Tag: Short Story

Another Sunrise

The child cuddled the fox until the Sun rose.

The fox’s paw was now healed, after the child had released it from a trap in a nearby field, and bathed it in a magical light, the colour of the Moon, from her own hands.

When the Sun was fully in the sky, the child released the fox, who playfully licked the child’s cheek before bouncing off through the flowers in the clearing.

The fox looked back just in time to see the child rise into the sky, her wings now outstretched.

Archangel Ariel smiled as the fox rejoined her cubs.

***

The Bag Lady (Cheryl) recently asked me to write something based on the above picture, so this is my response, in a hundred words.

Signals From Outer Space

“What do you mean they’ve heard us?!” Bellowed plutoCen Kr’Dorir as he shattered his lectern with another of his trademark single punches. Shards of the reinforced and unbreakable plastic/metal compound material shot in all directions around the Council Chambers, causing several of the delegates to dive for cover, and embedding themselves into the reinforced clothing worn by others, in readiness for such a situation. plutoCen Kr’Dorir was positively fizzing – and not in a good way.

Unfortunately, the new Ambassador of Makemake wasn’t properly attired, and a lengthy shard punctured the sleeve on her expensive and delicate tunic.

plutoCen Kr’Dorir simply glared and looked toward his media spokesman. “Sort that” he bellowed, thumbing in the ambassador’s direction, “and then come with me to the War Rooms so we can discuss this matter in private.”

“Me, plutoCen?” Rep Alno Stonerav’n stuttered, as he pulled second-in-command El-Smala to her feet.

“YOU???” the plutoCen was now very red in the face. “Of course not. I was referring to plutoTwo El-Smala. Why on Pluto would I want a media spokesman in a private meeting? You will get the twisted facts when we are ready, and not before.” He then promptly walked out of the chamber and through an old wooden door which led into the really old part of the Chambers.

El-Smala gushingly apologised to the ambassador, and left her in Rep Alno’s hands and promptly followed the plutoCen. Rep Alno looked at the ambassador with a gentle smile. “You know he’s a tad hot-tempered, don’t you?” He asked. The ambassador rolled her eyes and poked a finger through the hole in the sleeve with a sigh.

Through the heavy wooden door, the plutoCen’s voice could still be clearly heard, as though he was still in the room. The remaining delegates in the Chamber gathered quietly round the door, including Makemake’s ambassador.

“What do you mean they’ve spotted our drones? What are drones” followed by mumbled muffling.

“At their airports in their United Kingdom? Our surveillance spheres have been noticed?” More muffled words. “Grounded? Hahaha! That will teach them for interfering. Did they get our sphere?” Even more muffling. “Good! Try another of their countries, just to see how sophisticated the are.”

Another round of muffled words was followed by a very strong string of plutonian expletives, some which hadn’t been heard for several decades. The ambassador almost collapsed in shock, but Rep Alno still had hold of her. She gazed lovingly into his eyes, but the plutoCen’s voice carried once again through the wood and any thoughts of flirting quickly faded away.

“Keep up the interference with their voting options. Their Eurovision Song Contest is coming up, so we can influence their choices if we continue bombarding them with the radio signals.” Muffling. “WHAT??? THEY’VE DISCOVERED THEM TOO??? They think they’re from where?” Muffling. “Distant galaxies? GOOD. They won’t trace it to us then. Keep on.” More muffling. “ALIENS??? They think they could be coming from aliens??? How very dare they! We are not aliens.” More muffling. “Ah. Aliens from other galaxies. I see. Keep them thinking about that country they blame everything on. Keep them focussing on the negatives. Keep confusing them with this Brexit they continually go on and on and on about. Actually, send a sphere over one of their capital cities so that they see it. That will really churn up the thoughts.”

Suddenly, the Makemake ambassador sneezed very loudly, and as the gathered crowd glared at her, some gesturing her to be quiet, the wooden door flung open and the plutoCen stood looking at them all, his face as livid as usual. With nowhere for them to run to quickly, and knowing they had all be caught eavesdropping first hand, they each in turn sheepishly grimaced.

A voice bellowed out from the ambassador’s stomach.

“Ambassador Wamlam, please respond urgently. We have had a malfunction, and half of the plutoCen’s conversation has been broadcast all over the Solar System. Our agents around Earth have picked up the signal, but we don’t think the Earthlings have – or if they have they haven’t got them clearly. We can’t get too close as they are sending up their weather generator clouds again. Please respond as this is a matter of utmost urgency which necessitated breaking radio silence.”

