feat. in Beauty Traps On The Island (in: Circle of Eights)
On Tikfijikoo, a mysterious island where a mad Doctor has found refuge to experiment beauty treatments with some unwitting patients. A little girl and a WWII veteran are guiding the escape from the clutches of the Doctor and dimension-crossing sentient spiders bent on world domination.
So the Story goes...
As the plane approached the landing strip on the small Pacific island, Gloria and Sharon looked at each other and smiled. What an adventure! They had both received an email from a mysterious Dr Bronklehampton, offering them an experience they just couldn’t refuse. Neither Gloria or Sharon knew why they’d opened the spam email, or why they had felt compelled to accept the unusual offer.
Joe indicated left and pulled off the motorway.
Fancy a cuppa, ‘arry? he asked his long faced companion.
Me either, ‘arry. What the devil got into ‘em? Buggering off like that! He shook his head sadly. I ‘opes they’ll be orlright.
Joe pulled into the motorway service station and parked his car carefully between the white lines. I fancies me a plate of chips and egg, he said.
Our Mavis? Blimey, ‘arry, not our Mavis an’ all. Joe tutted, and noisily slurped his tea.
I wish, he said passionately, I wish I’d never bought that bloody computer, I knew nothing good would come of it. Perverts and bloody foreignors, the bloody lot of ‘em. What’s wrong with a nice pint of best bitter down at the Duck, eh? And a nice game of darts, eh?
Or dominoes, added Harry.
Arr, dominoes an’ all, agreed Joe.
A cuppa just i’n‘t the same without a fag is it, grumbled Joe.
‘Ealth farm? Our Gloria never said nuffink about an ‘ealth farm, ‘arry.
‘oliday? Another one? You went to Minehead last year with yer sister, whatchoo want another ‘oliday for?
I want to go to Tikfijikoo.
Dory’s stopover at Heathrow airport was longer than expected, due to the knock on effect of delays caused by the air traffic controllers strike in Paris. She bought coffee in a paper cup and went and sat in the cramped smoking room. A couple of middle aged overweight women were sitting opposite her, their chubby knees almost touching Dory’s in the unpleasant little nicotine yellow room.
Dory couldn’t help but listen to their conversation, and had to bite her lip on several occasions to prevent herself interjecting questions. Dory wanted to ask where this Tikfijikoo Island was. There was something about the sound of it that caught her attention, and she couldn’t quite put her finger on the strange feeling it gave her to hear the name.
The two women, who appeared to be named Shah and Glaw, were apparently on their way to an island to participate in some kind of experimental treatment, Dory gathered, organized by a Dr Bronklehampton. On hearing the name of the doctor, Dory had a series of images flit through her mind. One of them was of an impish looking redhead with an incredibly large head, doing the tango.
When the two plump ladies left the smoking room, Dory followed them. They bought magazines in the airport shop, and boiled sweets ‘in case their ears went’, and deliberated over sunscreen lotion, and then after some inaudible whispering, in which Dory heard only the words ‘treatment’ and ‘skin’, apparently decided against purchasing any of the skin care products.
Dory followed them into the public lavatories, and learned that ‘our Mavis’ would be joining them for the treatment, and listened to a great deal of rather unkind comments about ‘our Fred’ and his bullying ways. On the way out of the Ladies Room, the bleached blonde named Shah collided with a bag lady, at which point Dory saw a shower of bright blue sparks in her peripheral vision. The bag lady looked up and laughed at Shah and her friend and said ‘It matters not, my friend….HA! HA! HA!’, and winked at Dory as she shuffled past.
Dory followed the ladies to the baggage check-in desk. Yukailli Airlines. Dory had never heard of it; new airlines starting up all the time, she thought, and such silly names, like that Be My Baby one…what a daft name for an airline. Dory sauntered past, as she couldn’t really stand behind them without arousing suspicion. She was momentarily swallowed up in a swarm of Italians, there must have been two coachloads of them. By the time they’d passed her, Dory had made a decision. She would book a ticket to Tikfijikoo, hopefully on the same plane as Shah and Glaw.
That’s funny, she said out loud, It was right here!
She scanned the names above the row of desks….British Airways, Monarch, Air France, Qantas…..but no Yukailli Airlines. Dory asked at the Airport Information desk.
I’m sorry madam, there’s no airline of that name here, the young man behind the desk informed her, looking at her quizzically.
Dory opened and closed her mouth like a goldfish, and wondered for a moment if she had imagined it. Just then someone bumped into her shoulder, causing her to spin round. It was the bag lady she’d seen earlier in the Ladies room.
Leaving at Gate 57 and three quarters, the bag lady whispered, and winked conspiratorily.
Dory’s mouth fell open. She was about to say Oh now really, what is this, Harry Potter Airport? but something stopped her. Instead she asked, But what about tickets and baggage check? But the bag lady had gone.
