Good day, Novel Dreamers!
How are you? Are you well? We haven’t scared you away with our Macabre month of which you can vote on here.
This month I wanted to do Star Wars as homage to May 4th, however they seem to have moved their month to December because of release time of films or whatever I didn’t need much excuse to change. Any who! This month is all about putting it where you shouldn’t. Sci-fi, people! I challenge the writers this month to try to take an ordinary story and give it a sci-fi twist. Not only do the poor Bastards have to plan a story but then they got to twist it after! There is no side challenges this month as we’re all a little busy with a little festival called 14/48 Leicester!
And now, to the example piece which originally was just an Elizabethan mercenary being hired to protect a delivery but then I got very reference heavy and silly…
A Dent in Time
“My liege, you summoned me?”
The voice seemed to shiver with a hint of nervousness. It echoed across the long wooden table, got misdirected by the ornate pile of fruits that seemed to ignore its trespass into another era, but eventually reached the frail yet menacing creature sat at the other end. It did not answer.
“My liege?” The man tried again. He wasn’t entirely sure why he was there. He awoke at the first strains of the morning sun to find a slight piece of paper lying on the welcome mat – it had yet to be approached by his hound. There was nothing on the paper but five large yellow letters…
‘Painc?’ Thought Clinc, for that was his name. It took him several minutes to work out that the messenger had been in a hurry and had just misspelled the word PANIC. ‘If only those Flintlock boys would hurry up and finish the prototype. That bastard messenger has it coming to him’. His inner monologue seemed to be on a different page this morning. Maybe it was the contradicting meaning of the word in its large, friendly letters or maybe it was the sudden realisation of whose calling card he was now holding.
Let’s take this little pause – dear reader – to give you a bit of background on the sleep deprived Clinc. He is a mercenary, but from ye old times when they used swords and cutting remarks rather than guns and cutting remarks. He is a bloody good one as well, as he’s past the age of 30 so that’s proof enough and if you don’t believe him he has a chitty with all his previous employment on! He had been a field medic in several wars and had been affectionately nicknamed after this occupation as simply, The Bastard. Those who, like the creature opposite Clinc, preferred the names of the denominations of money over the names of comradery would refer to him by his given name of Clinc. The creature ended our sudden pause caused by Clinc’s flashback daydream which something resembling a phlegmy cough.
“Yes, Come in!” called the creature, much to the confusion of Clinc.
“But Sir, I’m right here?”
“Ah, Clinc! Good, need you for a job; simple task with minimal pay.” The voice was coming from the mouth on the bottom left side of the face and had the sound of a child speaking into the back of a fan but underwater. The creature was somewhat humanoid in shape, but with everything a little bit off.
“Right, well I’m your man, sir! Not a job I haven’t delivered on; even been a midwife once.”
The creature shook its head dismissively.
“Yes I can see you’re right there you buffoon! Now about this job…”
Clinc looked baffled. He was warned on arrival that the lord of the manor had just returned from a long trip and as such may be jetlagged but he seemed to Clinc to be stuck in another time zone; so he waited a few moments and…
“Capital! Capital! You come on the highest of regards! I need you to deliver a package for me” Lord Ogen said, time catching up with him as he did.
“Brilliant,” exclaimed Clinc before grabbing the door handle. “Why do you need me to deliver a package? You have many servants and messengers until I have an upgrade to my crossbow.”
Lord Ogen chortled which set his belly off on a jelly like manoeuvre across to the other side of his frame. “It’s a rather special package for a rather new friend.”
“I was kinda expecting you to say old friend there,” said Clinc downheartedly.
“Oh he will be once you deliver for me,” replied Ogen. “My butler, Laurie, has everything set up for you down in the stables and the stable boy should be available for you should you need a hand along way.”
“The small fry? I’ll pass. Anything else I should know my liege?” The door handle seemed to be pulsing in his hand. The creature picked up a bag and tossed it along the table, allowing the varnish to finish the slide down to waiting hand of Clinc. He looked baffled.
“For the horses. Sugar lumps.”
Down in the stable Clinc found two men in tweed suits bustling around a large metal cart with lots of leads running along its side. The first of the two, Laurie, was shorter than the other which confused Clinc further. The butler was a thin shaky thing which seemed to contrast the new stable boy; a taller, slightly rounder man with slicked back hair and a cocky, sure of himself grin. They both turned at the sound of the door closing.
“Laurie, who’s the new guy? What happened to the small fry?”
“Ah, Mr Clinc, sir! A pleasure as always. The small fry got replaced with a new fry”
The new stable boy offered his hand, “Stephen, sir. Are you up to speed with the new DeLorean model of horse cart?”
They turned to stare at the monolith of a vehicle with two shire horses reined at the front; Great Scott and Biff. Clinc sauntered around and produced the bag from one of his pockets, causing a stir in the two large beasts. Stephen grabbed the reins and tried to steady them.
“This trip is going to be a rather special one, Master Clinc,” called Laurie as he cornered the horses. “You need to take the service track to build up speed and then you’ll hit a rather unfamiliar field. Do not be alarmed by this.”
“It takes quite a bit to shock me Mr. Laurie.”
“You’d be surprised,” smirked Stephen.
Clinc wasn’t at all feeling the double-entendres the pair of comedians were throwing around this morning. He climbed up into the driver’s seat and took the reins from Stephen. The quicker he got on the quicker he could get back home and to his dog. He missed his loyal little canine. Before he could set off, he noticed a little engraving in the arm rest in front of him.
“Desire?” He asked down to the duo.
“It’s the name of the cart. The maker had sentimental ties.” Called back the stable boy as Clinc cracked the reins and head off down the service track. Laurie turned on Stephen.
“A horse cart named desire? Really?!”
Clinc was still trying to work out what exactly all this meant. Things had seemed off since he arrived at the manor and noticed the state Lord Ogen was in. Sure he had been a fat mess with no sense of style but his skin seemed to have faded into a grey rubbery texture and the hair was obviously a toupee of some sort. Even more suspicious were that Fry and Laurie. They seemed to fit into the period perfectly but felt of another era. Just as he felt the horses speed up and his mind slipping further into thought, he noticed a sign on the side of the track simply saying 88. As the horses came into line with it they disappeared into an orange circle and soon after Clinc himself followed through the portal into a tunnel of orange and purple swirling light. He could not see the track beneath him and couldn’t think for the sounds of drums and synthetic noises around him. Within a few seconds (enough to get the general idea but short enough not to piss off the BBC) he had come out onto a gravel track heading up through the countryside to a lone cottage on the hill. He looked either way to gauge where he was; it seemed to be somewhere in Devon. Realising the horses knew their destination, he allowed them to guide the carriage up to the cottage where he jumped down and reached into the back to pull a small silver box out with a piece of paper enscribed “press the button” attached. He pressed it and knocked on the door, to be answered by a half asleep man in a dressing gown carrying a towel.
“Arthur Dent?” enquired Clinc. The man didn’t look too impressed but nodded and took the box from him and closed the door quite rudely in Clinic’s face.
Meanwhile, back in the Ogen Manor, Fry and Laurie entered the study to find the plush chair with the back to the door and a hunched over shadow thrown against the wall by the fireplace. They stepped forward silently and caught the alien off-guard, who quickly tried for the toupee on the table before him but a moment too late.
“Do not worry, sir. We knew of this disguise all along. We merely came to inform you that Clinc has delivered the transmitter and we have the constructor fleet inbound to the location.”
With that, they backed away. The Vogon licked his slimy lips and pulled the microphone on the table in front of him closer before clearing his throat. He clicked the intercom button.
“People of Earth, your attention please, this is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council.”