Circle of Eights, Stories

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  • #78


      Back from the depths of his sleep, the dragon Naasir exhaled in a puff of smoke. He’d just woven a wonderful dream —for all dragons and creatures do dream of course, even if most humans doubt it.

      Yawning, Naasir stretched out his long slithery body. Fully stretched, his body was an impressive sight to behold. He was quite old by human standards, while in fact, he was still in his youth, and could very well stay as rambunctiously lively for many other long centuries.

      He had given the final touch to a new world he had been creating in his dream time for many nights now, and was rather proud of it —even if dragons knew no such thing as pride, his feeling at this very moment was very akin to being proud.

      He had filled this world with many wonders, dragons of course, and other creatures yet to be named. And magic was all pervasive in that world, and so slightly cloaked, that it could be used by many.
      It would be a great playground he thought, for he was not a possessive and dictatorial dragon. In fact, he could feel some others were about to step in, and tell and live the story of that world.

      Sighing in delight, like a sleepy cat of majestic dimensions, he cuddled again, about to sink deeply into the harp music playing in his mind, ready to dream and let that story be told again…

      Another Never Ending Story

      Malvina. That name had been thrown into a conversation Yann and Quintin had had together, during which Quintin had felt images come into his awareness. He had instantly liked that name.
      He was feeling the aura of a woman, long hair of a pale rosy color, with a noble bearing. That name had been around, and they had played with it to find more impressions.
      And they had felt it linked to breeding of dragons, in a sort of rookery.

      They’ve both felt her connected to Malika, an online friend of them, whose gentle touch and kindly influence, as well as her passion for dragons seemed to fit in quite interestingly.

      Then on an impulse, Quintin had begun to paint an image around it, letting his feeling guide his movements. He’d loved the peaceful environment he’d drawn, and even if he was not wont to share “unfinished” drawings, he immediately shared the initial sketches with Yann and Fiona.

      They both loved it, and Fiona even considered for a moment adopting one of the cute baby dragons to be born.
      “Buckberry” : that was the name Quintin felt for the baby dragon… But he did not see any character in that picture for Fiona. She would have to decide to step in, to get that baby dragon. What character would she be? A young impetuous rude adventuress, or an o(w)ld wizened witch? Perhaps a bit of both?

      These thoughts were now coming back to him.
      Ever since he had seen Yann’s pictures, those taken when he’d been in Old Albion, he had felt that something strange was manifesting.
      One of these intriguing coincidences: the picture of a cave that Yann has been visiting looked so strikingly similar to Malvina’s Rookery… And that playful kid in the cave was probably linked to Yann.

      So, now that the painting was finished, perhaps he could have people join in the fun. All that was required was imagination…

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    • #611

        Becky snorted right back at Tina (unfortunately forgetting her cold, and hurriedly wiping up the snotty mess).

        Does energy smell? It smells of roast dinner sometimes.

        Becky sighed. She couldn’t smell a thing with this cold.


        It’d been two hexades that the Abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee had been laying in bed in poor condition.
        At first, he had wanted to be as strong as he had always been towards hardships, but he’d finally admitted that quelching the pain wasn’t doing any good to him. So he had agreed to be taken care of by a young monk, and to lay in bed as long as was necessary.
        He knew that he was very likely not to get out of that bed but with his body covered by a white sheet, nevertheless, the thought was still something distant. The pain in his body was making him so present to himself that the only thing that was still blatant was that he was.
        More than the body, it was all his faith that was shaken. He had thought he would leave this life without mess, without pain, probably very discreetly in his sleep… But now, his head was wincing at every noise, even the nature’s sounds that once felt like music to his ears, he was eschewing them now as much as he could. His very skin was hot and couldn’t bear even the soft contact of the bedsheets.
        What was the point of all of this? He had never doubted that everything had its purpose, but now, he was doubting…
        He was even trying to find some reasonable reasons for what was happening, he who never trusted in reasonable reasons in the first place. Perhaps that was because of his seating under the chilly air and the warm sun in front of the Meditation Wall, reading for all of the poems that had been written by the monks who had dared to write. Perhaps he had “taken cold”, whatever that means…
        “Perhaps not” the voice kept saying softly in his head.

        Now, his whole succession was feeling like a moot point. After all, he was not even capable of saving himself from anything, then how could what he created make the slightest difference? These were all like an extension of his body, bound to decay and come back to Earths.

        Not so many monks had dared write upon the Wall about their highest truth. A few jokesters had begun at first, helping the others to participate.
        One in particular had had Hrih laugh for quite a while.

        A toad is a toad
        Unless kissed
        Endless Bliss

        Then a dozen of others had flourished upon the wall, until Aum Geong decided to write his own. He’d not wanted to go first, to allow the others to express without the burden of comparison, and also to have some more time to write something deep and thoughtful. But that profusion of nonsense between some occasional pearls of wisdom made him write his own.

