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Stragglers

Recorded Live, This is Audio Adventures with Joshua David Ling

*Theme song begins*

Mike Kraft is your standard lonely trucker on the open road. But something paranormal keeps following him.

This, is Ghost Trucker

*Theme Song Ends*

These audio adventures are supported by listeners like you. Without your help, these stories can't be produced. If these stories feed your imagination, please consider helping me feed my family by visiting joshuadavidling.com/support, and becoming a monthly contributor.

If you'd like to read along with today's story, or check it out in text after the fact, you can visit https://joshuadavidling.com/gtrep1/ and read my full script.

if you'd like to be a sponsor of this podcast in exchange for an audio advertisement, get in contact with me at joshuadavidling.com Today's episode is sponsored, by the following...

*Play Poets At War Sponsorship 1*

((Christians who are artists, artisans, and creators are a unique unit in The War on Culture. They're often over and under-estimated at the same time. What does it take to be an artist, and what does it take to win the culture war?

Join Joshua David Ling as he rallies the troops to answer these questions and promote the best artists for God's Glory. We're in this war together, join us at the front!))

And now...

Ghost Trucker, Episode 1, Stragglers

1 - Truck STOOOOPPP!!!

“I’ll never forget the songs we sang.
I’ll never forget the games we played.
I’ll never forget the times we had.
And I owe it all to you.”

Mike Kraft scoffed at the lyrics on the radio
Inside that run-down truck stop.
He had a long way to go to Fort Bragg, California
And his mind needed to be tip-top.

An old man sat on a guitar stool,
Behind the counter, chewing gum.
He stared at a tv listlessly,
Seeming to have no fun.

“Y’all ain’t got the jerky I want.
What you reckon is the best?”

The man to no notice of Mike,
So Mike continued to press.

“I said, you ain’t got the jerky I want!”

“I heard ya before!
I don’t know, I don’t eat jerky!”

“Then what good are ya for?”

The man grabbed a shotgun off his counter,
And began to head toward Mike.
Mike put his hands up in a placating gesture.

“Hey, I didn’t want a fi-”

“Shhh!!!”

The man hushed him,
And walked past Mike to the door.

“There’s a storm brewing out on route 50.
There’s lots of danger in store.
Many have gone down that road,
And many have been driven mad.
Your truck may survive that white-hot desert.
But will your mind last?”

Mike laughed aloud and sighed aloud.

“That’s a good one there.
I’ve done this run eight times before.
But you sure did give me a scare!
Look, I’ll just take this one here.
Will you ring me up?”

The man put his gun back on the counter,
And sat down with a huff.
He rang up Mike and said no more.
Mike went back out to his truck.

“Stupid crazy small town men.
I wish I had another spot for my truck.”

He climbed inside and dialed the radio.
And soon, he began to drink.
He looked at a few pictures on his wall,
And just sat there, trying to think.

He saw his Mom, his Dad and others,
But he stared at an empty spot.

“Get some good sleep tonight Mike.”
It’s a long road ahead-”

“STOOOOOPPPPPP!!!”

Mike jumped at the sudden scream from his speakers,
The radio crackled and popped.
But a moment later, his signal came back.
And he searched around for his glock.

But nothing else happened that night.
And in fact, he slept well.
It’s a good thing too because he would need it,
To make it through the desert’s spells.

2 - Melanie

As Mike Kraft flew down the highway,
The radio continued it’s static.
The interference was getting to him,
As was the enigmatic-
Moment several hours ago
When the radio screamed at him.
And the weather wasn’t looking good either.
In fact, it looked rather grim.

As the road stretched on and on,
A tiny shape came into view.
It was so dark that he almost missed it,
And his alertness he renewed.
He swerved to avoid the human-ish object,
But felt that something was hit. 
He cursed under his breath,
And pulled over to take a look at it.

He ran back fifty yards or so,
And saw a little girl.
She was shaking in the cold of the desert,
And fright had rocked her world.
She stared down at the remnants
Of a Hard-cover backpack,
The victim of Mike’s eighteen wheels,
And when Mike shouted, She shouted back.

“What the flying squirrel are you doing?!
Do you realize where you are!?”

“I’m walking to California. Is it very far?!”

The girl shook with cold and fear.
Mike couldn’t believe his eyes.
He grabbed his phone from out of his pocket,
And lifted it to the skies.

“No signal, figures.
Dispatch has been pinching pennies,
Downgrading our phone service and plans.
What a bunch of ninnies...
Girl, what is your name?”

She took a moment to respond,
As Mike grew patient with her.

“Melanie is my name.”

“Well, I’m not leaving you here, for sure.
Come with me to the next town,
And the police can help you there.”

