I take it from that you don’t know where the wedding dress is currently. Well if you do come across it would you mind letting Felicity know. said Tina haughtily, switching the phone off abruptly.
Al’s words running through her head she started walking quickly nowhere in particular.
Tina, what’s the point of these experiments we have been doing with Becky and Sam if you are going to keep relying on the phone all the time? And why are you trying to sort out the dress for Felicity, it isn’t your problem.
It wasn’t the so much the words which had stung, after all he was right, it was the annoyance she thought she had heard in his voice.
She felt him making contact, quickly blocked, feeling too hurt to be open.
She knew he was tired, god knows he had put so much into the wedding preparations, as he did with all his projects. He was fast building a reputation for his ground breaking experiments with body processes. Tina loved Al whatever he looked like, which was just as well really considering some of the rather bizarre effects he managed to produce.
Becky had been a bit irritated with her as well, Tina you are so last decade, nay century even! she would say, rolling her large eyes dramatically. Becky too was racing confidently and exuberantly ahead. Her intriguing contributions to the reality play never failed to amaze Tina. Her own contributions felt stolid, words trapped in a big gluggy ball of last century energy, she had to work hard to extricate each one.
It was nearly dark, raining harder now, wind-driven rain. Tina liked it, the rain complemented her mood and disguised the self-pitying tears streaming down her face. There were very few people in the street. Just the long line of shop windows, glass faces warmly lit, overhangs offering some shelter from the rain, though it wasn’t shelter Tina was looking for.
Her long hair whipped around her face, wet blue satin clung to her slim frame.
Sam had taken off unexpectedly and suddenly to Australia. He had been gone only a few days and she missed him. Dear Sam, his wicked and irrepressible sense of humour could make her laugh even in the blackest of moods. He too was playing with new potentials, forging new and exciting paths.
The others are probably all communicating with their advanced telepathic skills right now, laughing at dumb old last century Tina, she thought morosely. In fact even last century I would have been so last century, judging by my spectacular lack of success at anything I have undertaken recently. A vision of her recent humiliation in the ballet dancing class sprang to mind. She winced and quickly blocked the distressing image of the dance teacher drawing her aside after class and gently suggesting she might try the Ancient Kuzhebar Motional Practices beginner’s class, to get some basic rhythm, before attempting the ballet. ….
An elderly woman who had disembarked at the nearby gondola stop splashed by her, and, illuminated momentarily by the street lamp, Tina felt a flash of recognition. The woman turned suddenly towards her, smiled, gesticulated with her free hand, the other was clutching a large bag, towards some distant bushes. She mouthed some words at Tina, but these were lost in the wind. Tina waved and managed a reciprocal smile.
She noticed a Positivity Robot parked in front of Samantha Lingerie, and found herself drawn towards it, 3D images of models wearing the latest in underwear fashions rotated in the shop’s window, their faces beaming irritatingly at her. These Positivity Robots had been all the rage in the early 2020’s, you did not see as many of them now. On impulse she stood in front of the robot, touched the screen, allowing it to read her energy. “negative 21” its glass face discreetly informed her. The words “I AM PERFECT” flashed up on the screen as a suggested thought pattern to implement. Tina grimaced. I wonder how low I can make this damn thing go. The idea made her giggle and to her alarm shot the meter up to a positive 12. Bugger, a bad start!
What am I going to do with myself, Mr PR, if you are so positively smart?
I AM PERFECT…. I AM PERFECT …. I AM PERFECT ….
perfectly grumpy, perfectly insecure, perfectly last decade, perfectly soaked to the skin, Tina watched as the meter climbed all the way up to 55.
She glanced at the shop window, just as a smiling model wearing a minuscule open net dress and nun’s habit rotated by. She felt an inexplicable burst of amusement as the meter climbed to 57.
Elvira was tucking into some reindeer stew left over from Becky and Sean’s wedding when she telepathically tuned into Becky’s distress signal. Chewing thoughtfully, Elvira tried to make sense of the visual imagery she was receiving. She seemed to be getting a mixed message; was it a nun, or was it a tart? She reminded herself to trust her impressions, and not discount them even if they seemed incongruous or unlikely, and accepted that Becky was indeed in some kind of tarty nun trouble. The question was, where was Becky.
