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Posted: 20 Aug 2005, 15:28
"Ok," said GD to everybody after they had all consumed breakfast.
How are we gonna get around and look for these hamsters. We need transportation."
"Mushrooms?" suggested MC.
"Nope, because we don't have any mushrooms," said GD.
"Why don't we drive a car," WildChild said.
Suddenly there was a clattering sound from outside. "Wonder what that was," Explorer muttered somewhat apprehensively.
"Let's go look!" Saille exclaimed.
They all trooped outside and saw a wondrous sight.
There stood three ladies and enough bicycles to transport everybody. There was one bike that stood out from all the others. It was painted a bright electric green but that was not all. It was two bikes one in front of the other and carved ornately into the handle bars was the name "DeWarmeChocoladeMelk". (Hope that means The Hot Chocolate.)
"Your bike is named the hot chocolate?" asked Mey. "That's cute."
"You always have to name a bike," said GD wisely. "Just like you must name a boat."
"Who are these 3 ladies?" asked MC.
"That's obvious," said GD. "They're Lizzy, Merla and WolfSpirit!"
In the distance they heard the sound of meowing and of a man talking. "Oh look," said MC. "It's KatLady and DairCiuin."
"Woot!" shouted GD. "Let's start looking for the hamsters..."
"We can't," said Kat, walking up to them. "We have to wait for more people first."
"Good thing we have lots of bikes," said WolfSpirit.
"Speaking of bikes," said GD. "Who's gonna sit in front of me and guide me and keep my balance?"
(Things are going to get scary with me on a bike.
Posted: 20 Aug 2005, 18:04
I'm on the scent!!!!!
errrr, (Tara the steadfast German Shepherd is momentarily distracted by a chipmunk, veeres of the trail and heads into the woods - will she return to the trail? will she locate Rancid and the hamsters???? )
Why doesn't any one offer ME chocolate?? why do humans think dogs just like dry kibble?????
I"ve been trying to educate my human for years! they are sooo dense - but she means well.
I'm back on the scent!!! It's not my fault I can't keep up with dragons and strange bikes. I need a bike like Wilmer's.
Posted: 20 Aug 2005, 18:13
There’s an old saying that goes like this:
When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
In the Druid world, that old saying was changed slightly to read:
When the going gets tough, Druids go for a drink.
And so it was that as the realization began to set in among the various hamster-seeking groups that they really had no idea of what was in Rancid’s brain, or (more importantly) where he had taken the furry captives, their minds turned instead to alcohol and other libations. And when Druids are thirsty and confused, there’s just one place they like to go: The Foggy Duck.
Just as Green Druid with her kitten, Kitten, Thailand with her hedgehog, Lugh, Saille, WildChild, Lizzy, Merla, Wolfsprit, Barmybam, Explorer, Creirwy, Moon Cloud and Arrianhrodd were about to set off from the pub on their bicycles, they heard a roar and looked up to see Merlyn arriving on his Harley, and stumping alongside was his basement dragon, Cinder.
The bicyclists delayed their departure to greet Merlyn, and while they were doing so, up walked Donata with her faithful German shepherd, Tara by her side.
Then, just as they were greeting Donata and patting her dog, a shadow passed over, and looking up, they spied Wolfwalker aboard his dragon, Chessie banking in for a landing.
Before the group had finished greeting Wolfwalker, Crow and Beith walked up, and before these newest arrivals had been greeted (although few were actually greeting Crow), another rumble was heard and Wilmer rode up on his miniature Harley, drawing a glare from Merlyn.
But before Merlyn could chastise the hamster for running off so suddenly, Lorraine, still wearing her apron embossed with the Wayward Druid B&B logo, arrived at the pub.
Shortly thereafter, Azrienoch arrived, and before he’d had half a chance to shake hands with everybody, up walked Lily, looking flushed from dashing about town taking in all the sights.
The greetings were again interrupted by a loud whooshing noise, and everybody looked up to see Kat Lady and Dair Ciúin arriving aboard Snarg.
Snarg had no sooner landed and his passengers disembarked than up walked Selene, who had wisely just quit her summer internship as a reporter for The Pagan Press.
With so many new arrivals, all of whom looked to be absolutely parched, the bicyclists gave up their plan, and everybody pushed their way back inside the pub, their collective thought being that if they couldn’t solve the mystery, at least they might slake their thirst.
