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Writing Wickersleeves [PG-13]


Dragon Warrior
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This is a bizarre short series I'm working on that'll come in five volumes, each volume being the length similar to this post. It's not a humorous random comedy like I always do. It's actually serious (but it has some humor in it).

It stars the main character, Wickersleeves, who suffers from hallucinations of weird people and things as well as constantly hearing voices and obeying them. He has now got enough sense to try and [i]kill[/i] the voices... if that's even slightly sane. He finds himself accompanied with a weasel-man named Radley who helps him go on a journey through his insanity to another world where he will meet his hallucinations headon and destroy them vis-a-vis. But he can't tell whether it's all his imagination or not.

I dunno about you, but I wouldn't want to miss the exciting conclusion of this five part series, so you best get crackin' reading volume one right here. The next volumes shall be posted of I get replies. Thank you for your time and enjoy.

NOTE: Oh, and if you have questions about the story, feel free to ask here, PM me, or IM me.




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We?ve come to the conclusion, Mr. Wickersleeves, that you?ve been having hallucinations, yes? Ones of weird images and uncanny characters, yes? It?s no surprise, really. Can?t say we didn?t see it coming. Hmm, yes. We believe we know how to solve your problem. But you don?t know what we?re going to do about it. No, you don?t, Mr. Wickersleeves.

We could always toss you into our pit, but we?re almost certain the clams would eat you alive. They have rather nasty claws this time of year. Yes, that they do. I suppose we?ll have to send one of our agents in to help you. We believe we have one in mind. He?s quite good at what he does. Yes, quite good. There should be a parcel on your porch. Open it or don?t. It?s your choice. Yes, all your choice.

Or your death.




Wickersleeves sat in his chair, rocking back and forth while observing the bugs scattering across the unfinished wall. The clock ticked ominously, filling the room with its redundant resonance that could drive one insane. But Wickersleeves was already off the deep end at this point anyways. What difference did it make? He could always smash that clock, but why would he? He did like the ticking sound. What a strange fellow.

As the voices in his head had spoken earlier, there was a knock on his rickety front door and a parcel placed on his step. He attempted a movement towards the door, but found it difficult to sit up from his chair. He hadn?t moved for three days because the voices told him if he moved before the knock, he?d be manipulated into a bush. He believed what they said. He believed anything they said. They were his masters.

He found the small package covered in dust as if it was stored away for several decades awaiting this very day to be delivered. [I]Go ahead, pick it up,[/I] the voices spoke to him. He did as they said again. He was eager to open it, with or without permission from the voices. He entered his run-down home and dashed to the fireplace, his only source of light, for his house bared no windows or lamps. He thrashed at the parcel?s paper packaging like a kid at Christmas, but was disappointed to find the box empty.

[I]It?s empty,[/I] spoke the voices. [I]Truly a disappointed, yes? Yes, it is. But wait, your eyes deceive you, Mr. Wickersleeves.[/I]

Wickersleeves was told to look deeper into the box by the voices. After following through with his command he found his fire in the fireplace blown out by a large gust and the room went dark. The area was silent until the door flew open and in walked a furry fellow with a long trench coat and fedora-styled hat. He stood in the center of the room, paying no mind to the worried Wickersleeves. He simply lit his cigarette and gave it a puff. He narrowed his eyes on Wickersleeves and grimaced.

?You?re a tad chubby,? was all the fellow managed to say. ?Hella-hiwo, that?s a disappointment,? he continued before smoking his cigarette a little more. For as small of a cig as it was, it caused a large drifting cloud of smoke across the ceiling that could confuse any firefighter into thinking the place was set aflame. ?Wickersleeves, isn?t it?? he asked.

Wickersleeves stared long and hard at the fellow in the fedora until the stranger gave an expressionless face back at him. ?I?m not one of the voices in your head, kid,? said the stranger. ?You can?t communicate with me through telepathy like you do them.?

?Sorry,? Wickersleeves squeaked softly. A silence filled the room again until the stranger puffed his cig one last time and dropped it to the floor. With a quick stomp, all evidence that the tobacco product was there was gone. The fellow approached Wickersleeves, causing the troubled boy to cower in fear. Fortunately the stranger just lit the fire again for the convenience of them both. That?s when Wickersleeves got a good look at his guest. He was a weasel. Literally, not saying he was sly like one (though he may be). He wore a patch over his eye, but he lifted it up to look at the fire and Wickersleeves could note he had no eye damage whatsoever. Just for show.

?Name?s Radlelonius Chap. You are going to call me Rabblebottom.?

?Yes, Rabblebottom.? Radley turned to Wickersleeves and glared.

?Do you always listen to what everyone says? Call me Radley, damnit.?

?Sorry, Radley.?

?Hella-hiwo,? Radley mumbled before taking a briefcase out of the small parcel Wickersleeves received moments ago. How bizarre it was to see the case taken out of a package five times smaller than it. But Radley wasn?t questioned about his methods. The weasel seemed unstable as it was.

The silence, though Radley was fishing through his belongings, was very unnerving and Wickersleeves felt the need to break it. ?What do you want from me if you?re not from within my head??

Radley swished his tail back and force and a gleam came from his right pupil. He pulled the patch down over his eye and kicked back in Wickersleeves? chair. ?I was sent by the Council of Residence to cure you, Sleeves. Mind if I call you Sleeves??

?Actually, I?d-?

?Good. Now down to business.? Radley took out a blank paper and gave it to Wickersleeves. He tapped the paper with a paw and mused over it. ?This is my favorite item from my briefcase. Look at it, tell me what you see.?

Wickersleeves stared long and hard, but to dismay. ?I see nothing, but white.?

?Wait for it,? Radley said patiently, rubbing at a soar on his leg. Wickersleeves waited a little more and like Radley said, the paper began to give life to another world. An image of destruction and fear formed, sending chills down poor Wickersleeves? spine. He witnessed a monster feasting on human souls, a large wooden missile exploding and wiping out a civilization, and then a figure dressed in all gray who appeared very unhappy, but the words he spoke were unpleasant to Wickersleeves. He threw the paper into the air and it landed perfectly in Radley?s outstretched paw.

?What did you see?? questioned the weasel in the hat.

?I saw death and destruction.?

?Good,? Radley grinned.

?Good? What?s so good about that??

?Did you see a man?? Radley continued to ignore Wickersleeves? questions.

?Yes, he was dressed in gray.?

?Did he say anything??

?He said-?

?Don?t tell me.?

?Why??

?I wasn?t meant to know.? Radley didn?t say anything after that, but stood up and placed the paper carefully back into the case as if it was the most valuable thing in existence. Then he violently chucked the briefcase back in the parcel and turned to the door. ?Time to go.?

?Go??

?Hella-hiwo, Sleeves. Don?t you listen??

?What did you say that I missed??

?Nothing. But I could?ve sworn the Council told you they were expecting you today.?

?The? council??

?To you they?re just voices in your head.?

?I tend to block them out a lot.?

?Never block out the Council,? Radley said sternly, but he still didn?t turn to face Wickersleeves. He kept his consistent gaze on the broken-down door, waiting for the boy to accompany his side. ?We?re going to go see them.?

Wickersleeves stood up and scratched his head. ?I?m unsure about that.?

?You don?t have to be sure about anything anymore, Sleeves,? Radley said, still peering at the crack in the same door. ?From now on, everyone else will be sure for you. All you have to do is listen to me, the Council, and that?s it. We?re going to help you, Sleeves.? Wickersleeves glanced nervously at the fire, then back at the door. He sighed and took a step towards the weasel.

?How long will it take to get there??

?A matter of seconds,? Radley replied, reaching in his coat.

?Is it close??

?Very.?

?Then I guess we can go now.?

?The journey may hurt for a split second.?

?Why?s that??

?No reason.? And with that, Radley hit Wickersleeves over the head with a chairleg and he was soon in a deep sleep.




?Welcome, young Mr. Wickersleeves. Yes, quite welcome.? Wickersleeves adjusted his eyes. His vision was impaired and he couldn?t make out who spoke. At first he panicked, but the voices calmed him down. ?Settle, Mr. Wickersleeves. Have a nice sitdown, yes?? A few pairs of hands helped him to the task and found him a chair. The chair collapsed immediately afterwards. ?Oh, my. We?re terribly sorry, Mr. Wickersleeves. Sorry, indeed.? The voices cleared their throats and chattered for a moment?s time. ?Radley is such a nuisance sometimes. His favorite weapon would be a chairleg. How bizarre, yes? Quite, very bizarre.?

