The Damsel Fish by Keith Collard
On the bow, with the atmosphere of cold grey at your goose bumped back, drop the cold silver anchor-that feels like a one handed medieval melee weapon-- into the watery world. Watch it fall away, the black Atlantic creeps up the silver like it is falling into a giant dark crab's mouth, mandibles and legs grasping up it with scythe angled joints. The metallic silver anchor is almost a razor overbite now as it sinks, jagged and psycho mad. Such depths, scary depths, lonlieness, outnumberedness….but an agile, confident tropical body swims by, in the blackness, it is besmeared with warpaint, of pastel color, it has no razor teeth and doesn't need them, for it is a tropical knight of the Queen Angel or a tropical hunter for the Damsel , with sabre out of steel or shark bone, that is honed sharper than the fangs of the entire deep sea viper brood. The story, down in the depths, is waterless , as the black lake of night space above is; where the darkest void makes their tropical camo burn to a neon war-cry intensity.
The Grey Skies of Mass
" Ou est ma chatte."-Alice, Alice in Wonderland
A rectangular treasure chest, glowing and gurgling--the saltwater tank was neon and pastel compared to the rectangle beside it which was the window that contained the grey skies of mass: of bleakness during the day, and a night that penetrated through every portal of door and window of the house making it dim and penumbral. But the light of the boy's mind was still glowing with florescent energy from the tank and its dwellers.
When he climbed the rickety wood stairs of the house, and looked down the long hallway to his room, he could see the aura of his tank; and starting down that eerie hall, with pictures of ghosts and ghosts of pictures staring down at him as he walked past, he hurried to the glowing tank to escape the black and white gazing picture frames.
The faint gurgling became stronger in his ear, and that sound guided him from the last haunt of the hallway-- the empty room that was perpendicular to his. He would not look into that room anymore, and that was a recent choice. He only looked into his tank, sitting Indian style in front of this rectangular orb, sending wave after wave reflecting down his dark walls.
" Hello my fish, hello Angel, hello Tang, hello Hoomah, hello Clown and hello Damsel … and hello to you Crab even though I do not like you," he said in half jest not looking at the crab in the entrance of the rocks. The rocks were the color of cotton candy, but the interior shadows did not possess a photon of luminescence. All other shadows not caused by the rocks--but by bright swaying ornament--were like the glaze on a candy apple--dark but delicious. Besides the crab's layer in the rock jumble at the center of the tank-- a Stonehenge within a Stonehenge--the tank was a world of bright inviting light.
The crab was in its routine-- motionless in the entrance to his foyer, with his scythe-like claws in the air, in expectation of catching one of the bright fish someday. For that reason the boy tried to remove the crab in the past, but even though the boy was fast with his hand, the optical illusion of the tank would always send his hand where the crab no longer was. His father, on a weekend visit, gave the Crab to the boy to put into the tank, which Sake quickly regretted.
A scream from one of the rooms downstairs ran up the rickety wood and down the long hall and startled the boy. His mother sent her shrieks out to grab the boy, allowing her to not have to waste any time nor calorie on her son; for she would tire from the stairs, but her screams would not, allowing her to stay ensconced on the couch, or in place to entertain many new boyfriends.
" Sake you have to get a paper-route to pay for the tank, the electricity bill is outrageous," she said while not taking her eyes off the TV and her legs curled up beside her. He would glad fully get a paper-route even if it was for a made up reason. He turned to go, and looked back at his mother, and a shudder ran through him with a thought: someday her appearance will match her voice.
Upon reaching his tank, Hoomah was trying to get his attention as always. Taking up pebbles in his big pouty pursed lips and spitting them out of his lips like a weak musket. The Hoomah was a very silly fish, it looked like one of Sake's aunts, with too much make up on, slightly overweight, and hovering on two little fins that looked incapable of keeping it afloat, but they did. The fins reminded him of the legs of his aunt--skinny next to' not so skinny.'
The Tang was doing his usual aquanautics , darting and sailing was his trick. He was fast, the fastest with his bright yellow triangular sail cutting the water. Next was the Clown, the grumpball, the boy thought she was always grumpy because she didn't have an anemone to sleep with. The Clown was strong and sleek with an orange jaw and body that was tigress built.
Sake thought something tragic about the clown and her make-up,; those stripes of orange, black and white, reminded him of streaks, almost like November rain under a street light tracing lightning-like down the back window of a car--with the lamp's incandescence absorbed into the silver water, picking up droplets of more silver make-up as it arcs down the defrosting lines of the window; the Clown, those tragic traces, they reminded the boy of a memory, and not just him looking out the back window of a car during a cold rainy night, but something he could never see; almost like how a bird sees purple where man sees blue; the memory would be the beginning of how he would see things, and that memory would become invisible and unintelligible with that selfsame code at the moment of installation., A clown, and water is all that remains.
The Clown would chase around some of the other fish and jump out of the water to catch the boy's eye. A splash heard was usually her-craving attention.
Next is the Queen Angel fish, she is the queen of the tank, she sits in back all alone, waving like a marvelous banner, iridescent purple-yellow and black. Her forehead slopes back in a French braid style that streams over her back like a kings standard waving before battle, but her standard is of a house of beauty, and that of royal purple.
Lastly is the Damsel Fish, the smallest and most vulnerable in the tank. She is a royal purple also, rivaling the queen. Her eyes are lashed but not lidded like the Hoomah. Her eyes are elliptical, and perhaps the most human, or in the boy's opinion, she is the most lady like and thus being the most rare. She is occasionally chased around by the clown, so she stays to one side of the tank. Her eyes penetrate the boys, to the point of him looking away, even though she is a shy coquette.
Before the tank, in its place in the corner was a painting, an oil painting of a clown with partial make-up on his face (only around eyes nose and mouth had ghost white paint) and had two tears coming down from its right eye. The boy was extremely afraid of this painting, and once asked his mother if he could take it down, whereas she said " No." That clown would follow him into his dreams, always he would be down the hill from the tall house on the hill, trying to walk back to the house, but to walk away or run in a dream was like walking underwater or in black space, and he would make no distance as the ground opened up and the clown came out of the ground hugging him with the pryless grip of a million arms. He would then wake up amid screams and a tearful hatted clown staring somberly down at him from the wall where it was hung. But the painting is gone now, and the magnificent light display of the tank is there now.
