Week 15 – Gnigel

His skin pale, his smile painted, he waits by the door. Feet planted firmly on the ground, Gnigel’s eyes look up to the darkened sky but see nothing.
A firm hand slowly but purposely wraps around the gnome’s face. Fingers stretch across the back of his head and hat, thumb on the other side of his face.
Gnigel is silently taken from his home.
His captor’s breathless laughter starts four houses down and grows louder once Gnigel has been placed on the soft backseat inside a car. Lying on his back, feet to the door, he continues to smile while his frozen eyes watch the back of the driver’s chair.
The drive feels long to Gnigel and when the car finally stops he has no idea if he’s even in the same town.
This time he’s carried in both hands, careful not to bump into the car door or knock his head against one of the other captors.
There is a new garden at this location, busier and brighter than his own. But he does not stop here.
They continue into the house that shares this land and it’s as if Gnigel has returned to daylight in an instant. Light pours from the ceiling and floods the room.
When he is finally released it is onto a wooden table, not his usual grassy floor. The driver of the car studies him carefully, turning him on the spot and leaning him forward on his toes.
He doesn’t see the first attack coming.
Water showers from above, but this is no ordinary rain. Something scrapes across his back.
Gnigel is still in shock when he is hit once again; this time with something cold tracing along his shoulders and across his chest.
After a short time it comes back, this time his legs are coated in what feels like ice.
Eventually his whole body is covered and he is even stabbed in his eyes, although he feels no pain.
The lights turn off and once again Gnigel is in darkness. But still away from home.
Hours pass before the light returns and Gnigel starts to notice a change in himself. He is still working it out when he is lightly prodded. The men nod and smile and he is picked up and carried back outside to the car.
The journey this time feels shorter but the air is familiar when the door is opened.
In the quiet before dawn he is returned home.
When the sun eventually rises and greets him by the door, it’s on a brighter, happier gnome.
Although his smile hasn’t changed, Gnigel’s youth has been restored thanks to the strangers of the night and his new coat of paint.

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