by Jason Gallagher
It took Teltim an entire day on horseback to get to the village. When he arrived, his legs ached and he was thirsty, but she was waiting at the village gate so he didn’t get even a sip of beer before he had to work.
“I need some repairs done,” she said, and led him to her house. She was frumpy, her gray-brown hair sticking out like a patch of weeds. “The carpenter says he’ll need several days to get the wood, as he’s all out. I can’t wait that long.”
A tree had fallen and taken out part of her fence and front porch. As he worked, using his magic to reassemble the shards of wood, he did feel sorry for her rotten luck. But her luck, and his, got much worse. She walked on to the porch to test it and fell right through.
He rushed up on to the porch. Dust plumes wafted into the air, and he could see her lying there, groaning. Two of the planks of wood, thicker than he would have imagined, lay across the woman’s legs and arm, pinning her to the ground.
He concentrated, holding out his hands to better reinforce the channel between his magic and the wood. He strained and huffed, and sweat even beaded on his forehead, but it was no use. He’d run himself dry trying to fix the house. Panicked, he looked around. No one had come out into the street to watch. He supposed that he should be grateful for that, but that meant there were no burly smiths standing around to help free her. He was on his own.
Carefully, he lowered himself to the floor of the porch, then slithered into the hole, scratching himself on the jagged edges of the snapped wood. He stared at the woman, rubbing his hands together.
“What are you waiting for?” she rasped.
He hadn’t lifted a heavy object in years, not since his magic had become reliable enough to do it for him.
“Come on!” She coughed, a great hacking fit. Was there blood?
No blood, he was just panicking. He took a deep breath, whistled, then knelt down and tried to lift the plank that pinned her arm. By the gods, it was heavy. He managed to lift it a short distance before it slipped, scratching his palm and landing with a resounding thud on her arm. She cried out.
Shit, shit, he thought. He lifted the plank again, keeping his grip tight even as he felt the pain in his back. When it was high enough, he gave it the best shove he could, tossing it off to the side where it clattered on the other rubble. Then he went to work on the plank that pinned her legs. He’d gotten it to about waist height when his back gave. He cried out, then toppled on to the woman along with the plank, and then she cried out.
“My gods,” she moaned, “how did my luck get this bad? You have to be the most incompetent wizard I’ve ever heard of!”
Though his back screamed out in pain, he resented that. He pushed himself to his feet with the agility of a man three times his age. Then he looked at the woman lying there in the dirt. Save the house? That wasn’t possible. But save her? It didn’t sound great, but it was something.
He pushed through the pain and managed to get the wood off her. Then he held his hands over her and concentrated.
“What are you doing?”
He poured the last bit of energy he could find into her, mending her just as he’d tried to mend her house. Once she found the strength to get up, he collapsed into the dirt, chest heaving, wanting to just go to sleep right there.
She dusted herself off, and it sprayed on his face, but he didn’t care. “Well, seems you’re a lot better at fixing people than you are at fixing houses.”
Even with all the time it took her to drag him onto the street and get him on his horse, he still felt like death. She patted his horse on the rump, and it whuffed.
“Do me a favor. Next time somebody calls needing home repairs, send somebody else!” Then, after a moment, she added, “But if I or one of my friends should get hurt, I’ll give you a call.”
If you liked this, please check out the other stories in the July 2019 Storytime Blog Hop:
- The Salem Witch Trials and What We Can Learn From Them by Amaliz Tenner, Class 4c, by Katharina Gerlach
- The Fairest, by Nic Steven
- Something About Mary, by Bill Bush
- Grumpy Old Harpies, by Juneta Key
- The Goddess of Wine, by Vanessa Wells
- A Melody in A Grotto, by S S Prince
- Say Hello to Chris Bridges, Supporting Storytime Quarterly Blog Hop
- Tears and Toil, by Barbara Lund
- Coming Soon:, by Karen Lynn
- Home Repairs, by Jason Gallagher
- The Robot Accomplice, by Janna Willard
- I – The Magician, by Raven O’Fiernan
- Evening Update, by Elizabeth McCleary
- Allies, by Eli Winfield