• Dzama

Knight with the Melted Brain

The knight opened a small metal door in the back of his helmet and felt inside with his bare hand. The back part of his skull was gone and he felt where his brain had melted into a mass the consistency of scrambled eggs. He closed the little door and rehooked the latch, wiping the gooey grey matter from his hand onto the horse blanket. He wondered for a moment if he should be alarmed. Then the drawbridge lowered and he rode into the castle courtyard.

He tried to appear normal to the various attendants and gentry. He couldn’t quite remember what “normal” was so he simply nodded at people. He dismounted and left his horse, hoping either the animal would know where to go or one of the attendants would take care of it. He opened the front part of his helmet to get some air but didn’t dare taking the whole thing off.

One or two workers stared as he tromped into the castle but he ignored them, walking purposefully. When he noticed a large group coming towards him down the wide hall, he ducked into an opening and ascended some stairs. They curved around and around and his metal shoes created an echoing racket in the narrow space.

When he reached the top he found himself in an ornate room with large, gaudy rugs. Some ladies went back and forth in long crimson dresses that dragged on the ground. One of them, with a pale face and orange hair, turned to the knight as she passed by. “Jerry, she’s almost ready,” she said with some urgency in her voice. Jerry had no idea what she was talking about. He went the other direction and found a room to the side that was empty. He sat down in a huge velvet-upholstered chair and opened the little door in the back of his helmet again. His brains seemed to have become more watery, with soft floating chunks. He wiped his hand on the side of armrest.

A yellow cat entered the room and stared at him strangely. “What the hell am I going to do?” Jerry said to the cat. “My brain melted. It’s like minestrone soup in there.” For a moment he wished he was a cat with its simple life and small but unmelted brain.

A young woman rushed in, her deep-red dress dragging behind her. “Hey Jerry,” she said. “What’s going on in there?” she rapped the side of his helmet with her little hand.

He stood up and grabbed her arm, leaning close to her. “My brain melted. It turned into custard.”

She stared at him, stunned.

“Here, look,” he said, opening up the door in the back of his helmet. He leaned down and she peered inside. Her face turned white and she started to say something but stopped herself. They stood silently and then both turned to the cat -which scrambled away from them and darted under the couch.

“Hey, I just remembered something!” the girl said suddenly. “I just saw a bunch of brains. A whole table of brains. Where did I see that?” She rubbed her forehead, trying to remember. “Here, come on,” she said, taking his hand and leading him quickly down a long corridor. They passed some well dressed people preparing for some kind of event. “Marla,” one of them called but she ignored them, pulling Jerry down the hall.

They ended up in a small room with a long wooden table. The table had rows and rows of large brains sitting on it, some flies circling around. Marla looked up at Jerry. “There they are,” she said. Just then a small hunchbacked troll came in and began setting the brains into a small wheelbarrow. “Wait,” said Jerry. “I need one of these.”

The troll regarded him with a twisted smile. “What for?”

“Look. For myself. My brain melted. It’s like beef gravy. I can’t remember a thing. I’m having a hard time formulating intelligent thoughts.”

“So what else is new?” the troll cackled, continuing to place the brains in his wheelbarrow. “Just let me take one of the brains!” Jerry said.

“What do I get out of it?” the troll asked. “Here,” the girl said, and went over and kissed him on his mottled forehead.

“You’ll have to do better than that,” the troll chortled. Jerry grabbed the biggest brain he could see, but the troll grabbed his arm as he tried to get the brain into his head. The girl pushed at the troll, clawing at him with her fingernails. In the struggle they dropped the brain but Jerry quickly grabbed another. This one was smaller and fit more easily into the hole. As soon as he got it in there he closed the metal door and latched it, holding the troll at bay with his other hand.

“I remember everything!” Jerry exclaimed, beaming. “I have an important message for the king!”

“Thank God!” the girl cried out and the two of them rushed out of the little room and down the hall in the direction of the royal quarters.

“No you don’t!” the troll shouted after them. “Wait, you idiot!” But they’d already turned the corner. He shook his head and went back to loading the wheelbarrow. “You don’t have an important message for the king,” he muttered. “Peter O’Shankey had an important message for the king.”

“So did Branon Mayweather,” he continued, pointing to one of the brains. “And Ernie Shoalmeister,” he pointed to another. “And Serville le Pouderie, and Maxim Dracoville, and whoever that guy was…” He stared at the brains. “Why they didn’t all keep their mouths shut is beyond me.” He glanced back down the hall and shook his head. Then he turned and wheeled the brains away, disappearing through the doorway at the far end of the room.

Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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2 Comments

  1. Yoko
    Posted December 11, 2015 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I really like this story. It inspired me to write something for school, so thank you! You are a good writer and I will keep reading your stories.

  2. Tom Lisowski
    Posted January 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    So happy to have inspired you, Yoko! Best of luck with your writing!

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