Bathsheba didn’t feel even a bit guilty for not telling that fool V’ass about the habits of Blue Bonnets. Cash was cash; he’d paid handsomely for the spiders, and Bathsheba congratulated herself. She wasn’t creating V’ass’s reality after all, now was she? He had chosen to buy the Blue Bonnets; His choice. His choice too to pretend he was a man; Bathsheba wasn’t fooled for a moment, she knew V’ass was a woman underneath those manly clothes.
Bathsheba cackled, and set about attracting the next fool into her shop.
Veranassessee (V’ass) Eloha, swimming like a naiad in the waves of the sapphire sea bordering the island of Tikfijikoo, was back in a few powerful strokes on the wooden planks of the pier from which she had just fallen.
Trained in many martial arts and in the art of concealing her emotions, she effortlessly managed to maintain a perfect composure despite the fact that this unexpected moment of inattention may have cost the loss of the precious box of rare Blue Bonnet spiders —the venom of which was needed for the good success of the “treatments”.
Sharon and Gloria, still cackling unceasingly, thanked Armando, the pilot of the seaplane, who had entertained them no end with his stories of mysterious wreckages and lost aircrafts.
Now they’d just landed on this paradisaic island, and a gorgeous woman dripping in water was extending them a firm hand, greeting them.
Al was wondering who had jinxed his last entry in the play, that he had to write twice, since some invisible mischievous hand had just made him lose the first in the /dev/null dimension.
Good thing the Sumafairies bent over his crib had been gifting him with a good memory…
— Welcome at Tikfijikoo, where your kewlest dreams come troo.
V’ass was satisfied. Though, most of the box had been lost, she had managed to save two couples of spiders, which would be enough for the two turkeys.
As for the remaining ones, let’s just hope they’re all dead and drowned.
When Veranassessee entered the secret facility with Gloria and Sharon, her blood congealed in her veins.
Patient 4 had escaped the safety straitjacket and was holding the doctor at paper-clip point.
Patient 4, was one of the first six patients they’d treated on the island, an awful miscarriage… Of the six, all had developed strong reactions to the medication especially as they had not yet found the appropriate dosage for the blue spider venom. Some had developed extra appendices, most had been hideously disfigured, and all of them had gone bonkers.
“Four” was the last alive of them all, by an inexplicable combination of luck and genetics, and by far the most dangerous one. Apparently, apart from madness, the venom had gifted “Four” with supra-human velocity and strength. It was what had kept that mad doctor from “erasing” that mistake, so sure he could find some interesting way of making profit out of that prodigious lucky find.
But now that was compromising everything…
V’ass pushed the two chatty old ladies in a broom-closet behind with a wink Be right back ladies!
Sharon and Gloria giggled in the small room, wondering about the unexpected sense of hospitality of the people of that resort. All was so funny and exciting since they’d decided to come to that place.
— Four! Release the doc’!
— Don’t move an inch closer or I’ll kill him!
— You have nowhere to go Four, backups will be here any minute now…
— One second is all I need to snap his neck!
— No! Dr. Chris Bronklehampton was moaning
— You, stay still, the mummified Four snapped to the panting doctor.
Quicker than light, V’ass shot a powerful sedative into the arm of the mummy. Four winced, drawing the dart out of the arm, crushing the fluffy fletchings between the fingers. Quickly assessing chances to escape, Four sent the doctor flying at the other side of the room, in a powerful swing of the arm, and jumped through the window in a formidable sound of smashed glass, disappearing into the jungle.
Chris, I demand you tell me what’s going on! What was that … that thing! Nurse Bellamy was visibly upset, her cheeks flushed, her voice tremulous. She had no idea what had just happened, but she suspected that even coconut milk might not make it better this time.
Are you going to tell her or do I have to do it? asked Veranassessee. Because if you can pull yourself together I have a couple of guests locked in a closet, and now a mummy on the run to deal with! It had been a tiring day and Veranassessee was furious.
V’ass what’s going on, Chris, will someone please tell me ….!
I will tell her Veranassessee. Dr Bronkelhampton slumped in his chair and wondered where to start. A plan was beginning to form in his head. V’ass had always said Nurse Bellamy should be told the truth, now it seems that, as usual, she was right. But of course, he smiled to himself, as Dr Lemane, his erudite Professor at medical school had always said, there are many sniggly variations of one truth. Well, it was something along those lines he said anyway.
Oh this is the bees knees! what do you reckon about this room then Sha? Do you think the treatment has started?
Perhaps it is special beauty air in here. It smells different don’t it?
They both breathed deeply. Oh Yes, Yes, YES! giggled Glor
It’s a bit odd though don’t you think? I mean nothing like what I was thinking.
