October 16, 2017 at 7:21 am #123
A Cave Story Reborn Of Eggs and Dancing Stars, With Shores of New Beginnings, Many Ongoings and Very Few Endings.
October 16, 2017 at 7:33 am #4387
The Doline was brimming with unseen life, glistening below the twinkling star-lighted sky overhead. Albino geckos were dancing on the walls of ancient stones, while the twirling bats were hunting near the flowing streams of pristine water. Cooing late birds were singing old stories, while the scurrying rodents shuffling the leaves coverage ventured outside, carefully out of the gaze of nocturnal birds of prey.
There was a traveler that day who had found the entrance long forgotten. The trees had parted to let her gain access. So it began.October 16, 2017 at 10:04 pm #4390
“She found the entrance, you say?”
“I am afraid so. I am sorry indeed to say that this is the case.”
“How could she have found the way in? Where were the guards? And who is she who would dare to enter the Doline?”
“It’s been so long … I think the guards got lazy. And who can blame them … so many years they stood at their post and nobody even trying to find the way in. I think they got tired of waiting for something to happen. And as to who it is … all I have heard is she is a traveller and not anyone from the Village. A traveller from far off parts, I have heard.”
“Dearie me … always the way, isn’t it? Heads are going to roll of course and I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes. What’s going to happen now?”
“It’s very hard to get someone out once they have found the way in. That’s a well known truth.”
“It is indeed. Indeed it is.”October 17, 2017 at 5:05 am #4391
It had been a long time coming, but Lillianne had known there was no rush. There had been a flurry of interest many years ago, but nothing came to fruition. All the ingredients were there for a banquet of discovery, but no cooks to combine the ingredients successfully ~ until now.
They’d been very careful to cover their tracks, even laying red herrings along the way. Others were interested, they knew that, and they knew they’d been followed, sensing the lurking energy trails behind them. But the main thing was, they got there first. Now was not a time to relax, despite the urge to just pause and revel in the accomplishment.
“But I’m knackered, Lillianne,” whined Petra, running her hands distractedly through her tangled hair. “Surely we can take a little nap before we continue. Over there behind those rocks, look! Let’s just nip behind there.”
Lillianne pursed her lips. There was no point in arguing with Petra when she was tired. And the more she thought about it, the more a short rest sounded enticing. The climb down into the dense wooded gorge had been arduous, and her ankle ached where she’d twisted it on a loose rock.
“Come on then, but only half an hour!”October 17, 2017 at 7:34 am #4392
“Tourists!” shouted Ugo the gecko to his albino friends. They all stopped and turned their heads in unison to look at the two humans who had entered the premises, inside their small chests their hearts beating fast with excitement like so many small shamanic drums that only gecko ears could hear. Ugo was so engrossed in those two humongous creatures and the hypnotic rhythm of his friends’ heartbeats that he didn’t see the suckers from his front left paw were getting loose again. They had been damaged in a fight with a twirling bat one week ago and they still hadn’t heal nicely because he didn’t care so much. Soon his left paw got detached from the ancient stones of the wall, followed by his right and soon he fell. But like he was made of sticking rubber the fall was short and he got stuck again on a lower stone, walking on the head of a few friends in the process.
“Sorry for that! I’ll have them checked, promise.”
Some of the geckos missed a heartbeat, frightened by the sudden turmoil. They ran in what might appear random directions and panic quickly spread among the albino geckolony on the wall. By a miracle of nature and because they were all so fascinated by tourists, the geckos rearranged nicely only to stop a sucking steps away and turned their head back again toward the tourists. Their hearts beating in unison again.
“Look! that dark wall over there with the white hieroglyphs. I’m sure it just moved!” said the tallest of the tourists. She was curious and decided to go watch by herself what that curious wall was about.October 17, 2017 at 10:40 am #4393
They have entered, now peace is all shattered,
And the quiet was all that had mattered,
But alas that is over,
And blown is my cover,
And I’m sulky and not feeling flattered.