They gathered up her undamaged belongings
And got aboard his truck,
And drove on to the next town,
To see what would be their luck.

3 - More Signs

The night air was still upon their route. 
Not even a little breeze. 
Melanie lay cuddled up in the passenger seat, 
As he drove steadily, and with ease.

Now that she had drifted to sleep,
He flipped on his radio.
Hoping to find a good station,
To keep him alert and on the go.
He flipped to the first channel on the dial,

“I’ll never forget the songs we sang.
I’ll never forget the games we played.
I’ll never forget the times we had.
And I owe it all to you.”

Mike changed the station, 
He hated that song. 
But it buzzed and crackled, 
And before too long, 
It repeated those same four lines again, 
And he punched the radio
In frustration then. 

““I’ll never forget the songs we sang.
I’ll never forget the games we played.
I’ll never forget the times we had.
And I owe it all to you.”

Melanie stirred at the sound of the punch,
And the swelling of the tune.
Then Mike tried to turn it off,
But the song fought through the gloom-
Of the night, and the darkness around,
And and began to grow louder
Than every other sound.

“I’ll never forget the songs we sang.
I’ll never forget the games we played.
I’ll never forget the times we had.
And I owe it all to you.”

Melanie stirred as Mike grew cold,
And the noise continued to grow.
But Mike had to hold his wheel tight,
And keep his eyes on the road.
For even though he felt no wind-
Against the sides of his rig,
The overhead roadway signs quavered,
And started to do a jig. 

Melanie screamed as one fell down, 
And Mike had to swerve to pass. 
Others began to melt like butter, 
As they went under an overpass. 

“Just hang on!”

Mike screamed aloud, 
As they rocketed down the road, 
And Melanie closed her eyes shut,
And tried to be brave and bold.

4 - Bacon and Eggs

The next thing Melanie knew
She was waking up in a bed.
She smelled bacon and eggs cooking
Which soothed her aching head.


Mike: “Hey! You wakin' up over there?”


The gruff trucker yelled to her.
She covered her ears with a pillow
And he laughed:


Mike: “Just makin' sure!”


A few moments later, Melanie yawned,
And stretched her tiny arms.
Mike brought a plate over to her,
And she smiled at the breakfast warm.


Mike: “Ya ain't much of a morning person, huh?”


Melanie shook her head.


Mike: “Probably still freaked out about last night.”


Melanie shivered with dread.
Up until then she believed
The previous nightmare
Had been simply that.
But Mike's voice grew grave as he took off
His beige, dusty, trucker cap.


Mike: “You remember it too, huh?
I'm not sure what went down.
I saw things, and then they were gone.
Then we just... Went into town.
You had fallen asleep by then,
So I just carried you.
I'm gonna take you to the Sherriff's office later.
They'll be able to help you.”


Melanie made to protest,
But Mike cut her off.
His phone rang and he answered it,
And began to loudly talk.
His attention toward her shifted,
And he began to pace
All over the hotel room
While she ate the food on her plate.


As she ate, however,
And Mike with someone jawed-
She thought she heard a set of strings
As if from heaven or God.
She listened closely and followed the sound
To their exit door.
And then she peeked to see if Mike
Was still yammering away from her.


Mike's attention was completely fixed
On whatever this phone call was.
So Melanie slipped out of the room
Without so much as a pause.

5 - Moment of Joy

Melanie walked slowly,
As if not to scare away-
The beautiful sonic creatures
That floated her way.
Every shimmering note
Seemed like a song in itself.
They'd spring with life and fire in a moment
Then dance back down with a yelp.
They seemed fraught with sorrow and pain
But hope still lingered within.
Then she saw the man playing
And helplessly grinned.


A man in his late 20's
With brown skin and poorly cut hair
Was sitting on a bench by the hotel
Laying his heart bare.
His eyes were closed as he silently mouthed
Words to go with his song.
A baseball cap laid beside him on the bench
Disgustingly dingy and worn.
It'd once been bright and white.
But the dust and fabric's cuts
Served to make it almost brown
With all the sweat and muck.


Melanie bobbed her head,
And her toes began to tap.
And before she knew it, she was dancing
And putting coins in his cap.
He smiled and kept playing
Quickening his pace.
She giggled and the two shared a joy
Within that tiny space.


But soon he played discordantly
And fumbled to a stop.
Melanie turned and saw Mike
Standing with his arms crossed.


Mike: “What do you think you're doing, boy!?
She's a little girl!
Come on, Melanie. We're going to the Sheriff.”


Mike took her and twirled-
Her around and off they went,
To try to get her back home.
Leaving the guitarist by himself
Confused and alone.

