The Fairy Ring Writing Contest Submission – Mark Wilson

From the brain of Mark Wilson (@mors_kajak), our first entry about banjos. Enjoy.

Kappa Die Tutti Capo [1] by Mark Wilson


The house was full of dust, but my cough as I entered was exaggerated, an “Anyone there?!” composed of fear. Not reassured, I moved towards the door at the end of the hall.

Distance had meant I hadn’t seen my late grandfather for years, although we continued to correspond: “Before you take possession of my house, there is something I must share. You probably don’t remember the pond in the wood that borders my garden…”


I had been to that pond this morning. The day was still and hot, but the woodland sounds had died into silence by the time I was twenty feet from the water, and the air seem to hum by the time I was within ten feet, which was as close as I dared approach.

I don’t know if I got them all. I learned to reason with them, but they are so very dangerous, and I risked the lives of so many.


I opened the door to the basement, shivering despite the sweat running off me.


The kappa are so polite, you see, but there were so many, I had to bargain them all into giving a concert…

I descended the stairs, my attempt at a further cough only a quite rasp.

As I entered the basement, I was greeted by a tableau of terror. A dozen of the creatures, frozen in polite rictus, each with one of grandfather’s banjos clutched in dead hands, the rusted capos still clamped round the third fret. Their heads were bowed to the empty chairs, as if still receiving echoes of long-ago applause, the floorboards around their feet stained from where the pond fluid had spilled from their heads.

There was a drip from the ceiling. A scrape on a capo, and the sound of a banjo string snapping…


[1] Desperately contrived and unamusing (except to me) sort-of Latin pun. I expect there are bonus points for that…. :-)

Photo by Rick Jackofsky, courtesy of



  1. SJIHolliday
    Feb 16, 2012

    I love this, I could picture them all there in the basement 😉

    • ruanna3
      Feb 17, 2012

      Isn’t it super-creepy? Thanks for commenting! :)

    • Dee Solberg
      Feb 19, 2012

      The scene at the end just stands out in rigid detail! Nicely done!

  2. Mark_W
    Feb 16, 2012


    Bless you, you’re too kind… :-) When I was a kid, back in the 20th Century, I had a book called something like “The Usbourne Book of Vampires, Werewolves and Strange Creatures”, which had a page on the Kappa, and I thought then the idea of defeating the monster with politeness was cool. [English, you see! :-)]


    I’m actually glad now I couldn’t get the html thingy to work, since you’ve presented this much better than I had, and the picture of the banjo on the rocks is perfect. Ta loads, innit! :-)


    • ruanna3
      Feb 17, 2012

      Mark, this is quite original. Nice job and banjos to boot. Yes, I really loved the photo and thought it added a nice visual 😉


  3. moonduster
    Feb 18, 2012

    Very original and well written. I actually felt both sad and creeped out reading about them all in the basement.

  4. charitygirlblog
    Feb 20, 2012

    That’s a startling image at the end – and very original!

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