The Eights’ Shift, Stories

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      And Opening.

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      Pee couldn’t refuse any request from his son Pickel, but he knew that if Pickel was coming, so was Gnarfle their peadog…


      Gnarfle was dribbling all over at the thought of all these tasty blubbits.


      With a resigned sigh, Pee said yes to his son… and Gnarfle.


      Before Pee could even think of objecting, Peanelope had swept the three of them out of the kitchen in a dexterous manner fit to a perfect housewife of the Peaslands (which were renowned for the cleanness of its houses).


      Pee Stoll had a strong suspicion that the havoc was the work of a Pea Saucerer.
      As they said in New Peasland when something suspicious occurred “it was suspicious in a Pea Saucerer’s Ways”…

      Going to Mungibbs would surely provide him with the advice of a great Wartlock.


      Fwick con Troll, one of the great Wartlocks of Mungibbs, was quite preoccupied with the situation. This sudden abundance of blubbits was no doubt an evil craft at work.

      Fwick wasn’t extraordinarily enthralled at the Majorburgmester’s idea to send someone through the Eight Portal, as for one, it was quite an antiquated piece of technology which had not been used since the Great Influence of Haitian Henwan, and second, people from the eighth dimension weren’t really easy people to follow.
      Shaped as a big eight, the portal also had some secondary effects of twisting one’s minds into loops of endless wonderment and bedazzlement. Surely no New Pealander in his own mind would dare succumb to these effects so alien to their culture.

      Nevertheless, he was a bit short of ideas, as most of his spells had failed miserably at evicting the thriving blubbits. He was lost in these thoughts when a frantic barking resounded at his door.


      “By the Seven Horns of Lord Blue Zebull! That’s one hell of a cough!” Fwick con Troll said to the cloaked stranger standing behind his door.


      “If Pickel’s going, I want to go too” demanded Pee’s young daughter, Lilli.

      “You don’t even know where we’re going” Pickel said.


      Peanelope wiped a tear from her eye as she looked at her mantelpiece. She had removed the blubbit chasing trophies, Pee’s pride and joy, and replaced them with the four heads of her dear family.

      “Come home safe, my pretty ones’” she whispered.

      A moment later, spying something on Pickle’s chin, she leaned forward for closer inspection.

      “Marmite dribble! Good Lord boy, you aren’t going through the portal with marmite dribble on your chin. They will say I am an unfit mother!”

      With a hanky she wiped the offending spot away, relishing the fact that, for once, Pickle could not answer her back. Unfortunately Pickle, although endowed with her own fine looks, had inherited his father’s raucous voice.

      “That’s much better,” she said proudly, “What a fine looking family you all are. Even you, Gnarfle,” she added after reflection. “Sometimes I forget you are a dog, you certainly feel like one of the family.”


      “Ah there you are at last,” muttered Fwick to the cloaked man. “Before you leave I must get you to sign this form.”

      “What is it?” asked Pee.

      “Good Lord, what the F was that noise!” shouted Fwick, looking around in fright. “Ah! I see you have been endowed with a remarkably raucous voice! You startled me!” Taking some deep breaths to calm himself, Fwick continued.

      “It is a disclaimer … a technical matter, basically saying be it on your own heads …” Fwick paused to chuckle at his own joke, “Ahem as I was saying, basically absolving me from any responsibility should you encounter any difficulties on your excursions into the Eight Dimension, or ED as we Saucerers call it. When you have signed, I can give you the four notes which will open ED for you.”


      “And how do I play these notes?” asked Pee raucously. “I can’t even see them without my head.”

      “Mmmh! Yes that could be a problem” acquiesced Fwick. The saucerer scratched his chin for a few seconds as he couldn’t remember where he had put that ancient device.

      “Well maybe I could just send you to the bird keeper, and he can give you one of our last Anthornis Melanura…”
      “I beg your pardon?” Pee’s voice was more raucous than ever, it was quite disturbing to the saucerer who wasn’t used to talking with a headless Peaman, but he couldn’t show his discomfort though, as he thought of it, the headless Peaman was also eyeless and couldn’t see his discomfort.
      “Hum! This is the ancient name of the legendary Bul Bird of New Peasland. Mewrich Peamon, the bird keeper, his family has been breeding these birds since the great Peaphetess Frean Psea found these notes some millenia ago; they are the only ones which can open the ED. Any other sequence of notes would… well we don’t know exactly what could occur. You’re on your own on this one, Pee. ehr, I’m sorry, ehh, But be assured that I’ll take care of Peanelope for you.”

      “Oh! You’re too kind, Saucerer” said Pee who couldn’t have known that his faithful wife and the Saucerer were having an affair.

      A sudden cry from Lilly startled them both. She had burst into tears and her brother was looking like a culprit. But Fwick wasn’t sure as he hadn’t got a head either…

      “What have you done, Pickel?” asked Pee with his raucous voice.


      “HE PUT A BLUBBIT DOWN MY KNICKERS!” sobbed Lilli, loudly.

      Unfortunately Lilli too had inherited the Stoll family curse, and her voice raised to such a level caused poor Fwick to cover his ears in horror. Being no fool, and quickly realising that without a head this ear protecting action would do no good at all, he instead decided he must evict these raucous Peaslanders from his abode, poste haste.