Wickersleeves? thoughts became his words once again, just like when he spoke with the voices in his head. He asked the voices who they were. They laughed at his ignorance.

?That?s right, you don?t know us, yes??

?He also can?t see us, My Kin.?

?Oh, truly, yes. We must fix that immediately, hm??

?In good time, My Kin. In good time.?

?First things first, Mr. Wickersleeves,? said one of the voices, ?Radlelonius Chap has told us you had very vivid images from his paper. Is this true, yes??

Wickersleeves nodded.

?Oh, we see, we see. This is very crucial that we get you an appointment with ?Him? very soon.?

?He doesn?t need an appointment with ?Him? just yet, My Kin. Don?t make such a rash decision, yes??

?You?re right, My Kin. We mustn?t rush things, yes? For all we know, he could be insane anyways, yes??

?Yes, indeed, My Kin. He could be a fool.?

As the voices conversed, Wickersleeves? vision slowly went from dreary to blurred to good enough to make out shapes. As it got better, he finally witnessed who his speakers were. They were bird-like beings. To be more accurate, they were humans with bird features. Their beaks were short and their large wings were sheathed behind them. Their feathers gleamed in the dim light of what appeared to be a courtroom. One of the birds must?ve noticed Wickersleeves? expressions of awe.

?He has noticed us, My Kin.?

?That he has, My Kin. Yes, he has.?

?His vision is not impaired anymore, yes?? said a third voice, one that hadn?t spoken until then. He looked a tad younger than the two others (who appeared superior anyways). Wickersleeves asked them who they were again, now that he could see more clearly.

?Who are we? You tell him, My Kin,? said the middle birdman to his right accomplice. The other bird cleared his throat and ruffled his neck feathers to look more presentable.

?Alright, My Kin.? He chirped at Wickersleeves and his beak gleamed in the candlelight. ?We are the Council of Residence, yes? We shall give you a trial, yes? A difficult one, indeed.?

?To see if you qualify to see ?Him,? right, My Kin?? added the younger Council member.

?Yes, indeed, My Kin,? said the middle Council member. ?You shall refer to me as Wone.?

?And refer to me as Tooe,? said the second superior birdman.

The third stared into the candle in front of him before squawking, ?You shall call me Thrii.?

Wickersleeves agreed and further questioned what the trial was. ?The trial? mmm?? Tooe thought through what he?d say, but Wone interrupted.

?You cannot know what it is, right, My Kin?? Tooe nodded as did Thrii when he wasn?t pawing the candle flame.

?You mustn?t know,? Tooe repeated.

?No, you mustn?t,? said Thrii, trying to sound important like his brothers. Wickersleeves didn?t seem to notice Radley taking a seat behind him until a furry paw was placed on his shoulder.

?Hello, Radlelonius Chap,? Wone greeted. ?We are pleased to see you are well.?

?Yes, we are,? spoke Tooe.

Radley nodded and lit a cigarette again. ?How?s the kid doin???

?Very well, yes,? Thrii said, unraveling a scroll. ?He is already passing the test quite well and he?s only been conscious for a matter of moments.?

?He?s doing very well, yes,? Tooe agreed.

?Indeed, My Kin,? Wone threw in.

?I see,? Radley murmured behind his clenched teeth, which were holding his cig in place.

?Is that good?? Wickersleeves asked Radley out loud.

?It?s bad, kid. Very bad. If you pass this trial, it means you have a little escapade ahead of you.?

Wickersleeves wanted to pout, but the Council members? obsessive laughing kept startling him. They giggled amongst themselves until they came to conclusions. ?The trial is complete, yes,? said Tooe.

?Indeed it is, My Kin,? Wone spoke.

?Already?? Radley uttered in amazement.

?Quite,? Thrii chirped. ?We?re sorry to inform you??

?Yes, we are, My Kin??

?? that Mr. Wickersleeves must take the journey to ?Him.?? Wickersleeves didn?t know what it meant or what was to come, but he suddenly had a hurtful feeling in his gut.

?Why is it always the ones I like?? Radley mumbled.

?We are the Council of Residence, Radlelonius Chap, not psychics,? cooed Thrii. It also seemed the Council didn?t understand hypothetical questions.

?Take him to the dock, yes?? Wone squawked. ?He must take the Plunge into the other side. Yes, he must.?

?You are correct, My Kin.? Tooe nodded to Radley as the signal that the trial was dismissed. The weasel gripped Wickersleeves by the arm and led him out of the candlelit courtroom into the darkness surrounding. It seemed like a million minutes before they arrived in natural light. But it wasn?t much more homely than the courtroom.

Wickersleeves stared out into the distance and admired the atmosphere. It was gloomy and fog was as thick as tar. It only let up where a bridge was visible. But even the bridge seemed rickety and unsafe. He peered up at Radley. He already had another cigarette deposited in his weasel lips. He twiddled his matchbox in his paw and used his other to lift the cig from his mouth.

?Well, Sleeves,? he said in his gruff voice, ?it?s time you went to see ?Him.??

?Who are we talking about??

?You?re not meant to know until you?ve met him finally.?

?Is this the guy I saw in the picture??

?I said you?re not meant to know yet.? Radley puffed his cig again and swished his tail. He stared out at the water surrounding them, though it was barely noticeable because of the fog. He then took a step forward, waiting for Wickersleeves to follow suit, and continued down the wooden platform.

The dock was long and creaked. The fog began to settle itself comfortably on the path to the point of almost no visibility. If Radley?s tail didn?t sway back and forth in front of him, Wickersleeves would have walked off the edge. They eventually arrived at the end and a wide-open sea. The fog wasn?t present out there.

?Where?s the boat?? Wickersleeves questioned his weasel companion.

?Boat?? He pulled out another cig and smirked. ?You don?t need a boat where you?re going.? Wickersleeves winced at those words and that bad gut feeling returned. ?Now, listen to me, kid,? he spoke as he used his match to light his new cigarette, ?after you take The Plunge and arrive on the other side, you shall meet a person who will stand out more than the rest. Follow them and you?ll know what to do. Can you remember that??

?I think so.?

?Hella-hiwo, why do I bother asking?? Radley questioned, gnawing at his cigarette a little. ?You?ll forget pretty much everything after the first few hours after The Plunge. I guess you?ll just have to hope you?re lucky he or she meets you.?

?What?? Wickersleeves seemed even more worried now.

Radley?s eyes lit up. ?Oh, you might want this.? He reached into his large trench coat and took out a bizarre mushroom shaped like a sink faucet. He placed it in Wickersleeves? jacket pocket and smiled. ?Just in case.?

Wickersleeves didn?t bother asking what it was for because he knew Radley wouldn?t answer. It probably ?wasn?t for him to know yet.? He stared blankly into the mucky water and grimaced.

?Well, ready?? Radley purred.

?I guess I?m as ready as I?ve ever been.?

?You?re not ready,? Radley shook his head. And with that, he pushed Wickersleeves into the water. The dock seemed higher up than he had expected, so it was no wonder it was called The Plunge. The impact clearly knocked Wickersleeves out, but his troubles had only begun to form.

Especially when he arrived on the ?other side.?

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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Ah I love it! I love your writing style so much, the story is so weird and different, I'm hooked. I like Radley a lot, I can see why you do too...'hella hiwo' is the best oy noise ever. The way the council talks is great too. I just can't wait to see what happens next. I hope more people read this, it's amazing.
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[color=darkgreen]Hm, quite the odd of your work, Gav. I thought it was a great intro into the Wichersleeves series you're doing. For some reason, it seemed a bit rushed. Maybe that's just me. All around, I'm excited to see the next chapter.[/color]
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[COLOR=DarkOrange]Oh. I like, I very muchly like. I think I like this more than your comedy ones. Certain parts remind me (vaguely) of Terry Pratchett's Death character (don't ask me why) but the Council of Residence reminds me of something from Lewis Carrol.

