Come gentle reader and listen to this story of sadness and horror, as told to me in my childhood. Wallow in your fear as I subject you to...

The Tale of the Horseless Headmaster!!!

I was a young boy growing up in the town of Waking Solid. It was a peaceful village in northern New Hampshire where children could play in the streets and everyone had a digital watch of their very own. I had just turned twelve and been given my very own digital watch, may father was a watchmaker at the local factory and had been able to purchase the watch wholesale. He'd got home late that evening and presented it to me still in the manufacturer's packaging, with a small red bow adorning the top. Although it was late, I was so filled with excitement that I begged my mother to let me run down to Billy Huston's house to show him my new digital watch. I didn't like Billy, but he was poor and could never afford such luxury and I wanted to rub it in.

It was a warn autumn evening, the dried leaves of the Henderson's old maple rustled down the street and crunched beneath my feet. As I neared Billy's house I saw a dark figure standing in the center of the road. I tried to keep running, to make it to the sanctuary that the Huston' house now represented but my feet refused to move. I watched, frozen, as the dark figure approached me.

As it neared I noticed that the figure was garbed in an archaic fashion, it's turn of the century hat was cocked, just so, to the right, and on it's arm gleamed the face of an old wind-up wristwatch. The hands of the watch ticked away the menacing seconds as, what was now recognizable as a man, shambled toward me. A calloused hand raised and tilted the brim of his hat up revealing to me eyes which were hard and bitter. It's right hand gripped a long wooden ruler which it began to rap against it's left palm, with each tap it's wrist turned slightly, causing the light of a nearby streetlamp to be reflected off the face of the ancient timepeice and into my youthful eyes. The figure opened it's mouth as if to speak, suddenly I regained control of my legs, I kicked myself around and fled towards home.

Up the porch stairs and through the front door. I slammed the door behind me and panted with lack of breath. My mother and father rushed to see what had happened. I told them of the figure, of the ruler and of the deviant timepeice. My mother wrapped her comforting arms around me and tried to relieve my fears. My father, however, turned a ghostly white and had to sit down. After a few calming moments my father called me over.

"I know who it was that you saw my son", his tone was gravely serious," indeed it was the Horseless headmaster."

I stared in wonder at my father as he revealed the dark secret that his family had kept hidden all these years. "You great grandfather", he started, "was a student at The Quaint Village School for Boys. This school was run by a grim old codger named Mr. Fooderman. This headmaster was a stern disciplinarian, who ran the school on a strict schedule, all tracked by a wind-up wristwatch, as was the fashion of the day. You see son, they had not the benefit of digital quartz accuracy in those days. Well one evening the old Headmaster had forgotten to wind his wristwatch and when he awoke he believed it was 9 AM. The headmaster got dressed hurredly and rushed to the classrooms, which he found empty because it was actually 6 AM, an hour before classes started. Upon finding the classrooms empty the Headmaster was outraged and punished the entire student body for being late to class. Each student got five raps on the knuckles with a wooden ruler, and the dining hall that night served only fresh baked halibut steaks with a single peice of foie gras, instead of the foie gras and truffle sauce which normally adorned such an evening meal. It was soon after the evening meal that the headmaster realized his mistake and re-set his watch to the correct time, however, he would not admit his mistake and amends with the students. That night the student body, as a protest, kidnapped the headmaster's prized stallion and hid him, in the next stall over. Upon rising the next morning the headmaster went to check on his horse and found it missing. Due to the shock of having such a fine animal dissappear the headmaster died. And now to this day he wanders the streets of Waking Solid, generally accosting people and asking them if they've seen his horse anywhere and generally being a nuisance about the whole situation, muttering "when I catch those young whipper-snappers they're going to recieve the thrashing of a lifetime."

Thus grows the legend of the Horseless Headmaster!

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