Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Island of Nightmares

Dear Governor Shang,

Please permit me to submit my first full report regarding my adventures on the mainland. I don't see why Alfonso should have all the fun (and besides, I promised him I would). You don't mind, do you?

You know Oolon, sorry, Mr Sputnik? Well he and Miss Lightfoot (she doesn't tend to stand on ceremony either and prefers to be called Terry) have been looking after me since Alfonso went away and I fell over that silly plank of his and hurt my foot. And Oolon decided that he would help me keep up my end by taking me about in his contraption. He calls her an "Etheric Transferral Device", whatever that means, when he isn't calling her "The Cabinet". No wonder the poor old girl doesn't work very well - she doesn't know what she's supposed to be.

Anyway, my foot was sufficiently better that last evening Oolon thought we might make a go of it. We duly assembled at his workshop in Mayfair ready for the off. I made sure to pack the teapot and some cake for our excursion. You never can tell what amenities will be available in the wilder places of the world and I am fond of a good cup of tea.

Oolon said that he had somewhere in mind that he thought we might like to see, but he wouldn't tell us where we were off to, claiming it would be so much more fun if it was a surprise. He's a big one for surprises is Oolon, which is no bad thing. So, off we went into the ETD and Oolon pushed some buttons and pulled some levers and at least this time it didn't make the bad noises. I don't like it when it makes those - it usually means its going to crash.

I began to get a little nervous when Oolon started to make clucking noises and mutter under his breath but we landed safely enough, so I thought no more of it until we got outside. Oolon then became most distressed because it appeared that ETD had been abducted from her course and we had landed somewhere completely unexpected. Unexpected, dark and creepy. I don't like dark and creepy; in Faerie, that's where the things that eat pixies like to live. I really wished that Alfonso was with us at that point. He's bigger than most things, which is a great comfort in situations like this. Well, except for the monstrous fish I nearly landed on when I fell off the bridge, but you know, usually he's the biggest creature around.

We began to explore, although I wanted to go for a cup of tea and wait for daylight, but the old girl can only hop somewhere for a few hours before she has to go home for a rest (at least, I think that's what Oolon meant). Everything was very big and very dark and we appeared to have entered some sort of temple to retail and picnics (there were blankets and picnic baskets everywhere).

It dawned on us with horror that we had been here before, Oolon and I. This place claimed to be Bora Bora, the Island of Dreams (from a sign on the retail temple wall), but oh how different it was to the first time I came here. Bora Bora was where I first stumbled into this world and met Oolon and Alfonso, but then it was a bright and sunny place with palm trees and golden beaches. What on earth could have happened in so short a time?

Terry led the way into the darkness. She's ever so brave is our Terry; I feel much safer knowing she's going to be travelling with us. I like to think of her as my big sister (and I don't think that she's afraid of anything).

It was Terry that found the big settee we could all have a rest on. It was more like the Bora Bora I remember (comfy and welcoming), but it didn't seem to belong to this Island of Nightmares.

Terry and Oolon pressed on and I trailed along behind, until we came to another temple, even more strange and terrible than the last. Oolon and Terry became very excited, babbling away about the "20th Century", whatever that may be. More worryingly, they also began to discuss the fact that we may have been harvested from the Ether to be part of a Grand Collection as the building was full of relics from places and times that shouldn't have been all in one place (apparently; I just have to take their word for things like this - this is beyond a pixie's knowing).

We made our way back out of the inner sanctum and onto a torchlit bridge, which led to a cottage that would not have been out of place in dear Caledon. Sadly, this merely lent greater credence to Oolon’s theory of a mad collector harvesting interesting items as the mood took him.

From the bridge we could also see an isle shrouded in flowing mists. It was just as scary as everywhere else in this midnight world, but I decided that for once I must be brave and promptly flew off to investigate.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived: Here was a lovely temple, beautifully lit with glowing rays, so serene and calm after the horrors of the land around it. I haven’t seen anything like it since I left my little glen. Not that I had a temple (pixies aren’t grand enough for temples), but the light was the same, exactly the same. For the first time since I arrived in your world, I have to say that I felt homesick. But then I thought about all the lovely friends that I’d made and it didn’t seem so bad.

