Sorry for the lack of post on Monday, I just couldn't think of anything very interesting to talk about and I'm not 'officially' doing a post every Monday. Just randomly. When I think of something.
Last week option three took out the most votes, not surprising really. I reckon it was coolest too! And for today's Fragment my sisters and I had a really funny idea...As you read, it may not seem too funny for you unless you've read 'Redwall' by Brian Jacques. But I think that as you read further you will see the funny side.
And if you don't, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. Except I'm not.
Note: the 'a' word must be read in an evil, snake-ish voice.
A low voice came down the tunnel, echoing off the walls in a malevolent tone.
“Asssmodeusss…” the sound was hissing and malicious, seeming to come from the very darkness around us.
I stumbled backwards, my head hitting the low roof.
“Wh—what is thet?” Elianna whispered, her voice wrung with fear.
“I don’t know,” I managed. “Maybe it’s—”
Elianna shrieked as the voice resounded down the tunnel, louder than before. “Can we go oot?” she gasped. “I’m scered.”
“There isss no essscape from the jawsss of Asssmodeusss…”
I bit my tongue to keep from crying out. The voice hissed around us, almost physical in the fear-thick air. “M—maybe we should find a different way in,” I said, backing slowly toward the opening.
“What tasssty morselsss…”
I looked up, searching the dark for the source of the voice. Water began creeping down into my shoes.
“Sssweet and juissssey…”
“Pleese can we go?” Elianna squeaked. Her whole body was shaking violently, but a thought occurred to me.
“Elianna, what if…what if that thing’s not actually in the tunnel? What if it’s in the dungeons? It might not be meaning us,” I swallowed nervously.
She didn’t reply and I spoke again. “What if it’s talking to—to my friend?”
A half strangled sound caught in her throat. “We’ll go een,” she whispered.
“You could stay outside,” I said quickly.
“Asmodeusss…” hissed the voice.
“N—no,” she said, her voice hiccupping with fear. “My brother m—might be there…too.”
I took a deep breath and stepped forwards, bending a little to keep from banging my head on the top of the tunnel.
Closing my eyes I tried to work out which way the sound was coming from. When I opened my eyes again I squinted into the darkness, making out a passage joining the main one. I limped forward, favouring my bruised leg. The water around my knees kept me off balance, and I reached out to steady myself on the wall.
Deep slime met my fingers and I jerked my hand back in disgust, wiping it quickly on my leggings.
Elianna had her face buried in my hair, arm squeezing my neck so tightly it was beginning to be difficult to breathe, but I was glad of her presence. If I’d been alone, I’d have run from the tunnel at the very first hint of a whisper.
The darkness grew gradually deeper, until I could barely see my hand when it was directly in front of my face. The hissing voice continued steadily, barely pausing for more than a breath.
“Asmodeusss…The sssword isss mine…None daresss to fight Asmodeusss…”
I stumbled along the tunnel, nerves tense to breaking point, ready to run at the slightest warning. The voice was getting on my nerves, it grew gradually closer, and its words held nothing but terror.
Elianna was quivering on my back, jolting every time the ‘Asmodeus’ was switched for other hissed words, never any more pleasant than the malevolent name.
Water trickled along the channel, shallower than before, and always that voice continued. I could barely stand it for one second longer. I stopped, unsure whether to turn back or not.
Then the voice stopped, and a heavy sigh came down the tunnel. “Yees, I reeely deed like thet book. Asmodeus was the beest character, difinitely my fevourite. Pity ‘e died…” then the voice switched back to the low whisper, “Asmodeus….Asmodeusss!”
I stared blankly into the darkness. Maree? A laugh welled up in my throat, more from relief than of anything funny. I struggled to hold it in, stepping forwards again. The voice suddenly changed from a terrifying threatening to a welcome guide. I did wish that she’d switch to something else though.
“Elianna,” I whispered, “Don’t worry. It’s my friend.”
“W-why ees she saying thet?” she asked, her voice quavering.
“I honestly don’t know. She’s like that sometimes,” I returned, ducking under a low pipe.
The roof was a little higher and I groaned softly, finally able to stand up properly, also glad that the walls were no longer covered in slime. A spot of flickering light danced on the brown water, catching my eye, and I stepped forward, looking up. Just above my head was a small metal grid, about thirty centimeters square. I squinted in the light, trying to make out what was on the other side.
“Elianna, can you see what’s in there?” I asked in a whisper.
She craned her neck, and I took her hands, helping her climb up onto my shoulders. “There’s a man, I theenk,” she whispered back.
“Okay, we’ll move along, looking into all of them. Tell me when you see a girl with crazy brown hair.”
“Or just follow to noise,” I added, hurrying along the passage, my feet splashing quietly in the ankle-deep water.
I stopped under a grid that the voice came from.