Petra was scribbling furiously in her expedition notebook, not wanting to forget the exact wording of the curious message she had received on waking from her nap behind the rocks. It was not the first time she had heard telepathic messages in rhyme, and wondered briefly about the possible connections, but then Lillianne woke up farting dreadfully, and she was distracted.October 18, 2017 at 6:07 am #4394
For the festival of lights, the sleepy guard had all dressed up in their traditional pajams and were extolling psalmodies in longing voices.
Small bells rang in clusters of lighthearted peels, soon covered by the deep lingering sounds of the foghorns echoing along the rocky slopes muffled out by the abundant vegetation.
Expectation was in the air.October 18, 2017 at 1:56 pm #4395
Daisy the dung beetle’s daughter applauded when she finished her creation. She had completed a big mandibala of coloured sand, patiently extracted the previous years from dungs her uncle had brought back form the outside world. He had said some of it came from a faraway land where their ancestors had been worshiped by giants. Daisy had tried to imagined being worshiped, but her limited experience of life and of the world made her Goddess dream short lived.
But what she liked most was that she could put all those pieces of faraway lands in her own composition. She looked at the result, satisfied. At a certain time, she knew a cone of light from outside the Doline would come directly warm her mandibala and her wish to see the outside world would be granted.October 21, 2017 at 6:40 am #4396
“You had one job to do! One job!” Alex’s mother shouted at him. “One job, that could hardly have been any easier for a shiftless layabout like you, and you balls it up!”
“Oh Mom, it was so boring! Sitting there for years and nothing ever happened! And we only left once, it was such rotten timing…”
“You were supposed to stop that kind of thing ever happening and now its too late. You and Albie will never get another job now.”
“Well actually you’re wrong, mother. I have been offered a job with the guys who planted all that funny stuff all around the entrance. It involves travel and adventure, they said, and good money, better money that a guard makes!”
“Oh, dear god,” replied Lottie. “Please say it isn’t true.”November 1, 2017 at 9:11 am #4397
“How’s the new dog settling in, Ma?” asked Albie, playing for time.
“Oh, she’s doing fine, don’t you worry about that, and don’t try and change the subject!” retorted Freda. “Lottie told me all about it this morning. You had one job to do, one job!”
“That’s what Lottie said,” replied Albie, looking down at his shoes and halfheartedly attempting to knock the dried mud off them on the chair leg. “Sorry, Ma,” he added sadly. “Shall I take the new dog for a walk?”
Freda sighed. “Oh alright then, but don’t let her off the lead. And make sure you get back before the rain. And stop kicking mud all over the floor!”November 20, 2017 at 11:31 am #4398
“Flat as a pancake!” she said with a doleful air and grandiose waves of her hands. “The world is flat as a pancake. Oh, sure it turns, about just as slow as needed so we won’t notice, little bugs that we are on that big flat pancake.”
“Really? And the doline…”
“At the center of it, obviously.” She paused mysteriously. “And if the legends are true, when the gates open, all the other stuff freely goes in and out.”
“From where?” another student asked
“EVERYWHERE” she leaned her head forward, matted hair sticking to her temple, a feverish madness twinkling her eyes. “All the dimensions take a turn, turn, turn, turn.”December 16, 2017 at 1:05 am #4402
(With thanks to random story generator for this comment)
Albie looked at the soft feather in his hands and felt happy.
He walked over to the window and reflected on his silent surroundings. He had always loved haunting the village near the doline with its few, but faithful inhabitants. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel happiness.
Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the figure of Ma. He felt his mood drop. Ma was ambitious and a mean-spirited bossy boots.
Albie gulped. He glanced at his own reflection. He was an impulsive, kind-hearted, beer drinker. His friends saw him as an amusing foolish clown. But he was kind-hearted and once, he had even brought a brave baby bird back from the brink of death.
But not even an impulsive person who had once brought a brave baby bird back from the brink of death, was prepared for what Ma had in store today.
The inclement brooding silence teased like a sitting praying mantis, making Albie anticipate the worst.
As Albie stepped outside and Ma came closer, he could see the mean glint in her eye.
Ma glared with all the wrath of 9 thoughtless hurt hippo. She said, in hushed tones, “I disown you and I want you to leave.”
