Chapter 6

Written by: Rosemary Wakelin

Sime had always been a dull-witted and clumsy lad. 

When his father, the village smithy, made Sime his apprentice, one disaster befell Sime after another. He scalded his skin with the red-hot iron, hit his fingers with the heavy hammer, even dropped it on his toes. “You’re useless, Boy,” his Pa yelled. “Hands like an old, frail woman.”

When his Ma sent Sime into the forest to gather mushrooms, he came home with what he thought were better, brighter coloured ones. “You stupid boy,” his mother screamed. “These are toadstools. You could have poisoned us all.”

The stories of his failures spread quickly through the village, soon earning him the nickname Simple Sime. The other children taunted him, threw rotten vegetables at him. Sime would just bow his head and slink away.

Then Jay came along.

Jay never ridiculed Sime or bullied him; he accepted Sime the way he was. The other children stopped their taunts; they were afraid of Jay. Everyone was afraid of Jay.

“Nothing but trouble that boy,’ his Ma said. “Needs a good whipping, he does. That’d send him right.”

Sime knew that no whipping would ever send Jay right. Jay was bad, very bad. But like Jay, Sime accepted him the way he was. 


The bees attacked Sime with unbelievable ferocity. He batted his hands violently but the desperate action only incited the creatures further. He wrapped his arms around his head, shielded his face from the ongoing brutality. Nothing helped. His skin burnt hot from scores of agonising stings. Sharp cramps racked his nauseous stomach and breathing became slow, difficult, almost impossible. Sime staggered forward, dizzy and disorientated until he finally collapsed. Death he knew was waiting for him. Sime welcomed it.

Just as he was about to draw his final breath, someone grabbed his red, swollen hand and pulled. 


Sime opened his eyes, could see very little, his surrounds too black. When he moved, he found himself soaking in cool, wet water; water that fast soothed away the blistering pain. The smell wasn’t a pleasant one, a little musty, earthy but his skin felt remarkably refreshed and renewed. 

Near him, the gentle sounds of water rippling. “Feeling better?” 

Sime knew Jay’s voice better than anyone did. He squinted at the relentless dark, saw nothing more than a blackened shadow. “I can’t see you,” he whispered.

The ripples became more like splashes now, heavier, closer. A sharp blast of water sprayed Sime's face. “Your eyes will soon adjust,” Jay said.

Sime blinked several times, noticed the blackness already melting. “Where are we?” 

 “‘The Shallows… a place of mystical healing.”  

Sime wanted to ask how Jay knew about the place, how they were able to escape the bees. But Jay spoke first.

“The Shallows are the inlet to the Underground Hole of the Untouchables.” 

Sime shivered. Even he knew this to be a place of pure evil. He blinked repeatedly until he could see with more clarity. 

And immediately wished he hadn’t.


This is very clever writing. Your opening sentence immediately captured me and I was away. As Simes and Jay's friendship unfolds we have no idea where it might lead but we sure do by the end. You take the reader on a journey and we follow every step without you making us feel as if you are encroaching on my space. Beautiful!
Thanks Suraya :)