Posted in THE CHRONICLES OF RANDOMANIA

THE CHRONICLES OF RANDOMANIA: Bryan, the Fridge and the Bathrobe | Part 2

Bryan’s face was pressed against the freezer door as he stuck his long arm inside the refrigerator. For some reason, the strange object he’d spotted earlier on kept escaping his fingers. He moved away and ducked his head to get a better look: It looked very much like a brick, but not the regular kind; there was something odd about the way the light reflected off it.

Now determined, Bryan grabbed a spatula from the cutlery rack and thrusted it into the cold insides of the fridge. Then all of a sudden, he stumbled forward and did a somersault, landing on a cold, hard surface.

He sat up after several moments, puzzled, and rubbed the arm on which he’d fallen. A mist of sorts hung in the air all around him. Wow, who knew fridges were this big and grew…moss? He stood up, looking up, down, left and right for any clues to decipher his location.

“Finally, he’s arrived!” came an excited whisper from very close by, followed by scuffling, then silence.

Bryan started and held out the spatula in front of him like a sword. “Wh-who is it? Show yourself!” No reply. As he took careful steps towards the source of the sound, it occurred to him just how ridiculous he must be looking—sporting a bathrobe for armour, brandishing a spatula for a weapon and that too barefoot!

It would’ve felt cool if he was six years old and playing by himself; unfortunately, he was way past that phase now.

“Where is the fellow going? We’re right here!” came the same whisper, only louder. And this time, its owner was right behind Bryan.

He swivelled around and found two young, identical fauns staring at him. Fauns in my fridge?! “Who are you two?” he demanded.

“Sire, I am your ever-subservient Castor,” said one of them, bowing deeply on his hooves.

“And I, sire, his older brother, Evander,” said the other, doing the same.

“No, I’m the older one,” argued Castor. “Quit trying so hard to look superior.”

“Well, perhaps you are unaware that I was born three whole minutes before you!”

Lies! Wait till I speak to Mother about this—”

“OK, you two,” interrupted Bryan, admittedly amused. “I don’t actually care about your…birth order or whatever. Just tell me where I am and how I can get out. Also, it’s not very nice to be followed around without a proper reason, so I’d like to know that too.”

The fauns looked at each other as if they did not understand.

“You received our message, didn’t you?” Castor asked.

“Nope, you’ve definitely got the wrong bloke,” Bryan replied, folding his arms. He still couldn’t believe he was speaking to magical creatures.

“It can’t be…he couldn’t have got here without it!” exclaimed Evander, nervously looking around. “Oh look, it’s over there!” He pointed at the spot where Bryan had landed a while ago.

The trio headed towards it. Lying there was the same brick that had caught Bryan’s eye before he’d been transported to this unknown land. As the twins picked it up, he noticed an ornate inscription on one of its faces. It read:

To Sir Fireborn, 
A Warm Welcome
to the
Kingdom of Randomania

Fireborn?” Bryan said. “My name’s Bryan Greene! You’ve clearly got this whole thing wrong. You’re looking for a knight, and I’m not one. So please, just tell me how I can leave this place. Then you can be on your way and I can be on mine.”

“We might seem young, sire, but we do our jobs extremely well. There has been no mistake and you are undoubtedly the person sent for,” said Castor confidently as Bryan groaned in frustration.

“Allow us to be your escorts to the palace if you do not believe us still,” added Evander. “The Queen shall clear all your doubts.”

“Yeah, well, if she can send me back home with her ‘magical powers’, I’ll consider going—” But before he could say more, Castor and Evander were already on their way. Shaking his head, he followed. What on earth have I got myself into?

As they trotted along, Bryan noticed curious little details about his surroundings: The mist seemed to part just enough to let them through—like some sort of automatic door—but wasted no time in closing shut behind them. And when it did part, it revealed more moss-covered ground and twisted tree trunks whose branches met in dense canopies overhead. A strange drip-drip sound continuously filled the silence, without any water in sight.

“Watch your step,” one of the twins muttered a short while later.

Bryan looked down and gasped as he skipped over a dead bird. He cast its muddied feathers a last look before turning ahead. It gave him shivers.