Sake pulled out the fish food, all the fish bestirred in anticipation of being fed. The only time they would all come together; and that was to mumble the bits of falling flakes: a chomp from the Clown, a pucker from the Hoomah, the fast mumble of the Tang, and the dainty chew of the Damsel. The Queen Angelfish would stay near the bottom, and kiss a flake over and over. She would not deign herself to go into a friendly frenzy like the other fish; she stayed calm, yet alluring like a flag dancing rhythmically in the breeze, but never repeating the same move as the wind never repeats the same breeze. She is the only fish to change colors. When the grey skies of Mass emit through every portal in the house at the height of its bleakness, her colors would turn more fantastic, perhaps why she is queen.
He put his finger in the top of the watery world; the warmth was felt all the way up his arm. After feeding, his favorite thing to do was to trace his finger on the top of the warm water and have the Damsel follow it. She loved it, it was her only time to dance, for the Clown would descend down in somewhat fear ( or annoyance) of the boys finger, and the Damsel and he would dance. The boy, thought that extraordinary.
Sake bedded down that night, to his usual watery world of his room. The reflective waves running down the walls like seagulls of light, with the rhythmic gurgling sound and it's occasional splash of the Clown, or the Hoomah swooping into the pebbly bottom to scoop up some pebbles for spitting making the sound "ccchhhhh" --cachinging like a distant underwater register. The tank's nocturne sound was therapeutic to the boy.
Among waking up, and being greeted by his sparkling treasure tank--that was always of the faintest light in the morning due to the grey skies of Mass coming through every portal to lessen the tropical spectrum-- the boy would render his salutations " Good morning my Hoomah.....good morning Tang, my Damsel, and your majesty Queen Angel.....and so forth. Until the scream would come to get him, and he would walk briskly past the empty room and the looming family pictures of strangers. His mother put him to work that day, to "pay for the fish tank" but really to buy her a new cocktail dress for her nightly forays. The boy did not care, the tank was his sun, emitting through the bleak skies of Mass, and even if the tank was reduced to a haze by the overcast of his life, it only added a log to the fire that was the tropical world at night, in turn making him welcome the dismal day.
On a day, when the overcast was so thick, he felt he could not picture his rectangular orb waiting for him at night. He had trouble remembering what houses to deliver the paper. He delivered to the same house three times. Newspapers seemed to disappear in his hands, due to their color relation to the sky. Leaves were falling from the trees-butterfly like-he went to catch one, he missed--a first. For Sake could walk through dense thorned brambles and avoid every barb, as a knight in combat or someone's whose heart felt the painful sting of the barb before. He would stand under a tree in late fall, and roll around to avoid every falling leaf, and pierce them to the ground deftly with a stick fashioned as a sword. As the other boys walked by and poked fun he would stall his imagination, and look to the brown landscape of the dry fall. The crisp brown leaves of the trees were sword shapes to him. He held the battle ax shape of the oak leaf over his eye held up by the stick it was pierced through, and spied the woodline through the sinus of the oak leaf lobe. The brown white speckled scenery, all trying to hide behind eachother by blending in bleakfully; he pretended the leaf was Hector's helmet from the Illiad-donned over his eyes.
" Whatchya doing Sake?" asked a young girl named Summer. Sake only mumbled something nervously and stood there. And a pretty Summer passed on after Sake once again denied himself of her pretty company. He looked to the woodline again, a mist was now concealing the tall apical trees. It now looked like the brown woodland was not trying to retreat behind eachother in fall concealment, but trying to emerge forth out of the greyness to say "save us."
" Damgf" he uttered, and could not even grasp a word correctly. His head lifted to the sky repeatedly, there was no orb, and the shadows were looming larger than ever; fractioned shadows from tree branches were forming scythes all over the ground.
He entered the large shadow that was his front door, into the house that rose high into the sky, with the simplicity of Stonehenge. He climbed the rickety petrified stairs and went down the hall. Grey light had spotlighted every frame on the wall. He looked into the empty room, nothingness, then his room, the tank seemed at its faintest, and it was nearing twilight. He walked past the tank to look out the window; the back side of the house seemed like a tower, being on a hill it was dizzying to look down this side. He felt like the only boy in the world, he could see off distant, grey clouds were overtaking the tree tops and buildings. Out his door in the hallway were shadows painting the portraits black, and the dust that was swimming in front of the empty room- came together to resemble a flowing Sunday dress, as if it was underwater. He slammed the door, and closed his blinds, turning off the light. The waves came back, the gurgling was stronger, and then he sat Indian style in front of his tank. He was alerted to something wrong.
The Tang was there, Clown, Angel, and Hoomah but no Damsel. Looking in the usual refugiums of the Damsel, she was not there. His eyes lowered to the rock alter--pink on the top, a multitude of dark polygonal faces on its facade.. In the main shadow, there motionless, the dark crab, unblinking with both it's scythe claws upward. In its grasp the Damsel, writhing and squirming, but it was firmly grasped by the tail. His hand plunged down, and grabbed at a mirage, the crab had already retreated with the Damsel.
He wanted to plunge his fist in into the dark alter of rocks, but was afraid of the murkiness. His hand felt the coldness near those rocks, and the hair-like touch of algae growing on the inside of the rocks. " She's gone," he whispered to himself. All the fish floated in a baffled muse staring at the boy. The clown hid in the back, the boy knew the clown was the cause of this.
He felt he was sinking to the bottom of the sea. Out of his brooding darkness, gliding specters swam up to him, and stared at him as he sunk away. He felt the tremendous undertow of huge things swimming by.
The grey skies of Mass outside had made its way into his house, completely filling up his room. He felt like he reached the bottom of the cold dismal sea while the grey filled to the top of his room. The tropical tank was but a faint shining fishing lure in the monochrome of his mind, a mind that relied on the palette of a bright world to emit some light--
His mother's scream woke him from his misty malaise, he walked down the long hall, staring at the pictures this time, the black and white pictures started to disappear with the onset of the grey skies that were of the same color. The rickety stairs creaked with an all new slowness from his tread. They sounded like muffled moaning from fathoms.
" You need to give me more money for the tank, it is costing more," said his mother deceivingly. Her heart was caught by another shoe or dress, the boy knew. He assented and added , " I'll give more money, and turn off the tank." He left, his mother too bestial and short sighted to be perplexed. Two days surpassed, he did not feed the fish, nor clean the tank, and then he unplugged it, silence came over the room. He went to bed at a sunset that was not there. He held up a dried oak leaf, and placed it upside down on the glass over the grey expanse, the oak leaf looked like a Trojan helmet staring down the bleak expanse, but then Sake crumpled it, and let it fall like flakes of fish food.