Elvira pushed her empty plate away, and focused on the situation. AHA! Nutley Park, 25th bush on the left.
Right Ho, dear, shall I come and help?
And with that, Elvira, sprightly old crone that she was (and fortified with mushroom laced reindeer stew) bustled off to hail a gondola cab, carrying a large carpet bag containing a selection of hastily chosen clothing.
I am sorry, Ms Tattler, I am under strict instructions from Mr Arak that I am under no circumstances to let you in until this office has been cleaned. I will lose my job if I let you in.
Now there’s an idea! she thought, toying with the idea momentarily
Why that pompous, arrogant, supercilious proot ….. Elizabeth paused midflow to admire her vocabulary.
Finnley was quite enjoying the change of routine, and Ms Tattler’s office really was a treasure trove of interesting bits and pieces. The thick layer of dust, and were those magpie droppings? were a little off-putting mind-you. She plucked a book randomly from the shelf, and lifting the visor of her protective faceshield in order to see better, gently wiped the title clean. “I am Perfect Indeed” The author was some fellow named Erwin P Lemone who Finnley had never heard of. She picked another one, “Basic Flying Massage Techniques of the Ancient Kuzhebar, Book One for Beginners” by Jibberish E Shrale
Finnley, Elizabeth’s voice had taken on a wheedling tone from the other side of the door. Be a sweetie-pooh will you and put this note in my clooh-box. Finnley watched intrigued as a piece of paper inched its way under the locked door.
Sure Ms Tattler, where is the clooh-box?
On my office desk, next to the daily quotes. Don’t mess anything up Finnley dear, you be careful, I have very precious things in my office.
Finnley could not resist a peek but the scribbled words made no sense to her
Amanita muscaria intoxication typically produces macroopsia – Beckipooh?
13th gate and the 13th skull FEBRUPOOH 20TH 2008
The Snoot – who is he really?
ArakDr Bronkelhampton? ? ? ? WHAT IS PLAN B?????????
Her eyes fell on the daily quote for the day, that Lemone chappie again!
rainy wedding, merry marriage
She snorted derisively, He must be madder than Almad that Lemone, how silly! No wonder poor Ms Tattler seemed a bit mindblown sometimes if she reads stuff like that
It was taking longer than expected for Sanso and Zhana to find food, and they were weak with hunger when they came across the big toad. There was plenty of water; gurgling brooks and rushing streams crisscrossed their path, crystal clear with icy cool snow melt from the summer thaw. The’d found a few cow berries along the way, and they had chewed a few mushrooms but they wanted something substantial before setting off for the other side of the world. Sanso had left a trail of flourescent green cave lichen, to show them the way back to the cave entrance, which was to be their portal to Nishanti’s place.
You ask him! replied Sanso.
No, YOU ask him. Zhana was inexplicably feeling shy.
Sanso chuckled goodnaturedly, and agreed to ask toad. He stood there silently smiling for some minutes, and Zhana began to wonder just WHEN Sanso would oblige. Her stomach was grumbling and growling and she was starting to get impatient when Sanso turned and strode purposefully off to the left.
What the…..snapped Zhana. She rushed after him, angrily shouting OY! Her foot caught on a root, sending her sprawling face down amongst the mushrooms.
AAAH Ha Ha Ha! AAAHHHH Ha Ha Ha HAAAAH! OOO Hoohooo! If you could see your face all covered in blue mud and red and white spotted mushrooms, you’d laugh too!
Zhana started to cry.
There there, dear, Sanso said kindly, trying hard to stop laughing, and wiped the mess off the girls face with an old rag he found in one of his pockets. Did you know that Siberian blue mud is a much sought after beauty treatment in some places? This little mishap will do wonders for your complexion, you know.
Will it? snivelled Zhana, who had been preoccupied of late with with her adolescent skin.
Yes! There is no such thing as an accident, you know.
Well, where were you rushing off to, anyway? You promised to ask toad where to find food, and then without saying a word, you dashed off and left me!
