Garth Loebell walks hurriedly down a cobblestone lane in the Norwegian capitol of Oslo.
The grey clouds overhead threaten to burst any minute so the slightly overweight teenager quickens his pace to avoid getting wet.
Garth arrives at the square in the centre of the city and before proceeding on his mission he stops and takes in his surroundings just to make sure that his mor isn’t in the vicinity because she has told him time again not to go anywhere near the old wishing well located down near the river Akerselva.
To say that Garth was desperate would be a huge understatement because since puberty hit thirteen year old he has become more self conscious about his looks.
With ginger hair a face full of acne and protruding teeth plus his reliance on thick black rimmed glasses to get around Garth has never been with a girl and he knows that eating nothing but junk food isn’t helping his quest for love but when Garth is nervous he eats so it is no surprise that before he approaches the wishing well Garth reaching into his backpack and pulls out a huge slice of cinnamon kake wrapped in brown paper.
With three bites the kake disappears and now full of calories and courage Garth calmly walks over to the ancient well and throws a coin into the water.
As his sinks to the bottom Garth whispers his wish’ Please i will do anything if you grant me just one wish.’
‘All i want is to be tall and handsome completely irresistible to all of the girls in my class.’
‘Oh and if it is not too much to ask could you please add another five or five centimetres to my, well you know, down there in my underwear.’
As he rushes off to catch a bus home Garth has no idea that his wish was heard loud and clear and that there is a good chance that his wish will be granted.
The wishing well was built by the vikings in the year 1649 to supply water to the surrounding villages and travelers alike and the well served its purpose well until the year 1817 when it suddenly ran dry.
A moat was built soon after and to this day locals and tourists have been throwing in coins silently wishing for wealth, happiness and a better future for all.
Down through the ages there have been stories of people disappearing after visiting the well and it is said that if you peer down into the depths you will hear the screams of the vanquished and if you listen i mean really listen you might hear the chatter of mischievous elves, pixies, goblins and trolls who have been inhabiting middle earth before time itself.
Garth arrives home just on sundown and tries slipping up to his room unnoticed but stops in his tracks when his mor enters the hallway wiping her hands on a dirty apron.
Trina Loebell is a striking woman with long blond hair who despite turning a month ago still has the energy to work fulltime at the local market and look after her surly son by herself after her no good husband Rami who walked out the door a week after Garth was born and never came back.
‘Go and wash up Garth, i made your favourite Reindeer with potet dumplings.’
Garth despite feeling down in the dumps suddenly realizes how much he loves his mother’ Thanks mor with iskrem for dessert i hope?’
When he finishes washing his hands Garth sneaks a glance in the mirror but only an awkward spotty faced teenager stares back at him ‘So much for that knulling wishing well. i wasted a krone for nothing.”
Way way way below the wishing well a collection of elves,sprites, pixies, trolls and goblins sit around a huge wooden table discussing climate change the weekly takings and other sundry topics.
At the head of the table perched on his throne sits an ancient wrinkly hobgoblin named Gyfiky.
GYfiky wears a faded purple robe that has been passsed down for over fifteen centuries and even though he want tell you his age if you asked Gyfiky is 327 years old next July.
He might be old but the old hobgoblin has ruled his kingdom for eons and he has no intention of stepping aside any time soon especially now with the trolls threatening a coup.
Casting an eye around the room the elder statesman asks a question that hasn’t been asked in years ‘So tell when was the last time that a wish from one of our generous donors was actually granted?”
The book keeper a young but wise elf named Itiass picked up a huge tome and begins flicking through the pages ‘Just a moment master.’ Locating the correct page Itiass continues ‘Well according to the book of wisdom the last person to have their wish granted was one Norji Nortstrom who asked for a flagon of brown dog wine back in, let me see, yes here it is 23rd January 1882, it was a Wednesday i believe.’
‘Well Itiass i believe the time is right to grant another wish before the clock strikes midnight, who in your humble opinion deserves to have some fortune?’
