Tarnish



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FudgemintGuardian

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Howdy hoo!

Despite rarely writing, I actually really do enjoy it. It's fun. The beginning of this came to me fairly easy, but it took me the whole month to figure out how to get to the end. That's part of the adventures of writing, I guess. X'D




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Tarnish


Leaves of orange and gold fall in the gentle, chill breeze as a young, worried woman walks the forest path. She spots a curious log cabin covered in vines and brass pipes and walks to its door, her hand shaking as she grabs the knob. Opening it she finds a room dark from dirty windows, and a quaint reception desk with a rooster sleeping in a basket. The smell of old wood fills the air.

"H-Hello? I have a request. Is anyone here?"

No response. She walks up to the desk, dust kicking up with every step.
"Hello?!" Not even the rooster reacts. She sees an odd sign pinned to its basket. "Please pull cock feather for service."

"I heard she was eccentric, but this is just plain ridiculous. And to torture a poor bird of all things." But the young woman doesn't know what else to do, so she plucks one of the rooster's tail feathers.

"BuckAOO-AH-OOO-AH-OOO!" fills the house. The woman stumbles in shock, covering her ears.

"BuckAOO-AH-OOO-AH-OOO!"

"B' QUIET, YA USELESS BIRD! I WAS SLEEPIN'!"

The young woman jumps at the voice, turning to see a grizzled old woman wearing a plush, but ragged, orange robe. The young woman stammers, "I-I-I!"

The old lady sweeps the basket and rooster onto the floor with her large cane. "Get it together, girl. I don't speak 'stammer'. As for you, ya miserable excuse for a feather duster, I oughta …" The rooster flaps upward in a cloud of feathers, landing on a windowsill, out of the old lady's reach.

The young woman says, "I-It isn't his fault! I did like the note on the basket said!"

"Note? What note?" She squints, looking for the basket.

"This one," says the young woman, picking it up from where the basket fell, and handing it to the old lady. The old lady pulls a pair of coke-bottle bottom glasses from her robe and perches them on her nose. She snatches the note and stares at it for a moment. "Huh, okay then. Yer off the hook, beaky. Fer now." She stares at the young woman for a moment, then takes the glasses off. "Well, ye' a customer then, or just here to ruin my dreams? Or both?"

"Yes? I mean no! I mean…"

"Speak!"

"I-I Came here for your services! I don't have much to give, but I didn't know where else to turn!"

"If ye need ta lose a few pounds, or a few men, put yer money on the counter. If ye need the serious magic we gotta talk."

"I'm…dying of a disease and the doctors can't treat it. "

"Then we talk." After a few minutes, the witch lays it out for her. "All ye have to do is clean this place up."

"That's it?"

"That's never it. Ye have to do it right. Top t' bottom, every inch, 'til it shines, except for my antiques! And it has to be done by sundown."

"Okay, but-W-Wait!"

The witch disappears in a swirl of ratty cloak and noxious fumes.

"Where do I start?! Do you have cleaning supplies?! Which ones are the antiques?!" She slumps in defeat. "…What have I gotten myself into?" She hears a voice from behind.

"There's brooms and whatnot in the closet."

She turns. "Oh, thank you so…so… There's no one here…"

"Of course there is. Over here." The rooster puffs out his chest feathers and leaves the windowsill, strutting toward her like he owns the place. As roosters do. "I'll show you what needs cleaning around here."

She steps back. "A-A talking rooster? Am I going crazy?"

"I am no rooster, but a former customer. You see, this what happens when you don't hold up your end of the bargain, Ma Cherie. As for you going crazy, you came here, didn't you?"

"Um, guh, yeah?" She fumbles with her long, red hair, twisting it around her hand. "Oh, my. I don't know what to think."

"You don't need to think, Ma Cherie, I'll be your gallant savior and tell you what you need to know. First, get the brooms out of the closet."

"Where's the closet?" She looks about the room, daunted by the mess, squinting in the dark.

"Behind the stuffed tiger. 'Ware the claws."

She struggles to get behind the tiger, pushing it aside so she can open the narrow door. Pulling out a broom, she brushes the windows, letting in more light.

Seeing the room more clearly, she groans. "This place is so…so…tacky! And dirty!" She sweeps like a fiend, sending clouds of dirt and loose rooster feathers out the door. Finding a bucket and rags, the rooster sends her outside for water from the pump. Soon, the windows are clear as, well, glass, and the counter is neat and polished.
She wipes her brow and stops to take a long breath. Taking a good look about under the new lighting, the broom falls from her numb fingers. "There's a ton more to clean just right here! Only one room barely scratched, and there's more rooms. How can I ever get this clean by sundown?"

The rooster clears his throat, "I'll direct you, Ma Cherie. Just let me drive! I am a magical rooster, after all!"

"Oh-okay."

The rooster hops on the newly-clean counter. "Over there; pick up the rug, dust the tiger, empty the garbage behind the counter, wipe the shelves, and mop the floor!"

She moves about in a flurry of motion, barely aware of what her hands are doing, but the room is clean. Of course, the same cannot be said of the pile of garbage outside the door.

"On to the next room, Ma Cherie!"