“WHAT???!!!” the plutoCen’s scream went off the scale. He punched through the wooden door, sending shards of it across the chambers, and the gathered delegates once again diving for cover. Rep Alno hastily dragged the ambassador away and was ushering her to the exit, as she tried to pick wooden splinters out of her other sleeve. “This way, ambassador. I’ll get us away. I didn’t like this job anyway… my boss thought the stories I sent back were always ridiculous, biased and inaccurate. I mean to say, you heard it all here first and it still sounds unbelievable!”

Continuing the intermittent Pluto Rising story. You never know, there may even be a part four sometime in the future!

PART ONE

PART TWO

Mission to Middlehaven: 22

The group gathered in the parlour.

“Thank you for your help, and keeping the entire Universe safe.” Cheryl Olive began.

“Oh, it was nothing!” Firetop commented, not exactly sure what he had done.

Beryl looked at Lycralad, who looked away quickly and into the eyes of Adam. He then looked away quickly once again, down to the floor. Adam smiled broadly.

“OK,” Charlie wanted to know what they had just been through. “It feels calmer now, somehow, that is very clear, but will you please tell us what has just gone on?”

Merrell began. “When we captured Ganthenex, the demon of all demons,” “Yes, we get that…” Firetop was now impatient. Merrell glared at him for interrupting, and he sat back sheepishly. “We made sure he was securely incarcerated in the Realm of the Underworld.” Merrell continued, regardless. “But we hadn’t taken into account his daughters.”

“As soon as Ganthenex had been imprisoned,” Beryl took up the tale, “his daughters captured the three of us, and trapped us separately within three crystals. They then took our forms, our thoughts, our memories and our places. We were scattered across Middlehaven Isle in the daughters’ hope that we would eventually be forever buried, thus lost forever.”

“They didn’t take our minds into account,” Cheryl Olive now took over. “Using our final source of available magic, we enchanted the crystals to be guarded by whomever so found them, which they were by these three. When the time of their reveal was necessary, we made it clear that there was to be little resistance in their finding, as you have all discovered.”

“I wouldn’t exactly say ‘little resistance’” Lycralad now interrupted, “but you did make it rather easy for us.”

“Ganthenex’s daughters,” Merrell continued, “needed to destroy the crystals at midnight on the day you know as Hallowe’en, when the mystical energy levels are at their lowest. And with the crystals destroyed, the gateway to the Realm of the Underworld was opened, and Ganthenex would once again be free.”

“So Adam was a guardsman?” Lycralad asked, nodding towards Adam.

“As was Ammeloc the Elder,” Beryl gestured toward the elderly man, who smiled towards Firetop. “And the banshee” Beryl continued, looking now at Annabeth. Charlie watched as Annabeth changed her appearance, quickly to that of the banshee, before returning to her normal human appearance. She smiled as Charlie jumped slightly in his chair.

“But I found Annabeth the mermaid by chance,” Charlie asked, thinking back to the cliff top.

“You did,” Annabeth responded, “and you graciously helped me for which I am eternally grateful, but the banshee are a collective, and are from many forms. Mermaid, human, any form.”

Lycralad looked at Adam. “Shadow is a banshee?” he asked, desperately trying to keep up.

“No, my strange friend,” Adam laughed, “Shadow is merely a horse, but the Huntsman’s horse. He has the same tracking abilities as I, hence our ability to reach you tonight as swiftly as we did.”

“Ah…” Lycralad thought he understood.

“So how did Sue know to…?” Firetop suddenly remembered the mouse Sue was speaking to him through. “Sue – “

“I was wrong, Firetop. I felt so small; I thought I was ‘inside’ a mouse. It turns out it was a spider.”

“Ugh!” Cheryl Olive shuddered. “I can’t stand spiders!”

“Ah!” Firetop snapped his fingers, thinking of the scene with the spider in the garden. “But wait – the son? Me?”

“You are not the Son of Ganthenex, Firetop,” Cheryl Olive laughed, “although the son is still free somewhere. The Children of Ganthenex have strength when together, so, although still powerful, he shouldn’t be too much of a threat should he surface.”

“Once Sue connected psychically to the crystal energy through the daughters’ reflections in the crystal ball, we were able to send our locations directly to her, and command your ‘methods of transportation’ to bring you to us. The daughters thought you had selected them through their enchantment, but it was us. We apologise for the rather uncomfortable journeys you would have undertaken to help us.”

“Think nothing of it…” Lycralad commented, remembering the scripulus.

