Take Me Away by Anne Cargile

Alin Irmif:  It was a hot summer day at the book fair.  All the authors were working on the same story

…or at least it appeared that way. The fair hall was hot and stuffy and had too many writers scribbling away. I doubted there’d be more than a couple of stories even worth working on, but my will was the publishing houses’ command and they had sent me to India to run a workshop on storytelling. The scratching of pens and pencils on paper was giving me a headache and I needed fresh air.

I stepped outside into the blazing sun. The day was as hot and bright as you could want in New Delhi and I had probably lost 10 pounds in water weight since arriving. Which wasn’t such a bad thing, I mused. At least I’d been allowed to bring Edward with me. I grinned thinking of my boyfriend. He was always up for some kind of adventure and did a great job of keeping me out of my head. I checked my watch and saw that it was close to the time he was supposed to meet me for lunch, so I went to the bottom of the hotel steps and leaned against a lamppost to wait for him.

Standing there in the sun, I must have started to daydream, because out of nowhere an elephant was walking down the street straight toward me.

I couldn’t help but laugh. The poor beast was decked out in sparkles, looking like an entire trailer park of women had bedazzled the hell out of it. I started laughing and stopped abruptly when I realized the thing was real. I held my hand up to block the sun, and lo and behold, there was Edward grinning down at me.

A guffaw almost escaped, but I stuffed it back down my throat when I saw his hurt expression.

“I’m sorry. I just, really, um I wasn’t expecting you to pick me up in, on? an elephant,” I said, trying to go for apologetic.

It must have worked because his smile became almost as bright as the spangles on the damn elephant. He was holding on tight to a rope that I guess was used to guide the poor beast. Personally, I thought it looked more like a noose.

“Do you like my surprise?” he asked, his voice just a little high. The elephant shifted and he hauled back on the rope while I jumped back to avoid getting squished.

“Are you my knight in shining armor, here to whisk me away to freedom?” I asked, playing along.

“My lady fair!” he said, bowing precariously atop his perch. “I, Sir Edward, atop my loyal steed, am here to take thee to a banquet of delights. Come, ride away with me!”

I couldn’t help it and I started giggling. This was why I loved him so, that he could play and be just as crazy as I was, but was too afraid to show. My laughter came to an abrupt end when I looked around and noticed a rather important detail.

“Oh Knight, how do I get up?” I asked.

Edward sat up straight, a slightly confused expression as he looked around. I saw his brow wrinkle as he realized the problem.

“I have no idea,” he said. “I hadn’t thought that far ahead.”

 

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