The mummy headed towards the dense bush, her brain was foggy but she knew she had to find cover. Her limbs felt heavy. Keep going, just keep going …
Quite right, she must my little poppet, soothed Dr Bronkelhampton, stroking Nurse Bellamy’s hair gently, and thinking quickly. But for now, keep it to yourself. It is a very delicate matter. Can you do that my sweet one? Just for me?
Oh yes Chris! whatever you think best my my darling.
iko va baba bula makuba she muttered.
She made her decision.
Agent V, he said. I have been expecting your call.
Operation Spider is in danger. I need instructions.
We can’t abort at this stage, it has gone too far. He thought for a moment. Mobilise plan B.
One more thing you need to know, I have seen evidence of increased Magpie activity in the locality.
He swore softly. Are you sure?
Pretty sure, they are keeping undercover, shapeshifting, but I sense their presence.
Bugger those thieves. I feared they would sniff this out …. keep me posted Agent V
And Agent V …. good work.
Veranassessee felt a moment’s pleasure at his unaccustomed praise, quickly fading at the tremendous racket coming from the cupboard behind her.
This aint bloody right Glor.
We’ve been here for bloody hours, my lumbago’s playing up something dreadful
‘Ark Glor! I thought I ‘eard a noise
oh let’s shout out, on the count of three
Nearly two months… Two months since they had all received the exciting email from that Dr. Bronklehampton and had decided to take a leap of faith.
As a matter of fact, they had taken that leap of faith just before, and it was just a… “synchronistic confirmation that they were heading in the right direction”, that’s what old Harry had said… Or was it Joe? No, that was surely Harry.
Fred wasn’t very pleased.
Bored by all the variations of dominoes and dices games at their third-age club, the three inseparable ladies had decided, in a bout of delightful unreasonableness, to embrace all that modern technology had to offer. Sharon and Gloria, being the devil-may-care as they were, got their computer first. Mavis had to convince Fred that he could make his horse-racing bets with that computer without having to go to the city, now that the last pub in the village wasn’t taking bets any longer… and even play poker! she’d said, bluffing so vehemently that she’d almost blushed in shame for fear of being wrong. But that last argument had convinced old Fred. And now, she was connected too. A second-hand computer, with a dusty old keyboard, but she’d let it soak a night in a soapy basin, and it was now shiny as a brand-new one. Except that it now kept behaving strangely…
In their club, they could boast that now they were connected all over the word, and all the old parakeets of the club had almost choked over their tea when they had heard all of what they had discovered.
Sharon had won most of the glaring bedazzlement. Wearing newly bought sunglasses, she’d said whispering like a conspirator that she had searched her name on a website and she had seen more than 7 million pages talking of her! Imagine! More than seven million people talking of her! And she had not known she was so famous… Hence the sunglasses, she’d added with a wink… there were probably a slew of paparazzi hidden somewhere to discover all that was to know about her… But you can’t fool dear ol’ Sharon Stone.
Gloria Fowles had been gathering almost 4,000 pages… But well, she had not the charismatic aura of Shah.
And Mavis Staples had got a hefty 470,000 pages!… Of course, she had not told Fred, who was already so paranoid about all of this stuff. When they had received the machine, he was convinced there were miniature cameras and transponders from the MI6 inside the PC and had spent hours disassembling and reassembling it.
Very soon after they had registered for their free email address (the reseller had explained patiently that she couldn’t electrocute herself while licking the envelop), the next day to be precise, at 5:33 —that was the hour when Mavis had finished her routine dusting and breakfast preparing for Fred, and just before taking Gulp, the dog for a news reading (that was what Sha was saying “butt sniffing for dogs, is like news reading for us”), she had granted herself a little peek into the emailbox— she had seen something in the recipe folder.
She wasn’t sure why they had called that folder “meat” or “ham”… no that wasn’t “ham”… “SPAM” more like it… Anyway, in the recipes folder, she’d received her first email. She’d called eagerly Sha and Glo, and they had received it too, and had even answered it already, as they had spent the all night “surfing” as they said — which was a bit difficult for Sharon with her sunglasses in the dark.
All three of them had received a free coupon for a massage and therapeutic rejuvenating treatments (and possibly some bonus organ enlargements free of charge) in Tikfijikoo Island!
Well, now Mavis was ready to go too, now that Fred had been mollified and she’d gathered the money for the trip.
In a sense, that was good she’d not received anything yet from Sha and Glo, it would allow her to imagine the wildest things!
« … local time in Sydney is 5:55 PM, temperature on the ground is 55°F (23°C)… »
— Seems like five fives… a hazy Mavis emerging from a heap of plane sheets said, still with her yellow hand-knitted blindfold on her eyes, probably for herself more than for the benefit of her bedazzled neighbours.
As no one was answering, she continued her monologue while the man near her was looking embarrassed, avoiding the gaze of the cackling woman.