Oolon and Terry arrived and told me that their sensors had picked up lifeforms on the island. My pixie senses had been twitching a bit, but they’re not as well tuned as Oolon’s scientifical bobbinijigs. We searched everywhere, but couldn’t find them. I was beginning to think that they were invisible when I tripped over my cast and fell into the water (fortunately pixies don’t shrink in the wet). And there they were!! I called to Oolon and Terry, but Oolon wouldn’t come in. I don’t think he likes water very much. Terry did join me, but I was in for another surprise – she was a big purple fish lady! Anyway, more on that in a moment, if you can bear with me.

The two creatures looked like human females, but very skimpily outfitted. They also appeared to be completely mute. One did attempt to communicate through a series of movements that looked suspiciously like the ones Alfonso does when he’s warming up his muscles for a lifting feat, so perhaps they were a primitive race of strongmen who have yet to develop speech. Then again, I do remember stories about mermaids who lose their voices when they get legs (mermaid biology must be pretty odd, even by my standards, if growing legs affects your voice; maybe it’s the shock?). Another possibility is that they were captured, like we had been, and the transfer process had left them dazed and silent. Or they could belong to the primitive race of Noobs I’ve heard people in Caledon discussing. Anyway, they were pretty boring and even Terry attempting to nudge one of them over illicited very little in the way of a response, so we left them to it.

I was curious about Terry’s fish lady trick, so I asked her about it. I mean, I know I can do glamours so that I look different (I used to wear a human one when I first came to Caledon and I did used to be bright pink). I suppose the wings should have given it away – its not like you humans have wings is it? Anyway, she’s like me, sort of, not from here but visiting. Like Oolon. And as for Oolon, well, he’s Oolon. I’ve seen him use disguises too, but he insists its science and not magic. I’m not entirely convinced they’re all that different, to be perfectly honest, just science has bigger words. Although pixies do tend to break science……

It was about this time that I noticed a person standing up high on a roof, so I thought I’d go and be friendly. After all, we are supposed to be spreading civilization to the masses. Imagine my horror when I discovered that it was none other than the owner of this place – Mr Baldwin! I told him that he had a very scary island and he said thank you, calm as you like, thank you. I was getting a little bit nervous, when Oolon and Terry arrived (that’ll teach me to be brave), Oolon armed to the teeth in case I needed rescuing. But Mr Baldwin merely made his apologies and left in a swirl of white light.

Somewhat dumbfounded by this encounter Oolon took the executive decision that we should attempt to leave. The Cabinet was where we left her and never have I been so glad to see her. As soon as we got in, I put the kettle on for a nice cuppa. I thought we all could do with one to restore our frayed nerves. Oolon busied himself so that we could leave, but ETD started making the bad noises and then the Cloister Bell started (that’s what he calls it – sounds more like a cowbell of doom to me). Oolon thought it must be some sort of invisible power holding us to the island, stopping us from escaping.

I put my cup down on the console so that I could grab on to something (did I mention it usually crashes when it makes those noises?) and accidentally knocked it over. I thought Oolon would be annoyed, but apparently the old girl likes a nice cup of tea just like the rest of us and it did the trick! We managed to break away from the Island of Nightmares, and were flung back to Mayfair.

(And I managed to get a dance with Oolon; he’s a very good dancer you know and its not like he can tread on my toes, seeing as they’re three feet off the floor when I dance).

I think that’s everything. We shall be popping out again at some point (hopefully to where we should have gone this time), so I shall let you know how it goes. Don’t tell Alfonso too much about the perilous bits, will you? He only worries.

Your faithful colonist,

Fuschia Begonia

PS: I was so worried about our dear Bora Bora Isles that I cheated and used Pixie magic to go and hunt for it. It's still there!! It would appear that Mr Baldwin likes to collect names as well as objects.......


Edward Pearse said...

I noticed you also had a livejournal set up here

Are you planning on adding any of your adventures there or have you decided to call blogger your home now?

Current Population: 2 said...

You are correct and very observant, Mr Pearse.

I thought I'd give both a go, but find I prefer blogger. Apologies for the confusion.

Prof Alfonso Avalanche