Story Go Round 10/19/2001, round 1, #1


The tunnels echoed with the sounds of retreating children, padded footfalls, urging their mentors to hurry. They revved up the lorries, the wizened Irishman pulled out ahead of the others, pooling all his lives of experience to make that subtle, effervescent attitude known to his mates as "The Look," when they realized that the echoing footfalls had stopped. Suddenly. That didn't normally happen. How odd! What could possibly have led the boistrous little tykes to cease their maddened charge?

O'Mally resorted to thoughtfulness. It wasn't near breakfast time, and the gruel wasn't that flavorful anyway. No, it had to be the Hordrake again. He cursed, spit chaw, and pulled over. He summoned all to a huddle and drew in the dirt. The Exalted Masters could not help but notice the one eye distended to double the size of its twin, catching all in its glance. One of the children came running out from a side tunnel, saw the freakish festival of optical opulence, and pulled the alarm cord to alert the others to the danger. That sort of visual extrusion could only be the result of too much carnival-going. A shudder ran through the child, ran through him and into his shadow, where it frightened the very earth.

The alarm alerted no-one who didn't already know the ways of the clan. The commotion had electrified even the hermits among them. But it did effect the Hordrake. Its attention and its eyes now focused on the children. The children! Before they'd only seemed like food to him, until he remembered the dangers of tobacco, and now he only wanted to gather them in his 17 arms, nestling quietly, and explain to them the clean & wholesome path to becoming functional adults. By then, they'd have more meat on their bones, too...

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange