Fiction Tuesday – All Aboard!

Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes

Will left The Throne the next morning, accompanied by Bug and Nobody. Sindy had wanted to join them, but she was still adjusting to her office and wanted to remain in the capital so she could look over Mr. Purple’s shoulder 1. She did, however, meet with him in the train station as they prepared to board.

“Here, Will. Take this,” she held out her hand and offered the teen a sealed envelope.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a letter of passage from the Sovereign of The Realm. If the border guards at No Entry give you any grief this will get you through customs.”

“OK, thanks.” Given the Gnomish paranoia of allowing outsiders into their territory, Will had been wondering how Bug was going get him through the gates at No Entry. “But, why do you think this will work? Bug said the Gnomes are still demanding full border control.”

Sindy smirked and pointed to the envelope. “That’s addressed to my cousin, Mike. He’s in command of the guards and it says if he doesn’t let you pass I’ll come up there and yell at him.”

“And that will work?”

“Oh yes,” Nobody declared. “Mike has been terrified of Sindy since they were children.” The professor angled his head in reflection. “Come to think of it, I’ve always felt bad about that.”

“Well, he shouldn’t have scribbled all over my drawing. A little fear is good for a gnome.”

“Sindy,” Bug waded into the conversation. “He was four years old.”

Steam puffed from the Sovereign’s ears. “He knew what he was doing.”

“Yes, well. I did feel bad about it, but now all those years of fear are coming in handy. Isn’t that nice?”

With that, Nobody kissed his daughter on the cheek and boarded the train. Sindy, whose face had been growing red as more steam began to puff it’s way from her nostrils, cooled off as her father ascended into the train car.

“Uh, Bug….?”

“Yes, dear. I’ll tell him causing your family members to live in abject fear of wrath is not good and he shouldn’t get any ideas.”

He wife sighed in relief. “Thank you, who knows what he would come up with that insight once he gets to his lab.”

Bug nodded. “I was thinking along the same lines. But, you know, about it not being good…”

Sindy’s eyes narrow, joined by an incongruent grin, “Husbands don’t count. Now get on the train before my father decides to pull on the emergency break again 2.

“Yes dear,” Bug smiled leaning in to kiss his wife on the lips. As he leaned back his gaze lingered on Sindy for a moment.

“What do you want, you daft gnome?”

“I miss the beard 3.”

Sindy pointed. “Get on the train, Bug. Now.”

“Yes dear,” her husband replied with a grin. He turned and climbed up steps into the car.

The Sovereign of The Realm then turned to Will and smiled. “And as for you, young man, I expect you to stay out of trouble. At least until you get home, that is.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Will blurted out, not knowing what else to say.

Tears rolled down Sindy’s cheeks as she pulled Will down to his knees and embraced him.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“You’re welcome,” Will managed to croak out through his own tears.

The teen then stood and made to board the train himself when Sill’s voice called out.


He turned to his right and caught sight of the IBI agent standing in front of the press pool, flanked by Grimby and Fineflin. The trio approached as Will turned and each shook his hand in turn.

Grimby was the first to speak. “I wish we could have gone with you, kid, but we’ve been reassigned to Sovereign Security.”

“You’re protecting her from the Press?”

Fineflin snorted, “Well, look how they’re dressed. I’ve been tasked with creating new guidelines for those covering The Sovereign. Some of them are wearing suits and ties and it’s 90 degrees out here.” The elf then spun and shouted to the reporter pool, “At least go fashionably open collar! Use your imaginations!”

Sills shook her head, “As you can see, we’re still working out the details.” She then smiled. “We just wanted to say goodbye, Will.”

“Yah kid,” added Grimby, patting the teen on the back so hard he had to step forward to keep his balance. “It’s been an adventure.”

“Just, please do something about your wardrobe. Honestly,” Fineflin concluded as he waved at Will’s outfit. For his journey home the teen had returned to wearing a plain tee-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Fineflin felt it was an outfit beneath someone with his celebrity status.

Will grinned. “I’ll keep that in mind, thanks.”

The train whistle sounded and Sills waved him off.

“OK, get going. And don’t forget us!”

“I won’t,” he promised as he boarded the train. He turned and waved at his friends, blinded by the number of flashes firing from the assembled press 4. Then he entered the car and watched as The Throne passed by and out of his life.

  1. This was not a metaphor. Sindy was determined to attend every meeting chaired by Mr. Purple and look over his shoulder from the Throne. His margin-doodle rate would later decline to record lows. 
  2. Nobody had been given a lifetime ban from riding the rails after the twentieth time he pulled the emergency break on a cross-Realm trip. He was only reinstated when the IBI insisted he be given clearance for the war effort. When asked why he kept pulling the break his answer was, “I wanted to see what would happen.” 
  3. Sindy hadn’t been wearing her fake beard since their departure from Boarsblemish, saying it was “too much of a hassle to keep clean.” Her refusal to wear the fake beard would be taken up by a Gnomish feminist group, changing societal norms and bankrupting several companies. 
  4. The headline in the next day’s paper would read, “Teenage prophet embraces his celebrity during tearful farewell.”