Art by David Revoy/ Blender Foundation

What the Butler Didn’t See

By Teel James Glenn

My first contact with the child was innocent enough.

It was as I drove up to the gate of the Hobbson Estate near Croton-on-Harmon, New York. At the gatehouse a surly looking fellow greeted me gruffly. “What’s your business?” he asked in a gravelly voice.

“I’m Preston Cork,” I said, “I’ve been hired by the Hobbsons as a butler for this residence.”

“You wait,” my personal Charon said with more a grunt than a command. He disappeared back into his guardhouse while I waited. I looked ahead through the wrought iron of the gate.

I saw movement in the bushes inside the gate, a furtive movement of the foliage as if a small animal was hiding. Idly I stared at it and then, to my surprise, I saw eyes staring back at me! Then the gateman called my attention away from the bush.

“The master says drive on up, sir,” he said. “But be careful with your speed. There is, uh, wildlife that may cross the driveway.”

“As you say,” I said. “I’ll be careful.” He pressed a button in his gatehouse. I eased my vehicle through the gate that slid closed behind me almost before I had passed. The trees that screened the winding driveway gave no indication how long the drive was and I was forced to drive slowly even if I had not been warned by the gate troll.

It was because of the slow pace that I was able to see the movement in the bushes as I drove. It was just a series of quick flashes, bits of red and a hint of white as if something, or someone was running parallel to my car as I drove.

After about five minutes of driving I rounded a turn to suddenly come in sight of the house. It rested on a rise of land overlooking the Hudson and the breeze off the water set the pennants that topped it snapping wildly. The three-story building, built in early Victorian style, sprawled over a full acre of land.

Just as I came in sight of the house a tiny figure darted out of the brush to dash across the road. I hit the brakes and my car lurched to a stop.

“Hey!” I yelled. The tiny figure froze, staring at me from beneath a mop of black hair with ice blue eyes. It was a little girl!

The child could not have been more than ten years old and was dressed in bibbed blue jean overalls and a red polka-dot shirt. She had a smear of dirt on her left cheek that she rubbed at with her sleeve while she stared directly at me.

“You should be careful, Miss–,” I said.

“Penelope,” she said. “Penelope Hobbson. My mama and papa own all this.” She waved her arms in a royal gesture to take in all the estate. “They were lords and stuff back in England.”

“Pleased to meet you, Miss Penelope,” I said. “But you should be careful crossing the road; it is not easy for a driver to see around the turns.”

She stuck out her lower lip and put her hands on her bony hips in an almost defiant posture. “You couldn’t ‘a hit me, Mister–”

“Mister Cork.”

“Well ya couldn’t ‘a hit me, Mister Cork,” the tyke said.

“But I could have,” I said.

“Naw,” the girl said. She giggled and pointed off into the heavy brush. “One of my friends would ‘a saved me.”

“Friends?” I asked. I looked over where she had indicated but saw only a tangle of bushes agitated by the wind. Or was it just the wind? I turned back to little Miss Hobbson but she had raced off opposite the way she had pointed and was gone into the woods like a sprite.

I laughed and drove the rest of the way toward the house. There were a couple of rough types toiling in the garden and when they saw me one pushed back his cap and squinted.

“I’m Cork,” I said. “To see the Hobbsons.”

The laborer jerked thumb toward the back of the house. “Back patio, having brunch.”

I walked around the building. On the veranda, at the far end from where I stood were several tables set out where a couple was eating brunch. They were obviously the master and mistress of the house and very at ease. The man turned his head to look at me.

“Can I help you?” He was a handsome man I judged to be in his mid forties with blonde hair touched with grey at the temples. His eyes, even across the distance were a watery blue and sharply focused on me.

“I am Preston Cork, sir,” I said. “The Everett Agency sent me along to join your service.” I continued to walk toward them with an easy gait. I wanted to present a confident and easy demeanor but when Mrs. Hobbson turned her head to look at me I admit I almost stumbled.

The lady of the house was the most stunning woman I have ever seen. Her hair was as black as a midnight sky and her eyes ice blue. Her skin was the alabaster of the poets, her lips a perfect pink heart shape and when she parted them with a warm smile the whiteness of her teeth was dazzling.

I had to force myself not to stare and to keep moving forward until I was standing at arm’s length from Mister Hobbson. I also had to force myself to take my eyes off his wife and look him in the face. As I did I had a fleeting impression, an almost déjà vu moment, the little urchin I had seen on the driveway was clearly her daughter.

