Beyond the Sphere

The grandfather clock ticked twice as usual, before tocking. Both Shawns, the cats, were fixated on something on the wall beside the clock. They watched intently, well… nothing. Reg watched them as he ate a ham sandwich. The familiar sound of ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ alerted him of an incoming call on his mobile. He looked at the display, and it was his old friend Monique DuPont. He answered the call, and Monique filtered her way through the airwaves to arrive in his living room.

“Monique!” Reg said, startled. “Come in, why don’t you! You know you don’t need an invite!” The cats paid no attention, and continued looking at the wall.

“Is this still Bridge Lane?” Monique asked, quite flustered.

“Erm, yes it is. Why do you ask? You’ve been here hundreds of times.” Reg offered Monique a sandwich.

“Good.” Monique appeared to ignore Reg’s question, but took the sandwich. Once she’d finished eating she began her tale. “The other day, I was performing a spell when a bright orange portal opened up – in my own living room, I must stress – and a red-skinned demon appeared to me. He wanted my Candlestick of Kabbabooga.”

“Not the Candlestick of Kabbabooga!” Reg took another bite of his sandwich.

“The very one.” Monique went on. “Well, I gave him my Candlestick of Kippikakka instead, and he was swallowed up again by the orange light.”

“So you tricked him? You gave him the wrong item?”

“Well, I did, but I didn’t. I’d actually given him the Candlestick of Kabbabooga mistakenly for my Candlestick of Kippikakka. In the wrong hands, the Candlestick of Kabbabooga can cause terrible things to happen. It’s actually the same with the Candlestick of Kippikakka, only not as bad. I then thought I’d protect the Candlestick of Kabbabooga by sending it here under the Walled Protection spell, only it was the Candlestick of Kippikakka I’d sent and not the Candlestick of Kabbabooga. It was only this morning I realised what I’d done, and I need to get the Candlestick of Kippikakka back. It can only be outside of its protective sphere for three days, which is today. So, have you seen it?”

“Have I seen the Candlestick of Kippikakka? Under the Walled Protection spell?” Reg was puzzled. “Doesn’t the Walled Protection spell cause the object it’s protecting to be invisible? If it’s invisible, how could I have seen it?” He thought for a second. “And what happens when the Candlestick of Kippikakka has been outside of it’s sphere for too long?”

“Ooh, you don’t want to know.” Monique said, in a deep voice.

“Ooh, but I do!” Reg replied, in an even deeper voice.

“It will merge time. Everything will become now. The past, the present, the future will all be squished into one moment… us with it.”

“You’re right.” Reg said. “I didn’t want to know that. Isn’t it the same with the Candlestick of Kabbabooga?”

“Well, the Candlestick of Kabbabooga affects reality and time – but as long as one of the candlesticks is within the protective sphere it cancels the effects of the missing candlestick. Unless the wrong hands get it, and they know how to tap into the power.”

“So what made you give either of the candlesticks away in the first place?” Reg was bothered.

“That was why I was casting my spell. To further protect both candlesticks, but something happened. I felt myself split in two, literally. My dark side just vanished in a moment. I was flustered. The red man appeared and I just gave him what he wanted. And he was a demon. Have I said that?” Reg nodded.

“Your dark side? You have a dark side?” Reg couldn’t see anything dark about his friend.

“Oh yes. I keep her well hidden, my dark side. I usually utilise her when I need to do administrative duties. I call her Monique D’Arkness. And the demon totally zapped my concentration.”

“So your missing dark side knows how to use your missing candlestick?” Reg was becoming more concerned. “Could she have sent the demon?”

“Oh yes. More than likely. She also knows how to use my magicks, so you could say her hands are very wrong. Hence I need the Candlestick of Kippikakka to hopefully stop some of the damage.” Monique looked at both Shawns. “What are they looking at?”

“They go off into their own worlds at times, Monique.” Reg finished another sandwich. “Can’t you just bring down the Walled Protection spell?”

“I did, but the cancellation spell was blocked by another wall.”

“The cats!” Reg said. “They’ve been watching the wall by the grandfather clock for a couple of days. I bet that’s where the Candlestick of Kippikakka is.”

“Sorry, Reg!” Monique sent forth a burst of magical energies which tore open the wall. Both Shawns fled behind Reg’s sofa. The Candlestick of Kippikakka shone brightly through the hole in the wall. Reg walked over to it, and handed it to Monique. “Well, you certainly brought that wall down with ease!” He sighed.

