Liam McDaniel – “Mr. and Mrs. Fiddleton”

Disclaimer

This tale is taken from two different sources: the testimonies of Mr. Robert and Mrs. Molly Fiddleton (from a later date) and the voice of imagination who recounts the adventures of their two sons: Tom and Leaf. The sources have been arranged in chronological order so the viewer may obtain optimal clarity regarding the events of that day. Sources that reference events that occur simultaneously are formatted side-by-side. The overlapping of sources may be confusing at first, which is why multiple read-throughs are recommended. 

 

Tom (1)

It was large, it was probably the biggest that Tom had ever seen. The ladybug was waddling about on an adventure of its own, oblivious that it would soon meet its fate. Tom stalked up behind it, gripping his spear tightly, careful not to make any noises that might disturb the monstrous beast. The bug grew larger until it towered over Tom, blotting out the sun and casting shade his way. It had ten black spots upon its blood-red carapace. Tom decided that those must be the fiend’s weak spots and agreed to focus the strength of his attack on them. If Tom didn’t end this beast then it would raze the town of Fiddleton just to the East. He was the only hope for the many families and eligible maidens of the town. 

“You’ll never bug Fiddleton on my watch,” Tom yelled at the emotionless force of destruction. Strengthening his resolve Tom reached deep inside, finding strength that would be called godly under other circumstances, but for this situation it was simply necessary. Tom gritted his teeth and threw his spear with all of his newfound force. The wooden projectile sailed through the salty air until it pierced the monster’s armor, sinking a foot deep into one of the weak spots on its left side. 

“Take that, you oversized larva!” Tom spewed with disgust. The grotesque bug reared in pain, Tom leaped off the driftwood log and slid across the sand to where the beast was keeling. He vaulted himself onto the massive dome of red and black wrenching his spear up and out. At this point Tom’s limbs were feeling heavy and his mental reactions were slowing. He was beginning to feel the effects of fatigue. He needed energy, if he let himself go on like this then he might succumb to the bug and the Fiddletonians would fall soon after he did. The sun was high above him and Tom was sweating from every pore. Reluctantly, he decided to take a snack break.

Molly (2)

“I was sitting on the porch of our vacation home and had been watching my son, Tom, play for 

at least an hour by then. The beach was just over a hundred feet from the back porch and I had a great view of both the ocean and Tom. It was just past one o’clock when he loped back to the house for a ‘snack break’. I remember he came inside and I joined him. I made PB&J and asked about his day. He said that he had been ‘vanquishing a massive ladybug’ that was an ‘imminent danger’ to the town of Fiddleton; I’m assuming that’s our house. His recap was congruent with what I had been watching: Tom jumping around on a log and waving his stick around, stabbing at the air. I’m a high school English teacher so my imagination left me many years ago. I was glad to see that Tom still had an active mind at age ten, even if it was uncanny sometimes. After Tom’s short-lived break, I sent him back out to finish his ‘noble quest’, of course, playing into his fantasy. The last thing I remember about that interaction was waving goodbye to the creative knight and returning inside to spend time with Robert.”

Robert (3)

“I was sitting inside, reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Leaf when Molly came 

down the stairs and said that Tom was outside battling a ladybug for his life. She correctly assumed that Leaf would want to go save the bug. Leaf had always been a bug-lover from a very early age and wouldn’t hurt a fly. The news of the innocent ladybug in peril alarmed him and he sprung off the couch and sprinted up the stairs. I heard the back door shut and receding footsteps as Leaf raced to the aid of the ‘helpless bug’. Molly asked if I thought that the two boys would get along; I thought so. They would just have an imaginary fight and eventually make it up with each other. I wasn’t worried about anything, this was a great opportunity for the two to play together, something they rarely did anymore.

Tom (4)

Tom was running back to where he had waged war against the garish creature. He arrived to find that the beast had its back turned to him. This was just the opportunity he needed to finish off the bug for good. He hopped up onto the log and wedged his spear underneath the backside of the rotund monster. Quickly, he jumped into the air and landed with both feet on the butt of his spear driving the front end upwards like a crowbar opening the lid of a box. The bug was flung onto its front and from there it slowly rolled onto its back. 

“Hey ladybug, I bet you didn’t spot that one coming,” Tom victoriously jeered, watching as his enemy flailed, unable to regain a positive rotational position. He spun it around a few times just to rub in his triumph. All Tom had to do now was stab the bug’s unprotected underside. He raised his weapon high above his head, the tip glinted in the sunlight, and he plunged it downwards upon the beastie. The arc of the blow was never completed because Tom was knocked to the ground, dropping his spear. He looked up to see a familiar face: Leaf, the traveling druid. Tom had encountered the druid before and had worked with him on many occasions in the past so he was confused why Leaf would turn on him in his moment of victory. If Leaf stopped Tom from slaying the beast then surely Fiddleton would be doomed. Resolved to finish what he started, Tom surged upwards and began his counterattack.