She runs to the next room cleaning windows and moving garbage. Wood sparkles where light had not touched in years. Pictures gleam in their gilded frames, rust came from the hinges of ancient cabinets, and copper pots shine in the kitchen. Verdigris no longer tarnished bronze statues in the solarium, and the writing desk with chair was no longer covered with gunk.

The sun touches the horizon as she falls to her knees. "I did it! There's nothing left to clean in the house. I hope she doesn't care about the piles I left outside."

"We did it, Ma Cherie." The rooster crowed. "I did direct, after all."

"Yes, thank you! I couldn't have done this without your guidance."

A great bellow of rage comes from the entrance room, following with thunderous footsteps. The witch bursts into the solarium.

"Aah! I'm sorry about the garbage outside, but the inside's clean! I did everything!"

"Too much everything! Did I not tell ye about the antiques? Of course I did! Ye cleaned the picture frames, ye cleaned the statues, and worst of all, ye took the patina off the writing desk set! Ye reduced its value by over half, you rotten tomato-brain!"

"What? I-I just did what the rooster said!"

"Really? Ye listened to that rapscallion instead of me? If ye let yer strings get pulled so easily like a puppet, then a puppet ye shall be!"

The witch points her cane at the girl, and a flourish of lights and smoke shoot forth and surround her.

"What's going on?! What are you doing?!" The young woman realizes she is shrinking. Looking at her hands she notices they are becoming stiff.

"Use yer tomato-brain fer once! What did I just tell ye?"

The girl smacks herself in the head with wooden hands. "You're turning me into a puppet?!"

"Congratulations, ye finally listened. Too bad ye didn’t earlier."

The witch grabs the girl's new strings and flings the puppet over her back. "Ye cost me so much money I think fifty years as a marionette should do it."

The rooster squawks loudly. "You're turning her into a puppet? I thought you'd turn her into a pretty hen!"

"Ye thought… Ye flea-bitten pillow stuffing! All this wasn't her idea, was it?"

"I… I wanted a companion, a female one. Do you know how long it's been?"

"I know exactly how long it's been, and now it's gonna be longer. I'll reduce her sentence, but ye get another thirty years."

The rooster flaps off, squawking, while the witch hangs the puppet on the wall behind the counter.

"Cheer up, little one. Puppets can't get sick. When I turn ye back we'll talk. Meanwhile, enjoy the view."

The witch waved her cane and moved all the dirt and garbage from outside back where they once were. "There we go, all ready fer the next customer."



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KingdomKey

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I was certainly not expecting that at all. I didn't see that coming. I feel trolled. I certainly say well done! This was outstandingly done for a story. I'm simply amazed by it right now. I also feel bad for the rooster, but quite a shame for the woman to be turned into a puppet. However, I think the witch did her a favor of turning her into one to keep her from dying. So it's kind of a double edged sword. Seriously, well done. <3 I really enjoyed reading this a lot.
 

FangirlfromHell

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Wow. That got kind of dark but in a good xxxHolic kind of way. In the end the girl did get to live. Oh, by what I mean when I say in a xxxHolic kind of way is that it's a kind of dark that I enjoyed. It was fun to read. I read the roosters lines in Lumiere's voice though (original Lumiere.)
 

Howler

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The ending is good, then not good. It's both which makes this story great, the ending came so unexpected because we would have thought there would have been just a happy ending. The story was also great with its characters and their personalities. I have to say I was really impressed by this Fudge! :)
 

mouflon

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I really enjoyed this; loved the unexpected ending especially. I adore stories that throw curveballs like that. It's also actually inspired me to get working on a story I've had on the backburner for a while now. Anything that inspires me like that is always exciting and awesome for me, so thank you!
 

FudgemintGuardian

"Indeeeeeeeeeeeeed."
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I didn't realize people commented on this, so thank you all for the kind words and sorry for responding so late!


I also feel bad for the rooster, but quite a shame for the woman to be turned into a puppet. However, I think the witch did her a favor of turning her into one to keep her from dying. So it's kind of a double edged sword. Seriously, well done. <3 I really enjoyed reading this a lot.
This was the feeling I was hoping for, so I'm glad it came across.

Wow. That got kind of dark but in a good xxxHolic kind of way. In the end the girl did get to live. Oh, by what I mean when I say in a xxxHolic kind of way is that it's a kind of dark that I enjoyed. It was fun to read. I read the roosters lines in Lumiere's voice though (original Lumiere.)
I wanted the rooster to use a term of endearment like "my darling" for the woman, but it didn't click for me in English, so I went for French, even though it put Lumiere in my head too. It was a sacrifice that needed to be made. XD

The ending is good, then not good. It's both which makes this story great, the ending came so unexpected because we would have thought there would have been just a happy ending. The story was also great with its characters and their personalities. I have to say I was really impressed by this Fudge! :)
Maybe I'll do a sequel some day and give it one~

*looks at my unfinished Young Xehanort and Eraqus fanfic*

Hehe, yeah.

I really enjoyed this; loved the unexpected ending especially. I adore stories that throw curveballs like that. It's also actually inspired me to get working on a story I've had on the backburner for a while now. Anything that inspires me like that is always exciting and awesome for me, so thank you!
It's really touching to hear I inspired someone. ;~;

I hope your story turns out great!
 
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