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The People of Glassy Pond
An excerpt from The Seventh Trail;
“Do you hear it?”
Pete craned his ear toward the east as he scanned the underbrush. Bisbee heard nothing. He was about to compliment Pete on his keen sense of hearing, when he heard it too. The leaves around them broke into a hypnotic dance as the sound grew louder and louder. Low tones of a steady drumbeat vibrated the forest floor.
Then, as if appearing out of nowhere, he saw them. Row after row of little people marched into the open-air theater. In perfect alignment and all being the same height, they reminded Bisbee of a well-oiled machine. Rocking back and forth to the beat of the drum, they filled the arena. Pete handed Bisbee an old spyglass that had been wedged in the branches of the maple.
The clockmaker had never seen anything like them. Their heads were abnormally large in proportion to their bodies and their hair was parted down the middle, waxed back with a shiny substance. The most fascinating thing about the little people was their ears. Beet red in color, they were swollen and cracked. Irritated to the point of constant itching, the little people dug their fingernails deep into their earlobes.
Dropping the eyeglass to his side, Bisbee turned to Pete.
“Look at those ears.”
A red-breasted robin joined them on the limb and after smiling at Bisbee, nestled into a perched position to enjoy the show. She seemed to admire their red ears.
Suddenly, the beat of the drum broke into full orchestra. Bisbee had never heard such beautiful melodies. Perfect in pitch and flawless in delivery, the show had begun. Bisbee sat motionless, watching the scene unfold. The crowd swayed in perfect unison to the rhythmic tempo. As the music subsided, one of their number rose to his feet and walked to the stage.
Shouts of excitement reverberated through the tree limbs, but Bisbee noticed their mouths were closed. Scanning the crowd to discover the source of the thunderous verbiage, Bisbee was shocked to realize that the sound was coming from their ears. They appeared to be shouting with their ears to the one who had walked onto the stage.
What happened next can only be described as a celebratory dance between crowd and speaker. The little man on the stage spoke soft words that were amplified in their ears. In return, the crowd smiled back, nodding vigorously. Keeping them in rapt attention, the one on the stage calmly continued speaking. Pete turned toward his new friend.
“Watch their ears.”
Bisbee lifted the spyglass and focused his attention on their red irritated ears. The scratching had stopped and the redness was slowly dissipating. A deep sense of relief passed through the assembly like a wave, causing the crowd to fall into a hypnotic trance.
The ears of the Little People appeared to be completely healed and at that point, whatever the Little Man on the stage spoke was quietly acknowledged with nods and smiles. Bisbee found himself beginning to nod along with them, when, without notice, it all ended. Vanishing into the forest underbrush, the people of Glassy Pond disappeared.