The Noodle Trap
One day a father and his daughter were out eating at their favorite restaurant, The Noodle Shop. The father enjoyed that he got the night off from cooking, while his daughter enjoyed her macaroni and cheese. As always they got their meal and went to their regular booth to enjoy their dinner together. Unfortunately, this night was about to change.
A small man, walking stiffly trying not to spill his food, approached their booth. Without asking he sat down next to the father saying, “I hate to interrupt, but I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation and unfortunately for you sir she is correct unicorns do exist.“
The father looked down his shoulder speaking firmly, “You shouldn’t barge into someone’s table like that.”
The stranger ignored the rebuke and spoke to the little girl, “Not only do they exist but so do numerous other creatures.”
The father looked at his daughter and saw that she was becoming mesmerized by this stranger’s words. So he elbowed the stranger commanding, “Leave us alone we’re trying to enjoy our meal.”
The stranger grunted standing up from the booth. After retrieving his meal, he spun around and left muttering something under his breath.
The father watched the interloper leave, then turned to look at his daughter saying, “I’m sorry about darling.”
“No worries, dad.” The little girl replied as she watched the man disappear around a corner of the restaurant.
The father smiled at his daughter and then felt the air around him thicken, prompting him to look up from his daughter. He saw the interior of The Noodle Shop begin to grow and expand and shook his head with shock as he saw the windows fade from view. As the proportions stretched out, he looked at his daughter and saw fear creeping into her face.
As his daughter’s fear rose, she looked at her father and shadowed beings grabbed him whisking him away. Without thinking, she leaped from the booth trying to grab hold of her father, but her fingers just missed him, and she fell upon the floor that had begun sprouting grass.
She lay there crying when something began nuzzling at her head. She whipped her head up hoping to see her father but instead saw a majestic unicorn. If her father had been there with her, she would have squealed with joy, but instead, she dropped her head muttering, “My father was taken.”
“I know little one,” The unicorn replied with an angelic voice.
Sniffling, the little girl, looked up, “Do you know where he is?”
“I do child, and the wizard who took him will not easily relinquish what he has taken.”
“Can you help me?” The little girl pleaded as she slowly began to stand.
The unicorn shook her head answering, “I will not be able to help you on my own child.” With those words, tears began to well up around the girl’s eyes. Before they could flow the unicorn looked down offering, “Though I do have friends that might be able to help us rescue him. Come climb on my back and hold my neck tightly.”
The little child followed her directions, once settled the unicorn began to speed through the partially transformed restaurant. They passed by numerous tables and booths as they sought the unicorn’s friends. They collected a wise and fierce wolf, a silent and noble stag and a bold and stoic bear.
Each consented to help the child rescue her father and the party quickly made its way to the wizard’s sacred grove, located in the heart of the endlessly forested Noodle Shop, once its kitchen. Towards, what should be the center of the kitchen the tile there seemed to have been partially transformed to sand. She saw her father tied to a steel beam inside of a circle of stones and small pots.
Those shadowed figures who had taken him and the stranger who had interrupted their meal were circling her father. That man was no longer dressed in the baggy clothes that hid him, and she could see what he was. Pulling from her mythology, he was a satyr. She whispered to the unicorn, “What are they doing?”
“They are preparing the ritual to transfer your father’s essence to the wizard.” The wolf answered for the unicorn.
“How can we save him?” The frightened child asked voice full of pleading.
“We can fight off the satyrs outside of the circle, but the wizard will stay to try and complete his ritual. You need to disrupt his circle. If you do that he will be dispersed.” The bear said with his lyrical voice.
“Get down from my back, and I will do my best to keep whatever magic the wizard can do away from you. We will follow your lead in this child.” The unicorn said kindly.
The child climbed down from the unicorn’s back and without thinking she ran towards the circle. Her newfound friends true to their word forced the shadowed satyrs away while the unicorn did what she could to shield the child. Her fingers found an exposed handle of one of the pots. Wrapping her fingers around it, she began to pull with all her might, yet somehow it wouldn’t budge. Reaching deep into herself she found strength she didn’t know she had and pulled.
And as the Satyr was launching for her, the pot gave way, and she flew back falling onto the sandy tiles. Then light washed over everything as a great boom filled the world, and the daughter fell into unconsciousness.
When she woke up, she found that she was sitting in the booth with her father and on her lap were a pair of pale blue mittens, like nothing had happened. Those mittens had images of the unicorn and her friends that had helped her, picking them up she found that they were angelically soft. As she looked up at her smiling father and knew that everything would be alright.