6 - The Sheriff

"If she doesn't want to give me her last name,"
The Sheriff calmly said,
"Then all I can do is post her picture
And simply hope for the best.
My wife said she can stay with us.
And she's coming to pick her up."


Mike: "Sounds good to me, Sheriff,
I just need to get back to my truck."


Sheriff: "Sorry it took me so long.
We got over a dozen calls last night.
Must be a full moon or something.
Everyone's full of fright.
Seeing things like ghosts and junk,
Reasonable people too."


Mike: "Huh." Was all that Mike could say,
But deep inside he knew,
Something was following him down the road,
But he didn't know how.


Mike: "Well thanks for taking the girl, Sheriff.
I'm gonna head out now.


...


During that conversation between
The Sheriff and Mike Kraft,
Melanie was in the other room
Lying down on her back.
She stared up at the ceiling fan,
And then she heard a sound.
The man's guitar was playing again,
And she sat up and looked around.


She checked to see that Mike and the Sheriff
Were still discussing her fate.
She rolled her eyes at some of their words,
And slipped out the back gate.


Thinking: "They can't tell me what to do.
I've got to get away."


She followed the sound of that guitar
Her siren song did play.

7 - Hitchin' A Ride

Mike Kraft thundered down the road
Finally on track, it seemed.

Mike: "Finally, some peace and quiet."

Mike to himself beamed.
He'd cut a couple of wires last night,
In his FM Radio.
Hopefully there'd be no more freak shows
For his many miles left to go.

Bang and clang! Went several noises
That nearly made him swerve.
Something was back in his trailer!
So he pulled off the road to serve
A bit of Texan justice
To whatever made that noise.
He pulled his hand gun out of the dash,
And walked back to the door, poised.

He inspected the plastic seal,
And saw it had definitely been cut.
He sighed in both relief and worry.

Mike: "This is just my luck."

He lifted the latch and shined his gun-light
Into the trailer, then.
All the cargo was accounted for it seemed.

Mike: "Come out, you cluckin' hens!"

Then sheepishly from behind a pallet,
Came Melanie and the man with the guitar.
Melanie had her arms crossed,
And The man's we're in the air.

Mike: "Why won't you two leave me alone?!"

He said lowering his weapon fast.

The man: "She came in the truck, and I tried to stop her!"

The man said blurted out in a blast.

Melanie: "I saw a ghost get in the truck!"

Mike: "Both of you get out, now!"

They carefully came out of the trailer,
And dropped down to the ground.

8 - Black Ash

Mike: "There ain't no Ghosts, Mel!"

Mike said climbing into the trailer.

He shuffled about the pallets,
with full plastic containers.
Mike knew he was going to lose
Money since the seal was broke.
Especially since he knew that
It was a Government load.

He ripped the lid off of one and peered deep inside.
Melanie winced and held her friend,
All three's nerves were fried.

Mike looked in and saw,
Some sort of black ash.
He knew this was going to a disposal facility,
So he didn't want to ask.
He closed the lid and then hopped down.

Mike: "Now what should I do with y'all?"

His yelled above his roaring truck,
But then it began to stall.
He stood a moment, slightly confused,
Then went to start it again.
But no matter how he turned the key,
No sound came from within.

9 - Peanut Butter and Jelly

Mike: "I took a quick look, but it seems like
It'd be smarter to wait for the mechanic."

Mike told his two guests while they sat
In his truck's apartment, feeling manic.

Mike: "I had to use a satellite phone.
I purchased with my own coin back in town.
Stupid dispatch been pinchin' pennies.
I told them: 'What happens if we break down?!"
We're really out in the sticks.
Gotta conserve energy in case things get dicey.
Either of you want a sandwich?"

They both nodded, and he made PB and J,
And they sat and enjoyed their meal.
Well, enjoy isn't exactly right,
As everyone did feel
The tension within that tiny room,
Mike decided to break the silence.

Mike: "Boy WHY ARE you following this girl around?"
He asked with great defiance.

Man: My name is Ozzie. I'd appreciate
If you'd use my name, kind sir."

Mike: "Well, Ozzie what's your game?
What team are you playing for?"

Melanie: "Stop being mean! He's just trying to help."

Mike: "Well, that's what I'm afraid of, Mel.
Look, why don't you just start from the beginning.
I'm sure you've got a tall tale to tell."

10 - Ozzie

The Music-man with latin skin
Took a deep breath and his story did begin.

"My name is Oswaldo Dominguez.
Most people call me, Ozzie.
I've been hitchhiking from Palestina, Mexico
Like a one-minded kamikaze.
My family sent me to the States
Their situation is dire.
Twice our town has been burned
By deliberately set fires.