“At least I have the Candlestick of Kippikakka back now. I’ll get it to my place and within its protective sphere straight away. Hopefully, its cancellation effect will reach beyond the sphere and stop my dark side from doing whatever she wants with the Candlestick of Kabbabooga.”

“If she’s got it, that is.” Reg held up his mobile and dialled Monique’s landline telephone number.

Monique started to dissolve into the airwaves again as she said “Oh, she’ll have something to do with it, I’m sure. I hope I’ve left my answering machine on!”

Reg sighed and tucked into another sandwich. Both Shawns emerged from behind the sofa and stared at where Monique had been sitting.

It’s been over eight years (give or take) since Reg the Vampire last appeared on this blog. The Sinsters certainly like to travel through time!

Previous parts of the Sinsters’ mission are here:

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

Queenie sat in her seat mortified. The stench of the zombies groaning around her was unbearable. She had a small bottle of perfume in her bag, which she sprayed onto a tissue and held it beneath her nose, which gave her a little break. The zombie sitting on the seat in front of her turned his head right the way round to face her.

“You’re new!” he said, with a toothless smile.

“I’ve just got on.” Queenie replied, looking at the man’s neck. “Does that hurt?”

“Everything hurts.” The zombie replied. “You get used to it.”

Bess skipped along the aisle of the bus, and sat herself down besides Queenie. With her hand, she slapped the man in front’s head back around to face the front.

“Bess!” Queenie scolded. “That was not very nice at all!”

Bess looked upset for a split second, and then giggled. “You need to ignore Clive.” she said.

“Clive?” Queenie asked, not associating the name with the zombie in front.

“He thinks you’re food for thought.” Bess teased. She pointed to another zombie on the other side of the aisle. “See her?” Queenie looked over to where her old friend pointed. “That’s Claudette. Like you, she got on the wrong bus without checking. She’s been stuck here ever since. She wasn’t in that state when she got on. She was like you, sort of.”

“What do you mean, ‘like me’?” Queenie watched Bess use her other hand to fold back down her pointed finger. Bess noticed her watching and giggled again.

“Human.” Bess looked Queenie square in her eyes. “Clive helped her to become the thing she is now. See you later!” Bess skipped to the back of the bus and disappeared up the stairs.

Queenie walked to the back of the bus and looked out of the opening. The thick green fog was licking at the entrance, disappearing as it rolled inside. Outside she could see nothing through the fog, but she felt the bus travelling at speed. She pressed the button on one of the bars at the back of the bus in the hope this would make the driver stop. She looked into the driver’s compartment at the front, hoping to grab his or her attention, and noticed nobody there. The bus was driverless.

“Somebody must’ve stopped it for me to get on…” Queenie thought, reluctantly turning herself around to go back to her seat. It was now occupied by two passengers. She stormed along the aisle and stood next to the seat. “Excuse me! I was sitting here just a moment ago. Where did you come from anyway?”

“We’ve just got here” The red-skinned man said.

“We’re looking for something. I think we’ve taken the wrong turn.” The green-skinned woman said.

“Well, you can’t sit there.” Queenie demanded. “This is the Eternal Circular, the number 42, and there’s no getting off now. There isn’t a driver to even stop it. I refuse to sit next to one of these other people on the bus. Sorry, you’ll have to move.”

Mr Sinster smiled and got to his feet. “I’m sorry. Here, please sit down. We won’t be here very long.”

Mrs Sinster also stood and moved into the aisle. “We very often appear in the wrong place. We’re being sent here, there and everywhere after we touched the map at the same time.”

“Sent. Map?” Queenie sat herself down without thanking them for moving. “I’ve no idea what you’re talking about.”

Clive spun his head around once again. “Talking to yourself?”

Queenie looked at Clive. “No, I’m speaking to this…” the aisle was empty where the couple had once stood. She looked at all of the seats and they hadn’t sat down.

Bess skipped back along the aisle and sat next to Queenie once more, knocking Clive’s head around as she did. Giggling, she looked at her old friend. “You look puzzled. You’ll get used to it.”

Queenie looked at Bess. “Do you know everyone on this bus?” She asked, and Bess nodded. “Who are the monsters? The ones with the red and green skin?”

“No idea. They aren’t on here. Only us zombies… and you!” Bess giggled once more.

Clive spun his head around again. “She was you know. Talking to herself.”

Bess flicked Clive’s head around.

“Why do you keep doing that?” Queenie asked, feeling concern for Clive.

“He can’t do it himself!” Bess giggled and skipped back to the upper deck.