“Mister Cork,” Hobbson’s handshake was solid. “We had not expected you until tomorrow.”

“I like to anticipate things, M’lord,” I said.

“Please,” he smiled and disarming smile. “We are both American citizens now. No titles.”

“As you wish, sir.”

“But good impulse to be early. We will be having guests this weekend and I suspect it will take you the rest of the week to prepare.”

“Very good, sir,” I said. “I suspect I will fit into the household with no difficulty.”

“I certainly hope so,” Mrs. Hobbson’s voice was like the bells of a distant cathedral and muted horns all at once. “The last butler was — well, he did not fit in.”

“Oh,” I found it difficult not to stare at the stunning woman. “Is there something special I should know to help me fit in?”

Before the woman could answer a red and black sprite came darting from around the corner of the house and launched herself onto one of the chairs at the table.

“Penelope!” Mrs. Hobbson exclaimed. “Manners!” Even in condemnation the woman’s voice was musical and soothing.

The young girl ignored her mother and set about attacking some bread, slathering it with jam. She shoved most of a slice in her mouth then spoke. “I said hello to Mister Cork already.”

“How?” The elder Hobbson asked.

“I almost ran your little one over,” I said. “Coming up the drive.”

“I told you, young lady,” the mother said, “to be careful around the road.”

“He didn’t hit me.” She smiled up at her parents with jam decorating her face like a goatee. “Besides my friends would have stopped the car.”

“Now, Penny,” the elder Hobbson said. “No tales. And clean your face.” The little girl smeared the back of her hand across her mouth to get a fair potion of the jam, but not all.

“I’m done, papa,” she said. “Can I go?”

“Yes you can go.” He said. She scurried off the chair like a howler monkey and was off around the corner of the house.

“You must forgive Penelope,” Mrs. Hobbson said. “She has not adjusted well to her new life here in America.”

“Say it truthfully, Charlotta,” Mister Hobbson said. “Our daughter seems to have gone feral here in the new world.” The dark-haired woman colored at her husband’s words.

“We do our best,” the woman said. “But she is and always has been a wild child.”

There was an uncomfortable silence that I felt best to be done with. “Children will be children the world over,” I said. “Even imaginary friends are in every culture. I even had a few myself.”

“Imaginary friends?” Mister Hobbson asked with a curious expression on his face. “Oh—uh—yes. Imaginary.”

“Rose will show you to your room,” she said indicating the maid. “I hope you will be happy here, Mister Cork.”

The maid, Rose, led me back toward the house.

“How long have you worked for the Hobbsons?” I asked the fast-walking girl as we moved up the wide staircase in the mansion.

“Several months, sir,” she said. She kept her eyes forward as if she was afraid to look me in the eye. I suspected something under her reluctance.

“Who am I replacing?” I asked as we arrived at the door.

“Excuse me?” she asked.

“You heard me, girl. I was told my predecessor had to leave abruptly. Who was he?”

“I’m sure I don’t know, sir.” She was actively avoiding eye contact now and tried to head away from me.

“I asked you a direct question, Rose. His name?”

“Kentworth, sir,” she said, eyes focused on the floor.

“Why did Kentworth leave?” I pressed. “What was the reason?”

For a moment I thought she was going to bolt.

“I’m sure I don’t know, sir,” she squeaked. When I kept her eyes locked with mine she continued. “I, uh, he just was gone last week. We don’t know why he left, sir. It was — strange.”

“How so?”

“His belongings, sir,” she said. “They didn’t go with him. Nothing. He was gone one morning, and then the Misses came to us and told us to pack his things, and then some men came and took them away.”

“What do you think happened to him?” The fear was back behind her eyes. “Why do you think he left?” I asked.

“It was that girl,” she said on the verge of tears. “That little vixen done it, I know. Her invisible friends and all her strange ways.”

Almost the moment she spoke she clearly regretted what she had said and turned on her heels so I was alone.

I changed from my travel clothes to something more formal — one must set a good example — and returned downstairs to take my car to the garage. It was a stone building joined with a stable that had an apartment above it for the chauffer.

I found space for my own car and then, because I wanted to know the whole of my ‘domain’ as head butler, I went to the stable next door.

There were only three horses in residence and a young stable hand who greeted me with a certain suspicion.

“Aye, sir,” he said when I pressed him. “Mister Kentworth left. For his own reasons, I’m sure.”