— You know, I’ve always got lots of fives in my life, I was the fifth girl of my family, born May 5 th, “Mavis”, my first name’s got five letters, and the coincidences go on and on, once you think of it, that is positively amazing, I daresay. German say five is “fünf”, so for me, it’s fun and play, when I put that in perspective… Still better to have that kind of outlook on these coincidences as they are piling up so well, don’t you think…
Still getting no answer from them, she continued imperturbably.
— Oh, great, we are arrived… That journey was exhausting, not that I lacked any sleep for that matter, but you know, my legs got all swollen, and my bladder is playing tricks on me… Good thing I had these socks, you see, the vendor told me they were perfect for long-haul plane trips, not that I can see any difference anyway… Worse thing, if you ask me, was that rushing through the Japanese airport… I would not have made it without the help of this Spanish couple. Man was kind enough to push me on a trolley to the boarding gate… Now, where is this lovely couple,… hope they didn’t leave without me. It seems we all go to the same destination, how funny isn’t it? An angelic spa in a heavenly island… Sounds lots of fun… I can’t wait to see my friends here!
Mavis was now standing on the seat of the plane, to get a better outlook on the back of the plane, for any chance to see Jose Maria and Paquita, while most of the other travelers were in a rush to go outside, already reaching for their bags and switching on their mobile phones. Truly, as stout and short as she was, standing on the seat hardly made any difference, for she was barely able to see past the high seat, but she finally got what she wanted.
— WOOOHOOO! I’M HERE! she started to wave at the couple, busy reaching for their belongings.
Vessie Darl, Sha and I are just popping down to the beach for some more of them special beauty sea waters you told us about.
Great idea, Gloria, responded Veranassessee vaguely. She watched absent-mindedly as Gloria’s generous body, clad only in a skimpy red bikini, disappeared down the corridor. There was something about that shade of red tugging at her memory. Vermillion red …
Red! PLAN B! Oh my God! how could she have forgotten!
It was two days since she had called him, that meant he would be here soon, that did not leave her much time to prepare.
Everything has to be perfect. She wears a silk vermillion red camisole, the one he gave her, scarcely covered by lush black velvet and topped with bright red lipstick. She casts her eyes critically around the room. It is nearly three years since she has seen him, she doesn’t want to spoil this moment. The glasses of soft red merlot are ready, a plate of miniature liqueur chocolates on a plate by the bed.
She shakes out her long dark hair and looks in the mirror. Her chocolate skin glows, her eyes are bright. She will do. She touches the red silk camisole … it is still beyond her comprehension how she can have forgotten.
When he arrives he is beautiful. Too beautiful. she thinks. It is so easy for him, effortless. He appraises the room and laughs casually, he knows how hard she has tried. Agent V he says, a pleasure to see you again. He kisses her. She remembers everything.
He takes a sip of the wine. She watches him, unsure of herself. He has a black bag with him.
He looks at her, sees her looking at the bag, and smiles slowly, I have something to show you, Agent V, he says, and she can sense his pride, the barely suppressed excitement in his voice.
He opens the bag carefully, pulls out a small white box, handles it lovingly. Two years experimentation in the Russian lab, he says softly, delicate threads of spun blue bonnet spider silk and yet strong enough to hang a bridge on.
He looks at her. Come here. he says
She hesitates for just a moment thinking of Mahiliki, and then inwardly shrugs, bugger it, I never really wanted to live on Fukitupi island and have loads of babies anyway. She moves over to him. He takes the transparent silk and slowly starts to wind the delicate thread around her wrists. Try and break it, he whispers in her ear, kisses her neck.
My God, what the fuck is that?
No I swear Sha, I am telling you, I saw him go into Vessie’s room.
Oh my God Glor, he might be a murderer, or a bloody rapist even!
I tell you though, he were right bloody gorgeous.
Well never mind that! The door is locked Sha. I think we’d better shout out. Make sure she’s okay.
Right, good idea. And then if she doesn’t answer we can bash the door in and we can both pounce on him.
Right, on the count of three Glor, we’‘ll shout out, one… two… THREE!”
My God, what the fuck is that?
Veranassessee sighed, seeing the two plump lady on top of one another, lying sprawled all fours on the ground, with the door blown out in shards.
Untie me Gabriele, so that I can ask for the nurse’s help. she said reluctantly to her partner, seeing with a bit of dolefulness, the effect of their strange erotic games already waning off.
— Are you alright ladies?
— Oh, I guess so, Vessie, sorry to have interrupted, we thought…
— Yes, yes… Veranassessee was feeling oddly detached from the women’s babbled and muddled excuses, and even more detached from her own sloppy appearance.
