Once more a stocky dwarf and a slender youth sitting facing each other amidst the misty haze of the Cauldron.
Quartz: I’ve often wondered if this Cauldron isn’t a bit like your Shadow Forest.
Christopher: Sometimes. The Shadow Forest can be whatever you wish, if you open its Door.
Quartz: Right. (He smooths his beard.) Rock and stone, Christopher, I’m in the scribbler’s head, yet I’m feeling ignored.
Christopher: (He looks down.) I know.
Quartz: Of all the times for the scribbler to get obsessed with some TV show! One that isn’t even airing any more! (He makes a growling sound.)
Christopher: The relationship at the heart of it reminds her of another she loved, which never got expressed completely, yet this one has its own dark charm. The mixture of nostalgia and the new is hard for to resist, especially right now.
Quartz: She’s in the middle of edits!
Christopher: She’s working on those edits, but she’s been intrigued, yet afraid of this TV series for some time. Now she’s hooked.
Quartz: Yes, she’s hooked. Bloody posh cannibals with their gentlemanly manners and their pretty empaths, trying to catch them in more ways than one, bloody distraction! I feel ignored, downright neglected. (He makes another grumbling sound, stroking his beard.)
Christopher: Remember, our scribbler also just got bad news about a friend. This distraction helped.
Quartz: Aye, I can’t blame her for that. I don’t. I just wish she’d let us distract her a bit more.
Christopher: Well, perhaps we should see if we can distract her.
Christopher: Tell me about your story, Quartz, without telling too much.
Quartz: Eh, it’s a sort of why I’m not dead tale. Along with how my six brothers and I came to be in the Forest of Tears when we met our girl. There’s a cuckoo clock in this story as well as a crystal coffin.
Christopher: Hence the title, Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins.
Quartz: Not that I’m fond of that title. The scribbler has yet to think of anything better.
Christopher: You meet Nimmie Not in this story.
Quartz: Aye. (His nose turns red.) Along with my Fairest. I help my human daughter get over her lost love, yet it forces me to think about a few things I’d rather not. (His nose turns redder.)
Christopher: Of Cuckoo Clocks and Crystal Coffins is a cross-over with Fairest, then.
Quartz: Aye, which is one of the scribbler’s worries, convincing Nine Star Press that a sequel to a story in an anthology is acceptable. She’s going to write my story, though. I’ll see to that.
Christopher: You see? You’re already getting our scribbler’s attention. I can feel it. Can’t you?
Quartz: We’ll see how long we can keep it. (grumbles under his breath)
Christopher: You said your story was a cross-over with Fairest.
Quartz: Aye. Our girl, our Fairest is in my story. The crystal coffin in the bloody title is the same she was in.
Christopher: And the cuckoo clock?
Quartz: Bloody annoying thing. It’s a relief mine is an alternate fantasy world. Cuckoo clocks are younger than most fairy tales in the scribbler’s world. Not that they’re all that common in my world, thank the magma. Humans have yet to start installing the chirping monstrosities in their homes as Nimmie Not is ever so fond of pointing out.
Christopher: Which is why he left you a cuckoo clock in your cottage?
Quartz: Hmmph. Thinks he’s ahead of everyone else and wants me to drag there to. I often wonder if that cottage is really mine and my brothers. I got it because of a bargain I struck with Nimmie Not, but one should never trust a bargain with a kobold.
(A red curtain appears behind Quartz and Christopher.)
Nimmie Not: (His voice comes from behind the curtain) You wound me, my dear Quartz! Tsk, tsk! After everything I do for you!
Quartz: Gah! (jumping in his seat)
Nimmie Not: Oh, come, come! Did you think you were only one who could play this red curtain trick? Besides I’m never very far from you.
Christopher: I think that’s a good point to end this-
Quartz: No, it’s not!
Nimmie Not: Oh, yes, it is! Ta, ta, dear readers! Please wait with baited breath for my next entrance!