        Unattainable is the Truth
        For in the Dust of things
        All in our View is bleak

        Doing Wrong we forswear
        For Dust to be lifted
        And Wisdom we seek

        In the deed of the Elders
        And the Faith in the Community
        Light and Trust bespeak

        All the monks had been quite impressed, but Hrih had not been entirely satisfied by it… To be honest, he even completely disagreed with it.
        Now, however, stuck in this bed, the poem was playing in his head and suggesting that the Worlds were something terrible that he had not yet understood, or be willing to avoid seeing. Perhaps Aum Geong was wiser than he was.
        Perhaps all that Hrih had put as foundational to his life had all been Dust…
        “There is no Dust, and you know that” the voice whispered softly.

        Now that he is about to die, what difference will it make anyway…
        He reach out for a bowl of water, and almost let it fall, as the weight of it surprised him. He was becoming so weak… He never had been so self-conscious in many many many years.

        After he had propped himself up to drink a few burning swallows of the lukewarm water, he noticed something folded on his bedside, that had been put under the bowl… Young Franiel had been the one attending him with Jog Lam, so it must have been the doing of one of them. He intuited that was Franiel.

        As he read the stanzas, tears were in his eyes…

        I am the driftwood
        the wave carried me
        I was buried in sand

        I am the flower
        the butterfly touched me
        I fell in love

        I am the raindrop
        the cloud released me
        I became the ocean

        The Young monk had probably not dared write it on the Wall, especially after most of the monks’ vocal appreciations of Aum Geong’s poem…
        “Perhaps not” the voice again spoke.
        Another reason for it formed into Hrih’s mind. Franiel perhaps didn’t feel ready for such responsibilities and his role and fulfillment in this community was not form rules nor to continue it.
        It was more to inspire them, and perhaps to start his own discoveries.

        Hrih wrote a note behind the paper. He wanted to leave something for Franiel, for him to keep faith in his coming adventures during these coming times of change.
        After a deep breath, he took another paper that was with him for already such a long time, wrote down some words, and signed it, the aura of his hand burning a glyph that was his signature in the paper. He then called for Jog Lam.

        — Jog Lam, my friend…
        — Elder?
        — I’m dying…
        — I know Elder
        — Let me continue. (Jog Lam nodded)
        First, will you give that paper to Young Franiel after the cremation ceremonies. (Jog Lam nodded again)
        Second, I want you to relay that I have made my decision, and that Aum Geog will succeed me (Jog Lam’s surprise was noticeable in his eye). He is, to date, the most adequate successor for this monastery.
        — I will do as you want.
        — Thank you my friend.
        — Elder…
        — Farewell, my friend, I am always with you.

        When Jog Lam stoically left the room, Hrih Chokyam laid down, his eyes on the ceiling. His body was so weak that all he could do was to project behind his closed eyelids and see the starry sky, even if he would have wanted something different for his death. He would have loved something like a nap in a sunlit meadow with a little singing brook.
        But seeing the actual World was something even more precious to him. The barren mountains of the icy season, the clear unclouded sky. His mind was so full of energy that his body lacked.

        With a deep feeling of gratitude for his body, he bid it farewell.


        When Veranassessee entered the secret facility with Gloria and Sharon, her blood congealed in her veins.
        Patient 4 had escaped the safety straitjacket and was holding the doctor at paper-clip point.
        Patient 4, was one of the first six patients they’d treated on the island, an awful miscarriage… Of the six, all had developed strong reactions to the medication especially as they had not yet found the appropriate dosage for the blue spider venom. Some had developed extra appendices, most had been hideously disfigured, and all of them had gone bonkers.
        “Four” was the last alive of them all, by an inexplicable combination of luck and genetics, and by far the most dangerous one. Apparently, apart from madness, the venom had gifted “Four” with supra-human velocity and strength. It was what had kept that mad doctor from “erasing” that mistake, so sure he could find some interesting way of making profit out of that prodigious lucky find.
        But now that was compromising everything…

        V’ass pushed the two chatty old ladies in a broom-closet behind with a wink Be right back ladies!

        Sharon and Gloria giggled in the small room, wondering about the unexpected sense of hospitality of the people of that resort. All was so funny and exciting since they’d decided to come to that place.


        — Four! Release the doc’!
        — Don’t move an inch closer or I’ll kill him!
        — You have nowhere to go Four, backups will be here any minute now…
        — One second is all I need to snap his neck!
        — No! Dr. Chris Bronklehampton was moaning
        — You, stay still, the mummified Four snapped to the panting doctor.

        Quicker than light, V’ass shot a powerful sedative into the arm of the mummy. Four winced, drawing the dart out of the arm, crushing the fluffy fletchings between the fingers. Quickly assessing chances to escape, Four sent the doctor flying at the other side of the room, in a powerful swing of the arm, and jumped through the window in a formidable sound of smashed glass, disappearing into the jungle.

        Chris! Are you alright? Nurse Bellamy was already caring for the fainted doctor.


          From Georges and Salome’s diary

          I woke up from my mediation, having seen those whom Georges refers to as “Guardians”. They looked deeply troubled. Apparently, they possess some kind of power that each of them share to an extent, at least the Eldest of them (or Jokans). With that power, they can travel in time and space and undo what another of them could have planted at some point in the canvas of their material reality.

