April’s Writing Workshop: Mr Merlin

Saturday 12 April 2014 by

This month’s writing workshop comes from newest Housemate, Tom! Here’s what he has to say about it…

Mr Merlin was just a short idea that popped into my head, I think it’s saying the world still has magic in an otherwise shitty world. I wanted to make people smile when reading it.

He had been called many names and held many titles in his time on Earth. He had brought fire to mankind, rolled the first wheel on a younger and vastly different Earth. People had called him Jesus once. Julius Caesar’s closest friend, he had wielded his magiks for King Arthur, guided Columbus’ ship to the new world, helped the allies against the Nazis, though his magiks had dwindled by then. Sadly now, Magic has almost all but disappeared from Earth and the wizard Merlin was very very old.

He lived in a small apartment now in New York. Small and humble it held some of his trinkets and treasures from his eons of life. A stack of books gathered dust, a magic cauldron gifted to him from Alexander the great held fruit now in his modest kitchen. He sat by his window, three floors up, the perfect vantage point from which to watch the people of his neighbourhood; wondering about their lives, their loves, their secrets. There was a time he could have plucked that knowledge from their minds with ease. As the magic of the world disappeared so did his power.

It was raining thick angry droplets, pounding his window. Across the street he could see the 711 where he knew the sales assistant would be counting down the minutes till he could finish his shift. Rasputin his cat slid between his legs, announcing that he was hungry. Once Russia’s most evil warlock Merlin had transformed him into a cat and over the years the cat had forgotten what he once was; now he was as friendly as any feline. Merlin’s bones were old and it took him longer to get out of his chair than it used to. He didn’t mind too much, he’d had a good life. Merlin wrapped his raincoat around himself and before he left the apartment he placed an empty can just outside the window. It teetered on the edge, catching the raindrops.

Merlin reached the street and had no trouble crossing the road but the rain was humid and annoying. There was a time when he could have waved his hand and stopped the rain, replacing it with sunshine or snow, or if he felt like it, frogs. Those days were gone now.

“Good evening Mr Merlin.” Said the sales assistant as he entered.  Merlin greeted him with a smile under his shabby grey beard and headed to the cat food. The shop was empty and even the music playing in the store sounded tired. As Merlin walked towards the counter to pay for his cats’ dinner a loud CRASH announced a hooded man carrying a menacing shotgun.

“FREEZE! empty the register and I wont blow your fucking head off.” Merlin watched, not scared, he had fought Dragons in his time, a masked man held no threat. He centred himself and thought of the can on the window. With greater concentration he could see it in his minds eye. It was close to full from the rain now and about to fall. Drip, drip, drip he saw it wobble and fall from his window. Below Mrs Abernathy grew Lillis in her window box. The falling can bounced of its left corner and landed on a parked car, bouncing into the gutter where a big grey rat gorged on a pizza crust. The rat jumped out of its skin from the clatter and dashed for its hole next to a drain pipe. The drain pipe was old and the impact of the rat rattling it made it give way and sway into a wire that hung across the street. A blue flash of electricity flew down the wire and overloaded the neon sign hung there causing it to loose its grip on the wire. It was free falling now swinging with its own momentum.

“I said empty the register old man unless you want a hole in your fucking face!” The sign from outside crashed through the window knocking the gunman off his feet and sending the shotgun sliding across the shop floor within reach of Merlin. He picked it up and smiled; there was some magic left in the world.

Don’t forget to tell Tom what you think – share your thoughts, comments and even your own contributions on Twitter, the House of Blog Facebook page, and below in the comments.

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