Extract from GWUPYGRUBYNUDNYLAND by Ben Hopkins, submitted by Patrick Walsh at Conville and Walsh.

“A terrible mountaindream I have had,” said the King of Gwupygrubynudnyland, “all was wobblesome, and I wobbliest of all.”

“Go on, sire”, said the Vizier.

“Dreams, Walter, what are they for?  They are a nuisance.”

“Indeed they are, sire.  Do go on.”

“Imagine a jelly.  And imagine that jelly is the world.  And imagine an infernal child wobbling that jelly.  And imagine he never stops.  For eternity that devilchild is wobbling the jellyworld, and laughing at nothing, at the nothingness of it.  I dreamed this idiotchild was wobbling the world, wobbling and juddering it, and wouldn’t stop…”

King Walerian paused, oppressed by the memory of the dream.  “Need I continue, Walter?”,  he said quietly.

“No, sir, though I am intrigued by your earlier comment ‘and I was wobbliest of all’.”

“Just before I awoke, Walter…”; and once more, the King drifted off.


“Just before I awoke, I was in this shaking, juddering world.. I was standing in the palace, and the palace was shaking, and I wondered why, and I looked outside, and visible through the gaping windows was the infernal blond cackling child, huge like a house, his laughing lips smeared with bluish cream, and I.. looked in the mirror.  And awoke.”

“What did His Majesty see in the mirror?”

“Myself.  But the… how shall I put it?  The geometry of myself was gone.  I  had been shaken by the bluecream child.  My features had slid like the guts off a butcher’s block.  My nose here, my lips there, my ears re-sewn onto my cheek with jagged black cotton, like stitching on a scar.  And my eyes.  Bright with life.  That is what scared me most.  My eyes were very much alive, in a face rearranged by a surgeon from Bedlam.  And then I awoke, parched and gasping.”

For the first time, the King turned to look his Vizier directly in the eye.  “And Suzanna had once again failed to place water beside my bed.  Can we not do something about these wicked servants?”

The Vizier set King Walerian’s crown onto his bald, gently shaking head.  “A frightful dream I grant you, sire.  But now you are awake and the horrors have vanished.  Look, the sun is shining.  Your kingdom is quiet.  A gentle breeze in the orchard.  All is well.”

King Walerian looked with rheumy eyes through the window; the window through which, in his dream, he had seen the horrible child.

Bright light slanted into the room.  The muslin curtains ghosted inwards, lifted by a breath from the orchard.  His kingdom outside was quiet.  Above a nearby field, a skylark was singing.

All was well with the world.

But, in Gwupygrubynudnyland, the dogs were bored.  The flies were bored.  The bird was bored in the sky, the fish was bored in the stream, the clerk was bored in the office, the farmer was bored in the field.  Match-heads were bored on the sticks, handles were bored on the doors, dust was bored on the carpet, ink was bored on the page. In Gwupygrubynudnyland, the sky was bored, the earth was bored, streams flowed in defeated surrender to Gravity, which was itself, of course, bored. The day was bored, the night was bored, clocks were bored, Time itself was bored in this dreary land.  Gwupygrubynudnyland was boring, and Gwupygruby-nudnyland was bored.

3 responses to “GWUPYGRUBYNUDNYLAND by Ben Hopkins

  1. “Match-heads were bored on the sticks, handles were bored on the doors, dust was bored on the carpet, ink was bored on the page.”

    Marvellous. I would love to read the rest of this.

  2. Excellent. If this quality of writing is maintained throughout, I’d definitely buy it to read if it were published . And as a writer myself, I’m envious of it. Erm, thats meant to be a compliment!

  3. Pingback: To Hell with Prizes | Helen J Beal

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