All she could think at the moment was that she seemed fated to marry Mahiliki, and get loads of children on Fukitupi, a doom that hovered on her head like a rapacious magpie over a precious gemstone…
Good thing she was so gorgeous she would look great even wearing a potatoes sack. Sure Gabriele had noticed that already…
Arch-Agent Gabriele came back, telling her he had called nurse Bellamy on the intercom, and she would be here in a minute.
I’ll go to my room dear, we’ll talk later about Barbella. he said casually, a convenient code for “plan B” between them two.
Professional as he was, he had also, V’ass noticed, as the women were untangling themselves, made the box and the silky rope very stealthily disappear.
Sure, they would have more time in the evening. But now, she noticed she’d been a bit too lax on the security around the new guests. Fine that Dr Bronkelhampton’s recommendations were to have the patients free for the first months of their treatments (after all, the more drastic transformations never occurred before the thirteenth week), but she had to be more careful about them.
She could not have them compromise “plan B”.
B as Barbella… or rather…
B as Bee-hive.
— Did you hear like me, Glo?
— I think so, Sha…
— What’s that Barbiella, Glo?
— Barbella, Sha, barbella, like barbell… Could be a woman’s name…
— Poor Vessie seemed so annoyed by the incident…
— Yes Sha, we have to help her somewhat, if we want her to forgive us
— Sure, we’ll find something to do, Glo.
— Yes… I don’t like that Barbella. Perhaps it’s the man’s…
— Yes, Sha, Gabriele —does sound Italian, doesn’t it?
— I was about to tell you Glo…
— Perhaps that’s Gabriele’s wife…
— Or some kinky sadomasochistic practice we never heard of…
— Rhooo, Sha, chuckled Gloria, who was thinking of Veranassessee’s dress and wrists tying games…
— “Sha! I think I’ve had one of them bloody brainwaves of mine!”
— “You are the smart one Glor … ‘ang on, I’ll just light my fag then I can listen proper.”
— “Well you know how Vessie has been so good to us and I still feel a bit awful about breaking that bloody door down.”
— “We meant well though Glor. Our hearts were in the right places.”
— “Oh she is …. and there’s nowhere to buy clothes on this bloody island neither, she must have to make do, bless ‘er little ‘eart.”
— “I think you’re onto something there Sha, oh that would be bloody marvellous I reckon, a small mall.”
— “Anyway what’s your brainwave then Sha? I’m all agog with curiousness.”
— “Well I reckon with all the eating and lying around we’ve been doing I’ve gained a bit…. what do you reckon Sha?”
— “You might have done a bit Glor,” said Sharon eyeing her friend thoughtfully, “you can carry a bit extra though, and it goes to all the right places on you, you look right sexy, I reckon our Harry would think so anyway”
— “A bit on the skinny side really, Glor, needs a bit of meat on them bones of ‘ers to be what you would call proper sexy like us, and very tall with it ain’t she.”
— “Yes athletical, most of them island girls are I reckon. Anyway, listen up Sha, a few of my things ain’t been fitting so well and …and ‘ere’s my master plan Sha …Da da ….” she paused dramatically, “I thought I could hunt out something nice for Vessie!”
— “Oh that’s bloody genius Glor! you’ve got a real kind heart you ‘ave! You’re a bloody saint even … did you ‘ave something special in mind?”
— “Did I what Sha!” Gloria’s eyes were shining with delight at her own generosity. “You remember that pink frock, the one I wore when you and Harry got ‘itched, with the wee roses on it. Well I bought it with me! I thought you daft fool! when I packed it, what you taking that bloody thing for? … I reckon it was my psychic abilities I got ‘anded down from my Aunty Philly, God rest her soul, made me bring it.”
— “Oh you’ve still got that frock! That were bloody gorgeous …. well bless your bloody heart Glor!”
— “Well its got sentimentical value of course,” said Glor looking serious. Her voice lowered, “ Between you and me though Sha, I do feel for that poor girl. I mean she’s pretty enough .. but she’s got no bloody idea how to make the best of what she’s got. It’d be a bit on the short side mind …. but I don’t think she’d mind that, not if that last dress is anything to go by, and I’m right handy with the needle and thread if it needs any fixing” she paused for a moment thinking, “Sha! I think I’ve ‘ad another bloody brainwave! We could give her a full beauty makeover, the bloody works, with all our beauty know-how … that lippy she was wearing ..” her voice trailed off and she shook her head sadly.
— “Wrong shade of red weren’t it,” Sharon nodded understandingly. “She’s going to have to make a bit more effort if she’s to keep that bloke of hers.”
— “Well I’ll ‘ave him any day,” giggled Gloria
— “Oh you’re bloody wicked, you are Glor! If your Joe could ‘ear you now! …. ‘ere you’ll ‘ave to fight me for ‘im though! … ere,” she said looking around and lowering her voice conspiratorily, “maybe we could have one of them threesomes!”
