..., disturbed by the noise they weren't making, the well-diggers donkey, bottom, stirred from his sleep. It was cold that night, cold as a..., well, as cold as Bottom. But it wasn't the cold that had awakened the donkey, it was the noise. Rather, it was the lack of noise. The four shadows had moved so silently as to rob the night of its usual sounds. It was too quiet, now. frighteningly quiet. Deathly quiet. Even the booing of the shcowps had stopped, and that never happened.
Well, it happened once, back in 1992. I was much younger then, but I recall it vividly. It was raining...Oh! but I digress, or is it digest. Whichever, my train of thought derailed. Well, not totally derailed, but the caboose and about a dozen refrigerated cars full of sheep stomachs have broken free and were rolling backwards, down the hill towards the village. Only the capable hand of the brakeman, who had been having a cup of coffee in the caboose when the mishap occurred, saved the village, and the cargo from ruin.
The engineer was unaware of the mishap. The engine continued to work its way slowly, actually at a rate that would have required 225 days, 16 hours and 22 minutes to circumnavigate the earth at the equator, had they been going that way, up the hill. Despite the reduction in load caused by the derailment of the aforementioned cars, they were still having a job of it. They were also dangerously low on coal, which puzzled the engineer since it was a diesel engine.
As the train reached the top of the hill, the engineer sounded the whistle, as if to express relief at the finish of the climb. The whistle broke the silence which had awakened Bottom. The spell thus broken, the noise of the night returned. The shcowps began to boo. The engineer, thinking he was being booed by the villagers, who frequently mistook him for a conductor, began to curse and shake his fist at them, nearly falling from the engine in the process.
As the noise of the night returned, the four shadowy figures, who had been waiting on the edge of the forest for Bottom to return to sleep, continued quietly, though not so quietly as before, having learned their lesson in that regard, on their journey, even as the sentence about them, having run on far too long, came finally, refreshingly, to a halt.
They were, of course...
Quod scripsi, scripsi.