Chapter 10

After a moment of fog-headed dizziness, Fay landed with a bump on her bottom in the middle of the room.

“Ow!” cried Barnaby Hootsman from behind her. “My Dad’s suing your pants off if I got all burned up!”

“This…isn’t the broom closet,” said Fay, looking around.

The Crunch & Barley green linoleum was gone; now the floor was wooden planks. It seemed more like a shed than a closet, and a dusty shed at that.

McCorley lay propped on his elbows, staring dazedly at the ceiling. Miss Parsnip was on foot, hands on hips, and the look on her face meant the class was in for a good talking to. Only the class wasn’t here. Fay guessed that Mr. Arg, who was straightening his coat, would get the talking to instead.

“Well McCorley,” said Mr. Arg calmly. “Ya’ done it. I knew ya’ could.”

“Geesh,” replied McCorley. “Geezowhizzo…what the heck happened?.”

“The same thing as always happens with that accursed forge! That’s why they call it accursed!”

“Mr. Arg!” cut in Miss Parsnip sharply. “It is completely unacceptable that the dangerous rooms in your factory aren’t plainly marked! It is not good for children to be subjected to such jolts!”

“Malarkey,” replied Mr. Arg, as he rummaged distractedly through his pockets. “Ya’ can’t break a kid.”

“This field trip is over,” stated Miss Parsnip. “Fay, Barnaby, we will return to the class at once. We’re going back to school.”

“Not bloody likely,” said Mr. Arg, “As you can plainly see, the forge didn’t come with us, but be my guest.” He gestured toward the door.

Miss Parsnip glared first at the door, then at Mr. Arg.
“That’s not the door we came in,” she stated.

“That thar’s the only door,” said Mr. Arg with a chuckle.

Fay shrugged, turned the handle, and looked out. The Crunch & Barley corridor was gone…in fact, the whole factory was gone. There was nothing but wind and sunlight pouring in from a shipyard. A smelly shipyard full of horse droppings and unbathed men. Fay was used to smelly babies who needed baths, but she wasn’t prepared for the huge man with a pock-marked face who was grinning at her with pointy yellow teeth.

“I hope yor’ not the only fing the cap’n brung back wif’ ‘im,” said the smelly man with a pointy-toothed leer.

Fay slammed the door.
“Take us back,” she said. “Now.”

“Ya’ can’t go back Missy,” said Mr. Arg with a smirk. “That was a one-way trip. Do you see any other ways out?”

Fay looked toward the center of the room. Empty. No trash. No furnace.

“My Dad’s suing your pants off if I’m stuck here,” said Barnaby.

“Well sonny…yer’ Dad’s not suing me or nobody fer’ now,” replied Mr. Arg, “’cause he ain’t been born yet, and neither has your grandpappy! I’ll see you folks later…I’m off to rejoin me crew.”

Mr. Arg jingled the coins in his pocket, gave a wistful sigh as if something was missing, and left the shed. Miss Parsnip stomped after him indignantly as Fay peeked around the doorframe at the shipyard, then took a step outside.

“You will at least,” demanded Miss Parsnip, “point us in the direction of Elbow Harbor!”

Mr. Arg smiled at Miss Parsnip as if she were a silly little girl, and pointed inland. A crooked green store, with a crooked front porch stood at the end of a very short road. On the store was a sign with the letter “P” and a picture of a white carrot. A few ramshackle houses were clustered around the store, and at the other end of the very short road, where Fay, Barnaby, Miss Parsnip, McCorley and Mr. Arg now stood, was the smelly shipyard, with its old boats, oily ropes, and a few odd sheds.

“Welcome to Elbow Harbor,” said Mr. Arg.

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