Albie looked back, even more nervous and still fingering the soft feather. “Ma, please don’t boss me. I am going to the doline,” he replied.
They looked at each other with conflicted feelings, like two deep donkeys chatting at a very funny farewell.
Ma’s skinny ear trembled and her short legs wobbled. She looked excited, her emotions raw like a rabblesnatching, rare rock.
Then she let out an agonising groan and collapsed onto the ground. Moments later Ma was dead.
Albie went back inside and had himself a cold beer.December 16, 2017 at 2:54 am #4403
random plot generator
A BOOK SHOP – IT IS THE AFTERNOON AFTER ALBIE HIT HIS MOTHER WITH A FEATHER.
Please Jenny, don’t leave me.
I’m sorry Albie, but I’m looking for somebody a bit more brave. Somebody who faces his fears head on, instead of running away. You hit your mother with a feather! You could have just talked to her!
I am such a person!
I’m sorry, Albie. I just don’t feel excited by this relationship anymore.
JENNY leaves and ALBIE sits down, looking defeated.
Moments later, gentle sweet shop owner MR MATT HUMBLE barges in looking flustered.
Goodness, Matt! Is everything okay?
I’m afraid not.
What is it? Don’t keep me in suspense…
It’s … a hooligan … I saw an evil hooligan frighten a bunch of elderly ladies!
Defenseless elderly ladies?
Yes, defenseless elderly ladies!
Bloomin’ heck, Matt! We’ve got to do something.
I agree, but I wouldn’t know where to start.
You can start by telling me where this happened.
MATT fans himself and begins to wheeze.
Focus Matt, focus! Where did it happen?
The Library! That’s right – the Library!
ALBIE springs up and begins to run.
EXT. A ROAD – CONTINUOUS
ALBIE rushes along the street, followed by MATT. They take a short cut through some back gardens, jumping fences along the way.
INT. A LIBRARY – SHORTLY AFTER
ROGER BLUNDER a forgetful hooligan terrorises two elderly ladies.
ALBIE, closely followed by MATT, rushes towards ROGER, but suddenly stops in his tracks.
What is is? What’s the matter?
That’s not just any old hooligan, that’s Roger Blunder!
Who’s Roger Blunder?
You can say that again.
I’m going to need candlesticks, lots of candlesticks.
Roger turns and sees Albie and Matt. He grins an evil grin.
Albie Jones, we meet again!
Yes. It was a long, long time ago…
EXT. A PARK – BACK IN TIME
A young ALBIE is sitting in a park listening to some trance music, when suddenly a dark shadow casts over him.
He looks up and sees ROGER. He takes off his headphones.
Would you like some wine gums?
ALBIE’s eyes light up, but then he studies ROGER more closely, and looks uneasy.
I don’t know, you look kind of forgetful.
Me? No. I’m not forgetful. I’m the least forgetful hooligan in the world.
Wait, you’re a hooligan?
ALBIE runs away, screaming.
INT. A LIBRARY – PRESENT DAY
You were a coward then, and you are a coward now.
He turns back and shouts.
I mean, I am running away, but I’ll be back – with candlesticks.
I’m not scared of you.
You should be.
INT. A SWEET SHOP – LATER THAT DAY
ALBIE and MATT walk around searching for something.
I feel sure I left my candlesticks somewhere around here.
Are you sure? It does seem like an odd place to keep deadly candlesticks.
You know nothing Matt Humble.
We’ve been searching for ages. I really don’t think they’re here.
Suddenly, ROGER appears, holding a pair of candlesticks.
Looking for something?
Crikey, Albie, he’s got your candlesticks.
Tell me something I don’t already know!
The earth’s circumference at the equator is about 40,075 km.
I know that already!
I’m afraid of dust.
While ROGER is looking at MATT with disgust, ALBIE lunges forward and grabs his deadly candlesticks. He wields them, triumphantly.
Prepare to die, you forgetful aubergine!
No please! All I did was frighten a bunch of elderly ladies!
JENNY enters, unseen by any of the others.
Don’t hurt me! Please!
Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t use these candlesticks on you right away!
Because Albie, I am your father.
ALBIE looks stunned for a few moments, but then collects himself.