‘Well master earlier this afternoon a young fellow threw a single krone into the magical water and made a wish and i am sorry to say but this lad looked like he had been hit in the head with an ugly stick and then the perpetrator must have returned to hit him a few more times, the lad is a sorry sight.’
‘Very well Itiass grant the lad his wish and then make sure that the the rest of the coins are collected and secured in my vault for safe keeping.”
Itiass who stands just over two foot tall with a long black beard that almost touches the ground orders six winged sprites to take a barrow and collect the coins from the well then he runs a comb through his beard devouring any the mites and thrips that fall onto the table.
As he chews on the tasty morsel Itiass is completely unaware that the deep in the shadows a murderous old troll named Girisha has been watching proceedings with interest.
‘Why should that old fool have Gyfiky hold complete control of the underground when he and past generations of trolls have protected the kingdom for thousands of years’ Girisha growls ‘ The fools hobgoblin family are wealthy and well fed while the trolls are forced to beg for food and live in ramshackle hovels made from spider webs and bat skins.’
Girisha leans on his bent wooden staff as he waits for the sprites to return with the coins, he to has a long flowing beard but his doesn’t have any edible bugs entangled in the hair instead if you look closely you might see a dozen or so assassin dragonflies that on command will land on the victims neck and sever the carotid artery with a single bite.
A few minutes later the sprites arrive with the barrow full of coins and Itiass appears and after whispering a few woods the door to the vault swings open and the sprites get to work quickly stacking the coins on the shelves.
Girisha eyes sparkle at the sight of the coins and he is tempted to rush forward and grab a handful but he knows that he needs to bide his time and strike when his enemy least expect it and that will in a few months at the beginning of January when the vault will be full of coins after the gullible people throw in there hard earned krone’s and make a new years wish.’
At 3 am Garth is dreaming about running naked through the forest chasing three nubile females, as eyes his flutter he is visited by an assortment of pixies who hover over his body nipping and tucking, squeezing and stretching where needed.
Ten minutes later Garth’s wish has been granted and the pixies fly out the window in a sprinkle of gold dust.
At 7.30 Garth wakes with an urgent need to pee so he pulls back the sheets and hurries into the bathroom.
Still half asleep he attempts to pull back his foreskin only to discover that his foreskin no longer exists and sneaking a glance down there he also discovers that his willy is longer and that is when a bewildered screech was heard all over Norway and certain parts of Finland.
Trina Loebell rushes into the bathroom to see what the commotion is all about, she sees her son wearing his favourite pyjamas bent over in distress. ‘What is all the noise about Garth? Did you hurt your pee pee?’
Garth starts to giggle behind his hands but when he stands straight Trina stares at the figure before her. ‘Alright who are you? And what have you done with my son?
‘What are you talking about mor it is me Garth.’
Trina recognizes her son’s voice but it can’t be. ‘Garth is it really you? Where have all your spots gone?’
Garth looks into the bathroom mirror and can’t quite grasp what he is seeing, the ruddy acne scarred face is gone along with the buck teeth plus he seems to be about 12 kilo’s lighter.
For the first time in his life Garth can hold his head high like a normal boy and go to school without the fear of being bullied by the other kids.
‘It is a miracle mor, maybe now i will make the football team and Marika Rasmussen will finally let me take her to a school dance.’
Garth can’t contain his excitement anymore and after giving his mor a hug he quickly changes into his school clothes and runs down the stairs. ‘No breakfast for me today mor, the other kids at school need to see the new improved me.’
Trina is truly happy for her son but she also knows that there is nothing for nothing in this world, she knows that one day Garth will have to pay the piper, she only hopes that it won’t be a heavy price.
Her son obviously visited the wishing well despite her telling him over and over to stay away, Trina looks out of the window at the footsteps Garth left in the snow ‘Oh Garth what have you done.’
When Garth’s footprints disappear around a the corner Trina’s mind drifts back to the night of her 10th birthday.
After playing with her friends all day and blowing the candles out on her birthday cake Trina soon couldn’t keep her eyes open so her mor tucked her into bed at 8.30.