          It thus appears of extreme importance that their decisions are reached with unanimity, as they have come to experience. My own presumptions tell me of a time not so far from this now where they were more numerous, but that the competition may have quickly decimated —exhausted, most certainly— those who did not align with the more powerfully expressed movement. Or perhaps they simply parted in different probable versions of this World, which is an eventuality equally as presumable.

          In any case, they were distraught over one in their ranks apparently doubting the decision they had just taken. They all knew of the consequence of one of them disagreeing, and it could nullify their efforts. It was thus of great importance that they come to understand, as much for the group as for the individual the source of his anguish. It seems some big changes are being planned…


          She had felt it.
          When the old man had left his body behind, she had felt it.

          Oorlaith had foreseen that he would decide to leave this World, and thus was not affected too much. However, she was not sure that Leonard, who she had sent to the highs of Mount Elok’ram had had time to retrieve the cup of Margilonia.

          Oorlaith had already collected the wand of Selvaniel, which Leonard had brought back to her, thanks to her indications, from the Forest bordering the Marshes. Now, she hoped he had time enough to get to the old Abbot.
          Otherwise, it might be more delicate…
          Much more delicate…

          Hopefully, she had made contact with Roselyn, who had been settling in another part of Asgurdy, on one of the numerous rocky islands bordering the South-western coasts, where life was scarce and the soil barren, but where it was safe enough to do magic in this superstitious land, as not much people ventured to these places.
          Her spiked dragon had helped her carve out her new residency and she was quite well installed now.
          Before moving from the deserts of Asgurdy, she had managed to get the sunstone of Agnima.


            The TV was on and the show was giving Sidonie the impression of a presence in the room with her. She didn’t like to be alone, she didn’t really like the sound of silence. She’d always be alone in her life, not really much friends, not really much colleagues… her parents always abroad, and her with the nanny… always in another room…

            Well she was exagerating a bit her loneliness but she was in a victim mood currently… imagining all her life alone was giving her a sense of tragedy, enhancing some depth in her life she was currently lacking. Tonio was at work today and she was feeling lonely… maybe she would take a pet. She’d heard of a new shop in the city, a shop of pet rental :-?

            Let’s have a look at that shop

            F LoveF Love

              Vincentius, usually of cheerful disposition, had been in a silent and pensive mood all day. Later that evening, while Yikesy slept, Arona gently asked him if he was okay. He sighed.

              Do you realise it is Yuletide, Arona? he asked.

              Arona did not pay much attention to the passing of time. It was a rather like her map. She did not quite see the point of having a map when she did not know where she was going. Likewise, what was the point of keeping track of time? When one did not know where one was going, it was clearly not necessary to be anywhere at any particular point in time.

              So she grunted non-committedly in response.

              Is that a special time for you? she prompted eventually, when Vincentius once again lapsed into a gloomy and silent reverie.

              He sighed. Do you mind if I tell you a story, Arona? he asked. It is rather long.

              I would love that, she replied, meaning it sincerely.

              F LoveF Love

                Felicity, or the “Bridal Goddess” as she called herself, was most encouraging when Becky said she was after something “a bit different” for her wedding day. Weddings had been having a resurgence of popularity in the last few years, obviously it was not the solid institution it was decades ago, but many people still liked to exchange intentions for their relationship. Most regarded marriage fondly as a rather quaint institution from the past.

                I will help you create your dream wedding! Felicity gushed enthusiastically. Most important is that you wear something you absolutely adore and that looks simply stunning on you for your special day. What sort of look did you have in mind?

                oh, um tribal actually, said Becky, vaguely, suddenly remembering she hadn’t mentioned her plans to Sean. He could be a tad on the conservative side at times . In fact, come to think of it, had she even mentioned to him that they were getting married?

                Fantastic! Demure tribal? Revealing tribal? I do all sorts of tribals, whatever you want!

                Hmmm said Becky reflectively, well probably not demure.

                No agreed Tina, not demure.


                A few hours later Becky and Tina were recovering from the ordeal, as Tina called it dramatically, over a cup of organic trim alpaca’s milk expresso Lucciato

                Hey what’s this about a soup party? asked Tina. I couldn’t get much sense out of Sam, but he says you are helping with it.

                Yeah it’s going to be great!

                Well, just so long as you aren’t doing the catering, it should be great, thought Tina, shuddering at the memory of stuffed Nasturtium Blossoms and Locust Bisque Becky had served at their last get-together. Not forgetting the garlic icecream for dessert.

                I heard that! It was healthy Tina! retorted Becky defensively.

