The Nutshell

The Nutshell is a creative collective under the government of Holly-Rose and Hannah-Rose with ODD and SPONTANEOUS tamperings by Logie-Bear; made up of writers, musicians, and artists. Here teacups are rife and insanity is always technicoloured.
 
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 Dreams of Existence

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PostSubject: Dreams of Existence   Sat 1 Mar 2008 - 10:53

Yes, yes I am aware it's a weak title, but we must spam up the boards to a point where they seem active, so no time to think of a better one!

This would be my nonsense novella. Note that you are not meant to take it seriously; my novella is meant to be read for the enjoyment of the act of reading, and the inherant sillyness of the story.

I'm quite fond of crit-cookies, will you give me one? Or two? Or three? Razz

__________________________________________________

Chapter One:



A girl landed face down on the cloud with a ‘whump!’

‘Well’ she thought, rubbing her forehead. ‘That hurt a lot more than it should’ve.’

Pushing her matted brown hair out of her eyes, she noticed that as well as preventing her from falling to her death, (‘which really should be impossible’) the cloud also had what appeared to be an entire lane of houses resting upon its remarkably solid surface.

‘I suppose I ought to ask for directions,’ she muttered to herself, ‘but where would I need to go?’

This was a very good question, one which she discovered she couldn’t answer.

‘I suppose I should ask how to get off this cloud,' she thought, as she walked slowly towards the row of houses.

The houses seemed rather disproportionate, with the ground floor barely fitting a door and two windows along their north-facing walls, and a third (or sometimes fourth) story nearly four times the width, their roofs teetering precariously atop the lot. She thought they looked rather like houses from a fairy tale, or the sort of thing one might see if you looked at a photograph underwater through a very thick magnifying glass.

Though she realised that she didn’t know what a fairy tale house ought to look like, or what a magnifying glass was. They sounded like terribly interesting things, but the way they popped in and out of her head left her rather confused.

After staring a while at the strangely shaped houses, she decided to pick one at random and ask for directions (assuming of course she had thought of someplace to go by the time she got inside). She pushed open the gate of the nearest house, took a step onto the cobbled path –

– and caught the edge of her skirt on the hinge.

‘Oh, wonderful,’ she muttered, tugged at the lace tangled in the rusted metal, ‘how perfectly lovely. Of all the things to be wearing, why a skirt? And why lace?’

Finally free (after an unfortunate amount of wrenching and tearing of the skirt's lace hem), the girl made her way to the front door and knocked. From within the house she thought she heard a sound similar to: ‘Pashaleeeetlebehar’, but she couldn’t be sure.

She waited a while longer, but didn’t hear another sound. Disheartened, she trailed her way back to the gate and leant against it (though naturally being careful to avoid the hinges) whilst she decided what to do next.

With a loud 'bang' the door to the seemingly empty house burst suddenly open.

The girl screamed and leapt behind a nearby shrubbery.

‘Ach,’ said the house in a voice made up of creaks and groans, its door stretching and flapping wildly, ‘feels wonderful to have those hinges back in place.’

She poked her head out from in an attempt to discover where the voice was coming from. As she watched, the entire house seemed to stretch up, and then collapsed down with a contented ‘whoomph’.

‘Now,’ the house swayed alarmingly in her direction, ‘who was it that whacked my door back in?’

She shuffled cautiously out from behind the bush and moved towards the apparently talking house. ‘That would be me,’ she said as clearly as possible (for who knew how well a house could hear with no visible ears?), ‘Sir.’ And she curtseyed, though she couldn’t quite remember why doing such an odd bob was manners, nor could she tell whether the house was a sir or a madam.

‘Well then, I thank you.’

A slice of pie on a plate flew from the house, hit the girl in the stomach, and knocked her off her feet. Attempting a smile, she clambered back up holding the pie plate with both hands.

‘Now,’ said the house creakily, ‘what manner of machine are you? You must be a machine, only a machine would try and knock open my door like that. My creeping ivy has been trying to unlock it for years!’ And the house nodded, its timber creaking.

‘Oh,’ she said, ‘I wasn’t trying to get your door open, and I’m not a machine.’

