The Eights’ Shift, Stories

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      And Opening.

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      “Cor blimey, Shar. That bloody course did bloody wonders for your speaking. Proper high class you sound! And all bloody philosophic like too! Sand eh? Who’d of bloody thought”

      Glor gazed at her friend in stunned wonderment.


      “There is one man to whom I am indebted,” said Shar, with a faraway look in her eyes.

      “Blimey, who’s that then Shar?”

      “Enric Lemoon is his name. One day he said words to me I will never forget, and at that moment, I knew that the most important thing in the world was that I learn to speak like him.”

      “Oh you do tell a good story, Shar. Go on then! I am all goggle eared. What’d that Enric chappy say to you?”

      “He said, the grumpy old cat must be white of old age by now.

      “Cor!” said Mavis in awe. “Bloody marvelous! Was it a code? You know, one of them brain teasers like?”

      Shar looked at Mavis pityingly and shook her head. “It was poetry, Mavis. Poetry.”


      Phurt was vaguely aware to have been alive in different times, and in different surrounding. The memories kept coming at the oddest and less practical of all times, like this one when she’d jumped through the talking glass. They were nevertheless precise and vivid enough to be more than just strikes of fancy. Besides, she was but all a fancy spider.

      The last one she remembered (and the ten previous ones before it) was being admonished and crushed (literally) by the words (and the one uttering them) “you and your kind are not welcome here!” Actually, if you wanted to be precise, the previous to last time, she’d been drowned in the pipes —but still, she could hear the fateful “you and your kin… gurgle gurgle.”

      She didn’t know for certain when and where she’d vowed to gain dominion over these Crushing Others, and all her failed attempts and these strange karmic glimpses that had her reincarnated over and over certainly did help, if so slightly, to get closer to this goal.

      Now she needed a nice dark and clean place (yeah hence the stupid tub of last which proved to be clean enough, but barely dark for long enough) to spin a nice thin web and gather enough food for her dear little ones.


      “Oooh, poetry! I likes poetry and all, our Sha” replied Mavis. “There once was a grumpy old cat…”

      Sharon groaned.


      Sadly, Phurt’s couldn’t make any cobwebs other than all wireless —kind of defeated the purpose, when you gave it thought.
      Reception and connection weren’t any of the new dwelling’s forte for now.

      So she wrapped herself in a cozy dark corner of her new cave, tucked in a blanket of great warmth and subtle mucous design, and her nine eyelids being closed one after the other (from right to left, and top to bottom), started to dream of delicate and headless sheep.


      Doily said matter-of-factly to her little troop of headless travellers “Fancy a cup of tea?”

      As none of them really cared to answer to the obvious fact that they didn’t have any teapot or sugar not to mention milk, lemon, and of course tea (other than a few random leaves that could have been used as an ersatz) she pursued her inspired tirade “Did you know that the Reunited Landers invented tea-bags by the way?”

      Silence again.

      “I just suddenly remembered, and it’s the funniest thing believe me… Those bloody Yorkies were sent some tea samples in silk pouches and they thought it the next best thing since the invention of boiled water and asked for more!…”
      “Perhaps we should catch the blubbits in silk pouches…” she added after a moment.
      “Frankly, anyone wanting to get home?” she then said with a bit of alarm in her voice “This Eighth Dimension doesn’t really got the promises of fun they sold us.”

      “I was starting to think the same,” Pee answered raucously, startling everyone off their self induced Kuzhedoor trance state.


      The Cloud then spoke in a cloudy but clear (with slight chance of rain) tone:

      “For Blubbits to get rid of
      Master the art of Balance you need
      But on your Head is the trick
      Like Oolong is to a Tea”


      “Finally the answer we need! Let’s release the damn bird and get back home now! Besides its cage needs cleaning and it’s starting to smell, and I can’t stand this place any longer…” Doily couldn’t be stopped.

      Foolishly getting by that that Doily had understood most and perhaps all of the Cloud’s mysterious riddle, and that she even had managed to remember it, by a chance even slimmer than that of crossing the Eight’s Portal alive, Pee agreed with a nod of his neck.

      Once the birds’ released (with a good manly slapping as the feathery creature was a bit reluctant and groggy from being rocked in its cage), they were instantaneously and quite unsurprisingly back again near the Saucerer’s house, all safe in their beloved Peasland, ravaged by blubbits holes.


