The Little People

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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:00 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:You even need to ask if we want more stuff written by you?  Mad Just get on with it! Bloody lazy arsed Ozhobbits, probably to busy standing round some shrimps in an eye watering small thong.  Evil or Very Mad 

Especially with all the sunburn from so much glorious sunshine. cheers {{{Owwie owie owie! Sad }}}

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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:00 pm

azriel wrote:I think Orwell looks like a *cough* young-ish Ken Stott, So now, after what you said about a thong Petty, all I see is Ken Stott in a Borat style Mankini !  pale No 

So uncomfortably close to the truth! Just ask my Missus!  Shocked 

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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:02 pm

Ken Stott is Balin! My favorite dwarf! (In both book and film!) My pseudonym for years was Balin Wight (especially as song writer). I once had a band called 'Balin Wight Band' even! Uncanny.  Very Happy

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:04 pm

Just call me Psychic Sue, or is that Psychotic Sue ?  Shrugging 

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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:08 pm

My Missus is Sue!  Shocked 

Hey?  Suspect 

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:09 pm

Is this the right moment to cry 'Burn the witch!'?  drunken 

(Mind you I always thought that was probably an unwise thing to actually shout at someone you genuinely believe to be a witch. And if you're still the same shape after shouting it, you've probably got the wrong woman!)

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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:10 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:Is this the right moment to cry 'Burn the witch!'?  drunken 

(Mind you I always thought that was probably an unwise thing to actually shout at someone you genuinely believe to be a witch. And if you're still the same shape after shouting it, you've probably got the wrong woman!)

Which witch?  Very Happy 

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:13 pm

Either of you. Ive built this bloody big bonfire out of old buckie barrels (should go up a treat) and Im damn well going to use it now  Twisted Evil 

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:27 pm

This IS a bit freaky Orwell !  Shocked 

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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:18 pm

I'm glad you like it. I hope it's kind of creepy/scary. But still just barely suitable for younger readers (like Petty).  Very Happy 

Must admit, reading it after so long, I was a bit creeped out myself. Which is why I asked if I should continue it. I thought if others thought the same, it might be worth it. Very Happy 

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Post by David H Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:25 pm

I just read through this. Not that I'm scared or anything, but I've just filled several buckets and jugs of water as a precaution....just in case.... Shocked 
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Post by Orwell Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:06 pm

I wrote a new section on my Word doc and when I came to post it, realized there was a section I'd written here that I hadn't saved to my Word doc. Luckilly, the new section only adds a bit about how the Horned One and his Little Ones did their deed, so I've just added the new section to the start of SIX and slightly edited the older (now second) half of SIX to fit. I don't think anyone really needs to read back through SIX unless you want the filling-out as the tale itself hasn't changed.  Very Happy

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Post by The Archet Bugle Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:30 pm

SEVEN

The way back to the outside world was as dark as it had been last night, but Mrs McNaughton had lit her candle again and could move quickly along the confined pathway between the buttressing rock walls. They presently came to a dead end in the rock. Mrs McNaughton extinguished the candle flame with her thumb and Annabel found herself, not in pitch darkness as expected but in ethereal green, for thin rays entered from outside through the finest of crevices.  

Mrs McNaughton spoke a simple word of command.

“Open.”

Rock slid aside and bright sunshine sent Annabel blinking. The next moment a hand caught hers and she was dragged into the daylight. Rufus bounded away before them, a sleek flash of red that sped away under trees toward the line of houses above the common.

“Smoke!” Rufus sniffed. “It has begun.”

“They are burning everything,” Mrs McNaughton said. “Everything human will be destroyed. Look at the sky. The smoke is thin but no doubt it will thicken as the days turn. Come along, Annabel. Luckily, we do not need to go far on foot. Not on this leg of our journey anyway.”

With a jolt, Annabel was pulled along and in a few steps they were running. They soon came to the quarry fence and found the gap in the wire already open. They ran on and soon passed Old Tom’s dreary hut. Then it was more trees, then open grass, and soon they were at Mrs McNaughton’s garden gate. Once there, they stopped and Annabel caught her breath. Mrs McNaughton meanwhile stood still with her chin raised and an ear turned toward the back garden of her house.