I am almost at the end of my funds.
I had almost given up hope.
Then this girl, who reminds me of my daughter
Threw me a saving rope.

She told me you're going to California.
And Along the way we'd go-
Out from you and your truck
And hitchhike to San Francisco.
From there I can find a path to make it big
And play my guitar and be found,
And perhaps that will save me familia
And our little town."

Mike: "You left your family? Don't Palestina have jobs?
I'm sorry, Oz, but your story's a little odd!
How dare you abandon your family like that!"

Ozzie: "I had no choice!"

Then they all noticed something VERY... BAD...

Instead their roadside assistance savior,
They saw a most-threatening sight.
1 dozen black SUVs
Sailed down Route 50 through the night.
Men with suits arrived and stepped out,
Surrounding the whole truck then,
The 3 of our heroes sat silently freaking
In Mike Kraft's truck cabin.

*AA Theme song begins*

*Improvised Outro*

*AA Theme Song fades out*

The Protector And The Conduit

Recorded Live, This is Audio Adventures with Joshua David Ling

*Theme song begins*

An Urban American moves to Ireland and finds himself embroiled in an ancient disaster that nearly split the universe apart. He and his new friends must hold our world and theirs together until the final healing can take place.

This, is Craic In The World

*Theme Song Ends*

These audio adventures are supported by listeners like you. Without your help, these stories can't be produced. If these stories feed your imagination, please consider helping me feed my family by visiting joshuadavidling.com/support, and becoming a monthly contributor.

If you'd like to read along with today's story, or check it out in text after the fact, you can visit https://joshuadavidling.com/ctwep1/ and read my full script.

if you'd like to be a sponsor of this podcast in exchange for an audio advertisement, get in contact with me at joshuadavidling.com Today's episode is sponsored, by the following...

*Play Poets At War Sponsorship 1*

((Christians who are artists, artisans, and creators are a unique unit in The War on Culture. They're often over and under-estimated at the same time. What does it take to be an artist, and what does it take to win the culture war?

Join Joshua David Ling as he rallies the troops to answer these questions and promote the best artists for God's Glory. We're in this war together, join us at the front!))

And now...

Craic In The World, Episode 1, The Protector and The Conduit

1 - American Exile

Jayshawn Grogan was a little boy-
Raised in New Orleans.
His parents had a hard time keeping up with him,
Every night, they'd drink themselves green.
They were never abusive to Jayshawn,
But he had to fight for his life.
At school, at the corner, and in between,
His young days were full of strife.

One day Jayshawn had had enough.
It was time for him to break free.
So at 16 he stowed away on a ship,
And to Ireland he did flee.
His Gram wrote him letters from her home there.
So to Ballyshannon he'd go.
He'd seek a new life on the Emerald Isle,
And his Gram, he'd finally know.

He found his Gram without a problem,
She took care, and pulled some strings.
She got him his Irish citizenship,
Among many other things.
Those 6 years with her, were loving and carefree,
Until one day she died.
Peacefully she drifted off in her sleep.
But before she'd slept, she tried-
To write Jayshawn about something important.
But it looked like gibberish.
Symbols and letters all jumbled up,
Was one of them a fish?

Jayshawn inherited the house,
And put the message away.
He always thought Gram a little crazy.
But he'd find out one day,
Exactly how sane Ol' Gramma was.
The clock of time ticked by.
And this is where our story truly begins,
In the middle of July.

2 - Bumping Into Destiny

The streets of Ballyshannon hummed-
In the middle of afternoon.
Light drizzle served to paint the town
In a thin, but substantial gloom.

Jayshawn walked, hands in pockets,
Feeling alone and lost.
But that was certainly nothing new,
His life had had quite a cost.

But just as Jay began to despair,
Destiny hit him hard.
A petite young woman, running full bore,
Slammed into him, and both were jarred.

Both took a moment to collect themselves,
And Jayshawn saw her face.
The palest countenance he'd ever seen,
She was a creature of grace.
Her platinum blonde hair was almost white,
And the only color to be seen,
Was in her bi-colored, smiling eyes,
One orange, the other green.

Jayshawn: "You alright? Why were you running?"

He was answered before he knew.
A man in a suit stepped around a corner,
Continuing to pursue.
He pulled a gun from his coat,
And pointed at the girl.
Jayshawn took the pale girl's hand,
And into the crowd they whirled.

3 - The Protector

Shots were fired into the air,
Making the crowd scatter quick.
Jayshawn pulled her through an alleyway,
That with people, was less thick.
They rounded a bend and came to his house,
He fumbled around for his keys.
He unlocked the door, and they stepped inside-

Jayshawn: "Would you tell me, please?!
Why is Agent Smith there,
and why is he mad at you?!
What in God's green earth
And sam-hill did you do!?"