Gladys was so busy filling drink orders and answering questions about Rancid that she was growing even more ill-tempered than usual, and things might have gotten dangerously out of control if not for the fact that Selene, who is an administrator,
stepped forward and called for order.
The room grew quiet as everyone looked to her with expectation and admiration in their eyes.
“Okay everybody, now that we’re all refreshed and before any of us get a little TOO refreshed, if you know what I mean,” she said, glaring at Thailand and Donata, who hastily set their tumblers on the bar, “I think it’s time we tended to the business that has brought us all here. In short, where the hell are all the hamsters?”
Again pandemonium ensued, as everybody rushed to put forth his or her theory first. Selene, strolling around the room, heard snippets of conversations:
Lorraine to Moon Cloud: “I tell you there were crow feathers in her room, and also a cowboy hat and a dog collar. And if you’ll just look around, Crow is here but Billy Joe Bob and Esther Fodd are nowhere to be seen! Why? Well because they’re all the same person of course, and …”
Dair Ciúin to Thailand: “It’s all linked to the Eisteddfod, I’m certain. Crow makes Rancid do all his dirty work, and so of course the poor brute rebelled and misbehaved. Now I admit I haven’t figured out why he took to kidnapping hamsters, but there has to be a connection, and if we just …”
Beith to Green Druid: “I see that’s hot chocolate you’re drinking. Did you know that hot chocolate is a beverage that was actually developed by the Druids living near Tara Hill, and in those ancient times …”
Crow to Gladys: “So, for the record, when was the last time you saw Rancid on the night of …”
Wilmer to Tara: “Surely, as a dog yourself, you must have some insights as to why Rancid would take my Myrtle and all those others …”
Returning to her place near the center of the bar, Selene again called for silence. Again she spoke: “I’ve been walking around and I’ve heard lots of theories, lots of conjecture, and lots of blarney,” she said, looking at Beith. “But I have heard one good idea, and that is from Wilmer, who suggests that Donata’s dog might be able to telepathically reach into the mind of Rancid, and so provide us clues as to where he is and what he is doing with the captive hamsters. But there’s a problem in that Tara only speaks Dog, and being a German shepherd, only speaks it in a German dialect. We’ll need someone who speaks German to go into a trance, meld with Tara’s mind and then provide an English translation. Now, does anybody here speak fluent German?”
All eyes went to Lily.
“Wait a minute,” said Lily. “Yes, I speak German, but I’m very skeptical that I could be put into a trance, meld with the mind of a dog and translate what it’s saying, and even if I could, I’m even more skeptical that Tara, who is here, could know what Rancid, wherever he is, is thinking. I just came in here to get a drink, really, I’m skeptical that I’ll ever be served with such a crowd, but, no, hey, wait …!”
Despite her protests, Lily was pushed into the center of the room, where she, along with Tara, were seated on the floor.
“Now, Merlyn, I know you have some experience in this sort of thing,” said Selene. “Put them both in a trance!”
Merlyn stepped forward to obey, and after a brief incantation, Lily and Tara were both slack-jawed, vacant-eyed and drooling.
“Now Tara,” said Merlyn to the dog. “Reach out to the mind of Rancid. Tell us what you see, and Lily, translate it for us.”
Crow, now perched in the rafters, watched everything and scribbled in his notebook. He was with Lily on this one, and felt very skeptical that this would work, but his job was to report the news, and he did his best.
He saw that everyone was looking at Tara and Lily, except for Lorraine, whose eyes were staring fixedly at him.
Swallowing hard, Crow continued to write, and wondered what would happen next …
Posted: 20 Aug 2005, 19:00
Nothing is gonna happen next from me cause im laughing too hard to write. ROTFL!
I am actually crying im laughing so hard...lol
Posted: 20 Aug 2005, 20:02
Tara went into a dream state.....
and now unable to control herself....... a flurry of black feathers flew about the Pub, and a loud indignant squawk was heard as Crow quickly flew up to the rafters and began to rearrange his ruffled plumage.
Tara sleepily thought, "Darn it! I nearly had that dratted smelly bird - would have made a tasty addition to my kibble....."
and then became aware of Lily, poking in her head asking questions about Rancid.....
Rancid! back to the alert, Tara shook her head and tried to dislodge this strange feeling.........
