The Little Wooden Box

Part 4

   (The Prequel)

As lightning hit the muddied ground
And all around the rain fell
I happened on a mountain cave
Where man nor beast did not dwell
Sought refuge from the stormy night
Beneath a pile of debris
It really was so very cold
Because it was in February

And as I woke the next bright dawn
And lifted up my head
I saw a nest of reeds and leaves
Had been my makeshift bed
And drawn upon the rugged walls
Were pictures strange and eerie
A shiver shuddered down my spine
The vision failed to cheer me

I stumbled to my weary feet
And went to look more closely
The drawings were so strange and old
They seemed to me quite ghostly
The faded chalk, in milky white
Was smudged a bit and peeling
And as I touched them with my hand
I got the strangest feeling

The first one showed an old, old man
All dressed in rags and tatty
With staring eyes and pitted skin
And white beard, long and ratty
He sat cross legged on the ground
The walls were slightly moulding
So I couldn't really quite make out
Just what it showed him holding

The second picture showed the man
But this time with another
Who also had a long white beard
It could have been his brother
He held aloft a wizard's wand
Oh what a funny scene
These were some bizarre pictures, hmm
Whatever could they mean?

I came to the last picture then
Oh what a fearsome sight
It showed a town engulfed in flame
Each house was set alight
And nothing doused the dancing flames
Not rain nor snow nor blizzard
While underneath was something green
It looked to be a lizard

I shuddered at the funny scenes
They seemed to me quite creepy
And whose strange bed was this I'd found
Last night while I'd been sleepy?
A tiny bed upon the floor
Somebody had constructed
I stood there feeling all confused
... 'Til I was interrupted

At first I heard a shuffling noise
From somewhere just outside
I huddled in a corner
Shaking. Eyes all big and wide
The sound was getting closer
God, it's coming in the cave
I tried my best to not freak out
Although I'm not that brave

Would it be a monster
With a massive set of teeth
Or a homicidal convict
With my name upon a wreath
Or an alien from outer space
Now that would be a farce
Perhaps he's got a metal probe
To shove into my arse

And then I heard its dreadful voice
It bounced around the walls
I heard the demon's calls
Oh this is it, I thought. At last
I'm off to meet my maker
I wished I'd lived a better life
Or maybe been a Quaker

And from my hidden corner
I peered out and had a look
My heart was beating very fast
My legs went weird and shook
And standing there, with funny hair
And little hands all fidgety
I saw a very tiny man
So small he was quite midgety

The man began to shout
I stuck my fingers in my ears
To try and drown him out
I really just could not believe
That such a little bloke
Could make a noise as loud as that
My ear drums almost broke

"Please, little man, I mean no harm..."
I started to explain
I hoped that he would not see fit
To shout at me again
"I found this cave, took shelter from
The storm raging outside.
I'm really very sorry
But out there I might've died."

The midget fixed me with a glare
Of intimidating caution
I knew that he was not a dwarf
He was too in proportion
He didn't look too happy still
He looked like he might fight me
Or at least attack my ankles
And maybe lick or bite me

But then the strangest thing took place
The man began to smile
And then to laugh hysterically
For really quite a while
And suddenly he ran at me
Before I could say 'cheese'
He'd wrapped his tiny arms
Around my cold and shaking knees

"IT'S YOU!" he boomed, "YOU ARE THE ONE!"
And he hugged my knees some more
It felt a little odd by now
Kept glancing at the door
I mean, he was a friendly bloke
If just a little odd
He seemed to rather like me now
The weirdo midget sod

"I am the one?" I asked, in shock?
"Whatever do you mean?"?
The midget was now licking me?
I hoped that he was clean?
"THE ONE!" he gulped, "THE PROPHECY?