He thought of the Clown fish, and he thought of the old painting. Slowly and slowly he fell into sleep, slight liquid disturbances were heard, from the fish trying to get his attention-- the pebbles chinged from the Hoomah; but they have betrayed him, letting his Damsel be snatched up, her elliptic eyes disappearing into that cave--and he had failed too. Now he had no escape from the grey skies of Mass.
More and more, the drip drop sound became louder Sake, who was in half sleep-rolling around on his bed. He pictured a crashing tear in his sleepy daze--he fell fully into sleep. Nightmares haunted him, he looked and looked for the Damsel in impenetrable grey light, until he came upon a dark portal, and he was too afraid to enter. He suddenly missed the other fish, and called out to them. I'm sorry my fish, come back. His words were gargled in the dream-state, and he could not move as he intended to.
The image of the Damsel disappearing into the rock alter, slowly as a sandbar is overtaken at high tide made him wake mid scream. The reflecting light was running down his walls again, the sound of the tank echoed off his walls as if he was in an underwater cave. The tank was on, and lit somehow, and the crab was in the entrance again with the Damsel in its claws. The air in his room was distorted, like the area above the surface of something hot; the dust particles swam around as if in liquid light; every time he blinked the tank was closer to him. It was also growing bigger, merging into the room with the mandibles and fore claws of the black crab spreading around his vision.
Sake froze in fear ; the seagulls of light increased down his walls, the gurgling became incessant; he crawled under his comforter and closed his eyes. All sound stopped. He opened his eyes, and threw off his comforter, his bed was gone and he was standing. No longer in the same world.
He felt millions of firm but gentle breezes gliding past his body from all points of the compass. The sound was source less--the sound of an indefatigable exhale. Was in his bedroom still? No, he was in a cave. In an opening like that of a nave of a church, or a foyer, with a high ceiling of jumbled rock with cat-holes of light that came through as spot lights. Under his foot were pink and red pebbles that suddenly glowed brighter, then waned, as if a tree branch was above it swaying-- but there was only rock.
"Where am I?" he tried to say to himself, but his words were unintelligible to himself. He went to move his hand to his mouth, and missed his face completely and very slowly. Looking around at the dark shadows that lined the bottom of the foyer like dark portals, he felt as if he was in a school's foyer awaiting punishment from a principle.
He looked up at the upper walls, the dark cavities looked like eyes, blackened hollow eyes. Behind him, a portal had grey light coming into it; possibly the outside entrance-he thought. He made his way, slowly and confusedly, he could not walk properly. I must be dreaming. He heard eerie echoes from one of the dark portals-almost like sobbing stretched painfully to laughing. He attempted to walk to the sound , loneliness beckoned him. His feet sinking in the pebbles, with the fractioned light waving off the bottom and be speckling the dark rocks above him-- he reached the dark entrance ; the abutting rocks swaying with green algae to an undetectable breeze-- he felt the air grow colder. This is just a dream, he told himself in order to brave the dark entrance, but his words were jumbled. He then clumsily walked into the portal, toward the voice sound.
Chapter 2 The Land Of Chimes
" This quest, is not for thee."
Coldness seized Sake, he took under ten steps but he felt fathoms away from the foyer. The sound changed drastically-a drilling sound, as if a distant shuttle was departing the bright earth's gravitational field and into the starry sky. The chamber was empty, with eye-like cavities running up walls flickering with green algae. The algae and the red pebbles on the cavern floor were the only way he could see; they created a contrast with the darkness that was perceptible, but most of all the ground was not dark. He heard a voice again coming from another cavern.
He stumbled, almost falling just to get to the other entrance to find another human being in this unknown place. The entrance filed down to a rock hallway, the algae touched his forearm, he pulled back from the silica feel. The rock jumble wall stopped, and he turned the corner. Colder than the previous cavern by a degree, but a lip bluing degree-- tiger stripes rippled in vertical reflections along the walls, giving the cavities momentary and replenishing reptile eyes. He could not make out anything in the chamber, it was bigger than the proceeding one and it did not have green algae nor red pebbles.
In the center of the cavern was a fire, dying down only to kindling, then back up in a yellow flash that lit up the chamber like a flare, and shrinking down again as the tiger stripe reflections returned on the walls: as if the fire in the center was running out of energy. The fire lured the boy before he knew he was moving towards it; it was a beacon in a world of darkness. He neared…the beacon spoke , " Hey you, help me, get this trap off me."
" Mmmgmgglllloooo" came out of the boy's mouth, even if he could have spoken he would have been unintelligible still from sheer shock. The radiance shined brilliantly, not at all blinding to the eye, but the opposite; the fire was the size of him.
"Hurry up Cucumber, before they come back, bite down right here," said a long needle mouthed flickering flame . Sake just sat there staring at the glowing, rippling form. " " Hurry up you stupid cucumber, I can still find the Damsel--"
Sake felt the cold on him again, around the intensifying luminescence of the fire; a droning sound, that was distant yet audible became known-almost like druidical monks conducting a ceremony underwater in a black cauldron. The Damsel is still alive... he mumbled to himself, shaking nervously, and grabbed hold of the net, it was cinched through a eyelet with a weight like tackle, he pulled one side of the working end and with his other hand loosened the cinch of the net on the fish. The fire was in utter surprise at the boy's method of rescue. " I never seen a cucumber with claws," a yellow circle forming a mouth said as the monkish droning became louder. " Come on, the Damsel must be here," it said as it rose off the floor, hovering , rippling in the air---brightening the immediate vicinity.
The fire darted away from the boy and into the next chamber, Sake watched as the rippling torch flew off into the other opening abandoning him, and hurried after it--afraid the darkening cavern was going to devour him. He mumbled and stumbled after it-the mumbles would have been shrieks and cries if translated. As he passed a cavity in the wall he noticed something bright down deep in it, like a white hot stone from a fire thrown into a well.
He chased after the talking torch. " Damoiselle, where art thou?" the giant torch yelled. The droning was becoming ominously thicker; he could not keep up as he watched the torch disappear into another chamber. Suddenly the cavern started to brighten. The light was coming from somewhere hidden. Seeing movement, Sake looked up at the far wall of the cave, the mumble " Mmmblllerrf," translated to " Uh Oh."
First alerted to the movement by the swaying green algae on the far wall, he noticed a more spasmodic motion that was the converse of the rhythmic and mindless algae. It moved again, the purple outline came into view with the sparkle of a diamond being turned in the hand-for the deep purple mirrored sideways against each other-was blinking. My Damsel, said his startled mind.