Woman: "Why did you bring me here?
Did you pick that lock?"

Jayshawn: "What?" Jayshawn said,
His confidence rocked.
"What are you talking about?
Are you mental or something?
Why in the world-
Was that man coming-
At you like that,
With gun in hand?"

Woman: "... You have her eyes.
Do you know the plan?"

Jayshawn: "Do I sound like I know-
Some secret plan?
And who is she?
Do you mean my Gram?"

Just then, the lock on the door was shot,
And the gun-man kicked right in.
Jayshawn disarmed the man in a second,
Twisting his wrist, breaking the limb.
He slammed him to the ground, and got on top,
With his forearm, he choked the gun-man out.
He rose and took the gun in hand.

Jayshawn: "You better tell me right now.
Who are you, girl, and what is this plan?"

Jayshawn began to tie up,
The gun-man who'd been chasing her.
She looked frightened and worried,
And struck with awe, But definitely sure,
That she could trust Jayshawn with her life.
He'd just saved her right here.
She took a deep breath to calm her nerves,
And silence any lingering fear.

Woman: "Was your grandmother,
Lydia Grogan?
And what are you doing, there?"

Jayshawn had picked up his phone to call,
The police, and get them there.

Jayshawn: "I'll calling the fuzz,
What's it look like?"

Woman: "Oh please! Don't call them now!"

Jayshawn: "Girl, you must be hella-insane!
You think I'm gonna stop now?"

The woman grabbed the phone from his hand,
And slammed it on the receiver,
Then spoke fast and trembling, spilling out words,
Almost like she had a fever.

Woman: "My name is Zoe Wallace.
Around here, anyway.
But my real name is Ziona Aisling.
And you saved me this day.
I knew your grandmother
From years ago.
She was my last Protector.
Now I'm alone. Though-
Are you her blood? Or were you adopted?
I guess it doesn't much matter.
The job of Protector is so simple."

Jayshawn: "Are you done with your chatter?
Zoe, is it? You knew my Gram?"

Zoe: "Yes,
She was wonderful to me.
She knew our fight to keep Otherworld,
And this world strong and free-
From the ripples of the event,
That caused the rift in time."

Jayshawn: "Whoa whoa whoa, Dimensional girl,
I think you've lost your mind.
I'm calling the cops, whether your like it or not.
You can stay, or get out.
But don't think of trying anything funny.
I ain't afraid to choke you out."

Zoe frowned. Her eyes pleaded with him.
But she got up and ran.
She sprinted past the broken door,
Into the streets of Ballyshannon.

4 - Research Time

Cop: "And you're sure he just busted in by himself?
No one else was involved?"

Jayshawn: "I told you seven times officer,
I don't care if it can't be solved.
No one else was here,
When he shot my lock.
I fought him, and I won.
Is that such a big shock?"

The cop frowned and moved along.
Not daring to ask anymore,
Of the grandson of that crazy old woman,
Who lived at address 204.
The cops left, and Jay, was finally alone,
With himself and with his thoughts.
And so he turned to Google,
For the answers he sought.

He found a lot of crazy speculation
On the albino girl-
With two different colored eyes-
That had just rocked his world.
But only one result was local,
And it came from a blog,
From a local bookstore,
That was only a 15 minute jog.

Jayshawn shut his computer down,
And left his home without a lock.
And he set out for Deoch Eolais.
Just around the block.

5 - Patty Hallett

Deoch Eolais was a small storefront,
Jayshawn had passed before.
It was a hole in the wall, just down the street,
And very obviously a bookstore.
But there was an eeriness that seemed to loom,
Just beyond its doors.
The dark green paint hid, something inside.
And Jay's mind played on him, head wars.

But he pressed on and went inside,
And it smelled very musty.
The books on the shelves were mostly very old.
Dingy, faded, and dusty.
The he navigated the labyrinth of bookshelves,
To the "front" counter in the back.
Which sat next to a cage for ancient books,
And other valuables to be kept.

A little woman about 30 years old,
With a brunette braid popped out-
Almost like a meerkat from his den,
And she greeted him with a shout.

Woman: "Welcome to Deoch Eolais!
Can I help you today, kind sir?
Looking for anything in particular?
Or are you not yet sure?"

She pushed her glasses up on her nose,
And smiled at him professionally.

Jayshawn: "Yeah, I want to know what you think,
About our resident Albino chick.
I saw your blog post on your website,
And there, you kind of lay it on thick.
Something about some crazy event,
Thousands of years ago?"