Clive spun his head around yet again, and rolled his eyes at Queenie. One of them stuck but the other returned to its normal position. “She is helpful, but she insists on flitting about. Oh, to be young, eh?”

Queenie slumped into her seat. She felt an urge to turn Clive’s head around again as the way he was looking at her made her feel very uneasy. She gave into her urge and gently turned him to face the front, his neck slotting into place when she’d finished. That made her feel all the more uneasy. “You’ll have to sort your own eye out!” She reached into her bag, and used her last remaining wet wipe to clean her hands. A flash of light appeared in the aisle next to her and the red and green man and woman materialised out of it.

“We’re back!” The man said. “I’m Mr Sinster. This is Mrs Sinster!” He said cheerily.

“Queenie.” Queenie said. “Mrs Linkletlatter.”

“Mrs Linkletlatter?” Mrs Sinster asked. “No, you misheard. I’m Mrs Sinster, dear.”

“No, I’m Mrs Linkletlatter, Mrs Sinster, Mrs Queenie Linkletlatter.”

There was another flash of light, and the couple vanished before Queenie’s eyes. “I’m going mad.” She said. “It’s happened. They’ve done it. Finally gone.”

Bess skipped passed her and sat next to another zombie at the front of the bus, giggling as she did so.

Queenie breathed in through her tissue again, and looked out through her reflection in the window to the darkness outside. The view was always the same, never changing. She noticed the light flash again, and saw the Sinsters’ reflections appear and disappear. She closed her eyes. When she opened them, Bess was sitting next to her. Queenie jumped.

“Think, Queenie. Think. You must. You have a chance to get off. I know you’re not happy here. Nobody gets off here, but you have a chance. Think. Check what’s going on!” Bess giggled and skipped back upstairs.

Queenie pondered.

The light flashed.

The Sinsters reappeared.

Queenie grabbed hold of Mrs Sinster’s arm, and all three vanished into the orange light. When Queenie’s vision came back to her, she was no longer on the bus. She was sat in a sofa in a living room, still holding onto Mrs Sinster. “Oh, I’m sorry.” She said, releasing her tight grip.

“No problem dear.” Mrs Sinster smiled, smoothing her sleeve.

“Now why would you do that?” Mr Sinster asked. “Nobody has ever left the Eternal Circular before.”

“You’ve heard of it?” Queenie asked. “So it’s real?”

“Oh, very real.” Mr Sinster smiled as he helped Queenie to her feet. “It passes through work sometimes.”

Queenie batted his hand away with urgency. “Not being rude,” she said, “but I don’t want to be taken back there. I’m going to get myself home now and get out of these awfully smelly clothes.”

“There’s a bus stop just over the road which goes into town.” Mrs Sinster suggested helpfully.

“Thank you, but no. I’m walking. I’m never taking a bus again.” Queenie hurried her way across the open room and out through the door without looking back. Outside, she realised she had no idea where she was. “I’ll work it out.” she said, as she walked down the garden path.

The bus stopped over the road as Mrs Sinster said it would. Queenie noticed it was slightly off the ground, hovering. She looked through the window and saw Bess smiling and waving toward her as the bus vanished into a murky green fog.

“Bye Bess!” Queenie waved, and began her long walk home.

So, at long last a happy ending for Queenie… and the Sinsters’ quest continues.

Queenie first appeared in The Eternal Circular, which returned here.

Previous parts of the Sinsters’ quest:

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

And the next part will be along shortly!

Artificial smoke filled the room spreading the different colours of the lights around, casting shadows from all of the different types of people who were gathered there. Most were dancing in a group in the centre of the room, but some were stood or seated around the edge. The DJ spoke over the loud music, “Keep on getting down, here in the Underground!” The music ramped up a notch, and the DJ played the sound of cheering over the top, in an attempt to get more people dancing. Some leapt up to the dancefloor as the music started. “Mid certainly isn’t dim backwards!” The DJ whooped over the music.

Adam Rawlinson and Alex Long decided not to dance, however, and just watched the other patrons wave their arms and other body parts around on the dancefloor. An orange light appeared just above Adam, but they both thought nothing of it until a green-skinned gothic-looking figure fell on top of Adam, pinning him on his back to the wet and sticky floor.

“Nice one, Adam! You’ve still not managed that Dirty Dancin’ lift yet, I see!” A young man scoffed as he walked passed.

“Whatever, Logan!” Alex said, stepping between Logan Ashstead, who used to be the school bully several years ago, and Adam. Alex helped the green-skinned woman up, and then Adam.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, dear!” Mrs Sinster said, looking at Adam’s shirt and trousers. “Your clothes are totally ruined.”