The searching torch in his hot neon negligence did not see the wall that captured the Damsel , searching other chambers in flickering haste, sounding the dark cavern with taunts and yells-blinded by anger. Sake took a step closer to the wall, then heard a 'click 'noise over the monkish droning of the foreboding cavern. The rest of the outline from the Damsel's tail came into view.
The protrusion at the base of the rock jumble wall was not a rock, but a giant crab with both its black scythe claws up in the air as if conducting a ceremony in a lifeless stare, as if it had been in dark polluted harbor sludge for eternity. One claw clutched the almost lifeless Damsel around the yellow band she had on her tail fin, the other was held around her body. It looked ready to close on the purple-diamond-studded corset that was the Damsel's body. The smaller rock jumble stacked above and on the back of the large crab, was made of smaller crabs, packed tightly-with their baby scythes sticking out. 'Click' He now knew where that sound was coming from. It was the open claw, clicking closer to the Damsel's body. ' Click.' The claw was three clicks away. All the little stacked crabs on the wall closed their claws at the same time as if snapping to attention: reminiscent of a black clawed iron maiden--that sent chills down Sake's spine in the already ice cold cavern. He stepped closer, the giant dark crab's mouth -hooks and scissors-looked like a stalled slaughter house assembly line. ' Click.' Only one click away from the Damsel. Sake could reach out and touch her, but the wall of scythes scared him to immobility. He closed his eyes and looked away in anticipation of the fatal click.
He heard a different sound, a " clack," as if the claw was opening back up. He was looking at the back wall away from the wall of rhythmic algae adorning the snare-trap-still crabs. The crevices in the far wall now looked like deep recesses, the eye shaped recesses now had pupils-glowing white hot dots. He looked back at the crab, the claw was all the way open again, but then 'click' and it started the process over. Sake looked away. If he could only walk correctly he could run to the wall save her. He could not do it with his eyes closed, it scared him too much. He looked back at the wall, the pupils in the crevices were glowing brighter, almost getting angrier. They dilated, glowing white hot. Then the eyes emitted a white hot pebble attached to an arching branch. Hundreds of glowing stones came out of the walls, then the branch that held them slowly came forth.
The corner of the room lit up with color, it was the torch returning from its search. " Run Cucumber, they are coming," it said to Sake has it rippled past him.
He began to see what the branches coming out of the walls were attached to, a silvery metallic scowl of a fish's head. And that fish was the Deep Sea Viper. The whole wall was a 'grin with shiny and rusty razor blades. Sake suddenly felt fathoms deeper, with no chance of hope.
The torch was flying past him, Sake grabbed onto the bright blur that was cool to the touch, and held on for dear life as he looked back at the chamber fill up with rusty (or blood stained)metal of hundreds of Deep Sea Viper. They all turned there razor over-bites in unison at the fleeing morsels, and shrugged off their lethargy, remembering their proclivity-to devour.
" Let go of me Cucumber…." Said the fire, as he took the wrong direction back to the foyer. "Mmmmblerf," cried Sake to tell him it was the wrong direction. The Vipers darted down the rock hall, scraping and sparking off the rocks, they were fast. Sake saw what it was that dangled from their foreheads, he thought it was a glowing shrimp, but it was a glowing skull-their lure. As soon as the silver filled up the hall and Sake could see the Viper's black dead eyes up close, he let out a muffled scream and the torch picked up speed, turning and twisting at 90 degree angles, then soaring down a straightaway only to turn again. The fire's soaring speed was kept down by the turns, and that was a good thing for the boy, his grip barely held on at the roller-coaster speeds.
Sake could not bear to look at his assailants anymore, he looked forward-but that was just as daunting. The fire flew at jagged walls, only to turn at the last second-Sake could feel the green algae's cool wet touch on him as the fire pivoted and darted down the rock halls. If the vipers were a mustang cobra, then the torch was the fire in the cylinder, unhindered by chassis-fast as an explosion.
They came into a cavern that had red and white pebbles as ground, but to sheer horror, the only exit out of the room was emitting the metallic silver light and a painful scraping sound. " We're trapped", said the fire but the boy pointed to the high walls that had a cat hole and was emitting grey light. " I cannot climb that high with you on my back." Sake got off and started climbing the wall , which was easier than walking on level ground. To the boy's surprise, the fire could not go upward in the same speed as it went horizontal. The chamber started filling up with clashing armour, which was the vipers scraping into eachother as the fire was rippling upward slowly . Sake reached there first, and was silhouetted by the light coming from the other side, he grabbed hold of the bright creature that was having difficulty rippling upwards, and pulled it up and into the narrow passage. As soon as the fire was on level ground it shot forward pushing the boy out of the narrow passage as if the fire was the primer and the boy a bullet just as the vipers were filling into the tunnel; before Sake knew it, he was falling down into the foyer.
Sake looked beside him, the torch in dark caverns, was a magnificent Tang in light. The Tang startled himself up,, the vipers were coming still. " Get on Cucumber," said the Tang, and the boy climbed on clumsily putting a foot on the Tang's face. " You oaf," his voice almost honked from the boy's foot in his nose-a saxon nose in human scale that gave the bright creature an utmost humanness and its scales on the downward taper of his forehead resembling a slicked back neon hair.
The yellow neon fish exhaled after feeling the boy's full weight, " you must be one of those coral cucumbers," he said exasperated. The sparking sound was closing. The Tang cracked his body like a whip, and gave the boy a momentary vertigo ; the powerful ripple distorted the air behind them, and sent a seismic ripple through the pebbly ground; the closing vipers were knocked into shock. Sake watched the grey light of the entrance coming at him as the barrel of a cannon, as the incendiary round that was the Tang shot forth with its payload of mumbling boy. ; they shot out of the opening and the landscape opened up, he looked back, the cave was retreating from proximity with the imperceptible increments of low tide--even at high velocity.
He hung on with all his might onto the mane of the Tang. The ground below his feet took the form of liquid metal at high speed; the surrounding landscape was a nuance of grey on silver. " What were you doing in Crabaltar, that is no place for cucumbers, in all my journeys around the Saccade, I have not seen one like you… have you seen any other knights?" said the aerodynamic face, unaware that his passenger could barely hold on let alone answer him.
