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The Great & Cacklin' Glakin

A faery tale in the same world as Swamp Water Stew

By Jason HauserPublished about a year ago Updated about a year ago 24 min read
2
The Great & Cacklin' Glakin
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash

****

Little Leeplu the lug squatted in a puddle, her face buried in her hands, tears splattering between webbed fingers. Beside her lay a small bell, its leather loop grotesquely severed.

“Oh, why?” she howled to the drooping canopy of cypress and vines. “Slimee d—d—didn’t deserve that!” The tears returned, a torrent of fat raindrops. Her shoulders shook, her green feet splattering mud as she ranted, rocked and raved.

“It’s not fair!” screamed Leeplu. “He was my friend!” Her bulbous eyes bulged even more than usual, red-rimmed and dripping. She stood, grabbed the tiny bell and glared into the marsh where hazy blue beetlemoss cloaked the trees in a bristly sheathe. Mist hung in the air, a fog of noxious gas and wafting condensation.

“He was my best friend!” she shrieked again, unable to think of anything else to say.

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Swamp water frothed thirty or forty hops to her left. A sodden log shuddered and bark crunched. Something thudded under the murky surface, and then Razorraw’s pimpled, lumpy head rose up.

Leeplu pressed her lips together. She had not expected the gator to return.

By Meg Jerrard on Unsplash

Razorraw pulled himself onto the mossy island. Three milky eyes stared at her, and she knew he could explode across like a domjong with its tail on fire. Razorraw opened a tomb-mouth of needle teeth, decorated with shreds of flesh and a gullet leading down to a bad, bad place.

Taunting her, Leeplu knew, by giving her a good look at where Slimee—oh, poor little frog!—had disappeared for the last time. Razorraw’s laugh started deep in his belly, rattled up his throat and belched between pitted yellow teeth.

Haaaaaaa—ruuhhhhh.”

He stepped closer, and the island bounced. Leeplu tensed. She could outhop the gator, but figured he wanted to scare her, as that would be more fun. If he actually hurt her though, Burple, Hez, Wump, and others would chase his hide into the deepest pools of the Somber Swamp.

“Huh—huh—ruuhhhh,” wheezed the gator, reminding Leeplu of summer wind blowing through green reeds and whippoorwills.

“I see you, Razor, you mean old thing!” Leeplu sprang away with a splash, the bell clinking, and giant crickets blossomed around her. “Stay away, Razor! Stay away!” she warned, and Leeplu dove into the marsh’s muck.

Brown water closed over her head, and she kicked. Bubbles rushed around, and with six strokes she cleared the water and scaled the gnarled roots of a giant crassock, hopping from one jumbled mass to the next. Razorraw wouldn’t pursue. She had a head start, but Leeplu did not slow until she recognized the lily pools and willow trees near the warren.

By Hendrik Will on Unsplash

Webbed feet thudded on solid ground and she raced on all fours through a copse of bog pines, almost jumping out of her green skin when a battleturtle lunged from its shell.

“Oh! Skit! You scared me, Skit! Bawa! Moot! Moot!” The enormous snapping turtle yawned, dipped a hooked beak, and settled back into its nest. Tears blinded Leeplu as she moped to Mooda’s nearest entrance and slithered down a hole.

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A broad lug nearly three times Leeplu’s size greeted her, but she answered with a stifled sob. The lug, Burple, blinked his fishy amber eyes in surprise, then grunted and shifted his polearm to the other shoulder and let her pass.

She reached the hole she shared with Hez and Wump, both absent, and plopped on a soft moss mat, head cradled in her arms, and continued sobbing.

Hez and Wump entered soon after, hauling buckets of gray crayfish and plump swamp slugs.

“Leeplu!” said Hez. “What wrong?” She dropped her bucket and the contents spilled everywhere, trying to escape.

“It’s Slimee. R—R—Razor ate him!”

“Agh!” screamed Hez.

“Mooga!” gasped Wump.

“I know!” moaned Leeplu.

“When?” asked Hez. “How?”