As I turned to walk back from the ultra modern barn toward the house I spotted the little fireball Penny again. This time the young girl was crouching in the loft of the stable above an empty stall like a tiny gargoyle.

“Hello again,” I said as I saw her.

“Hi,” she chirped.

“What are you doing up there?” I asked.

“Perchin’,” she said.

“Perching?”

“Yup.”

“Like a bird?”

“I’m an owl,” she said. She was, to my mind, dangerously close to the edge of the loft so I positioned myself below.

“Well, do you think, maybe Ms. Owl might be a bit safer further back in that loft.”

“Oh, I won’t fall.” She gave a broad and confident smile.

“Because your ‘friends’ will save you?” I did my best not to laugh.

“Yup!” she said. “Wanna see?”

Before I could say ‘no’ she tottered forward and started to fall over the edge of the loft. I started to brace myself to catch her when the most amazing thing happened. She stopped.

I do not mean that she balanced in place and then rolled back to her crouch. No. Instead, the girl clearly fell forward to almost ninety degrees to fall off the ledge and simply stopped as if invisible hands were holding her suspended in the air.

In a few eye blinks she rocked back and was as solidly placed on the ledge as if she had never left.

“See?” she said. “My friends always protect me.”

Before I could say anything to the child, Penny giggled and then dashed off into the darkness of the loft.

I stood there, my jaw open in astonishment, and tried to make sense of what I had seen.

Or had I seen it? Had the girl played some trick on me? Could, perhaps, she have a hidden rope tied off behind her so that it appeared as if she was going to fall? Or a bungee cord?

“That’s it,” I said aloud. “The little minx was playing a trick on me.” I laughed out loud. “No wonder Kentworth was driven out. She tried to drive the fellow mad, I’m sure.”

I went to the center of the house — the kitchens — next to meet with the cook. The ‘center of the center’ was a full-figured woman named Mrs. Wilson.

“Yes, I’ve been here since the Hobbsons came over the pond,” she said. “And nicer folks I have not worked for.”

“Little Miss Penny,” I said, “Now she must be quite a handful.”

I thought I detected a tightening of the features of the portly woman, but she gave a brittle laugh. “Oh, yes, sir, Mister Cork she is. Always playing and running around.”

“Under foot frequently?” I asked.

“Oh, not so much,” she said with obvious relief. “She likes to stay out in the woods or by the stables.”

“With her invisible friends, eh?” I quipped. The cook seemed to shake herself at my words but gave me a wan smile.

“Yes, something like that,” she said. She went back to her work and I let her ramble on for a bit about Rose and the rest of the staff, occasionally asking a question but mostly letting her talk.

“Do you know why Mister Kentworth left so suddenly?”

For the space of two breaths she did not move then she turned her heretofore pleasant face to me, and there was something dark in her expression. “He just left,” she insisted. “People do things sometimes just ‘cause they want to.”

[divider]
I dressed for the evening meal before the masters settled in for their dinner. Mrs. Wilson did herself proud, and the Hobbsons enjoyed their meal. The little girl, now dressed more formally in a cute blue dress, kept up a running narration about her adventures in the woods with her ‘friends.’

I could not hear all of it as I was in and out of the kitchen, but she mentioned Lord Gob, Lady Flit, and Mister Humpity, who I gathered was some sort of pachyderm. Her parents listened and made comments such as, “That’s nice, but I thought Lady Flit had gone to Florida for the winter,” as if they were speaking of real people.

I am not sure I approved of feeding the child’s fantasy world so completely, but they seemed a relatively solid family, and it was not my place to judge.

“You played all day, Penny,” Mrs. Hobbson said as the meal concluded. “So it’s time to do your reading and then to bed.”

“Mom!” the tyke protested.

“Don’t ‘mom’ me, young lady,” her mother said. “We let you play because it’s summer, but you have to read your books in the evening or we’ll make you do them in the daytime — and then no playing outside!”

The moppet acquiesced reluctantly and went off to her room to do her lessons.

I made an appointment with Mrs. Hobbson for the next day to go over plans for the weekend and then went to my room. I felt suddenly tired and sat back against the headboard fully clothed and dozed off.

I cannot say how long I sat there dozing, but I heard a noise. It was a giggle out in the quiet hall. The decidedly girlish sound was followed immediately by a deeper, almost animal sound that was half-laugh, half-snarl.