Can't wait to see the next part...[/COLOR]
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[COLOR=Blue][SIZE=1]Yay! I managed to read the whole thing! *feels proud* I really enjoyed the creative names for the characters. (Where'd "Wickersleeves" come from.. and is that even a name? >>;; ) Radley reminds me of characters I've seen in movies. What with the chain smoking and trench coat. ^_~

I'm really looking forward to part 2, even though it'll be just as long, if not longer. T_T;;[/SIZE][/COLOR]
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I'll start off by answering TOOD's questions.

1) I don't mention his age for a reason: so you can decide.
2) Radley, I'd say, is around 6'5" to 6'7". (EDIT: [spoiler]The Accord is much taller than probably most characters. He's around 7'6".[/spoiler])
3) I don't believe it's good enough to be published.

Now for Volume 2. Like I promised some people, this volume is longer and stranger. I even threw in some romance... though even that's a tad bizarre. Anyways...




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What a peculiar place Wickersleeves landed. He felt wet, but he wasn?t in the water, nor on a shore. But of course, he didn?t even remember taking the Plunge, who he was, or where he was. He felt around himself and found a faucet-shaped mushroom. Not sure what to use it for, he just simply put it back in its home in his pocket.

There was a crowd of people all around him, all colored the same: an ominous green. They looked sickly and had blank stares. They walked on the gravel-covered ground, not intent on going anywhere but in circles. Only one person stood out. He sat on a rock chucking a small ball at a couple of jacks. He seemed to have noticed Wickersleeves? gaze at him and called the boy over. Wickersleeves hesitated, but since his memory was gone, he didn?t know better. He approached the strange man.

When the stranger stood, he was much taller than Wickersleeves and it wasn?t because of his massive top hat he donned on his head. He had an elaborate penguin suit on that was striped with yellow and purple. But the most distinct thing about the fellow was that he looked normal compared to everyone else. Even his voice was comforting.

?I am The Accord,? he said finally. There wasn?t anything more spoken and the people around seemed to migrate elsewhere eventually. In good time, the two were alone. The man who called himself The Accord led Wickersleeves down a dirt path towards a field of rotten grass. He spoke as he walked. ?I am to bring you to ?Him.? I?m sure you don?t recall anything at the moment. From the looks of your clothes, you?ve just taken The Plunge to get here.? He hurled the metal ball to the ground and to anyone?s amazement, it bounced back to his hand obediently.

Wickersleeves just stared blankly at the man in the top hat. It seemed he wasn?t sure what to say. ?Stupid Radley,? The Accord said mockingly. ?He thinks you?d lose your memory for ages, but that?s just because he doesn?t know a whole lot. I have connections, you see.? Wickersleeves didn?t say anything, so The Accord continued. ?Before we go on our quest, I?m going to take you on a detour to see a friend of mine that?ll fix that brain problem of yours in a jiffy.?

Wickersleeves raised an eyebrow and finally asked a question. ?But you said we?re supposed to go see ?Him.? Whoever ?Him? is.?

?We will,? said The Accord. ?But first, we need to get your brain working again. My friend? well, they say she?s a witch, but she?s just different. A genius!? He seemed rather fond of this friend he spoke of. There was a hint of affection in his voice when he spoke her name. ?Her name is Verosha.?

Wickersleeves didn?t bother interrupting the fellow in all of his bliss.

?She is so wonderful. I?d like to give her a flower.? He then cleared his throat. ?Perhaps I will. She has a machine,? he continued, getting back on topic, ?which is used to juice your brain. Don?t be afraid of it. We tested it on the woodland folk before anyone important.? An expression of pain and horror crossed The Accord?s face for a moment?s time. He then looked down at Wickersleeves and smiled. ?Don?t be afraid.?

They arrived at the clearing?s end. The Accord called the field the Meadow Of Down, but no one knew why it was named that. It?s the same reason why a car was named a car. It just is. The Accord picked at the dead grass and chucked it into the wind, studying it very seriously. ?Good. It?s safe to cross right now.?

Wickersleeves looked at The Accord with a befuddled expression. ?Normally there are creatures called lumbras in the dead grass that will come out and eat us if we weren?t cautious enough to check for a safe route first. Luckily I?ve crossed this field several times to know not to just rush into it. Verosha taught me how to check for lumbras.? He blushed a little and tipped his hat over his eyes. Wickersleeves continued to stare. ?Right, let?s keep going.?

It wasn?t easy walking through the Meadow of Down. The place was ridden with holes that constantly caught the two travelers? feet. They even fell once or twice. ?Lumbra holes,? The Accord informed Wickersleeves. It seemed as big as they were, they made small holes the size of your foot and could squeeze into them with no sweat. They trudged a long while before The Accord finally spoke again. ?Don?t tell anyone I?m taking you to Verosha, alright?? Wickersleeves nodded innocently. ?Good. If the Council found out I did this, it?d be my tail.?

The Accord stumbled onto a cleanly-cut lawn followed shortly after by Wickersleeves. They both admired the premises, though The Accord had seen it several times before. ?Is this the place?? Wickersleeves asked in a monotonous tone.

?Yes,? The Accord said proudly. ?Verosha?s humble abode.? The tall fellow bent down, his long legs like a spider?s. His face was now level with Wickersleeves? and they looked sternly into each other?s eyes. ?I want you to mind your manners in there. She?s very dear to me. We?ll be in and out like a gust of wind if we play our cards right.? He then stood back up and waltzed towards the door. Wickersleeves followed.

The Accord straightened his penguin suit and cleared his throat before knocking on the wooden door. He then quickly bent over and plucked some dead flowers out of one of Verosha?s own flowerpots and held them presentably. The door swung open and to Wickersleeves? surprise, a beautiful young maiden stood on the threshold. She threw her arms around the tall gentleman standing next to Wickersleeves and shouted ?Milton!?

?Hello, Vero, my love,? The Accord replied after their embrace. He then presented the flowers, which of course, made her squeal with excitement.

?Thank you, Milton. Who?s your friend??

?This is a client of mine. His name is Nickerweeves, I think.? Wickersleeves, not knowing his own name, just nodded.

?Nice to meet you, Nickerweeves,? Verosha said, patting his head. ?Why don?t you both come in and I?ll serve up some Marmalade Whiskers?? She led them into the house and The Accord closed the door. He respectfully placed his top hat on the coat rack and Wickersleeves noted how greasy his hair was. The strangest things people notice sometimes.

?We couldn?t bother you with that, Vero,? The Accord said happily. He appeared to be in heaven just being near her.

?Nonsense, Milton. You?re here for a reason, aren?t you??

?To see your lovely face,? The Accord flirted.

?Oh, stop it,? she giggled as she placed three plates on her spindly table. ?You?re such a joker. What are you here for really? You don?t come visit me on business days too often.?

?Actually, I need you to help my friend Lickerheeves here.? Verosha served the Marmalade Whiskers onto their plates and looked to Wickersleeves? direction.

?Oh? What?s the matter? Does he need a potion made??

?I wanted to use your machine on him.?

?You?re here to kill him??

?Not that machine.? The Accord looked to Wickersleeves, who was now a little frightened by his company. ?He needs his memory back.?

?What happened to him??

?He? took The Plunge.?

Verosha dropped her fork-like utensil onto her plate and stood up. ?Milton, you know it?s dangerous to bring a Plungling here. The lumbras will eat us all alive.?

The Accord put his hands on her shoulders soothingly. ?I know, Vero, my dear, but I knew if anyone could fix him up, it?d be you. We?ll get it done quickly and we can get out of here in two shakes of a lamb?s tail.?

Verosha thought on it for a moment before nodding in agreement. The Accord smirked and embraced her again. They then led Wickersleeves to the yard behind the house.

The machine would frighten anyone not from the other side. It was devious looking, almost morbid in its dusty absence of use. Wickersleeves shivered at the sight, but The Accord assured him it was safe. Even the soothing words of an expert wouldn?t cure the fright of one who saw this contraption?s claws of doom. Long and jagged pieces of metal emerged from splintering wood and a red stain became a constant decoration across the steel of the patient?s bed. Wickersleeves was beginning to have regrets.

?Please lay down on the bed, Hickerneeves,? The Accord commanded and then followed Verosha over to the controls. Wickersleeves obeyed, but wasn?t sure if he should have really. What other choice did he have anyways?