No you’re not!
Ah well, it had to be worth a try.
ROGER tries to grab the candlesticks but ALBIE dodges out of the way.
Who’s the daddy now? Huh? Huh?
Unexpectedly, ROGER slumps to the ground.
Did he just faint?
I think so. Well that’s disappointing. I was rather hoping for a more dramatic conclusion, involving my deadly candlesticks.
ALBIE crouches over ROGER’s body.
Be careful, Albie. It could be a trick.
No, it’s not a trick. It appears that… It would seem… Roger Blunder is dead!
Yes, it appears that I scared him to death.
MATT claps his hands.
So your candlesticks did save the day, after all.
JENNY steps forward.
Is it true? Did you kill the forgetful hooligan?
Jenny how long have you been…?
JENNY puts her arm around ALBIE.
Then you saw it for yourself. I killed Roger Blunder.
Then the elderly ladies are safe?
It does seem that way!
A crowd of vulnerable elderly ladies enter, looking relived.
You are their hero.
The elderly ladies bow to ALBIE.
There is no need to bow to me. I seek no worship. The knowledge that Roger Blunder will never frighten elderly ladies ever again, is enough for me.
You are humble as well as brave! And I think that makes up for hitting your mother with a feather. It does in my opinion!
One of the elderly ladies passes ALBIE a healing ring
I think they want you to have it, as a symbol of their gratitude.
I couldn’t possibly.
Well, if you insist. It could come in handy when I go to the Doline tomorrow. With my friend Matt. It is dangerous and only for brave people and a healing ring could come in handy.
ALBIE takes the ring.
The elderly ladies bow their heads once more, and leave.
ALBIE turns to JENNY.
Does this mean you want me back?
Well you can’t have me.
You had no faith in me. You had to see my scare a hooligan to death before you would believe in me. I don’t want a lover like that. And I am going to the Doline and I may not be back!
Please leave. I want to spend time with the one person who stayed with me through thick and thin – my best friend, Matt.
You heard the gentleman. Now be off with you. Skidaddle! Shoo!
I’m sorry Jenny, but I think you should skidaddle.
MATT turns to ALBIE.
Did you mean that? You know … that I’m your best friend?
Of course you are!
The two walk off arm in arm.
Suddenly MATT stops.
When I said I’m afraid of dust, you know I was just trying to distract the hooligan don’t you?January 15, 2018 at 5:01 pm #4417January 16, 2018 at 10:46 pm #4420
As soon as the words had left her mouth, Lottie regretted them. She looked at Albie’s shocked, crestfallen face and knew she had been too harsh. Maybe she wasn’t cut out to be a writing mentor. It was a constant battle for her: should she be brutally honest and possibly save them years of misdirected effort or should she foster their creative spirit at all costs, even if it meant being dishonest? She sighed and tried to backtrack.
“Look, Albie, there is some good stuff in here but it needs work … “
“It’s okay,” Albie broke in quickly. “It’s fine. I knew I was no good … it’s fine. Thanks.” He gave an embarrassed laugh. “Mum has been on at me to do something since I lost my job so i thought … well, I thought I’d give writing a shot. Better stick to walking the dog, eh!”
“Yes, you and Alex are a right pair, walking off the job like that.” Lottie shook her head, causing the thick reading glasses to slip down her long beaky nose. Lottie always wore black and she reminded Albie of a crow. He liked her though, which is why he had asked her to read his play.
“Anyway what’s done is done.” Lottie continued. And then she hesitated for a moment, pushing the glasses back up her nose and looking down at the manuscript on the table in front of her as though weighing her words carefully before continuing. “Look, Albie, one thing I did notice in your writing was that there was a recurring theme. Perhaps your subconscious trying to tell you something. It often works like that.
“The Doline thing?”
“Yes,” said Lottie. “Something to think about anyway.”January 17, 2018 at 9:12 am #4426
Albie pondered Lottie’s words. He’d been trying to forget the doline, but now he realized he’d been avoiding the inevitable. It was no good pretending there were other jobs for him, that much was becoming clear. His mission had been to protect the doline, and he’d failed.
