Remember the Audience

Warrior, Woman, Sword, Wild, Beauty, Blonde, Girl
Pixabay

The tension was high as the party entered the enclosure.  It was then that Julie caught sight of a Goblin waiting in ambush in a side corridor.  She drew her sword which immediately began to radiate with a soft blue glow. She then stepped into a small recess to engage the fiend.

As she did a huge icosahedron rolled across her pathway, unbalancing her.  “Shit,” she shouted in shock and exasperation.  “What in the hell was that?”

Her comrades looked on in disbelief, until Ted, the wizard,  finally said, “Um – Jules, I think you might have forgotten that this blog is a PG forum, and that you might need to rein in your explicatives a bit.”

“Yeah, Julie,” Tina interjected.  “It was only a d20.” 

“The Goblin got a Nat 20 on initiative,” Brian the DM said.  “What do you plan on doing next?  And whatever it is, roll with disadvantage for your potty-mouth.”

 


Padre

 

The Island Getaway (Part 3)

Beach, Island, Palm Trees, Nature, Ocean

Pixabay

The Island Getaway

Teresa Grabs wrote:

As soon as Liam read the advertisement, he knew the place was for him. Three-story newly renovated home on private island in the middle of Hidden Hollow Lake. Owner motivated to sell.

“I will have it!” He scanned the ad for a contact number and phoned it immediately. To his surprise, the agent said the house was his as soon as she answered the phone. “What do you mean the house is mine? I haven’t even made an offer yet.”

She laughed. “Mr. Owens, I have been instructed to sell the home to the first person who called, and today is your lucky day. I can meet you on the pier in an hour with your keys.”

“Oh… okay… yeah! Today really is my lucky day, isn’t it?”

Liam rushed around his tiny apartment, threw a few items into a backpack, and caught the train to the pier. Halfway expecting this to be a scam, he was gobsmacked when a professional-looking woman approached him, smiling.

“Mr. Owens, I presume?”

“Um, yeah, that’s me.”

“Good. Sign here, please, and I can release your keys to you.”

His hand shook with anticipation as he scratched his name on the form.

“And here are your keys. That man will take you to the island,” she said, pointing to a man in a small row boat. “Thank you for your business.”

He watched as she walked toward the parking lot and disappeared into the crowd. “How’d she know my name?”

“You ready?” the boatman called.

“Oh, yeah. Sorry.” He climbed into the row boat and took in the beautiful scenery before him, forgetting all about the sales agent. “This is really pretty, isn’t it?”

The man didn’t respond.

“Ok.” Liam sat in silence until the island came into view. It looked exactly as it had in the advertisement. He rubbed his eyes and pinched himself, convinced it was a dream.

“Get out here,” the boatman said, sternly as they reached the shore.

“Well, thanks, I guess.” Liam stepped out into knee-deep water and shivered as it soaked his pants. “How do I get back?” he asked as the boatman pushed away from the shore.

“There’s a flare in the house should you need it,” he called back, shaking his head.

Liam turned around and saw …

Msjadeli wrote:

…first that a lush forest started directly behind the house and traveled the length of the island. Tropical birds were screeching and flying from branch to branch, their feathers glinting red, yellow, and green in the sun’s ample beams.

That’s funny, this isn’t a tropical location. What happens to the birds in when winter comes?

Liam walked the hundred yards from the water’s edge to the front of the house. He had been impressed with it in the photos and as they approached the island, but up close he saw that the home had the appearance of being vacant for a long time. Mildew had settled into the corners of the windows. There were wet leaves layered on the porch that were disintegrating. There were cobwebs covering the front door. Curiously though, there were what looked like large dog footprints that had worn a path around the front of the house and carried on towards the back of the house.

Liam walked up the leaf-sodden steps to the front door and pulled out the keys. Neither of the keys worked in the lock! He decided to walk around back to see if they’d work on the other door. As he got to the back, he noticed right away that a well-worn path led into the forest/jungle. Like the front, large dog-like prints littered the path.

Liam sighed in relief when the back door opened to one of the keys. He stepped into a stately home that must have cost a fortune to build out here on the island back in its day. Each room spared no expense. The kitchen had marble counters and ceramic floors. The dining room had a heavy oak table with 14 heavy chairs and regressed cupboards. The living room was big enough for large parties, where the centerpiece was a massive stone fireplace.

Over the mantelpiece, high on the stones, was a trophy head of a wolf.

I’m no wildlife expert but that wolf head is three times as large as a normal wolf’s head!

The sun was sitting lower in the sky, throwing shadows inside. Liam tried the light switch, but no power.

That’s right, I need to go turn the generator on in the basement.

Using the substantial oak staircase leading to the basement, he needed his flashlight which he pulled from his knapsack. Within minutes the generator was chugging and he flicked the basement light on. Looking around down there he saw a heavy iron door with a substantial lock on it.

