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Mango Trypping: Chapter 5

3 Jan

In association with Thank You For Your Thyme

Chapter 5 – The Cephalopod Tamer

In which a villainous lady and her fearsome gyrocoptopus woo a battered academic

Julian’s day was not going well. He had slept on his left arm strangely, and so it ached a bit near his elbow. There was no milk at breakfast, which ruled out cereal and white tea, and put him in a hungry and crabby mood. Then the Skysnail was attacked by an oversized, flying octopus and was sent tumbling from the sky to crash violently into the base of a mountain near a forest undoubtedly filled with countless ravenous beasts. To further ruin Julian’s day, he did not even regain consciousness in the wrecked airship, like Joseph did. He awoke on a large, soft couch in a huge chamber with stone walls and marble tiles. In front of the couch, a small table covered with a lace cloth was set for tea. A large window was set into the wall to Julian’s left, and sunlight was streaming in. Other than the light from the window, the chamber was dark, and a little chilly.

Julian stood up, ignoring the twinge in his elbow from where he slept on it strangely, and trying (and failing) to ignore the stabbing pain in his knee. Presumably, this knee pain was a by-product of the crash landing earlier. He gathered the thick blanket that had been tucked around him up, and slung it around his shoulders like a cape. That warmed him slightly. He decided to hobble to the window, partially for the warmth, and partially to ascertain where he was being housed. About halfway there, he realised he wasn’t wearing his glasses, which explained the fuzzy quality the chamber had. They must’ve been lost in the crash. He groaned, then started suddenly as he heard a voice from behind him.
“I can make you a new pair, darling. Yours were steel frames, no?”
Julian spun to face the speaker, and his mind seized up. Before him stood a tall, slender woman, dressed in a close-fitting and slightly shimmering red dress. Her hair was dark and long, with a straight fringe that fell into her eyes, hiding her expression. She was, without a doubt, the most lovely person Julian had ever set eyes on, in this world or the real one. He needed to reply with something smooth and suave…
“Uh…yeah.”
Damn.

Julian and the charming lady dressed in red had tea. Her name was Deidre, and she was intriguing for several reasons. Firstly, Julian had never met anyone else in this world who existed outside of it, Joseph being the obvious exception. This revealed to him that their source of Magnifera tryptamine was not the only one. Other people had found and discovered the properties of the strange fruit. Secondly, Deidre was a villain. She had entered the strange world of the fruit to wreak havoc and chaos, and it was on her command that the Skysnail was forcibly removed from the air. Molly, the gyrocoptopus, was Deidre’s friend and companion. Her acid-drenched tentacles and propellor propulsion were the invention of the lovely lady in red.
“Now tell me, dear, why you could not simply conjure a new pair of spectacles yourself.” Deidre said, stirring sugar into her tea lazily.
“I…I’m not very good with imagining things.” Julian replied sheepishly.
“I see. A man of facts and figures. Solid and tangible things.” Deidre smiled. To manipulate the world of a gomango trip, one needed to have a calm mind and a good imagination. Joseph was the creator of the world he and Julian lived in. He could summon wild and unusual daydreams and make them a reality. In this world, Julian was as useful as a chocolate kettle.

Deidre opened her mouth, as if to begin to speak, but then smiled and shook her head. Julian gave her a politely quizzical look.
“It’s nothing, really. I just had a brief…imagining.” Deidre’s smile changed slightly. She seemed more menacing now. “If you entered this world with a friend, for instance, he would imagine you some sort of power to ensure you were equal…Any decent person would do that.”
Julian frowned.
“At least, I would do that.” Deidre leant across the table and gently smoothed a blonde wave out of Julian’s eye. “I could be a friend.”

Joseph could conjure Julian pink underwear, but this woman could give him equality in this world ruled by the imaginative.
Julian made his choice.