Verosha pushed buttons and pulled levers, looking very busy with her work to set the calculations needed to operate on Wickersleeves. Her gorgeous eyes skimmed the small man on the steel bed and then returned to the meters on the control panel. With a grin and a twist of a knob, she was ready. She gave the signal to The Accord and he began strapping Wickersleeves down with large leather belts. A devious smirk crossed the tall man?s face and the room began to feel dark to Wickersleeves. A chill went through him, but perhaps it was just the machine warming up.

With a few jolts through his body, the machine began to work its magic. Verosha poured a purple potion into the contraption and it bubbled the liquid to the point of almost exploding. It wasn?t long before the sharp metal spears lowered and gripped Wickersleeves by the head and held him steady. Without much trouble, the machine inserted a needle into his forehead and slowly drained his brain fluid. He felt dizzy, almost falling unconscious before the purple liquid?which was rather hot?was shot into his skull in place of his old liquids.

Wickersleeves? eyes blurred for a moment, but just as quickly returned to normal. He could see The Accord and Verosha watching with glee. He let The Accord untie him and sit him up straight. While doing this, Verosha asked Wickersleeves questions to see if the potion had been successful. To their pleasure, it had. Not only did he recall what had recently occurred, he even remembered everything before The Plunge.

?This calls for a celebration,? Verosha said with her beautiful smile playing across her timid face. She took The Accord by his arm and led the two back into her home. ?Milton, put a record on the player and let?s have a listen. I?ll make some rancid tea.? The Accord rubbed his stomach at the sound of the delectables she was about to whip up (though to anyone normal, it sounded horrid) and went to work finding a pleasant record to play.

To Wickersleeves? dismay, he was not comfortable in this house. Now that he had his memory back, he noticed a lot more things. Verosha really was a witch. Potions and spell books and vases of odds and ends littered the small home, not to mention the dark atmosphere. But he was careful of what thoughts crossed his mind since for all he knew, people could read his thoughts on the other side like they could back home. It was even more unfortunate to him that The Accord chose a terrible record to listen to.

It sounded like cats screeching and nails running across a chalkboard to his ears, but he supposed it was fine listening to the residents on the other side. The Accord seated himself next to Wickersleeves and patted him on the shoulder.

?You listen to Wuther Topplerots back where you?re from, Rickersneeze?? he questioned friendly.

?I?ve never heard of him, no,? Wickersleeves replied quietly. ?And it?s Wickersleeves.?

?Oh, sorry. I think I?ve been butchering your name for the past hour.?

?Yes, you have,? Wickersleeves said, a little annoyed.

?No matter,? The Accord said, scooping a paper he found on one of Verosha?s small side tables. ?Wuther Topplerots is a big name here. Too bad he died.?

?Good for him.?

?He sings like the angels.?

?I don?t hear any singing.?

The Accord arched his eyebrow at Wickersleeves and put down the paper. ?You kids from that other place sure are strange ones.?

?Honestly, Milton, don?t you know anything about those Plunglings?? Verosha teased. ?Wickersleeves, dear, our music here sounds like noise to you, but to us it sounds like your music sounds to you. Do I make any sense? Trust me. It?s very soothing.? Wickersleeves cringed at another note in the song and dug his nails into the furniture.

?Yes, wonderful, isn?t it?? The Accord agreed, still trying to make heads or tails of the paper. Verosha snatched it from his hands and gave a disciplining look in his direction.

?Who would like their tea hot or cold??

?Neither,? The Accord said.

?Oh, yes,? Verosha smiled. ?I forgot you don?t take it hot or cold, Milton, dear.?

?If it?s not hot or cold, what is it?? Wickersleeves questioned.

?It?s jolic,? The Accord said simply, as if it was not a strange thing to say. Wickersleeves left the subject alone and asked for his tea cold. That?s when a scratch came at the door.

[I]Sceeerrrrrech![/I]

The Accord stood up, his height causing him to almost hit the ceiling. ?Someone at the door, Vero, my love.?

?Who?? she asked, pouring some jolic tea into a cup.

?I can?t be sure,? he said while approaching the door. ?I?ll get it.? The scratch returned on the wood.

[I]Sceeerrrrrech![/I]

?They?re an odd sort. Scratching at the door like they are,? The Accord said while turning the doorknob.

?Scratching?? Verosha squeaked. ?Milton, don?t!? But it was too late. He flung the door open and a large beast leapt upon him. Wickersleeves jumped up from his chair and he could hear Verosha scream The Accord?s name as well as the word ?lumbra.?

So that was a lumbra. Ugly beasts, lumbras. Wickersleeves compared it to a bear-like creature with horns that had bird claws as feet. Its long tail donned massive spikes that lashed The Accord?s leg, causing him to yelp in pain. He managed to get out from under the monster and grab Verosha by the arm and escape. Wickersleeves followed without a second thought. They ran to the backyard where the operating machines were.

They all seemed to stop short on the lawn and waited. Sweat trickled down all of their brows. It wasn?t long before the lumbra leapt out of the back door and into one of the machines. It violently murdered the beast with its deadly metal hooks and needles. The sight and stench could make one gag. Wickersleeves actually did a few times.

The Accord gripped Verosha?s shoulders and shook her gently. ?Vero, my love, I should have never brought him here. We now must flee and keep you out of danger.?

?Hurry, Milton. I don?t want you hurt,? she replied with tears. The Accord let his hands fall and he turned abruptly to Wickersleeves. His eyes, once filled with the joy of being in Verosha?s company, were now sunken and became black pools of sorrow and worry. Wickersleeves knew they had to go. The two began to rush around the house only to suddenly see a lumbra leap through the tall dead grass towards them. They ducked skillfully, but to The Accord?s horror, its claws found Verosha.

She was taken into the grass with screams of pain and agony. Not thinking twice about what he was doing, The Accord threw down his top hat, ripped off his suit jacket, and rushed into the grass yelling ?Verosha!? The weeds rustled and roars and screams could be heard from miles away, but in only a matter of moments, silence struck.

Wickersleeves, though he knew he was in grave danger, just stood in the yard and stared at the swaying fields of grass. He wasn?t sure what had occurred that day in the Meadow of Down, but he had a feeling The Accord and Verosha found happiness together somewhere far from where he was. Maybe they?d meet Wuther Topplerots there. Maybe they could finally confess their love to one another. Maybe?

Wickersleeves gave several moments of silence for his departed friends. Well, they were more of recent acquaintances, but he was grateful for what they did for him. It wasn?t until he began traversing far from the Meadow of Down and Verosha?s vacant house that he realized he didn?t know where he was off to. Up ahead of him was a massive canyon with a river running through it. He didn?t recall seeing it before. It was as if it had appeared to guide his way. Maybe the Council of Residence did it.

He still had to cross a large plain before he arrived even close to the river of the canyon. The grass was alive, but cut shorter than those of the Meadow of Down. He feared the lumbras made it a nesting place as well, but he seriously doubted after he found no holes to trip and fall over. Nevertheless, he felt like he was being watched. Even once or twice he believed he saw a cloaked man appear near a tree here and there that were scattered randomly across the plain. He paid no mind, though.

The voices kept him company. They spoke sweet things, horrid things, sad things, and even humorous things. He didn?t feel alone with them around, but he also didn?t feel safe. The whole reason he was going to see ?Him? was to rid himself of these horrid mind puppets, but at the same time, he didn?t feel so cold with them near.

There were moments he thought he even saw them walking next to him. One wore a dress, who he believed was a girl. He couldn?t tell by her face since it looked badly burnt beyond recognition. The other that walked on his right was a stout male with a pipe in his mouth. He had an enormous snout that puffed out smoke the shape of slithering snakes. What peculiar hallucinations.

His company kept him occupied and before he knew it, he arrived at the stream. He didn?t notice until he saw a man fishing near the path he walked along. ?Hello,? Wickersleeves spoke monotonously to the stranger.

The man turned to look at his new company and tipped his hat up, so he could see clearly. His eyes were a bright blue, almost to the point that he appeared blind. His skin was a sloshy green and he had the look of a lizard. He appeared almost threatening, but his voice was calming. ?Hello back at ye, mate.? He let go of the fishing pole and to Wickersleeves? surprise it stayed floating in midair. The stranger approached him and held out a webbed hand for a shake. Wickersleeves accepted.

?I?m Wickersleeves.? He wasn?t sure why he was even talking to this lizard man.

?My name?s Bloom, but my friends call me Bloom,? said the strange one. ?You can call me Bloom.?