— “Oh stop Sha, you’re too bloody much you are!” spluttered Gloria, barely able to control her mirth. “Serious now though Sha, that Vessie might be a bit overcome and shy like, with all our generousness and kindheartedness, we have to make sure she knows we ain’t taking NO for a bloody answer!”
“Phew…” said the plump lady to her trip companions “it really felt like this trip would never end…”
Paquita rolled her eyes to the sky, sweating as her and Joselito were moving the heavy luggage of the lady out of the hydroplane’s trunk.
Apparently, the welcoming committee either had not been aware of their landing, or simply had forgotten them. Nobody was there to greet them past the wooden pontoon, only the thuds of coconuts falling on the white beach.
One of them rolled towards Paqui, bouncing on the little waves of sand.
She leaned forward to get the hairy fruit, brushing the sand off it with her hands until she spotted something that instantly congealed the blood in her veins.
She shrieked at the sight of a blue spider under the coconut.
“Well, she seems dead enough” shrugged Mavis at the sight of the splattered arachnid. “Now, what do we do… I think I have a bathsuit somewhere in that piece of luggage” she said, designing a mammothesque thing that bore more resemblance to a military trunk than to any piece of luggage.
“Did the pilot leave us there?” asked a pale Paqui to her cousin.
“As soon as we got the last piece of luggage out of his plane… Guy didn’t seem to want to stay here”
“I wonder why… It’s such a gorgeous place…” Mavis was saying distractedly while plunging into her trunk occasionally drawing some outrageously gaudy piece of cloth that seemed like out of a theater’s props. “Here it is!” she finally said, holding a glittering hot pink latex bikini, so tiny it wasn’t leaving much to imagination.
Veranassessee was not in a happy mood.
The sight earlier in the day of Dr Bronkelhampton wearing his yellow wig, a bright pink dress which was several sizes too large for him, and carrying a chinese porcelain doll had disturbed her profoundly. She sighed, remembering how he had glared at her suspiciously and muttered to the doll he was holding in front of him as though it were some sort of a shield.
He has totally lost it, but what to do?
She had also spent much of the morning trying to avoid Sha and Glor. The pair seemed rather distressed about something … a missing dress was it? Veranassessee shook her head in annoyance. Good grief! She had neither the time nor the patience to deal with another of their foolish and pitiful concerns.
Perhaps I should tell those stupid nincompoops that to get hit on the head with a coconut is another special beauty treatment.
To top it off, Agent Gabriel kept slipping into her thoughts in a most disconcerting and bothersome manner. And where the hell is he anyway? she thought miserably, cringing at the memory of their last encounter. Avoiding me, no doubt.
Bugger! she swore, suddenly remembering the arrival of the new guests and feeling a growing sense of foreboding.
Twenty minutes later the disturbing vision of a fat woman in a tiny pink bikini waving at her gleefully did nothing to dispel her concerns.EricKeymaster
It had been more than a week now that Claude had broken loose from one captivity to fall into another.
Not that this gang of strange shape-shifting magpie beings seemed to consider him a captive, rather an impromptu host that they felt obliged to take care of. But Claude wasn’t duped one moment.
His precedent prison on Tikfijikoo had been relatively easy to break out from, thanks to that unasked for gift of preternatural strength he had gained from the experiments he had be subjected to. Actually, had he not almost been driven mad from pain, he would have been on the loose earlier. Thank the Magpies for his recovered sanity…
Security on the island facility wasn’t the highest and most difficult he had been confronted to. They seemed to consider the relative isolation of the island and its deadly sharp coral reef encircling it their main asset in keeping their experiments clear from outside interferences.
Claude snapped back from his thoughts and gazed fixedly at a tender green sprout at his feet while humming a nursery rhyme. An effective trick.
He had to be more cautious… He knew they could read his surface thoughts…
Apparently, he could come and go as pleased him, but as he had tried to find his way back to the island facility, he had discovered that the landscape was changing each time he felt close to it. And soon enough, he was finding himself back to the hidden settlement. He knew enough to suspect his affable alien hosts of playing tricks on his mind to keep him in check. Perhaps they were even bending space around their settlement, as far as he knew…
Not intrusive, and yet not a very different treatment from the inhumane experiments. Except he had no mummy bandages this time…
Know thy foe so went the adage, and Claude was determined to know enough about his new captors to escape and complete his mission.
From what he was guessing, as they had not killed him, they probably would release him (if he was lucky) as soon as their mission would be completed —a mission which was most probably the same as his own. Snatching the crystal skull he knew was there somewhere. He could sense they were after it too.
He was wondering who had hired them to retrieve the thing. Obviously they were not from the common lot of thieves, most certainly not even from this planet, and anyone who had hired them must have been in dire need of the thing.