‘A garden tool perhaps?’ asked the house. ‘And if you weren’t trying to re-align my door, what were you doing?’

The girl shook her head. ‘I’m a –’ she looked sadly at the slice of pie that had fallen to the grass. ‘I don’t know what I am. I’ve only just remembered my name, now that I think about it.’

‘And that would be?’ Asked the house.

‘Evelyn.’ said she.

‘Don’t worry ‘Evelyn’, we’ll figure out what manner of garden tool you are. Come up here, no, that’s my mouth.’ it said sharply, as she moved towards the door, ‘Come here.’ And curtains blew from a window on the third floor.

Obediently she moved underneath the window and stood as still as she possibly could.

‘Interesting,’ said the house. ‘You don’t appear to be made of metal … or wood! Why, you’re not a gardening tool at all! Or a house! Or a machine!’

‘Well, I already said I wasn’t –’

‘– Shoo!’ The grass beneath her lifted up like a tidal wave and swept her out onto the street.

Evelyn stumbled to her feet and watched the houses down the lane stir to life. ‘I don’t understand!’ she cried. ‘What’s wrong?’

‘You’re not made of wood.’ stated the house.

‘Or metal!’ exclaimed a pair of gardening shears from behind its hedge. ‘Let it be said that metal is also a very important material!’

‘Well yes,’ snapped the house, ‘but metal is used to hold wood together – nails and so forth –, and is therefore inherently inferior to wood.’

The gardening shears did a strange sort of shiver that Evelyn took to be a gesture of dismay. ‘How dare –’

‘But I don’t understand,’ she interrupted, ‘I’m not made of metal or wood, is that such a terrible crime?’ She spread her arms. ‘I can’t help what I am, you know.’

The houses’ roof rose as though it was lifting an eyebrow. ‘That is quite beside the point. It means that you’re not one of us. And we can’t tolerate outsiders. If we let one in, why, the rest will come pouring in right after you!’

‘Hear hear!’ cried a rake.

‘But why?’

They seemed quite annoyed by her confusion.

‘How would you like it if a thousand thousand thousand of,’ the rake paused, ‘our kind, came barging into your home? I shouldn’t think you’d like it very much.’

‘No, you wouldn’t like it at all, would you?’ exclaimed a broom from across the road.

‘Well,’ began Evelyn, ‘I shouldn’t think …’

‘That’s your problem then isn’t it?’ The house bobbed in a triumphant manner. ‘You don’t think. It’s terribly rude not to think before you open your mouth. Why, all sorts of ridiculous statements could run out!’

‘First of all,’ said Evelyn, planting her hands on her hips, ‘statements don’t run. They don’t have legs, they don’t even have bodies. And you’re being awful hypocrital, lecturing me on rudeness after interrupting me!’

The roofs’ thatching shuffled, creating a sound similar to a very loud, scratchy sigh.

‘That is quite possibly the strangest, stupidest thing I’ve heard you say. And I’ve heard a lot of stupid things in my time, let me tell you.’ – It paused – ‘But it doesn’t matter.’ A window on the second floor blew open in a dismissive manner. ‘I tire of your oddness. Go away now. You’re not wanted.’

Evelyn’s’ mouth dropped open at the houses’ dismissal. Feeling a tad teary, she started began to walk slowly down the lane, her head hanging.

‘But this isn’t like me at all,’ she thought to herself, 'I can’t remember what I’m like, but I'm absolutely certain I’m not normally this silly.’

Determined, and having decided she had nothing to lose, she turned around, faced the houses and said firmly; ‘No. Make me.’

Another scratchy sigh from the house. ‘Very well.’

Now this was not at all the reply Evelyn had been expecting (some sort of exclamation of shock or disbelief would have been nice. Or indignation, she wasn’t picky), so when the various gardening tools began to hurl bark at her she was felt that she couldn’t stand being around such rude things (or at least, that was what she told herself) and ran off.

As she ran – with the long forgotten pie plate still clutched beneath one arm – , Evelyn couldn’t quite figure out how she had gone from being assaulted with gratuitous flying pies to being chased off the lane, but decided that seeing as she was already being herded out, she might as well leave.

