Mother Monksville – The Monksville Chronicles #100

Yarnspinner slowly opens his puffy, swollen eyelids and meets the gaze of a small giant, the only one to make it to the end of his tale.

“Hai, small giant, and thank you for hearing my final story. Thank you so, so very much.”

The small giant manages a slight smile. The strain is evident on his face.

“Thank… you… Yarnspinn… fishcatch… fish…”

The small giant falls over backwards. His head hits the floor with a thump.

Yarnspinner stands from his lotus position and walks slowly beside the small giant. The boy’s skin is coated in awful black splotches, dotted with bleeding lesions, and though his breath has stopped, his limbs still tremble as if bolts of lightning rode through his veins. Yarnspinner reaches his hand down, his splotched hand, and brushes his fingers over the boy’s eyelids, sending him off to the gates of the great transition. With his final story told and the small giants seen off, there’s only two things left for Yarnspinner to do, and one must be done before the other.

Hanging above Yarnspinner’s bedside window is a curtain, a long curtain which extends to the dusty floor of his cabin, a curtain wove of deerhide and mended tight with metal fishing wire. Shakily, Yarnspinner draws the long curtain across the window and blocks out the last beam of shinelight, forever sealing this house of the dead in the darkness which has so consumed his village, the darkness which has consumed the many lives of all who once lived ‘round the two Reservoirs. Then, he walks out the door and closes it shut behind him, leaving the small giants to take their long dark rest.

The black sickness came quickly and did its wicked work without mercy. The aged tribesfolk – the shamans, the wranglers, the expert fishcatchers and bowhunters – were the first to go. For them it started with a cough, then the black splotches appeared in their mouths, took their tongues, and then traveled to the rest of their bodies. And then, they went to sleep. For the young it was different… the young didn’t seem to be affected at first. No cough, no fever, not even so much as a sniffle, and then one day, one terrible day long after many of the grown giants already perished, they’d woken up to find their skin spotted like the regal chest of an osprey. Before that day was done the lesions began to open and spew, and eventually they’d go to sleep. Just like that… like it was nothing, like it was some big joke played by the deceitful Great Spirit. Well it’s a terrible joke, a joke most unfunny. A joke Yarnspinner is very happy he’ll not live to spread.

As for Yarnspinner, the lone storyteller in all the keep of the crescent moon valley – perhaps the most valuable member of the villages, but perhaps the most useless – he fought the sickness the longest. He was the first to see it coming and he did warn his tribesfolk, he even warned the folken of the Tribe of the Forge, but nobody cared to listen to him. After all, who would believe prophecies of doom told by the lips of the fishcatching teller of tall tales, the queer giant who cried muskellunge? Well they’re all dead now, they’ve all passed through, the long curtain was drawn upon all of them and Yarnspinner is the last one left, the one cursed to see the small giants perish, the one blessed to calm the nerves of the last survivors with the tallest tale he’s ever told, to help them forget the world as it crumbled around them; the one damned to leave his beloved Fishing Village behind for the final time. The sad giant destined to draw the long curtain. The last giant, the one to go it alone.

Yarnspinner leaves his village without looking back and walks along the dirt road which winds up the hill the tribes once called treacherous. At the summit of this hill lies a plateau; Yarnspinner stares out across his mighty Monksville Reservoir, a once booming ecosystem turned black and putrid by the rotten blood of two foreign giants who once inhabited The Dome… well, it’s as good a reason as anything else. Dead lakebreathers float alongside dead wingflappers, and though he has not seen sign of them, he knows the landwalkers have all perished too. In the back of his mind he hopes to see that mountain lion again, the one who ambushed them on the first journey up, the cougar who haunts his dreams with its glowing yellow-green eyes, but he knows he will not. This sickness is of a different kind, a terrible, merciless kind, a kind without eyes or the sense to use them even if it had them, a kind that doesn’t care if a denizen breathes lake, flaps wing, or even walks the land, an evil black sickness which deals death ‘til there is no death left to deal. Yarnspinner takes one long, final look at the most beautiful lake in the world, then continues his slow trek to the special boat launch. There’s only one thing left for Yarnspinner to do now, and it’s waiting for him at the water’s edge.

Mustering more strength than he thought remained in his ill-stricken splotched husk of a body, Yarnspinner launches his boat and hops in without wetting his feet. He grips the oars, one in his hand of flesh, one in his hand of metal, and rows across the open Southern Expanse. He continues to row until he enters Muskellunge Cove, the cove he named after the greatest memory of his life, and it is here where he drops the oars over the side of the boat. Next he drops in his jiggin’ rig, his spiral auger, his last remaining tip-up, and then, with reverence, he sends his longpole off to float forever in the black lagoon.

Now the giant can do that last thing, the only thing he’s left to do.

Sat in his boat with him is a large anchor, an anchor he made himself. Yarnspinner is not a metalworker, and he’s certainly no Black Smith, but he’s crafty nonetheless; before gathering the small giants who still drew breath into his cabin to spin for them his final yarn, Yarnspinner collected each and every lure he could find in Lure Cove, then from both of the villages, the villages so needlessly divided right up until the bitter end. Using his fishing line, his special metal wire, he bound all the lures together into a large mass, a lump of heavy metal fit to sink an entire island. Dangling from the bottom of this mass of lures is Yarnspinner’s prized possession, his spoonplug, and from the head of the great spoonplug runs a simple rope, a yarn woven of grass and whitetail sinew. With deft hands and a concentration sharp enough to hold back a waterfall of woeful tears, Yarnspinner ties the rope around his neck and tightens the noose with a fishcatcher’s knot, the kind which shall never come undone.

Taking his anchor in his hands, the last giant stands and gazes out across his glorious and mighty Monksville Reservoir one final time, and finally the tears are allowed to flow. The Giant utters his final three words, then tosses the anchor overboard.

“Hai, Mother Monksville.”

This has been the last subchapter of the last chapter of the book The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:

The Monksville Chronicles

I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~

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