He had been told by the Baron that the crystals were storing ancient vast knowledge and that accessing it had been only possible since a few decades, actually since the discovery of coherent beams of light (laser). But even accessed, the information stored remained vastly incomprehensible, and deciphering it could take another millennium without appropriate knowledge of its holographic proprieties.
The Baron had told humanity was like a child being given a box of books on relativity… And even the mad transvestite doctor was only toying with the tip of an immense iceberg.
Those Magpies were far more advanced, Claude could see it clearly, and he wondered how he could outdo them, if that was possible. Quite frankly he didn’t know why they had not yet retrieved it. Perhaps they were having trouble locating it too…
That would mean he still had a head start, however short.
A faint barking sound seemed to echo in his head… It was apparently coming from… the gnarled trunk of an old majestic tree… Whispers seemed to come from it too, like a child talking with an adult, and whispers around them…
The tree seemed wide enough for him to enter into the biggest crack of its bark…
Could it be one of their secret entrances and exits? There had to be coordinate points were they could get out of this warped space… What was he risking to try?
Veranassessee stared anxiously out the window of the compound kitchen. The sky was grey and threatening. The weather forecast was predicting strong winds and high tides asTropical Cyclone Ycart headed towards the coast.
She could hear an annoying high pitched chattering in the distance, Sha and Glor were clearly delighted to be reunited with their old friend. The other two new arrivals had declined all offers of hospitality and had slunk quietly to their room.
In her hand was the little jar of black stuff Mahiliki had sent her in his latest parcel. “This is full of Vitamin B. It will do you good” the note attached had read. She rolled her eyes. Ever the romantic, she muttered to herself. She put her knife in the jar and tentatively licked the gooey concoction.
TELE LEVU OULU COW!
She spat the disgusting stuff out and looked around for something to try and rid her mouth of the dreadful taste. To her suprise she found a plate of honeycomb in the fridge. Although there were bee hives on the island, Dr Bronkelhampton had always insisted upon tending them himself, becoming quite agitated if anyone else went near them,. Lately his mental state had not predisposed him to doing much more than shutting himself away in his office.
I wouldn’t touch that if I were you, Agent V, came a familiar voice behind her.
She put down the plate of honeycomb and turned round slowly, her calm exterior belying the fear which had suddenly gripped her insides.
He had called her Agent V!
She had to stay calm, think quickly.
And why is that, Jarvis?
Jarvis, what did she know about him? He had been employed by Dr Bronkelhampton, although Veranassessee had resisted the idea vigorously. The fewer people on the island the better as far as she was concerned. But the doctor had insisted he needed someone to tend the gardens, and in the end she had decided it wasn’t worth making an issue of.
I think I might be able to answer that question. Agent Gabriele entered the kitchen. His sudden presence had almost as disconcerting effect on Veranassessee as the revelation that Jarvis knew her identity.
A little sideline of our beloved Doctor is to experiment with honeybee mutations. Isn’t that right, Jarvis? And in the process he has discovered a way to alter the chemical composition of the honeycomb. It looks and tastes like honey, but too much of it is deadly.
Wasn’t me left it in the fridge. I saw it there earlier. I figured the Doctor left it there. Buggered if I know why. He’s an odd one that one. Getting odder by the minute too.
A loud clattering outside and they all turned.
Winds getting up quickly, said Agent Gabriele in clipped tones. Secure the hives Jarvis. God knows we don’t need mutated bees on the loose. V tell the guests to stay in their rooms and away from the windows, and then meet me in my room. I’ll deal with the Doctor.
Bloody windy here aint it. Thought I was coming to a bloody tropical paradise! Mavis was looking outside anxiously.
Oh this aint typical. The weathers been grand. We’ve been out bloody sun baking most days.
Oh we have! The sun and airs got special beauty qualities here. That Vessie told us that. Encourages us to get out and about.
Ere I know what will cheer you up. Lets get a snack from the kitchen. There’s some special ureu beauty biscuits in the pantry, and the chocolate brownies are bloody delicious. Who’d have thought chocolate had special beauty qualities eh. She’s a genius that Vassie. Oh I tell you what, I found some lovely honeycomb in the fridge this morning! Sharon licked her lips in anticipation.
Oh I’m bloody drooling here, Sha! You’re a bloody genius you are
This is a bloody odd place is you ask me, said Gloria. The weathers nice and all, but it’s all very ODD.
Yeah I know what you mean, replied Sharon. Some odd goings on around here, I can’t keep track of it all. My head just gets fuzzier and fuzzier.
ODD, now there’s an odd word if ever there was one. ODD, she said, savouring the sound of it. ODD. Odd…. ODD….
The more you think about it the odder it gets, agreed Gloria. She picked up a twig that was lying next to her beach towel, and wrote ODD in the sand. It’s like a tart and two half tarts, she said.