‘Houses and gardening tools are awfully violent.’

As she ran down the road, the various garden tools of the houses chased after her, now hurling insults instead of potting mixture.

‘Get out!’

‘We don’t want any oddities around here!’

A strange groaning came from the houses. They stretched themselves high into the air, and then collapsed downwards as one.

The ground at the end of the street shuddered, and then began to spill forwards in a manner similar to the lawn that had first tossed Evelyn into the street (though on a much grander scale). Looking frantically for an escape and finding herself surrounded, she resigned herself to her fate and allowed herself to be pushed off her feet.

The girl named Evelyn was hurled towards the edge of the cloud at a tremendous speed, and slid into the air below, unconscious of the fact that she was still clutching a rather large pie plate in her arms.

_______________________________________________

Authorly note: There are areas of italics, which I shall add in later.
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PostSubject: Re: Dreams of Existence   Sun 4 May 2008 - 13:26

Whoo. Chapter two.
That almost rhymes.
So, once again, grammatical nitpickings are appreciated. I've gone through this quite thoroughly, but again, seeing as I wrote it, I'm bound to miss something.
It's dreadfully long, so I split it in two.

Go forth, read, read the second part, and enjoy.

_______________________________________

Evelyn attempted to resist the urge to look down as she fell, (‘for knowing exactly what awaits you isn’t going to help in the slightest, is it?’) but failed rather dismally. The wind rushed past her (and mysteriously didn’t make her skirt fly up in the slightest) and she watched the canopy of trees grow as she hurtled towards the ground.

‘Oh, tarnation,’ she groaned to her reflection in the pie plate, ‘I absolutely loath the inevitable. And why on earth do I still have this? It can’t be of any possible use at the moment.’

At the exact moment she moved to throw away the pie plate, a particularly strong gust of wind shoved her on top of the circle of metal and flipped the pair upside down. This of course meant that Evelyn was now going to hit the encroaching ground head first (which wasn’t exactly a comfort to her, though admittedly now she thought her death ought to be ‘fairly painless.’). However, her descent became noticeably slower and a great deal more controlled.

She continued towards the ground at a level pace and stopped about a metre from the grass, somehow kneeling beneath the pie plate.

‘Now how did that happen?’ she asked it, ‘I’m quite sure I ought to be dead right about now, possibly squished flat on a rock someplace.’

The plate remained as shiny and silent as ever.

Evelyn attempted to get off the plate and (as one would expect) fell to the ground in a most ungraceful tangle of limbs. Leaping to her feet and brushing down her skirt in a flustered manner, she looked around to see whether anyone had seen her. She had (by a remarkable twist of fate) managed to land in the centre of a clearing in the middle of a wood.

‘What funny trees,’ she muttered to herself, ‘they’re awfully twisty and old-looking. They remind me rather of wizened old men.’

‘That is astoundingly rude of you.’ A strange crackling voice came from within the wood, interspersed with the sounds of coughing and wood groaning.

Evelyn – who was now wary of any disembodied voice following her encounters with the houses – jumped to her feet and used the pie plate to shield herself; ‘Who’s there?’

‘Oh, ‘who’s there’, that’s a stunningly clever question right there,’ the voice creaked with a measure of sarcasm, ‘and I’m not a wizened old man, I’ll have you know. I’m an oak.’

Still protecting herself with the circle of metal, Evelyn ventured to ask; ‘So, you’re a tree? I’ve never met a talking tree before –’ she paused. ‘– or have I?’

‘I don’t doubt you have, but since you’re so utterly unimportant that they most likely wouldn’t waste their time on you. And you seem rather dimwitted too, asking questions about elementary things like how falling works.’

‘What do you mean, asking about elementary things? I know how falling works.’ She stomped her foot impatiently. ‘You have nothing underneath you, and you fall downwards very fast until you hit something.’

