It was a pretty dank night when I was driving home from the convention. Muggy, warm, foggy, smelly - a night which smells like gym socks after use but before laundry. A night which gags skunks.
So there I was, alone in the car after dropping people off and looking forward to getting home, stripping off my clothes with wild abandon and retiring to a nice relaxing bath, when the fog did something entirely un-fog-like - some of it coaleasced and turned into a strange shape right behind me.
It looked like a rider on an odd mount.
My first thought was, You've got to be kidding. Fog doesn't just turn into stuff, much less riders with mounts, for no good reason.
I could feel it was hunting me. I felt it in my bones.
I looked in my rear view mirror at the very odd sight. I didn't see much in the fog - it was a very foggy night indeed - but I could make out antlers on the mount. Both mount and rider had glowing green eyes.
They started coming at me at a high rate of speed. The rider was yelling and gesturing at me - seemed to be asking me to stop.
I floored the gas pedal and accelerated as fast as I could go, feeling delight seeing the speedometer read something like what a NASCAR racer would see on the track, fear regarding the strange eldritch hunter behind me, and terror that there might be a cop car waiting for me within a mile.
No matter how fast I drove the hunter kept after me. I felt a thrill of fear in my stomach as I decided to keep myself safe. I slammed on the brakes, hoping the hunter wouldn't have time to swerve and might wreck himself and his mount on my car.
Me and my lousy luck... his mount jumped *over* my car and landed in front of me as my car stopped, then wheeled around. I got a better look at them both. What a sight!
The rider was an elf - Tolkien style, tall and graceful and longhaired. His mount was a cross between a rabbit and an antelope - yes, the dreaded Giant Jackalope.
The rider dismounted, walking slowly to my window. As you can well guess, I was, shall we say, not in a particularly stable state of mind. I tried to stomp on the gas pedal but my leg refused to move. I eyed the stranger with horror. He knocked on my car window.
Well, this wasn't the action of a dark elf psychopath, so I rolled down my window like a good little doobie. "Y-yes? Can I help you?" I quavered.
His voice was musical. "Would you happen to know the way to Boston? I'm a little lost."
He seemed amused.
"Uhm, what part of the city? And do you mind toll booths?" I asked, uncertainty in my voice.
"A fast route is all I require, and tolls will be given if trolls are not riven. I have gold aplenty."
For some reason, my greedy side just wasn't awake right then. "Well, take Route 9 east to the Massachusetts Turnpike and head east from there. Straight into Boston. Uhm, they won't take gold at the toll booths. You'll want some local money." I stammered as I handed him a roll of quarters.
He smiled. "You're a pretty nice human. That's why I chased you, your soul seemed sympathetic. Hold on - a gift for a gift." He walked over to his mount and removed all of his riding gear. He brought it to my car and put it in the back seat, along with a full clinking pouch. "Should any brethren of mine come by, show them part of my riding gear. They will know you to be a soul who will listen - and moreover, under my protection. And you may even get more gifts should you give them honest succor, like you did me."
He smiled. "Fare well, mortal." Then he strode back to his mount and rode off into the foggy smoggy night.
I drove home.
The next day I looked at the gifts the elf had given me. The pouch was full of gold! Hey, the rent was made! Remembering his advice I looked through the riding gear and started carrying a piece of it around. And it's been very good for me, at least to my way of thinking.
You shouldn't be too surprised -
The bit of the hare that dogged you is good for what hails you!
May 4 2001
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