Sharon propped herself up on her elbows and peered at her freind. What? What tarts? Don’t tell me we’ve got competition arriving on the island.
Not that kind of tart, Sha, pie tarts. Look, look ‘ere at this word ODD. It’s like a pie and two half pies. If the pies weren’t halved it would be OO.
The wind howled. It screamed in fury. Cyclone Ycart in all its majestic glory was ripping over the island, screaming out its rage, like a demon swirling from hell.
The rain started.
Veranassessee shivered and cursed beneath the onslaught. Water saturated her long hair, plastered her thin cotton dress to her body and rain ran in rivulets down her face.
She looked wildly around, trying to suppress the hysteria rising in her chest. She screamed out their names, but her voice was carried away by the winds. Breathing roughly, she paused, drawing in a calming breath.
Then she saw them.
She stared in bewilderment. She could barely believe what she was seeing. Mavis had been right when she nervously told her Sharon and Gloria were having a picnic on the beach. There they were like two beached whales, apparently oblivious to the waves lashing perilously close to them.
For a moment Veranassessee was sorely tempted to leave them to their fate.
Blimey, Sha, them waves are huge! The sun’s gone in, an’ all.
I’ll say! Did you ‘ear someone shout? asked Gloria. Oh bugger, it’s started to rain!
Oh give over, Glor, it’ll pass over in a minute. Keep yer knickers on, will ya? It’s a tropical island, the weather’s supposed to be nice and ‘ot, innit?
A few moments later she was not so sure.
What’s the matter?
Oh you know … I am a bit distracted …too much going on I guess. She did not want to tell him that she could feel the presence of Mahiliki strongly in the room, his sweet trusting face gazing reproachfully at her. He would be worried about her, worried about the storm. She wondered how he was getting on.
I understand, he smiled ruefully, it’s hardly perfect timing is it? Anyway that wasn’t the reason I asked you to meet me here, but I guess it just seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
I am sorry, she said, rolling her eyes.
Maybe some other time. He handed her a robe.
Sure. She wrapped it tightly around her. Anyway, the Doctor?
Your hunch was right. The Magpies are operating on the Island, and they plan to strike soon.
Course they are!
They looked at each other. Well, maybe it’s a bit soon to tell eh? she said doubtfully.
A dishevelled head popped out. You both don’t look no bloody different to me, ‘cept you’ve put weight on, she said honestly.
Well that bloody does it, said Glor, We’d better find that Vessie, find out wots wot!FloveParticipant
Oh what absoloote rubbish, giggled Elizabeth Tattler, taking another large sloorp from her 4th glass of red wine and putting large determined scribbles through the last chapter of the latest Noovel. It was the continuing saga of the Tifijikoo Island story. She really had to finish it, old whats-his-face was on the telepooh to her daily now, demanding to know when it was to be finished.
More Sex! he had shouted at her last time. More sex, we want the bloody thing to sell don’t we!
Well I have shut you up haven’t I, she snorted to herself, thinking happily of Dr Bronkelhampton passed out on the couch wearing a pink dress and mascara running down his face.
More sex eh? Hooommmm, Elizabeth did not particularly believe in putting extraneous sex in her noovels. At the same time that character Veranassessee was annoying her a bit with all her indecisiveness. And what a bloody mouthful that name was. Was it too late to change it? hooommm probably. She had modelled her roughly on the cleaner, Finnley, quite an attractive girl despite her pooty face and superior, bossy ways.
Make your writing detailed, with accurate depiction of suction noises
You know Robbie-pooh what is wrong with this?
Robbie-Pooh, Robbie-Pooh, cackled Robert X.
IT’S BOORING, The damn characters never do anything. Right well, time to fix that. She took another few slugs of her wine.
Oh God, said Agent Gabriele. Who gives a shit about the Doctor or bloody magpies. I can’t stand this any longer. I must have you Agent V. He lunged towards her, ripping open her robe and exposing her naked body.
You are so beautiful. All I ever wanted is you. That’s why I demanded this assignment on the Island … to see you again. I have not been able to get you out of my head. You’ve been driving me crazy
NO NO, cried Veranassessee weakly, but her body said YES YES
Agent Gabriele kissed her on the mouth, making strange and passionate slurping noises, and, unable to resist any longer, she gave in to his need for her.
Mahiliki stared anxiously out at the storm. He could think of nothing but his darling Veranassessee. He must know if she was alright. He must go to her. He grabbed his car keys and drove like a madman to the airport.
( Hoommm, thought Elizabeth, I really don’t know anything about small island airports and planes. Well booger that, I will research them later on the internoot )
Are you mad? said the pilot. There’s a freakin cyclone, or hadn’t you noticed?
Yes, I am mad, I am mad with love. Fly me there or you are a dead man.
ahahahaahah, laughed Elizabeth happily.