The boy's legs were streaming in the wake. Wind that was so thick that it was causing the boy to smile, was forcing him off the inverted saddle. " Slooooow dooown…." he yelled, but even if it was unjumbled, it was absorbed by the dense streaming wind. The yellow streak that the boy was falling off of even had words that were aerodynamic, " I must come back another time, it will be dark soon and much colder, the vipers can go much further when it is cold, but at least I have brought back a nice cucumber for the queen…
" I am the only to make it out of Crabaltar alive, someone has laid a trap in there, that is how I was captured, they are lucky I was traveling without my cuirass, I wonder how the Hoomah is doing, if he is the hunter that he says he is….. I say, I never saw a cucumber with starfish on it, you will be a rarity in the Coral Kingdom…and a mighty fine present for the Queen" the speed talker did not notice that the boy's starfish were losing their grip. " Blllrrrrffff" the boy's mouth sputtered, as he lost his grip and fell into the strong slipstream, tumbling over and over until sliding in debris strewn ground slowing his speed before his movement was stopped by a mound of rocks. He watched as the flame became smaller and smaller, dying down as it disappeared into the grey horizon. " Come Back…don't leave me" he tried to yell, but to no avail.
Running after the Tang's direction his foot was caught by something and he fell; the sound of melancholic chimes rang into the silent wasteland. Not seeing what caught his foot, he got up, only to trip again. This time he saw, but only for a second as the outline of the line sparkled amongst the greyish background. It was a fishing line of some sort. He reluctantly scanned his environment and goose bumps flared up on his skin.
The level plane was studded with mounds of rust colored rocks, choked and strangled with silver line, and stabbed all over with barbed hooks. Metallic scales littered the ground, with slices of rust color seeping up between the wreckage. It looked as if a great battle took place, and the good guys lost. He stepped on the metallic ground and a depressing chime sound emitted then was swallowed by the bleak expanse. At that point he saw a shadow exhibit over the ground, moving sinuously and fast, it then disappeared. Try to keep my steps on the rust his instinct ordered him.
The direction the Tang was going was already lost by the boy after he tripped on the line. " No, no , no" he cried, only to be horrified to what his words were converted to in echo by the burial grounds he was in--" lay down don't fight it."
He set off in the direction he presumed, passing foreboding mounds and webs of strung diamond line. His foot yanked a line, and a hook the size of its target (his head) whistled through the air at him, he ducted and it sunk into a mound, piercing both ends into the rock torso. Metallic scales covered the rock's head, a head of a stainless steel-osprey with no eyes. His heart raced as he fell back, stepping on the scales that rang like a lonely chime ornamenting a grave. The shadow on the ground appeared again, then disappeared, causing Sake to look above him in expectance of a monster, but nothing was above in the sky that resembled the depths.
" Ugggrrrh" he muttered as he tried to balance his steps, to steer clear of the metallic scales and the diamond lines that could wrap around and strangle him if not for his slow gait. He passed a lobster trap, in industrial dimensions, two bars were bent away from each other. He shuddered then tripped again, the diamond line wrapped up his shin like a reel, but it did not have a hook on the end, only a weight, Sake could not get it off, and so left it.
He felt like something was watching him, even worse, following him--on top of the feeling that the scales would assemble themselves into Vipers, and the lurking thing high above him would dive down on him. Getting nowhere fast, he sat down, and started crying. His tears swam out of his eyes, and collided with a mound-embedding the word 'beloved' in the mound altar as if the tears were chiseled dates, that then leaked downword forming the sentence " lay down to rest." A carousel came to the boys mind, for trident hooks and lures dangled out and away from the mound.
Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw some color, " please let some color or light come, please" he cried, putting his head in his hands. Then he saw it, through is arms, two hovering yellow half circles, that retracted sharply into nothing. The color looked out of place, he stood to survey what he thought he saw, " who's there?" he gurgled, but nothing stirred. He turned now, to put distance between him and the apparition. Ping. He stepped on a scale that chimed ominously in the cryptic landscape bedecked with sepulchers of rock mound in all form of strangulation; he was not stepping with care now. He looked back to see a faint portion of yellow before it disappeared. " Who are you, what do you want?" he yelled and pointed at his follower. Then the two yellow half circles returned and then quickly disappeared, confirming his suspicion. Then it spoke, " Sponge, keep your mumblings down, you are going to attract Viper, or let alone the Mahi Mahi. What are you doing so far away from the Coral Kingdom, in this cold wasteland?....nevermind that, I do not speak sponge…do not fear me…" The flitting half circles then seemed to move horizontally and upward; under one of the yellow half circles now ran a yellow paint streak conjoined with a pink one. Metal scales bound together like chain mail fell to the ground off the apparition. Sake now saw what the two yellow half circles were--two eyelids, and then saw the crescents of shock white and yellow on the body that was attached to the face that had pastel war paint, it was the Hoomah who cloaked himself by covering up his tropical streaks with the viper scales, for in between his streaks of pink, yellow and white was his body color of grey-which already blended in perfectly with cemetery bleakness of the landscape.
Ecstatic at not being alone, the boy approached the hovering Hoomah, with its two small wings not flapping, for they had the proportion of a T-Rex's arm is to its body, and could not viably keep the powerful stout Hoomah in the air, but paid heed to an old custom and now just flapped in the slow manner of a boxer snapping his knuckles. Gravity was not the same in this dark world, with distant constellations of neon plasma. The snout was enormous, with joker lipstick of yellow A boxers nose was on the declivity of the long snout, in human scale, also giving presentation to rugged humanhood, . The giant lips spoke," Sponge, go in that direction, hurry before the lights set and the Vipers come, it is already getting late for it is much colder--."
Sake just wanted to hug the magnificent hovering body, and stay with him, but the large lidded eyes looked at him, as if to say "easy sponge," so the boy backed off. But he did not want to leave his presence and the direction the Hoomah gestured was foreboding with its strangled mounds and giant prisons of lobster traps. " Oooh, it's getting colder,' the Hoomah shuddered, " Now go Sponge, the Mahi Mahi already heard your clumsy chimes," but the boy did not listen, just gurgled idiotically, and in his excitement stepped on another chime, but this chime was Sake's earlier fear, for it reared its decomposed looking head sheathed in metal blades, and opens its jagged jowl while rousing itself from slumber. The Hoomah went to one of the mounds, and freed a hook from the mound's torso with his powerful mouth, as the Viper was recoiling in sadistic joy at the sight of Sake; its overbite of jagged razor poised.