                Bugger telepathy sighed Tina


                Home, at last… Bernie Eleonara Mynd, Viscountess of Shropshire sighed, dropping her hairy salmon coloured hermine fur coat to the butler.
                Now, leave me alone Vigor, I don’t want to be disturbed.
                Madam, Vigor bowed deferentially

                A smoking teapot of fine herb tea was prepared on the glass coffee table just near a black silk pouch. With a greedy look on her face, she untied voraciously the pouch to reveal the crystal skull she had just acquired.
                After a few seconds of beholding the priceless possession, she lifted the teapot lid with a stiff face which eventually smiled blissfully at the smell of the fine Earl Fuchsia crop which was infusing.

                Good Lord, that trip was exhausting!… she growled in a very deep voiced that suddenly sounded more male than before.
                Didn’t know I had to go as far as Spain to get that darn skull!

                Bernie suddenly ripped her fine chignon from her head, revealing a bald head with a few short black hair on the top. She spitted her false teeth, peeled off some wrinkled patches of latex skin, smeared the mascara around her globular eyes and scratched her crotch…

                A ruffled sound and a “mmm mmm” suddenly caught her attention off the itchy body parts.

                She went to the cupboard, drew a key dangling from a necklace deeply buried inside her ample bosom, then stopped for a moment, and muttered a “bugger” before unbuttoning her tight blouse and removing the corset that was constraining her breath.
                Smiling wickedly, she proceeded to open the cupboard, but recoiled at a pale tied and muzzled figure who looked much similar to whoever she was impersonating.

                Oh, Lordy, what a stench! There’s no point in making such a fuss Viscountess, this will soon be over… I just needed a few things, and will soon be off, tonight to be precise…

                The pale figure whined with pleading eyes.

                Oh, just don’t make these eyes at me…

                Bugger! I can’t bother with her now, she said to herself, closing the cupboard’s door oblivious to the plaintiff whines. Now, got to move on real quick, before they realize something was wrong with the transaction.


                Juan had insisted that they all spent Christmas together before Paqui and Joselito went for their trip. He felt that there was more to this trip that he could grasp, and wanted to share these precious moments now, not wanting to live on regrets.
                Now, the new year was here, and he was alone. At least, he’d been more than glad to see Claudio move out. It had all been a lot easier than he’d thought at first. Obviously, when Paquita had said to that maggot that she was going to accompany Joselito to his trip on the whachaname-Kikkoo Island, Claudio had been outraged, probably thinking a good playing victim act would soon make things right for him.
                But he’d been wrong altogether. It was not about love for him or the other. It was all about freedom and being what she wanted. And emotional blackmail very quickly proved besides the point.
                His father had been proud at Paquita. Her decision obviously was made, and it had been the first time he had seen the frail girl unwavering at the arguments.

                The situation had soon proved unbearable for Claudio, who had no longer any reason for hanging around Juan and Paqui’s house, and one day he’d moved out, rather discreetly, not to be heard again. Somehow, Juan was aware of the town’s gossips, that he had acquired some unexpected sum of money, not sure if all very legally, but the thing was that he had decided to take his chances by going some said to Nicaragua, others to Brazil or even to the US…
                But who really cared?


                On his plane for Valparaiso, Claudio was looking at the letter he’d found in the family trunk. It was a brief correspondence between his grand-father and a certain Cillian Mc Gaughran, and it was linked to the skull he had sold such a handsome price. Perhaps he could get more information about them, if the recluse old man was still alive, that is…

                F LoveF Love

                  The Story Vincentius told to Arona

                  I was seven when my father died. He leapt into a swollen river to help a neighbor who was drowning. He saved the neighbor but could not save himself. Everyone called him a hero but my mother called him a stupid fool. She was filled with sadness for her loss, and anger that he would leave her in such a way. I remember she got a pair of big scissors from the sewing box and cut off her long hair. For weeks after that I would see her move her hand to brush her long hair away and suddenly realise it was no longer there and I would see her go still. Then her body would slump and she would stand there looking lost and not knowing what to do. One day her heart just stopped beating. They said she died of grief but I think it was that life had become an empty hole that just got deeper and darker. I don’t think that is the same as grief, but maybe it is. My three older sisters and I cried and cried when my father died, but I never once saw her cry.

                  When my mother died we had to cry in secret, because my Grandmother Naja moved in to take care of us. She didn’t believe in crying. There were many things she didn’t believe in. Grandmother Naja ate like a bird, looked like a piece of old leather and moved like a skittery rabbit.

                  Vincentius she would say to me, peering at me shortsightedly, you need to get bigger. Your parents are dead and you are now the man of the house. Every day she would poke me in the ribs and say Vincentius, you need to get bigger”. Every time she poked me I remembered all over again that I was not good enough and that my parents were dead.

                  One day she sent Taffy, the second oldest sister out to the garden to get a cabbage. But there were no cabbages left the garden. Well! said Grandmother Naja, I can’t cook cabbage broth without any cabbage. So she gave Taffy a coin and sent my sisters into the Village to buy a cabbage from the market.

                  I begged to go too.

                  You are too small and you are too slow! said my sisters

                  Eventually though they gave in to my pleading.

