February 25, 2024

Rafael Silkskin:


This archived article was written by: Kiara Horowitz

After Randolf left, I got to my feet and walked over to our makeshift tent nestled at the base of a giant tree. Inside I grabbed the water skin, poring the water on the dirt. Scooping the mud up, I started to shape it into a mask, before placing it on my face. Rumpelstiltskin is described as a weird little man, I guess that’s why we aren’t tall.
Each recreation of Rumpelstiltskin is different. Mine is a withered old man with a hooked nose. My naturally crooked teeth helped the charade. Satisfied with my face, I focused on my hair, changing it from apricot to gray. My only feature that still showed were my yellow eyes. I certainly appeared as a weird little man.
The sound of a snapping twig made me freeze. I crouched in the hut, listening intently. The trespasser wasn’t stealthy in any sense of the word. Judging by the sound of fabric scraping against the ground; a woman.
“Rumpelstiltskin?” the trespasser called out. I’d heard that voice before, but it wasn’t the queen. “Rumpelstiltskin?” she called again. I sighed. It couldn’t hurt to find out who she is and what she wanted.
I grabbed a handful of dirt, leaves and broken twigs. I raised it to my lips and gently blew on it. The debris swirled around my head, blurring my vision. When my vision cleared, I’m crouching on the rim of the camp behind the woman. I straightened up.
“Well, well,” I said with my best cackle. “And what can I do for you?” The woman turned, my jaw almost dropped. Melanie, an evil witch who I knew for a fact Randolf hated, and that was putting it nicely. I don’t like her much either. Whenever Randolf and I tried to do a job, she would pop up and get in the way.
Melanie smiled, “What do you know, just who I wanted to see.” My stomach tightened. She wanted me?
“What do you want?” I asked.
“I’ve come to talk to you about the child,” Melanie said, walking over to the log by the fire and sitting down.
“I don’t have him on me.”
“Yet.” Melanie interrupted. “I desire an apprentice. I’m willing to pay extra of course, and I also want it kept quiet.”
I walked over and stood across from her on the other side of crackling flames. “Since they don’t acknowledge the bid from a witch such as yourself.”
“Everyone lives by their own set of values,” Melanie stated. “I don’t understand the point of people saying what’s good or evil because of them. Besides, you can’t say you’re any better. After all, you take infants away from their parents and sell them for money.”
“Just Gold Bloods,” I snapped. “I take them away for their safety and the safety of others. You make it sound as though I sell them like slaves, they’re not. They all go to family masters who take care of them.”
“Have fun explaining that to their parents.” Melanie said sarcastically. “But I’m not here to discus morality. I’m here strictly on business.”
“I see.”
“I knew you’d see it my way.” Melanie said.
I smiled. “I can be reasonable.”
Melanie pulled back her riding shirt, under it I saw a holster. She unbuckled the flap and withdrew a purple sack. She tossed it over the fire to me. I caught it, the sack was filled with gold coins.
I opened it, feeling around the contents for anything abnormal. No magical gold, good. I checked the sacks weight. Dealing with money as often as I did, I could tell how much there was without counting it.
“This is the same amount of gold we usually get for a job,” I snapped. “You said you would pay more.”
“Part now the rest later,” Melanie explained. “You’ll get the rest after the child is mine.”
I snapped the fingers of my right hand next to the sack. It vanished in a puff of ebony smoke. The foliage rustle behind me, but I didn’t turn to inspect it. Nothing would let me take my eyes off Melanie.
“Have a good night, Rumpelstiltskin.” Melanie said, getting to her feet. She swished her midnight cape, transforming herself into a butterfly.
I glared after her as she vanished into the starry night. So she could transform, big deal, I could go throw walls. I narrow my eyes, why had she called me Rumpelstiltskin? She could have just said “good night”. Unless. . . the rustling in the forest! I whipped around and came face to fist with the hardest punch that ever hit me.