Sake flinched and put up his arms to guard his face--that the Viper was eying with salivating desire--and gurgled helplessly. The Viper's arm length body straightened and shot at its prey, and in turn was preyed upon by the hook that the Hoomah blew at crossbow speed , piercing the viper with the sharp and dull end through its body sticking it to the torso rock mound. The Viper made a nasty scream, then fell to pieces, clanging and chiming off the other assorted scales. The giant shadow re-emerged on the bottom and a distant shriek sounded, that even though afar, had bone-setting captivation.
" I am going to give you a good start Sponge…darkness is almost here, and this place will be swarming with these ," with those words , the powerful lips that were already cloaked again--for the warrior had donned his camoflauge taken from slayed viper--revealed a bright red tongue inside and suctioned up the boy, and after a deep inhale, blew the boy through the air barreling at catapult speed, but not before hearing from the owner of the blinking yellow eye lids in deep confident tuba baritone , " Tell our Queen-- I will find her-alright Sponge ."
Chimes rang and then were swallowed up by the desolate land. A skid trail twenty long was behind him, that connected the flat stainless steel graveyard land to a rolling land he was now in. Littered still with scale but not dangerous tackle, the piedmont milieu was decorated with more natural objects: shells, conches, and swaying plants of red and blue. He badly wanted to go back to the Hoomah, who was somewhere behind that grey impenetrable light, and suddenly felt cowardly for being so afraid amongst the stalwart, and for escaping away from the Damsel.
Off distant, the blue and red plants suddenly started swaying, as if a breeze was snaking a path through them, making its way towards the derelict boy. Sake braced himself, for what he thought would be a cold breeze, as the nearest plants rose ten feet higher into the air. No breeze came.
The foreboding path deterred Sake to traverse to the side of the swaying alley, and as if a breeze had started from his location, arose and went back down the alley, the once swaying plants became still.
Standing before a new lane, the same breeze came, enlivening a new alley of plants, the nearest ones rising into the air. The boy gulped. But this was the direction the Hoomah pointed with his snout, so he proceeded.
Chapter 3 A Stunning Land
An almost inaudible whisper came and Sake turned as if he was tapped on the shoulder: " hope and change I care for you." The sound came from a large waving blue plant, but the boy did not see anyone around it. He resumed his awkward pace, this time a red plant on his right rose up well over his head. " family together I work for you." The sound had to be coming from inside the plants, Sake looked at the plants, they looked harmless and even inviting with color far different then where he had just been. He kept to the center of the path well away from the still upright neon plants. He passed another red plant, " united with her, love forever." He paused to look at this blue plant, it had took the form of a house, a tall house; a mother ,father, and daughter were in the doorway. " join us, forever, hope, change." The red plant rose up even higher behind him, "Come inside, let us help, unite, forever." The red plant took the form of a little girl made up of slithering tendrils. She animated and started skipping with a pony tail of tendrils streaming . Sake was mesmerized, he held his arm out to touch the red image made up of adroit tendril, and the image held her hand to him fingertip to fingertip; the girl burned his finger, he brought back his hand and crossed his arms to smother the searing pain. But the image was still there, " not leave me here alone Sake come stay in with me." Sake walked away down the corridor as goosebumps flared up his back and more plants waved to the air.
" Son, I am for you, come let give you hug, it's had too long, me your mother back together, like old times, now come hug, yes we can." The blue tendrils even darkened the 5:00 o'clock stubble on Sake's father's face. Sake was mesmerized, " You're not my father," he whispered to himself unconfidently as he held out his arms and headed into the blue tendrilled siloutte of his father, " Good boy, forever, we can," whispered the plant. Sake felt the stubble of his father's face just like old times, a sting full scratch against his face. But the boy saw something in the center of the waving plant, that was busy assembling most of itself to allure the boy. " My promise to-- a whole new land" said the fatherly image with arms going around the boy. Sake saw what they were in the center of the plants; tendrils that have assembled themselves into coffins, with portholes where one could see skulls with bits and pieces of bright colored scale still on it. One head opened its jaw to reveal tendrils inside-probing and nestling--sending the boy retreating out of the blue tendrils . Away from the now upright swaying blue neon plant, he felt the scratchy sting from the stubbly blue beard, and as it flared up, his vision pulsed blue. His finger and his face hurt in alternating turns, as if the plants were in alliance, to not waste a pain receptor of their prey. Economical. Sake looked back down the corridor, the plants were almost fighting with each other, like teachers and priests arguing over the souls of children. They interfere with each other, thought the boy unconsciencly.
"Don't you want be family, and change," the tendrils were already assembling themselves again as they rose upright. Sake turned, and hugged the center of the path out of the reach of the red and blue tendrils. Behind him, a red plant whispered "don't leave me", he looked back to see tendrils start to coil around her and drag her back into the center, the person being dragged was the young girl " Noooo," Sake yelled, and fell to his knees. The father image assembled again, yelling " son, never, forever, come back to past for a better future." A door formed and the tentacles acted out someone being dragged inside a room. Sake turned to move on, a red and blue tear swam out of his eyes in a snakes swim, knotting and crushing itself into obscurity.
He quickened his pace, estimating the length of the tendrils and walking down the middle out of their reach. They all rose up as he came before them, " value me….family first….hope" and as he passed them they could be heard saying " value, death, forever….depths." Some sent beautiful faces out to kiss him, saying " oh what marvelous handsome little ….what fine hero be someday….come gather your insides inside…" They were relatives of his, and so strangers that just made him quicken his pace, at points angling himself like he was doing the limbo, so he would not feel the heated touch of the red and blue plants.
He was almost out of the dangerous corridor. There was a giant red and blue plant, intertwining to form a mesh gate, leading out of the seductive alley. Their tendrils were high and numerous enough to grab the boy; Sake looked back at all the still slithering apparitions behind him, and decided he could not make it back the way he came. The red and blue intertwined plant ahead of him was massive, and foreboding, it was the Magnificent Anemone--it was getting darker out too, the darkening atmosphere brought forth more plants with the buzzing and sputtering of neon signs being turned on in a bar window, sending a reminiscent chill down Sake's spine. A blue tendril sign read " Damsel," a red one read " Ours."
" I need armour" he said to himself--a tactic he recalled from his brief encounter with the Hoomah . The remembrance of the Hoomah, gave him the will to carry on, and shake off the visual stunnings of the anemones. He feared the Tang, but admired the Hoomah's wise face with the pastel war paint.