Wickersleeves pulled his hand away and peered queerly at Bloom. ?Okay? I?m in search of ?Him.? Do you know where he is??

Bloom suddenly gasped and Wickersleeves thought he?d have a heart attack. Luckily, the unusual lizardman was just excited. ?Of course I know where to find ?Him.? Everyone does.?

?Well, I don?t.?

?I see,? Bloom rubbed his chin. Even if he was a lizard, he had a goatee growing. ?You know what you are? Yer one of them Plunglings, aren?t ye?? Wickersleeves didn?t really answer and instead began to back away. ?Aren?t ye?? Bloom repeated. ?Right, I am. No wonder you don?t know a wumpatu?s head from a gallororm?s tail. You?re new here.? He slapped his knee and threw up his hat as if there was some great reason to get all happy and excited. Apparently there was to him. ?You know what I oughta do??

?What?? Wickersleeves asked warily.

?I oughta bring you straight to ?Him,? huh??

Wickersleeves? eyes lit up. ?Yes, you should!?

?Haha, wonderful,? Bloom cheered. ?Say, want some ticker tape??

Wickersleeves gave the same queer look at Bloom as he had before. ?Huh??

?Ticker tape. Mighty fine delicacy, ticker tape.?

?No, I?ll pass.?

?Suit yourself.? With that, Bloom began gobbling down a long strand of the paper straight out of his ragged clothes. He slapped his knee again and made a noise of pleasure. ?That?s good, yep, yep. Now we best get going through this here canyon if we want to see ?Him? any time soon.?

?I agree,? Wickersleeves said, watching as Bloom began down the road. ?Aren?t you going to fetch your pole??

?My what?? Bloom asked confused, looking back at Wickersleeves like Wickersleeves had when The Accord mentioned jolic tea.

?Your pole. Your fishing pole.?

?Huh? What are you talking ?bout, mate??

?That!? Wickersleeves said impatiently, pointing to the floating fishing pole over the water.

?Ohhhh, my yummas,? Bloom said with understanding. ?Nah, I?ll leave ?er there. When she?s got enough fish she?ll come on back home. Now are you coming or not?? Without questioning the ?yummas? further, Wickersleeves followed the peculiar fellow Bloom into the canyon.

The strangest thing happened when they entered. Nightfall arrived almost instantly as if it was never daylight there. The sky was dark with a mixture of red and blue and the stream, with its lucid water and variety of fish, gave off a beautiful light from the two moons. Bloom cheerfully whistled as they walked along the shore. Wickersleeves dared to not talk to anyone, especially Bloom since he was the most bizarre fellow he had met to date.

?Almost there,? Bloom spoke after moments of silence.

?Already? We just arrived in the canyon.?

?Time flies here,? Bloom said. He wasn?t kidding either. Only seconds after he said that, he tapped a floating clock with his walking stick. Wickersleeves dodged the flying contraption nimbly and from then on watched warily for any others that may come at him from out of nowhere.

Bloom was right. The night, just as quickly as it had arrived, drew away to make room for dawn. And dawn didn?t even stay that long. It was midmorning ten minutes after they entered the canyon and that was about the same time they left. Bloom stopped at the top of a grassy hill and pointed his cane downward. ?There?s our first stop of the day, mate.?

Wickersleeves approached his side and peered down to see a vast city of smoke and busy work. He wasn?t sure what he was looking at and wanted to study it further if it wasn?t for Bloom leaving him behind. He followed closely like a pup to his boy. ?What is this place??

?My town I live in, mate,? said Bloom with pride.

?Does it have a name??

Bloom stopped at the gates and turned to his companion. ?We like to call it the City of Damnation.? And with that, he entered.

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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[color=darkgreen]I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed this volume. The feel to this volume was really, much more moving. I was able to get a better image of the characters.

And speaking of image, I really, really loved The Accord. The way you described him was supurb, and I gathered my own mental image. I saw him as a mix of Jack the Skelington, Marilyn Manson, and Edward Scissorhands.

Absolutely beautiful, Gav. I have to be honest, out of your writing works, this has to be your best so far.[/color]
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Thanks, Ms. Ann. The Accord was a fun character to work with because while being unusual in himself, he was still one of the most normal roles in the series. He had real emotions (love, hate, fear, etc.), he looked normal (aside from his tall and slender form), and he acted normal. But anyone living on the other side can still appear bizarre.

As I told you on AIM, I did use references of Jack because he's an amazing character design. Of course, it wasn't until after I finished writing this volume that I noticed on a detailed picture of Jack that his suit had stripes. Curse you, Burton! Nevertheless, I'll just call The Accord a tribute to my favorite director.

Now Volume Three must come. And I shall have a good time with Wickersleeves and his new accomplice, Bloom >:^D

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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[color=blue][size=1]Very nice volume, DW. I really liked The Accord character. He seemed very normal, as I just realized you intended for him to be. (Just read over your last post. >>) I visualized him as.. well, a tall guy in a suit. Meh. Me and my uncreativeness. :p

The way you described his love for Verosha was very.. well, "cutesy". The story, being so very odd and demented (that's a good thing, mind you), didn't match up very well with their little love affair. It was well done, though. Just a bit mis-matched with the story type, is all. ^_~

And Bloom. Well.. He owns, basically. Write Volume 3 so I can read more about him. O:<[/size][/color]
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[COLOR=DarkOrange]I liked this chapter/volume. Verosha and The Accord made a cute couple...the awkward, quasi-romance was pretty believable, I thought.

That being said, of COURSE you had the lumbras kill them. Of COURSE. >:^(

The Accord reminded me of someone who hasn't been mentioned yet...there's a book series by Barbara Hambly called the Windrose Chronicles, and Milton reminds me very much of Antryg Windrose. He's just got the daffy, insane lovability.

I don't know what to think of Bloom. I love his name...and the way you discribe him...but I'm not sure about him as a character yet. We'll just have to see how he turns out. ;)

Cannot wait for volume 3.[/COLOR]
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Thank you all for the comments. I'm glad you like The Accord. :)

Speaking of him, I got bored in English class today, so I drew up a rather rough sketch of the fellow. This is how I've always imagined him, so Kinda just quickly drew him. Bare with me because it sucks, but just so you see... stuff... er.. yeah.

[img]http://img235.echo.cx/img235/1180/theaccord8st.jpg[/img]

NOTE: I did this on an assignment I had to do, so... yeah, that's what the extra stuff is. And the little people were fun for :P

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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[color=blue][size=1]Wow. That looks almost like how I pictured him.. Scary. The Accord looks really... tall. o.O I like his huge hat, lol. I notice you drew the flowers he gave to Verosha in his hands. Nice touch, heh. The little people in the corners are funny as hell. xD

The one drooling is best. ^_~[/size][/color]
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Volume 2 is sweet. While I did love the Accord as a charachter, and the way him and Verosa interact was really cool, but for some reason I feel good about them being hideously maimed by weird beasts. I was almost in tears. Bloom... I imagine him looking like Scruffy from Futurama. This would make a REALLY cool TV show, which is what I picture it as.
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I always imagine my stories as movies and my RPGs as shows. And this is one demented film XD

Sorry to those who hate reading a lot, but Volume Three here is the lengthiest yet. Fourteen pages in Microsoft Word (unlike the other volumes which were ten each), this beast takes some unusual turns in the plot and opens some new things to the reader. Gotta love it XD




[center][img]http://img248.echo.cx/img248/1018/wickersleeves37sv.jpg[/img][/center]

The City of Damnation was frightening to Wickersleeves. The tall, towering buildings loomed overhead and felt as if they?d break and collapse on unfortunate travelers below. People in the bazaar gave glances of untrustworthiness in the newcomer?s direction. He decided as weird as Bloom was, he?d stay close to the one who knew best.

?Why is it called the City of Damnation?? Wickersleeves gulped.

?It was built on vice and corruption,? Bloom explained simply. ?Crooks and gangs own this town. You have to have good connections to live an innocent and safe life here, mate.? Wickersleeves still wasn?t sure why they had to take the street through this city. He saw a clear path around the town?s boundaries. Then his question was answered. ?If you don?t mind, mate, I?d like to stop and see the wife and kids for a moment, aye? And maybe pick up some vittles for the journey back home after I drop ye off at the ole tree.?

?The old tree??