“We—we were swimming to the Blacklake Forest to find goldenroot, and then I—I—I hear this splash, and…and…and I look…I look…and…and all I see is this big mouth, and…and—oh — and Slimee’s leg hanging out!”

“Oh, no,” said Hez.

“Nugga,” moaned Wump.

“I know!” cried Leeplu. “It was Razorraw, and he swallowed Slimee right in front of me!”

“Monster,” growled Hez. “How dare him eat such sweet frog! Oh, poor Leeplu. You had Slimee for longest time too.”

“I know!” wailed Leeplu. “Everyone loved Slimee! He followed me everywhere. Now, all I have is this,” and she held up the bell that had always adorned Slimee’s leg. Hez and Wump sat beside her, the former offering a shoulder to cry on, the latter combing her hair with a fishbone comb. They sat there for hours, eating the occasional slug, until Leeplu finally fell asleep to troubled dreams where she held Slimee safe in her arms, only to have him torn away by something large and stinking, with rows of razor teeth and three milky eyes like lobes of flawless pearl.

By Marin Tulard on Unsplash

***

Leeplu still felt so bad the next day that she could not even leave her hole. Hez and Wump tried to comfort her by bringing a batch of tadpoles so she could pick a new frog but Leeplu pushed them away, saying how nothing could replace Slimee, such a unique frog, a special frog, and no bucket of tadpoles would suffice.

Big Burple squeezed into her hole later that afternoon, offering his deepest condolences, and promised to give Razorraw a thump on the nose if he saw him. Leeplu tried to smile and thank him, even though she knew Burple would have a hard time getting close enough to Razor to thump his nose, but it was nice to say so.

By evening, when the setting sun had lit the Somber Marshes aglow in shades of crimson and gold, she still felt no better, and actually thought she felt worse. Leeplu held the bell, staring at the walls and the earthworms squirming within. Hez gripped Leeplu’s shoulders and gently shook her.

“Listen, little lug—Slimee’s gone, and nothing can be done. You sit up now and smile, and me n’ Wump make you something special to eat. Yah? Slimee would’ve wanted it that way.”

Leeplu’s bottom lip quivered. Moisture welled in her eyes. Hez groaned and sat beside her, a gangly arm wrapped about Leeplu’s shoulders, her lips puckered in mild frustration.

***

The third day after the incident, Leeplu woke with an idea.

“The Glakin,” she told Hez while fishing with Wump at the edge of Mooda. Hez frowned, but didn’t respond until Leeplu repeated herself. “The Glakin can help me!”

“Leeplu! Why? The Glakin is silly old thing. Leave it alone, it leave you alone.”

“Yah. Yooga,” said Wump.

“I don’t want it to leave me alone,” said Leeplu. “Maybe it will help. I am sick of crying. The Glakin can make me laugh.”

“You soon be sick of laughing,” grunted Hez. A fish snagged her lure and she hoisted a gluckerclaw from the brown water.

By Milos Prelevic on Unsplash

“I don’t care,” said Leeplu. “I feel terrible, day in and out. The Glakin will help, one way or another.”

“Hah!” barked Hez. “Me not call the Glakin help. Me call it silly, me call it annoying, me call it big hoozroo, but me not call it help. What you think, Wump?”

“Mooga dunda.”

“See? Wump agree.”

“Well, I’m doing it. I just wanted to tell you.”

Hez dropped her fishing pole and jumped up. “Me know you feel bad, little lug, but me knowa lugs that die they laugh so much! You know this too!”

“I won’t die,” said Leeplu, stepping away. “Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine, and I’ll be back tomorrow.”

“Wait!” said Hez. “Think about this, little lug!”

“Woot!” bellowed Wump. “Woot! Woot!” Wump struggled with his fishing line, and Hez danced between helping him and chasing Leeplu, who scampered to the nearest crassock and climbed its roots.

“Wait!” yelled Hez. “Take this!” She threw a hooked line of gluckerclaws to Leeplu. “Careful, little lug!” said Hez, waving. “Eat well, and come home!”

Leeplu watched the other lugs scampering about Mooda, patching mud walls, warming breakfast over campfires, and weaving baskets of reed and vines. She wanted to smile, but couldn’t. She tied Slimee’s bell around her neck, took a few breaths, and leapt across the bog to the nearest water-rooted tree, bouncing from one to the next, deeper and deeper into the Somber Marsh.

By Håkon Grimstad on Unsplash

***

One legend claimed that ages ago a mad dryskin had created the Glakin by dabbling in things he should not have. Others said that the Glakin derived from the world itself, a source of un-distilled absurdity as raw and pure as fresh rain. Some believed that laughter provided the best medicine, and the Glakin could cure ailments when even a good dose of rootwort failed. Darker tales also persisted, when visitors to the Glakin did not fare well at all.

Leeplu didn’t know what to believe, for over time stories would often blend and blur, and facts falter and guesses grow. All she knew for certain was that the Glakin influenced anything near it.

When the Blackwater Forest appeared, Leeplu felt a lump in her throat, for that had been their destination before the attack. She gritted her teeth and plunged into the water.

She paddled leisurely, surfacing sometimes for a gulp of air before submerging again. She left the water upon reaching the Ghosttrunk Groves, pale trees concealing hidden mires of quicksand. The place smelled of rot and muck, tinged with fishy goodness and deep burbling mud.

At one point, she felt that something watched her, but she could see little through the hazy mist, and since the sun was sinking, she decided to sleep in the upper branches of a ghosttrunk until dawn. She wrapped her arms around herself, touching the bell, and thinking of Slimee, the smartest, liveliest frog ever born, as the night fogs rolled in like a creeping wet blanket and shrouded the world.

By Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

***

Several hours after dawn Leeplu arrived at the Glakin’s lair, the closest she had ever dared to approach.

A strange oasis of bright flowers swayed at a wood’s edge. Green grass grew thick and tall, and the trees practically hummed with joy. Leeplu stepped onto the bank, enjoying the sensation. The smells here differed from elsewhere in the swamp, a sharp cleanliness and honey-sweet whiffs that wrinkled her nose.

She padded forward, pausing to sniff. Colorful lizards and snakes lounged in the trees, bearing ribbons of red, orange, and yellow. A large turtle wallowed in a puddle, much like their battleturtle Skit, only this one’s shell was iridescent shades of turquoise and lavender. It shivered when Leeplu passed and stuck out a pimpled purple tongue.

Soon, however, the tranquility changed. The emerald grass lost its luster, and shades of brown crept up the stalks. The flowers grew wilted, their colors muted, and proud trees bent as if crushed under their own weight. She thought it even odder when the natural sounds faded and then stopped, save for a single distant mutter.

She peered into a sticky mist. The sound grew, a repetitive puttering, broken by gruff grunts. This was not what Leelpu had expected of the Glakin. Pushing aside fuzzy vines and clinging cobwebs, she drew a breath and said—

“Hidya? Hello? Great Glakin? Are you near?”

Something shifted in the gloom. A branch cracked, the ground shuddered, and then a voice boomed—

“AAYYUH! The Great Glakin here! Do fear! Hear! Hear! Hide now from my loathsome leer. Ugh.”

The mists swirled around Leeplu, and a sudden gust pushed the wetness aside. Fifty hops away sat—without doubt—the strangest creature she had ever seen, and she had seen quite a few.

It was tall, almost the height of the blue pines where it nestled. A gangly neck reached for the sky, and atop sat a bulbous head of mismatched proportions. Two droopy brown eyes as large as melons rested above a drooping whiskered snout, and a crown of inward curving horns fanned behind its head like those of a misshapen moose. Velvety ochre fur stretched from the head all the way down the neck, where it merged into a deeper maroon-brown at the thing’s chest, and then covered the squat front legs ending with round feet and three toes. The second set of hind legs led to triple-clawed feet, but the third set finished with stubby cloven hooves. Tiny and useless vestigial wings on the Glakin’s back emitted the puttering sound.

“Away!” it said in a deep voice. “The Glakin wants visitors not, so hurry go and get yourself got.” The thing wore a pained expression, and then tears trickled down. The Glakin wailed.

Leeplu suddenly felt ill, and the terrible grief from Slimee’s loss returned stronger than ever. Pain gathered in her stomach, cramps knotting her muscles, and before she knew it, she cried so hard she had to sit.

“Aw! Look at what lug do! What did the Glakin just tell you?”

Leeplu fell on her back, trying to stifle the tears but failing. Now this was the most awful she had ever felt, even worse than losing Slimee. The barb of anguish twisted in her tummy, and she slapped her palms on the ground.

“What are you doing to me?” she begged between surges of melancholy. “I—I came here for help!”

“Oh! That make me feel even worse!” moaned the Glakin. It stamped its feet and keeled over not far from Leeplu. The ground quaked and several smaller trees uprooted and fell. “Useless!” it said. “I’m fruitless! A big thing in the middle of a swamp. I just laugh all day, as much as I want…”

“Well, laugh then!” squealed Leeplu, but she choked and curled into a wretched ball.

“No good,” groaned the Glakin. “No good at all. Not anymore. I’ve had my fall. Company with me is not the nicest. I’m a sad, sad brute in mid-eon crisis.”

Leeplu couldn’t answer. The Glakin cried with her, and their boisterous distress echoed far away. When Leeplu finally caught her breath, she wiped her tears and stared blurry- eyed at the Glakin. It rolled to its back, gazing at the sky, whiskered snout trembling.

Leeplu swallowed. “You—you aren’t the Glakin I’ve heard of. What happened?”

The Glakin turned its head. “What hasn’t happened little lug? The Glakin has laughed for centuries at man, beast and bug. But what’s the use in laughing when no one cares? After a thousand moons, I’ve no more to share.”

The Glakin covered its eyes with enormous forepaws. Waves of nauseating sadness struck Leeplu, visibly rippling in the air.

“Oh! How terrible!” she cried. “I—I—oh! I’m so sad!”

“I know!” moaned the Glakin, and both beast and lug cried, with Leeplu weeping into the thing’s fuzzy underbelly.

Leeplu finally regained some control and staggered away from the Glakin. “You—you’ve got to stop this,” she said. “Thing—things aren’t so bad. Look at yourself! You—you—you’re—”

“A monstrous freak! I joke and pry, giggle and lie, tell tall tales silly and sly! I’m a living prank wrapped up like a fiend, with nary a hoot of self esteem.”

Leeplu felt the crushing sadness again and despair fountained within her. She forced the next words.

“That—that’s not true! Y—you—aren’t a fiend, Great Glakin. You—you are certainly unique, but that’s why I came. I need to laugh! I don’t think I can anymore. My frog Slimee is gone, swallowed by an ugly gator.”

The Glakin shook all six paws. “Agh! The circle of life! Full of pain, death and strife. The gator ‘round here is mean as they come, big n’ beefy but really quite dumb. Oh, I feel putrid.”

The Glakin spun its tremendous bulk, nearly squashing Leeplu, and quivered on its belly. The vestigial wings beat faster, as if to lift the Glakin off his island and shuttle him away.

Leeplu sighed. She could not stay. To do so would crush her will, and she just might join the Glakin and his grief and then starve to death, which would probably make the Glakin feel even worse.

“I—I must go,” she whispered. She edged closer, a hand outstretched to pat the thing’s side. It shuddered and raised a sodden head.

“That’s what I said!” it moaned. “Now you as sad as me! Oh, woe to us and fate’s misery! Sorry little lug, I can help you not. Now do as I said, and get yourself got.”

Leeplu pressed a hand to her face as another wave of grief passed. Her head swam, and she staggered away on weak legs.

“Goodbye,” she croaked over her shoulder, but she didn’t expect the Glakin to answer. It didn’t, and probably hadn’t heard her anyway. She pushed through dying vines and creepers surrounding the Glakin’s home, finally collapsing beside a towering pine. She no longer heard the Glakin, although she feared it would echo in her heart and thoughts for a long, long while.