I looked then at the drawings?
That were written on the wall?
And wondered if the midget?
Was meaning those at all?
They seemed to be significant?
Though I did not know why?
I was just about to ask him?
When the man began to cry

With heaving sobs his shoulders shook
And tears flowed like a river?
His poor red cheeks turned redder still?
They looked like half cooked liver?
And as the midget cried and cried?
The cave filled up with water?
And I swear to God, that tiny man?
Was getting even shorter

And as I watched, his tiny frame?
Was shrinking by the minute
I worried for his tiny heart?
And knew that I must win it?
If this sadness was allowed to stay?
The man would just keep shrinking?
Until he disappeared for good?
Is what I now was thinking

"Let's sing a song!" I blurted out?
"To make this all seem better?"?
The man was now just one foot tall?
The cave was getting wetter?
"Like what?" he sobbed, his once large voice?
Now nothing but a squeak?I searched my brain... A happy song...?
Was what I had to seek

What could I sing this petite man?
To stop him crying sadly?
And disappearing in his tears?
I needed to know badly
I thought of home, and all the stuff?
I had there on cd?
There had to be just one song?
I could save him with, you see

But as I tried to come up with?
Some music that was cheery?
The midget's eyes did close for good?
(before, they'd just been bleary)
And soon he'd disappeared for good?
Left nothing but a puddle?
I wasn't quite sure what this meant?
Or if I was in trouble

I wandered to the wall again?
And got a big surprise?
Another picture had appeared?
Could I believe my eyes?
In this one stood a tiny man?
With water all around him?
I felt a pang of sadness?
He was gone. And I'd just found him

It seemed quite clear that something?
Was not right about this cave?
I wondered, should I stick around??
I'm really not that brave
I grabbed my bag and was about?
To leave the place forever?
The sun was shining now so there?
Was naught wrong with the weather

But before I could get out and go
Upon the cave's damp wall?
Another drawing did appear
And this one was not small
It spread across the cave so fast?
Like pox, or softened butter?
"Oh... my God..." These were the only?
Words that I could utter

The picture showed a clean-cut man?
All young and fit and hunky?
And decked out in designer clothes?
So classic, yet quite funky
The man was holding something small?
I couldn't really see?
And I realised then, this was my fate?
That hunky man... was me

My handmade shoes were sinking?
In the midget's pool of tears?
I knew I could not run away?
I had to face my fears
I reached my arm down in the pool?
Unstuck my shiny shoes?
At least they were just Italian leather?
And not my Jimmy Choos

But as my fingers groped about?
Inside the pool of saline?
They fell upon an object?
That didn't feel quite like mine
My shoes were soft and rather long?
Like boats without a cox?And this?
Well this felt like a cube?
Or perhaps some kind of box

I pulled it from the pool of tears
And held it up to see
It was a box, just as I'd thought
Exquisite as can be
With ancient carvings in its wood
And a clasp of purest gold
I turned it over in my hands
Now shaking with the cold

I went outside, the sun was hot
And warmed me up a bit
Then on a nearby grassy knoll
I went and had a sit
I took off my expensive shoes
To dry them in the sun
Then I reached into my pocket
Took the box out, just for fun

I wondered why I hadn't seen
The wooden box before
The midget's tears had somehow made
It appear on the floor
It really was the strangest thing
Why would that midget hide it?
Perhaps it was a secret
Due to what it had inside it?

But as I struggled with the clasp
All rusted brown and green
I thought about those drawings
And whatever they could mean
Perhaps the box was somehow linked
To that strange little cave
And it was my fate to find it?
I should add, my name is Dave

And as these thoughts raced through my mind
The sun beat down upon me
And I settled back into the grass
Suddenly quite sleepy
My eyes grew heavy with each breath
Awake I could not keep
And pretty soon, with box in hand
I'd fallen fast asleep

And as I slept I had a dream
As vivid as can be
An old man and a wizard
Appeared in front of me
A traveller and a strange fat man
Appeared beside the wizard
And the devil, and a midget
And a foam-producing lizard

The old man raised his haggard arm
The wizard waved his wand
Towards the little wooden box
Of which they seemed quite fond
Then in the sky, some words appeared
In smoke, with grammar broken
They said "Wee hop yoo lik the box
But plees dont evver opun"

I woke up in an icy sweat
Clothes drenched in perspiration
My lovely pink designer shirt
Was soaked to buggeration
Its silky hues were caked with black
From dreamed-up misdemeanours
I wondered when I'd get the chance
To take it to the cleaners

My head was throbbing, hurt like mad
My eyes were sort of runny
I thought about that dream I'd had
It really had been funny
Those wizards, and that strange old man
And the other things I'd seen
And those drawings on the cave's cold walls
Whatever could it mean?

