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Friday, 16 July 2010

#FridayFlash: UCF Stories #15: Repercussions

Repercussions is the fifteenth installment in my on-going flash fiction serial, The UCF Stories. If you'd like to read the story from the beginning, please go here.


Having at last captured the Wyrm, Botchett, Swazzle and Pogmorton are preparing to return with it to the mortal realm when they come under attack by a fairy patrol...

Hastily dismantling his apparatus, Botchett grabbed his backpack and pulled from it a three-barrelled shotgun-type contraption. Pumping a round into the shotgun's chamber, Botchett loosed off a shot as another five fairies, flying in a “V” formation, appeared close behind the first. A green-glowing pine cone arced through the air, exploding with a terrific bang amid the fairy flight. One of the fairies clutched her face and spiralled into the ground.

'By the god's balls, Botchett! Where did you learn to do that?' Swazzle was amazed.

Botchett laughed. 'I wasn't always a Wyrm catcher, bonny lad.' Turning to the fairies, he roared, 'Howay, ye little winged bastards, come and get it! Pilgrim's back, and there's gonna be some dying this fine morning, like.'

As the fairies began to return fire, rounds from their banshee rifles screaming overhead, Swazzle and Pogmorton joined the fray, loosing off shots from their wands while Botchett deafened them with the reports of his shotgun. Two more fairies went down under their combined fire before a banshee rifle round took Swazzle's hat clean off his head. Swazzle's black look by return, flew unerringly towards its mark and began to claw the fairy's face off; she was still desperately trying to pull it off her when she flew full tilt into a tree, her body landing with a sickening thud among its roots.

The remaining two fairies were by now adept at avoiding Botchett's shotgun blasts, and their fire was becoming dangerously accurate, so with Botchett holding onto the travelling box, Swazzle and Pogmorton grabbed him under the arms and dashed off in the direction of the portal, Delilah scampering along at their heels.

Tumbling back into the mortal realm, Swazzle, Pogmorton and Botchett ran up Hangman's Passage. As they reached the intersection with Gallows Close, Pogmorton skidded to a halt, motioning the others to do the same.

'What is it?' Swazzle whispered, flattening himself against the wall.

'Fairy,' Pogmorton pointed, 'In that tree in the churchyard.'

Swazzle whispered to Botchett to stay where he was with the travelling box while he and Pogmorton dealt with the problem. Seeing the grim determination on Swazzle's face, Botchett did not argue as the two Pixies blinked out of sight.

* * *

Twinkle was cold and stiff. She'd been hiding in the tree for hours, waiting for any sign of movement from within Goddess Rising. She knew the witch was in there, but there had been no indication she had gone anywhere near the book yet. It was up to Twinkle to stop her if she did, especially since the Pixies now had the walnut shell formerly entrusted to the keeping of that idiot Simeon. At least while the shell's contents were in his possession, no one would have suspected the awesome power it held.

Hunkering down against the trunk of the Beech tree, Twinkle pulled her cloak more tightly around her and tried to get comfortable. It was a lost cause. There was bound to be movement soon, she thought, then I can get out of here.

* * *

With a soft “pop,” Swazzle and Pogmorton blinked into existence next to one of the huge stone buttresses holding up the church wall. After checking their arrival had not been observed, Pogmorton gestured to Swazzle and they tiptoed quickly across to the base of the tree in which Twinkle was hiding.

'We need a diversion,' Pogmorton mouthed to Swazzle.

Swazzle winked and, working his throat as though he was retching, carefully spat something into his hand. Swazzle took a step back to check his aim, then lobbed the content of his hand gently up towards where Twinkle crouched.

At the top of its arc, and just behind Twinkle's head, Swazzle's larynx began to move. 'BOO!' it shouted, and the Pixies had to dive out of the way as Twinkle jumped, lost her footing and tumbled to the ground, fighting in vain to free her wings from the swaddling folds of her cloak before she hit the ground.

Twinkle landed at their feet with a thud, groaned and lay still. Swazzle deftly caught his voice box and stuffed it back into his mouth as Pogmorton bent over to see if Twinkle was badly injured, or worse.

'Out for the count,' he announced with satisfaction.

'Not dead then?' Swazzle squeaked, hands working to adjust his throat. He coughed then continued in his normal voice, 'It's Twinkle!'

'Aye, it is,' replied Pogmorton, 'And no, she's not dead, just unconscious. ' He clapped Swazzle on the back, 'Well done by the way, throwing your voice like that was perfect, just perfect.'

Swazzle bowed low, grinning. 'So, what do we do now?'

'Get Botchett and the Wyrm inside sharpish before she comes round.' With a soft pop they disappeared.

* * *

Master Jamieson's front door, referred to by the Pixies as the “tradesmen's entrance,” though not in Jamieson's presence, had barely closed behind Botchett when Twinkle moaned and slowly began to move, holding the back of her head as pain arced through her skull. She still wasn't sure exactly what had happened, but it smelled to her like a Pixie trick, and she strongly suspected which pixies were responsible.