“The daughters’ intention was to destroy the crystals, but by selecting you four from the Elite Force of Britain they actually entrapped themselves.” Beryl said with a smile. “That was a little intentional on our part. We have to protect ourselves, you know! And, of course, we knew you were the perfect choices for the job.”

“So, the Universe is safe once again!” Sue declared. “On that note, I think it is time we start to bid our farewells, and make our way back to the EFB headquarters in Mid.”

“One of these days I’m going to save the Universe actually knowing what I’ve done!” Firetop said, feeling quite good that another job had been well accomplished. “Thank you for your help, Ammeloc” he said to the elderly man, shaking him vigorously by the hand. “I told you I wasn’t a demon.”

“You are still the Son of Igbon to the tribe, my friend,” Ammeloc replied, “but I shall make them understand that rather than being the swallower of light, you are in fact the giver of it!”

Invisible Charlie walked out of the parlour with Annabeth. “So, what are you going to do now, Annabeth – or…”

“Annabeth is fine,” she said, “I like it. I’m going to stay here. By the coast I will become mermaid again, and all that luring takes its toll, even if we aren’t fully aware of what we do. But, that is one aspect of the life of a mermaid. I’m still banshee as well, so going back to the lighthouse may also mean I rejoin the collective; I’d like to give being human a go!”

“Good choice!” He said, giving her a warm hug. She hugged back, starting to feel just a little more human already.

Outside, Lycralad spoke to Adam, who was patting Shadow. “Thank you for your help, Adam,” Lycralad said, “We seem to share a bond you and I.”

“It is entirely my pleasure, Alex,” Adam said, “Although you hide behind name and mask, I understand the bond of which you speak. Feel free to return here at any time, and call upon my help whenever needed.”

“And the same goes to you too, Adam.”

Adam mounted Shadow and waved with a smile as he sped off through the trees into the darkness beyond.

“Seems you’ve made a good friend there,” Sue said, placing her arm around Lycralad’s shoulders. But you’re good at that.”

“Helloooooo my sweeeetttt…” the scripulus whispered from behind Sue. Lycralad made a move to run back inside, and Sue stopped him.

“Relax!” She said, and Lycralad suddenly felt very calm. Sue then looked at the scripulus. “Thank you for your help also. I release you from my control and compel you to return to your kin. You will also be compelled to forget what has happened here… although,” she looked at Lycralad who was looking across the garden towards Igor, “I think I shall keep the channels open. If we are to be fighting demons, you may be of great help to us.”

“Offff courssseee……” the scripulus replied, “take care of my sweeeetttt…” She took to the skies, and also vanished into the night.

Lycralad and Sue walked over to Igor. Lycralad released him from the tether. “There you go, Igor. You are free once again. Return to your family, and thank you for your help.” The wyvern gently rubbed his head into Lycralad’s chest before flying away from the cottage.

“I sent him that way.” Sue said, with a smile.

“I thought mind control was bad?” Lycralad asked.

“It is,” Sue replied, “But gentle prompts don’t hurt. Besides, we can’t have your friends at each other’s throats now, can we?”

Lycralad smiled, as he and Sue joined Firetop and Invisible Charlie in the centre of the lawn.

Beryl, Merrell and Cheryl Olive, and Annabeth, stood before them.

“Thank you for all your help this evening,” Cheryl Olive said. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell then lifted their left hands, and in a flash they, Annabeth and the cottage were gone. In front of the EFB now were the helicopter and the clearing in which they had landed upon their arrival to the island. A couple of wyverns flew overhead.

“Another job well done,” Invisible Charlie said, “Let’s go home… And Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

Mission to Middlehaven: 21

As the flames struck the amulet, red, blue and gold lightning erupted from the plate. The elderly man let go of the object, and swiftly ran beside Lycralad.

Firetop continued sending his fire to the amulet, which now had began glowing white hot.

“Pleased to meet you!” Adam said, taking Sue’s hand as this was taking place. “Finally!”

“And you, Adam!” Sue replied. “Charlie, could you pass me the crystal ball?”