And by my side, the wooden box
Mysteriously lay
The smoky writing in the sky
Had been quite clear, I'd say
But still I couldn't help myself
Indulging in a ponder
On what could be inside the thing
Well, how could you not wonder?

And though I really didn't know
Quite what was going on
I had a feeling all would be
Revealed before too long
So I settled down beside the cave
Deciding I would wait
Until some other weird thing
Would reveal to me my fate

I sat there for an hour or two
Til I began to fidget
Not visited by man nor beast
Nor liquefying midget
The sun was sinking in the sky
Its beams mere tattered strands
I stroked the little wooden box
With my neat manicured hands

Then as the dark began to fall
I went back to the cave
To take up shelter once again
I wished that I could shave
My chiselled jaw ensconced in fluff
It must look quite unsightly
I usually did it twice a day
Both morningly and nightly

My costly clothes were caked in dirt
My shoes were wet and dripping
My lovely gold designer watch
Had given up its ticking
And through my purest lambs wool sock
My big toe was protruding
It smelt bad too, this very toe
To which I am alluding

I stumbled through the moonlit cave
And found my makeshift bed
The moon cast eerie shadows
On the walls around my head
I hung my trousers from a rock
Removed my soaking socks
Then lay down holding very tight
To the little wooden box

And when I woke the next clear dawn
It seemed like all was still
No midgets, dreams or drawings
Had turned up to fear or thrill
Perhaps it would be okay now
I'd had such dreamless sleep
To maybe open up the box
And quickly have a peep?

I ummed and aahed and ummed again
I just could not decide
Whether I should just give up
And take a look inside
The dream that told me not to might
Have only been a dream
Perhaps I'd eaten too much cheese
And things weren't as they seem

And maybe all those drawings
That were scribbled on the wall
Were really only drawings
Nothing magical at all
And the strange dissolving midget
That had cried his tears and shrunk
Was a weird hallucination
That I'd had when I was drunk

Yes all these things made much more sense
The logic seemed so clear
Even if I'd had no cheese
Nor a single drop of beer
Sometimes when one is tired out
The brain plays tricks and mocks
So there really was no reason now
To not look in the box

Decision made, I went outside
And sat down on the ground
And placed the little wooden box
Upon a grassy mound
Whatever was locked up inside
Would soon now be revealed
I was ready for that little box
And whatever it would yield

I fumbled with the golden clasp
It fell open with ease
I hoped there might be food inside
Though preferably not cheese
I slowly lifted up the lid
My heart was beating faster
Perhaps it would have crisps inside
Or a little bit of pasta

But then the skies turned black, and I heard
Thunder and some lightning
A chilling wind swept through the trees
It really was quite frightening
And from the sky there came a voice
It echoed round the mountain
It wasn't a small whispered voice
Oh no, this voice was shouting

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" I heard a distance cry
"NOOOOOO!" from all around me
A millions voices, shouting "NOOOOO!"
Did suddenly surround me
The trees uprooted from the ground
The rivers ceased their flowing
And all around that dreadful sound
Kept very loudly going

In utter shock I dropped the box
It bounced then gave a quiver
Then it rolled down an embankment
Where it landed in the river
It gave a little playful splash
"Oh crikey," I thought, "Wow."
The box had sunk into the gunk
I was really for it now

And as I was about to try
And possibly retrieve it
I felt a cold breath on my neck
Turned round, could not believe it
For standing right behind me
With a look that could dishevel
Was none other than the man himself
I mean, of course, the devil

And all around were green things
Far too large to just be lizards
White foam exuding from their mouths
Like many evil blizzards
The mountain was engulfed in flames
The sky all red and smoking
"Oh bugger," I thought to myself
"That wizard wasn't joking."