Where is Rancid? Why did he take the hamsters????
dimly Tara became aware of Rancid.........
The Skeptical Druid shook her head, in Tara's head, and the vision was gone for now.........
Tara tried again...................
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 00:06
Rancid and his basket appeared at Stonehenge at the center of the circle. He figured this was as safe a place as any, being such a special place to the druids and all. He didn’t see anything special about it, just a bunch of stones too big to carry around. He nudged open the basket with his snout and woofed, “We’re here.”
Myrtle crawled out of the basket and looked around. Ah! Stonehenge. She calculated that the stone circle was about 25 miles from the city of Bath, birthplace of the dragon Snarg. She knew these things as she was not just a mere Hamster. She and the other 24 hamsters in the basket were all that was left of the Faerie Hamsters, a rare line of Irish Faeries.
“Thank you Mr. Rancid,” she said and walked over and gave him a kiss on his snout.
“Grrrrrr…Now don’t get mushy on me,” he growled.
Myrtle giggled. She knew the Rotweiler’s bark was worse than his bite. She sat on the edge of the basket and listened to the snores of the other hamsters inside. She sighed and longed to be with her Wilmer again. But it was just too dangerous right now. She looked up at her protector and asked, “Do you think we are safe yet?”
“Grrrrrrrrrrrr….was her only reply.”
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 00:22
Moon Cloud spread out into a thick fog, and began swirling about the two in the center of the room. Chanting came low and steady from every corner.
The group had somehow coalesced into a united force, the air sparked with electricity.
Green Eyes pressed ever deeper into Green Druid's pocket, knowing that something gigantic and immensely powerful was upon the threshhold of this reality.
Outside, the dragons rumbled, and the windows of the pub vibrated.
Moon Cloud swirled ever faster, nearly lifting Tara and Lily off the floor. The pace of the chant had by now doubled. The rumblings of the dragons had become a roar.
There was a bright flash, and everything went pitch black, and everyone fell silent.
After some minutes, Green Druid asked "does anybody smell something burning?"
Selene switched her pumpkin medallion on, and there, in the center of the floor, where Tara and Lily had sat, was a large, charred hole.
HOW MANY TIMES I TELL YER NO MAGIC IN DE PUB, screeched Gladys, her hair still smoking,
AND WHICH OF YOUS GOIN' PAY TO FIX MY FLOOR?
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 00:31
Dair Ciúin peered into the hole through the floorboards, but could see nothing but darkness below. The patrons of Ye Foggy Duck knew all too well what lies beneath the floor... the mysterious Merlyn's Basement Bar. Those who enter seldom return, and those few who do return usually stink of mead and motorcycle fuel for weeks.
"Do we dare journey down there?" Dair Ciúin nervously asked.
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 01:07
Things were going badly for Lorraine. She had planned to interrogate the crow while the rest of the pub were occupied watching the trance, but a gaping hole in the floor had appeared, just as Lorraine was about to climb up to the rafters. Now Crow had flown down, and was trying to push into the crowd which was forming around the crater. She thought to follow Crow, but in her hurry to pursue him she collided with a pub landlady whose anger had not even begun to peak.
Gladys had noticed something different about Lorraine earlier that evening. At first she thought she was wearing a particularly badly-made hand-sewn tabard, with the back missing. Now she was closer, the ogress recognised Lorraine's apron as a garment that people might normally wear while cooking, even though it was only slightly stained with jam, not encrusted with all the detritus from the bottom of a witches cauldron, as her own one would have been.
'OI! YOU! IF YOU CAN'T PAY FOR DAT HOLE, YOU'LL PAY IN SWEAT! GET IN DAT KITCHEN AND START COOKIN'!
Lorraine had heard that Gladys was perpetually short on kitchen staff. The Duck had a fast staff turnover, usually due to food poisoning, or just plain poisoning. It occured to her that the kitchens might serve as an alternative route into the basement... but no. It was a place she would not dare to go. She shuddered at the thought of what she might discover, were she ever to step into the dank, gloomy halls of the kitchen.
Lorraine needed an excuse, fast. She would tell Gladys she was terrible at cooking. Just as she opened her mouth, she realised her mistake. A bad cook would be just what Gladys was looking for.
"I'm an... excellent cook, actually. My B&B has been recommended for a michelin star. We could turn this place into a nice gastropub!" There, that would put Gladys off.
