Short Story – Waiting Room for the Unforgettable

“It won’t kill you, in fact it can’t kill you,” said King Arthur reasonably.

“Yes but it will bloody hurt!” Elrond, Lord of Rivendale, replied heatedly.

“Ah,” said Arthur after a moment of consideration, “this is that elven allergy to iron thing, isn’t it?”

“No, because it’ll squish me like a bug and it will hurt and I’m not doing it,” Elrond said before stomping off in a huff.

“Elves shouldn’t stomp!” Arthur shouted after him before slumping in his throne. Avalon hadn’t always been like this. In fact when he’d first turned up it had been quite pleasant. The funny thing was Arthur could remember being real man. Well not just a man; he’d been a chieftain. Three whole villages and more men than he could count – so over forty – had been his to command. Then he died, choking on a chicken bone and instead going to the halls of his forefathers or even that ‘Heaven’ place the Christians had always banged on about, he arrived here. At first it had been just him, a few of his old pals and a couple of old gods wafting about the place. Not bad really. But then it started to change, the Myths of Arthur really got started and his old pals just sort of faded away. They weren’t part of the story any more and no one remembered them. Instead they were replaced by the people from the tales of ‘King’ Arthur. When he’d been a live he’d had a wife, wide of hip, with a voice that could have stripped paint and the ability to force feed a man his own knee caps if he didn’t respect her. Now that that had been a real woman, not like the simpering Guinevere that myth had lumped on him instead. She spent most of her time was off fooling around with that pillock Lancelot, because that was what the myths said they did. King Arthur could always feel the Myths tell him he should be upset about that but Arthur the man felt the two could have each other.

One of the old gods had explained it to him once, Avalon was the home to that which had been once imagined but not yet unforgotten. The only thing Arthur could ever remember imagining as a man was his enemies’ heads on spikes but the people out there in the real world kept imagining more and more things. By god they came up with some strange fish, a werewolf policeman with an odd sense of humour turned up last week. There were probably thousands of spaceships with strange names like ‘Mississippi’ and one very improbable design that looked to Arthur like just a blue box. Monsters, heroes, robots, aliens even cartoon women who ‘weren’t bad, they were just drawn that way’. People in the real world imagined things and when they turned up here, as King of Avalon, Arthur had to explain it all to them. He tried to fob it off on others occasionally but the myths said he ruled here so it remained his job. It was always a hard sell and some new arrivals didn’t take it well.

The giant robot was the one of those troublesome one, a huge clumsy thing, it had been blundering around treading on people. With a sigh Arthur motioned it forward and hoped he wasn’t going to get stood on again. The robot lumbered to a halt in front of the throne but before Arthur could speak, there was a pop and a cat appeared. It gave the robot a look of searing contempt before walking off.

“Oh no! Not more Grumpy Cat Memes,” Arthur groaned to himself.

 

This is a modified version of a piece I put together for a writing group I am part of. Originally 300 words the count has gone up a bit since then.

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