And so I turned around and ran
I did so just because
It felt like the devil was after me
(Which, of course, he was)
I sprinted down that mountainside
Towards the gushing river
And in a flash, I gave a splash
The water made me shiver

I sank into the icy stream
Felt sure I'd soon be dead
And landed with a bubbly thump
Upon the sandy bed
A school of fishes bumbled past
Their scales were pink and blue
As I sat there on that river bed
Deciding what to do

My oxygen expiring
No time for pontification
For soon I would be drowning
I could feel the suffocation
But I'd sooner just remain there
Til I'd swallowed half the river
Than swim up to the surface
For Satan to eat my liver

But as I was about
To give up hope and and drift away
In the corner of my eye
I saw a twinkle in the grey
I nudged the pondweed with my foot
Which loosened two large rocks
And lying there between them
Was that little wooden box

I quickly reached and grabbed it
Oh thank God, the box was fine
So now to save the world, thought I
I felt rather divine
So I swam up quickly, with the box
Climbed out, and gasped for air
With a salmon down my trousers
And some crayfish in my hair

The lizards were marauding
Down the mountain in their droves
Expectorating foam throughout
The caverns and the coves
And with his hooves and pointy horns
The devil laughed with glee
I put tucked the box inside my socks
And hid behind a tree

And in the sky of fiery red
I saw something appear
The writing I'd seen in my dream
This time I felt no fear
But this time it said something else
As I perched on my bough
The words read, in their clouds of smoke
"OK. Open it. NOW!"

The devil and his green-hued thugs
Were very fast advancing
They stamped so hard the hillside shook
Like on it pigs were dancing
I held my breath, the box aloft
Okay, I thought, it's time
Whatever's in this bloody box
Would very soon be mine

And so I opened up the box
Behind my little tree
And cautiously I looked inside
Whatever could it be?
My mouth turned dry, my body shook
As finally I saw
What lay inside that little box
I hadn't known before

And as my eyes began to delve
Into its mighty chasm
I felt a clammy coldness
Followed by a nasty spasm
A horrid pressure on my chest
My left arm went all numb
Then fell all floppy my side
Preceded by my thumb

I fell upon my shaking knees
I could not take a breath
I saw a man with scythe aloft
And realised it was Death
And as the mountain blurred and spun
Then finally went black
I realised what was going on
I'd had a heart attack

I lay obscured behind that tree
Unmoving and unwell
Whilst Satan and his lizards
Walked right past where I had fell
And there I lay both night and day
My breathing growing weaker
Alone, just like a piece of meat
Or perhaps some chicken tikka

I would have died, of that I'm sure
But quite coincidentally
A mountaineer came up the hill
And woke me very gently
My face was grey, my eyes were dark
Blood glistened from my lip
He took me to the hospital
Where they put me on a drip

For several weeks, the doctors said
My life was touch and go
All wired up to these big machines
It wasn't good, you know
They took me into theatre
Where they cured me only partially
With an endarterectomy
On a damaged cartoid artery

And slowly I got back my strength
Was sitting up in bed
Then pretty soon I stood right up
The blood rushed to my head
And so I lay back down again
I thought it might be best
I wasn't very well, you see
I needed lots of rest

The weeks and months went rolling by
I festered on that ward
And soon I felt a bit depressed
Because I was so bored
The doctors gave me tablets then
They made me feel quite strange
And things gradually worsened
Til I ended up deranged

A year or so passed since I fell
At last, they let me go
They gave me lots of tablets
Just to keep me happy though
I shuffled out into the light
In slippers and a robe
Then chased an old man down the street
Shouting "Biscuit! Globe!"

And soon I was an old old man
At Blue Skies nursing home
They still gave me those tablets
I believed I was a gnome
And sometimes I would tell them
All about the wooden box
As they gave me medication
And helped me put on socks

They all thought I was crazy
Which, admittedly, was true
But despite the strange delusions
It was true, I somehow knew
That somewhere on a mountain path
Amid the trees and rocks
The devil was still searching
For a little wooden box

TBC (maybe)

Kate - September 2011

The Little Wooden Box
Part  1 2 3 4

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