She couldn't have been more wrong. "B&B? WOT B&B? HANG ON, WHAT'S DIS!" A hairy green claw pointed at the rather tasteful B&B logo on the apron. "YOUR ADVERTISING A RIVAL ESTABLISHMENT!!!"
"It's all right, I don't run a pub. It's only a B&B, so it doesn't compete with you in any way," Lorraine said nervously.
"AND WOT DO YOU THINK DIS IS?" Gladys waved around the room. It was true that a few druids seemed to sleep here. On the floor, when they'd had one too many. Or were they just suffering the ill effects of the food? "WELL YOUR NOT WORKING DERE NOW, YOU WORK FOR ME!"
So that was how she stayed in business, Lorraine thought. It wasn't just the bizarre selection of drinks, or the lock-ins, or the fact that it was the only establishment for miles which served drinks to thirsty dragons. Gladys killed off the competition.
As the ogress dragged her away, still protesting, Glady's thudding footsteps made the floorboards creak even more, floorboards which were already under an intolerable strain due to the crowd of druids clustered around the edge of the hole. Floorboards which were peppered with a thousand stiletto-heel dents made by Beith. The floor collapsed with a resounding crash. If anyone had planned on staying out of the basement, they didn't have much choice now.
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 01:57
"Our bikes!" screamed GD as she tumbled into the basement after everybody else. "We need our bikes for transportation. How will we get anywhere all on foot all walking at different speeds?"
GreenEyes shifted in her pocket and suddenly there was a great clattering sound and a bunch of bikes came flying down the hole in the floor...
"Look out!" screamed GD. "The bikes are coming!"
Various loud bangs and thuds told her that not everybody escaped in time from the falling transportation.
"You hurt my wing!" screamed Crow in agony from where he lay crumpled under a huge red bike.
Quickly several people pulled the bike off of him and an ovate helped heal him for his wing was only bruised.
"Ok, let's all get on our bikes and get moving," said Selene, taking charge before things could get crazy.
"I'm not riding on one of those," said Crow. "I am a bird, I fly everywhere!"
"Crow," said Selene. "There's no reason you can't learn to ride a bike."
Crow mumbled angrily under his breath but got on a black bike that matched the colour of his feathers.
"Who's gonna drive mine?" asked GD.
"That darn kitten can drive yours," growled Crow. "She's the one who brought all these dumb bikes falling down on top of us."
"I don't follow your logic," said GD. "Why should GreenEyes drive, she's only a kitten. She can't even reach the handle bars from the seat."
"I'll drive," offered Kat.
"Or me," said MC.
"Me," said Saille.
A bunch more people offered to drive GD.
"Apparently I am popular," said GD. "Let's take turns. Kat, since you asked first, you start."
Kat jumped on the bike and GD behind her. The biked swayed dangerously and GD was very afraid...
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 02:16
Selene stared at Kat Lady on the bike, mouth wide in awe. Kat Lady riding a bike? Did hell just freeze over? Her eyes narrowed and she stared at her friend. Something just didn’t seem right. Sure, the jammies were loud and obnoxious. Sure, she looked funny with her paws on the handlebars with no thumb to ring the bell. But it was more than that. She looked closely. “Hmmmmm….Where is your famous 007 collar, Kat?”
“Oh! I left it at home,” was the nonchalant reply as Kat Lady put her feet on the peddles of the red bike.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Just hold on here,” Dair Ciúin replied to Kat’s response. He had overheard the conversation with those wonderful Elven ears of his. “X3 returned the famous 007 Kat collar before Snarg dropped us here. By the way, where is Snarg?”
Kat looked at Dair Ciúin and laughed a maniacal laugh and peddled away as quickly as her paws could carry her with the now panicked Green Druid and her trusty kitten, Kitten, sitting behind her.
Meanwhile, at Stonehenge Snarg was serving waffles to the now hungry hamsters and a famished Rancid who growled in between snarfing his food, “Woof! Tell me about those doppelgangers …woof, snarf…”
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 15:56
Wooooof!!! what happened???? It's dark in here! I think I fell - or was that the after effect of the Skeptical Druid messing in my head? Merlyn had something to do with that.......
uuffff - I smell the Crow down here too!
OK - as a German Shepherd I can jump!!! wheeeee - there! I'm out of that dark place. Why are those silly humans all staying down there?
