Penelope darling?’

 ‘Are you mad? I refuse to get involved with this! Anyway! Who do you think you are calling darling? That’s my wife you are addressing.’ I said, becoming quite annoyed by the sly inferences of this toffee-nosed twit.


   ’Just a theatrical term lovey. It’s a great pity; Won’t you change your mind? I think you would be perfect for the role; I’m sure you would look exactly right playing the character with an asses head.’

 ’Clear off!’ I said walking out of the pub.
 One month later Lawrence and my wife Penelope had set up home together. I swear if I ever wake up from this horrible dream, I will get my revenge.
 Wait until he finds out that Penelope is part Mexican and suffers from Montezuma’s revenge whenever there is a certain variety of food on the table.

 

  Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved


BLISSSFUL BLASPHEMY

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ Blissful blasphemy

http://ourwriteside.com/category/prompts/master-class/

IMG_2210

Blissful Blasphemy

by John Yeo

   Horace stumbled as he entered the local bar and nodded to the landlord.

        “You OK mate?” enquired the landlord anxiously. “You seem to be a bit unsteady on your feet! Careful there Sir. What can I get you?”

Horace spat on the wooden floor and glared at the man behind the bar.

        “I’m OK, I tripped over your bloody carpet. I’ve half a mind to sue your establishment.” was the aggressive retort.

  Horace opened his grubby raincoat to reveal a mud-splattered pair of trousers tied up with string around the waist. He pulled a paper bag from his pocket and removed a bundle of notes, peeling off a tenner, he placed it on the bar and said, “Get me a beer.”

  It was then the landlord was overcome with the odours emanating from Horace’s clothes. Stale beer mingled with many other questionable smells that put him in mind of a refugee from a pig farm.
Two or three other customers in the bar instinctively moved to one side as this horrible odour arose and wafted around the bar.

      “Phew!” exclaimed Alphonse the local car dealer, to his glamorous wife Estelle.
“Drink up my love, let’s get out of here before we catch something nasty. I really don’t know what this place is coming to.”

The landlord then interrupted and addressed Horace, quite bluntly.

      “Get out of here you stinking freak! I refuse to serve you. You are already pissed out of your head.”

At this, Horace let rip with a tirade of curses and threats, beginning and ending with the questionable birthright of obnoxious barstewards.

Alphonse said to his wife Estelle. “Come on darling. Let’s go, we don’t have to put up with this tirade of blasphemous language.”

Then, a voice from the corner of the bar that seemed to come from behind a cloud of smoke piped up.

      “When cursing or profanity is uttered colloquially, it is a sin that can be forgiven as a common sin against decency. Punishment should be meted out in response to the level of harm done.”

The landlord then turned and addressed the stranger in the corner.

      “Father if I put a boot up this filthy mouthed drunks rear as I eject him from the premises, will this be punishment enough for his insolence?”

   “Allow me to speak to the gentleman, I’d like to get to the bottom of this.” Responded the Priest.

     “Go ahead.” said the landlord, “As long as you get rid of him for me.”

      “Excuse me, Sir, I feel you have many problems to be resolved. I noticed your obvious wealth when you left that money on the bar. I would like to offer you a drink of tea at the rectory and a chat.”

With a snarl and another tirade of the vilest blasphemy that had ever come close to assaulting the ears of the Priest. Horace staggered out the door, followed by the landlord who landed the sharpest boot up the oblivious tramps rear end.

A few days later a letter arrived from a firm of city lawyers, containing a summons for the landlord to answer charges of common assault on one Squire Horace Batchelor.

The Priest wasn’t surprised at this turn of events as he was heard to mutter to himself. “Blasphemy can sometimes lead to a state of blissful serenity brought on by the proceeds of ill-gotten gains .”

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

IMG_2211

 

CRUSHED SUNLIGHT

A prompt response for Master Class ~ Assignment ~ CRUSHED SUNLIGHT

http://ourwriteside.com/crushed-sunlight/

Images courtesy of pixabay.com

Master class~
Our Write Side
Assignment CRUSHED SUNLIGHT

CRUSHED SUNLIGHT

by John Yeo

      “Daddy is dying Rachel: Don’t cry; he wouldn’t have liked you to be sad.” said Ginny, to her younger sister.
Both girls were standing at the bedside of their Father.
George Billings had led a full carefree life and was in a coma, having suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage.