I wonder if that’s what this other key is for?

Liam tried the key in the door, and it clicked. Pulling the heavy door took some strength. Looking in, a shiver ran up Liam’s spine. What he saw with his flashlight looked like the entrance to an underground passage of a cave that had been blasted or carved out of the granite. Liam could hear water echoing in the cave. Then he heard another sound. . . .

My Part:

At first he couldn’t quite make it out, but then as his ear adjusted to the echo of the granite passage it became clear.  It was the melodic singing of a woman.  It was husky, but somehow hypnotically alluring.  Almost involuntarily, he moved towards the voice.

The passage was a bit longer than he had anticipated, and took two unexpected turns making his ability to calculate his position in relation to the island almost impossible.  Was he still even “on” the island or was he under the lake?  The dripping after the first turn suggested the latter, but he was unsure.

Night had fallen before he reached what could only be describe as a subterranean portico.  As he approached the porch-way, his flashlight flitted across what seemed in gloom to be the nude figure of a middle aged woman, but when he focused the beam back on the spot where he had seen the apparition, there was nothing there.  Then there was a definite movement which he caught in his peripheral vision.  Something large, and dark shot into the forest beyond.

“What the f —,” he said aloud, jumping back against the passageway wall.  After steeling himself, he shot his light towards the cave mouth to the trees beyond.  Well, at least I’m still on the island, he mused trying to give himself some consolation.

Once he was sure that nothing was going to come in from the outside he began to systematically examine the porch.  There was a fair amount of tracked-in dirt on the floor, but it was clear that the surface underneath was tiled.  There was a marble bench and a matching marble table – on which there was a framed black and white photo of a young well-to-do looking couple dressed in a style popular just after the Second World War.

His light then fell on a small pile of neatly folded woman’s clothing placed carefully on the corner of the bench.  Under the seat was a pair of elegant shoes, which seemed to placed with similar care.  He stooped to examine the shoes, and as he did his flashlight illuminated not only small human footprints in the layer of dirt, but more of the huge dog prints almost everywhere in the chamber.

He nearly jumped out of his skin when one of the tropical birds called out in the night.  It was then that he saw . . .

Padre

 

Teresa Grabs is the host of Finish The Story.  She tagged msjadeli, who in turn has picked me to write a chapter.

I’m tagging Joanne the Geek to continue/finish the story.   I hope she will take up the challenge, as I love her twists in the tale.

Rules:

  1. post the story as you receive it
  2. add to the story (or finish it, up to the writer)
  3. tag another person to continue the story (unless you finished it)
  4. Have fun!

 

Part 1 Teresa Grabs

Part 2 Tao Talk

Finish the Story: The Locomotive Part Five

Teresa’s bit:

Every summer since Charlie turned six was spent on Grandpa’s Iowa farm. Charlie loved to run through the fields chasing butterflies and spent his nights laying on the cool grass, watching the fireflies and Milky Way. Life was perfect until the train arrived.

“I don’t believe it,” Grandpa said, shaking his head. “Are you sure?”

Frank, a family friend from the other side of town, nodded. “Saw it myself two nights ago out by Cooper’s Ridge.”

Grandpa pulled his old handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his brow. “What are we going to do? We can’t let it happen again. Charlie… I can’t… I won’t.”

“What’s the matter, Grandpa?” Charlie walked into the kitchen when he heard his name.

Grandpa’s face turned white as he grabbed Charlie by the shoulders and shook him. “Don’t you ever get on that train. You hear me, boy? No matter what he says, or what you see happening inside, you never get on that train.”

Charlie was terrified by Grandpa’s expression and could only muster a whimper.

“I’m going to let you go,” Grandpa said, hugging Charlie as tears streamed down his face. “He’s not going to get another one.”

Later that night, as Charlie laid in bed and imagined the mysterious train that had terrified his Grandpa, he heard a whistle in the distance. Slipping on his shoes and bathrobe, Charlie stood at his window and watched as a train appeared through the night’s mist and blew its whistle again. Charlie rubbed his eyes and gulped.

“Wow.”

“You get out of here,” Grandpa shouted as he ran out the front door carrying his rifle. He fired twice and screamed at the train. “You can’t have him! You can’t!”

A well-dressed man stepped into the doorway of the train, looked at Charlie in the window, and said, …

Fandango’s bit

“Boy, you come over here. Don’t make me come and get you, Charlie.”

Charlie was conflicted. He remembered his Grandpa’s warning to him to never get on that train. But the man calling out to him looked so dapper and debonair, just like those men in the fancy magazines his mother would look at back at home. And inside the train he saw other kids playing and partying, having what seemed like a lot of fun. And where was Grandpa?

“Charlie,” the man called out once again. “It’s time to go. You need to come out here and join us on the train before we leave for the next stop.”

“I need to get dressed,” Charlie called out to the man, stalling for time as he tried to figure out what to do.

