Henry, Part 2
By Sam, age 18, Massachusetts
Sweet Designs Staff Intern
The Unfortunately Cursed Henry Gobstopper, Part 2
Editor's Note: For part 1 of this story, see the August issue.
When Mr. and Mrs. Gobstopper returned to their quaint cottage in the woods, only to find their house obscenely quiet, they didn't suspect anything unusual. Their Henry, being under the circumstances he was, had always been a very quiet boy, so returning to a cottage filled with silence was actually quite commonplace. It wasn't until dinner, when Henry didn't come out of his room after his mother called him to the kitchen, that his parents became suspicious of their son's whereabouts. When they found his room completely empty, they damn near became hysterical with panic.
They first searched the woods, fearing Henry had gone for a walk and had gotten lost, or had fallen into a ditch and was severely injured, or had stumbled across a wild animal and had been chased up a tree and was too scared to climb down, fearing the creature was waiting for him, and he couldn't cry out for help because of the predicament of his voice, so all he could do was clutch onto the bark of the tree for dear life in the hope that someone would find him before he slowly withered away through starvation and dehydration and ... well, you get the idea.
Henry's parents searched the woods frantically until the sky became so dark they could barely see their hands in front of their faces. This inconvenience, however, did not deter the Gobstoppers' efforts to find their son. They both decided Henry's father would head to the village to see if Henry had been found there, and if he hadn't, Mr. Gobstopper would then try to organize a much larger search for his missing son. Henry's mother would then stay at the cottage, albeit rather unwillingly, on the off chance that Henry would return while his father was at the village.
Mr. Gobstopper was nearly out the door when a loud POP! echoed in the living room. Startled, Henry's parents ran into the room, wondering if their son had miraculously returned to them.
The loud popping, however, was not Henry miraculously returning home. In fact, it was merely the sound of a small purple envelope, now laying on the floor surrounded by glittering red confetti, miraculously appearing in the Gobstopper's living room.
Cautiously, Henry's parents examined the letter. Upon seeing it was addressed to them and written in Henry's handwriting, they excitedly tore open the envelope and read the letter.
Dearest Mother and Father,
Henry was always exceedingly polite when writing letters, as he felt he had to make up for the impossible negativity that occurred whenever he spoke.
I must sincerely apologize for my sudden, unannounced disappearance. I'm afraid the circumstances of my departure were rushed and unexpected, so I had no chance to leave a note to explain where I was going. But do not worry. I am completely safe.
As it turns out, I am now in the company of a rather unconventional, but earnest gentleman by the name of Sir Francis Derdrick Sniggleswaggle. Sir Sniggleswaggle has stated that he knows of a way to remove the cursed infliction in my voice. Unfortunately, this procedure involves something Sir Sniggleswaggle does not have on his person, so some traveling will be needed in order complete the necessary steps involved in removing my curse.
I will hopefully only be gone a short while, but in the event that my return is delayed, I promise to send you another letter to explain my whereabouts. I look forward to seeing you and talking with you as soon as possible.
All my love,
The next day, Henry's sudden disappearance was the talk of the town. Some village folk, including Mrs. Gobstopper, were still a little worried about Henry being out in the world on his own, while other villagers, including Mr. Gobstopper, were uneasy about having Henry in the care of some mysterious "Sir Sniggleswaggle", but everyone excitedly anticipated Henry's return as a new, normal boy.
Henry's actual encounter and conversation with Sir Francis Sniggleswaggle, however, was not nearly as elegant or as proficiently written as Henry's letter suggested. It actually involved much more eccentric shouting and a few extra sore bruises.
The bruises were the result of Sir Sniggleswaggle's excessive running through the woods. Upon dragging Henry from his doorstep, he did not once turn his attention away from the spinning arrow of the compass. The result of this, along with his uncannily fast running speed, which is most likely the result of his uncannily long legs, caused Henry's much smaller and less uncanny body to be thrown about while Sir Sniggleswaggle recklessly followed the directions of the compass. Henry, therefore, on several occasions, had the very unpleasant assistance of greeting a variety of trees with his face, shoulders, hips, back, and other useful, not necessarily important, parts of his body. He was also much better acquainted with dirt after this run, as the momentum of tripping over his own feet caused him to spend a decently long amount of time being dragged along the ground.