(whoosh of black as Crow flies past Tara - who snaps at air and misses him again!@#$$)
OK back to business. I had the scent. ... (sniffing)..... there it is! it's Rancid!
Rancid! my hero! you saved the hamsters, you didn't kidnap them! what's that? WHO did you save them from?????
I'll have to try harder....... I"m off on the trail..... I"ll sniff this out yet! we GS are determined and dedicated!
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 16:04
Tara found herself somehow transported to a place with many big stones - really, too big to play with! she looked around.....
and there was her hero, Rancid! he was standing guard over a large basket, and Tara saw a happy hamster with Rancid.....
Tara had found Rancid, Mytrle, and the missing hamster babies!!!!
Dogged determination and dedication win again! Tara settled down contentedly next to Rancid......
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 17:34
The KatLady who was not really KatLady grinned to herself as she speeded up the green bike turned red by her magic to confuse people.
She laughed to herself, for the real KatLady was locked away somewhere having been captured. She wished she hadn't forgotten to steel the 007 collar, but she hadn't thought to change her eye patterns so the scanner hadn't recognized her and the collar it gave her had been a fake.
She grinned wickedly as GD screamed in terror behind her. GD had good reason to be afraid, the bike was about to crash into a bend in the tunnel.
"Look out, Kat!" screamed Saille in alarm as the bike flew toward the wall. "You'll crash!"
Kitten trembled with fear in GD's pocket and GD knew something was wrong...too late!
CLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG! KATHUD! The out of control bike slammed into the wall and Kat lept clear but GD was not so lucky. The beautiful bike fell over, alternately flashing red and green. "Stop!" screamed GD. "Go! Stop! Red green, red green, red green!"
"RedDruid!" shouted the Kat. "You are red druid. RD!"
Suddenly GD felt the telepathic link to Kitten terminated. Her Kitten's magic was useless now. The pretend KatLady had just made her useless and she was no longer any help to the group.
"Are you ok?" asked Saille fearfully.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" screamed RD.
She felt an overwhelming urge to ally herself with the pretend KatLady.
"The name of her bike is different," said Explorer quietly, staring in superstitious dread at the bike. "Now it says the scary bike."
Posted: 21 Aug 2005, 22:12
Pigeons, even those of the giant mutant variety, have limits to their stamina, and after a day and a night spent circling above the English countryside, Billy Joe Bob sensed that Merle was beginning to tire.
Calling over his shoulder to his grandmother who was sitting behind him, the Texan said, “Do ye reckon it’s safe to land yet, Granny? Merle’s havin’ a heap o’ trouble keepin’ altitude, and I figger he’s about plum tuckered out.”
“I don’t know if it’s safe yet, Billy Joe Bob, but as you say, Merle certainly must be tired, and however long it’s been, it must by necessity be long enough. If Merle can glide that far, see if he will set us down somewhere in a copse within walking distance to Stonehenge. And if at all possible, make sure that we’re unobserved.”
“Alright, Granny, I reckon Merle’s got that much left in him, but how in tarnation do ye know that there’s a corpse there, and how are we gonna climb in it anyhow? But I’m total with ye on the unobserved part; I don’t want nuthin’ to do with climbin’ inside no dead bodies, but if ye say I got to do it, well then I reckon’ I’ll give her a try, but I shore don’t want nobody watchin’, if I kin hep it.”
“No, son, not a corpse, a copse … oh never mind, forget about that, just find us some trees.”
Unseen with her grandson’s back to her, Esther Fodd shook her head sadly. What a nice young man her grandson was, she thought, but no Rhodes Scholar he.
As Merle glided lower and broke through the clouds, Esther leaned her head to the right to peer over Billy Joe Bob’s shoulder. Her bonnet flapping in the wind, she saw Stonehenge looming up ahead, and she saw that Billy Joe Bob was tugging on Merle’s reins, gently guiding the giant avian toward some trees that Esther estimated was about a mile from the stone circle.
The landing was uneventful, and Esther and Billy Joe Bob jumped off the exhausted Merle, who immediately went to sleep, supremely confident that no wild creature would dare tangle with him.
“What now, Granny?” asked the cowboy.
Esther’s time aboard Merle had not been wasted; the old woman had planned her next move well, but first she decided to wait a little while to make sure their arrival here had been unobserved. After all, she thought ruefully, it was kind of hard to miss a giant pigeon carrying a cowboy and an old woman in long skirts, but still, she had reason to hope. She had to admit that Billy Joe Bob had done a good job of staying away from roads and houses.
Thinking back over the events of the last 36 hours, Esther regretted that it had been necessary to throw suspicion on Crow, and she knew that people would think it was because the black-hearted old bird had once said she had lye soap running through her veins. But revenge wasn’t in Esther Fodd’s lexicon. No, it had simply been a means to an end, and if Lorraine was just half as sharp as Esther thought she was, then she would have spotted the clues she’d left in her room.
Doppelgangers, she thought; horrid, undead creatures that mimicked a living person. Back home in the mountains of West Virginia, Esther had sensed the presence of doppelgangers lurking in the woods near her home, and she had set out to track them. The trail led through the woods and eventually to the sea. Esther knew that the doppelgangers were bound for England, from which her ancestors had come long, long ago.
Hurrying back to Charleston, she paid top dollar for the next flight across the ocean, quickly picking up the trail and tracking the doppelgangers to the Foggy Downs District. The trail led to The Foggy Duck, and Esther went inside and ordered a mint julep from the ogress behind the bar. It was the middle of the afternoon, and the pub was mostly empty, but in a booth on the other side of the room she spied a cat sitting there, nursing a tumbler of gin. The cat looked like Kat Lady, whom Esther had had the good fortune to meet at a Beltane celebration a year or so ago. But Kat Lady, she knew, could not be in England, because she had spoken to her by telephone just a few days ago, and Kat Lady had lamented about her son, little Kat Storm, who was attending graduate school; Esther knew that Kat Lady didn’t have the money to travel. And so here, here was the doppelganger that she’d tracked so far. Esther strained to see who else was in the booth, but the high back of the booth concealed that identity.
What to do? She was an old woman, a stranger in a strange town. She knew that if she went around screaming about doppelgangers she’d likely be committed to the nearest mental institution and then, as quickly as possible, sent back stateside wearing a straitjacket. She had to be cleverer than that.
Seeing a large dog behind the bar, Esther whistled and the brute ambled to her side. Being adept with animals and their languages, she whispered into his ear. Rancid – for it was none other than he – growled low in his throat when Esther had completed her message to him; he ran to obey.
Now she had an ally. But it was still just her and a dog against a world that was all too willing to assume that an old person is senile, and a dog is just a dog. She left the bar and found lodging at Lorraine’s Wayward Druid Bed & Breakfast, still pondering what her next step would be.
That night she sent an urgent telegram to her grandson, Billy Joe Bob, telling him to travel to England with all haste. After sending the telegram, she sat with Lorraine in the parlor and drank tea, silently taking the measure of her hostess.
Although clearly hopeless at growing hibiscus plants, Esther saw Lorraine as a very sharp, very astute woman. She would bank on this woman’s curiosity and powers of observation.
That night while the rest of the house slept, Esther went out her second-story window and shinnied down a drain pipe. Crow feathers she already had in her crane bag, but she needed a couple of other items. Finding an all-night department store on the edge of the Foggy Downs District, she purchased a spiked dog collar and a cowboy hat. She returned to her room as the sky was lightening in the east. She made up her bed with the usual hospital corners, and then left the cowboy hat, the dog collar and the feathers where they’d be easily spotted.
She ate the delicious breakfast that Lorraine provided and then went outside. She didn’t have long to wait. She saw a hamster careening toward her on a miniature Harley Davidson motorcycle. The hamster crashed into the pathetic hibiscus, righted himself and sped on. Good! It could mean only one thing: Rancid was doing her bidding.
Now it all depended on Lorraine. Esther had heard the rumors. Billy Joe Bob had told her, laughingly, about how some people had the strange notion that he, Crow, Esther and Rancid were the same person. Utterly ridiculous, of course, but the rumors had given Esther an idea. If somehow she could plant the idea of multiple identities – just stir the pot a little – then Lorraine might begin to think in those terms, and she might repeat her suspicions to others, and they then might be predisposed to believe the horrible truth about doppelgangers.
“Lookit, Granny!” whispered Billy Joe Bob, breaking Esther’s reverie. “It’s a whole passel of folks on bicycles, and they’re headed for Stonehenge. You was right about what you was sayin’ last night. There really is a heap o’ folks showin’ up there. But I still don’t cotton to what you was sayin’ about all them hamsters.”
