Jennifer Jane laughed quietly, it sounded as if Gordon was getting used to his job as the village bridge keeper. She crossed over, scrambled down on the far side of the riverbank and had a good look under the bridge.
“You’re getting very good at the voice Gordon, but whatever have you done with all your lovely decorations? Has something gone wrong with your riddle business or ...”
She stopped suddenly as someone short and round came out from the shadow under the arch.
“You’re making a lot of noise for someone who’s might be supper! Do you know what time of year is it you young juicy human?”
“July,” said Jennifer Jane in a shocked voice, “but you’re Lurgin, you can’t be you’re d.d.d,” she couldn’t get the last word out, she was stuttering so badly.
“July eh! Oh well, luckily for you I won’t be hungry again until the autumn, come back then and have a try at answering one of my riddles. They’re such fun!”
He gave her a very nasty grin and went back to sit in the shadows again. Jennifer Jane scrambled back up the river bank as quickly as she could, climbed onto her broom and flew as fast as possible towards the village.
Her throat had gone dry with fright and the only thing she could think of was getting to the George and Dragons for a drink.
She burst into the pub without really looking where she was going. “Ginger beer, please as quickly as you can. I’ve just had a horrible fright, somehow or other Lurgin’s come back!”
“Ginger Beer two pence a pint!” said the barman, “money first young lady, drink after payment!”
“I haven’t had to pay ever since I got rid of Lurgin and made the dragons eat coal. Don’t you recognise me? I’m Jennifer Jane.”
The barman and the rest of the customers burst out laughing. “I don’t know who you think you are Miss Jane but as you’ve just told us, Lurgin is under his bridge where he’s always been. As for dragons eating coal, well I’ve never heard of anything so silly in all my life. Perhaps you’d better have half a pint of ginger beer; it may help settle your imagination, one penny please.”
Jennifer Jane looked round the inside of the pub. Although it seemed familiar at first glance, there were several small changes. She didn’t recognise any of the regulars, or the barmen either, come to that. She was beginning to get the feeling that something had gone wrong after her meeting with the elf and felt in her pockets to see if she had any money.
She was very lucky. She still had the sixpenny pieces that Richard had paid her for working in this very pub, only then it had been called the Three Tuns, in a parallel world that she’d visited by mistake.
She offered one to the landlord, who gave her a half pint glass with her drink in it and five pence change. She wandered off outside to drink it and had a quiet look at the pub sign.
Sure enough it was now called the George and Dragon, there was the picture of a knight in armour slaying the dragon, just as it had been when she’d seen it first. She finished her drink, took the glass back inside and flew off to the fog at the mouth of Timber Creek.