Or had he? A new idea was glimmering in his mind, that he hadn’t failed at all. At first he’d been so embarrassed and anxious about the security breach that he’d only seen the obvious superficial layer of events. Yes, strangers had entered the doline; true, they were not supposed to let that happen. But now he wondered, were they strangers to the doline? Who were they? Maybe they were meant to enter, and his apparent lack of attention was a providential and timely. How did he, Albie, even know for sure that he was working for the right side? What did he really know about his bosses? And what about that handsome fellow who’d slithered out of the doline, the dark eyed one with leaves in his hair?
Albie hadn’t even told Alex about him, not after the shit hit the fan about the breach and illegal entry. The last thing he felt like doing was admitting that there had been an illegal escape as well. But Albie couldn’t stop thinking about him, the graceful way he shook the dust out of his hair, the depths of those lustrous dark eyes, his long slender fingers….
Now, Albie was kicking himself for hiding behind a tree, for not approaching the strange man, or at least following him to see where he was going. His job was to stop people from entering. Nobody had said anything about stopping people leaving it. It was unexpected, and he’d been scared. Was it too late to try and track his movements? He’d come out of the doline, he’d have stories to tell. Albie needed to know, he needed to find him.
He would find a way to trace him. He wondered if the new dog could help him, if he could find something with the mans scent upon it. Albie was determined to find a way.January 18, 2018 at 10:45 pm #4430
One spring day in 1822, so the story goes, Emerald Huntingford was walking the family dog on the extensive family estate, when the dog ran into a densely wooded area in hot pursuit of a rabbit. This was not uncommon, however on this occasion Emerald whistled and called but the dog did not return to her. She ran back to the house and shouted for her brother, Nigel, to help her find the it.
After several hours of frantic searching, for it was a much loved family pet, and just as they were beginning to despair, they heard whimpering coming from a hole in the ground. They cleared away the brush covering the entrance to the hole and saw it went some way into the ground and it was here the unfortunate dog had fallen. It was too deep for them to enter unaided, so while Emerald sat with the dog and called reassuringly down to it, Nigel ran for assistance. With the help of ropes and several strong farm workers, Nigel descended into the space. To his amazement, he found himself in a clay filled dome with shallow entrances going off to other underground galleries. At that time, with his focus on the injured dog, he had no inkling of the extent of it. It was later on, after they had time to explore, that the Huntingfords started to comprehend the amazing world which existed under their land.
Word spread, and they were offered a substantial amount of money by a mining company to mine the land. Locals, and others from further afield, wanted to visit the doline and many would try and do so, with or without seeking permission from the Huntingfords first. Some argued that if you don’t own the sky above your land, why should you have claim to the ground beneath?
The Huntingfords were wealthy and had no need or desire to sell the rights to their land. Eventually, their patience worn thin by the aggressive mining company and invasive tourists, they decided to defend their claim to the doline in court; a claim which they won. From that time on, as one generation of the family passed the secrets of the doline to another, guards were employed to keep watch over the entrance, that none may enter the underground world without the approval of the family.
And it seems none had, until now.January 19, 2018 at 12:22 pm #4431
That sunny day would be remembered as the day the doline shook and trembled.
The geckoes fell from their rock, cutting all communication between the inhabitants of the hidden world. The vibrations coming from leperchauns know where had swiftly spread into the walls down to the deepest cracks and hidden chambers of the back cave far deeper than any of the inhabitants of the doline dared to show their noses. And Most of them weren’t aware at all of all that empty dark and cold and wet space. At some point, the vibrations gathered and rebounded into the bottom of the deepest caves and came back out in a roar that might have take the inhabitants’ hats off, if they wore hats.
The bats flew away into the sunlight, blinded and deafened, bumping into each others as their fabulously acute sense of hearing was overwhelmed by the vibrations and the rich harmonics generated in the crystal chambers down below. Some fell, spiraling down as if they had been shot by some anti aerial defense. They fell in the cockroach arena and into the reservoir of dung gathered by the dung beetles, almost crushing Daisy in the process. Her father caught her safe and rolled her like the little dung beetle she was.