                  I have often wondered if I knew the events that day would bring, if I would have begged so hard to go, mused Vincentius

                  to be continued …


                    “Hang on a minute” he shouted to his friends as soon as they were out of the grocery store, burden with the loads of the bags.
                    Molly, Harvey and Francis looked puzzled at their foreign friend.
                    Then with a shrug, Harvey sat on a pile of snow that had fallen from the roof, and leaned against one of the pillars of the square place dimly lit by a buzzing orange light.

                    He run to the chalet on the left, which was apparently closed, but he knew there would probably be someone in there.
                    He opened the creaking door, not startled by the bells tinkling at his left ear, and went straight to the counter, as though he had always known the place. A young man with a goatee was there, busy sorting old papers for the annual closing of the hostel.

                    — Do you have a glass of water please? the stranger asked
                    — Oh yes, sure… And with that?

                    The man seemed to expect an answer… The stranger felt as if he knew that answer…

                    — Yes… one of your… you know… chocolate things, with the wolf on it.
                    — Exactly! the tenant was smiling.

                    The stranger fumbled in his pocket, not having thought of requiring any money for a glass of water. But now…
                    Phew, there was a coin in his left pocket. He drew it out, looked at it… A 3 euros coin? He didn’t know such a currency existed…

                    — Oh, I won’t have the change I fear, the man answered… But I can make you a credit memo.

                    He had no idea he would come back here soon, but the familiar place as much as the obliging man made him think that anything would be okay. At worse, he would have lost a few euros, which was no big loss.

                    — Sure.

                    The man showed him a red ticket, and leaning on the counter, proceeded with some explanations.

                    — This is your credit memo. Additionally, as the hostel won’t be fully rented, you can use this as a reservation for next week. It’s for Mr Arkandin. You will be able to enter the special exhibit and join the guided tour. It’s a laying down travel. People are expected to go nowhere, yet they will travel. Pillows and blankets will be provided.

                    He had a strange image in his mind of people laying on their backs and gliding on the floor in patterns leaving some tracks on the ground with various colours.

                    — It is supposed to show people some beliefs about monogamy. And keeping track of their own travels…

                    That was most puzzling… He wasn’t sure he would still be here next week, but that sounded intriguing enough to not be thrown in the bin right away…
                    He thanked the man after having had his glass of water and putting the wolf-brand candy and red square of paper in his pocket.

                    — There you are, sighed Molly, and what have taken you so long?


                    Somewhere during the 23 rd century

                    “aaa AAAA AAAAA Tcheeeew !”

                    “Hiiiiii?! Oh Fracking NOOOoooo!”

                    The shriek had been heard in the whole facility.

                    Phefia Beryl was the first on the spot where Vinya Grey had been playing so exuberantly with her vocal chords.

                    — Vinnie? Are you alright?… What just happened?
                    — Oh, Pheffy… I think I made an awful blunder…
                    — What do you mean?
                    — You know, my last experiment?
                    — The g…
                    — Yes!
                    — What?!
                    — They poofed away…
                    — Away?… You mean, all of them? Oh bugger…


                    A few minutes later, Vinya and Phefia were around a white table sucking on straws picked into white and red polystyrenoid balls.

                    — Vinnie, you look terrible… That last geomagnetic storm had not done very good on your DNA I’m afraid.
                    — And the worse is that each time I sneeze, I blow up wormholes… I thought it would go better very quickly, but last one was big and lasted long enough to let the whole experimental herd wander off in another time/space and/or dimension…
                    — Yeah, that’s pretty bad… But wherever they went, they probably will die very soon… Imagine… With their stiff legs anytime they see something frightening, I guess a mere mapgie could easily have them for dinner…
                    — Such a pity… I was close to doing something great with them… When we discovered these fossilized blue spiders, I knew it was the first step.
                    — Bwah, this rehydrated frogrog is the grossest thing I’ve ever drunk… But yeah you’re right, the first results were very promising. The spiders venom could provoke very random and deep mutations.
                    — And all we needed was a little more control on the direction of the mutations.
                    — Anyway they’re just goats… You possibly can’t have breached a cosmic law with a handful of GOATS
                    — Hope so Pheffy, hope so…


                    San Demangelo, 1848

                    Elroy was laughing… Hey Joe, Twi! he shouted A letter from Uncle Ernie!

                    — Uncle Ernie? How’s the old bat doin’? asked Twilight
                    — He’s sending his greetings for the new year, and babbling about last dead people in the neighborhood. But there’s something funny. He’s saying that he’d just acquired some funny goats. Like popped in, out of nowhere. At first he’d thought of a joke, but apparently no one’s been claiming them. He’d thought them dead, they were a dozen laying stiff on the ground, but when they started to wake up, they went down again like broken dolls. Apparently the magpies on top of the tree had been scaring them. Ahaha… Where does he get such strange stories…
                    — Well, magpies are scarey, Twilight said meaningfully, with a side glance at Joe
                    — Whatever… At least he’d been giving us a good laugh. He’s saying he’s gonna breed the horny beasts, and start a Fainting Goat Fair (or FGF) in Marshall County. Perhaps we could get there next Thanksgiving…
                    — Depends when the Freak Show’s coming to town, mused Twilight, I hope to see them soon…

                    F LoveF Love

                      Elizabeth Tattler stared morosely at her screen. Her long hair, formerly her crowning glory was wild and matted, small bald patches had formed where she had begun to habitually pull at it. Her beautiful violet eyes for which she was famous were bloodshot from weariness.