‘Ach, that’s not how falling works at all!’ The oak shook its branches in agitation. ‘You can only fall if your head is facing up because that way the ground is moving downwards past your head. You see? Your head was facing down and therefore the ground was rushing up past your head, which logically means that you were going upwards. And you were sitting on that plate over there. Therefore you stopped falling and moved gently towards the ground, preventing your most unfortunate end flattened on a rock somewhere.’

Evelyn blinked up at the tree in confusion and tilted her head to the side, muttering to herself as she attempted to figure out the oak’s so-called ‘logic’.

‘Well anyway.’ She shook her head to clear it. ‘It doesn’t really matter, seeing as I’m alive, which is a state I’d prefer to stay in for quite a while yet.’

‘Ach, mmm, hmm. Yes, yes.’ The oak made several crunching noises and startled Evelyn with a sudden shift to a much more understandable tone, one with a great deal less creaking. ‘That’s always a nice state to be in. Now.’ It drew itself up. ‘Where will you go from here? This is a very important question – one which you must answer – for you simply cannot stay here.’

‘Why not?’

‘You’d drive me mental.’

‘Oh,’ said Evelyn ‘Would I? I’m sorry to be a bother, but it is so frustrating not being able to remember things.’ She brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. ‘Unfortunately I can’t seem to think of anywhere I could go.’

‘That,’ declared the oak, ‘is utterly unforgivable. You must have somewhere, we can’t be burdened with your company for the rest of time –’ as it ranted, at least a dozen trees in the nearby area began to shuffle their way into life, contorting their trunks into faces with echoing cracks.

‘Could you perhaps give me somewhere to go? Somewhere you know?’

The oak drew itself further up in an indignant fashion (though quite how it managed it, Evelyn wasn’t sure). ‘Oh, you are a dull spark. Look at my roots, do you see them? They have been growing for the last three hundred years –’

‘– Not so long for the rest of us,’ piped a remarkably squeakily voiced sapling.

‘– and I don’t plan on destroying all that hard work,’ the oak finished with a stern look at the sapling.

‘Sorry sir,’ muttered the sapling, ‘though, couldn’t we give her just a little suggestion? Something to get her on her way?’

‘Yes, I suppose.’ grumbled the oak, ‘If it’ll get her on her way.’

At once at least half a dozen of the trees lifted their branches (with rather gleeful sounding creaks) and pointed in what seemed to be every direction possible.

After pondering for some time Evelyn walked towards a path dotted with innumerable tiny footprints (for of course she wanted to go somewhere with people). Just as she stepped past a particularly gnarly tree trunk a cacophony of voices broke out from amongst the trees.

‘Oh, no, you don’t want to go that way!’

‘No, I say, never that way!’

‘Beware! Beware!’

‘Are you dense? No-one pointed that way.’

Whirling around and placing her hands firmly on her hips, Evelyn glared at the surrounding trees and said; ‘Why ever not? I shan’t go down it if you actually give me a reason not to!’

‘Once,’ began the oak in a blundering voice, ‘the fairies and the butterflies braved the stormy seas –’

‘What does this have to do with anything?’

‘– on legs as long as a giraffe is tall!’ squeaked the sapling, ignoring her.

‘Yes, yes, anyway.’ The oak waved a hand-shaped branch at the sapling, who quieted. ‘– with a pound of salt and peas.’

‘Why would they need a pound of salt and a pound of peas?’ interrupted Evelyn

‘No, no. A pound of salt and peas. It was a mixture, see?’

‘Oh yes.’ She frowned. ‘Though I still don’t quite see why they would need it, nor why I need to know about them at all.’

‘Well, Small Mother Spider had requested the things that they had bought, you see. They were to be high and full of air, though they thought otherwise.’

‘Because of course they were lazy little things,’ piped a redwood of indeterminate age from within one of the many paths, ‘especially the fairies. They look like they’re made of grass or something ridiculously fragile like that; they can’t sustain a brisk pace for longer than a gold fish, and a non-speaking one at that.’

‘A gold fish?’

‘Well yes, they’re terribly small fishes.’

The oak looked rather miffed at being interrupted again, but continued on without a comment. ‘Mother spider got rather irate – naturally – as they needed the ingredients now. They were for a birthday cake, you know.’

