Trying my hand at fan-fiction based on characters from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
Disclaimer: I do not own Discworld or any of the characters in this story. They are owned by Terry Pratchett. It's hard to believe any mortal could own Granny Weatherwax, but I believe her and Sir Pratchett have an understanding. This story was written for my own perverse fun and I shall not profit from it in any way (a little like my own writing then).
If you're one of those poor people who've never read Terry Pratchett, but you're curious, these are the characters I nicked, um borrowed, okay nicked, from Pratchett (click on them to see their Wikipedia page):
No Game of Chance
'New wrap?' Nanny Ogg ogled the soft black fabric replacing the worn battered coat usually draped about Granny Weatherwax’s shoulders.
'No it ate’nt.'
'Now you mention it, I do remember you wearing it once or twice before.'
'No you don’t, you remember me wearing it many times before.'
'Uh huh.' Nanny Ogg nodded, but when Granny turned she leaned in with a pair of shears drawn from her knickers (where she keeps everything she needs) and snipped off a price tag dangling down Granny’s bony back. Always better not to argue with Granny, or you’d likely find yourself wanderin' the forest void of memory, or craving shell-fish even though you’re allergic, or… well, it was just best not to.
Granny paused at the door. Just a moment, but long enough to show a mix of smugness, sadness and nostalgia in the crinkling of her eyes. Strange combination, but Granny was the oldest witch to ever live, and she’d plenty of time to master these unusual amalgamations, like her infamous 'mischievous-amusement, gleeful-hunger mingled with disappointing resolve to kill you' gaze.
Then her knobby hand turned the… knob and she was off. At this time of night? Granny claimed to be a traditional witch, but she couldn’t abide late nights. Nanny Ogg peered up at the grandfather clock (who’d once been a young wizard). Its hands inched close to twelve. They wobbled with fear, because although Granny insisted it be set to gong at midnight, it would infuriate her if it woke her. Only wood and mechanics now, still, the clock retained enough memory to fear aggravating the old crone.
'She looks like she’s got a date with destiny,’ Nanny Ogg confided to the trembling clock.
'Oh I wouldn’t call 'im that,' Granny Weatherwax mused as she approached the old barn up the hill from the cottage. There was no point questioning how Granny could hear a mumble from the other side of the property and yet not respond to the calling of her name up close. Sometimes whispers were just louder than everyday talk. Like his whispers. Oh she knew he was coming and she knew what he wanted.
Granny lit every lamp until they flickered brilliantly. Good. Strong lighting was very important for this rendezvous.
She sat at the small fold-up table and smoothed her hand over the iron-hard grey bun. Not a hair out of place (it wouldn’t dare). She pinched her cheeks and the last few surviving capillaries cracked.
I may not 'ave the curves and complexion of a young woman, but I’ve me own allure. She was wrong. There were curves. Just not in the right direction.
She didn’t hear his arrival, but felt it.
'Esmerelda Weatherwax?' A deep voice resonated through Granny’s bones.
She didn’t turn. Wasn’t quite ready to gaze into that face. She knew what she would see, or wouldn’t see.
'Call me Granny, or Esme if you must.'
'Uh, alright, Granny Weatherwax?' but the theatrical air of impending doom was lost on the second attempt.
'It’s been a busy night.' His voice echoed everywhere and nowhere.
'Ave a seat.' Granny waved to the chair opposite.
'We should be going—'
'Come on, said yerself you’ve had a busy night, rest a little.’
'I… uh… thank you.' Death smoothed his robes and sat. 'Now Granny, you’ve had a long life, don’t you think it’s time you came along… peacefully?'
'No. I don’t.' She wiggled a gnarly finger at the place where his face should be. 'You’ve been around longer, I reckon you know the world needs people like me. I’ve still got a lot to do.'
Death sighed. 'I don’t make the rules Granny—'
'No but you can bloody well break 'em.'
The elderly were always the hardest, they could be so stubborn. 'I can offer you a challenge, that’s the best I can do.'
'It’s not really a chance, I never lose.'
'I pick the game?'
'Good.' Granny reached into her carpet bag, pulled out a deck of cards and started shuffling. The cards flipped and arched through the air then were skilfully dispersed.
'Strip poker.' She winked.
Just as the sun began to push pink and orange through the sky, Nanny Ogg knocked on Granny’s door. No answer. She went in. Granny wasn’t there. She stepped out again and peered up and down the lane. Nothing. She turned her gaze up the hill to the old barn. Nothing. Wait. The door was open and there was a flicker of lanterns in the dim morning light.
Nanny Ogg hitched up her skirt and hopped from foot to foot through the long grass in a straight line for the barn. Just as she arrived huffing, a figure emerged. Or didn’t. Or he did emerge, but he wasn’t there. He most definitely wasn’t there and he was grasping his bundled black robes. He looked guiltily at Nanny Ogg, or didn’t, and hurried on his way.
Nanny stepped into the brightly lit barn just in time to see Granny doing up the clasp of her brassiere.
'Don’t you knock?'
'Um, sorry Granny, it’s only, was that Death leaving just now?
Granny chuckled. 'Yep, don’t think he’ll be back for a while.'
'He come for you?'
'Tried to, but I bested him.'
Nanny Ogg helped Granny into her wrap—it was still brisk out. 'But how? Death can’t be beat at any game.'
Granny wore a smile combining knowing, victory and gas. 'Yep. But he didn’t want to win this one.'
Nanny Ogg saw Granny snatch up the cards and it all came together. 'Ooh, you’re a sinful old hag Granny.'
'I still ate’nt dead.' And Granny winked.