By: Brandon Dudley
The flickering light from the fireplace cast a dark shadow across the gnome’s face as he gazed down at the pile of belongings on the wooden table.
All of these were mere memories of old to the gnome; a past life he had trouble stepping away from some days.
A deck of cards lay in their case, their edges bent and clipped.
A steel dagger; the last of many trusted friends.
A pair of Dwarven bone dice; signs of use gently evident on their smooth surfaces.
A handful of gold coins more valuable in meaning than worth.
And finally a crumpled note, ink faded after the years of wear.
The gnome took in a deep breath, running a stubby hand through his pink, spiked hair.
“I have gone through so much and yet nobody knows,” he thought to himself, somewhat forlorn.
Nobody knew his tale.
Nobody bothered to ask.
Yet how does one explain leaving a life of prosperity for one of normality?
Gailin Fizzbuzzle had lived three lives: growing up as a simple gnome in the city, then becoming an internationally-renowned underworld boss, only to go back years later to the life of a commoner.
Pash Pin was the name Gailin used to go by, back when he held influence with many of the nations of the world.
Cunning, efficient, and often ruthless were words that had described Pash Pin back in his prime.
He had possessed luxury and wealth unparalleled by any noble or king in the realm.
Then suddenly a day had come when he gave it all up: a spectacular day when Pash Pin dropped out of existence and went back to his old life.
Everybody had known Pash Pin; nobody had remembered Gailin Fizzbuzzle.
It was the perfect escape from a perfect life.
Taking in another breath, he forced himself to stand from the chair.
Its wooden structure creaked as he did so, seeming in pain at his departure.
The welcome sizzle of the fireplace called to him, warming up the space that served as his bedroom.
It illuminated the humble presence of furniture in the room; a small bed, the table and chair, a dresser for his clothes, and a chest for his possessions.
“Oh, how things used to be so different,” he thought to himself, taking slow steps toward the fireplace.
Flames licked at the warm air as the gnome walked close, reaching out for him.
A tear rolled down his right eye as he gazed into the kindle, whether from the heat or memories he could not tell.
“No, Fizz, you aren’t going to let this happen again.” A deep frown grew upon his face as he wiped the tear away, face scrunched up.
It was becoming a weekly habit to dwell on the past. The present was losing its meaning to him, a toy forgotten by an aging child.
“I made this decision for a reason. I can’t go back…” Fizzbuzzle trailed off, turning his gaze away from the fireplace and back at the pile of memories on the table.
He knew deep down that his decision had been the correct one.
Not that this knowledge made it any easier.
Solemnly and without any haste in his step, he strode to his small bed.
He only took off his shoes before climbing under the covers, the day’s attire still on.
The bed offered comfort with promises of rest and peace to the tired gnome.
Closing his eyes, he soon drifted into the nether that were his dreams.
And sometimes, even memories.