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Flash Fiction – A Sticky Situation October 16, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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This story is part 3 of a series.  Click Here to read from the beginning.

Grimm had done many strange, and sometimes terrible things while serving Nox’s father.  But nothing could have prepared him for what she had asked him to do today. 

The hound had a pole from an oversized butterfly net braced between his front legs. His job was to catch falling tabba pods, which involved quickly snatching the net in his teeth and swinging it into place.  He was already covered in sticky goo – the first few catches hadn’t gone well. 

“Why me?”

 Nox looked down from where she hung suspended, thirty feet in the air above him.   A thin strand of spider silk was all that kept her in place as she cut the pods from the Tabbaya tree.  “Bombs away!” 

She grinned as he swung the net around. “Was that a question or a complaint?”

His deep, rumbling mental voice held a hint of exasperation as he carefully tipped the pods into the waiting carry sack.  “Why not get a business partner with opposable thumbs?  Surely you could have found someone better suited to this work?”

Nox clicked a button on her belt, and a reel pulled her up higher on the delicate strand of silk. “You’re doing great, I only need a few more.  And just think, the refined oils from these pods will make a fantastic insulator for the transitional relay… CATCH!”

He quickly tugged the net to the left to catch the next bunch, managing to only break one this time.  “Your lips are moving, but all I hear is, this will buy Grimm many, many steaks.”  He shook the goo off of his paws. “It will, right?”

“If my theory is correct, yes.  Though why a ghost needs to eat is beyond me.”

“What do you mean, if? And how else do you think I take on a solid form, this burns a ton of energy.”

“Hunh, I didn’t know…. Whoa.  They never mentioned snakes this big in the guidebooks.”

A sibilant voice rasped somewhere above them. “hello, dinner.”

Grimm dropped the net and changed into a dog-like gargoyle, stone claws digging into the tree trunk as he scrambled upwards.  Overhead there was a click and a whirrrrr from the quick release on the reel, and Nox rocketed down the drag line.  A sharp looking object bounced off her aura shield as she zoomed past him, causing it to crackle like a fourth-of-july firecracker.  A fifteen foot long snake with a human head and arms whipped down around the tree after her.  It came to an abrupt halt though as it ended up snout-to muzzle with a snarling Grimm.

Find. Easier. Prey.” He growled.

The snakeman retreated as quickly as it had descended.

“Wise choice.  Hey short-stuff, are you okay?”

For once Nox didn’t argue with him about her size, she just reached up to give his tail a light tug. “Um, Grimm?  He brought friends. Nice look, by the way.”

Grimm turned and bounded down next to her. “Makes hiding in a graveyard easy. Hop on, I hope you can ride bareback.” 

More than forty of the snake creatures slithered out of the trees around them, and from the rustling sounds more were on the way.  Nox scooped up the bag of tabba pods and swung onto his back in one smooth motion. “The exit portal is a mile due south of here.”   She measured out a bit of the spider silk and slung it around Grimm’s neck to make an impromptu harness. “Go!”

The hound started to run but his stony paws slipped on the tabba goo, sending them skidding through the snakemen like a granite bowling ball.  The snakes hissed, Grimm howled and Nox whooped with laughter as they pirouetted through the clearing.  “Woohoo!!  E-ticket ride!”   Grimm dug in his claws to stop spinning, then used his momentum to bound over the remaining attackers.  Nox stayed low on his back, clinging to the silk rope with one hand and the carry bag with the other.  The ground shook as they pounded through the jungle, the snakemen in close pursuit.

Grimm slowed down a little as they reached the ruins where Nox had anchored the portal. She leaned forward and yelled something about a man from Nantucket.  The portal wavered, then opened just in time for them to barrel through it.  The hound spun around and barked, shutting it right in the faces of the angry snakemen.

Grimm resumed his normal, ghostly appearance as Nox slid off his back. He stared at her in disbelief.  “You locked the gate with a dirty limerick?!”

“You have to admit, no one will ever guess the magic words.”

 He shook his head, laughing.  “Technomancers. You’re all crazy.”

She waved the miraculously intact pods beneath his nose. “I see your lips moving, but all I hear is ‘buy Grimm steak’.   Looks like the goo came off when you shape-changed.  Want to go out for dinner?” 

 “Fine, but you’re buying, and lots of it.  I burned through a few cows worth of energy back there.”

She carefully slung the bag over her shoulder. “Deal.  So, tomorrow, there’s this item I need from the mile-high city…”

He groaned.  It was going to be a long week.

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1. Twitter Trackbacks for Flash Fiction – A Sticky Situation « Techtiggers' Soapbox [techtigger.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com - October 16, 2009

[…] Flash Fiction – A Sticky Situation « Techtiggers' Soapbox techtigger.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/flash-fiction-a-sticky-situation – view page – cached This story is part 3 of a series. Click Here to read from the beginning. — From the page […]

2. mazzz_in_Leeds - October 16, 2009

Wahay, it’s time for the weekly romp 🙂
I think that certainly deserved a good steak!

3. ~Tim - October 16, 2009

Wow, I had no idea that Disney’s influence [E Ticket] extended into so many other worlds! Looking forward to the next installment.

techtigger - October 16, 2009

Well, they do use portals to travel between dimensions 🙂 And I never do anything without a reason – you’ll see next week where she’s picked up some of her more unusual slang! *heheheheh*

4. soesposito - October 16, 2009

A little mini-adventure! Just what my caffeinated blood needed this morning…lol. Awesome installment. Snakes with man heads and humorous portal passwords…what more can a gal ask for? Loving these characters you’ve created.

techtigger - October 16, 2009

Glad you like them! Does the fact that I’m a huge bugs-bunny fan show? La dee dee dah dah Abra-ca-pocus….BLAM! 😉 *lol*

5. Laura Eno - October 16, 2009

Whee! They’re fun! Snakemen. E-ticket probably shows your age. 🙂 Delightful romp.

techtigger - October 16, 2009

hehheheh – Yeah, I put the e-ticket in there to see who would get it 😉 I suppose it does give away my age a bit though!

6. Laurita - October 16, 2009

There are so many uses for dirty limerics. This was fun!

7. Marisa Birns - October 16, 2009

Very fun!

“Hello dinner” is something I want to say tonight to my food!

8. Clive Martyn - October 17, 2009

I can only repeat the praise from the last posts – beautifully written and very engaging characters 🙂 It is always a joy to read their adventures.

9. Linda - October 17, 2009

Wow, I like this serial. Fantastic quirky characters. Glad I ‘found’ you. Peace, Linda

10. Cecilia Dominic - October 19, 2009

Very nice! I’m hooked. 🙂

11. Walt - August 4, 2010

The dirty limerick was fun, and she’s right, who would ever guess those magic words.

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