“Good lord!” I thought as I put on the lamp and moved to the door. “Does the girl have a dog in the house?” I opened the door to glance into the hallway. The corridor was dark with the only faint light aside from the lamp in my room.

I was startled to see the young girl Penny, dressed in footed pink pajamas apparently floating down the hall! She looked for all-the-world as if she was seated on an unseen horse!

I rubbed my eyes at the sight. As I did, the child, startled I suppose by my opening the door, tumbled the three feet to the ground with a cry of ‘oof!'”

“Ouch!” she said. I moved toward the child by instinct and scooped her up.

“Are you all right?”  I asked.

“’Course,” she said with a pouting face. “Mr. Humpity was just startled by the light from your room. He’s shy. You scared him.”

“What are you doing out of bed at this hour?” I asked. The tyke made an elaborate show of brushing herself off and stood defiantly with her hands on her hips.

“I wasn’t tired no more,” she said as if I was an idiot to even ask. “And I had to go potty; then I went exploring with Mister Humpity.” She got a serious expression and looked around as if she had lost something.

“What is it?” I asked. “Did you lose something?”

“Mr. Humpity,” she said. “You scared him away.” She looked at me accusingly.

“Sorry,” I said. “But I had no way of knowing you were out here.” I found myself looking for whatever she had been standing on in the dark hall to pretend to be riding her magical elephant but could see only a bench, though it seemed too far away for her to have been standing on.

“Well,” she said. “How am I going to get back to my room?”

“You have legs, do you not?” I said. “That is how you got here.”

“I rode,” she said, now sure I was simple. “On Mister Humpity.”

“Well you can walk back,” I said firmly.

“It’s dark,” she said. “I … it’s a long way to my room.” She looked so pitiful I had a hard time not snickering.

“Would you like me to walk you back to your room?” I asked.

She nodded her head then added. “Could you ride me?”

“Ride you?” I asked.

“I mean, be my horsey!” she said. “It seems only fair since you scared Mister Humpity away.”

She looked at me expectantly. I knew that if I was going to fit into the household I would have to make my peace with the little vixen.

“I guess you win,” I said with a shrug. “I shall be your trusty steed.” I bent down with my back to her and, looking over my shoulder said, “Hop aboard for the bedtime express.”

She hopped up with her legs around my waist her hands around my neck. I put my hands under her legs and off we went.

The halls were silent as the tomb as I carried the girl along. She giggled and occasionally gave me orders like, “Faster brave stead!” or “Not so bouncy!”

“Do you always go exploring at night?” I asked her.

“Not all the time,” she said matter-of-factly. “Just when Lady Flit or Mister Humpity are restless.”

“Do your parents know?”

“Oh, sure,” she said, “They don’t mind as long as I don’t make too much noise or Mister Humpity does his business outside.”

I marveled at her bold-faced ability to lie.

“You’re a better horsey than Mister Kentworth,” she said as we approached her room and I moved to set her down. “But even he tucked me into bed.”

“Mister Kentworth used to give you horsey rides?”

“Uh huh,” she said.

“Did he do it often?”

“Kinda,” she said.

I paused to open the door to her room and flipped on the light. Inside were the pink and ponies I would have expected from a young girl’s room. I carried her to her canopy bed and sat on it.

“Do you know why he left?” I ventured.

The girl reluctantly climbed off my back and rolled onto the covers. “Yeah,” she said. She crawled around on the voluminous covers till she found a spot suitable to climb under the comforter. “I didn’t like him anymore.” She said the last with almost a snarl to her tone. “He wasn’t a good horsey.”

I looked at her with curiosity and wanted to ask more, but with the amazing ability of a child she dropped her head on her pillow and was instantly snoring.

[divider]
Penny was her usual mile-a-minute self at breakfast and told everyone that I had taken over for Mister Humpity the night before and had showed “promise” as a first-class mount. It did little to speak to my authority as head of staff.

After breakfast when the child was released into the wild, I was able to set about reorganizing the staff’s list of duties.

When I met the lady of the house at eleven she was all business about her ideas for the event on the weekend. Caterers had been hired, and some landscapers were coming later that day for me to deal with. At the end of the meeting I felt as if I had earned my pay.

“Very good, Mister Cork,” she said as she rose with grace. “You are very good at your job.”

“I aim to please, ma’am,” I said. “I hope to always give exceptional service.”

“We expect no less,” Mrs. Hobbson said.

“And Mister Kentworth could not supply it?” I became bold, I suppose because there were so many things that were not adding up in what should have been a perfect household.