“How sad,” she murmured. “So very, very sad.” She doubled over and wept, paying no heed to the passing reptiles, which she would normally pick up and kiss. Her thoughts tumbled as if blown by a storm, unable to find substance or footing. She did not raise her head until she heard a familiar sound. Her heart galloped, pulse quickening, and she heard it again, very, very close by—

Hhhuuuuhhh—Raaaaaaaaahhh…”

Ten hops away the grasses parted and Razorraw’s snout poked through. Triple eyes gleamed in the wan light, milky orbs of malice. Leeplu tensed, but shock rooted her.

By Lisa Yount on Unsplash

Razor waddled closer, black talons digging into the ground, his belly low, tail raised, and Leeplu knew that in a straight race, with solid land beneath him, Razor could outrun many creatures in the Somber Marsh.

Including her.

“Razor…” she breathed, her voice meek and terrified even to her own ears. “The Glakin said a gator was around.”

His eyes narrowed. “Huhh—Huh—Rhuuhhh…”

If reptiles could smile, she swore he did.

“What do you want from me?”

A negligible distance separated them. Leeplu found her lungs so constricted they hurt. Her foot paddled the ground, but before she could blink again, Razor lunged.

“Aaii!” Leeplu shrieked and launched straight up nearly twice her height. Jaws clamped below with a hollow gush of wind and saliva, and then gravity pulled her down. She landed atop the meanest gator in the swamp, and didn’t much like it.

Razor twisted around, and Leeplu leapt froglike toward the pine, ricocheted off the trunk, and hit the ground running. She heard a burst of movement behind her, a sustained blast of rotten breath and a growing hiss.

By Jay Mantri on Unsplash

Leeplu screamed again, running now on all fours toward the Glakin, the bell jangling around her neck. She dodged left, and the gator surged past her, demolishing a thin tree. Wood splintered, leaves cascaded, and Razor tore through with hardly a pause. She bounded halfway up a trunk, and dared a desperate somersault over the gator’s body. Teeth gnashed and hot breath caressed her, so close that Leeplu feared to see a maw opened like a well of fangs.

She touched to the grass and ran screaming for her life.

“Razor! Leave—ME—ALONE!”

He didn’t obey, and Leeplu, already dejected and depressed, considered letting it eat her, just to get it over with. Swamp mists parted like a curtain, and there the Glakin loomed, still prone, chin cradled on its stumpy forepaws, staring at a rock.

“Help!” cried Leeplu. She raced to the Glakin, vaulted a furry leg, and darted to a blue pine. Razor charged into the clearing with steam churning from his nostrils and pale slime slipping from his jaws. He slowed upon seeing the Glakin, but Razorraw’s eyes followed Leeplu.

She fell gasping against the tree and then spotted a branch low enough to reach. She jumped, dangled by one hand, and almost fell when the monster scuttled beneath her.

“Huh?” rumbled the Glakin. Razor paused from his next strike, which would have snagged Leeplu from the limb. She kicked, pulled and huffed, and with a squirm and wriggle, squatted on the narrow branch. It bent under her weight.

“Help!” she howled again.

“Help what?” asked the Glakin. It rolled over to face the commotion. Razorraw lowered a claw from the tree. Three pale eyes blinked at the Glakin.

“Help ME!” screamed Leeplu from the branch. “Here!” It wobbled, and she felt it crack.

“Oh,” said the Glakin. “You again. Wasn’t one visit enough? You’re either very unwise, or exceptionally tough.”

“No! No! No!” screamed Leeplu. “That gator wants to eat me! And he ate my Slimee too!”

Razorraw surged at the Glakin as if to attack. The Glakin shielded itself. The gator spanned five adult lugs from snout to tail, with enough teeth to damage anything, even lyrical depressed giants. The Glakin sighed.