“Never you mind about that now, Billy Joe Bob,” said Esther Fodd. “Follow me!”
Esther crept out from the trees, making her way toward the stone circle. If Rancid and the hamsters were where they were supposed to be, then everything would soon be coming to a head, just as she’d planned. Yes, the fat would soon be in the fire. She wondered what would happen next …
Posted: 22 Aug 2005, 01:47
Wilmer jumped off of TaraWoof with a "Woot!" as he saw his beloved Myrtle. He knew that if anyone could find his lovey it was the wonderful Tara, the kindest most gentlest dog that ever lived!
Myrtle squealed in delight and ran to her beloved throwing her little hamster arms around him and covering him with hamster kisses.
Rancid looked on in disgust at the sight and then turned his head to see a giant pigeon being led by non other than Billy Joe Bob and Esther Fodd. He growled a greeting and turned to tell the two lovey-dovey hamsters to cool it because company was coming just in time to hear, "Uh oh! It's time!" For the first time in his doggy existence he was afraid, as every male is when they hear those words from a female about to deliver a baby...
Posted: 22 Aug 2005, 02:03
Meanwhile, there was still at least one straggler trying to join the chase.
Lorraine crawled out from under a stunned ogress, just as the Kat and the Red Druid sped away into the tunnel. Lorraine noticed the colour change, but was that so unusual in the Foggy Downs, an area where people changed their names twice, often three times a day because they were in a new phase of their life? It played havoc with her B&B bookings, that was for sure. The Kat seemed a little more excitable than usual, as if she'd been drinking too many double espressos laced with with catnip syrup... but Lorraine would have to think about that on her way. She ran towards the bikes, just pausing to take a quick glance back at Gladys, who was snoring quite contentedly now.
Lorraine cycled slowly uphill, leaning over the handlebars. Puff, puff, puff. If only motorbikes had materialized, instead! A full English breakfast followed by a sampling of several of the Foggy's dubious cocktails wasn't the best idea before taking this amount of exercise. She hoped the gradient would level out soon. She looked up and saw that a large green figure was blocking the tunnel in front of her. Oh no. Could she get past? No hope.
"Oh, hello Lorraine!" Gladys said.
Lorraine wondered if her hearing had been slightly impaired by the fall. Gladys didn't seem to be shouting.
"I can see you're in a hurry, but before you go, I just wanted to apologise for being a little brusque with you earlier."
Lorraine gulped. Now she was wondering if she'd sustained a bump on the head. Gladys was being polite!
The ogress talked on. "It's lovely to see new businesses starting up in this area. I don't even mind that unfortunate incident with the floor. My pub has been need of renovation for quite some time. Isn't it wonderful how an apparent setback can be a positive opportunity for change?" Gladys tilted her head, and smiled. "Incidentally, how would you like to work as a consultant when I update my menu and wine list? I will pay you very generously, of course, and give you full credit for your contribution."
Lorraine's mouth was wide open by now. Her astonishment wasn't just down to the unlikely words that were coming out of Gladys's mouth. It was the way Gladys appeared. Her skin still glowed in that faintly sinister shade of green, but she looked like a well-groomed, even handsome, ogress in her prime. As if she had applied some mysterious ogress's anti-ageing cream, incorporating nanotechnology so sophisticated that it not only reduced the seven signs of ageing, it could alter her thought processes.
Lorraine forced her mouth into a shape where she could speak. "I'll just give you my number,..I'm sure I have a B&B leaflet to hand." She pretended to search her apron pockets, her hands trembling so much that she accidentally dropped her tree ID guide and her 'emergency' bar of chocolate. Quite by accident, she glanced back down the tunnel towards the basement. She blinked. She was sure she could see the prone shape of Gladys, in the same place where she had left her. Was the semi-darkness playing tricks with her eyes? Was she looking at Gladys, or a heap of broken floorboards, or a pile of druid robes stained with mud and motorcycle fuel?
"Lorraine?" The pleasant voice was now sounding decidedly sinister. Lorraine wanted the old Gladys back. The real Gladys. At least you knew where you were with her.
"I can't find the leaflet, Gladys, but I promise I'll call you. Tomorrow!"