‘Did they go in the end?’

‘Oh yes, the fairies first, then the butterflies – fairies move much faster than butterflies on account of them being so light, you see.’

‘This,’ A willow lifted one of its many branches to its gnarled face and made a strange sniffing noise. ‘is where the tragedy is.’

‘Oh shush, you,’ admonished the redwood, ‘it isn’t tragic at all! They were just silly. Rather like Twit in a way.’

‘Anyway,’ cried the oak, ‘the fairies wanted a rest as their feet were beaten and brurnt –'

'Brunt?'

'It's a portmanteu,' whispered a tree to Evelyn's right, 'bruised and burnt.'

'– which is odd,' continued the oak, 'as they don’t exactly have feet to begin with – and they decided right then and there to simply lie down! Now, naturally the butterflies – who had been carrying the salt and peas and therefore had much more of a right to be tired in the first place – were aghast and called them all sorts of names –’

‘Like great lazy rones!’ exclaimed the sapling.

‘– and said that they would be very late,’ finished the oak, in a tone that suggested it was grinding its teeth. Though Evelyn couldn’t figure out whether or not trees actually had teeth. ‘They’ve been resting there ever since.’
_______________
To be continued. In the post below....

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PostSubject: Re: Dreams of Existence   Mon 12 May 2008 - 8:22

Evelyn contemplated just how exactly the tree’s little story was supposed to dissuade her from venturing down that particular path for quite some time. A strange noise (rather reminiscent of the sound one makes when forced to gargle whilst simultaneously choking and hiccupping) interrupted her thoughts. Intrigued, she followed the noise to its source, ignoring the various shouts of ‘No!’ and ‘Don’t go that way!’ that followed her.

The noise led her down a winding path bordered by looming trees (who gave her the evil eye for ignoring their fellows advice and attempted to snag her hair on their branches) and into a small cave-like clearing. The area was roofed by a multitude of bushes that had, over time, grown to such tremendous heights that their branches had sagged with the weight and meshed together to form a canopy. In a corner of the clearing were a handful of some of the strangest looking insects Evelyn thought she’d ever seen (though of course, she couldn’t be sure.)

There seemed to be two kinds of creatures. One type was a strange, wispy looking green thing. It looked rather like someone had taken a blade of grass, split it into a few flimsy pieces and placed them together into a caricature of a person. The strange gagging sounds were coming from one who had fallen into a puddle and was thrashing about as it's fellows attempted to rescue it from certain saturation. The other kind Evelyn thought must be a butterfly, though she couldn’t recall any time she’d seen such oddly distorted ones – their legs were so incredibly long, and bent in a multitude of places so that they could fold their legs underneath themselves as they sat down.

‘Why,’ she exclaimed, ‘you must be the fairies and the butterflies that those trees were talking about. Though you don’t look anything like the fairies I’ve read about in books.’

A particularly large fairy turned to face her, revealing a face made up of etches, folds, and grooves in the strangely leaf-like face.

‘Well of course we don’t,’ it snapped, ‘No one ever comes looking to find out what we really look like; they just make their lovely wild assumptions and print it as fact. The nerve of some people these days. And to model us on them, well, certainly shows their lack of imagination if you ask me!’

‘Well yes, I suppose it does. Might I ask you, though, why you’re still sitting here? The trees made it sound as though you’ve been here a very long time.’

The entire party had by now stopped speaking and was listening to their conversation. A butterfly with a green and orange face ceased chewing on the tip of one of its exceedingly long legs and looked at Evelyn.

‘We can’t go back,’ it whispered (in a remarkably deep voice for such a fragile looking bug), ‘It’d be awful. We got the wrong ingredients at the market.’

‘And so you’ve just been sitting here ever since?’

‘Well, the fairies needed a rest, and it’s such a long way back to the market, and we simply can’t face Small Mother Spider with a pound of salt and peas!’

The entire group burst into strange twittering noises that seemed to indicate distress.

‘Why can’t you?’

The butterfly seemed affronted by this remark – at this stage Evelyn was strongly reminded of her recent mishap with the talking houses, and began looking for possible exits.

