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A short story...

Malcom Mckenzies was holding court in the club, a dozen members leaned in to listen.

"So, after losing the regiment I headed north-east hoping to pick up a caravan route across the Chatorkhani mountains. Long I trekked, hunting what I could with a small knife, and seeing no soul for weeks. One morning I descended into a lush valley and found myself on the edge of a vast lake. As I refreshed myself I heard a noise of struggling and looked up to see a leopard in the lake, tangled in fishing nets and drowning. Not thinking of any risk, I dove in and swam to its rescue. The fearful animal scratched and bit me but eventually I freed it and swam to shore, pulling it with me. On land, exhausted and bloody, I collapsed and passed out. When I opened my eyes hundreds of savage-looking men in leather tunics stood around me, all holding long spears ending in metal swords. At a word the soldiers parted and their King came forward, the rescued leopard at his side, tame as can be. He then spoke at length, pointing at me and gesturing up the valley, a curious language somewhat like Tajiki Persian. Luckily, I speak several dialects from the Hindu Kush. He said I had rescued his pet leopard and he was in my debt. Never had any man come into this valley kingdom and lived, for outsiders were forbidden and sacrificed to the gods in a most terrible way. However, I was an exception and he would grant me three wishes, which, if it were in his power to provide, he would do so. There was no time for thinking, so in his way of speaking I said, as best I could. Oh mighty King, your humble servant thanks you for your generous boon. I wish only for three small things, which are surely no great inconvenience for your majesty. At this he was most pleased and said speak. All his guards, six hundred men, leaned forward and listened. I wish to have six arms in honour of Lord Shiva, which will surely be useful; a cloak for my body which repels all weapons and hides me, even in plain sight, which should be even more useful; and finally, a manhood of gigantic proportions, which should be even more useful still! At this his guards burst into laughter, but the King did not, his face was dark. Over the next few days, whilst I was feasted as an honoured guest, his craftsmen wove a cloak of many special threads which when looked at was invisible, and blades simply slid off its shiny surface. Next his medicine men took me to a remote hut and treated me with many secret ointments and procedures and when I next left that hut my manhood was a full cubit in length. Finally, his sorcerers were summoned and chanted and danced and killed chickens and I drank the blood, and on the third day, much to my surprise, four new arms grew out from my shoulders. Now, the King’s six-hundred-strong personal guard much preferred the company of men to women and after my transformations they became somewhat enamoured with me, all wanting to cross swords. So, even though I could hold six swords in my hand at once, soon fighting broke out amongst them for my attentions. Within a day a hundred of the guard lay dead and the King blamed me for it all and so I was forced to flee. For many days they pursued me and I was saved only by the cloak that hid me from sight. Eventually I escaped and I wandered on alone. Much to my disappointment, on the third day one of my new arms dropped off (seemingly the magic of the King’s sorcerers was limited). The next day, another, then another until I was back to just these two. Then, so excited I was to see a village one day, that I dropped my cloak and then couldn’t find it at all, so well hidden was it on the floor. And here you find me, gentlemen, back in the civilised world much the same as I was before!"

At this some silence then then I coughed and spoke up. "What of the, er, well, manhood of gigantic proportions?" I asked, voicing everyone’s unspoken question. He stared at me for a while in silence, then finally said, "That magic, sir, thankfully remains, but not a day goes by that it isn't the first thing I check upon waking."


By R.Capper (c)2016