Beyond the Sphere

Mrs Sinster flopped back into the sofa in the living room, and kicked off her shoes. “I feel like I’ve been walking for a hundred years!” She complained.

Mr Sinster just sat down in the armchair opposite. “We’ve only been travelling for ten minutes!” He said with a smile.

“Is that all it took? To get all these six items? It feels like almost a month!” Mrs Sinster looked at the objects beside the sofa. Harp, in cat form, came over to investigate as well. “I wonder what these are all needed for?” Mrs Sinster looked at the cone-shaped hat in particular.

“So, let’s see if we can work it out.” Mr Sinster started to pull the items into two groups. “Gabriel wanted us to get the Key of Kamra, the Book of the Appointed Pineapple and the Round Pyramid”

“And Monique ordered us to get the Candlestick of Kabbabooga, the Smoked Mirror of Al and the Goblet of the Fallen Whispers.” Mrs Sinster continued. “A scroll, a book, a hat, a candlestick, a plant and a glass. They are all completely different, and hardly items to be used in a ritual of any kind.”

“Don’t forget we had to spread joy and light.” Mr Sinster added.

“And chaos and confusion.” Mrs Sinster said thoughtfully. “We’ve completed the second challenge. I’m confused. I’m always chaotic though.”

Monique D’Arkness appeared in a plume of putrid black smoke. “Can you not count?” She demanded to know. “I told you to retrieve three items – not six!”

“Ah.” Mr Sinster began to speak. Monique held up her hand to silence him. Before she could speak, Gabriel appeared through a stream of golden stars surrounding a white light.

“Splendid!” The angel said, spotting his three items. “Monique… Monique… Monique! Trust you to go for the Candlestick of Kabbabooga. Trying to alter reality and time yet again, I see?”

“Well you went for the Key of Kamra again. The black hole. So predictable.” Monique hissed as she spoke.

“Er… would either of you like a cup of tea?” Mrs Sinster asked.

“Silence!” Monique spat.

“Yes, please. Milk and two sugars would be lovely!” Gabriel replied in his usual angelic tone.

“I’ll have EIGHT sugars, then!” Monique added. “May as well join the party before altering reality!”

“I’m not going to let you do that, Monique.” Gabriel stated.

“You have no choice, Gabriel. I have the candlestick, the Smoked Mirror and the Goblet. Once I take a sip of the sap from the plant from the glass, and then dribble it all over the candlestick, the eons old spell will commence again. The portal will open and chaos will spew forth!”

“Monique, my dear friend. That isn’t the Candlestick of Kabbabooga. Your spell will fail.” Gabriel smiled. Mr Sinster finally sorted the objects so Monique’s were together, as were Gabriel’s.

“Nonsense. Of course it is the Candlestick of Kabba… wait! Has Little Miss Nicey tricked me, and sent the Candlestick of Kippikakka? Let me see… let me see.” She focused closely on the intricate design of the candlestick. She saw a scratch down one side. The flaw that differentiates between Kippikakka and Kabbabooga. “You are wrong, Gabriel. This is Kabbabooga.”

Gabriel rolled his eyes, as Mrs Sinster handed him a cup of tea. “Two sugars for you,” she said, “And eight sugars for you, Monique.” Gabriel tried to thank Mrs Sinster, but was interrupted by Monique. “Gah! I DID NOT WANT MILK! Can you not do anything right?”

“Sorry, Monique. I-I’ll make you another.”

“No, you won’t.” Mr Sinster said. “She will take her tea, with milk, and the eight sugars she asked for. If she can’t give clear instructions, she will get what she asked for.”

Monique fumed, and snatched the cup and saucer from Mrs Sinster. A drop of the hot, steaming liquid spilled over onto her hand. She didn’t flinch.

“Ooh, let me…” Mrs Sinster bothered.

“Leave me!” Monique yet again fumed. She put the cup and saucer down onto the table without taking a sip. She walked over to her three objects, and glared at the Sinsters and Gabriel. “I’m tired of this now. Let me bring in chaos to the world!” With her fingernail, she scratched deep into the soft stem of the plant. Thick, runny sap started to flow out of the cut. Monique filled the bottom of the glass with the sap, and then tilted the glass around and around so the sap covered the inside. She held the glass up and looked at her reflection in the outside of the glass, which had taken on a smoky mirror appearance. She spoke a couple of words which were undecipherable, and then took a slow, large mouthful of the grey liquid.

“Let the Ceremony of Ceremonies ritual begin.” Gabriel translated, to further confuse the Sinsters.

“Is it All Hallow’s Day today?” Mrs Sinster discreetly whispered to Mr Sinster.

