left Sigworth's Dust: PART TWO: Under the Shadow

Sunday, 8 June 2008

PART TWO: Under the Shadow

George gradually began to regain consciousness. She felt groggy yet struggled to try to make sense of the events now taking place. Her sluggish eye-lids were too heavy to drag open, so heavy it felt like they had been permanently sealed. She could feel the alien air passing her by at great speed. The temperature was low and she could feel the goose-bumps tingling all over her body. Her senses were reeling. She flinched as something wet brushed across her face. She listened carefully. She could hear the harsh sound of twigs breaking underfoot and beyond that, faint whisperings which, no matter how hard she strained to hear, she could not make out.

George shuddered. Without even so much as a warning, a dreaded creature known as fear leaped out from amongst the bushes and encompassed her whole being. She suddenly remembered what had happened to her and she began to feel very afraid. She had been kidnapped and was now being carried somewhere. Where, she had no idea. By whom, she dare not contemplate and how she had ended up like this was anyone’s guess. Her heightened sense of unease told her to open her weary eyes. She thought perhaps she would rather not but after some time she truly concentrated on forcing her eye-lids open and allowed herself a quick peek. It was dark yet it was not the comforting darkness which nightfall brings. Now and then a sprinkle of light hit her from various directions, causing her to screw her eyes tightly together. It was a dazzling green light.

There came a rustling sound from behind her and she felt the pace of whatever was carrying her quicken. She heard the unrecognisable whisperings again, yet this time louder and more urgent. She nervously lifted her head and squinted in an attempt to gain a more telling view of the situation. As she did so, a high-pitched voice, shrill enough to shatter the toughest glass, raised the alarm and a tube was aggressively thrust under her nose. George’s mind shut its eyes and pulled up the covers.

The Mumtwips are shrewd and cunning animals. They have been roaming the land for many centuries due to their incredibly well-developed survival techniques. These survival instincts are unfortunately getting to be a teeny bit of a setback as hardly any of them ever actually die. This might seem like a wonderful ability....but you try telling that to a frustrated Mumtwip trying to find a quiet, peaceful spot to contemplate the big theoretical questions in life, amongst hundreds of other irritated Mumtwips trying to do exactly the same thing, in an area only just big enough to accommodate a small family of rabbits.

Capturing the child had been remarkably easy. She had been fighting a losing battle with the undergrowth, near to the border of the Deep Forest, just west of the Otherin Valley. She did not appear to know in which direction she was headed and seemed almost ready to collapse with exhaustion. As they were watching her, she came to a standstill with an expressionless expression on her face, as if she simply did not have the energy, or the will, to think anymore.

The Mumtwips had accidentally spotted her on their return home from their evening’s outing and had gone to take a closer look at this strange new addition to the population. She was a most uncommon find and was clothed in the most ridiculous uniform they had ever seen. They had quietly sneaked up behind her (Mumtwips are not flat-footed like Boffwunglers, nor clumsy like Trunglers, indeed, they are very small, clever creatures who are extremely nifty and sharp-witted), swiped the ‘Ob’ under her nose, hauled her over their heads and headed, in a state of raw excitement, back to the Forest. Easy when you know how.