Posted in Challenge Entries

My Entry for MLMM’s First Line Friday Challenge (Nov 5)

This week’s line: Only the elders remembered a blue sky.

https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2021/11/05/first-line-friday-november-5-2021/

HOW THE CHALLENGE WORKS:

The first line will be provided, and you get to write whatever comes afterward. Length, genre, and structure are completely up to you. Feel free to modify the line as you see fit, adding punctuation, quotes, or other bits if so desired. No need to tie it to the picture, unless you want to.

Or for more of a challenge, change nothing. You have a week to write it, enjoy!

Include the first line of course! Tag it Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie, First Line Fridays, and short fiction. Create a link (ping-back) to the original post!

………

Only the elders remembered a blue sky.

What in the world was that supposed to mean?

Lilian threw a stone over the calm waters of the lake, pondering over those seven words for the forty-ninth time that day. He watched it skip three times before sinking in with a plop.

“What’s going on?”

He turned around. “Huh?”

Wren emerged from behind a tall, barren tree and sat down on the short, dried grass. She shook strands of her straw-coloured hair out of her face. “I’ve noticed you zoning out a lot in class lately. What’s up? Tell me.”

Lilian didn’t answer her immediately. He walked slowly along the edge of the lake and dropped the remaining stones in his palm onto the ground.

“Mr Olsen told me something the other day at the forge…” he began, pushing aside his bag and settling in a spot next to her. “I didn’t really understand what it meant, though.”

Wren laughed musically, much like her namesake. “Mr Olsen? That good ol’ man is generally hard to understand, with the way he mumbles—”

“I know, but this time was different!” he cut her short, a little too harshly.

Wren’s smile vanished.

Lilian sighed and wrapped an arm around his best friend’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, it’s just…this has occupied so much of my brain space that I’ve forgotten how to talk to another human being. I’m sorry, OK?”

Her smile returned again. “It’s alright. Tell me what happened that day.”

“It was after my apprenticeship session with Mr Olsen. I was about to leave with the others when I saw him standing outside, staring at the sky. He had a very unsettling expression on his face, so I went up to him to ask if everything was OK. Instead, he told me this in a distant, crystal-clear voice: ‘Only the elders remembered a blue sky’.”

Wren let out a soft whistle. “Sounds very poetic.”

“Yeah.”

They both looked to the grey sky that was visible amongst the criss-cross of bare tree branches. It was all they’d ever seen in their few years on Earth—the Sun a mere blot of hazy white; the clouds dark and heavy, but never once pouring down. It was as though they were holding something back.

At that very moment, a shard of bright light briefly bisected the grim expanse overhead, a clap of thunder sending vibrations through the earth. The teens jumped and exchanged looks of concern. Lilian’s hand unintentionally reached for the cool metal of the arrows he’d crafted only a week ago, under Mr Olsen’s supervision. Wren’s gaze followed his fingers.

“What are you doing?” she asked nervously just as another roll of thunder sounded in the distance.

“We’ve got to leave,” he said while standing up, his face pale as paper.

She mimicked his action, questions written all over her face.

“We need to evacuate this town, fast.” His eyes did not leave the ominous cumulonimbi. “The neighbours will have to follow suit soon…are you listening to me, Wren?”

“But why—”

He turned on his feet and held the perplexed girl by her shoulders. “I think I know what Mr Olsen meant…” he paused, feeling a strong gust of wind lift the hem of his tunic, “‘Man has been turning his back on the environment over the last few centuries’, that’s something we’ve all read in our history books. But now, it’s doing the same to us, for real. That storm over there is brewing unlike any other, Wren. We have to leave, otherwise our people will die.”

“Isn’t there another way out?” she said, shivering.

Thunder roared again.

“There’s your answer.”

They ran faster than they’d ever done in their lives.

………

When I first read the prompt, I knew I was going to write a story that had something to do with climate change. What I didn’t expect was for it to turn into a somewhat dystopian scenario. As scary as that sounds, it looks like I’ve got a name for this new genre:

Cli-fi
[Climate fiction]

What do you think of this, readers? Let me know in the comments.