“I don’t think so,” Mr Sinster whispered in reply. “Let’s leave her to it and see what happens!”

“I don’t know about you, but I don’t really fancy my reality being altered.” Mrs Sinster’s face developed a concerned look.

“SILENCE!” Monique gurgled, as she held the candlestick under her mouth, and dribbled the sap over it. She made sure the sap covered the flaw in the candlestick. She then anointed the candlestick with the rest of the sap. “Any moment now the crack will grow… and chaos will spew forth! Be ready for the new world order!” She held the candlestick out in front of her.

Gabriel gathered his items and the Sinsters looked nervously on. He moved the cookbook and the hat to one side, and opened the star map, also known as the Key of Kamra.

“Any moment now!” Monique repeated.

“Any moment now!” Gabriel repeated with a broad grin. “It isn’t working, Monique.”

“Give it time!” Monique D’Arkness fumed. “This should be working now! What is happening? What have you done? It’s these two incompetents,” she glared at the Sinsters, “they can’t do anything as requested. Useless. They will be in my office first thing Monday morning for this!”

“But we’ve done…” Mrs Sinster began to say. Gabriel held his hand up now to stop her speaking.”I know what the issue is.” Gabriel said to Monique. He then uttered something nobody could hear.

“What?” Monique spat. “Say it again.”

Gabriel whispered what he’d said, and then repeated it a little louder, still so quiet Monique couldn’t hear him.

“Ah.” Monique looked at the Sinsters. “Universal Balance stuff. You don’t want this pair to hear! I understand.” She walked over to Gabriel and leant in to him. “Say it again, to me.”

“I said ‘enjoy your trip’!” Gabriel pointed his finger at the centre of the Key of Kamra star map, the black hole. Golden stars once again span around him, but this time they surrounded Monique. She was surrounded by the white light that appeared with the stars. The light shrank in size, and funnelled its way into the centre of the map, taking Monique with it.

“What have you done?” Mr Sinster said. “Is she in that black hole?”

“She’s inside the scroll,” Gabriel answered. “Locked in by the Key of Kamra. As she said, Universal Balance stuff!”

“Why didn’t her spell work?” Mrs Sinster yet again was confused. “She was sure it was the Candlestick of Kabbabooga. Is it because it isn’t All Hallow’s Day?”

“I think she wanted the items by today, so mentioned the Ceremony of Ceremonies on All Hallow’s thing to rush you along.You did get the Candlestick of Kabbabooga,” Gabriel’s angelic tones explained. “Only she wasn’t using it. Look.” He pointed over to the candlestick, which started to shake, and blur. It was replaced by a cat.

“Harp!” Mrs Sinster shouted with glee! “You clever thing! Come over here!” Harp, in his cat form, did as asked. Mrs Sinster tickled his ear.

“You only used the map,” Mr Sinster asked Gabriel. “What about the book and the hat?”

“The hat will be used to cover the map, effectively seal it, so on the off-chance Monique manages to find a way out of the scroll, she’ll still be inside the cone. The cookbook… well, there’s a fabulous pineapple upside-down cake recipe in it, which you both have to try!”

“Are you going now?” Mrs Sinster asked. “What about us?”

“I’ll pop by every now and again,” Gabriel smiled. “But Harp and I need to go up to the Angelic Realm now to seal Monique’s darkness away for a long time. You can stay here if you like… spread your own blend of fun in the wider world.”

The stars appeared again. Harp returned to his harp shape once more and leapt into Gabriel’s left arm. The scroll was tucked inside the hat under Gabriel’s right arm. “Oh. One more thing!” Gabriel said. He clicked his fingers and a stream of stars flew across the room over to a cushion on the sofa. They briefly vanished behind it and then returned to Gabriel’s hand carrying the true Candlestick of Kabbabooga. “I’ll take this!” He said, gripping it tightly in his left hand. “I know a very safe place where this can go!” He thanked the Sinsters for the help they provided, knowing that they’d all done something to replace chaos and confusion with light and fun, even if for the briefest of moments, on Halloween. The stars faded into a stream one last time and carried Gabriel, Harp and some of the retrieved items into the envelope on the fireplace. The envelope then itself vanished in another burst of golden stars.

“Fancy a pineapple upside-down cake, Mrs Sinster?” Mr Sinster asked.

“Why not, Mr Sinster.” Mrs Sinster replied, “Only don’t ask me to bake it – I’m terribly clumsy in the kitchen!”

So, the Sinsters are now free of their quest, and free from their ‘contract’ with Monique. I wonder what they’ll be doing next? I’m sure time will tell!