There was plenty of armor lying around: shells, metallic scales, conches, lime green seaweed. He wrapped his arms and legs with the seaweed, weaved the metallic scales into them using the diamond line that wrapped around his leg like a reel as he tripped over it earlier. He saw a scallop shell inside a plant to his side, he could not get it out without something, for the plants would surely burn him.
As he worked, he felt the slithering tendrils on his shoulder or back, but as soon as he turned in surprise, there was nothing there. He sawed the diamond line with a jagged shell, like he was playing the harp. A melancholic sound emitted, the tendrils sang in his ear to the tune of his sawing-obliiiiiviooon--they sang, he looked over his shoulder startled-but nothing was there. His face burned from the neon plant's stunning, he badly wanted something to protect his face. Back in the bottleneck of the corridor, where the plants converged dangerously close, where he had been seduced and seared minutes before, was a conch shell and hook the size of Sake's arm on either side of the alley he realized now. I do not want to go back there…I cannot, whimpered Sake as he stared off at the conch. But the conch beckoned him, with its glowing bone white knuckled fist, -- looks that looked out of place, and defiant to the neon plants.
Sake stumbled towards it, mumbling this is gunna suck over and over again. The plants let him in then re-animated again. The conch was under a blue plant, the hook a red one.
" The outcome not does look good forever." Sake turned round, to see where the voice was coming from. It was a hospital room, no face could be clearly seen. They were gathered around someone in the hospital bed with a doctor telling a prognosis. The image stunned him, his heart palpitated in his chest and he struggled for air. The hospital bed lowered into a cavern below the anemone, as if a casket being interred. Sake clutched his heart. " The court now session for oblivion." The plant behind him turned into a courtroom, with a woman crying at the stand, her face buried in her hands. " The divorce is now always, and he is forsaken, always and for oblivion." The woman on the tendrilled stand lifted her face, and was streaked with her make-up in a clown like manner.
Sake was immobilized, he should not have come back down the corridor. He stood, as if a spider bit him, and he was dissolving from the inside, but the painful images came undone, and released the boy. One tendril even snapped its fingers to awaken him from his stunning. " Awaken my poor boy," whispered from all angles of concealment in a woman's blithe voice. He aroused, shook his head, remembering his aim, to get armor.
He took step by cautious step for the hook, but still was aloof, his feet were struggling to learn this world's gravity, an enslaved collage of color on both sides of extreme, oblivion black and the interplanetary blinding lightning color, with the lifeless neutral point the grey metallic scale color of viper.
Expecting the neon red plant, that was a still-picture of a five thousand degree fire to come alive and ensnare him, he moved to the hook the size of a side sword under the red glare-his shadow emblazoned behind him in like a dark socket, outlined by a bright arterial glare; but the plant did not animate, and Sake grabbed the hook, and retreated back to the aisle.
On the other side of the aisle, the conch sat, in white knuckle defiance staring down the blue plant, almost keeping it at bay. Sake followed after the barb of the hook in which he led with, and hooked the conch closer to him while keeping his eyes on the blue plant. He hastened out of the aisle to the opening before the giant magnificent blue-red anemone. " I hope this fits" he uttered pathetically as he slipped the smooth opening of the conch over his nose, and as if destined, it locked onto his nose and chin. He removed it, and with one of the sharp knuckles on his new face mask, he sawed the diamond line on his leg, and through two convenient holes in the conch, he fastened it back onto his face. It glowed white knuckle hot, and cooled instantly the sting on his face from the blue plant.
" Much better," sake said, and to his surprise, his words were converted to a deeper voice, rectified and pressed together from fathoms, and it was sand crystal clear. He used the hook and released the scallop shell from the site of its demise, but a fated demise for its body would serve as armor for this boy and the world it's in.
He approached the intermeshing barricade, with the scallop shell held in front of his vulnerable torso, the viper scales shining on his shoulders and limbs, and the conch strapped around his face like a hounds helm; his hands were still vulnerable though, and there were spots not covered by the viper scale, but those spots were padded with extra sea weed. He lifted his hook to start slashing at the barricade but it began unfurling in the same manner of two tendrilled coral snakes releasing eachother from an interlocking kiss, the more they pulled back the wider they opened and louder they hissed, venom dangled out their fangs, but was actually the illusion of the anemone.
A long arcade of ornate fluted columns opened up before him with the live pulsing contour of a dragons throat. On the slightly unstill columns, were torches made of the same deadly anemone material, waving with what looked to be red and blue neon tinted deep sea centipedes; legs and incisors opening and closing. Sake stepped reluctantly into the long hall, and the red and blue tendrils formed overhead and behind him, imitating a bar coming down to lock the two doors to a palace gate. He gulped. The plants did not seem to be interested in him, other than drawing him further into the swarming palace. He stepped at a cautious pace; his hand still stung from the blue plant which seared him earlier. As he walked, he looked into the recesses in between the columns-shark bones, with tendrils waving out of sockets as eye lashes-- blinking, dilating, watching the boy. He looked to the other side: great jaw bones, long since dead, came alive with wicked waving red tongues. There were knights also, fallen in death, the tendrils polishing their armor as they spoon fed from the remnants that once wore them; a trigger fish was splayed between two columns, bone armor with an indentation that said ' Clan Hoomah." The other side, a knight propped up-was a butterfly fish, with silver armor indented with ' House Of Tang.'
Chandeliers came down from the ceiling, spinning, and emblazoning blue red lozenges on his scallop shield; Sake looked at his shield, it now bared heraldry of a knight dying, and already being buried with dirt by the parents; the motto of the shield said Only Death Shall Set You Free.
The boy looked around in awful trepidation as he passed down the long hall, the light emblazoning the deathful illustration on his shield departed.
He pulled out the barbed hook from his belt, as he reached a foyer. The tendrils formed vases, paintings, sculptures of Spartans, Athenians, Romans, all gesturing for mercy from their unseen slayers. The stair case formed, and came unrolling down to the boy. He climbed, with awkward gait. Every footstep sizzled off the red treads, his shoe tips sizzled from contact with the blue risers. He picked up his speed to get off the grand staircase before they burned through his shoes. Upon reaching the top, the first sound other than deadly nestling came, " Come my boy, ahah, come forth, let me see what a strong brave boy you are," the sound was coming from directly ahead of him.
On a couch of red tendril, an orange and white body laid with utmost hedonism. Fans of blue connected to the side walls , were waving and cooling off the boy's addressor. It was very warm inside, and past the couched madam, were flambeaux torches, that were burning fuel of decomposition.