Sanso looked perplexed. I DID ask toad!
No, you DIDN’T, retorted Zhana.
Sanso stared at her, wondering what was the matter with her. Then the penny dropped, so to speak, and he realized that Zhana was more familiar with verbal conversations, and had been unaware of the silent communication between him and toad.
Zhana, most of our conversations aren’t in words, you know, he explained gently. Listen to the non-words.
Huh? it was Zhana’s turn to look perplexed.
You do it all the time you know. You are simply not paying attention.
He winked at her, and smiled. Come on! The food is this-a-way!
After a long but uneventful ride in the yellow gondola cab, Becky stepped out onto terra firma and strolled through the park.
Various fleeting images of the wedding party flashed through her mind, and she recalled the change in Elvira after the meal. She certainly tucked into that reindeer stew, Becky mused, Had a right good scoff, she did. Funny, anyone eating four helpings of that slop would be expected to slump in a chair for an hour or two, but Elvira had sprung into life. She looked pretty good for 121 years old, but who would have guessed what a splendid dancer she was! She put the younger guests to shame with her fancy steps, and tireless enthusiasm.
And not only that, she’d really come into her own when the drunken fights started, fearlessly breaking up fights between men twice her size.
Becky felt revitalized somewhat after breakfast, and decided to go for a walk. Sean was still snoring and mumbling in bed, so she pulled some clothes out of the closet quickly and climbed into them quietly, unable to see clearly in the dark.
If the pile of wedding gifts on the dining room table hadn’t attracted her attention, she might have looked in the hall mirror, but as it was, she didn’t. It wasn’t until much later, a long way from home, that she realized what she had donned that morning.
Becky picked up the doll that Patel had given her and grinned. She couldn’t have chosen a more entertaining husband for her mother if she’d chosen him herself. He was such a delightful practical joker, a real hoot, and Becky was very fond of him. She frowned as she turned the strange doll round in her hand, not quite sure what the joke was yet. She was quite sure there would be a laugh in it somewhere though.
Well, time will tell, she murmured, and headed out of the front door to hail a gondola cab. Shivering as she waited, she thought happily of the honeymoon in Sri Lanka the following week. Becky wondered if they might extend the trip, and visit Sam in Australia.
Several days later, when the wedding celebrations had finished, nobody could remember anything about it, other than the jokes and poems. In true Russian custom, there had been ample alcohol…well, more than ample, there had been several hospital admissions from alcohol poisoning, drunken brawls and accidents.
As a Lord Wrick was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang.
“It’s not just one car,” said Wrick, “It’s hundreds of them!”
Sheesh, sighed Becky.
As she poured herself another mug of coffee, a limerick popped into to her head.
There was an Old Crone with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Lynx,
And a Rabbit in Pink,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
There was an Old Abbot whose habits,
Induced him to feed upon rabbits;
When he’d eaten eighteen,
He turned perfectly green,
Upon which he relinquished those habits.
Most dentists chairs go up and down, don’t they? Al asked the wedding guests.
The one I was in went back and forwards.
I thought, “This is unusual.”
The dentist said to me, “Al, get out of the filing cabinet.”
Franiel felt an unaccustomed tiredness. The changes of late, his own indecision as to his path, were taking a toll and his spirit felt heavy. Despite the admonitions of Aum Geog to make all haste on this journey he decided to rest, and finding some soft grass under the shelter of a tree he sank gratefully down into it’s embrace.
Just a short sleep, he thought drowsily.
He was awakened by some gentle drops of rain falling on his cheek. Not knowing how long he had slept for, and seeing the darkness of the clouds in the sky, Franiel realised he had best find some shelter of a more permanent nature to wait out the storm.
Franiel, he heard his name being whispered in his thoughts, it was no louder than a clear sky, but rang as clear as any sound he had ever heard.
And Franiel followed. Though he knew not what spirit it was leading him, he went swiftly to the entrance of a cave set in the side of the hill, as though he had known of it’s whereabouts all along. Just in time, for with a deafening clap of thunder, the heavens opened.