Getting gingerly to her feet, Twinkle neatly folded her cloak and, after a few tentative flaps, took to the air in search of a better vantage point.



Anonymous said...

Still loving it, Sam. Swazzle throwing his voice was just too funny and perfect.

Can't wait to see what happens next!

Eric J. Krause said...

Another good installment! Looking forward to the next.

Carrie said...

Adorable and active. Like Commando Pixies! O.O

Deanna Schrayer said...

Sam, I think you just cured me of my fear of ventrilloquists. :) Throwing the voice box was hilarious! Still loving this series, very much.

Karen from Mentor said...

See? That's why I NEVER wear a cloak, it gets caught in my wings.

The voice throwing was priceless!

Love the little blurbs at the beginning to catch the reader up on what's what.

Each installment is wonderful Sam.

mazzz in Leeds said...

love the literal throwing of the voice!

I want a banshee rifle now...

The tradesmans entrance... LOL!

ThomG said...

Oh, man so much good stuff going on. I agree with Carrie, commando pixies. I came to this serial a little late, but it has been a pleasure getting caught up to now.

Icy Sedgwick said...

This just gets better and better!

And I still love Botchett.

Reet good yarn, bonny lad!

Laura Eno said...

*shakes head at Sam's wild and wonderful imagination*

That particular way of throwing his voice was priceless! I'm amazed how all of your characters evoke sympathy, even though they're on opposing sides. I love them all!

Aislinn O'Connor said...

"Flying in a V formation..." - you realise I can't watch the Red Arrows with a straight face now??!!

Another brilliant episode - have such a vivid mental picture of glowing green pine cones & pixies blinking into & out of sight!

Looking forward to the next instalment...

John Wiswell said...

"rounds from their banshee rifles screaming overhead"

Oh, you. It's things like that which keep me smiling.

Anonymous said...

Another AWESOME installment, Sam! Really great action and the ventriloquism bit was hysterical! Great job!

Walt said...

I appreciated that little reminder at the head of the story. With all of the action it was just what I needed to get back into the flow of the story.

Even among all the action you managed to keep the tone of the story fun while portraying the seriousness of the scene.

Well done. I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Anonymous said...

Another great installment. I crack up at their dialogue "By the god's balls!" and your imagination slays me "throwing your voice like that was perfect". I'm loving this series, Sam! Can't wait for the next one. :)

pegjet said...

What the others said about throwing the voice and the banshee rifle. I never know who I'm rooting for in these episodes. You make me like (or at least appreciate) all the characters.

Mari said...

So many great lines! I love this story, can't wait for the next installment.

The pixies' trick was exceedingly precious. :)

Anonymous said...

to quote Edna from the Incredibles "No Capes!" *lol*

Fantastic, I'm still laughing about him throwing his voice!

Tomara Armstrong said...

You had me giggling. These are too fun.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Ha! Your imagination never ceases to entertain! I love that way of 'throwing' his voice! Take that, Twinkle.

ganymeder said...

Great installment, and I agree the voice throwing was priceless. I admit though that the last paragraph had me a little confused...

Jason Coggins said...

With his "black look" and "voice throwing" I love Swazzle's school of 'literalist' magic. You sir are so damned readable!

Anonymous said...

How lovely! Now I'm wondering what she'll find at the better vantage point :)

Sam said...

Thanks for reading and leaving me so many wonderful comments. I'm pleased you all enjoyed Swazzle's voice throwing escapade, a special thank you must go to Jason for coining the term "literalist magic," I'm going to use that, it's perfect!

Deanna - I'm happy to be of service. :)

Karen - See, I always thought you were a winged, magical type person, thanks for the confirmation. ;)

Mazzz - Banshee rifles may be available on the Magical Realm's black market, it's all down to who you know (I'll ask Swazzle!). Master Jamieson is a bit touchy about his status as house spirit, hence the need for discretion when he's around.

ThomG - Thanks Thom, and welcome to the UCF Stories. :)

Icy - Cheers, kidda!

Laura, Pegjet - Thanks for those kind words. I didn't intentionally set out to make all the characters likeable, it just kinda happened, though I do enjoy messing with my readers' heads in that respect; there are times when I don't know who I'm supposed to be rooting for, and I'm writing the thing!

Aislinn - A Fairy aerial display team, now there's an idea! ;)

Danni - Thanks! The dialogue takes a bit of creating as I sometimes forget the Pixies don't have knowledge of human idioms and have to "Pixiefy" things in the edits.

Ganymeder - Ah, apologies. Master Jamieson is Goddess Rising's house spirit. He has his own smaller front door next to the main, human, one that is only visible to other magical creatures or if you squint at it out of the corner of your eye. Jamieson is quite reserved and dour, and is a stickler for etiquette, hence the Pixies not referring to the "tradesmen's entrance" whilst in his company.

Thanks again everyone, stay tuned for the next episode...

Caroline Hagood said...

Wonderfully weird--just what the doctor ordered.

Sam said...

Caroline - Thanks very much for your comment and welcome to the UCF stories!

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