?Oh, aye. ?Him? lives in a tree, ye see. Massive one, it is. They say at night, fairies guard it. But enough jibber jabber. We?re close to me home.? His home?if that?s what you?d call it?was nothing more than a hole in the wall. You could tell it was the house and not the stables because it had the curtains. It was off in an alley away from the busy hustle of market dealing out on the main street, but it was still noisy from the obnoxious neighbors he had.

?Here it is,? Bloom spoke with pride in his tone. He pushed back a cloth and entered what Wickersleeves assumed was the door. Once inside, he noted the place was a foul mess and tiny lizard children were scampering all around the floor. Wickersleeves was even more horrified to see Bloom?s wife at the sink, whom turned out to be some sort of alligator woman. He stayed by the door while Bloom embraced his younglings and his spouse.

?Who is this, now?? his wife said rudely. ?Don?t tell me I haveta whip up summore grits and lumbra jowls.?

?No, no, dearie,? Bloom soothed, ?we?re just passing through. I?m taking this poor fellow to ?Him.?? Though Wickersleeves didn?t catch it, Bloom gave his wife a wink. She nodded understandingly and grinned mischieviously in Wickersleeves? direction.

?Oh, right. Well, I?ll pack you some biscuits and you boys bes? be on yer way.?

?Thanks, dearie,? Bloom said, kissing her moppy-haired head. He dug through the cabinet and pulled out a wine bottle. He turned to Wickersleeves and chuckled. ?Good year, mate.?

Wickersleeves made an attempt at a weak smile, but anyone could tell he wanted to be anywhere but there. The children had been tugging at his garments the whole time they had been there and Bloom?s wife was taking her dear sweet time getting her husband?s vittles settled in a knapsack. For goodness sakes, how far could this ?Him? guy be?

?Oh, and Wheatflower, dearie, could you pack a slab of goat meat for the dog, hm?? Bloom added. His wife obeyed, packed all the food up, and handed it to her husband. And in no time sooner, Wickersleeves was dashing out the door and down the alley before Bloom?s kids could poke him anymore with their forks. Bloom took his time departing and soon caught up with his companion. ?Off we are, aye??

?How far is it from this city to his tree??

Bloom took off his cap for a moment to scratch his balding head. ?Well, I?d say a day?s journey at the most. And since you have me as a guide, maybe faster.?

?This city seems crowded enough,? Wickersleeves added, eyeing the strange people.

?You forget I?m an expert on this place. I know this city like the back of my? wait, I don?t recall this store before.? Wickersleeves wanted to faint when he noticed Bloom got them lost only a few minutes after leaving his home. He was most likely better off traveling on his own. ?No worries, mate,? Bloom cooed, ?I have some buddies that can help us.?

?If we?re lost, how can you find your buddies??

?Well, you see? uh?? This seemed to stump Bloom. Once again, he took off his hat and scratched his balding spot. ?I?m sure I?ll find one of them.? And they sure did. Not long after they began walking again did they run into what appeared to be a street gang. There were four of them, all rugged looking as if showering was a myth to their culture.

The first was long and stringy and a lizard creature like Bloom only he was more snake-like and constantly lashed out his tongue at Wickersleeves. The second was more brawn than anything and was obviously the muscle of the four. He was a blueish color and looked like the Incredible Hulk gone horribly wrong in the face?if that was possible, of course. He sat on a couple of broken boxes playing with a lead pipe. The third was sleeping on a pile of rusty nails. Nothing was too special about him aside from his incredible ability to sleep on a pile of rusty nails. He did have the appearance of a rat, though he was more human than any of the others.

And finally, there was the leader; at least he seemed like the leader. He wore classier clothes, looked sharper, and Wickersleeves was sure for his lizard species that he was a ladies? man. Style was his game. He glared in Wickersleeves? direction from behind his Zorro-style mask, then approached Bloom and gave him a big hug. ?Bloom!? he shouted happily. ?How?s my big brother doin?, huh??

Bloom mused at Wickersleeves and returned the happy glance back to his brother. ?Life treats me jolly good, I?d say,? he replied. ?How?s the ole gang, Kalsk??

Kalsk, the leader of the band and brother to Bloom, took off his oddly-shaped hat and combed back his slick hair (unlike his brother, he had some to comb). ?We?re not doing so hot, mate. Not a whole lot to do in this territory. I was thinking we?d oughta move back to the city?s South, eh??

Bloom made a noise of disagreement. ?I?m afraid Wheatflower and the kids just got settled.?

?And?? Kalsk asked, obviously not taking the hint.

?I doubt they?d like to move again,? was Bloom?s straight answer.

Kalsk nodded. ?I see. But the problem is, if we can?t supply for your family here, how will they settle in a home when they?re dead??

?I didn?t say it?d be easier out here.?

?Actually, you did, mate.?

Bloom thought on this for a moment, then laughed. ?Oh, so I did.? Wickersleeves never did think him bright.

?Listen, Bloom, I love ye, but ye gotta think what?s best, mate.?

?I already did,? grinned Bloom.

?What?? Kalsk gradually glanced over to Wickersleeves and then back to his brother. ?Him? What?s he for??

?He?s a Plungling, Kalsk, mate.?

?No,? Kalsk said surprised. He looked back at Wickersleeves, who, at this point, was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. He wanted to get to ?Him? right now. Or just go home. ?Would a man like him be a good endowment??

?Why wouldn?t he be?? Bloom chirped. ?At this point, they?re accepting anyone.?

?True.? Kalsk thought for a moment, then snapped his fingers and the big guy stood. ?Lud, grab him up.? The next thing Wickersleeves knew, he was in the arms of big, dumb Lud and staring down at who thought to be innocent and good-natured Bloom.

?Sorry, mate,? Bloom tipped his hat to Wickersleeves, ?but this is how we make a living on the other side. Well, how us folk here do, at least.? With that, Wickersleeves was carried off in a sack over Lud?s shoulder, while listening to Kalsk and Bloom chuckle amongst themselves. He didn?t know where they were going and he wasn?t sure he wanted to know.




?Cookie??

?No, thanks. I?m on a diet.?

?A diet? You weigh whippin? fifty pounds! Why would you need a diet??

?I?m fat for my size.?

?You?re, what? 2?4???

?Very funny. I?m 8?7?.?

?Same diff.?

?I don?t want to argue anymore.?

?Then take the whippin? cookie, for goodness sake!?

?I told you already, I?m on a diet!?

?Oh, for the love of tadpoles, you?re ridiculous.?

?Listen, I?m going to only cook Plunglings from now on.?

?They?ll fatten you up more than a cookie would.?

?Not if I cook them right.?

?That?s a load of hot whoopee.?

?Your face is a load of hot whoopee.?

?That doesn?t even make any sense!?

?How can you expect me to make sense when I?m in the crisis of becoming a ridiculously fat slob??

?Well, you got the ridiculous part right.?

?Oh, [I]you?re[/I] ridiculous!?

?Your mother?s ridiculous.?

?My mother is a saint.?

?That?s a laugh and a half.?

?Then why aren?t you laughing??

?Ha! There, I laughed.?

?You?re so immature.?

?I?ll have you know I won the maturity contest back in the day.?

?Now who?s not makin? any sense??

The feud ceased when the door to the large room was kicked open by Lud, who stomped in followed by Kalsk, Bloom, and the three other gang members. The two who were quarreling only seconds ago were much larger than anyone else, including Lud. They weren?t just buff, they were massively obese. They also weren?t the most attractive men in the universe.

?Kalsk,? one spoke dumbly. ?What have you brought us??

?A present,? the lizard mobster grinned. He snapped his fingers and Lud threw the limp form of Wickersleeves to the floor before the two giants.

?Lookie here, brother,? said the other giant. ?A plungling if I ever did see one.?

?He looks fresh.?

Kalsk was all business and went straight to his work. ?So what exactly is the price you willin? to pay us, Troles??

The two brothers looked at one another and snorted. A simple understanding was exchanged between the two and they turned back to their bargainer. ?We have decided,? spoke the first one, ?that we?ll pay you twelvety-hundred for the wretch.?

?Twelvety-hundred?!? shouted one of the gang members. ?Don?t take it boss!? But Kalsk hushed him with a swift arm movement. ?What are you trying to pull, Troles??

?We?re not pullin? nothin?,? mumbled the Trole brother.

?Double negative?that means you?re pullin? something,? Kalsk corrected.