From the shelter of the little cave Franiel looked out and felt a mixture of exhileration and awe at the power of the mighty elements he was witnessing . Though he kept his body dry, he sent his spirit out to dance in the rain, and laughing softly to himself, he at last felt the greyness of the last few weeks begin to ascend, as though lifted by the hands of angels, said the soft voice in his head.
Who are you? whispered Franiel, feeling an inexplicable and sudden longing.
It was the next day before Franiel was able to continue his journey. Making himself a small meal of bread and cheese from his provisions, checking that his precious cargo was secure in his pack, he set out feeling refreshed.
In the creaking wooden caravan slowly moving its way on the dusty roads, Twilight was lost in deep thoughts, caressing mechanically the beautiful blond wig.
She had done it almost on an impulse, but like all impulses she’d ever had, it had always felt deeply true to her core and she had gone. Now, it felt a bit strange, and too rational doubts were creeping along like viscous bugs, and she felt like judging her behaviour over and over.
Of course, her brothers, Jo the first, and then Elroy, had been supportive, but they had always been that way. Even when their first reactions were to object to what she was doing, like dancing in the saloon, her determination was always winning them easily. She had promised to write often, and she would probably be back in a year.
When the Freak Show had settled in town for a week, she had been at first almost grossed out by what was announced, and had not been her brothers to egg on her, she probably wouldn’t have been going to see them.
Pat Elson, the director of the Fabulously Great Freakus (or FGF), was a little dark-skinned man in an orange suit and top-hat, with a communicable enthusiasm and a sincere consideration for the people he called “his performers”. Very soon, rather than being repulsed by the differences, Twilight had been attracted by the way of life of these people, and was considering traveling with them as an opportunity to discover more about the world and about herself. Her inspiration to write was even tickling her fingers like an army of ants she had never felt before.
When she had said to Pat Elson that she was willing to travel and work with them, rather than laughing like he used to do, he’d taken a silent pondering moment to consider the options. Obviously Twilight wasn’t a freak herself, at least not physically freaky. But he couldn’t refuse help, as his business was growing every day. Venus, the armless woman, his best asset on the show, had been recently pregnant, giving birth to conjoined twins, and would surely appreciate two arms to give her a hand… so to speak.
So he had agreed.
The babies started crying in the caravan drawing Twilight out of her reveries. Venus was sleeping nearby, still exhausted, and Zarafina, the giraffe-woman, started to groan annoyed by the noise.
Twilight hurried to cuddle the babies, checking that they were alright. All was right, they were probably only bugged by the bumps in the road. No wonder… she sighed.JibParticipant
— Where is your bloody friend?
Armando was muttering again, growing impatient and agitated he couldn’t appreciate stillness. He was “so busy” as he was pleased to remind his friend. Sam was rather amused and held his friend in great affection. But at times it could be very irritating.
— We’re going to be late. I have another appointment in 2 hours, and it is in Boston. Not that my new car can’t do that…
He looked at Sam, waiting some kind of approbation or validation, maybe was he looking for awe. But Sam wasn’t impressed at all. He could be in Boston and in Botswana at the same time… well not yet physically in both but he was getting better at it. It was not so important now to be all physically focused in one place and time… or rather to block the recognition of the other places and times one was focusing on. Well he was lost in his thoughts, waiting for Becky.
— It’s quite… Yellow , Al said in a neutral voice.
I told you, Armando is not yet familiarized with telepathy.
— What? You think I can’t do it with my new car?
Sam had no idea of what Armando was talking about. Since he had bought this new gadget, he only had one thread of converstation available. Though Becky and Tina were quite eager to try this new technological progress. Becky almost fell into Canal Street’s dark water last time she went to see her friend Yang Tsung, her Chinese herborist, in a gondocab. She was looking for some hair growing potion, and she left with some new preparation to help her regain her balance.
Becky was late, and it was quite unusual… well most of the time she was not.
Sam and Al joined their thoughts and opened themselves to her energy, all they could grasp was about some nine tailed fox, and Chumpy… was she trying to mate her Chumpy with one of those new fancy pet breed?
A few minutes later, she was jumping from a gondocab to the yellow flying car.