After I reassured Molly, she went back out on the porch to watch the boys and I continued reading Huckleberry Finn despite the absence of my son. I figured that I could just go back to where he was later. I was at the part near the end of the book, where Huck and Tom are trying to free Jim for the second time.”

Leaf (5)

Leaf was running as fast as he could 

from the town of Fiddleton to go save the bug from the clutches of Sir Tom. Being the local druid of Fiddleton, it was Leaf’s responsibility to defend not only the inhabitants, but also the wildlife surrounding it. Surely this innocent ladybug was no threat to Fiddleton; they simply came near the town sometimes to graze in the pastures, which was not justification to end its life. Sir Tom could never see it that way though, he didn’t understand how to coexist in the same way Leaf did. As he neared the area where the villagers had reported seeing Sir Tom battle the Ladybug, he saw what he dreaded most: Tom towering over the helpless bug with his spear raised high above his head. Leaf lunged for Tom and slammed into him, knocking the spear out of his hand. Tom quickly stood up and began to fight back, so Leaf got in his defensive stance, ready for an epic battle, prepared to fight for the oversized insect. 

Molly (6)

“I watched from the porch as Leaf rushed over to Tom and tackled him right as Tom was about 

to stab the log with his stick. They both hit the ground hard, but they’re young and their bodies could handle that sort of impact. Tom got up quickly and grabbed his stick. Even from this distance I could see that Tom and Leaf had some sort of rivalry in their fantasy. Leaf dodged as Tom jabbed his head and punched Tom’s stomach with an open palm and Tom fell backwards as if thrown back by an immense force. It was getting a little out of hand, and I was worried that one of them might actually get hurt so I called to Robert, maybe he could run out there to watch from closer up in case their play turned into something more.”

Robert (7)

“Molly called to me from the porch and I went  to see what was going on. I quickly marked 

my page in the book on the spot right before Sawyer was shot. I didn’t want to stop reading, but Molly sounded  urgent. She pointed at the kids and said that they were playing pretty rough. I looked out at what was happening and had to agree that they were getting more violent with every blow. She said that I should go out there and watch from close by, just in case one of them was in danger of getting injured. This was a good idea, so I kissed Molly and walked out to where the boys were play-fighting. Not as fun as reading a book, but arguably more important. My only regret was that I didn’t bring the book out with me to read while I watched the boys play; I had forgotten whether or not Sawyer survived and I was anxious to find out.”

Leaf (8)

Leaf was dominating the fight. His 

expert knowledge of the druidic arts gave him power over the surrounding landscape, which he used to his advantage. He tripped Tom with wooden roots and restrained him with slithering vines. There was no way he could lose this fight.

Robert (11)

“I was beginning to nod off when I heard a 

guttural grunt from the boys’ direction. I looked over to see Leaf doubled over in pain, having had the wind knocked out of him. I rushed over to check on him. He would be fine, it was just a surprise blow. I helped him back up to his feet and told him to slow his breathing. After Leaf was calm again I set him loose on Tom, secretly wanting revenge for what had just happened. Leaf got back up and I thought I heard him mumbling something unintelligible to himself. Leaf began to make a weird hand gesture in the direction of Tom who was about to squish a ladybug with his stick. I had no idea what was going on so I just watched. Leaf apparently had finished whatever he was saying and shoved his hands forwards at Tom. The boy standing over the little bug collapsed. I rushed over to Tom’s side and he was frothing at the mouth. ‘What did you do?!’ I pleaded with Leaf. He offered no response. It looked like Tom was having a seizure, he flailed about like a beetle rolled onto its shell. He eventually went still and the spit stopped 

Tom (9)

The druid was beginning to overpower 

Tom, despite the two year age-gap, Leaf was more powerful. He attacked relentlessly, using all of the magic he had learned to defend a creature that would kill him without a second thought; ironic. Tom would not back down. He knew that he was the only thing standing between Fiddleton and utter destruction and was willing to sacrifice his life for the hundreds of innocent people living there. He whipped around, bringing the butt of his spear into Leaf’s chest. The druid doubled over, wheezing. Now that the nuisance was taken care of Tom could finish off the beast, which was still lying upside-down near the two combatants.

Leaf (10)

      Leaf rebounded from the stunning blow 

and began reciting the words to the one spell that druids were never supposed to use. Mumbling the words to himself, Leaf made an X shape with his two pointer fingers. Blue, electric light coalesced around his hands. Once the spell was complete he released it, sending out a bolt of lightning at Tom who was about to plunge his spear into the Ladybug for the second time. Sir Tom collapsed, dead.

flowing from his mouth. According to Leaf, ‘Sir Tom’ was dead. I had no idea if Tom was still playing make believe or if he was actually in danger. I shook him a few more times and then checked for a pulse, there was none.”

The End

 

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