Woman: "Well you're half-right. The Precipitous Event
Took place around 1100 though."

She went about her business,
Putting more books on shelves.
Jayshawn followed as she explained.

Woman: "This world has been through hell,
What with the otherworld connection slowly spiralling,
Completely out of control."

Jayshawn: "See, you lost me again there, sister.
You are on quite a roll."

She sighed but smiled once again,
And held out her hand to him.

Woman: "Pleased to meet you sir, My name is Patty Hallet.
And all I'm telling you isn't a whim."

Jayshawn: "I never said I thought it was.
There's something weird about that girl."

Patty: "So you've met her before? What was she like?
I hear she's pale as a pearl."

Jayshawn: "She's... Interesting, to say the least.
So what was this 'Event'?"

Patty: "Basically a Legend that simply states,
Something cosmic is happening at present,
And has been happening since the 1100's,
Where another dimension and ours collided,
And now the two are unravelling fast,
And you're not listening!" She chided.

Jayshawn: "Mostly cause I'm lookin' at that monster,
Starin' at me from outside."

Patty's eyes widened as her door flung open,
And Jayshawn ran to hide.

A werewolf-like creature, about 7 feet tall,
Barrelled in right at Patty.
Patty stood her ground with surprising confidence,
And said,

Patty: "That's a good boy, laddy.
Come to sister, we'll take care of you."

And when it got there,
She side-stepped it.
It landed inside the ancient books cage,
And she very quickly locked it.

The monster thrashed inside the cage,
Angrilly snarling and trouncing about.
Patty put her hands on her hips,

Patty: "Stupid, man.
Now I'm out."

She turned her attention to Jayshawn,
Who sat staring at the beast.

Patty: "Come on out, I'll buy you a drink.
It's the very least-
That I can do, after a sight like this.
My brother can be quite the pain sometimes,
I need a pint or two to relax me bones,
And you look like you need to unwind.
There's no one coming in this store,
While Ted is in his fog.
C'mon, man, have a drink with me,
Down at the Handsome Hog."

6 - The Tale of Ted Hallett

Darkness was upon Ballyshannon.
It was too hot to work in the day.
And so, at the ruins of Cullahill Castle,
They worked the night away.
The archaeologists were lead,
By native, Theodore Hallett the fifth.
His fathers worked on this same site,
It's secrets they tried to lift.

"Sir!" A grunt called, as he put his shovel down.
"I think I found the entrance to the King's crown!"

That passage by name was legendary.
Very few thought it was real.
Ted hopped down into the pit,
To get a better feel.

Sure as sure, a single file tunnel
Marked with engravings and art,
Had been unearthed by his new grunt member.
The who was named Bart.

Ted: "Get a team together, Johnny!
We are going in."

Bart: "Can't we wait for tomorrow, Teddy?
What if there's beasties within?"

Ted: "We're going down, and that is that.
This is an an amazing find!
They say kings stored their treasure here.
Let's see what kind of kinds."

Into the darkness they crept along,
The cold wind rattled their bones.
Everyone but Ted looked freaked out,
The tunnel seemed to drone.

Ted: "Johnny! Shine your light over here!"

Johnny didn't respond.

Bart: "I think he went out to get some supplies."

Ted: "I hope that you're not wrong..."

They continued further, and heard something sniff.

Ted: "What's wrong, Connor? You smelling something?"

Bart: "No. But something is."

Ted: "Where's Connor? Where'd he go?"

Bart: "Probably to the fridge.
I heard his tum tum rumbling.
A little bit ago."

Bart suddenly cried out in alarm,
And Ted was all that was left to show.

A low and primal growl,
Emanated from the hall.
And forward loped a two legged hound.
Ted pressed against the wall.
It's forelimbs were shaped like a man's.
But clawed like a rabid dog.
He had no doubt. This was a werewolf.
And to his death he had slogged.

There was a shining pendant of stone,
Around the beast's broad neck.
Ted grabbed it and jerked with all his might,
Trying to choke it to death.
But the pendant broke free , and hit the wall.
The stone was shattered there.
The werewolf instantly turned to gold treasures
And Ted just couldn't leave it there.

He grabbed a necklace to confirm all was real,
And he ran out of that tomb.
But as he ran in the moonlight,
He felt a sudden gloom.
He limped right over to their tents,
And saw Bart's mirror there.
He jumped and roared at the image he saw.
A werewolf holding its stare.
He backed away, as did the wolf,
And he suddenly realized,
He was now a werewolf too.
And he howled into the skies.

7 - More Than Can Be Imagined

Patty Hallet sat with Jayshawn,
His jaw dropped open in shock.
Patty Hallet chugged down her beer.
And then wiped some foam from her smock.