The giant slammed his first on the small table and grumbled. ?I don?t care about your garmer, Kalsk!?

?Grammar.?

?Whatever! Mother?s love, you?d think he was a teacher.?

?He wanted to be,? Bloom said. Kalsk shot him a wicked glance, then went back to dealing. ?Fourteen. Final offer.?

?Twelvety.?

?Thirteen.?

?No, Twelvety.?

?Okay, how about eleven??

?No, fourteen.?

?Done.? Before the Trole brothers could figure out what had just happened, Kalsk had his boys pack up and leave. Bloom tipped his hat to the unconscious Wickersleeves and they all left. The two giants licked their lips and drooled over their dinner.

?What a supper for tonight,? the second said with saliva pouring out.

?Don?t touch him, Ruge,? the first slapped the other?s hand away. ?Don?t wanna spoil the delicacy, do you??

?Sorry, Qug,? Ruge whimpered. ?I?m just so hungry.?

?Then get off the diet.?

?Oh, don?t start that up again.?

?I will start that up again.? And on went their arguments long into the night.




Wickersleeves woke up in a small cage, damp and cold. The lighting of where he lay was rather dim, so his eyes adjusted to the room quickly. He let them wander the objects around him and noticed several sharp knives and big metal cauldrons and pots. To him, it looked like a massive kitchen that hadn?t been used for ages. The cobwebs could vouch for that.

He tried moving around in his cage, but it was too small and cramped to adjust to a comfortable position. He made quick movements, but they only caused the cage to sway on its hook and slam into the wall. This attracted the attention of dumb and dumberer. ?Lookie here, Qug. He?s awake.?

?Good,? Qug said, appearing at his brother?s side. ?I guess we can start cookin? him, then. We?ll throw him in the pot and he?ll squirm in pain.?

Ruge laughed like a child and clapped his hands together. ?I like it when they squirm in pain, Qug.?

?I know you do,? Qug smiled. ?I do too.? Ruge unhooked the cage and carried it with them on their way to a boiling cauldron of water. Wickersleeves could see several things laid out. There was vegetable-like food, meat, bread, and the silverware that looked like it had never been used. He was almost positive he was the final edition to this horrific meal. ?Ruge, get me the spices.?

?No, you get the spices, Qug,? Ruge argued. ?I always do the monkey work. I wanna cook the Plungling this time.?

?No,? Qug snapped. ?You?re the worst cook ever in existence.?

?You don?t know that!?

?I bet it?s true.?

?Let me cook. Otherwise you?ll do it wrong and my whippin? diet will be ruined!?

?A pox on your diet, Ruge!?

?I?ll a pox my foot to your ass if you don?t move out of the way of the cauldron.?

?Why should I move?? Qug took another step in front of Ruge, blocking the cooking pot.

?I?m warning you, Qug,? his brother threatened, ?I?ll get you.?

?Oh, you?ll get me, will you??

?Yes.?

?Try me.?

?I won?t try. I?ll succeed you.?

?That doesn?t make sense.?

?You never make sense either!?

?I have more sense in my chubby thumb than you do in your whole obese body!?

Ruge made an expression of hurt and surprise. ?You take that back!?

?Nope.?

?Do it!?

?Not happening.?

?I am not obese.?

?Then I s?pose that?s just a pillow jammed under yer tunic, eh??

?I?ll punch you in the whippin? face if you don?t shut it first.?

?I?ll shut it when you whippin? curl up and die!?

?I?m not fat!?

?Fat.?

?I?m not.?

?Faaaaaaat.?

?I?m not fat!?

?Faaaa-? Suddenly, Ruge?s fist came hurtling into Qug?s cheek. Qug countered with another flailing arm and the two began to go at it, wrestling around the kitchen. Wickersleeves watched in horror from his small cage. He observed how stupidly the two fought, pulling each other?s hair and kicking the other in their shin. Then they came rushing towards him, knocking the table down and the cage. Wickersleeves yelped as his cage slammed against the cement floor, chucking him out through the door.

He was free. But not for long if he didn?t hurry. He began to dash for the exit that wasn?t too far away. He was hoping it didn?t take someone strong like Lud or someone big like the Trole brothers to get through the massive door. He had to pass the two stomping trolls to make it to his destination, but to his dismay, the lumbering idiots hit the burning-hot cauldron and knocked it over, the boiling water spilling across the floor. The two brothers screamed as the water burnt their feet. Wickersleeves leapt onto a table and jumped from furniture to furniture until he was clear of the water and the trolls.

The door was locked.

He peered around and saw the open window high above. He ran towards the wall, hoping to be able to grip it enough to climb up and out. ?Hey, Qug, you fool, look what our whippin? Plungling is tryin? to do!?

?Well, don?t just stand there and kiss your burnt feets! Get him!? The two rushed towards their prey and Wickersleeves screamed. He clung to the wall and climbed using his nails. It was rather difficult to hold on with his feet, but he was gradually making progress up the wall. That is, until Ruge got a hold of his leg. With a swift pull, Wickersleeves was back down in the two?s arms.

?Lookie here, Ruge,? Qug said admiringly at Wickersleeves, ?this one?s a-frisky.? There was a whistle and out of nowhere, more hot, boiling water poured out of the sky and into the eyes of the two Trole brothers. They yelped and screamed in agony, dropping Wickersleeves to the floor, who did his best to avoid touching any of the liquid. Then he was gripped by someone and was flown to the window and out. Before he knew it, he was outside on the streets of the City of Damnation.

?Fools,? said the rescuer. Wickersleeves turned to see it was none other than Radley. The slick weasel had made a daring rescue using a rope to swing with. Turns out, he found out about Bloom and Kalsk?s gang kidnapping Wickersleeves from some resources of his. He immediately knew where to find him and waited in the warehouse to save him. ?Don?t thank me,? Radley said as Wickersleeves opened his mouth. ?I?m just doing my job. And if that damned Accord fellow did his work for once??

Wickersleeves, for some reason, didn?t inform Radley of his death. He wasn?t sure why he didn?t.

?Well, come along then,? Radley spoke after lighting his infamous cigarette. ?We?ve got an appointment to catch.?

?Is it far from here??

?Not at all,? Radley said in his normal dull tone. Then he started to walk off at a quick pace. Wickersleeves had to lightly jog to catch up. As they passed through the streets, they went by an alley where Wickersleeves could?ve sworn he saw Bloom and the gang beaten up and tied to a pole, but his eyes might?ve deceived him. The sky was darkening with the blanket of night and for a city that was unusual in the day, it was getting even more bizarre come nighttime.

?Hella-hiwo, night is coming,? Radley blew out smoke. There was a hint of distress in his voice.

?Is that bad?? Wickersleeves asked ignorantly.

?Very. You don?t want to be wandering the streets here at night. And we won?t be able to get out ?til morning.?

?Why??

?The city folds itself.? Wickersleeves didn?t have to ask what he meant. He saw the sky disappearing as cement walls began to close over the top of the city. When he looked back down on the streets, he saw Radley dashing away. He quickly scampered off behind, hearing Radley shouting, ?Quick, kid! We?ve gotta get out of here, now!?

Wickersleeves felt like he did in some dreams; where your legs don?t move even if your brain tells them to go as fast as they can. He also felt as if the crowds were pushing against him, not wanting him to leave their company. But before long, he was on Radley?s heels. If he remembered right, night and day came quickly on the other side, so there was no wonder Radley was worried. Even if night was a second in length, they could be mugged in that short time. Or worse, dead.

But to Wickersleeves? pleasure, they arrived at the gate. The city hadn?t fully folded itself up yet, so Radley slowed to a small jog and finally a walk as they exited. From a hill a little ways away, they watched the City of Damnation collapse. Wickersleeves wasn?t sure how people survived it folding itself away because from his view, it looked as if it was crushing everyone. The city, once massive and tall, was now puny and barely higher than a two-story building. Radley didn?t seem too interested, though. He must?ve seen it several times before and it was no surprise.

?Let?s get a move on,? he said to Wickersleeves and they started off down the trail again.




Wickersleeves fell asleep while walking. It doesn?t sound possible maybe, but it was true. Radley kept an eye on the little fellow anyways, but the journey was so long and massive, it was no wonder he was beat. He hadn?t slept since his adventure began. Radley woke him when they came to a bizarre forest where the trees were nothing, but long poles with perfect spheres of leaves at the tip.

