NOTICE: I’ve started to re-read TGE and find that it needs some serious upgrades to craft. I’ll be adding these in the coming month.
I’ll be releasing an abridged version of The Gribble’s Eye as a series of posts focused on the images masterfully created by Yulian Mulyono.
These installments will be a much condensed version of the story which I will then compile into a sister book offered to the youngest of readers. The writing is geared toward the middle school and younger age — it is, after all, an illustrated book.
If you have comments or suggestions as to whether this is a good idea, or a poor one, or if there are changes you’d like to suggest… Don’t hesitate.
The Gribble’s Eye
By Dave Cline
An abridged version
Sadie walked the familiar path to where her new confidant could be found, hiding in a deep hole, a tunnel really, beneath a large oak tree in the forest that bordered the spacious country home in which Sadie now lived.
When she’d first begun conversing with the occupant there, Sadie had been wary and doubtful that anyone who knew so much would live in a hole in the ground. Youth and desire both lent a hand in dismissing what should have been vigorous caution.
At Sadie’s discovery of the odd voice, a voice that had lured her to sit for pleasant spells exchanging useful news of the area, the resident suggested that Sadie pick a name to call her (Sadie had decided the voice must belong to a female).
“Don’t you have a real name?” Sadie had asked.
“Yes of course, many in fact,” the accented voice had replied. “Alright, for now call me Ara. A name my own mother, many years ago used. May I call you Sadie?”
“My name is Sathena Brimson.” Sadie’s curt reply seemed out of place at the time.
“Yes, I know. I know most of what goes on around here. But perhaps…”
Sadie caught herself. “I’m sorry. My mother used to call me Sadie.”
“Ah yes, I understand.” Ara had apparently known of Sadie’s mother. “Well, Sathena it is then.”
This morning, Sadie bent down and carefully scratched away the leaves and roots that littered the tunnel’s entrance.
“Ara, do you get lonely down there?”
Ara’s voice, rough and exotic replied, “I’m not like others you’ve met. I’m happy with my solitude.”
“Maybe the sunlight is too bright for you?”
“Yes, it often is.”
“Is there room for me down there?”
“Don’t even suggest such a thing.” Ara’s tone came with the edge of a threat.
“But I do enjoy a midnight stroll,” Ara said more cheerfully.
Sadie considered this option allowing curiosity to sway good sense. “I could come back then. I’ve been anxious to meet you. Father has a flashlight with a red glass shade.”
Scrabbling sounds echoed up through the darkness. The dusty smell of dry earth tickled Sadie’s nose. Around her a breeze disturbed a trio of oak leaves that drifted down from the pile she’d excavated. They settled onto the tunnel floor, just inside the light.
Ara continued, “Tonight would be a good night for a walk. Did you enjoy the wild onions and chestnuts?”
“Oh, yes. Father and I used them in a lovely salad. Thank you for your advice in finding them.”
“You’re most welcome. Ah, here, I have something for you.”
Rolling up from the tunnel came a sapphire blue marble. It stopped just inside the shadow.
“My, that’s beautiful. Should I take it now?”
“Of course. If you leave it there the Gribble might come and steal it back.”
Sadie knit her brows at this strange name but ignored it for now. Reaching down and lifting the vibrant blue sphere, she marveled at its weight. “It’s heavier than it looks.”
Ara seemed to reminisce. “I find the Eyes as light as breath, heavy as a sigh.”
A pattering echo worked its way up. Sadie waited for a reply. The midsummer sun dipped behind a cloud. A furry bumblebee, black as coal, its waist painted yellow, looped around Sadie’s head, its thrumming half warning, half invitation to follow.
“Hello?” she asked politely after what seemed more than enough time for Ara’s reply.
“Midnight. I’ll be waiting at midnight,” Ara eventually said, distant as if from down a well. “Be sure to lock up that beast of yours.”
Sadie gripped the sapphire marble tightly. “Harry’s no beast!”
“Midnight,” came Ara’s final reply fading up through the dangling roots and dried worm castings