View Full Version : Horatio Smollet and The Smokers

March 5th, 2012, 07:53 PM
Horatio Smollett was running.

His breath fogged his eyes as it condensed into little clouds in front of his face. He ran through each little puff as he pelted down the cobbled hill, chased by flaming feet. The Smokers, as they were called stuck fear into stronger hearts than his, but this time Horatio knew everything rested on whether he could get away. Perhaps it was the fact that their dismembered feet burned with a fierce crackling fire, or the way the green smoke curled into a vicious-looking skull that scared most of the residents of the cloud city. For Horatio, however, he was less concerned about their magical appearance and more worried about the way they catch their prey. He knew that they would not just grab him. They had no arms to grasp anything.

There were stories among his school friends of how the Smokers were only flaming feet whose smoke formed hazy skulls but that was as far as it went. Of course there was fear with which his grandmother spoke of the creatures when she read to him at bed time, but the lack of information about the way they caught their victims was disturbing. All of these thoughts ran through Horatio's mind in an instant as the thudding of the flat feet slapped the wet stones on their way to collect him. The boy Horatio ran past the fairy sweet shop and tripped. He fell flat on his belly, thrusting out two flat hands to break his fall on the cobble stones. His breath left him as his ribs collided with the hard ground. His wand was in his pocket and he struggled to reach it as the glow of the flaming feet flickered around the corner.

The Smokers were giving chase! His hand flew to his pocket and he extracted his wand, flipped over and pointed it at the corner from where the two smokers were soon to be running. "Oh MAN, these things can run!" he said loudly. He had never expected them to be this fast, but they were creatures of magic, they must be able to do some pretty impressive things. Yet creatures of magic could never actually use a wand, or repell unfriendly spells... At least, that was what he was now banking on now. Horatio rose to his feet, keeping his wand pointed to the corner. He saw the smoke lick the building before he saw the burning feet. The Smoker's smoky-bone-eyes fixed on him as the body drifted oddly around the corner, following two large, cumbersome feet that slapped and flopped heavily and pelted toward him. Horatio took aim "Freeze!" he yelled. The spell shot from his wand like a gun shot, blasted through the cloud of smoke that made up the body and was absorbed. The flames of the feet grew higher and the smoke grew thicker and taller. If anything, the spell had made it stronger! This was not something he had expected.

He had never thought how he would get out of this situation if everything went badly. He had not thought how to tell his grand mother or how to get away from the Smokers in the case that his spell did not work. Every time he rehearsed it, the spell was flawless. Now he was being chased by thicker smoke and a more dangerous foe than he had had before. Horatio ran, that was the only thing for it. He tried blasting things to fall into the way of the Smokers, but they simply jumped over or through the obstacles. With most of their bodies being smoke, Horatio found it hard to put anything in their way that even slowed them down. They fed on magical energy. That's what Professor Ebb said anyway. How could he have forgotten something like that and how could he overpower it?

Horatio leaped at a lamb-post whose lever was sticking out awkwardly into the road. He pulled on it, but the street did not turn to a glassy slide as he was expecting. This was just something else that wasted his time as the gap between he and his pursuers got smaller and smaller. He looked down into his hand. It bore a small golden key. Horatio's fail-safe plan was failing. The key to his house which he had taken from his grandmother's dresser would not be missed until she awoke, but if he returned with two of the palace guards, it was very unlikely that she would survive. The smokers had no brain with which to develop a personality and no language with which to describe mercy. They were effective and ruthless guards, and they enforced the law with righteous cruelty.

Horatio ran to a door that hid among the moulded rock of the wall to the herb shop and blasted it most of it swung open, leaving a big hole through which he jumped, not bothering with the key. His grand mother awoke, screaming.

"Horatio, what have you done now?!" she yelled, hopping out of bed and running downstairs in a much more sprightly manner than you would expect for someone so old. She had not seen the door, but she was accustomed to being awoken in the middle of the night like this. "Your mother and father would turn in their graves!" she yelled "If they knew that you..." she stopped as she saw the panic on his face. "Horatio? What have you done!?" This time, it was hurried concern in her own voice. Here eyes flicked to the blast-hole in the door through which he had jumped.
"I never actually took it!" he whimpered as he heard the slapping of feet get closer. The smokers knew he was here.

Horatio sprinted to the great glass mirror in the living room that stood at the far end on the wall. He pointed his wand at the glass. "Open!" he yelled and he dived into the pool of liquid mirror. His wand fell from his hand as the glass consumed him. The mirror did not accept the wand as readily as it had swallowed Horatio and the stick bounced on the flowery rug. The mirror consumed him totally and became instantly as smooth and flat as if he had never entered it. The smokers skidded into the room, the graceful glide of their ugly bodies making up for their stomping, ugly feet. They looked confused as they stared around the room looking for the boy who stood in the reflection. How could he cast that reflection? One Smoker tried to bite the mirror, but nothing happened. The reflection grinned. Horatio's grandmother, backed up against the wall and Horatio's face turned worried for the welfare of his mothers mother. She was the only person who had ever truly cared for him. She looked into the room, from the doorway on the other side of the Smoker. She stared from one Smoker to the other. They seemed to notice. They only had one mission... They needed a soul to bring to justice. Horatio Smollett was not in the room, but he was in the reflection. The smokers knew that glamour spells could make one person look like another, and they could see his reflection in the mirror.

Horatio (who thought his plan above genius) now looked on in horror as the Smokers turned on his grandmother! He had never taken the orb. He had come close, but security had been tightened since the last scare. Horatio watched, powerless as the two Smokers rounded on his grandmother and began to open their mouths and suck and gnash. Through the shimmering green of their transparent bodies he watched the last scream before his grandmother crumpled as a lifeless lump on the floor. Horatio was safe, but without a wand, could not return to the world. He looked out from his glassy prison and sobbed glassy tears. His glassy hands covered his glassy face and he faded until he could only be recognised by the unhappy expression on the face of one's reflection when they looks into the fated mirror.

bazz cargo
March 5th, 2012, 10:14 PM
mothers mother.
had bet truly cared for him
the fated mirror.

He had not thought how to tell his grand mother or how to get away from the Smokers in the case that his spell did not work

Ah Gerkin,
I liked this a lot. Full of personality and life. A well drawn world with nice little details. Well written and easily understood. I'm glad I found it.

March 5th, 2012, 10:21 PM
Wow, thanks Baz. I wanted to write a short story to explore the world I had invented in my first novel (the weird case of mrs etherington-strange). This story helped me to work out quite a lot about the smokers. It's set just after the second novel which I hope to release at the end of the month called he mobile monster zoo.

Thanks for your feedback!

March 6th, 2012, 01:08 AM
Hey there gerkintrigg, minor spelling and grammar mistakes aside, I too thought this was an enjoyable piece :)

Reminds me a little of a fairy tale or fable of some kind - with the grandmother and the child protagonist.


March 6th, 2012, 08:35 AM
minor spelling and grammar mistakes aside,

Thanks Cefor,
I'm sorry for that. I'll check through it and see if I can remove the errors.
All done.

March 6th, 2012, 09:03 AM
Thanks Cefor,
I'm sorry for that. I'll check through it and see if I can remove the errors.
All done.

After a quick scan, you've got the ones I most remembered -- usually spelling mistakes make me stop reading, I'm glad I never this time though.