Mango Trypping: Chapter 4

18 Dec

In association with Thank You for Your Thyme

Chapter 4 – Sneak Attack

In which the plot inevitably commences

“What was that…?” Captain Halloran was wide eyed, and spoke softly. The deep echo of the noise had faded, and everything was still and silent. The helmsman tapped the captain on the shoulder.
“I reckon you should see this, Cap’n.”
Joseph followed the man to the lower deck and saw it immediately. There was a hole the size of a beach ball in the iron hull. The rim of the hole was glowing white hot, molten iron dribbling down the side of the Skysnail. The crew had gathered, shaken by the thunderous crash that had hit the ship along with whatever had punched the hole.

“The starboard power wheel is down, Cap’n. The blast took out the main feeder.”
Joseph growled, furious, and scanned the sky for the attacker. There was nothing but clear, empty blue as far as he could see.
“Did anyone see where –” Captain Halloran’s question was cut short by another crash, bigger than the first. The Skysnail was tossed to one side. The two rear sails were suddenly aflame. The flame retardant envelope, thankfully, withstood the heat until the sails had dropped, like leaves curling up as they blazed. The smallest sail was ripped off intact by the blow, and tumbled lazily like a poorly made paper plane through the thick cloud, toward Earth. Four crew members followed, though their landings would not be as gentle.
Joseph was clinging to the metal guard rail on the now much higher port side of the deck. He saw Julian struggling to hold the door frame to the cabin.
“What’s happening!?” yelled Julian over the metallic wrenching and cacophony of shrill grating as pipes and cables twisted against each other.
“Someone wants us out of the sky!”Joseph yelled back.

A third blast punched through the deck, and this time, Joseph saw the projectile. Except, it wasn’t exactly a projectile. It was something long and writhing and as thick as a tree trunk. Joseph’s eyes widened as he watched the fleshy, pink tentacle wrap around one of the cables that joined the envelope to the hull. Julian yelled as a second tentacle scraped past him and plunged into the cabin, sending splinters and sparks flying. Thick slime dripped from the tentacle that was snaking deeper into the cabin, pools of the liquid settling on the deck.
“Oh, hell no…” Joseph whispered as the smell of burning metal washed over him. The slime was eating through the hull, like viscous acid.
“Don’t let it touch you!” he yelled to Julian, who had already torn off his coat and thrown it across the deck. It shrivelled up and thick smoke rose toward the envelope. The Skysnail rocked back; it was level again. Joseph took this as an opportunity to run to the gun deck and grab a blunderbuss. Julian was soon behind him.
“If that thing touches the envelope, we’re done.” He panted. “It’s fire-proof, but not acid proof.”

As he said this, at least four more tentacles suddenly appeared, looming over the deck. One grabbed another support cable, and began oozing acid along it. Two more tentacles swept the deck, as though they were searching for something. An unfortunate crew member was knocked over by the rubbery, pink assailant, and began to scream as the slime burnt his skin. Joseph fired into the tentacle nearest to him, but there was no effect. A drip of slime fell onto his shoulder and he immediately felt the burning. Tentatively, Joseph and Julian looked up, and saw the final tentacle wrapping around the envelope, tightening its embrace on the Skysnail. One support cable finally broke, and the hull swung sharply. The companions were thrown violently into the guard rail.

Then, the Skysnail began its rapid and destructive descent.

* * *

Peregrine heard a rustle in the canopy of his boiled lolly forest. A giant purple fan seemed to have alighted in the treetops.
What a kite! Lord Lamont thought gleefully.

Mango Trypping: Chapter 3

15 Dec

In association with Thank You For Your Thyme

Chapter 3 – Captain Halloran’s Magnificent Ship

In which Captain Halloran’s mode of transportation is described

Joseph Halloran was the captain of a stereotype, but one he loved. The Skysnail was an epic creation. The hull of iron, coated with a shimmering layer of Helionavitas, was covered with snaking cables and pipes. Several of these cables ran into the hearts of two huge, steel wheels, one on either side of the vessel. These wheels would spin slowly, making about one rotation every 24 hours, giving the ship its name. While the movement of the energy turbines was snail’s pace, the ship itself could approach supersonic speeds on sunny days. Joseph loved the irony of a metal snail moving almost as fast as sound. The Snail had four sails that opened like fans. They decreased in height and breadth from the back of the ship to the front, and glimmered violet and blue thanks to the Helionavitas threaded into the canvas. At night, the whole vessel glowed. Any mission requiring a level of stealth had to be carried out with the sails lowered and the hull covered with black, oiled canvas. One drawback in exchange for limitless fuel and a constant supply of hot water.