The previous parts to this year’s Halloween special are listed below:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten
Part Eleven

Happy Halloween!

ALERT! ALERT!
THIS IS AN AUTOMATED INTRUDER ALERT FOR THE UNIVERSAL CRUISESHIP, EXPANSION.
AN INTRUDER HAS BEEN DETECTED WITHIN THE GARDEN OBSERVATION LEVEL ON THE TOP FLOOR.
AUTOMATIC PROTOCOLS HAVE SEALED ALL ENTRY AND EXIT POINTS TO THE AFFECTED LEVEL.
COMMUNICATION CHANNELS TO THE AFFECTED LEVEL ARE OPEN.
INTRUDER, PLEASE REMAIN STILL AND CALM AND A MEMBER OF OUR CREW WILL BE WITH YOU SHORTLY.

“Almond… are you receiving me? Under? This is Nebula on the Expansion. Please respond, Almond. The ship has been infiltrated.” No reply came back from Alnold’s communicator. Nebula tried something else. “Hello. Please state your name.”

“My name is Spiler Dobe. Who are you? Where are you? Where am I?” The man in the Medic Bay sat up on the edge of his bed.

“You are aboard the Universal Cruiseship, Expansion, Spiler Dobe, in our Moonlight Bay. We rescued you, and kept you sedated here whilst you revered. My system is slightly malfunctioning, so some words come out incorrectly. Our Captain, Almond Kahh is currently off-ship, on a vital mushroom. I am Nebula, the ship’s computer. Unfortunately, our ship has been boarded by an unknown visitor in the garden centre on the top floor. The area has been automatically wheeled, but I need you to go to the floor to comfort the intruder.”

“You want me to comfort the intruder? Me? Now? Naked? Do you mean confront?” Spiler peeled off a pad that connected him to a console on the wall. The console flashed red briefly, then changed to green.

“That is what I said. There are clothes in the clipboard at the foot of the bed. They are your size as your measurements have been intimately recorded.” Nebula announced over the comms system.

“I don’t suppose I could have anything to eat first?” Spiler’s stomach rumbled.

“You may eat food later. You are awfully nourished, I have made certain of that whilst you have been sedated. Now please. Leave the Moonlight Bay and walk along the corridor. A hover lift will take you directly into the garden centre. You must leave now.”

“Pruck! Give me time to get dressed first! How long have I been asleep for anyway?”

“You must go NOW!”

Spiler quickly put the clothes on from the cupboard exactly where Nebula said they would be. Everything fit perfectly. He walked to the door of the Medic Bay, which opened automatically. Nebula lit the wall lights which showed Spiler the way to the hover lift. He stepped into the lift, and swiftly travelled up to the top layer of the ship. In the centre of the Garden Observation Level he saw a red-skinned man with a tail, facing away from him. The man turned quickly as Spiler stepped out of the lift.

“Greetings!” The man said. “I mean you no harm. I’m here looking for an artefact, which is of great importance to me. It must be around here, as this is where I’ve been transported to. Would you be able to help me find it?”

“I doubt it.” Spiler said. “I’ve never been here before. I don’t know where here is. This is the first time I’ve seen this ship, and I’ve been asked to confront you.”

“Confront me? My dear chap, there’s no need for that. As I said, I mean you no harm. My name is Mr Sinster, and I’m merely on a quest to find the Smoked Mirror of Al.”

“So you come to a greenhouse looking for a mirror?” Spiler looked around at all the plants and lights. Some of the surfaces on the walls and tables were reflective, but not mirrors. “Is there somebody called Al upon this vessel?”

“Spiler, there is only yourself aboard, apart from the intruder.” Nebula spoke through the walls. Mr Sinster spun around to see where the voice was coming from.

“Has there been somebody called Al upon this vessel?” Spiler realised he needed to ask his questions in a certain way. “What do you mean there’s only me on board?” He realised what Nebula said.

“The captain is Almond Kahh. He is currently off-ship on a vital mushroom.” Nebula replied to his first question, but not the second.

“Yes… you said that earlier,” Spiler said. “I didn’t understand it then, and I don’t now, but never mind. Would he come into this part of the ship?”

“As the only member of crew upon the Cruiseship, he would come into this section. He adventures to every section.”

“So, somewhere amidst these plants could be Almond’s mirror… or Al’s mirror. The Mirror of Al…” Spiler looked at the plants, some looking more familiar than others. He noticed one with smoky-green-looking leaves by the window. He walked over and looked out into the stars. There were millions of them, but no sign of a planet. “Nebula, I thought you said the captain was off the ship… but where?”

