Those that didn’t believe in stories and folklore had taken over the forest. They looked for her with evil in their hearts. Pola was her name and she was the last of the Great Storytellers. She was part Irish and part Native American. Pola lived deep in the forest by an old creek with her grandson Larry and his dog Buddy.
EDITOR’S NOTE: SEE PART ONE BELOW ⤵︎
The fog floated across the swampy water with an eerie silence. This was a true Carolina swamp with its dark water filled with gators, snakes and things unseen. Pola brought us to the border town of Fair Bluff and then bid us farewell. She was there one moment and then like the morning mist she was gone. It was up to us to find the great publisher of stories Dennis Pitocco. It was said that he was in Tampa Bay, the last bastille of storytelling, knowledge and safe harbor for writers.
Pola sent the deep swamp and fly-fishing guide Charlie Walker and Sir Charles Hempstead who was Buddy’s friend and last descendant of Lord Hempstead the Gaelic king’s personal pet squirrel. These two would guide Larry and Buddy across the swamps to the uplands near Tega Cay home to the great artist Raissa Urdiales
The water was thick to the touch, the feel of roots and things unknown kept us in a constant battle to keep the fear away.
The travel was slow, and we used long poles to guide the two dugouts between the trees and stumps. The silence was broken by the sounds of Bloodhounds barking and people shouting. Charlie had made a false trail leading the unbelievers even deeper into the swamp. This would buy us some time to cross the miles of water and reach Devil’s Elbow then continue on to the Limber River.
Fear is something that some say you can smell and taste. It had crept up on us with a devil’s grip.
The unbelievers were closing in from all sides. If they captured us then they would find the Strong Ink and lock it away, there would be no more stories and the children would never know imagination. We could hear the boats and shouting from all directions and knew they were closing in on us. We had to wonder would the storytelling end today and the world be without imagination forevermore.
Charlie Walker and Sir Charles Hempstead came back saying that because of the flooding they had found a small creek that would take us to the Pee Dee River. We poled our dugouts up the small creek knowing freedom was just miles away. In the distance, we could see The Pee Dee River, yet the unbelievers were within sight of our small group. We could hear an Airboat in the distance heading our way. Tonight would be another night that storytellers would sit by beds and say Legend has it that deep in the forest………… for one more night the children would still believe in fairytales.
Coming soon Part Three. The Dragons Lair