‘We were supposed to get her malt and cheese, you know, not salt and peas. It was for Twits’ birthday cheesecake!’

‘How could you use malt and cheese in a cheesecake? You need, well, I can’t recall what you need but I’m quite certain it doesn’t include malt and cheese!’

‘No, it does. It’s a cheesecake.’ Its wings fluttered. ‘And how is Smider supposed to make a cheesecake with peas?’

‘Smider? I’m sorry, I don’t quite understand you.’

‘Small Mother Spider!' piped a small fairy from the back of the huddle, 'it’s combination of the two, it gets annoying saying the whole lot all the time, you see.’

Evelyn blinked. ‘I see.’

‘Well, yes, though I’d imagine rather poorly considering how few eyes you have.’ The butterfly patted her shoulder in what was apparently a sympathetic manner. ‘Now Small Mother Spider is a good name. It tells you exactly what she is: A small, motherly spider. But back to the topic at hand; we cannot go back to her with a pound of salt and peas because if we turn up without the things she requested I don’t doubt that she’ll bludgeon us with rusty spoons. And if you’ve never been bludgeoned with a rusty spoon let me be the first to tell you that it is not pleasant in the slightest.’

As the butterfly rambled on, there was a stirring within the huddled group. The fairies’ tiny faces were creased in thought, and the distorted butterflies were whispering amongst themselves.

‘Maybe,’ she ventured, ‘if you took me with you, Small Mother Spider might be less ... violent?’

A great deal of nodding and rustling followed her suggestion. The fairies (who had thus far been in a huddle) pushed forward a particularly creased fairy from their midst.

‘Ahem.’ It cleared its throat and addressed the butterfly. ‘We agree that maybe, if we take the two-eyed thing back with us Smider'll get distracted and forget that we got the wrong thing?’

The butterfly adopted a thoughtful expression, which in its case involved many colors flashing across its face, and two of its incredibly long legs twitching in vague circular patterns.

‘Well,’ it began slowly, ‘I suppose, if nothing else, she’ll be so busy feeling sorry for you – you only having two eyes and arms and all – that she will forget we didn’t get her malt and cheese, like the fairies think.’ It nodded in their direction.

‘So, I can come?’ asked Evelyn. At the various creatures’ nods, she gave a quiet shriek. It was lovely to have found someone pleasant who didn’t appear to have a burning desire to push her off a cliff. Or insult her.

‘Well,’ sighed the butterfly, ‘come on then, you lot, we’d best be going or we’ll miss the four thirty chairs.’

As one, the fairies and the butterflies rose up from their huddle, the butterflies unfolding their endless legs to tower above her, the fairies performing a strange sort of sideways leap that lifted them into the air. The green and orange-faced butterfly that Evelyn had been speaking to remained at her height by contorting his legs to at least a quarter of their actual length with a great many cracking of joints. He twisted an arm (or was it a leg?) into a circle and peered through it.

‘I do believe we must go that way,’ he said at length.

A blue-faced butterfly sighed and muttered to its neighbor as they walked down a conveniently wide path towards the edge of the wood, ‘We could’ve told him that! Silly sod has to do things with pomp, can’t just stand up straight and have a look see for himself!’

At this there was a great deal of nodding amongst the butterflies (and the fairies that happened to be eavesdropping on their conversation).

After some time the party reached the edge of the wood. Looking ahead, Evelyn could see what appeared to be a Ferris wheel to her right, just on the edge of the woods. As they walked closer, she could see a number of odd-shaped creatures milling about the wheels’ base, each one clutching a circular wooden object in either hand or paw.

The butterfly leaned towards her and muttered; ‘Ferris Passes. You have to pass Attest to get on.’

Evelyn became rather worried and spent some time trying desperately to recall anything she could that might help her pass the ‘test’. They reached the base of the wheel just as a voice rang out across the crowd; ‘Anyone who can’t hold attention for longer than a goldfish, line on the left, if you can, line on the right, thank you.’


(continued below)

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PostSubject: Re: Dreams of Existence   Mon 12 May 2008 - 8:22

feckin' 'ell. Big.