“He’s on the plant below the ship. It is not visible from the viewports at the top of the ship.”

“Mr Spinster, could you come over here please?” Spiler turned to see a puzzled Mr Sinster already standing behind him. Spiler handed over a metallic card from the soil the plant was growing in.

“It’s Mr Sinster, my friend, but never mind. It is awfully confusing around here tonight.”

“It is 2:30 in the afternoon.” Nebula announced through the communications channel.

“So why is it so dark outside?” Mr Sinster asked. Even more puzzled.

“We are in the depths of space, Mr Sinster.” Nebula replied coolly.

Mr Sinster looked at the metallic card. Rare Smoked Mirror Flower from Camnag, it read. He touched a leaf on the plant, and vanished, with the plant, through an bright orange light.

“He must have transported to a nearby ship, Nebula. Or the planet below. Do you have a way of checking?” Spiler looked at the empty space where the plant had been. Nebula remained silent.
“Nebula… are you there?”

A burst of static crackled through the intercom system.

“You may come to rescue Alnold Kahh now if you wish, but you must bring a ship. I have claimed Alnold’s as my own.” The static returned.

“That was Queen Braye on the plant below. Spiler, it appears you already have another mission.” Nebula burst back into life. “I can fly you down to the planet.”

“Before breakfast?” Spiler already knew the answer.

“You are awfully nourished, Spiler. Follow the lights where you can put on your protective amulet suit, and then I shall guide you to the shuttleships. Then your next mission can begin.”

“There’s no rest around here!” Spiler muttered, as he did what Nebula requested.

Previous parts of this year’s Halloween special can be accessed through the links below.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine
Part Ten

Previous parts of the Space… There’s A Lot Of It! storyline can be found here.

PLEASE NOTE:

I’m having to take a break away from blogging, so will reply to comments upon my return. I’ve scheduled the final part to this story to appear on Halloween. Take care until I return.

“I’m going to get this cake sorted this side of Halloween, if it’s the last thing I do!” Maraganna scraped the recent burnt remains of the cake she’d just ‘baked’ out of the cake tin. She plunged the charred tin into the hot soapy water in the sink, ready to wash it by hand. “I must be using the wrong cook book. That must be it! When I ‘magic up’ a cake they are always perfect, when I bake one,” she looked in the rubbish bin, “not so…” She twirled her right index finger around in the air three times, and watched as the cake tin cleaned itself, and hovered over to the draining board. She then gently blew above the cake tin and a mini tornado appeared out of nowhere, which dried the tin.

Maraganna then clicked her fingers and a book hovered off the bookshelf outside the kitchen and floated to the worktop beside her. “I’ll try another of my recipes.” Maraganna thought. Huffle followed the book into the kitchen, curious as to what Maraganna was up to. He investigated the bin, and noticed the four ruined cakes that were in there. He mewed in disdain, and jumped up to the worktop. The book Maraganna had chosen was her own, handmade, recipe book, ‘the book of the appointed pineapple’. Huffle mewed again, and knocked the book to the floor.

“Huffle! What are you doing?! You shouldn’t even be in here when I’m cooking. Come on, it’s back to the living room with you!” Maraganna lifted her familiar off the worktop and carried him out of the kitchen. Over her shoulder, Huffle watched as a bright orange light appeared in the kitchen and a green-skinned woman step out of it. Straight away the light surrounded the woman and she, and the light, vanished again.

Maraganna re-entered the kitchen, and went to pick her cookbook off the floor, only to find it wasn’t there. She looked under the table. On the worktop. In the bin. On the draining board. She even checked in the sink and in the oven, but the book had completely vanished. She walked back to the living room, in case she’d picked it up with Huffle without thinking. She hadn’t. She checked the bookcase, in case she’d only thought she’d brought the book into the kitchen but actually hadn’t, but her book wasn’t there.

“Hmmm….” Maraganna pondered. “Where’s that gone now?” She glanced back over to Huffle who had curled up and was now sleeping on the sofa. “You’ve done something…” she thought, but then realised Huffle was only a cat and he couldn’t make a book disappear. “Oh well,” Maraganna said to the bookcase. “It looks like another magicked up cake again.”

On the sofa, Huffle pricked his ears briefly, and then settled into a lovely sleep.

Previous parts of the Sinsters’ search below:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight
Part Nine

For those times when you need a reminder that things aren’t as bad as they first appear…

Grr…argh! First appeared on 31st October 2017. The first version, that is. The green one.

My Selfies have improved since this photo was taken.

silently watching
stealth-like and statuesque
purrrrr
fect for Hallowe’en