The rats ran away spreading panic like plague, and while some tried to take advantage of the confusion to steal others food, when the vibration kept on shaking the ground around them and stalactites fell like fringe hail exploding into thousands projectiles, they began to fear.
It took some time for the dust and noise to settle down, long after the vibration had ceased. All the inhabitants of the doline had gathered on the edge of the entrance, not knowing if it was safe to go back home.
Hugo the Gecko wondered like many of the others.
What just happened? What if it happened again? Somebody had to volunteer to go see what it was that made that noise.
But no one came forth, all too shocked by the recent events. You could even hear some calling their families or friends.
Hugo didn’t feel up to the task, he was too small and fragile. What if another of those big rocks fell on his soft and elastic body? It would explode like a water bomb. Except the puddle would be red. Yet, when he saw little Daisy desperately looking for her mother, something rose in him. Something he had never felt before. Some might call it courage, but Hugo didn’t have a name for it. All he knew was that he entered the doline and went down to the flat stone, calling his gecko friends on the way to follow him. Dragged along by that strange emotion that was moving their friend, they followed and listened to him when he gave them a few instructions. They resumed their place on the stone, except this time Hugo was at the center and began to draw something.
The inhabitants of the doline had looked not understanding what the geckoes were doing, calling them reckless idiots to venture back into the broken world. But they looked at the strange shapes appearing on the flat stone at the center of the doline.
Suddenly a voice came out of the crowd. “It’s me! I’m here!” she said and waved her little beetle legs. “Daisy, Mummy’s here!”
Then everybody wanted to pass a message and the geckoes felt they were making a difference.
Despite the agitation, Hugo kept wondering. What happened? Someone has to go and see.January 20, 2018 at 6:37 pm #4433
What the Huntingford’s hadn’t realized was that the doline on their land wasn’t the only entrance to the labyrinth, which extended considerably further than anyone would have imagined, even the Stripling Bryson’s.
Aubrey Stripling Bryson, whose estate was a days ride up country from the Huntingford’s, was on an expedition in the tunnels when Emerald’s dog had fallen in the doline. His family had known about the underground galleries and passages for generations; indeed, the family had made use of the ones closest to the house for centuries. Nobody knew how long, although there were stories of ancient bones being found by the more adventurous, nobody knew what happened to them, and for comforts sake and the all too familiar fear of the unknown, many of the passages had been blocked off over the years.
Aubrey had been an adventurous lad, and had ventured further along the tunnels during his childhood than anyone, other than his sister Evelyn, would have believed. When he inherited the estate at the early age of thirty three, he prepared a proper expedition including representatives of relevant scientific authorities, intending to map the subterranean network, and write a book about his findings. Evelyn wrote most of the book for him, in fact, but he was credited with it as was the custom at the time. Aubrey had done the physical explorations and obtained various reports from experts, but Evelyn assembled it all together.
The book was in the final stages prior to going to print, when Evelyn had disappeared. And everything relating to the book had disappeared with her. Aubrey was distraught, and never recovered, and Evelyn was never found. He ordered the final tunnel to be blocked off, leaving an usual cave house cellar, nothing more than a curiosity.
The story of Aubrey’s book that disappeared was told to generations of Stripling Bryson children, whispered along with other family ghost stories. And there were many. Even now, there are unusual goings on at the Stripling Bryson estate, adding to the repertoire of local stranger than fiction stories.April 13, 2018 at 8:33 am #4450
Starting from the end of the story, Albie finally understood where the traveler had come from, and why.
In retrospect, it explained a lot. Why the story was going nowhere for enders.
It begged to be turned around! — back to its origin. Otherwise, readers of the pages of the story couldn’t help but be taken by bouts of anterograde amnesia.
All the forward looking thinking, the futurists, bound to become caught in a loop! Fighting for a patch of the present, while the expanse was to be discovered in the expired. Truth was in the return. Funny how regression seemed a word tainted of passéism, while it could in turn evoke seismic progress — regression therapy!
So let us start from the end. The traveler had arrived, she’d come from the other side of the page. Turning that back, a whole new story was to be written of what led her to the Doline.May 21, 2019 at 9:37 am #4591
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