The Legend Of Intaglio, Part 6

It all made sense now. He had betrayed the Fairy’s trust, and this was his punishment.
on Jun 26, 2012 · No comments

If you’ve not been following along, you really ought to start at Part 1 and catch up. It won’t take long, and we’ll wait until you’ve finished.

All done? Excellent. On to Part 6 of The Legend of Intaglio

When we last left our hero, Intaglio the walking, talking, writing puppet, he was fleeing the evil Coachman, the true ruler of Total Freedom Island, who had made himself filthy rich by exploiting naïve young writers and turning them into wombats when he was through with them. There was, once upon a time, a thriving and lucrative market along the Mediterranean rim for both bad fiction and exotic wildlife. Who knew?

Anyhow, Intaglio had just taken a backward glance, only to see a large net wielded by a large lunatic coming down on him.


“Now I have you!”

As the net descended, Intaglio lost his balance, stumbled, and fell. The net whistled past, a scant inch beyond his head, and clattered onto the cobblestones.

The Coachman, burdened with about fifty excess pounds, a surfeit of kinetic energy, and a villain’s characteristic disregard for laws of any sort, including the laws of physics, couldn’t check his momentum and went hurtling over Intaglio. The stone wall bordering the plaza brought him to an abrupt halt, depriving him of both consciousness and five teeth, including the gold one.

Intaglio struggled to his feet and stumbled toward the harbor as quickly as he could manage. He considered turning back to release the caged wombats, but decided it was best to keep moving. There was no telling how long the Coachman would stay down, and the wombats would remain wombats, caged or not. There was nothing he could do for them now.

What about Marge? No, the cricket as much as said she’d made it to the harbor. His best chance of finding her was to go there.  Perhaps she hadn’t left yet.

Though the ever-present mist hung low over the waterfront, Intaglio could see more of his surroundings now as dawn approached. The ferryman and his long black boat weren’t parked at the end of the dock, but neither was there any sign of Marge or her raft. A smattering of flotsam knocked rhythmically against the pilings, driftwood and broken boards, nothing substantial enough to support a swimmer. Fortunately, Intaglio was eminently buoyant, though he expected immersion in saltwater for the amount of time it would take to paddle across the strait to the mainland would only worsen the warping of his limbs and joints.

What was happening to him? The Writing Fairy’s words echoed between his ears: “I have filled your little oaken head with stories, but you must tell them truly, or you will never become anything more than a multijointed talking doll.” It all made sense now. He had betrayed the Fairy’s trust, and this was his punishment. The Coachman was right. The spark of life within him was fading, and he was slowly turning back into an inanimate object.

He could hear a commotion from the direction of town, sounds of bellowing and squealing. The Coachman was awake and in pursuit.  There was nothing for it now but to leap into the ocean and hope for the best. He threw himself from the end of the dock and began to windmill his arms and legs, though the movement was slow, awkward, and painful. To his surprise, he made decent progress. The harbor was reasonably calm, and it seemed the tide was going out. Then he noticed an odd sound.

Clack, clack, clack…

There was something in the water ahead, but the fog obscured it. It was enormous, and the clacking sound was like huge mandibles snapping at the air.

The cricket had said something about a monster guarding the harbor, Intaglio remembered, too late.

There was no place to hide, and he couldn’t outswim whatever it was with the tide working against him. All he could do was tread water and hope it would pass by without seeing him.

Clack, clack, clack…

The shadow grew larger, blacker than night, more impenetrable than the fog, filling Intaglio’s vision until there was nothing but a giant, jagged void that lifted up into the air and plunged down to engulf him, pulling him down, down, down into a maelstrom of darkness.


Next week, the conclusion of The Legend of Intaglio.

I promise.

No, really, I mean it this time.

Fred was born in Tacoma, Washington, but spent most of his formative years in California, where his parents pastored a couple of small churches. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983, and spent 24 years in the Air Force as a bomber navigator, flight-test navigator, and military educator. He retired from the Air Force in 2007, and now works as a government contractor in eastern Kansas, providing computer simulation support for Army training.Fred has been married for 25 years to the girl who should have been his high school sweetheart, and has three kids, three dogs, and a mortgage. When he's not writing or reading, he enjoys running, hiking, birdwatching, stargazing, and playing around with computers.Writing has always been a big part of his life, but he kept it mostly private until a few years ago, when it occurred to him that if he was ever going to get published, he needed to get serious about it. Since then, he's written more than twenty short stories that have been published in a variety of print and online magazines, and a novel, The Muse, that debuted in November 2009 from Splashdown Books, which was a finalist for the 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award for book of the year in the speculative genre. Speculative fiction is his first love, but he writes the occasional bit of non-fiction or poetry, just to keep things interesting.
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  1. Galadriel says:

    What? You can’t keep doing this to us. Come on, isn’t there some rule about cliffhangers in the author’s code of conduct? (If there is, I’m probably guilty of breaking it too.)

  2. OK, Fred, I can’t believe you had your character trip! Do you KNOW how many characters trip as they are running away from danger? It’s about 83 out of every 100.

    Not that I’ve actually taken notes or found research on the subject. I just like making up statistics to support a point. 😉

    Seriously, some years ago I was in a writing mentor group at the Mount Hermon Christian writer’s group. As we began giving our critiques, someone noticed that several of us had included a character with a “bony finger.” Really? Since when did that become a cliched element? I hadn’t noticed.

    Now it’s the tripping character, but this time I am noticing. I may throw the next novel with a tripping character right against the wall. Uh, I don’t want to do that with my computer, though, so could we please steer clear of any tripping in the conclusion> 😆

    This has indeed been fun, Fred. Love your humor and your imagination.


    • Fred Warren says:

      So…this would be number 84, and I’ve got no problems with your math. All statistics are made-up. That was one of the great disappointments of my graduate studies.

      Yes, I knew the trip was about as cliché as it gets, but he really left me no choice–sticky-jointed puppet running across an uneven surface turns to look behind him, and gravity, like the moon, is a harsh mistress.

      Looking back on it, I’d have to admit the story is chock-full of clichés. In one sense, it’s about clichés.

      There will be no tripping in the conclusion. I guarantee there will be multiple clichés.


  3. […] when we left our intrepid hero, Intaglio, the animated, authorial marionette who’s “got no strings to hold him […]

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