A sneak peek at the next thrilling Lore of the Underlings episode,
which I’m writing as we speak (Episode 4 ~ Preview 23)
Picking up from the previous post, Morio tries to read his map in the dim light of the crooked room…
Morio cast an impish eye at the hundred vine line hanging over his head. It wagged all along the hand-lit wall as if calling the schoolboy in him to come play.
“Let’s see about pulling some strings around here and letting in more of that light ‘o day. I have a string theory, you know…”
The would-be sage stretched as far as he could and tugged at the vine that hung nearest to him. Nothing happened in the room. But then…
They heard a distant horn.
“Out there, listen.”
“What was that?”
“No bird of the morn, Uncle M.”
“I guess my theory is not so sound,” said Morio shrugging his soft, round shoulders. “No matter. Just time to try, try again.”
“Maybe that’s not such a hot idea,” John Cap cautioned, stepping near. “Why go and waste your energy?”
“Then what, sit and take cold comfort instead? Don’t dread, dear watchman. There’s little to fear. Fat chance that hell’s reign will befall us here… Unless by our own idle hands we’re doomed in the relative shelter of this boarded room with such slim pickings for things to do.”
He stood half a-crouch to reach for the next and gave it a hearty heave-ho.
Torrents of rainwater poured from above and soaked Morio from head to toe. Only the mitt with the map kept dry.
John Cap couldn’t hold back a critique. “That was more ‘Helter Skelter’ than ‘Gimme Shelter.’”
Lacking satisfaction with them, Vaam just let it be.
Belatedly, Morio stuck out his tongue and caught the last drips of some drops from his nose. “Now that was the drink I’ve been dreaming of. How sad that I never got the news.” He wagged his finger at the vine. “Next time, drop me a line.”
A cloud must have passed by the eye in the sky, stray ghost that cast a pall inside. Light fingers made gray fist… then reflexed, sun-kissed.
“And speaking of dropping a line — this fishing hole’s cold, its tales all trolled. We need to be moving on.” He turned. “Time to travel, leave the past, out of the blue and in from the black, back to the future that lies ahead on a road not yet made but driven instead by the lore of eons to come. A way from this wormy hold where we’re stuck.” He reeled and returned to his walleyed look. “Though I think I spy a hotter spot where casting away might bring more luck…”
With that Morio was off, knee-walking awkwardly all along the V-shaped trough beneath the vines, a gutter that caught their drops and joined the tar-specked wall and warped floorboards. He followed its track to the corner near Vaam and stopped at the last bunch of cords, breath gone.
“Whew!” he huffed with a swipe of his brow, “we’re getting somewhere now… I finally have it narrowed down…”
The sweaty man snatched up one more droopy rope, the next to last of the dangling links, and squeezed it tight in his ham-handed right with four sausage-like fingertips. “Okay my dear map, let there be light!”
All of a sudden the floor’s tipped end dropped to an even sharper dip. And from the first chamber there came a “Grrr,” then an angry “Ouch!” and a very loud rip.
“Oomph,” was the sound that Morio made, landing in a heap. John Cap, arms out wide for balance, barely kept his feet. Only Vaam stood unaffected — her platform had not moved an inch.
The thrown one wasted little time trying to bounce back up again. But things were more unstable now, saddled with such a wrong angle as this.
“Sorry friends! That was not quite the plan.”
“Come on ‘O, stop horsing around.”
“Nay, worry not — I’ll make it right.”
Morio stuck the map in his mouth, clenched in his cornrow teeth. He took the final tail in both hands. He tried with all his might.
End of Episode 4… Stayed tuned to see what happens next…
Previous previews of Episode 4:
1 ~ The watchman
2 ~ Dreams
3 ~ Halo
4 ~ Netherworld
5 ~ Semperor
6 ~ Halcyon days
7 ~ Punch
8 ~ Enshadowed
9 ~ Pale ghost
10 ~ Needle
11 ~ New light
12 ~ Something looms…
13 ~ The gray girl’s blues
14 ~ Flower of the field (original vision)
14 ~ Flower of the field (another vision)
15 ~ Hearthland
16 ~ Errant mission
17 ~ A few good men
18 ~ The watchful summer moon
19 ~ Never forget
20 ~ The empty sea
21 ~ The clue
22 ~ The map