                      Ms Tattler was known planet wide for her series of children’s books “The Fickle Four”. The exploits of Almad, Tinigrump, Samnuf and Bekipo were beloved by children of all ages and planetary connections, although perhaps most endearing to those of the Fumari dimension who had a natural disposition for exploits of such fickleness. The catchprase “Bit rude Tinigrump”, and “Madder than Almad” had become part of the national vocabulary in recent years.

                      Formerly Ms Tattler had written, with limited success, novels of a more adult nature, drawing on her numerous marriages for creative inspiration. However her publisher had asked her to create a series about four friends who were on a mission to create other worlds, the focus being on “providing positive and fun role models” for children growing up in these difficult times of planetary upheaval. The works were in the science freakshow genre of writing and the popularity of the original novel had been unprecedented, taking Elizabeth and her publisher by surprise and leading for the demand for many more.

                      Ah, she sighed, and then spluttered as she inhaled the dusty, smoky air, but what a noose this has created. Her yellow nicobeck stained fingers touched her neck and then ran agitatedly through her hair. For at some point, when did it start? the story had begun to take a life of its own. She no longer felt in control as plots became more and more bizarre. She felt unable to follow anything through, creating endless threads which seemed to lead nowhere. She looked around her small office, everywhere was the evidence of stories started and discarded, screwed up pieces of paper covered in frenetic doodles littering the floor.

                      The telepooh began to buzz. She knew it was Bronkel her publisher before his face came up on the screen.

                      I know you are there Elizabeth. Will you pick up please!

                      In a fit of rage Elizabeth picked up the telepooh and threw it across the room, where it narrowly missed Lana, one of her 20 fainting Mongoats she kept as pets. Lana fainted for a few seconds in fear and Robert X, her pet Magpie, hopped around delightedly, Bugger the telepooh, Bugger the telepooh! he screeched. Poke its eyes out! Poke its eyes out.


                      Instantly Elizabeth regretted her spikey, voodish behaviour and scrambled to retrieve the telepooh. Her mother was Vood by nature, a particularly dysfunctional personality type, and Elizabeth had struggled all her life to avoid similar behavioural patterns. Her friends, and certainly her ex-husbands, would say perhaps with only partial success.

                      Apologies Bronkel, I was engrossed in my writing. How can I help you?

                      Bronkel appeared to be covered in bandages from what she could see of his upper torso, giving him the appearance of a rather odd mummy like creature. He was constantly searching for new beauty treatments to extend his youthful goodlooks, however at 167 years more and more desperate measures were being called for.

                      Elizabeth! Thank God, Where in Flork’s name have you been? he shouted at her. His pudgy, prouty little face was scrunched in peevish vexation. I can’t talk for long, I am on the Island for a month and the connection is flork. Where in the name of Fock is the story you promised me?

                      She could not find the words to reply to Bronkel. I wonder if I am mindblown? she mused. She had read of this horrible phenomenon, and seen the sad pictures of those thus afflicted. Poor wandering creatures, strange erratic behaviour, always travelling, always seeking. But for what? Hell on Dearth indeed. She shuddered.

                      It is getting urgent you know, spluttered Bronkel. Every day I am reading of new treatment centers opening for those undergoing crisis due to the prolonged absence of the Fickle Four in their lives.

                      She sighed, Pull yourself together Elizabeth, her bloodshot and tired eyes were drawn to the planetary horrorscope on the monthly calendar. Todays “Words of Comfort for the Descending” quotation was from the famous philosopher Lemone. She particularly loved Lemone’s ideas. Many considered him a nutter, a few thought he was a genius ahead of his time. For herself, she did not really know, only that his profoundly beautiful words offered a kind of solace or balm to her tortured soul at times such as this :

                      Sometimes it takes a single sniggly thorny path to go through to reach Elysian avenues much more efficiently ~ Lemone

                      Absolutely fantastic Bronkel, I think this is going to be the best novel yet! My God what an effort it took to say that, but for some reason Bronkel appeared to believe her and began to calm. Thank you Lemone, I could kiss you! she breathed an inward sigh of relief.

                      Poke its eyes out! screeched Robert X exuberantly.

                      A sniggly thorny path indeed, she thought, hanging up on Bronkel. She had fun using him and his island getaway for inspiration in her last novel. Fun, what happened to the fun? Is this what descended beings do, sit around in a dank, dusty office writing trashy novels?

                      She began nervously smoothing out pieces of paper and tried to decipher the scribbled notes; …big soup party …..pointy teeth like cannibals…..tribal wedding ….

                      Elizabeth put her head in her hands and groaned in abject despair. Twelve of the twenty mongoats fainted at the fearful sound.