— Sorry I’m late… you know I was at this new “Rent’a Pet Shop, Boy!”, it’s fantastic the variety of old and new breeds they have. A poor girl was looking for a parrot or a magpie… so common, hopefully she would follow my advice and take one of those nine-tailed glowing fox.
Her gaze was distant for a few seconds and Chumpy was protesting at how she was holding him.
— Well it matters not as you know. Chumpy don’t be rude to mama! She sat and grinned voraciously, looking a bit worried. When are we going? We’ll be late to meet Tina!
Armando was gaping at her, and decided he would rather not argue with her. It was his first time with her and he already had categorized her.
All 3 were sitting on the rear of the car, while Armando was driving, focused on his new toy, trying not to make them all crash on one of the emerging towers of Manhattan Water Town. Sam was telling his friends about a dream he had last night and that seemed quite important. At least it was the only one of the night he could remember.
— How unusual of you, Becky said, you should meet Yang Tsung, his herbs are quite efficient, he’s got weeds for anything…
They lost her for a few seconds again, and Al looked at Sam, encouraging him to continue with his dream. Sam attention was splitted between Becky’s strong energy and the concentration of Armando who was not so confident in his ability to drive the flyellow car after all.
— Well, as I told you it was about new focuses of Al and I, they were journalists…
— Journalists? Like my friend Bonny! Did I tell you about her last crush? She fancies a future focus of her mother. He’s called Moht and lives 200years ahead from now. She goes and meets him in her dreams mostly, but she’s practicing with rendering more real during her… She stopped speaking, looking a bit confused
— Continue Sam, journalists then?.., she said, stroking Chumpy distractedly.
— Journalists yes, and they were creating a relationship similar to Starsky and Hutch. They were attending a meeting, though I don’t remember what it was all about. All I know is that Al and I were time-travelling, and we happened to meet them at that moment. I don’t know how we knew that the conference would be the target of a terrorist group, but we were there to warn them. We were talking with my focus, Simeon, as Andre, the focus of Al was already in the conference room. It was an international conference and the bomb would cause many death among political personalities, scientists, writers and so on… Well my focus thanked us for the warning but also told me that they had their lot of fun and mischiefs in their lives and that they were ready to disengage.
— Wow! I have a synch with that. I think I was one of the Indian woman there, maybe a minister or similar? You know what? We’re planning to go to Madagascar with Sean for our honey moon
— We’re at the Opera, Armando said, Is it your friend who looks so furious?
Hmmm? Leonora wasn’t really listening, she was engrossed in the Yurara Fameliki website.
With a sigh, Leonora turned to face Bea and said, I’ll never bloody catch up with that Yurara story now. Three weeks with no internet, as fast as I’m reading a chapter, another three have started, it’s doing my f’kin’ ‘ead in.
Well I don’t know what your problem is all of a sudden, Leo, since when did you ever read anything in the right order?
Oh, bloody good point, eh, Leonora felt instantly cheered. I forgot that, it’s true. Matter of fact, she chuckled, I just got lost roaming around all the first chapters, Heh…..wasn’t even trying to get the latest lot straight.
What did you say it was called? asked Bea.
What was what called?
The website you were just going on about. Bea rolled her eyes.
Oh! heh….Yurara Fameliki; why?
There was an article in the Reality Times about them yesterday. Some batty old woman left them a fortune, apparently. Circle of Eights or something….
Circle of Eights? Leo had an image of interlocking circles that felt strangely familiar, meaningful somehow…
Yeah, this old lady was 88 when she died, and she was reading the 888th entry when she saw the ‘Buy A Drink’ link…she lived at 88, Faraway Close, too, Nottingham…..
How much dosh did she leave them?
F’kin’ ‘ell….ooof! It could be that easy, eh. I want a ‘Buy A Drink’ link, too.
Well, a website would be a start, eh. Where you going to stick your ‘Buy A Drink’ link, on yer arse?
She was beginning to catch a few sparkly glimmerings of an idea.
Before leaving the castle, the fake Viscountess needed to check something on the skull…
Was it a genuine one? She had almost trusted the so-called experts of the auction room, while she knew perfectly well that they only could see what they knew. And they didn’t know as much as her.