An orange clown, lightning bolted with white, laid horizontal on a waving, caressing couch. A blue tendril came and fed her a flake, a red one wiped her mouth. " Oh such cute armor, conch, and viper skin, ahah, such a warrior, even better than the those Hoomah's. Come, my boy you must be hungry." The drawing room turned its walls into a kitchen, the Clowness got up, a spectacular dress of blue, a french braid of red formed under and above her, her orange nose, in human dimensions wrinkled every time she spoke suggesting snobbery.
The palace came forth to unfurl her red carpet, as she went up to a red blue stove, with pans that were sizzling with viper bodies in them-their dead eyes bubbling in the heat provided by the plants scorching sting. " You must be hungry my brave warrior, that shield is heavy as your legs look, perhaps you would like some poached conch wrapped with seaweed, served on scallop shell." As the queen of the red blue palace trailed her flowing dress and flowing French braid, the tendrils formed her arms and picked up the plates, that were of the same variety that made up Sake's armor, helm and shield. Sake dropped the long hook, and dropped the shield. He could be devoured any second, those statues in the earlier foyer, were pleading mercy from the Clowness, and so would he.
" Are you going to kill me?" asked Sake, and he was surprised to realize that through the conch on his mouth, he could speak bravely and intelligibly in the face of death. The Clowness laughed, " kill you, oh poor boy, that would be rude of me, me and you need each other. You're here to rescue the poor Damsel, and stop this ooohh bitter cold from coming , with all this grey, how blazay."
The Clowness moved with her wavering blue dress behind her to the other wall, " The coral kingdom my boy, is what's at stake, and we cannot let Crabaltar penetrate into the kingdom, but I say, night is falling here, my palace keeps me warm, but my palace likes the cold, and it takes all my power to hold them back from your warmth, they turn everything bone cold in the end hahaha, you need to get to the warm Coral Kingdom, and fast, for the vipers are coming along with other cold depth creatures. The Queen is already sick you see," the tendrils formed to show a magnificent looking Angel fish lying in her bed, with colors turning fantastic. " Oh poor queen, and all this wrought after the Damsel disappears into the cold realms. All those yellow fins, barracudas, and still they cannot save her," the Clowness' dress wrapped around her tight, her red tendril hair spiraled up, a microphone came forth from her servants, a chandelier came down with stinging fluorescence.
The back wall formed the posture of a red organ ironically, for the whole palace seemed like a thriving organ. The side wall formed blue drumsticks and banged on blue drums, the Clowness, looking miraculous and stunning from the boy's viewpoint, took the blue microphone and said in a transatlantic singing voice: " Well show me the way, to the next little girl, for if we don't find that little damsel girl, I'll tell you we must die. Oh the viper moon , and we are losing our good old mama queen, and if that little girl has died, from the mahi mahi there will be nowhere to hide, oh show me the way to the next little boy." The Clowness stopped, and gathered herself up, lying on her caressing couch exhausted, her slender servants rushing out to her. Sake could see green droplets of what looked like mucus sweat coming from her face and body-be telling something world old of the young Clown. " You see boy, someone has to find the Damsel, or coldness will reign, and the coral will petrify, oh how all the bright fish won't stand a chance against the vipers, they'll be sought out and devoured. (as she said that, a tendril mimicked the act, with the red tendril being the remains). No one wants that, and then there is the Mahi Mahi."
" What's the Mahi Mahi? Asked the boy still in the same exact spot, afraid to move.
"Oh the Mahi Mahi, if the vipers and other deep sea creatures rule the night, it is the Mahi Mahi that reigns supreme during the day. She has a barb in her heart, her lips are studded with a hundred hooks, and her ears dangle line connected to hooks scouring the floor for flesh. She was scorned, and slithers down from the depths, when she descends, she screams, and anything that moves, is….(a tendril drew a knife motion across the Clowness' throat) has a worst fate than my tendrils(the tendrils formed a large cavity somewhat of a stomach with blue tendril inside imitating the scream painting). No one can remain in place after her tormented scream ahaha." The tendrils formed a horrific hook studded fish swallowing down from the depths, with everything scurrying out of the way. Then they untangled, and wiped the Clowness' face, and powdered her nose.
" It will be a lonely cold path my boy, you will need everything you have to make it here, the Damsel, well, it does not look good for her."
Sake looked at the hedonic Clowness, her audacity filled him with anger, that anger devoured his fear. This world is not different from mine, lonely, and cold. That thought creeped from his head, and through the conch over his mouth to say in a whisper " I will save her you witch." The conch over his mouth translated his naiveté into defiance, invoking a sense of symbiotic alliance with his armour, in turn invoking a sense of futile hope, that if he had known someone believed in him as his armour did, he would have walked back through those rows of neon plants, that sounded like every preacher, teacher and politician of his life speaking their own selfishness. The neon plants were like the teachers and priests fighting over children that were throwing paper airplanes while they talked, thinking of things afar. During the day the teacher would talk of things en masse, and at night, the priest would conduct mass, all had nothing to do with Sake's internal battle, he was suffering, and alone. That is when the grey skies of mass came, when the teacher talked of oblivion during the day, and the teacher of "hell" at night. The two colors of this world thought Sake. But the color he had seen on the Tang and Hoomah, were different he concluded.
They were one of the same for Sake, cold neon blue and cold neon red, and they both fought eachother, as they do most likely at home. The Clowness had built her palace with an entrapping mockery of color, of vehemence and callousness. It was true, the red and blue ferns were of a different spectrum, and had a different purpose than the tropical ones.
"So, what are we going to do with our warrior, " a hall formed on the far end of the drawing room, with descending stairs, " we need to help you get to the Coral Kingdom, oh that poor Queen, missing her Damsel, oh boo hoo." Her couch wiped her eyes. " Go, my boy, get to the Coral kingdom, tell her that the Clowness offers her premises if the cold disrupts her kingdom, and beware the Mahi Mahi." A blue tendril picked up his scallop shield and gave it to him, as he was being moved away from the lounging Clowness on descending escalator. Sake looked back, her French braid swirled upward, and a red tendril dangled a sizzling viper in her mouth." Better Hurry Buddy boy." He looked forward in breathing a sigh of relief to be leaving her domicile. A door unbarred and he was out of the palace of the Clowness.
Chapter 4 Land Of the Egg Eaters
The ground graduated into capsules of red and blue interspersed with upright anfractuous plants that have been stunted from growing to maturity-almost strangled to a gnarled state; Sake owned the only luster of the plain&mda
The Damsel Fish by Keith Collard