    The nurse bustled into the bedroom and tidied up the bed. “Keep talking to your Daddy girls, he may be able to hear you! Tell him how much you love him.”

  George could clearly hear every word but he was so engrossed in the dream that seemed to have overtaken his very being.

   Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, he opened his eyes and clearly said;

       “I can’t let myself crush the sunlight!”

Then he returned to his dream and seemed oblivious of everything.

      ‘Sera and Simu were tiny bugs that fed on the nectar provided by a huge Sunflower.
These two lovable creatures lived and loved in a microscopic world that is invisible to the natural human eye.
A world of infinite pleasures where endless streams of nectar provided by their huge flower sustained them in their eternal bug life.
Sera had a secret weapon an extra long tongue that could reach into the heart of the deepest nooks protected by the Sunflower’s huge petals.
Simu would carry the nectar crop to huge storage nests deep underground, secreted in caves formed by the roots of their home. This storage sustained them during the long sleep that was brought on by the lack of the sunshine that sustained their home and provided the food of eternal life.

   One fateful sun-drenched day in the heart of their single Sunflower home, which housed a whole community of these tiny creatures. Change erupted, in the shape of a hoard of buzzing flying giants that proceeded to steal huge swathes of their endless flow of nectar.
There was a panic among the peoples of the floral community as their world was invaded by these greedy aliens.

  The leaders met and decided there was nothing they could do except pray and implore the great Spirit to help.

   Lady Senata the superbug, the Mother of all creation said comfortingly.

       “We may be tiny and defenceless but I have a plan. I will call on the powers that are in the ether to come to our rescue!”
  Then with a crushing crash, something large collided and flattened their home to the ground. There was a sudden blackness that descended as the sunlight was crushed out and obliterated.’

   

George’s dream continued as he remembered his garden and how he used to tend the Sunflowers.
    ‘I never realized the damage my boots would do when I accidentally trod on my Sunflowers. How much life was lost as I crushed the fragile blooms into the ground.’

     “Nurse! Daddy isn’t breathing anymore!” screamed Rachel.
The nurse quickly ushered the children from the bedroom and then returned to draw the curtains, blotting out and completely crushing the rays of bright eternal sunshine.

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

master-class-featured-image

SOMNAMBULANCIA

A prompt response for Inspiration Monday ~ THE CITY THAT ALWAYS SLEEPS

http://bekindrewrite.com

IMG_1802

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

SOMNAMBULACIA

by John Yeo

  The airship landed with a series of bumps that shook the passengers as they were drifting in and out of a querulous doze.

     “Follow the illuminated signs to the customs and the check out points.” suggested the friendly steward.

   As the passengers landed and filed down the steps leading into the terminal they became conscious of an eerie silence. There wasn’t a sound to be heard, even the wind seemed to be holding its breath.

   The first thing that caught the attention was a huge notice that welcomed visitors to the Silent City of “Somnambulancia.”

   The Captain of the airship arranged for some pods to be offloaded to an awaiting fleet of robot controlled vehicles. These were the passengers who were booked to be taken directly to isolation sleeping areas. The remainder of the passengers were in a permanent state of deep somnambulant alternative consciousness.
These citizens were returning to their homes to continue with their lives of total hibernation. Never actually waking but loving, eating, breathing and reproducing in a permanent state of somnambulance.

   This was the inbred way of life for this planetary society. The children were born with the sleeping gene and sleepwalked their way through life, becoming adults in a state of permanent semi-consciousness.

   Yet these people were the fiercest fighters the known universe has ever seen. Living life in a dream they had no scruples about how they looked in reality. Pain is never felt quite in the same way when you are asleep.

    Storms are not experienced ……

      “John!”

  The heavens speak a different language in the land of Somnambulancia…

        “John! Wake up you’ll be late for work…”

   The airship had suddenly disappeared as if one reality had swallowed up another reality.

          “John, get out of bed at once and eat your breakfast, or you will be late.”

        “Morning Mother!”

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

img_9739-1

THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

A prompt response to this photo from ~ The Dark Room on Our Write Side

http://ourwriteside.com/a-bridge-to-nowhere/

bridge

THE BRIDGE BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

by John Yeo

  Rambling along a pretty lane bordered by tangled shrubs, Megan and I were enjoying an unplanned afternoon walk through the glorious countryside.

The hot Springtime sun shone between fluffy clouds that skittered across a clear blue sky. Hedge sparrows and small finches darted to and fro across the path.