To her knowledge, there was only a handful of genuine old crystal skulls. But counterfeits were legions and a plague for such a skillful cat burglar as she was. Well, cat-burglar,… perhaps not as acrobatically as she used to… As a matter of fact, her life-long search for these skulls had suffered the competition of a little embonpoint… — the good thing being that those few sticky superfluous pounds had been perfect to impersonate the Viscountess.
In the past, she had come across a few of these fake skulls and most of them bore very similar indications leaving her to think stakes were high that they were coming from the same con-artist.
She methodically drew a little dagger from a scabbard at her belt. Going to one of the window, she drew one of the curtains a few inches to reveal the pale sun of Shropshire which was already fading.
Then, she turned the jeweled hilt in such a special manner that a soft clicking sound was heard, and a beam of light started to converge from the sun rays into the dagger. She directed the ray coming from the tip of the dagger’s blade into the bottom of the skull, and hold her breath in expectation.
Soon the skull started to glow a bluish light, and light poured out of the skull onto the walls in dancing symbols, while a soft buzzing sound was being heard around, started to drown her in a slightly dissociated state.
She cut the dagger’s beam very quickly, her heart pounding at the validation. It was a genuine skull. One of the six.
She had to hurry, she needed to proceed on her investigations to find the missing ones.
The trunk was there. She took another key that she had around her neck, leaving the first one on the cupboard’s lock for the Viscountess to be freed as soon as she would be out.
With the key, she proceeded to open the high-tech lock of the armored trunk which opened with a blow of air.
Her jumpsuit was here, along with the two turbo-reactor powered condor-wings that she strapped on her jumpsuit in very professional movements.
A few moments later, with her big dark sunglasses that gave her the appearance of an obese fly, Carla was flying high over the countryside of England, enjoying the soft gliding on the slightly damp air.
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.
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 …
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.
‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.’
i need to say that since my answer of “not applicable”, Tracy changed the question.
About time you woke up, came a familiar grumpy voice from behind a pile of logs. Mandrake emerged. And I don’t have fur balls, he added, haughtily.
Mandrake, thank God! Arona had been a little concerned that , given the amount of time presumably had passed, Mandrake may no longer be with them. Tactfully she kept this to herself, given Mandrake’s especially truculent mood.
Please tell me what happened now, she said to Vincentius. I think I am ready to hear.
Vincentius looked uncertain, sighed , but agreed to tell her the tale. Afterwards, Arona was silent for quite some time. She stared thoughtfully at the fire, mesmerised by the dancing flames, gently stroking Mandrakes silky black coat.
Oh bugger, she said eventually and stood up decisively. I really think I have to go and see that old lizardy croney woman, and without delay.
I wish you wouldn’t, but I do understand, said Vincentius sadly.
I don’t understand, said Mandrake crossly, twitching his tail impatiently and narrowing his green eyes
Thank you so much for caring for him, she said to Vincentius and gave him a huge hug.
On the way out of the cave she ran into Leormn.
Oh, she said, Vincentius said you allowed us to use the room. Thank you so much. And she kissed Leormn on what she thought would be his cheek, however, a little unsure of Dragon anatomy, it may have been technically a snout or something.
Arona walked rapidly for several hours, trying to concentrate on the directions given to her by Vincentius and hoping that she was headed in the right direction. Eventually she started to tire and her determination faded. She sat down on a rock and closed her eyes. Her shoulders slumped in weariness and she despondently wished she was back in the cave with the others. She felt deeply sad.
And is this something you really must face? asked a kindly voice in her head.
I have no idea really, she answered despairingly. I don’t know. I mean I thought I knew. I thought if I didn’t then I would always be in fear. When I looked into the flames of the fire it all seemed clear. I needed to understand and face it, I thought anyway….
hmmm, said the voice. Well the best advice I can give you is to trust yourself.
Arona opened her eyes and saw, to her surprise, a small cottage in the distance. Why, I don’t remember that cottage being there a moment ago, she thought. It looks just as Vincentius described. How remarkable. I was closer than I thought! Her spirits rose.