Despite being tired little Trina couldn’t fall asleep because the grownups downstairs are talking and she can’t quite what they are saying and being a little steaky beak she just has to know so she climbs out of bed opens her bedroom door and listens ‘I am telling you Andrea i heard voices coming up from that wishing well, it sounded like a thousand lost souls trying to find a way out.’
‘Don’t be silly Olaf it was most probably the folk inside the puben talking, the puben you just left be the way.’
‘I wasn’t drunk mor, the voices were definitely coming from down in the well, it should be filled in so the tormented can finally rest in peace.’
‘Enough Olaf now lets go to bed, who knows you might get lucky.’
Olaf quietly follows his wife upstairs but his mind is still fixated on what he heard coming up from the well two nights ago.
Hearing her parents approach Trina closes her bedroom door climbs back into bed and after a while she starts to dream about witches, trolls and goblins.
Over the following years Trina would walk up near the wishing well every now and then and listen for voices coming from the bowels of the well but all she has ever heard is the deafening sound of silence.
But now that Garth has visited the well the time has come to leave Oslo before evil descends on him, maybe a move down to Australia or New Zealand.
At 4pm Garth arrives home giddy with excitement ‘Mor you wont believe what happened at school today Marika Rasmussen the most popular at school said that she will go to the dance with me plus the coach of the football team said that he will give me a chance next week, i can’t believe how popular i am all of a sudden.’
‘Things are looking up for me mor, who said that wishes don’t come true?’
Trina no longer able to contain for anguish grabs her son by the arm ‘Garth how many times do i have to tell you to stay away from that wishing well? You are forbidden to go near that evil place do you hear me? Now go up to your room and do your homework.’
‘Your grandparents will be here soon and when they leave we will have a parent to son talk now go.’
When Trina’s parents arrive Garth runs down the stairs to greet them and they are both shocked at Garths appearance ‘Jesus Garth you look like a new person’ Trina’s mor blurts out ‘Are you drank a magic potion or something?’
Before Garth can respond Trina breaks in telling her parents that the food is on the table Dig in everybody while it is still hot.’
Garth when you filled your plate can you take it upstairs please? I want to talk to mor and pappa for a minute.’
Once Garth was out of earshot the three adults gave each other a concerned look before Olaf asks his daughter what is going on ‘Garth looks like a completely different person has he been on a gluten free diet or something?’
‘No pappa something a whole lot worse, he went and made a wish in that godforsaken well and now that his wish has obviously been granted i am worried about him because now he will have to pay a price for his indiscretion.’
Upstairs Garth eats his meal as he ponders his dilemma, the teenager knows that his mor is worried about about his new look and even though it is nice to be handsome and popular Garth makes up his mind to go back to the well after school tomorrow and retrieve the krone he threw in and rescind his wish if that is possible.
When Trina’s parents get back to their home they are still arguing about what they can do to protect their grandson ‘Elena enough that wishing well needs to be demolished brick by brick if need be so the people of Oslo can rest easy and whoever lives down deep underground will stay there where they belong.’
‘I know Olaf i agree with you but don’t forget that you aren’t twenty one any more so just call the politiet and let them handle it.’
‘Elena you know as well as i do that the politiet will do nothing about our concerns after all the residents have been complaining about the well for hundreds of years and all the authorities do is pass the buck from department to department but to put your mind at rest i will go see the politiet in the morning.’
The elderly couple embrace and wander off to bed but two hours later Olaf throws back the blankets goes back downstairs and after leaving a note on the kitchen table for his wife the weary old timer grabs a sledge hammer from his shed and begins the four kilometer walk to the city center.
As he strides forward Olaf knows that he should have done something about the well when he was a young man but he can’t let any harm come to Garth so he is determined to destroy the wishing well for once and all.
‘Wait up grandson’ Olaf stops in in tracks at the sound of Garth’s voice ‘You shouldn’t be up so late on a school night Garth now go back to bed and when you wake it will all be over.’