“No, come as you are, Charlie, you’re fine,” the man called out. “Your Grandpa is already on board, and we have new clothes for you here.”

Charlie grabbed his stuffed teddy bear and slowly walked out of the house and approached the train. The well-dressed man had a broad, welcoming smile on his face and held out a hand of encouragement to Charlie as he neared the train.

“Come on, boy,” the man said, his hand still reaching out to Charlie. Charlie was still hesitant as he thought about Grandpa’s warning, but he couldn’t resist the draw of the man and the train. Charlie reached up and grabbed the man’s hand and was gently assisted onto the train.

“Welcome to the Soul Train, Charlie,” the man said. “Go inside and meet the other children.”

“Where’s Grandpa? Where does this train go?” Charlie asked.

“Relax, Charlie,” the man said, his smile now appearing more sinister than welcoming. “We’re headed straight to ….”

Michael’s bit:

Boomtown where all your dreams will come true.”

Charlie thought that sounded a good idea and looking around found himself in a small room in which there was a tiny window that looked down the corridor of the carriage he was in.

He expected to see the many children he saw when he was being lured to the train, but instead, there was no one apart from the scurrying of a few rats.

Then unexpectedly a rat’s face appeared at the window he was looking through, and he stepped back in fright.

The rat looked at him and shook its head as if disapproving. Charlie found himself against the far wall of the small room as the rat continued to gaze at him.

Then to his amazement, his body shrank down to the floor. His nose grew, his body was wracked by a momentary shudder as a tail grew out of his rear end, and he realised he too had been turned into a rat.

The man responsible for luring him onto the train reappeared at the same time the train gave a jerk and moved along its invisible tracks.

Charlie looked up to see the man standing over him a pleased look on his face as he opened the door of the room and beckoned for Charlie to go through into a room filled it appeared with rats similar to himself.

“Good boy Charlie,” he heard the man say, “you will all come in handy when we…

Crispina’s bit .…

“…thread the labyrinth.”

Charlie looked up with questioning eyes.

“The labyrinth,” the man said as if Charlie should know what that meant. “The labyrinth … you’ve had your short life to learn how to thread it. Ah, don’t remember?”

No, Charlie did not remember, and he was sure that he would.

“Done in your sleep,” the man explained. “Done in your dreams.”

But wasn’t this a dream now? It couldn’t be real. And he wasn’t alone in his confusion. Thousands of sniffing rats all scurrying and turning in circles.

The rattle-chunt of the train changed; became sharper and developed an echo.

“Ah,” the man said, “we’re into the mountain won’t be long now.”

But on and on that train rattled along. And Charlie grew tired. And sleepy.

He woke with a start.

“Labyrinth Station. Labyrinth Station. All rats disembark,” boomed a voice that seemed to thrum in the air.

A door opened, the rats streamed out, Charlie amongst them. But where was he? Everywhere, all around him, everywhere so bright …

My portion:

. . . . almost blinding.  Yet despite the brightness, there was something cold and “shadowy” about the place.

The well dressed man from the train stood before the “rat” children.  He had changed, not in a blatant way, but he too seemed darker – more imposing.  Two other men appeared from the interior of the train and produced heavy hard bristled brooms and began to force the children towards the entrance of a maze of some sort.  The walls were angular and seemed to produce the brightness from themselves.  This made the gaps and passages of the labyrinth difficult to distinguish.

“Okay, my little rats,” the man said in a mocking tone.  Some of you will find your way through my little test.  There are two ways out.  The first will take you home to you “Mommy” the other will take you to my Boomtown.  A place of fun and enjoyment for me and mine.  Are you worthy of me?”

At this the broom-men sniggered, as if the “Prince of Air,” had said something funny.

Charlie could see no humor in it.  He had been tempted by the exciting prospect of a journey on the Soul Train with happy playing children, and even of the idea of “living it big” in Boomtown.  But now all he wanted was to go home to his Grandfather.

Just then the broom bearers started to force the rats into the labyrinth.  There seemed to be the inviting sound of party music and brighter light in some directions.  Many of the children began to instinctively head in those directions.

Charlie was unsure.  He and a two small sandy coloured rats stopped together at the first intersection.  Uncertain as to what to do, Charlie went in the other direction, and the small rats followed him.

As they began to move alone down the passageway a loud roar came from in front of them.  The small male rat immediately turned around and chased after the larger group of rats.

The young female stared after her brother for a moment, and then she followed Charlie.

As they turned a bend, instead of finding a beast waiting for them there was a basin of cold fresh water, and three archways.  Two were bright and blinding like in the first passage, the other had a more pleasant soothing light.

Pair drank the refreshing water, and then followed . . . .

 

I pass this on to msjadeli at Taotalk

Links with: Haunted Wordsmith

Fandango

Morpethroad

Crimson Prose

Padre