She looked at me with ice blue eyes and nodded. I thought I saw something other than anger in her look. Fear.

I spent the next hour working with the gardening staff to prepare them for the landscapers and caterers. This left me at the south end of the great lawn near the woods. I found myself alone. Well, almost.

“I see you, Penelope,” I called. “You can come out.”

A black-haired head popped out from a bush. “I’m supposed to be sneaking like a spy,” she called back. “You’re not supposed to be able to see me.”

“Well, I do,” I said. “You’re not invisible like Mister Humpy.”

“Mister Humpity,” she corrected. She stepped out from the bushes and trudged over to me. “A spy don’t need to be invisible,” she said. “Just crafty!”

She walked right up to me and stared up at me as if in challenge. “What’cha doin’ out here? I thought you was gonna butler the house?”

“My job is to make everything in the house run smoothly, Miss Penny,” I said. “And sometimes that involves things outside the house.” She took to walking along side me as I moved toward the main driveway to take me in a long loop back up to the house.

“I’m tired of walking,” she said after a minute.

“Well, ask your friend to ride you,” I said with a smart aleck grin.

“You scare him. He doesn’t like you,” she said seriously.

“I’m sorry for that, but I don’t mean to be scary.” We were walking past the barn. “You’re not scared of me, are you?”

“Nope,” she said. “You’re not scary.”

“Then, do you think you could tell me something?” We stopped by the corner of the barn and I looked down at the tyke with a serious face.

“What is that?” She returned my serious look.

“Do you really know why Mister Kentworth went away?”

She surprised me again with a very direct answer.

“Oh, I know,” she said.

“Well, would you tell me?” I said. I wanted to shake her to make her tell me but realized I could not seem too anxious.

“Okay,” she said with nonchalance. “But it’ll cost you.”

“Cost me?”

“Nothin’ for nothin’,” she said sagely.

We stared each other down like two horse traders. At last I said. “What do you want in exchange?”

“A horsey ride,” she said.

“A horsey ride?”

“Yes. But the way I want it.”

“Okay.” I said. “As soon as I get–“

“No, not later,” she said. “I want a ride now. I’ll tell you about Mister Kentworth while you ride me around the barn.”

It seemed a fairly cheap price for the information I wanted, but I did not want to be seen surrendering to the child. Still, ten minutes of discomfort were worth finding out the answer to the mystery.

“Okay,” I said. I turned around and offered her my back.

“Oh no,” she said. “Horses have a flat back and have four legs. Last night that was more of a piggy back.” She looked like she had considered the whole matter very carefully.

“Do I have to?”

“Yep.”

She left me no choice so I got down on all fours. “Hop aboard, M’lady.”

She giggled and immediately climbed aboard. “Gitty up!” she commanded.

“Not until you start to tell me,” I said.

“Okay,” she said. “Take me to the barn, and I’ll tell you all about Mister Kentworth. You see, he didn’t like Lord Gob at all!”

I felt a fool, on my hands and knees with a child on my back, yet to find out what I wanted it seemed a reasonable price. “Mister Kentworth left because he didn’t like your invisible friend?”

“Yup,” she said. “Go faster!”

“How is it that he left because of that?” I felt absurd conducting an interrogation of a child while on all fours. “That seems pretty extreme.”

“That’s a big word.”

“I mean, that seems pretty serious.”

“Well Lord Gob is pretty serious,” she said. “And he doesn’t like it when people don’t believe in him.” She kicked me in the flank lightly. “Go faster!”

I moved forward at her command, all but ignoring the kick for my shock at her statement. “You got a man fired because he did not believe in your invisible friend?”

“Oh, he wasn’t fired,” she said between giggles.

“But he left,” I said. “You must have told your parents about his disbelief and they fired him.”

“No,” she insisted. “They didn’t fire him.”

“Then why did he leave? Where did he go?”

She giggled almost uncontrollably as I came up to the door of the stable. “Go?” she said as we entered the door to the stable. “He didn’t go anywhere.” She hopped off my back and danced away toward one of the stalls. “Mister Kentworth didn’t go anywhere.” She went to a stall where a tall white stallion was snorting restlessly.

“If he didn’t go anywhere,” I asked as I reared up on my knees to stretch my back, “where is he?”

The giggling child tapped on the nameplate on the door. “Silly,” she said. “He’s right here.”