    “The birds are building their nests in these thick bushes, to raise their families,” I remarked to Megan.

Nodding she said, “Just look at those pretty yellow primroses growing along the wayside banks.” She picked one and sniffed the soft yellow petals.

 “They are not perfumed at all, but they are so soft and velvety.”

Wood pigeons and rooks were feeding, as we skirted a newly ploughed field.

We approached the edge of some thick woods, green and luxurious with dense shrubs and leafy, branchy trees as far as the eye could see. The shady woods looked inviting.

 “I wonder if they are private property.”

I mused when suddenly Megan exclaimed…

  “Look, just there at the edge of the woods, a tiny deer. It looks like a fawn in distress. Oh! it’s limping; where are the parents? Can we go and have a look, Joe?”

  “Of course! Come on let’s go.”

   We quickly made our way towards the edge of the woods. The handsome speckled brown and white baby deer seemed totally unaware of our approach.  In our haste to get to the casualty, I tripped and fell. I suffered no serious damage, just a few minor grazes.

The startled fawn looked up at this unusual noise and headed into the woods.

Megan and I without thinking followed the limping fawn along a tiny track through the dense woods. Startled woodpeckers and woodland jays flew high into the treetops as we approached.

The track led us to the banks of a wide river and we continued following the path along the banks of the river. The riverbanks were marshy at the edges covered in large yellow flowers. Moorhens and ducks were swimming among the reed beds, ducking their heads beneath the clear water to feed.

Suddenly I realised we were in a fix as we didn’t know these woods at all.

Megan suddenly said. “Joe are we lost? I have never been here before: Do you know where we are?”

 “Not exactly Megan, I think if we continue to follow this track along the riverbank we may come across a cottage. We might even meet one of the locals.”

We came across a separate pool alongside the riverbank full of the most beautiful, pink and white water lilies.

 “Those coots are having a feast on the small creatures in that impressive little pool,” I remarked.

 We continued along the riverside path and before long a wooden bridge on stilts loomed up in front of us.

  “Joe, perhaps if we cross the river over that bridge we may find an easier path.”

We breathed a sigh of relief when a canvas structure came into view.

  “That looks like a fisherman’s shelter Megan; I hope there is someone inside  who can guide us on our way.”

  “Hallo! Is anyone in there?”  I called loudly.

I opened the flap to the front of the tent to discover a wizened elderly man holding a fishing rod over the water. A rather strange looking elderly man wearing a floppy elfin hat dressed in multicoloured clothes looked up as I opened the flap.

  “What do you want? What are you strangers doing in these woods? This is private property.”

  “Sorry!” I said, “We were following an injured fawn, and we got lost. We just want to go home now. If you can show us the way back we would be happy to leave your private woods at once.”

The old man just nodded and said, “Which way did you come?”

I gestured to the path along the river.

 “We wondered if we crossed that bridge we would come across a direct path back the way we came,” I said.

 The strange old man jumped at this. “No! Whatever you do, don’t go over the magical bridge. That is the dividing line, Mad Molly lives in a shack on the other side. You will never be the same again if you come into contact with her. I will personally escort you to the edge of the woods. We will return the way you came on this side of the river. I’m Archie by the way, If we take the shortcut you will be home in no time.”

Archie escorted us to the edge of the woods and waved goodbye. We made our way along the familiar country lanes towards home.

 We soon arrived at a pretty little pub set in a well-kept garden full of fruit trees and flowers, with inviting looking tables and chairs.

  “Let’s stop here for a drink;” I said.

 “Yes please;” answered Megan.

I entered the comfortable bar to order the drinks and as the landlord was pouring them I related our adventures in the woods. Our contact with Archie and the magical bridge and his timely warning about mad Molly.

This resulted in roars of gleeful laughter from the landlord and the patrons in the bar.

  “Sorry!” Said the landlord. But you wandered onto the estate of Lord Archibald and Lady Arabella Fortescue-Jones. Lord Archie always referred to his mother-in-law as mad Molly.

Lady Arabella frowned on this and the bridge is the result. To cross the bridge is to enter a world where hunting shooting and fishing is banned. Lord Archie is not allowed to cross the magical bridge and Lady Arabella never visits his side either.”

We finished our drinks and made our way home. We have a wonderful after dinner story to dine out on for the next few years.

 

Copyright © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.