Cartwaith #2

Behind the trollie the extravagant lady rode atop, bumped and jostled a two wheeled trailer. Cartwaith couldn’t help but watch the woman drive, bumping and bopping all the way down the hill and over the uneven road.

“Whose that?” said little Blith, her raven curls wetted straight.

“Don’t know,” said her father. “But sure is a funny horse she rides, ain’t it?”

“Not a horse,” said Blith. “It’s a trollie, silly.”

“Same function as a horse though, ain’t it–get you from here to there, right?”

Blith turned away from her father for a moment, “Sure. I guess.”

“How’s it then, not a horse?” asked Cartwaith.

The little girl shrugged and her father grabbed her up hugged he close and told her not to try and outsmart her Da, because she’d not do that until she were older. Then he asked, “Where’s Smaeth?”

Blith pointed across the bridge that spanned the gap of the brook and continued along the road that led up the hill–the same one the woman on her trollie was trundling down. Cartwaith could see his son, running along the road toward the trollie with a few of the other children.

“What’s he done?” asked Cartwaith.

From afar and across the brook, he watched his son with the other children cluster around the trollie, and then begin to trot along beside it. It reminded Cartwaith of the honor guard he’d seen when Principal Argyles passed through Vestil last winter. Wasn’t often you got a Principal coming through a small town like Vestil, but Cartwaith supposed when somebody wants to get somewhere easiest way to do is by ways and means well explored and trodden.

“You believe,” said Cartwaith to his daughter, “that out in San Francisco they say they got those trollies like that on every street. H’aint not more horses and carts no more. Just trollies pulling darn near everything.”

“Thought you’d say’d it’s a horse,” said Blith.

“Sa, did,” said Cartwaith, scoffing. “Go ’bouts and grab Smaeth for me and get him away from that trollie. Whatever that red light is from it’s behind can’t be good nobody.”

Blith giggled at the mention of the trollies behind, then sprang up and scampered along the east bank of the brook until she came to the bridge and crossed to meet the trollie and other children. Cartwaith watched he talk to Smaeth, who was two years older, and he could see that the boy spoke back to her. Then the woman in the dark and red dress with the ostentatious hat let one hand go of the stack jutted from the floor in front of her, and pulled a cane where there had been no cane, from beside her on the seat.


Cartwaith was a simple man of little import in the town of Vestil. He spent his time with his two lovely children, Smaeth his son, and Blith his daughter. They wanted for little and thought about the world outside of Vestil not at all. Carwaith’s wife, Nilth, was the elected speaker of Vestil, popular and paid handsomely for her services, as she was known in the region as fair when fairness was required, shrewd when negotiating on behalf of Vestil, and compassionate when understanding the plight of others. That all changed when the stranger came to down.

She came to Vestil on one of those new-powered trollies. The ones that glowed with the red light from the rear end and emitted loud roars when attempting to climb hills, their wheels slipping and kicking up dirt like a horse or mule never could.

Cartwaith Was with Smaeth and Blith near the brook that flowed past the western side of Vestil and down from the hills that were covered in thick forest. Cartwaith wasn’t the only parent playing in the brook with his children that day. A cacophony of laughter, shouts, splashes and whoops filled the air. The day was the first truly hot one they’d had in months and all the children (and many of the parents, too) couldn’t resist to wade into the slow brook and splash each other. Cartwaith was dangling his feet from a rock and into the cool water, watching his children play with their little friends, most of them under the age of 10, when a whining and grunt broke the lazy sound of the flowing brook and the laughter and hoots of children and parents alike. Over the rise to the west and along the road that led from the town the trollie appeared, bucking and jolting, a rosy light gleaming from it’s rear, even in the bright of the sunny day. A top the trollie road a woman with a wide brimmed at, black as night, though ornamented with red stitching, her flowing dress looked a light fabric for hot days, yet was a similarly black and red design. Her hair was cedar and her skin a lush gold that marked her as a resident of the southwestern city, Pulido. It was said all Pulidians took in the color of the land their city was built on and nobody in Vestil was in a position to dispute such rumors.

Free write 1/5/21

The ferryman looked back across the river. Then back at the man in the car, the woman in the passanger seat beside him, the little girl in the back seat of the citroen.

“Not over there, you don’t,” said the ferryman.

“What?” asked the woman. “But doesn’t this ferry lead to Hadsund?”

The ferryman looked away again. But not in the direction of his boat and the other shoreline, but rather up to the clouds. Rain plunked his face. He gave a sharp breath through his nostrils.

“Maybe it would have lead to Hadsund. On a different night, under different stars.”

Now the Englishman sounded a little annoyed. “It’s raining,” he said, pointing up to the sky with a finger.”

“And due to this you do no know what waits on the other side,” said the ferryman. “I am sorry, but you will have to wait until morning, at the very least.

He walked away before the Englishman and woman could protest. He boarded his ferry and went back across the river that didn’t buck or sway, didn’t chop or churn, just continued its slow crawl east, no matter the weather, no matter where it was, the ferryman went. The weather be damned, he thought, the river was as still as glass.

The weeks leading up to my dad’s three-part play was filled with inexplicable noises coming from the basement.

On multiple occasions, Dean and I heard talking, conversing, multiple voices, though nobody had called that day at our door.