I woke up with a pounding headache and I knew this was not going to be a good day. The rest of the world didn't seem to know that as the sun was shining when I opened my window. The birds chirped cheerfully in the trees as they flew around picking twigs and leaves for their nests. A soft breeze blew through the wood, rustling the leaves and swaying the trees. Bees buzzed lazily from one flower to the next covered in pollen. It was a wonderful day.
I hated that.
I started the day with a cup of herbal tea to ease the headache. It helped...kind of. At least I was able to start working. I picked some tools from my shed. A sickle and a dagger.
No, I'm not a murderer. I do know one though. I went out for some more herbs; my supply was running out. I knew Dame Tallwalker was going to drop by for her usual medicine and I needed to have it ready. Yeah, it's last minute. So what?
I grunted as I ground the roots into a paste to put into the cauldron. My arms hurt. Why? I could usually go on like this for hours. I felt dizzy. I took a break and opened my cabinet.
I looked at my pipe, sitting there on the third shelf right next to my ceramic cat, Fizzy. I picked her up and filled her up with some of the tobacco I'd gotten from that rascal Potts after I saved his dog's litter, most of them at least. I lit it and took a puff. The pain gradually eased as it always did. I went back to working, occasionally taking a puff.
I heard a grunt outside my door. I dropped my poker and opened up the door for Cunningham, my bloodhound. Mighty proud of her I am, she has such a gorgeous black coat dappled with brown spots. She's lean with long legs and her sharp nose and ears go a long way in helping me get my dinner. Don't criticize a man for poaching a couple of trout when he's got nothing else. She trotted in taking in the surroundings. I went back to my pot.
My vision became blurry again and I took another puff but it didn't help. What kind of cheap tobacco is this Potts be giving me? It's definitely not worth my service. I sipped my tea and went back to stoking the fire which was dying now. I needed some firewood.
"Watch the fire for me Cunning?" She barked in response and stood guard. I grinned at her and she wagged her long tail. I headed out into the wood with my axe.
The wood was looking great. The tomato plants were flourishing. I plucked one off and took a bite. Juicy, sweet it was. I headed to the larger trees that need some pruning anyways. I chopped off some branches reminding myself to bring along some shears to trim those leaves. I gathered my few branches and headed to the hut. That's when it hit me.
I froze looking at the arrow buried in my shoulder. I felt my arms go limp metres away from the door. "Cunning!" I yelled before crashing to the ground almost impaling myself on the axe. I mumbled a couple of curses trying to see who shot the arrow.
It was useless.My whole body was numb and I couldn't move. I felt my eyes close. I didn't call out. Why? Out here who would hear me? And what would they do? This day was bound to come. I just wish they would've let me put out some food for Cunning. I smile at the name.
Cunningham? One might ask, what kind of name is that for a dog? I named her after the village policeman, Jeffery Cunningham. Fat man he is, can't even see the tips of his toes. Balding too, glad I got my good genes from my pops whose hair was always shiny and thick.
Why after a policeman? One might ask. What brave and selfless acts did he commit? None. It was just for messing around with him; go to the market with Cunning at a distance and wait for the copper to arrive before shouting:
"Come 'ere you old scally wag. You rascal you! Idiot! Cunningham! You ol' dote. Yer good for nothin'."
Nothing funnier than to watch his face turn the absolutely most beautiful shade of burgundy. Everyone goes quiet till she comes racing out of the shrub barking delightedly. The laughter that rings out is music to my ears. I turn to the copper who's just about bursting out of his uniform.
"What's the matter? Can't a man call his dog without yer judgement? Cunning you old dote." I say grinning and rubbing her head.
Wait, am I being lifted up? Who is this? Can't a man reminisce in peace? At least make sure Cunning's okay, it don't matter anyway I'm defenseless! Can't even speak.
"It's alright. I'll take care of you," a familiar voice assured. I filtered through my memory to place a face to his voice. Nothing. I felt myself being placed down on the ground. I groaned. Someone lit a fire warming me up. I tried to turn my head but I couldn't. The air was filled with a sickening stench. I almost gagged.
"Don't worry. It tastes better than it smells." I felt a warm liquid being trickled down my throat and I tried not to choke. I finally opened my eyes and could move my lips.
"Who are you?"
"A friend? Do I know you?"
"Is that really the definition of a friend?"
"Well... I suppose you do have to know a person to be their friend."
"The dictionary states that a friend is someone who you have a mutual bond and affection with. I wish to oppose that."
"Yes, am I not your friend for helping you?"
"No, you are simply an acquaintance."
"I shall leave the simple things in life to the simple minded. If you don't wish to be educated..." he trailed off. My limbs were now tingling and I could sit up. I glanced a the man sitting on the opposite side of the fire. Julius Humphrey, the hermit.
What does he want now?