Invisible Charlie dashed back inside the cottage, and returned with the crystal ball as Sue requested. Sue held the crystal ball high into the air, and closed her eyes. She thought of pure energy as the ball lifted from her hand, and transported itself over to the glowing amulet. It struck the amulet in a blaze of multicoloured shards of light, and three large masses formed from the combined object. They were flung to the bottom of the garden, when three more solid looking energy masses appeared. Each of these masses went to Cheryl Olive, Merrell and Beryl, and in turn pulled them inside. They could be seen hammering on the inside of each mass, unable to break free. Suddenly, their forms altered to become green and lizard-like, with their eyes once again glowing white. They appeared to be shouting, or saying something, but the sound, like the Witches Three, were trapped inside. A second later, the masses then travelled back toward the smelted amulet, which now lay within its own burnt circle on the ground. The masses shrank in size, and travelled inside the glowing remains. In another blast of light, the amulet returned to its metal form, and upon it once again were three crystals: a red one, a blue one and a gold one.

“It is done!” Sue said.

“It is done?” Lycralad asked. “What is, Sue? Just what is going on?”

“I’m not sure it is done,” Invisible Charlie joined in, pointing to the garden. Cheryl Olive, Beryl and Merrell were making their way towards the group.

“It is good to see you once again, sister!” Cheryl Olive said, speaking directly to Sue.

“And you too, my friend!” Sue replied, warmly.

Charlie, Lycralad and Firetop were all confused. Adam couldn’t help but laugh. “You three have wonderful expressions at the moment! You will all understand in a moment!”

Annabeth walked over to Adam, who was also joined by the elderly man. Beryl and Merrell also joined them, and Cheryl Olive stood slightly in front.

“Please,” Cheryl Olive said, warmly, “come inside the cottage and we will explain everything. It is the least we can do after all your help!” She started walking toward the cottage, Lycralad and Charlie stepping aside to let her, and then the group, through. Sue nodded, encouraging them to follow.

“Igbon!” Cheryl Olive declared, walking through the doorway.

“Don’t start that again!” Firetop whispered, as he walked behind Charlie and Lycralad. Sue smiled and walked in beside him, placing her hand reassuringly on his shoulder.

Mission to Middlehaven: 20

Hooves!

Horses hooves! Lycralad was hearing hooves in the distance, not thunder, rumbling along getting louder and therefore closer.

A black horse broke through into the edge of the garden, and galloped towards the group, Causing Lycralad to run for cover around the side of the cottage once more.

The Witches Three and Firetop, still with their white glowing eyes, were slow to move, and unfortunately for them the horse ran directly through them, knocking them in four directions. Firetop fell backwards and hit his head with some force into the cottage wall, sending him into the realms of unconsciousness.

Merrell took more of the brunt from the horse than the others, and she too hit her head, on the ground this time, and was momentarily stunned. Lycralad saw that her eyes had returned to normal, as she blinked them open several times. Lycralad also noticed Adam on the horseback, this time joined by what looked to him to be a wizard.

“No!” Screamed Cheryl Olive, as she realised their link had been broken by both Firetop and Merrell losing consciousness. She ran over to Merrell and started shaking her ferociously. “Wake up!” She shouted, desperately. “WAKE UP!”

Adam and the wizard dismounted from Shadow, and the wizard ran inside the cottage. Adam walked over to Lycralad. “Good to see you are well, my new friend!” He said, shaking Lycra by the hand.

The elderly man then walked out of the cottage, with Annabeth, Charlie and Sue. Lycralad noticed that everywhere was now in darkness, the green glow had disappeared.

“I’m not even going to pretend that I know what is going on…” Lycralad said, still seeing chaos around him.

Beryl had joined Cheryl Olive, and Merrell was sat on the ground with her head in her hands.

“We still have time!” Cheryl Olive declared, as she picked up another stick to draw another circle in the ground.

“I think not!” Firetop opened his eyes and saw the elderly tribesman, who he last saw cowering at his feet, addressing the Witches Three. Once again he had the amulet, although this time he was holding it aloft with this left hand. Firetop saw that instead of the blue diamond being in the centre, the gold diamond had replaced it. On one side of it, there was now a red diamond, and the blue one was opposite it. The elderly man looked at Firetop. “Welcome back, ‘Son of Igbon’!” he said, followed by what seemed to be a mocking laugh. “Your flame!” the man directed Firetop, “Use your flame to destroy this amulet!”

“No!” Cheryl Olive screamed, and ran towards Firetop at speed, intending to knock him into the wall and out cold again. As she connected with him, a huge spider leapt from Firetop’s shoulder onto her face. Screaming, Cheryl Olive stepped backwards and tripped over the stick she had intended to use, and fell on top of Beryl.

“Firetop,” Psychic Sue said, “do as the man has asked. Use your flame to destroy the amulet.”

Reluctantly, Firetop raised his arms and sent fire toward the amulet.