                      The buzzing of the telepooh woke up Elizabeth with a flinch, her heart pounding in fast tremolos.

                      She grumbled restlessly, her throat dry and itchy and her limbs still limp from slumber; she was in a dream, and already, she was feeling the unusual distinct clarity of the dream scenario gently fade as her attention was focusing upon the unwelcome sound which had a distorting quality of her yet poorly focused perception of her surroundings.

                      The buzzing ceased abruptly. She opened an eye to see the ID of the caller, but it was not displayed. Bugger the caller
                      Still feeling groggy, she was hanging to the last images of her dreams. It was telling her a story, a legend… Something full of grandeur, like a galactic opera filled with awe, drama and excitement… A renewed fount of inspiration…

                      The voice of the lady who had been telling her that story was still inside her head, all she had to do was to slightly let herself drift into the numb and warm state of mind in which she was some minutes ago…

                      You are tapping into a mass event. You are translating but a minute portion of it, though it seems colossal already. It is in fact so wide that it reflects in many other worlds which all live in your imagination. Bound together, they represent more books that you could write in a lifetime, more books that you and any army of ghost-writers could write in a thousand lifetimes…

                      The voice was delightfully soothing, and Elizabeth was seeing herself drifting again in the blissful sleep bereft of irate publishers’ diktats. Beaming at her, Elizabeth could envision a light feminine figure with flowing dark hair illuminated by green-blue shimmers. How could she ever remember all that was said… She was plagued with such bad memory…

                      Elizabeth had her dictaphoo under her pillow, ready for such sudden strokes of genius, but her mouth dried up from nicobeck wasn’t ready to spew out words that early in the morning.

                      What the lady with the teal eyes had shown her was an old book of prophecies, which she had named the Last Gospel, unknown yet but which would be remembered as the mass event would be enacted again.
                      The book spoke of a triad of planets, named M’si, B’si and Earth. Just before Elizabeth woke up, she had seen that Earth was in the process of been isolated from the other parts of the cosmos, for untold reason. Suddenly, she had seen one of the planets, the one named B’si, change her quality and become a “gravitational lense” altering the perception of space from the “Earth” standpoint. The planet B’si became transparent and expanded, as though it was an exploding super-nova, but nothing radiated from the planet. Only the quality of the space was modified.

                      Elizabeth had the idea of a novel based upon this mass event which could be her next perfect best-seller. She reached out for her typewrooter.


                      When the World was young, the Powers were roaming in a void full of possibilities.
                      Initially, Three Syzygies there were. By two came the Six Powers. Three Syzygies, or couples of Light Beings, each Syzygy blessed with unlimited creative powers.

                      Elizabeth pondered for a moment… She wanted to say many things at the same time, and couldn’t write them fast enough. She started to write notes haphazardly as they came to her mind.

                      — Two planets for themselves to play; a planet for themselves to dwell. The planets gravitate around a sun on the same orbit. Each of the Powers possess a symbolic scepter power artifact, and each couple generates a crystal or a kind of light seed which allows them to create new sentient beings… When parted, that crystal kind of light is deactivated.
                      — One planet is home of dragons, created by one of the syzygies, another is home of giant eagles; they all are lesser Powers… The third one have giant-like Light beings…

                      — What made the planet B’si change its quality? What became of the Powers? (I can sense them desiring to become part of their creations, willing to forget about themselves and their powers… Punishment? Mere playfulness? Perhaps there was a coup organized by the Lesser Powers?)

                      Phew… Elizabeth yawned. All she could think of now was that she wanted to go back to sleep…

                      F LoveF Love

                        There was a tentative knock on the door and Finnley, the weekly cleaner popped her head around.

                        Oh Ms Tattler …. I wasn’t expecting anyone to be in here at… she checked the wootch on her wrist, 5:57 am .. but I saw the light on …. A horrified expression passed fleetingly over her face as she took in condition of the office.

                        Perhaps I shall come back later Ms Tattler, she said retreating, and making a note to have a word to the building supervisor, Mr Arak, as soon as possible. Mind you this wasn’t the first time she had spoken to Mr Arak about the issue of Ms Tattler living on the premises, to no avail. He was mad as Almad that man. Perhaps I will bloddy resign while I am at it too, she thought. Perhaps I will tell him to bugger his job, shove it where the sun doesn’t shine! Finnly cheered up greatly at the prospect.

                        Elizabeth, exhausted, only dimly registered the interruption, looking up for an instant she waved vaguely in the direction of the door, and then returned to her frenzied writing, eager to capture the last remnants of her dream before it faded.


                        Franiel offered his congratulations to Aum Geog along with the others. He did not mind that he was not himself chosen to succeed Hrih Chokyam, and neither would he have expected it, however he felt the physical absence of the Old One keenly. His powerful presence had cloaked the whole monastery in a sweet warmth, and even though Franiel had only been there a short while, he had felt close to the Old One. Of course his spirit will always be here, but the same time Franiel knew change was inevitable, and he was unsure of his own place within the boundaries of the monastery. Happiness and fun were valued highly by Franiel, they were more important to him than all the spiritual ideals others would speak of, and he had felt a slight greyness of late. He found humility difficult and did not enjoy following rules, neither did he enjoy listening to the wisdom of the other brothers. At times his sense of humor would cause them to frown upon him. He knew the Old One had understood this, but now he was gone he wondered how he would fit. He pulled out the note Jog Lam had given him from Hrih Chokyam, Listen to your heart…. it began. What was his heart telling him?