      :bounce: :weather-clear: :weather-few-cl:weather-showers-scattered:ouds: :weather-clear:


      Oh my God! exclaimed Doily. The code’s been tampered with! Now we’ll never get out of here!

      Huh? said Pee.

      The Coded Icons, they’ve been edited!

      Oh NO! said Pee, aghast.



      The clever Peasland Majorburgmester who had been informed of the unlikely and much untimely return of Pee’s group, had indeed asked his minion Muckus to move around some of the signalization icons in the hope of luring and losing the group in the part of the land where the Blubbit Mother of Them All was ruling in a fierce and unchallenged (and he would add ruthless) manner.


      While Doily was having her back turned in utter bewilderment, Muckus put the icons back to the way they were —he really didn’t expect to have headless Peaslanders (some less headless than the others too) remarking any of that signalization stuff (and least of all the blond Doily who still managed to forget to maintain her head fast on her shoulders, as she had not yet found another replacement for her lost head fasterer).


      BUGGER! it RooOOooOOlled agaAAaaain’ Doily whined while running after her head in the terrible black path leading to the Pit of the Furcano.

      The others watched in horror, not knowing if they should follow her or not.


      Did you notice that, Pee? THE CODE HAS BEEN TAMPERED WITH AGAIN!

      Isn’t it back to how it was in the first place, Doily? Pee scatched his, er, shoulders. (he couldn’t remember if he had his head with him or not)

      NO! It bloody well isn’t, it’s a good jib I’m here with you, you’d have been hoodwinked just like the others. It’s MEANT to look like it’s as it was, but it isn’t, Doily said grimly.

      What was it in the first place, then? asked Pee.

      Buggered if I know, replied Doily, scratching her elbow.


      Ann felt rather put out.

      “How jolly rude to disappear like that.” she muttered

      The truth was she had been feeling a tad out of sorts lately, plodding along, day in and day out, doing the same old things. She was finding Lavender rather dreary too, partly because she never seemed to be there when Ann called round. So the idea of helping the exotic, headless stranger with his mysterious request for “pea sauce” assistance had felt rather exciting. Ann loved nothing better than a good adventure.

      And now the bugger had disappeared!


      “These old ezines and blogs are fascinating” remarked Periwinkle, passing the one she had just been reading to Daffodil. “Thank goodness some folks had the foresight to print some of them!” :news:

      “I know, imagine if they hadn’t. We’d have no artefacts for the collection. Well, we have all those flat discs, but no way to decipher them. Oh, did I tell you? Bignonia found something even older than the discs!” :search:

      “NO!” exclaimed Periwinkle “Do tell!” :yahoo_surprise:

      “Yes, even older! Funny looking contraption, with two reels and a ribbon. An information storage device, so they say, although they haven’t discovered how to decipher it.” :yahoo_nerd:

      “I wonder why we’re still not simply accessing that information without, well, without messing around with the physical contraption, you know?” :yahoo_idk:

      “Wouldn’t be any point in being here in the first place, if we weren’t going to mess around with physical things, silly” replied Daffodil. :yahoo_doh:

      There was no answer to that, so Periwikle didn’t answer. She continued to thumb through the printed pages. :news:

      Periwinkle and Daffodil sat together on the patio in the warm spring sunshine, sipping lemonade :fruit_lemon:
      and leafing through the papers. Bright white clouds in cartoon shapes romped across the blue sky, :weather-few-clouds:
      and the birds chattered in the trees, :magpie: :magpie:
      occasionally landing on the printed pages and cocking their heads sideways to read for a moment, before flying off to tell their friends, which was usually followed by a raucous group cackling. :yahoo_heehee: :yahoo_heehee: :yahoo_heehee:

      “Dear Goofenoff” read Daffodil, “This one looks interesting Peri, someone here is asking for advice on a problem.” :help:

      “What’s a “problem”, Daffy?” asked Periwinkle. “For that matter, what does the word “advice” mean? Oh, never mind” she said as she noticed Daffodil rolling her eyes, “I’ll look it up in my pre shift dictionary of defunct words.” :notepad:

      “She’s asking the Snoot too, about the same problem. Oh, I think I’ve heard of them! It’s coming back to me, the old Snoot’n‘Goof team, they were quite famous in the beginning of the century, I remember hearing about them before in a Shift History discussion.” :cluebox:

      “Well, I can’t say I’ve ever heard of them, but then, I’ve never been into history like you, dear. So what is this “problem” all about, then?” :yahoo_daydreaming:

      “I’ll read it out to you, it’s way too convoluted to put in a nutshell. Lordy, they sure did complicate matters back then, it’s almost unbeleivable, really, but anyway, here goes:

      Dear Goofenoff,

      I don’t know what to do! I am confused about which probable version of a blog freind, let’s call him MrZ, I have chosen to align with. The first probable version was ok, nothing to worry about, and then I drew into my awareness the probable versions of MrZ that some of my freinds had chosen to align with….”

      “Blimey”, interrupted Periwinkle, who was starting to fidget. “Is it much longer?” :yahoo_not_listening:

      “It’s alot longer, so be patient. Where was I? Oh yes: :yahoo_nerd:

      “….and while that was very interesting indeed, and led to lots of usefully emotionally heated discussions, I started to align with their probable version, at times, although not consistently, which led to some confusion. So then I had a chat with someone who was more in alignment with my original probable version, although there were aspects of that probable version that were a little in alignment with the other folks probable version, notwithstanding. I suppose I was still in alignment with the other folks probable version when it came to my attention that there was another individual that might be aligning with a probable version, and my question is, in a nutshell, is it any of my business which probable version the new individual on the scene is aligning with?” :yahoo_thinking:

      “Well, I can tell you the answer to that!” exclaimed Periwinkle. :yahoo_smug:

      Daffodil rolled her eyes. “Yes, dear, WE know the answer, but the point is, SHE didn’t know the answer at the time, which is why she asked Goofenoff.” :yahoo_straight_face:

      “If you ask me, she knew the answer all along” Periwinkle intuited. “What did Goofenoff say anyway?” :yahoo_eyelashes:

      “He said:

      Are you requiring a short or a long answer?” :yahoo_raised_eyebrow:

      Daffodil turned the page to continue reading. She frowned, and flicked through a few pages.

      “What a shame, some of these pages appear to be missing! Now we’ll never know what Goofenoff said.” :yahoo_skull:

      Periwinkle laughed. “Well, never mind that anyway, have you seen the random story quote today? Rather synchronistic I’d say, listen to this bit: :paperclip:

      Illi felt much better, and was sitting at the breakfast table, basking in the warm shafts of sunlight filtering in through the window, and listening to the birds singing in the lemon tree outside.”
      :weather-clear: :magpie: :fruit_lemon: :weather-few-clouds:


      Who are you calling dreary, you rude tart?” asked Lavender. “It’s YOU that’s never around when I am.”


      “I think they’re lost beyond hope” Muckus went back reporting to the evil Majorburgmester
      “Oh good!”
      “Probably more hopelessly lost than being in the Eighth if you ask me, last time I checked on them, there was a woman running for her head to the Furnace of the Furcano, and all the others following her…”
      “Sounds hairy.” the Major couldn’t help but add with a smirk on his face (framed and hanged to the wall) and a twitch in his left nostril.


      Deep within the Furcano, the Mother of the Blubbits was growling. Her belly actually. She’d spent days and days, like every good blubbit alien mother, spawning a furry and ungrateful progeny.

      For each of the blubbits captured and slaughtered, she was compelled to balance the loss. Balance was her motivation —at first. Now she was starting to think that maybe drowning them in baby blubbits would be a better and quicker way to end their (and her) suffering.

      That was at that precise moment that something round and hairy rolled at her feet with a funny movement and strange soft sounds. How funny she thought, she suddenly felt compelled to balance that odd thing on her nose.

      Imagine the expression (yes you’d have to imagine it, because they didn’t have one) on the faces of our favorite Peaslanders when they came into the cave running after the rolling head to see said head balanced on the nose (pink and soft) of a giant and furry Mother Blubbit.


      Screamed the furry ball without notice in what seemed to the Mother Blubbit’s lonely ear the most piercing sound she’d ever heard.
      She was startled and threw that furry ball far away in another tunnel, the one leading to the lava chamber. Something in her inner alchemy had been altered with her moment of panic, one of the baby blubbit would be different for sure.
      That’s when she realized she had visitors.

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