Outside the cottage the old crone was bent over, digging in a small vegetable plot. A basket of cabbages sat by her side. She stood up at Arona’s approach, wiping the dirt from her gnarly hands on her apron.
I have come to get some answers from you, said Arona, firmly crossing her arms and ignoring the outstretched hand.
Alright little one, Lucille said soflty. Why don’t you go and wait in the orchard. I will go and fix us a nice, cool drink of lemonade.
The orchard was full of old fruit trees, their twisted trunks reminded Arona of Lucille herself. From one of the trees hung an old swing. Arona sat on it, holding the rope, and gently rocked herself back and forwards, thinking. She had to admit, she was, quite frankly puzzled. The visit so far wasn’t going as expected.
She kept rocking, faster now.
She hit her heels into the hard earth again and again.
I don’t know. She tried to dig these words into the earth with her heels.
Then she sidestepped her feet in crab-like movements in diminishing circles. The ropes of the swing twisted tighter and tighter.
Arona leant backwards and stuck her legs out straight in front of her. The ropes unwound and sent her spinning. weeeeeeeeeeee hoooooooooooooooo!
She looked up into the sky. Blue sky through the trees with racing spinning clouds. She felt dizzy.
She stood up and braced herself against the seat of the swing. She held onto the ropes and pushed hard against the seat beneath her. She bent her knees under the swing. She kicked her feet forwards.
She wanted to go higher. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them outwards. She stretched her body backwards and arched her back.
I don’t know, she whispered.
She sat upright. She bent her legs back under the swing. Then kicked them as hard as she could. She leant her body backwards. She stretched as far as she could. On the rebound her heels hit the ground hard, but still she wanted to keep going higher and higher.
I DON’T KNOW! she shouted, as loudly as she could.
Lucille returned with the lemonade.
How do I know if it is safe to drink this? Arona asked. You have cast one spell on me, how am I to know this is not another?
Okay, well that makes good sense, thought Arona, gratefully drinking the lemonade.
When the three boats had landed on the warm shores of Golfindely, Tomkin had been a little anxious about the ominous looking men, especially the giant one, with the big ugly baby face who seemed to be in command.
But apparently, Tomkin had found a faithful friend in the black and white myna, and the ugly baby-faced giant had been interested by his unusual talent of being able to understand and communicate with them.
I had been two weeks now that the men had arranged a settlement for themselves on these friendly shores, and Tomkin had been quickly adopted by the whole crew.
He soon made friend with Jahiz, Austor and even the wild man in shackles —who had told his name unwillingly in energy, that the buntifluën had helped to translate. Tomkin was finding that the wild man, Cpt. Razkÿ, had been a greatly interesting adventurer and had known many places of the lands from where the men came. In fact, he reminded him of Captain Bone.
The most difficult to deal with was the chief cook Renouane, who was complaining about the lack of some kind of unknown vegetable to do the meals. Jahiz had comforted Tomkin saying they were all fed up with “cabbage” anyway.
The villagers around had become slowly aware of the presence of the foreigners on their lands, but they were relatively accustomed to seeing strange people, and upon seeing that these ones were friendly with Tomkin, they returned to their Scotch bonnets harvests, without much more of an afterthought.
Tomkin had helped them to learn basic words of their language, words of greeting (“wallahu”), of thanks (“alami”) etc.
But the ugly baby-faced giant (who had said he was “Badul”) was interested in many other things.
And the concept Tomkin was now struggling with, to clearly explain it to Badul, was that of the traveling portals.
Badul had somehow intuited that the strange shift in the environment they had met in the middle of the Rift, was something due to Unseen action. And when he had heard Tomkin speak about these methods for traveling easily, he had been interested in understanding more of them.
Until now, it was a frustrating experience, as the young boy only knew such and such, probably told to him by some others, and not having actually experienced one himself.
But the information was good to learn.
Bringing back this technology to his land would probably be more interesting than some decorative glowing egg, he was thinking…
Yeah, it seemed something like “daily reminder quote” was a bit rude
Sketching the NV gondocabs now
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