                        Brother Franiel!. He heard the voice of Aba Tane calling him. The Brothers were shortly meeting to hear Aum Geog speak, presumably to announce the new direction for the monastery.

                        Brother Franiel, Aum Geog has requested you take this chalice to the Village, so the silversmith may engrave it with these words. Aba Tane handed Franiel a cup, and a piece of paper with a seal. He requested you should go right away and that you should remember that the cup is precious. He requested also that I sprinkle you with some Holy Water to safeguard you on your way. In customary manner, Franiel knelt and Aba Tane sprinkled the precious bottled water on his forehead. Love and Light, Brother Franiel. Blessings for your journey.

                        It was several days walking down the mountain to the Village. To be honest though, it was a task Franiel welcomed, perhaps to be away from the monastery at this time would give him a chance to better hear what was in his heart, and to miss the meeting was no loss for him.

                        He wondered at the haste, and at what the words might be, however it was not his business to question the directives of Aum Geog. He remembered also his dream of the silver goblet. Many things to ponder, he mused, a feeling of excitement growing within him.


                        Chris, I demand you tell me what’s going on! What was that … that thing! Nurse Bellamy was visibly upset, her cheeks flushed, her voice tremulous. She had no idea what had just happened, but she suspected that even coconut milk might not make it better this time.

                        Are you going to tell her or do I have to do it? asked Veranassessee. Because if you can pull yourself together I have a couple of guests locked in a closet, and now a mummy on the run to deal with! It had been a tiring day and Veranassessee was furious.

                        V’ass what’s going on, Chris, will someone please tell me ….!

                        I will tell her Veranassessee. Dr Bronkelhampton slumped in his chair and wondered where to start. A plan was beginning to form in his head. V’ass had always said Nurse Bellamy should be told the truth, now it seems that, as usual, she was right. But of course, he smiled to himself, as Dr Lemane, his erudite Professor at medical school had always said, there are many sniggly variations of one truth. Well, it was something along those lines he said anyway.


                        Oh this is the bees knees! what do you reckon about this room then Sha? Do you think the treatment has started?

                        Perhaps it is special beauty air in here. It smells different don’t it?

                        They both breathed deeply. Oh Yes, Yes, YES! giggled Glor



                        It’s a bit odd though don’t you think? I mean nothing like what I was thinking.


                        The mummy headed towards the dense bush, her brain was foggy but she knew she had to find cover. Her limbs felt heavy. Keep going, just keep going …


                        Nurse Bellamy could not stop crying. Oh Chris … oh you poor man. I always thought there was something odd about Veranassessee. Oh what shall we do my darling, she must be stopped!

                        Quite right, she must my little poppet, soothed Dr Bronkelhampton, stroking Nurse Bellamy’s hair gently, and thinking quickly. But for now, keep it to yourself. It is a very delicate matter. Can you do that my sweet one? Just for me?

                        Oh yes Chris! whatever you think best my my darling.


                        A marmoset jumped from a bush in front of Akita and Kay. Oh, that’s only a monkey! said Akita. But suddenly the werewolf growled and started to chase the marmoset, which had just disappeared into the mangrove. Kay! Come back! Leave that thing alone! … Finding himself talking to the trees, Akita shrugged, wondering why the dog spirit who never chased anything before had become suddenly drawn to a minuscule monkey. He would sure come back, but that was odd…

                        A large magpie jumped before Number Four (who went also by the nickname of Niv’, as N°IV was the name written on the cell). Oh, that’s only a bird… muttered the drowsing mummy, who started to jump at every abrupt sound cropping up inside the thick vegetation of the island… But soon, another magpie appeared from the sky and landed next to the first. And then another, until Four was surrounded by a crowd of big magpies looking oddly calm. Can’t fall asleep now… Can’t…



                          Becky coughed painfully, and shook her head in confusion. She coughed again, clutching her ribs and wincing as her bruised chest muscles screamed.

                          I am so out of the loop I fear I will never catch up, she wailed sadly.

                          She coughed again, clutching Chump close to her, as if the wiry little dog could soothe her tormented breathing with his warmth.

                          How will I ever catch up, Pork Chump? she moaned, stroking his scruffy scrawny body.

                          Chump winked at her and said Catching up and keeping track, don’t you know that is a wild goose chase? You may observe me, when I chase a goose. I chase the goose for fun, for a moment of fun. Do I wonder where the goose came from? Do I wonder where the goose went? Do I worry about the gooses mother, or daughter, or son?

                          Becky was momentarily nonplussed; after all, Chump had only winked and laughed at her before, she had never heard him speak.

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