‘I am the one who foolish enough to throw a krone into that stupid well so i intend on getting the krone back and whisper that i no longer wish to have a wish if that makes sense, then hopefully i will be my old self again and all of our lives will go back to normal.’
‘This isn’t a game young man now i demand you to go home and let me take care of business’.
Garth shakes his head and starts the journey to Oslo one step at a time, Olaf realizing that his grandson is just as determined as him picks up the sledgehammer and follows.
Walking along the bank of the Akerselva river the pair arrive at the wishing well an hour later.
The clock on the council building strikes midnight but Olaf decides that it would be wise to wait another hour or so for the few stragglers to go home plus he needs to rest his body before he goes on the assault.
While his grandpappy takes a break Garth walks over to the moat surrounding the well and reaching into a coat pocket he grabs a pair of tin snips and quickly cuts a small hole in the chicken wire covering the water to protect the coins from thieves.
Garth tells himself that he isn’t really stealing he is just taking back what is his, rolling up his sleeves Garth reaches down into the frigid water and feels for the coins and finally his fingers touch something and after pulling his hand back out Garth is happy to see a shiny krone.
Not knowing if the krone is the same one that he threw in Garth never the less whispers a wish then he walks back over to his grandpappy ‘Well grandpap am i the old me or still the new me’?
Olaf can’t bring himself to tell his grandson the bad news instead he gets to his feet holding his sledgehammer and walks over to the structure from hell.
Deep down below the wishing well a sentry who has been gazing into her crystal ball monitoring the surface activity immediately notices a young human stealing coins from the moat and she also notices an old man sitting further away holding a dangerous implement so she immediately notifies her superiors to a possible invasion.
Sissiangy the sprite sentry flies around the small monitoring room nervously while she waits for her self proclaimed king Gyfiky to arrive.
Her small golden wings keep her small body afloat so she can easily go about her business just like a hummingbird drinking nectar to sustain its small frame but Sissianngy also knows that if Gyfiky is in a bad mood he would crush her into dust.
Gyfiky arrives with Itiass hot on his heels ‘This better not be a false alarm Sissianngy or your life want be worth living ‘
Sissiangy answers with the sprite language of clicks ‘See for yourself sire’ the nervous sprite answers pointing to the small crystal ball.
Gyfiky who stands two foot seven bends down and peers into the crystal and he isn’t happy with what he sees’ Itiass isn’t that young human the same one who’s wish was granted two moons ago”?
The book keeper also gazes into the crystal and confirms Gyfiky’s suspicions’ It is indeed the same person, why would he damage the moat and take a coin after his wish was granted?
Gyfiky doesn’t know the answer but he is sure that the boy and the old man are up to no good so he tells Itiass to send a posse to the surface to apprehend the pair.
‘I will find out what their intentions are and when i do they will be cast adrift on the river of purgatory for eternity.’
Olaf are completely unaware that their movements have been under scrutiny so they approach the well keen to demolish the well and go back home but they are in for a big shock.
Also Olaf is under the impression that the well was built stone that will easily crumble with a few hits by the sledgehammer but in fact the well was constructed from blocks of petrified wood that was harvested from an ancient forest that germinated whilst the dinosaurs still lived
It would take a nuclear blast to level the wishing well and even then the inhabitants below would still more then likely survive.
Garth tells Olaf to stand back ‘It should only take a few whacks to rise this monstrosity to the ground grandpap so cover your eyes in case you get hit by flying pieces of stone.’
The eager teen takes a few deep breathes then he swings the hammer with all of his might CLANG Garths bones rattle and his shoulder joint threatens to explode from its socket.’ Holy britte’ Garth screams in agony ‘This knulling well is built like a tank.’
Olaf concerned for the welfare of his grandson but his eyes are focused on the sledgehammer that has landed on the inner edge of the wishing well threatening to fall into the depths of hell.
But it isn’t the hammer itself that Olaf is concerned about ‘Garth listen carefully and do what i tell you, get away from the well as fast as you can, now Garth.”