It was then, to my surprise, I saw the name on the door; it said ‘Mister Kentworth’!

“What do you mean?” I asked.

The little girl patted the stallion on his nose. “Right here, silly,” she smiled. “I turned him into a horse.”

“Stop lying, Penny,” I said. “Now tell me what really happened to Mister Kentworth.” I let the annoyance in my voice tinge my statement.

“You shouldn’t call me a liar,” the child said. Her eyes narrowed and her lips twisted into a snarl. “I don’t tell fibs!”

She raised her arms above her head in a gesture, as if she were some junior Prospero summoning the winds, and laughed. “I told you you’d make an even nicer horsey and I meant it.”

I was sure my eyes were playing tricks on me for the child seemed to glow with a strange and eerie light then, like summer lightning in the distance yet crawling luminously along her tiny form.  Her eyes went from sky blue to glowing like blue flames.

“I like to play horsey,” the dark haired vixen said with an evil giggle. “And I’d like to play with you some more.” She crooked a finger and I felt compelled to fall forward onto my hands again. Only now instead of falling onto my open palms my hands had balled themselves of their own accord into fists. I fell onto my knuckles, only my knuckles were changing. To my astonishment my hands began to alter, changing into something not quite human. In a short time it was clear to me what they were becoming — hooves!

I looked back up at her to see the moppet was smiling evilly. “You’re gonna be just the bestest horsey,” she said. “Mister Kentworth was mean to Lord Gob. You were nice to him — even if you scared Mister Humpity. But I know you didn’t mean to. You’re not mean.”

My clothes split off me of their own accord, my shirt and trousers peeling off like the skin of a snake. My legs were legs no longer, now they were the hindquarters of an equine beast!

Just then Lucia Hobbson came into the stable followed by the entire household staff, cook, gardeners, maids and all. The lady of the house was dressed in riding togs and had her jet-black hair pulled tightly into a ponytail.

“Now then, Mister Cork,” she said as she approached me with a leather and metal bit and halter harness. She approached me with a smile on her sensual lips and her eyes shining but I backed away from her. “Take it easy. It is better to accept your fate than fight it. I’d say ‘ask Mister Kentworth,’ but that would be pointless.”

She slipped the harness over my head and forced the bit into my mouth so that in a few moments I was nothing more than a harnessed beast.

“Head up, Mister Cork,” she said. “Conformation is everything!” She laughed, an echo of her daughter’s evil giggle.

Penny came skipping across the stable and opened a side door where three of the most horrid things I have ever seen entered. One was a small winged woman, one a lumbering reptilian, and the third a thing very much like a shaggy elephant in miniature.

Lady Flit, Lord Gob and Mister Humpity themselves!

The three grotesqueries followed the little girl faithfully and, when she motioned them, stepped to the side of the barn and awaited her call.

Penny said in a cheerful tone, “Are you all ready to play horsey with me?”

I could do little but toss my head and pull on the reins in Mrs. Hobbson’s hands.

“He’s just a little skittish,” the woman said to her daughter.

Penny laughed. “I’ll fix that,” she said. She took the reins from her mother and with a nimble step vaulted to my back.

Her weight was negligible but the mere fact that she was seated on my back in a saddle was disturbing. She pulled on the reins and cried, “Okay, let’s go, Mister Cork.” She tried to get me to move toward the three grotesque forms standing along the wall.

I resisted and she slapped my rump. “Come on,” she called, “let’s go for a ride.”

Her mother saw my reluctance and said, “Oh, you think you are mad, Mister Cork? Or that your eyes are playing tricks on you? Penny!”

The little girl, taking her cue from her mother’s implied order said, “Okay, Mama, I’ll make them go away.” She clapped her hands and, to my shock the household staff, Mrs. Wilson, the maids, the gardener, the gatekeeper and all the others, simply vanished!

“You see, Mister Cork,” the dark haired mother said, “Penny does have imaginary companions, but they are not those three. It’s all the rest of us.” And with that the lady faded away leaving me alone with the moppet and her monsters.

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As a writer, Teel James Glenn, has over two score novels currently on the market. He was named best author for 2012 by the Pulp Ark Awards. His short stories have appeared in Weird Tales, Mad, Black Belt, Fantasy Tales, Pulp Empire, Sixgun Western, Fantasy World Geographic, Silver Blade Quarterly, Another Realm, AfterburnSF, Blazing Adventures and scores of other publications. His website is theurbanswashbuckler.com

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