A shove at the base of her spine pushed her to the line on the right, where the strangest creature she had ever seen was arguing with a tiny rat over whether or not he could hold attention long enough.

‘What is it?’ she asked the butterfly.

‘Rhinobee, a ticket operator. They’ve got his wife operating the other line, apparently it’s a family business.’

The Rhinobee was a curious combination of the two. A large, brutish face with an enormous horn stared at Evelyn as she walked to the front of the line. He was wearing a rather ragged grey suit, with two miniscule wings poking out of the back (which Evelyn didn’t quite see the point of, they couldn’t be any good for flying, and didn’t appear to have any other purpose).

‘Attention!’ barked the Rhinobee, whose name – according to his nametag – was Awther Attest. ‘Stand on the red line.’

Utterly confused, she stepped up to the red line, which was about as long as half of her hand, and struck what she assumed was an attentive stance (which essentially meant copying the little rat in front of her).

The rat was moving forward slowly (though shuffling would be a better term), his feet barely lifting off the ground as he made his way to the end of the line, which took a rather long time considering the length of the line. Still rather unsure as to what she was supposed to do, she simply copied the rats shuffling gait and stepped off the red line.

Awther the Rhinobee produced a checklist. ‘Name?’

‘Evelyn.’

‘Here’s your pass.’ He handed her a circle of wood that looked remarkably like the lid of a biscuit tin (which just so happened to be yet another thing Evelyn couldn’t remember). ‘It’s a one-time use; don’t get off at the wrong stop.’

As she moved out of the line, clutching the pass to her chest, a fairy fluttered down in front of her.

‘So you passed Attest? Excellent, let’s be off then.’ It seized her arm in its insubstantial grasp and dragged her off towards the Ferris wheel, which was a great deal larger than she had thought. ‘Come along everyone; don’t want to miss the four thirty chairs.’

After being shoved along a row and virtually thrown into a large velvet arm chair, Evelyn came to the conclusion that this was not like the Ferris wheels she knew (though she couldn’t really say that, as she couldn’t recall what her Ferris wheels were like).

It appeared to be a multitude of chairs, each attached to a slab of glass which in turn led to the centre of the wheel. It resembled a giant glass ball more than a Ferris wheel. Fortunately she had the luck of being thrown into a relatively comfortable chair. Across from her four butterflies sat on tiny - and rather spindly - metal stools. They clutched the edges with their ungainly limbs as they attempted to stay seated, their strange faces flashing in their discomfort.

A loud bell rang out. Evelyn clutched the armrests of her chair as the wheel shuddered into life.

There really wasn’t much to do; the novelty of being on a Ferris wheel made of various types of chairs wore off after five minutes. Evelyn found herself idly swinging her feet and marveling at her odd, stripy socks.

A butterfly gingerly removed one leg from its death grip on the stool and extended it across the gap to poke her shoulder.

‘We’ll be getting off in a second,’ it nodded to a large branch that had appeared out of nowhere, ‘that’s our stop. Be ready to jump.’

‘Jump? What –’ Looking around in panic, she could see the scores of fairies and butterflies crouching on the edges of their seats, their legs (and arms) tense as they stared at the upcoming branch.

‘Now!’ cried a fairy, propelling itself from its rocking chair and onto the branch.

Scrambling to a standing position, Evelyn threw caution (and herself) to the wind, leapt from her armchair –

– And was yanked backwards from falling to her death for the secondtime that day by the arms of several butterflies.

‘Lovely,’ wheezed a striking purple butterfly as it hauled her onto the branch, ‘now you can meet Small Mother Spider. That’s her house over there.’

The house was located at the end of the branch, attached to the tree’s trunk. It seemed rather large for a spider’s home. The walls were made of various twigs and leaves that had been plucked from the tree in which it rested, and were held together with a strange, semi-transparent substance.

‘Taffy,’ muttered a fairy as she lifted a hand to touch it.

‘How odd,’ she thought as she made her way inside, idly licking her fingers. ‘The house does taste very nice though.’