“I suppose gators get hungry too. Sorry, little lug, there’s not much I can do. Maybe he’ll eat me when he’s done with you, our problems over, through and through.”

Razor hissed, and slammed into the pine with renewed vigor. Leeplu rocked on her branch, wailing, looking for another tree.

“In my youth,” mused the Glakin, “I sang songs and hummed tunes, juggled, joked and laughed at the moons. But look at me now! I’m fat and I’m old. I’ve wasted my life. My stories all told.”

Waves of displeasure rippled from the Glakin. They rolled over Leeplu again, and weakened her so much she nearly toppled from the branch. The gator also writhed under the sensation, but shook it off and savaged the pine tree. Bark tore loose in ragged clumps, revealing naked flesh beneath.

Leeplu steadied herself. She could almost jump to another branch, but not quite. Oh, why had she ever come here! Fury heated her skin.

“Razor! Razor! You mean old gator! Leave me alone or you’ll regret it later!”

The Glakin shifted position. “Eh? What was that?” One wing fluttered, and its moose-horned head angled toward them. “Did—did you just say,” and the Glakin’s droopy nose curled up like trunk, ‘“Razor’s a mean old gator, and leave me alone or you’ll regret it later?’ ”

Leeplu inhaled and screeched, “Yes! That’s what I said!” Razor wheezed. The branch quivered.

The Glakin’s eyes dilated, its gaze reaching into the sky as if it could see something invisible. “What a clever rhyme,” murmured the Glakin.

An idea occurred to Leeplu as she sat upon the weakening limb. “Y-yes!” she stammered. “I—uh—Razor is a fat old thing, who chases us lugs summer to spring!”

Razor rammed the tree. The Glakin squirmed. “Go on.”

“He—he—he has nasty foul breath, and his ugly old face scares us to death!”

“Is that so?” asked the Glakin.

“YES! Please…now DO something!”

“When faced with the threat of impending doom, one often does request a boon. I apologize my friend for being so slow. I’ve not been myself, but that you already know.”

“I know!” shrieked Leeplu. “Do I need to sing you a SONG?”

“No,” said the Glakin. “Your words held the hint of a threat, but layered beneath with humor unmet.” The Glakin sat up, stretching its six legs. “It needs a tweak to truly work, to give it an edge, a finishing quirk. How about this,” and the Glakin cleared its throat.

“Ahem. ‘You there, silly gator with eyes of three, don’t you know you can’t climb a tree?”

Leeplu wiped snot from her nose, staring at the Glakin. Razorraw stared too, distracted.

“Well, perhaps that jibe was somewhat rusty. Give me a mom’ and I’ll try something more gutsy.” The Glakin’s whiskered snout curled and its furry brow furrowed. “Aha! Ahem. ‘There once was a gator of our esteemed marsh, with teeth like daggers and temperament harsh. He would pick on poor lugs, chase them through the shrub, never knowing how they laughed at his stub.”

Razorraw grunted.

“Why, your stubby snout, my friend. Hoo! See how stubby it is? I’ve seen many a gator in this great mire, and your nose, dear Razor, is not one to admire. Ho!”

The Glakin guffawed, and Leeplu saw a hint of ease creep over the thing’s features. Its brow relaxed, and the creases of worry softened.

“Just playin’,” said the Glakin with a wave of three paws. “What is life without a jovial poke? Speaking of which, have you heard this joke?”

The Glakin’s demeanor changed, louder now, more animated. Barely visible forces wobbled between the three of them.

“A fat King named Gling watched his court jester, a yappy young fool known only as Lester. ‘You’d better make me laugh,’ warned the rotund king, and Lester responded by prancing in a ring, hands around his waist in a curious “O,” while the King of Gling snarled at his show. ‘I said to make me laugh! What you’re doing isn’t funny!’ Said Lester, “Don’t worry, sire, I’ll soon mock your big head instead of just your tub tummy!’”

The Glakin bellowed as if it had heard the funniest joke in the world. Again, Leeplu experienced the strangest sensation, quite opposite from her first encounter with the Glakin. Even though the story was not very funny, and somewhat insulting, her terror vanished. She giggled, and when she saw the ridiculous expression on the Glakin’s face, she outright laughed.