Before Garth can move the creature that Olaf saw climbs out of the well beckoning the pair closer but Olaf and Garth have no intention of getting anywhere near the creature that is around two feet tall, bald as a badger and a body that looks like it was sculpted from green play doh.
Olaf and Garth turn around preparing to run but before they can take a step twenty winged seagull sized creatures whose bodies shimmer under the moonlight .
The pixies grab Olaf and Garth from head to toe and with minimum effort lift them up and fly head first into the unknown with Mr play doh hanging on to Garths shoelaces.
The terrorized pair scream in panic as they travel down a three foot wide tunnel lined with lichen and moss.
Thankfully when you travel at the speed of light you get to your destination fast and when they land in a crumbled mess ten minutes later.
Gyfiky in his purple robes looking every bit a nobleman kicks the humans in the legs then stands with his arms crossed waiting for them to gain conscience.
Just before he can deliver another kick the pair on the floor open their eyes but when Olaf and Garth see the creature standing before them they both quickly feign death but another swift kick from Gyfiky forces them to face their enemy.
They look at the creature taking in the weird rhinoceros like facial features complete with a horn and angry disposition.
At almost seven feet tall the creature looks at Garth with an expression of anger and disappointment ‘Well if it isn’t the boi who’s wish was granted my me personally and how do you repay my generosity? I will have you know that your wish was the first granted for over 150 years and you have the nerve to return and steal from my kingdom plus attempting to destroy hobgoblin property which is punishable by death by the way and who is the wrinkled old prune that you involved in your treachery?’
That is my grandpappy and if you harm him i will kill you with my bare hands.’
‘Silence’ Gyfiky roars ‘You have both been found guilty of all charges and come tomorrow you will be tied to a rodent nest and hopefully eaten alive in agony.’
‘But first i need to take care of another urgent matter.’
When the ugly creature walks away Olaf and Garth finally get a chance to take in their surroundings and are surprised to see thousands of tiny creatures flying and walking in a huge silver dome the size of six football fields.
Garth gets the attention of a passing elf like creature ‘Excuse but can you tell where in the knulle i am?
The elf doesn’t even break stride ‘You have arrived at Osyana Asari the kingdom of the hobgoblin.’
Girisha the old troll has again emerged from his hiding spot intent on taking advantage of the two pitiful souls arrival.
The distraction has provided him with the perfect opportunity to finally get his hands on the contents of Gyfiky’s vault because in his haste Itiass the pain in the ass book keeper has left the door to the vault slightly ajar.
Creeping closer Girisha is startled out of his wits by the sound of Gyfiky’s booming voice ‘You are so predictable Girisha you gruesome old troll.’
‘I set a trap and you walk right in like a blindman in the dark . tell how is your back these days ? Giving you any trouble?’
Girisha who’s backbone has more twists and bends than the Mississippi river doesn’t appreciate the hobgoblins brand of humor throws his wooden staff at the annoying rasshol.
Gyfiky has had enough drama for today so he raises both arms and fires threads of gold from his finger tips wrapping the troll in a golden cocoon leaving only his head exposed.
That should straighten a few kinks in your back Girisha but i should warn you that the more that you struggle to escape the tighter the threads will squeeze so relax and i will be back to kill you as fast as i can.’
Olaf and Garth are hungry and thirsty but most of all they need to get a message to the surface so that a search party can be organized so hopefully they can escape deaths clutches.
From out of nowhere Mr play doh appears from out of nowhere holding a clipboard ‘Gyfiky has told me to advise you will both be executed when the crimson moon reaches its zenith also have you any last meal requests?
When no reply is forthcoming Play doh continues ‘Perhaps sauteed caterpillar with scrambled frog eggs or maybe my personal favorite boiled salamander served on a bed of crunchy lizard toes?’
After they are taken to their jail cell Olaf and Garth fall asleep not knowing if tomorrow will be their last.
They both dream about their loved ones on the surface and hope against hope that they will be reunited some day.
Will Olaf and Garth live to fight another day?
And also will Girisha the old troll escape and build an army of angry trolls?
Part two coming soon.
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