‘Welcome, welcome back!’ a strange black something bowled past her into the midst of the fairies and butterflies, ‘you did take a very long time though, that wasn’t very polite my dears.’

It stepped away from them and turned its attention to Evelyn. ‘Oh, and you brought a guest, how wonderful. Welcome, my dear.’ Long, furry arms enfolded her in a hug.

Small Mother Spider was actually rather large, for a spider, she nearly came up to Evelyn’s shoulder. She felt as though she ought to be frightened by an insect of such size, but the fact that Mother Spider had blue oven mittens on four of her legs made it rather difficult.

‘Well, come in, sit down everyone.’ She ushered them to a number of cushioned benches (evidently designed to be comfortable for someone who had more than two legs). ‘I just made some scones, so we can all have a cup of tea together.’

They sat in awkward silence for a while as Small Mother Spider pottered around the kitchen, finally returning with a tray laden with cups and scones, which were spread around the group.

Once everyone had a cup of tea and a scone, she turned her enormous eyes to Evelyn and asked; ‘So how did my dears end up dragging you up here?’

Choking down a piece of scone she had just started chewing, Evelyn replied; ‘I found them in a wood, ma’am.’

‘You weren’t by yourself?’

‘Yes, ma’am.’

‘What was a young thing like you doing out in The Wood by yourself? And with only two eyes! Anyone could sneak up behind you!’

Looking towards the fairies uncertainly, she replied; ‘I’ve lost my memory, you see, and that just happened to be where I landed after I fell off a cloud.’

‘Oh you poor thing!’ she cried, bustling over. Evelyn found herself once again enveloped by Mother Spider’s many arms. ‘Have a cup of tea dear.’

A fairy leant over and whispered in her ear; ‘She always does that, thinks that it's miracle juice or something.’

‘Well, tea helps; you should know that by now.’ She broke off her hug to cuff the fairy around the head with a hairy leg.

A butterfly piped up from the back of the room; ‘If the tea doesn’t help, she could always go see Twit, he’ll get it back for her.’

‘Who’s Twit?’ asked Evelyn.

‘He knows everything,’ the fairy replied.

‘You can’t know everything.’

‘Yes you can, that’s why he’s such a twit.’

‘Please, quiet. It’s a good point.’ Mother Spider tapped her chin thoughtfully. ‘I don’t see why it hasn’t come back to you yet, most things do rather quickly here. But anyway, you ought to go see him. You could come with us to his birthday. I’m baking him a cake.’

At those words a silence fell.

‘What’s the matter my dears? It’s almost done; I just need the malt and cheese.’

There was a great deal of nervous fidgeting amongst the butterflies, whilst the fairies simply tried to sink as low as possible into their seats.

‘You did go, didn’t you?’

The orange-faced butterfly hurried to answer; ‘Yes, of course. It’s just that we ...’ He trailed off and looked helpless behind him.

‘Just what?’

‘Got the wrong things’ finished a particularly brave yellow butterfly, and it cringed.

Small Mother Spider drew herself up, opened her rather large mouth, and said (in a frighteningly calm voice); ‘How am I supposed to bake Twit’s birthday malt-cheesecake without malt and cheese?’

The butterflies nervous fidgeting continued, quite a few fairies had crammed themselves into the seams of their chairs. Evelyn, who felt that Mother Spider wouldn’t be calm for much longer, thought she ought to leave. Grabbing a scone, she made her way quietly to the back of the room and slipped outside, shutting the taffy door behind her.

As she walked towards the end of the branch in the hopes of catching the Ferris wheel back to the ground, she heard a scratchy walloping sound from Mother Spider’s house (which was, presumably, Mother Spider bludgeoning the fairies and the butterflies with a rusty spoon).

‘That,’ she congratulated herself, ‘was excellent timing Evelyn, though now you’ll have to find this Twit person by yourself.’

After she had clambered onto the wheel (this time in a lawn chair rather than a velvet armchair) she began to munch contentedly on her scone.

‘For a spider,’ she mused, ‘she did make dreadfully good scones.’

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...But, he's a Buddhist, for Christ's sake!
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