Then they heard a scuffling and Rufus appeared through a leafy gap in the fence a few feet away.

“Your car is on fire!” he miaowed in distress. “There are Little Ones going from house to house smashing car windows and getting inside.  They then pop the bonnets and pull out all the wiring and smash everything they can in the engine wells. Then the cars are set alight by whatever means they can find. The Little Ones are moving in gangs. I was lucky not to be seen.”

Suddenly, an enormous gushing noise and a roaring filled the air. They turned instantly to their left to see the roof of a house erupt in flame. A hideous squeal pierced their ears.

Rufus, after a moment, grinned. “A Little One has burnt his fingers. Hopefully, it’s more than just his fingers!”              

Other hideous squeals resonated through the air. Horrible, gleeful squeals.

“You are not the only one amused,” Mrs McNaughton said drily. “But where do we go now, Rufus? We cannot risk my house now – not even for supplies.”

As if to confirm her wisdom, Mrs McNaughton’s roof went up in a whoosh of flames. Involuntarily, all three collapsed to the ground. “This way,” Mrs McNaughton hissed and crawled in the direction of Annabel’s rear garden. Annabel followed and wanted to climb the fence of her yard when they got there, but Mrs McNaughton would not allow it.

“I want my Mummy!” Annabel demanded, hysterical. “I want my Mummy!”

“Silent!” Mrs McNaughton instructed her. And there was enchantment in that voice, for Annabel could not utter a sound after that.

“Sleep!” was the next word. And Annabel knew no more.

Mrs McNaughton got to her feet and picked her up.

“Leave her,” Rufus whispered. “She will be the death of us.”

“I will only do that if there is no other choice,” Mrs McNaughton whispered back. “We must find somewhere to hide, but where?”

She stood at Annabel’s back fence turning urgently this way and that.

“Leave her!” Rufus hissed urgently. “Leave her, I say! We must do it. Do you want to die, you fool?”

Mrs McNaughton’s usual inscrutability was gone, replaced by ashen faced indecision and panic. Then she drew a long breath and stony faced calm returned. She sighed deeply and addressed the fidgeting cat at her feet. “I must do what I must, Rufus; I can do nothing else.”
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Post by azriel Fri Jan 10, 2014 12:20 am

OOOH, but, AAaaaah, & eeeeh, also, Cripees !
 bounce 

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Post by The Archet Bugle Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:20 pm

EIGHT

Annabel opened her eyes and to see a sky tumbling with grey and black smoke streaked and patched with vistas of pristine blue. She blinked. Smoke tickled her nose and she sneezed. Sitting up, she looked around.  A familiar tall timber fence rose on her right. The tall grass of the common lay about her.

The jigsaw pieces fell together. The fence was her fence.

Annabel knew how to get back into back garden. The fence railings were on the inner side of the fence, but in one place a palings had fallen away. Annabel climbed the fence and cast eyes on her house. It was her home. It was not afire yet and therefore it must be safe.

She wondered if her Mother and Father had returned.  Perhaps they had.  

Happily, she scrambled over the fence top and down the other side. She ran past her swing set and the clothes line.  The back door was locked but Annabel knew the key was hidden under a stone her Mother’s petunia bed vibrantly in flower.  

Pausing a moment, she saw that the houses neighbouring her own were engulfed in flame and smoke.  And she listened a moment to the excited shrieks and yells of peculiar voices all around.

The little girl suddenly wondered where Mrs McNaughton and Rufus had gone.  But then she heard glass smash close by, perhaps somewhere at the front of her house, and she put them immediately out of mind.

Slipping key in keyhole, she unlocked and opened the door to the laundry.  

The laundry opened out onto the kitchen at the rear of the house. The kitchen joined the family room by double sliding doors which were always open. On the far side of the family room was a single door that opened into a passageway that ran to the front door. In the passageway was a staircase that began only a few feet from the door.  