For a moment I wondered if it really was Maree, but then shook myself. “Oy,” I hissed. “Maree?”
She broke off in the middle of an ‘Asmodeus,’ silence replacing the eerie whisper. I reached up and pushed on the grid, hoping to get it open.
Elianna pushed my hand away and grabbed a latch, tugging it hard. I slapped myself mentally and joined her. With a groan, it moved and the grid shuddered, swinging down on hinges at a last tug.
“Maree,” I whispered again.
With a rustle of fabric her face appeared in the gap. “Oh, eet reely ees you thees time,” she said, a smile breaking out across her shadowed features.
“Yes it is, who else was it going to be?” I asked, half angry.
The grin faded slightly. “Eet dinna matter,” she replied swiftly.
“We’ve got t’ get you out,” I said. “Have you got any ideas?”
“Do eet be soundin’ like eet?”
“Yeah, what was with all that evil whispering, you gave me the creeps,” I protested.
“Got bored,” Maree returned innocently. “I tried t’ git through the bars last toime, but eet didna work. So I knew noot t’ try today.”
Elianna tapped my head. “I coold try,” she said hesitantly.
“Can you fit up through that hole?” I asked.
“I theenk I coold.”
“I guess so,” I said slowly. “It’d be dangerous.”
She didn’t reply, but I knew what she was thinking.
“Alright then. Maree, Elianna’s going to try climb up.”
“Elianna?” Maree asked, a frown in her voice.
“Yeah, we met in the town,” I replied, not noticing the strange tone. “You’d better move out of the way a little bit.”
Elianna stood up on my shoulders slowly, holding onto the edges of the hole, her head sticking through it. In a few moments she scrambled up, disappearing through the gap.
“Can you fit through the bars?” I called up softly.
With a tinge of uncertainty I grabbed onto the edges of the gap, scrambling my feet up the edge of the tunnel. I stuck my head through the hole, managing to brace myself with my arms on the prison cell floor.
Elianna was at the bars, squeezing through, Maree stood at the back of the cell, staring stupidly at her.
“Umm, Maree?” I asked. “Are you okay?”
Her eyes remained on Elianna, showing no sign of hearing me as the little girl wriggled through the bars, looking back at us.
“Where’d I find the keys?” she asked me.
I glanced at Maree before answering. “At the end of the corridor maybe?”
She disappeared, trotting out of my vision. I pushed my legs against the wall below me, taking the weight off my arms for a moment.
Elianna returned in a minute, carrying a large ring of three keys. “I found ‘em—” she stopped, then ran to the cell beside Maree’s. “Dael!” she cried, disappearing again.
“Elianna!” I called, annoyed at the low visibility from the hole.
“Louise, eet’s m’ brother!”
A wave of relief washed over me, and in another moment Elianna reappeared, now in the arms of the boy I’d crashed into in the alley just after leaving the old man’s house all that time ago.
The boy stopped in front of the cell, his eyes fixed on Maree. Elianna looked from him to Maree, eyes wide. He pulled the keys from her unresisting hands and fumbled to unlock the door.
I frowned in confusion, I think I’m missing something.
The door swung open silently and the three stood staring at each other across a gap of a few meters. “M—Maree?” Elianna’s brother whispered.
There was a moment’s stillness and then Maree was across the cell and the two were wrapped in her arms.
My frown deepened as my tired brain tried to piece it all together. The realisation hit me like a blow, and I literally fell down into the tunnel below. Dael. Of course, that was the name of one of Maree’s brothers. And Elianna? I slapped my forehead, I’d been travelling with her for two days but it had never occurred to me. Her accent was so similar to Maree’s, her eyes had the same look, and hadn’t she even told me about her older sister who used to give her piggyback rides?
I thumped my head softly on the wall, furious at my own idiocy. “Idiot, idiot, idiot,” I muttered. I pulled back, thinking hard. Now the responsibility lay even more heavily. I had to get Maree out safely, and Dael and Elianna, and preferably myself too.
I scrambled back up again, seeing Maree and her brother and sister still standing as I’d left them. There was no time to waste. Not even on family reunions.
1. “Maree,” I said. “Sorry, but we’ve got to get out now.”
2. Before I could speak, keys clanked from the far end of the passage, turning in a lock. The door opened.
3. Something slimy grabbed my dangling legs, and before I could shout in terror, I was jerked down into the tunnel again.
There we go. I hope you are all satisfied with that. :) I never actually planned on keeping any Freespirits alive, but after seeing the distraught face of one of my readers (who apparently is the leader of my fan club [which I was unaware existed] a.k.a. my dad) I resolved to do anything I could to make it so that they actually survived. I gave a few hints to anyone who felt like thinking about possibilities. Congratulations if you guessed!
Fare Thee Well!