Every morning, Captain Halloran would order the two largest sails to be fanned out, charging the heavy mechanisms that would drive the vessel on its voyage that day. When maximum capacity was reached, the two large sails would be closed and withdrawn into the hull, and the two smaller ones opened. They provided a constant refilling of the power cells without the drag caused by the wider sails. The streamlined hull cut through the air, surging across the swell of clouds, following the warm currents that helped maintain altitude.

Captain Halloran would stand at the nose of his magnificent craft, flying goggles on and coat pulled tight against the chill of the mountain-top air. Julian often complained about the cold in the cabin, so Joseph imagined him a heavy, fur-lined jacket and some thermal underwear. Julian was grateful, but wished that the underwear didn’t have to be so pink.

Om nom nom

11 Dec

I think my excellent model will be pleased that this looks nothing like her.

Please note; eye makeup has been exaggerated drastically in the name of ART. Thanks to Sian for the poses.

The Precious…

10 Dec

Credits to Austin for the wide-eyed and mildly terrifying pose. Shame I couldn't capture the intensity...

Mango Trypping: Chapter 2

7 Dec

In association with Thank You For Your Time

Chapter 2 – Captain Halloran’s Magnificent Hair

In which Captain Halloran and his best friend are introduced

A cold wind flattened Captain Halloran’s fringe against his forehead. Both his hands were occupied, one holding the loose end of a thick metal cable, and the other wrapped tightly around the rigging. Blinded by his slightly-too-long brown hair, Captain Halloran’s only choice was to flick his head somewhat cinematically. He groaned as he realised how pretentious that would’ve looked to his crew, a good two thirds of which was standing below him, presumably looking up and snickering. Great, he thought. All I need now is a knife held between my teeth and a stirring soundtrack. Regaining composure, the Captain threaded the cable through a winch above his head, then rappelled down the mast, cable trailing behind him. His heavy boots hit the deck and the gathered crew cheered.

“That’s enough!” The Captain shouted over the sarcastic applause. “Enough of that cheek.” He turned, fastened the cable to a hook at the base of the mast, and pushed through the crew toward his quarters.

“And how long did it take you to do your hair this morning, oh Captain my Captain?” asked a slight, blonde, bespectacled observer.

“Shut it, Julian.” Captain Halloran grumbled, but he couldn’t really hide his smile.

Julian Walton was Joe’s library companion. The pair would set up camp in the university library. Joseph would spread himself across a soft lounge chair, boots propped up on the nearest desk. On the floor beside the lounge would lie a stack of dusty books, most picked on whims, subjects like geography, languages, history, sometimes astronomy. Joseph would sit so slouched that he could select a new book from his stack without stretching. Jules would sit straight-backed at a desk further away from the lounge, reading glasses perched on his small, straight nose. Joe could tell when his friend was particularly interested in what he was reading; Jules would lean over his book, rest his cheek on his hand, elbow propped on the desk, and run his other hand through his dark blonde hair. His eyes would widen behind his glasses and sometimes his lips would move as he mouthed what he was reading. Whenever this happened, Joe would rise from his chair, walk unnoticed toward his library companion, and pull whatever book it was that had Jules so fascinated right out from under his nose, usually met with little sounds of annoyance and snatches of mumbled phrases like ‘train of thought’ and ‘you wouldn’t understand it anyway’. Joe never understood what his friend read, heavy textbooks filled with equations and theories attempting to explain the universe.

“You have the brains,” Joe would say, falling back onto the lounge, “but I have the hair.”