?We?re nearing Baramon?s tree,? Radley uttered.

?Who?s Baramon??

?You called him ?Him? before.?

?He has a name? Why doesn?t anyone just call him Baramon??

?The name can only be spoken in his forest. And in respect.?

?What if they speak it elsewhere with misuse??

?Bad things happen to them.? Wickersleeves didn?t question further. The place was the most pleasant he had ever seen before. The animals looked normal and friendly, the sounds of blissful bird song echoed through the trees and for once he could look up into the canopy and enjoy the sun?s rays.

It didn?t last.

They went deeper into the woods and soon the trees began to look deader and deader. They morphed and became thick, twisted trunks with no foliage whatsoever. The sun disappeared behind a dark blanket of fog and the only sound around was that of a bullfrog, though Wickersleeves wasn?t sure where one would be without a pond.

Wickersleeves stepped into a puddle and gagged. He could?ve sworn small animal bones crunched under his feet that were hidden in the liquid. Radley looked normal, but did not have a cigarette lit in his mouth for once. Perhaps it was disrespectful to smoke in the ?house? of Baramon. He dropped the thought and just assumed he was right. Other thoughts fiddled in his mind like what Baramon looked like and what he would say or do.

He didn?t have to think much longer. Radley grinned for once in his life and pushed back a wall of leaves. There, Wickersleeves saw the most magnificent tree he had ever seen. Like Bloom had said, fairies swarmed around the trunk and up into the leaves. There was a large hole in the center where he assumed Baramon resided. As they approached, the fairies scattered to the branches and a figure came wallowing out of the darkness of the trunk?s innards.

He was old and donned a long robe that blew, yet no wind was present. His beard was unnecessarily long and Wickersleeves wondered why he hadn?t tripped over it yet. He came to one of the large rocks at the bottom of the tree and seated himself, placing his cane to the side of him. He then opened his eyes to see the two standing before him.

?Is this him, Radlelonius Chap??

Radley nodded respectively and bowed. He elbowed Wickersleeves who mimicked the action. As the two stood, Baramon nodded in approval and motioned for Wickersleeves to step forward.

?So you?re Wickersleeves?? Wickersleeves stared at the old man, then to Radley in question of what to do. Radley gestured for him to answer.

?Yes, sir.?

?I see,? Baramon leaned back on the rock, twisting some of the hair of his beard in between his thumb and index finger. ?You?re hearing voices and seeing people??

?Yes.?

?Have you recently??

Wickersleeves thought back and recalled one incident. ?When I crossed the field on the way to the canyon, I walked with a burnt-faced woman and a fat gentleman.? Baramon rubbed at his beard again.

?I see. Well, I hate to break it to you,? he said, shifting his weight a little, ?but I?m not real.? Wickersleeves arched an eyebrow and looked confused in Radley?s direction. ?None of the other side is real. It?s all in your head. And by just coming to see me, you have cured yourself of your problems.?

?Really?? Wickersleeves mused happily.

?Yes,? Baramon grinned. He then did something he had not yet done before; he opened a third eye on his forehead, which stared at Wickersleeves in an uncomfortable manner. ?Radlelonius Chap shall now show you to a dock where you can sail back home.?

?Thank you, sir.?

?Of course,? Baramon grinned. Radley took Wickersleeves by the arm and began to lead him away when Baramon spoke again. ?Uh, Wickersleeves,? he said shyly.

?Yes??

?Did Radlelonius Chap show you a paper??

?Yes. He did in my home world.?

?Did you see a man in gray??

?Yes.? Baramon?s face went pale all of a sudden.

?I see.?

?Is something the matter, Baramon?? Radley gripped the old man?s arm gently.

?I?m fine, thank you,? he said. He then looked back to Wickersleeves. ?Did he say anything??

?Yes. He said-?

?Don?t tell me!? Baramon scolded. ?I wasn?t meant to know.?

?That?s what Radley said,? Wickersleeves looked on confused.

?Because no one is meant to know, but you,? Baramon said. With that, he picked up his cane and started for the hole in the tree. When he disappeared inside, Radley and Wickersleeves took their leave. Once they hit the more beautiful forest, Wickersleeves began to feel more relaxed.

?Who?s the man in the gray?? he questioned Radley.

?A man.?

Wickersleeves grunted at the response. ?Who is he really??

?Someone you shouldn?t meet. Now stop asking frivolous questions, kid. People who ask useless questions often become useless themselves.? Wickersleeves was confused by that logic, but he did what Radley said and shut up. But he couldn?t help but wonder who the man in the gray was. What was his purpose? What did he want? And what did he mean when he said?

? death awaits at the fall.

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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[color=blue][size=1]Like I told you before, Bloom still owns. Even though he did betray Wickersleeves and all that. Hehe.

The Troles are awesome. Fat, stupid, and totally disgusting. My favorite. ^_~ I love their constant arguing. Qug is probably my favorite. Dunno why, but he is. Maybe because he isn't on a diet. xD My favorite quote so far is, "Faaaaaaat." The best, lol.

Yay! The return of Radley! What a sneaky little weasel. x3 Ooh.. Suspensfulness.. I await Volume 4! =D[/size][/color]
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If you ever happen to see an episode of Power Puff Girls with the GGG in it, I think you'll realize what i mean. The GGG consists of of 4 green guys, one who is a tall slender fellow named snake, with a pronged tounge, one is a huge fat guy, one is a crazy short idiot, and the leader is a well dressed man with slick black hair and sunglasses. Try doing a google image search.

Im only confused about the fact that its volume 3 and Wickersleeves already met "him". I guess Ill learn my lesson for being impatient though. I love that Radley is back. That dude is awesome.

By the way, I have officialy appointed myself your official stalker.

-watching you sleep, TOOD
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"By the way, I have officially appointed myself your official stalker." How many times have I heard that? XD

I see what you mean. I looked them up and I assume what I found is them since it matches your description, but they're nothing like what I plotted. Though Kalsk is green :) And just because Wickersleeves has met Baramon doesn't mean the story is over. Obviously meeting Baramon was a minor thing in the plot. There's so much to uncover yet like what the mushroom is for, what shall happen once Wickersleeves leaves, who the man in gray is and what he meant when he said what he said.

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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[color=#9933ff]I have to say, when I read your story, it's more as if you wrote it so it could be adopted into an anime/cartoon/TV series (with real people) format, with all the strange things going on.

I keep equating "Wickersleeves" with The Night Before Christmas meets FLCL - neither of which I have seen, which makes my logic obscene! XD

But it's a really good story. I like it a lot because the absurdity of how some of the characters - like the Accord & Radley (because I would never kidnap someone) remind me of how strange [b]I[/b] can be, at times. ^^;;;

The Troles (nice take on the word) remind me of the story of Hanzel and Gretel - being trapped by the witch for being lured into eating her candy house.

Lastly, Radley reminds me of 1) Ron from Harry Potter because they share the same first letter in their first names, and Ron's last name is Weasly. His name is actually derived from a story of someone called "Running Weasel." And 2) A dog with the same name that belongs to two girls that I babysit. The fact that [b]their[/b] Radley is a dog makes [i]your[/i] Radley more plausible to be a weasel, for me. Of course, they named their dog after Boo Radley from [u]To Kill a Mockingbird[/u], but Radlemonious reminds me nothing of Boo Radley...


I think your writing is getting progressively better along with the volumes of this story - I can picture things much clearer and and less confused than I was in volume 1 - which is a good thing.

And now, well, I've said enough. I'm going to Las Vegas tomorrow so it'll be a while before I see the next volume, but keep writing! I await something good when I get back. ^_^

-Rox from a box[/color]
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Well, in Volume One, a lot was said and unexplained, but things became more clear as more plot was given in the following volumes.

And what a coincidence! Radlelonius Chap [i]was[/i], in fact, named after Boo Radley from [u]To Kill A Mockingbird[/u]. We're reading the book in my English class and I promised myself to use the name Radley somewhere and... well, this seemed like the best place. I only extended his name to Radlelonius to be a little different. But hey, you learn something new every day.

I'll attempt to get the next Volume up today or tomorrow :) Stay classy, ya'll.

[img]http://img131.exs.cx/img131/8930/dwwashere9rz.gif[/img]
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