As Lorraine pedalled away to freedom, she was sure she heard maniacal laughter, which chilled her to the core. Something was wrong. Very wrong indeed. And the acoustics of the tunnel were such that she couldn't tell if the sound was behind her, or ahead of her...
Posted: 22 Aug 2005, 02:29
Esther Fodd and Billy Joe Bob arrived at the scene just in time. Esther took control, of course, and said, "Snarg, dear. Did you bring your Medic's kit with you?" Snarg pulled out his medic's kit and handed it to the Grandmother. "Now, dear, some hot water please?"
Stepping away from the others, he quickly heated up the water (he is a dragon after all) to the point of boiling and brought it back Esther in time to hear her say, "Push!"
Back at the tunnel, Lorraine peddled as fast as her legs could pedaled in attempt to leave the maniacal Gladys behind. She looked behind her and missed a dip in the cave floor. Soon she found herself flying head first over the handlebars. She put her hands in front of her to brace herself for the inevitable hard contact with the floor. Instead, she found herself landing on top of something soft, something furry and heard a purrrrr. Regaining her senses, she tentatively started groping in the dark and found what felt like a belt or a collar when a thin, metallic voice said, "Halt! Who dares to touch the famous 007 Kat Collar?"
"Registering....Welcome, Kat. What is your order?"
Lorraine thought that was very strange but said, "Um....Light?"
X3 obeyed the command and a dim light appeared around the collar, illuminating Kat Lady and Selene, both bound and gagged.
"Kat! Selene! Am I glad to see you!" Lorraine quickly ungagged the administrator and Kat. When they seemed to have gained their composure she asked, "What is going on?"
Posted: 22 Aug 2005, 04:45
GD or was it RD was very afraid. She knew something was wrong but she couldn't stop babbling strange words. Well, they weren't exactly strange, but they were strange at the same time.
She was speaking Dutch, or rather, trying to speak it, only her words came out the way her computer would say them.
"RD," somebody asked, she didn't recognize the voice. "What are you saying?"
"I don't know!" RD screamed, but instead of clear English more mangled words came from her suddenly sore throat.
"I can't understand you," the voice repeated. "It's MoonCloud. Are you ok, GD?"
"No," she said and it came out as "nee".
"She said no," said everybody else, staring in confusion at GD/RD. "That bicycle crash must have hurt her more than physically."
"I'm not hurt," GD tried to say but could not.
"How can we help you, GD?" asked MC.
GD didn't answer, knowing her rebelious tongue would not speak sensibly. She had been reduced to mangling a language she considered to be rather beautiful. It was funny when her computer mangled it, but not when she did. Her mind remained clear, but her tongue seemed locked on mangled-Dutch.
Meanwhile Lorraine was standing over the captured Kat and Selene. "Are you two all right?" she started to ask when suddenly she felt her head spinning and a high buzzing sound seemed to pierce her very being. She collapsed, and saw no more.
The "Lorraine" tied her up with the admin and Kat and went on with Lorraine's bike, grinning in triumph.
"Lorraine" arrived at all the bikes to hear GD/RD trying to speak. She heard RD mumbling "The g, gotta get that g..."
"What g?" she asked.
"Gotta pronounce the g," said GD frantically. "My life depends on g."
"Lorraine," somebody whispered to the fake Lorraine. "GD has gone slightly mad. She knows not what she says. Please ignore her."
"Who's talking about me?!" GD tried to ask but again her language was not the right one.
"Lorraine" grinned wickedly but nobody saw.
Way back in the tunnel the captured Kat heard poor GD trying to speak and felt very sad. The poor girl didn't deserve such a thing to happen to her. Kat was positive the bike crash was not the cause of GD's "madness". She tried to send a telepathic wave to Barmybam to let her know that the real Kat was not the one on the bike. She felt a distant response, then silence. The "kat" had sensed her and was jamming her signal.
Barmybam heard Kat's call and knew something was wrong, but not what...
(I love this pubcrawl, I actually felt afraid when Lorraine looked back and saw Gladys. lol)
Posted: 22 Aug 2005, 13:54
Barmybam, being the adopted daughter of Kat-L, knew that there was something not quite right with her. She had been acting out of sort sinse the hole had appeared in the floor of the pub...barmybam also realised that Kat-L should've had her colar as several minutes before they entered the basement she had asked x3 to send it over to her which had taken no more than two minutes... Kat-L had an imposter.