“Where did you come from?” Adam asked as he bent to pick up his empty glass from the floor. “You seemed to come out of nowhere. Love your costume by the way!”

“Thank you, dear, but these are my normal clothes.” Mrs Sinster looked around the smoky room.

“Well, nice make-up then!” Adam continued. He placed the glass on the table and sat on the curved sofa. Alex pointed to the bar and walked away in that direction.

“Make-up? Oh. Thank you, dear!” Mrs Sinster said. She looked around the room again.

“Please, sit down. That fall must’ve hurt you. Would you like a drink or anything?” Adam pointed to the other side of the sofa. Mrs Sinster sat back, but continued to look around the room. “Did someone push you onto me?” Adam asked. “Was it that Logan? That is something he used to do back in school. He used to do it all the time to one of the teachers. I always felt sorry for her… Mrs Handler she was called.”

“Oh, no dear. I wasn’t pushed.” Mrs Sinster still looked around the room as she spoke. “Where am I?”

Alex returned with three full glasses. “Have some water!” he said, handing the glass to Mrs Sinster. “Thank you, dear.” she said, taking a sip. Alex sat down beside Adam, and touched his left upper arm. The fibres in Adam’s shirt and trousers shimmered slightly, and the fabric cleaned itself. Alex glanced around the room as he used his power to ensure nobody was looking, not that many would see through the smoky atmosphere. He glanced over to Mrs Sinster, who’d watched everything.

“Oh dear!” Mrs Sinster said, as she watched Alex’s mouth gape open. “I… er…” was all Alex could say.

“Never mind, dear!” Mrs Sinster smiled.

“One of the perks of having a superhero boyfriend!” Adam said proudly.

“Adam!” Alex spurted. “What are you saying? Why…?”

“I d-don’t know, Alex. I couldn’t stop myself.” Adam looked at Mrs Sinster. “Please…”

Mrs Sinster put her hand on Adam’s right lower arm. “Shush, dear. You have nothing to worry about with me. It’s nice to find love wherever you can find it!”

“I think it’s the superhero thing that’s more concerning!” Adam said.

“Adam!” Alex protested again.

“So, you’re Adam?” Mrs Sinster asked, looking at Adam’s confused expression. “And you are?” She looked at Alex.

“Alexander Long, but I also go by the name Lycralad.” Alex covered his mouth with his left hand.

Adam started to smirk. And then laugh. “What’s going on? Sorry Alex… your expression is priceless!”

“I think it’s me dears. It’s all my doing. Let me explain.” The two boys leant in to listen to their new friend. “I’m Mrs Sinster. I’m a Kalmalag Demon, and when we are feeling stressed those closest to us start to reveal their innermost secrets. I can’t judge anyone, although some of the secrets I’ve been told really do need judging, believe you me.” Her gentle expression quickly changed to one of concern, but then reverted back to its gentle state. “You’ll feel much better about yourselves now.” She smiled. “I arrived here through a portal… why it dropped me off in the middle of the air is anyone’s guess, and I am really sorry for landing on you, Adam. At least you broke my fall and I didn’t break any of your bones.” She smiled. “I’m searching for something called the Goblet of the Fallen Whispers. This place seems an unlikely place to find such a thing. Confusion follows me around, only this time I’m confused. I’m enjoying the music and the lights though!”

“They’ve only just reopened this place,” Alex explained. “We’re in a basement really, but they knocked out the floor above to make the room larger and more airy for the nightclub.”

“Ah… so the portal thought it was dropping me off on the floor above. That explains that, dear!” Mrs Sinster was still puzzled. “The portal sends me to the item though, so it must have been on that floor. Tell me, what was there before?”

“It was just an ordinary bar, Mrs Sinster.” Adam took over with the explanation. “It used to be called the Goblet, though!” Realisation struck all three.

“Well, I can’t take the whole bar back with me!” Mrs Sinster giggled. “And if that was the case, as soon as I touched the place I’d have been pulled back through the portal, that’s how it works, so it must be something else.” She looked around the room again, hoping something would stand out. “It must be here somewhere.”

She placed her glass onto the table, but accidentally knocked the glass Adam had picked up when she first arrived. Instinctively, she grabbed the glass and became engulfed in a bright orange light. In a split second, she and the glass were gone.

Adam and Alex sat open-mouthed.

“Your glass was the Goblet of the Fallen Whispers?” Alex said in disbelief.