      “Yes, indeed, Mewrich Peamon is the man you want to see. A strange fellow, lacking sense some may say, but very good with birds notwithstanding. Now, please, don’t thank me again. I mean really, don’t …. “ he muttered, ushering the guests in the direction of where he hoped the door was.


      AHAHAHA” the man in a loincloth greated them “or…” he added with a mischievous wink “perhaps shall I say Oooh ooh ooh.”
      Mewrich wasn’t a man short of a some raspiness and prickliness in his voice either.
      “MY FRIENDS, you are a most welcome and delightful breath of headlessness coming to this house” he said, vaguely designing the moistly and mossy hole behind him.

      “Your cave!?” retorted Lilli a bit bossily and raucously
      “Don’t be rude S’illy!” Pee said through his breath (S’illy was the little family moniker standing for Sis’ Lilli).

      “Yes my cave, dear ones. And I’m not silly!”
      “Well of course you’re not her” Pickel muttered, still angered at the failed appreciation of his earlier prank. He wished he had left his posterior at home too now.
      “Don’t try to confuse me! These confuddling talents would be best kept for when you are in ED. But let us not waste precious and mucous time. Let me show you my bird.” he added without further ado.


      That’s when a particularly shiny object caught Pickel’s eyes. It was on the table, in plain sight, but it was as if the others couldn’t see it. Of course, they don’t have their head, thought Pickel… but he’d forgotten that he’d left his head at home too.
      As he was approaching the table, Gnarfle noticed that he wasn’t following the bird keeper and the others in the other room and decided to stay with him. Maybe he wanted to play some game and Gnarfle would be glad to indulge him.


      The other room was full of birds, and Silly’s throat got suddenly constricted as she let out a raucous gag.
      Which startled both her father and the wise Peamon who let out an indescribable laugh.
      PeAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, it’s just here, thanks little one!
      Pee was a bit confused as he couldn’t see what the wise Peamon was showing them, and the little peagirl was trying not to think of the smell of the aviary… ( how do I know such a word? she thought to herself.)


      Pickle, unsure what the silver object was, quickly stuck it in his pocket. Looking around guiltily to make sure he was alone … Oh bugger that! I keep forgetting about my head …..


      The sound of a boiling kettle resounded screeching in the air so loudly everyone looked at Pee as if he was the culprit.

      AAAAARGH, by the beard of Wrathfa the Bloody Goat, darn rotten rusted spigots again! That frigging plumbing is not at all was it’s used to be!…” Mewrich Peamon sweared in mild despair. “This morning alone, I had to remove one of them again, it’s been months I haven’t taken a hot bath…”

      “But of course,” he added with darting eyes when the others didn’t look that surprised “you haven’t come here to hear about that.”


      Suddenly, they began to hear little muffled sounds coming from the roof.
      “Oh! not that pop corn rain again…” sighed Mewrich Peamon.
      If Silly still had her head on, she would have looked thrilled and excited by the anticipation of making a pop-corn-man or throwing pop-corn balls at her brother. Where was he? Oh here, just coming from the other other room. She couldn’t see the guilty look on his face, of course, as he got no head… but their mother could, and she was taking notes of all of it for when they’d be back.


      “Now, steady on, folks! There’s no need to be rushing headlong into this, I think a little tete a tete is in order here before we all lose our heads completely.” Aunt Dolores de la Cabeza had arrived unexpectedly, and not a moment too soon. “Possibly a tad too late” she muttered, glancing around at the headless New Peaslanders and Saucerers. “This is a fine pickle, I must say.”

      Pickel beamed at his aunt. “Oh, I don’t mean you, you silly boy!” Dolores chucked him under the chin affectionately, except that he had no chin. “You’re a chinless wonder, m’lad”

      “I’m a girl, not a boy, Aunt Dolores” piped up Sis Lilly.

      “is that a fact, young lady? And since when do girls have blubbits in their knickers, hmmm?” replied Dolores tartly.

      Lilly started to cry. Well, Dolores assumed she was crying, although she wasn’t quite sure how she knew that. “A fine pickle indeed” she repeated, frowning.

      Pickel flushed with pride.



      “Oh, Doily dear, there thoo are!” Mewrich Peamon cried out at the sight of Dolores, almost losing his loincloth in excitement. ‘Doily’ was how he affectionately called Dolores, one of the most fervent admirer of his works, though he strongly suspected she didn’t quite understand them all.

      However the Saucerer was pleased to know the lady, who wasn’t shy of keeping her heads on her shoulders, a custom that most Pealanders would have found outrageously bold and casual, preferring to have their heads at home, (or) just in (suit)case.

      “I was just about to tell your nephews and brother-in-law all about section three twenty one of the Art of Bird Swift Travelling Right Unto Sextion Eight (A.B.S.T.R.U.S.E), but surely you could indulge us in revealing the few caveats I was about to tell them about the beard.”

      “Didn’t you mean bird?” Doily said with a interrogative pout which almost had her lovely green wig fall onto her eyes.

      “Well, of course I meant beard, dear —and always glad to see we’re on the same page on this one!” “Though I fear we’ll soon have to turn to the next…” He added mysteriously.


      When the charmingly eccentric Page walked in the room unexpectedly, both the Saucerer and Dolores turned to stare at him.

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