Saturday, February 3, 2018
Welcome back to the faery land of Thistledown.
Falling, falling until you finally feel the fathomless descent is normal — at least normal for you. It’s dark. A glimmer of light had make you think the dark would be banished. Yet the blackness remains. Darker than dark, you neither see nor hear another soul. Alone. The fall will surely kill you, but at least you know what kind of death awaits. Landing… Landing lends new lethal longings and worries.
The portal, the dark gaping maw, the black abyss — it’s back. We resume the story from the point of view of Bedlam Thunder as she falls through the seemingly bottomless dark abyss.
Previously in Thistledown — Midsummer Bedlam
The black gaping maw of the portal closed with a pop. Field Yewwwasp rescued Rhymer Rainbow and then River Mindshadow. However, Bedlam Thunder was still in that darker than dark place when the portal snapped shut.
Midsummer Bedlam 23
I felt myself falling and falling. And falling. I couldn’t see anything, including the bottom of the abyss.
If there is a bottom, I thought in consternation.
Neither could I hear anything. Was sound as absent as light? Or was it that there simply wasn’t anything else to make a noise. Was I that forsaken? A sob escaped my lips.
So, sound still exists. Then I must be truly, completely alone.
Suddenly, it felt like the bottom fell out of my stomach. The rate of my descent quickened. The realization that I might actually splat onto the ground was even more alarming than the idea of falling endlessly.
In the black emptiness a nagging beat entered my mind. Tap tap. Pause. Bum-dum dah-dah. Tap tap. Pause. Bum-dum dah-dah.
Was it just inside my head? Perhaps my heartbeat took on an erratic pattern as I fought to stave off panic. I strained my ears, trying to determine whether there was in fact a noise, something with me in the light-less abyss.
Tap tap. Pause. Bum-dum dah-dah. Bum-dum! Bum-dum dah-dah!
Yes! It was a beating drum. Although I couldn’t tell from whence the drumming came. The noise became a little louder. Tap tap, like a knock at a door. Then more insistently, Bum-dum! Bum-dum dah-dah!
Finally, I heard a whisper, a voice that seemed far away. At first, I couldn’t make out the words. The drumbeat came back with that odd pattern. Then I could hear the words.
“Bedlam Thunder. Bedlam! Bedlam Thunder, can you hear me?”
The barely perceptible voice became louder as it spoke my name. It began to sound familiar but I couldn’t place it. It seemed like something I should remember from long ago. Abruptly I realized I had also heard the voice fairly recently.
“We have something to break your fall,” she said. “Try to land on your stomach. I expect your wing is not fully healed, right? Oh! And it is very important that you do not breathe when you land! It could be dangerous if you breathe before the dust settles.”
Those words were not comforting.
It felt as if something abruptly let go of me. I fell faster than ever. Frantically I tried to twist and turn so that my belly was facing downward. I resisted the natural impulse to unfurl my wings. I was falling so rapidly that it would surely reopen the tear in my gossamer wing.
After falling for so long, it seemed sudden when I landed. With a soft thud the wind was knocked out of me. My body automatically gasped, sucking oxygen back into my lungs, despite the warning not to breathe.
Bits of something floating in the air made a cloud around me.
I lifted my head to look at the soft but lumpy bed on which I landed. Although, it wasn’t actually a bed.
“Mushrooms? Giant mushrooms?” I murmured aloud in amazement. “Spores…” I added looking at the cloud of floating bits that exploded from the mushrooms when I landed on them.
A fit of coughing overtook me. Every time I recovered myself and gulped air I inhaled spores with it. Which made me cough again.
Finally, the cloud of mushroom bits settled and I could breathe normally. I scanned my dark surroundings.
Any illumination at all seem bright after being in such darkness. The presence of a dim light felt so bright that I squinted.
“Is that daylight?”
I was so surprised to finally see it that I spoke aloud. I couldn’t exactly call it sunlight, but it did seem to be light. Perhaps it was a very cloudy, rainy day. It seemed to be the entrance to a cave… or rather the exit.
Disoriented from the impossibly long fall, I staggered as I got up from the pile of giant mushrooms. A smaller cloud of spores swirled around my feet. I felt quite bewildered. As I struggled forward toward the opening, I became woozy.
The sound of a roar, like a great lion, caused me to stumble to a stop. A gout of flame flared, blinding me for a moment. Then I saw it at the cave’s opening ― an enormous chimera.
The beast’s lion head roared again. Golden eyes stared me in a way that I imagined meant it was hungry. Scales rustled against the ground as its serpent tail swished.
The chimera moved forward toward the cave’s opening. I stifled a scream.
A copper battleaxe the size of a millstone slammed down, blocking the cave exit. The chimera roared frustration, and tongues of flame licked around the edges of the enormous battleaxe.
The copper ax was engraved with designs and inscriptions. They seemed to crawl on the surface as I looked at it. An eye opened in the metal and leered at me. Then the eye melted, running down the face of the ax like a molten jewel. The chimera growled and the battleaxe gave a wicked laugh. They both taunted me.
This Week’s Faery Namers
Bedlam truly was alone in the dark… there were no Faery Namers for this episode. Actually there were a few but the chapter didn’t name the namers. Can you guess who they are? There are clues for those who have been paying attention. Feel free to leave your guess in a comment.
Now what will happen to our hapless faery? Bedlam finally had a soft landing, but now she’s confronted by a mythic chimera and an evil battleaxe. Fly back next week to see “what the faery“ is going on. Until then…
Hugs on the wing!
Copyright © 2018 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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