Aphelion Issue 275, Volume 26
August 2022
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page

Stumblin’ Mumblin’

The Old Hag’s Tales 2

by Raymond Towers

Stumblin’ Mumblin’, from these parts,
Always said, ‘Sir, ‘ave a heart.'

Always seen with outstretched hand,
By several taverns, ‘cross the land.

You gave no coin, he’d raise a stink,
His only care was a good stiff drink.

Stumblin’ Mumblin’, well, he’d be done,
Only when he was good and drunk.

With no coins left, he’d be dragged outside,
And that was where he’d spend the night.

There you’d find him many a dawn,
‘Til business dried, then he’d move on.

Now, it so ‘appened he staked a spot,
In the tiny village named Ambrilot.

This was when the town was cursed,
But Stumblin’ Mumblin’ had not heard.

It seems some took to robbin’ graves,
For jewels and gold, the naïve knaves.

In their haste they’d plunder the dead,
Fairly sure that’s how the story went.

They awoke a spirit from Ancient Times,
One who’d committed atrocious crimes.

Nothing was known, not rhyme nor reason,
You shut that door, my arse is freezin’.

But to my story, dark deeds forgot,
This criminal was sentenced to rot.

His casket wrapped with locks and chains,
To prevent his being released again.

But to these fools, greedy after loot,
How tempting had this coffin looked?

Buried so deep and locked up so tight,
Such a morsel they’d crave to bite.

They broke the chains and wrenched the lid,
But I tell you, it’s the last they did.

Both their bodies, next morn’ were found,
The bunglers had died with nary a sound.

To tell you the truth, and why would I lie? 
They were white as sheets, their blood sucked dry.

You may or may not believe in such things,
Townsfolk began seeing a creature with wings.

Its shape could be seen when the moon was high,
And another soul missing, every few nights.

A beast from Hell, or a man gone wrong,
Cast from mages’ spells, or witches’ songs?

Can’t say for sure, but this I do know,
I’ll clobber you good, if you don’t shut that door.

But there was Stumblin’, layin’ on the street,
Wishin’ he had copper for one last drink.

From a house nearby, comes a hideous shriek,
So that Stumblin’ gulped, his knees went weak.

A huge creature swoops by, strugglin’ with a maid,
And old Stumblin’ Mumblin’, who’d never been brave,

He reaches out quick, grabs the beast by the ankle,
But this demon can’t shake him, as it’s already tangled.

The monster bounds forward, with a deafening roar,
And old Stumblin’ Mumblin’, too afraid to let go.

He’s bein’ dragged along, a grindin’ and a bumpin’,
So that Stumblin’ Mumblin’ becomes Stumblin’ Tumblin’.

His head’s on the cobbles, and his heart’s fit to burstin’,
So that Stumblin’ Tumblin’ becomes Stumblin’ Cursin’.

Maiden keeps kickin’, strikes him hard on the head,
So Stumblin’ Cursin’ becomes Stumblin’ Seein’ Red.

You young ones may have seen a drunk go berserk,
And for Stumblin’ Mumblin’ that’s all that it took.

He grabbed that furry ankle, and he bit down to the bone,
And the cry from that monster woke everyone at home.

Monster drops maiden, hell bent on doin’ harm,
And he sinks his sharp fangs into Stumblin’s arm.

In frenzy, it’s siphoning up Stumblin’s blood,
And of Stumblin’, you might predict no good.

Thus the maid had fainted, and Stumblin’s goin’ weak,
When clear out of the blue, comes a startlin’ shriek.

If you recall, old Stumblin’ had been drunk to the gills,
He’d drunk all though the night, and for once, had his fill.

So the beast, by sucking out his blood by the pint,
Had quickly got drunk, and was now losin’ its mind.

It teetered and it tottered, it swayed and it swooned,
It billowed and it bellowed, it craned and it crooned.

The townspeople gathered, and the monster was bound,
And a great pyre was built right outside the town.

The creature would be burned, not a pretty sight to see.
Shrieking something awful, smelled like arse times three.

The fire was kindled, there weren’t but ashes left.
The curse was over, and the town was in debt.

Stumblin’ Mumblin’ got to drink as much as he desired,
Drank so much, in fact, that eventually he tired.

Gave up his drunken ways, and even became mayor.
But that’s another story, I’ll save that one for later.

In the end, the town’s saved, and the monster defeated,
And Stumblin’ Mumblin’ became The Town Hero.

© 2009 Raymond Towers

Raymond Towers numbers 32 published pieces of prose and writing among his credits, including 'Old Hag Tales 1', which made its appearance in the October 2009 issue of Aphelion. The aspiring author currently holds one completed novel-length manuscript, as well as two others awaiting a final polish, which he hopes to publish sometime in the coming year.

Find more by Raymond Towers in the Author Index.

Comment on this story in the Aphelion Forum

Return to Aphelion's Index page.