It is then safe to assume that by the time Sir Swiggleswaggle actually reached his traveling magic cart of spells, potions, and tricks, Henry was very much tired, exhausted, and looked liked he could use a shower, several bag of ice, and a body cast of bandages.
Sir Swiggleswaggle, however, oblivious to Henry's injuries, merely exclaimed, "By George, lad! I do believe we've found my cart! What a wondrous discovery! I knew your handy compass would prove to be quite the lifesaver." He then released Henry's arm from his bear trap of a grip and ran to his magical cart of spells, potions, and tricks with his arms raised triumphantly in the air.
"My beloved, I have returned!" he announced to his cart. His cart, of course, being a cart, and therefore having neither a mouth nor a way to vocally subject its opinions, said nothing in response to his proclamation. "Oh my darling, I've missed you so much!" he continued proclaiming. "Don't worry, sweetheart. I'll never lose you again, I promise! I swear, I'll never, ever, ever, ever ..."
Henry, being almost forgotten a few paces away, used the opportunity of not being dragged across the ground by Sir Sniggleswaggle to catch his breath and observe the details of the cart that supposedly held the key to the removal of his curse. While trying not to pass out and crumble into the fetal position, Henry noticed that the cart appeared rather small for supposedly being so magical. It looked very much like a wooden box sitting on four large circular wheels. The box on wheels also had a driver's box like a horse drawn carriage would, but it appeared to have neither a driver nor horses to pull it. The cart was also painted in a variety of colors - reds, greens, blues, aquamarines, sunshine yellows, and pinks, all blending into various dancing swirls decorating the wood. And sure enough, sprawled across the side of the blue cart in large squiggly gold letters, it said: Sir Francis Sniggleswaggle's Traveling Magic Cart of Spells, Potions, and Tricks. Reading the name across the side of the cart, the corners of Henry's lips perked up in excitement.
A sudden rocking from inside the cart, however, quickly diverted Henry's attention to the cart's back door. With a few jiggles and a push, the back door of the cart flew open, and a woman fell out onto the ground. Henry, being the only one to notice the woman, as Sir Sniggleswaggle was still too busy embracing his cart to notice a family of rabbits riding a three-legged pony, hobbled as best he could to the spot where the woman lay and offered her a hand up. The woman, however, did not notice Henry either and picked herself up.
She was a rather homely figure. She had plain, brown hair and plain but bright brown eyes, with a small nose and freckles dotting her cheeks. The woman wasn't necessarily plump, but she wasn't exactly thin either. She appeared to be a several years younger than Henry's mother, but Henry didn't think he would consider her to be a young woman. Henry noticed she strongly smelled like apple pies, and that there was something naturally beautiful about her face.
"My goodness," she said, dusting off the apron hanging loosely from her red dress. "That door will never open right. If I ever get it open on the first tug, I think I'd fall out just from the shock of it." The woman then looked up and noticed Henry. After a small lapse of confusion passed over her face, she smiled at Henry.
"Why, hello there, dear," the woman said. "Don't you look like you've been trampled by a pack of wild horses? My goodness, how can you be standing?" Henry, in fact, did not know how he was still standing, so he shrugged his shoulders to answer her question. The woman shook her head and sighed. "Mister Francis?" she called.
"Ah, I see you two have become fast acquaintances," Sir Sniggleswaggle said, abruptly appearing in front of Henry and the woman as if it were the most natural of things to do. "Henry Gobstopper, this is Maple Mupple. Maple Mupple, this is Henry Gobstopper. I'm glad both of you have chosen to bond over your similar unfortunate circumstances, but this is not the time for idle chitchat. We must make our way to Lake Lilith at once. So now, everyone, onto the cart." Finished with his speech, Sir Sniggleswaggle jumped into the cart and began to prepare whatever it was he was meant to prepare.
Henry, however, merely stood outside the cart dumbstruck. Not only did he really not understand half of what Sir Sniggleswaggle had just said, but he also didn't understand how he knew his name when Henry had clearly never told him.
Maple, pitying the look on Henry's face, patted him on the back. The poor boy had no idea of what he had gotten himself into.
"Don't worry about it, dear," she said. "Let's get inside and write a letter to your parents. They'll probably be worried sick when they find you missing."
To be continued in next month's issue.