Patty: "My brother changes back and forth,
Not knowing when it will happen.
But sure enough, he is the Werewolf,
Of this town, Ballyshannon."

Jayshawn: "That's insane. I'm not sure I believe it.
Even though I saw it myself."

Patty leaned into the table's low light.

Patty: "Cumina there's an elf."

She pointed to a short bartender,
Jayshawn looked puzzled-the-more.

Jayshawn: "What the heck are you saying, now?"

Patty: "To wake up and see what's sure!
There are more creatures hereabouts,
In this world than anyone knows.
These secrets aren't very well kept.
You just have to look past your nose!

There are giants, and fairies, and spirits and more.
But no one will just look out their front door.
People love to be ignorant of the wonder of this world.
They say Fairytales are hogwash, meant for boys and girls.
But I know the truth, and the truth is this.
The World is more wondrous than you thought could exist."

Cumina the alleged elf,
Came over and refilled,
Patty's mug of beer,
With a brew both frothy and chilled.
Cumina looked like a tiny woman,
Around the age of 22.
She wore a baggy knitted hat,
In patterns of red and blue.
Her hair and hat would have covered her ears,
If pointed they really were.
And Cumina didn't look very pleased,
With the things Patty had conferred.

Cumina: "Couldn't help but overhearing,
You're telling this one my secret.
Tell me why I shouldn't slit your throat,
Miss Pretty Patty Hallet?"

Jayshawn grabbed a steak knife and slide it into his sleeve.
Cumina put a hand on his wrist. And said to him-

Cumina: "Honey? Please.
If I wanted to kill either of you, I'd have done it by now."

Patty: "Cumina comes from a warrior tribe."

Cumina: "This conversation I'll allow.
As long as you let me tell my own tale.
Patty has a way of lying.
Over-dramatizing the facts to fantasy,
For anyone who is inquiring."

Patty went to protest, but Jayshawn gave her a look,
And Cumina sat down. Her time she took.

Cumina: "... I was part of the protector clan,
Out in Otherworld.
I protected the conduits who kept the link connected,
Between there and our little world.
I had it all, fortune and fame,
And a fiance that was mine.
'Til one day I was framed for his murder.
I was stuck with the crime.

Unlike your world here, where things are black and white,
I was sentenced on a middle ground,
Where they said there was not enough light.
To see what could've been found.
So neither guilty nor innocent,
I was banished to Earth instead.
To live out the rest of my immortal days,
In nothing but sadness and dread."

Patty put a hand on her shoulder,
And Jayshawn felt pangs too.
The story Cumina told brought Empathy,
For the little elf who was so blue.
She pulled the corner of her hat up,
To show Jayshawn it was true.
Her ear was long and pointed underneath.
This changed all that he knew.

Jayshawn: "So you were a protector too?"

Cumina: "Too he says, Patty, Dear?
I haven't heard of a protector in these parts,
For over a hundred years!"

Patty: "He is one. He has the mark."

Jayshawn looked confused.

Patty: "And I believe The Last Conduit is in Ballyshannon.
But he is less than enthused."

Cumina: "Well we've got to show him his path then, don't we!?"

Jayshawn: "You two are crazy! For reals!"

Jayshawn got up to leave the table.
Without even paying for his short meal.

8 - Werewolf on the loose

But when Jayshawn got to the front door,
He looked out and saw a sight.
A snarling, hairy, wolf-man-beast,
Making everyone run in fright.

Patty came running,

Patty: "Ted Got out!
We have to capture him now!
Before he hurts anyone else!"

Cumina: "Or hurts himself somehow."

Patty looked pleadingly at Cumina,
Who now looked very annoyed.

Cumina: "More help cleaning up your mess?
I am overjoyed."

The elf took off her apron,

Cumina: "To me, a debt you owe!
Just give me a second to get my armor,
My quiver, and my bow."

Cumina scampered off,
And Patty looked out concerned.
She looked up to Jayshawn who looked petrified.

Patty: "If there's one thing you must have learned,
From your grandma, it's to step up and assist.
I need your help now, Protector Jayshawn.
Things might be at their bleakest."

Patty pointed and Jayshawn looked,
And he saw Zoe Wallace being attacked.
She had climbed up to an awning above a shop,
But the werewolf would not move back.

Patty: "If she is killed, this world will collapse,
And beauty will be forever gone.
Please help us Protector Grogan, sir.
Please help us, brave Jayshawn!"

Jayshawn: "Look, just stop it. You're so dramatic,
I'll help save whoever I can.
But we're waiting for Cumina to get back.
She's the one with the plan.
She's also got some arrows too,
If she wasn't talking in metaphor.
Just chill with me, he hasn't seen us.
Just chill for a few minutes more."