“Well, I was the first one to let your secret slip.” Adam replied. “Could a revealed secret be classed as a fallen whisper?”

“Perhaps in demonic circles, I suppose.” Alex took another sip from his glass.

Logan Ashstead walked passed the table again. “Did your girlfriend dump you then, Rawlinson? Your dance moves didn’t impress her then?” He laughed and then merged with the shadowy figures on the dancefloor. Adam and Alex smiled at each other, and then continued to watch the dancing.

“Don’t hold back!” Yelled the DJ. “Have the time of your life!”.

Note: Today is National Coming Out Day, so I’ve decided to post this today rather than later in the week as originally planned.

Previous parts are listed below:

Part One here.
Part Two here.
Part Three here.
Part Four here.

Part Five here.
Part Six here.

More Sinster fun to come later in the week!

The bright orange light caused King Rabletop III to run into the Great Hall. Queen Ellimayee swiftly followed. In the centre of the room stood a strangely-dressed woman, with green skin.

“Who are you?” Demanded Rabletop, with as much force as he could muster.

Mrs Sinster spun around quickly, causing her to feel dizzy. She wobbled on her feet, and Ellimayee dashed over to stop her falling. “Husband, quickly! Fetch some water! Here, take a seat.” Ellimayee helped Mrs Sinster to sit down, where she immediately felt better.

“Thank you dear. I’m not used to this portal travelling, although you think I would be from where I’m from.”

“And where is that, visitor?” Rabletop returned and thrust a goblet of water into Mrs Sinster’s hand. “Husband! Please! Cannot you see this woman is unwell? Look at her colour.”

“No, dear, I’m fine.” Mrs Sinster said, after taking a sip of water. “I’m usually always this colour! I’m a demon you see.”

“Husband! What have you done this time?”

“This has nothing to do with me, Wife. I can’t simply conjure people up from thin air you know. Nor demons.” Rabletop left the room in a huff.

“I’m Mrs Sinster, dear,” Mrs Sinster explained as Ellimayee sat beside her. “I’m looking for a key, the Key of Kamra. I’ve been sent here as here is where the key is. According to the map.”

“I’ve never heard of such a key. The key of what? Kam Ra?”

“That’s right, dear. It is here, you mark my words.” Mrs Sinster smiled. She placed the goblet on the side of her seat, but too close to the edge and it fell to the floor. “Oh bother! Sorry, dear!”

“Do not worry, it’s only water and it cannot damage marble. The Key of Kam Ra sounds like it has something to do with our God of the Sun.” Ellimayee bowed. Mrs Sinster followed. “But the Kam part seems misleading. Km refers to the colour black, so you appear to be searching for a key to the black sun.

Rabletop returned to the Great Hall with a scroll. He pulled up a heavy marble cube in front of Mrs Sinster and unfurled the scroll atop the cube. “I was listening outside the chamber.” Rabletop began to explain.

“What he means is ‘eavesdropping'” Ellimayee interrupted. Mrs Sinster smiled timidly.

“Anyway,” Rabletop ignored his wife, “I think this is what you seek.” He pointed to the centre of a roughly-drawn sky map. “This is my map of the Consternations. This part,” he tapped the centre of the drawing, “where there is nothing, is actually something. In the centre is a big black star, and this nothing keeps everything in place… until it sucks everything in.”

“So it’s a black hole?” Mrs Sinster said, trying to be helpful.

“No. It is a black star. Like our Sun,” Rabletop and Ellimayee bowed, “only black.”

“And it’s in the centre of the galaxy?” Mrs Sinster asked.

“No. It is in the centre of the Consternation.” Rabletop started to look frustrated. “Must you always question my words?”

“Ignore him, Mrs Sinster. He thinks he is always right. Your description of nothing sounds much better than a black star of all things. Here, take the drawing, if it is what you seek!”

As soon as Mrs Sinster touched the map, she was surrounded by a bright orange light and vanished, along with the sky map. She managed to fit in a quick “Th” before vanishing from view.

“Well, that’s gratitude for you!” Rabletop complained. “And that was my only map of the Consternations. I will have to create another now.”

“Constellations, husband. And she must have really needed that map for something…”

And that’s another part completed and another artefact found. The tale will be over long before Hallowe’en at this rate! Links below are to all of the parts so far!

Part One here.
Part Two here.
Part Three here.
Part Four here.
Part Five here.

One two three
The ravens gather
Four five six
Do numbers matter?
Seven eight
Circling high
Nine ten
I wonder why…

Originally posted on 26th October 2019