Note to the reader:

This is my 42nd post ever. Just thought I should point that out. ^_^

Mango Trypping: Chapter 1

2 Dec

In association with Thank You For Your Thyme

Chapter 1 – Lord Peregrine’s Residence

In which we skip gaily into the near future and discover a few properties of Magnifera tryptamine

Lord Peregrine Lamont had lived on The Estate for a summer and an autumn. He had a staff of over a hundred, and his acreage was maintained by local landed gentry, providing him with important social ties to the more influential traders and farmers of the area. Within two seasons of his arrival, Lord Lamont had become the most powerful man in Dundalkshire.

Preparations for the celebration of his eleventh birthday were going smoothly.

Every Sunday evening, when the overwhelming dread of an early rise for school the next day reached its peak, Peregrine would take himself into the bathroom and take two bites of Magnifera tryptamine. He was now used to the slow tumble into sweet aroma, and the groggy awakening in the silk sheets of his Estate bed. In The Estate, he was strong and fit and grown up. He had a beard and wore loose white shirts and satin trousers. His staff would speculate as to whether he had once been a pirate; he seemed more a seafarer than the son of a farmer, as he claimed to be. An inspiring rise from a life of labour on some distant property, some servants would say. His heritage was a matter of great debate, but his lordship was never disputed.

He would spend a week on The Estate every Sunday evening. He would tour his castle after a hearty breakfast, scrutinizing the cleanliness of the countless hundreds of rooms and corridors. Then he would call for his thoroughbred to be brushed and saddled, and would ride from the white brick stable, along the orange path, and out across his land, surveying crops and engaging locals in discussion about the weather and Dundalkshire politics. He was the perfect gentleman, and wealthy neighbours would frequently and insistently offer him daughters to wed. He was entirely uninterested. The locals thought he was aloof, or had had his heart broken, but really, he was just terrified of girl germs.

On this particular afternoon, four days into his week-long stay on his property, Lord Lamont called into existence a thick forest to explore, and a heavy sword to swing at thieves and brigands, also summoned by his now well-trained imagination.

He also imagined a tall tree with a maze of branches, perfect for climbing, boughs laden with boiled lollies the size of his fist. Occasionally the child in Lord Lamont shone through brightly.

Mango Trypping: The Introduction

29 Nov

In association with Thank You For Your Thyme

The Introduction

In Which One Character is Named and the Premise of the Tale is Introduced

The flesh was slightly crisp and the flavour tart. That first bite was always underwhelming, but the second, oh the second. The crispness would vanish in an instant and be replaced by thick, sweet juice. Nectar, almost. Honey-like. The initial sourness would melt into something not quite sugary. The scent would envelope the devourer, floral and citrusy and overpowering. It was the second bite that made vision blur, the mind drift, and in many cases, the devourer sink to their knees.

Peregrine Lamont’s experience was typical of first-time users.

His vision returned slowly, in patches. He saw his own pale hand holding the fruit, viscous orange juice dripping down and coiling around his wrist like a tiny, translucent snake. He felt himself smiling as the orange coil opened two tiny eyes and hissed at him. It dropped to the ground. Peregrine shook himself sleepily and looked around. There were still gaps in his vision, warm, fuzzy black patches around the edges of everything he saw, but they were thinning out. He was standing on a perfectly manicured lawn, and the sky was blue and seemed bigger than he was used to. The orange juice-snake was sunning itself on the grass, and as Peregrine took a step towards it, it began to bubble. It elongated, and widened out, and flattened itself, and became a cobblestone path winding across the vast lawn. Peregrine understood, and stepped off the grass and onto the orange path. With a vague grin, he began to walk along the path in the general direction of the house he had only just spied. House? He thought to himself. Manor, more like. Is that a turret? A castle. How did I miss that before? Are those gates closed? No… the gates parted and dissolved into the stone arch that housed them. Peregrine continued to shuffle towards the grey walls of the castle, still sluggish like he’d only just woken up. As the rest of the blackness faded from his vision, he saw the building fully. Close to fully. The uppermost turrets were consumed by clouds, tall enough that looking up at them hurt Peregrine’s neck and made him dizzy. He reached the front door, a strangely understated wooden rectangle, and knocked.

 

I wonder if anyone’s home?