9 - To Catch A Werewolf

Patty grabbed a cricket bat,
From off the wall at the pub.
Jayshawn grabbed himself one too,
To use as a sort of club.

The werewolf man was almost upon her,
Zoe trembled and backed away.
Now there was no time to wait for Cumina.
They had to fight this day.

Jayshawn said a little prayer,
Then they dashed out at the beast.
Patty swung at the beast's knees,
And took him off his feet.

Zoe screamed and turned and ran.
The beast caught Jayshawn's bat.
He splintered it within his grip,
And roared on top of that.

Jayshawn and Patty took a step or two back,
But Patty barked in his face.

Patty: "Back down, Ted! I know you're in there!
Get back to the safe place!"

Ted's roar turned to a guttural growl,
And Patty pushed forward toward him.

Patty: "Ted, I am NOT letting you do this.
Do you hear me?! Are you within?!"

Ted backed up into a corner,
His werewolf form unsure.
Patty reached out to touch him,
But he swatted at her more.
Then from atop a nearby wall,
In the alley they had led him to,
They heard a song in Gaelic sung
By a voice that was solemn and blue.

Jayshawn looked up and saw Zoe,
Or Ziona as she said her name was.
She was singing to the beast below.
And he whined and raked his claws,
Against the brick of the wall that separated
Him from his pale white prey,
But Ted Hallet in werewolf form,
Would not get her this day.

An arrow from Cumina's bow,
Flew down the alley and hit,
Ted's backside, and penetrated deep,
And the beast began to quit.

Ted turned back into a man,
Naked in that alleyway.
Patty pulled the arrow right out.

Jayshawn: "Are you sure that that's the way-"

Patty: "He still has healing powers going,
Up to an hour after he's changed.
If I left that arrow in his rear,
His seat he'd need to rearrange."

Jayshawn: "That still doesn't really explain,
How he fell asleep like that."

Cumina came down the alleyway,
Swaggering like a cat.

Patty: "You sure waited long enough."

Cumina: "I had to find my bow!
It's very seldom I get to use it now,
Come on, pick him up and let's go!"

Jayshawn: "I don't like this guys,
What if his sleepyness is a trick?"

Cumina: "It isn't, numbskull, I did it.
The secret's in my spit."

Jayshawn: "Say what!?" Jayshawn exclaimed in shock,
“Are you telling me you've got venom!?"

Cumina: "It won't kill you, but it'll make you sleep,”

Patty: "We need to get him some denim."

Jayshawn turned and looked up the wall,
Zoe was still standing there.
She smiled and quietly stared at them all,
Her gratitude expressed with a glare.

Jayshawn: "Why don't you come and join us, Zo?
Maybe it's time you had some fun."

Patty: "Aye, I'll treat you all to a pint."

Zoe: "A pint? Let me show you how it's done."

They all laughed and Zoe climbed down the wall,
And they all went to get Ted's clothes,
And soon enough, they ended up at The Handsome Hog,
To celebrate and drown their woes.

10 - The Protectors Reform

When all was said, and all was done,
They sat together. Their battle was won.
Patty filled Ted in as much as she could.
Then Zoe told stories of evil and good.

She told them of the event that was set off in time,
And how Earth and Otherworld continue to unwind.
She told them of the conduits, who them bound together,
And the ancient plan for how. Jayshawn thought she was clever.
Then she told them all about, her woes and of her mirth,
To be the last living conduit, on the planet earth...

At this revelation, the table went silent with dread.

Jayshawn: "Are you saying without you, we would all be dead?"

Zoe: "Not quite dead, but you'd be lifeless.
This world continues to slow-
All wondrous and fantastic activity-
That allows this world to grow.
If it's bond with Otherworld
Is severed for a moment,
All beauty and joy would cease to exist,
And a similar fate would be reckoned-
To the people of Otherworld.
They'd be more like abstract thoughts.
Floating around with no concrete form,
I guess you can connect the dots."

Patty: "You need help right away!
And we'll be there for you!
I say we make Jayshawn the leader!
All who think it's cool?"

Jayshawn: "What??"

Everyone raised their hand in a moment.
Jayshawn looked around and sighed.

Jayshawn: "This isn't something I should be scared of.
In fact, I take some pride.
We're the last protectors on Earth?
We'll protect Zoe to the death.
I've accepted that this is the reason-
Why God gave me breath."

And so The Conduit had her Protectors.
But safe would she always be?
There's many-a-thing in Ballyshannon,
I suppose we'll read on and see!

*AA Theme song begins*

*Improvised Outro*

*AA Theme Song fades out*