“Hey, why was the mouse crying?” it asked. “She found out her dad was a rat! Whoa! Ha ha ha! What did the farmer call the cow that had no milk? An udder failure! HEE! Ho! Ho! Ha! Why do fish live in salt water? Because pepper makes them sneeze! Oh, I just kill me…”

With that, Leeplu almost fell from the branch. It was not the quality of the jokes, but rather the Glakin’s presence and his laughter. It had changed the way she felt.

Razor slithered closer to the Glakin, wheezing and tilting back and forth, a one-gator audience.

“You ever had a bout of bad fish-gas? Gluckclaws are the worse, so I usually pass. My belly swells so big, and I’m all but thin. You’re laughing now— you should see me then!”

“Huuuhhh—Huh—Huh—Huh,” grunted Razorraw in his odd fashion.

Leeplu eased herself down from the branch. Joy bubbled from deep within, and her jaw already ached FROM SMILING. She believed that one probably _could_ die from laughter, so enraptured by the Glakin’s words that the next breath refused to come.

Birds flew down to circle the Glakin’s head.

“I feel much better friends of the feather. From this day forth we’ll know cheerier weather!” Several jackdaws and crimson jays landed on the Glakin’s head and its curving fringe of horns.

Leeplu scampered to the wood’s edge.

“Where are you going, little lug?” asked the Glakin.

Leeplu giggled and bounced. “I must go home, Great Glakin! Hah! Ah. You have helped me just as I hoped! Thank you so much! Th—th—ha! Hmm. Oh, thank you!”

“It’s what I do best,” said the Glakin. “And that’s no joke, and that’s no jest. But you helped me too, little frog maiden. Drug me out of a rut, when my days were ill-laden! Your simple rhyme arrived just in time, saved your skin and put me in line. So thanks be to you, and the things you do. By the way, your name is—?”

“Leeplu!”

“And a grand name too! Farewell, little lug! Watch your path! Visit again—we’ll have a good laugh! See you then! HA! HEY!”

The Glakin cackled, nearly weeping so great was its mirth. The gator chortled, and the blue pines swayed in rhythm to the Glakin’s voice. Leeplu knew that this glum glade would soon look as beautiful as it did at the fringe. Such was the Glakin’s power.

Leeplu hopped blissfully away. Even the terror of Razor nearly eating her had vanished, and she wondered how long the crotchety old gator would spend with the Glakin. Perhaps he would never leave! Leeplu glanced back, and to her chagrin, saw that Razor watched her with one glistening white eye. He still nodded, chuckled and wheezed beside the Glakin, but Leeplu figured he probably wouldn’t feel sociable forever.

Perhaps not long at all.

She glided out of the Glakin’s home, pausing to smell the flowers and run her fingers over glistening moss. Hez and Wump would never believe that she had helped the Glakin and bested Razor, but they could not argue that she didn’t feel better!

By Meriç Dağlı on Unsplash

She removed the bell from her neck, kissed it one last time, drew her arm back, and heaved it into the midst of the Ghosttrunk Groves where it sank into the muck. “Good-bye, Slimee.”

Leeplu was about to leave when a colorful serpent caught her attention. It flicked a tongue at her from a nearby limb. Leeplu gently picked it up, letting it curl around her fingers like smooth living jewelry. The tongue touched her cheek, and Leeplu smiled.

“I think I’ll call you Scalee,” she said.

By Alfonso Castro on Unsplash

THE END

Author's Note: Thank you for reading the story above! If you enjoyed it, check out some of my other work below! And please don't forget to hit the ❤ button below and subscribe!

FableFantasyShort StoryYoung Adult
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About the Creator

Jason Hauser

I am a writer, artist and poet from North Carolina. I recently self published a children's/YA book called Harold and the Dreadful Dreams. You can learn more about it at my blog https://jmhauser.com, as well as other projects.

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