As soon as Annabel walked into the passageway, she saw that a glass pane beside the front door was smashed. Even as she stepped onto the tiled passage floor, she heard the scuffling of small feet up the staircase, followed swiftly by an outburst of shrieks and shouts, and the noise of things thumped and cracked against walls and cupboards, and more sudden noises of things being shattered.

Annabel immediately thought of her toys. Would the Little People destroy her toys? Of course they would! They were destroying everything!

She gasped and ran for the stairs and ascended them two by two. Coming to the landing, she hurried along the upstairs passage to her room.

Sure enough, three Little Ones were there. But they did not see her at first as she skidded to a halt in the open doorway and stared in shock.

They were a fair people, only two feet tall, wearing colourful smocks, red haired with pale faces except for their cheeks that were quite red, perhaps due to their excitement. They were running about throwing things, squealing in delight whenever they broke.

Annabel’s toys were strewn everywhere; on her bed, on her bedside table, on her carpeted floor, everywhere.

“Stop it!”Annabel yelled at them, tears welling in her eyes to see such devastation.

The three Little Ones froze and gazed at her. Their eyes were a striking blue colour showing surprise and fear. Then they gathered their senses and their expressions became hard and cruel.      

“A human child it is,” one said in a lilting tiny voice that held a queer accent long unheard by humanity and just the right size for a being two foot tall.  “How delightful it is to find one of you alive!”

Annabel’s stomach muscles tightened. She did not understand his words. She was frightened.

Another of the Little Ones – a girl with long hair and pretty with it - was holding up one of Annabel's porcelain dolls in a tiny hand. She had held it aloft in frozen motion ever since the human girl had spoken catching them by surprise. Grandma had given that doll to Annabel just last Christmas. Annabel was scared but she was angry too.

Stepping boldly into her bedroom she said firmly, “Give it to me! That’s not yours, it’s mine. Give it back!”

The Little One’s expression was quizzical, but only for a moment. Her expression quickly changed to one Annabel could not read, for the little human girl had never encountered cruelty before.

The Little One smiled prettily and thrust out the doll toward her. But when Annabel reached out to take it the Little One let it fall to the carpet.

“Oh dear me!” the Little One gasped, and even as she spoke one of her dainty feet thumped down to crush the doll’s head like it was an eggshell.
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Post by azriel Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:49 pm

Kick butt Annabel !! you can do it !

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Post by David H Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:53 pm

Annabel is such a charming self-confident little girl!  I love you 
So much like little Dorothy in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"!  Very Happy

[the Book that is, not the movie]
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Post by Orwell Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:04 pm

Azriel, we don't like to use words like 'butt' in tales like this. Shocked

What! More confident than in the movie, Dave! Shocked How can that be? scratch Doesn't sound realistic to me if Dorothy was Super Dorothy in the book. Shrugging The Dorothy in the movie is fearful but brave in face of that fear. Nod

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Post by David H Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:34 pm

Not necessarily more confident. I think both Dorothys and Annabel are all fearful (and rightfully so! {{not that my knees are shaking or anything}})  

But for me the difference is that both Anabel and Book-Dorothy are younger, and their courage comes in a large part from their innocence, from a confidence in what's right untempered with any knowledge of the evil in the world.  

I really liked this line: "Her expression quickly changed to one Annabel could not read, for the little human girl had never encountered cruelty before. "

Judy Garland's character is a bit older, and to me seems if anything a bit braver for having some knowledge of what she's up against. Or so it appears to me.

But I don't want to distract Anon at a critical time like this.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!?!? bounce   Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked bounce Shocked
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Post by Orwell Fri Jan 10, 2014 10:16 pm

 I suppose this is no place to end the tale... scratch Oh well. I better think up something I guess.  Very Happy 

{{{And quick too - else folk may think I'm just making this up as I go along!  Shocked }}} 

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Post by The Archet Bugle Fri Jan 10, 2014 11:20 pm

NINE

"Oh that was a bad accident," the Little One said as she ground the shattered porcelain into the carpet with her little foot. "I hope you don't mind. These things do happen."

"You did that on purpose," Annabel frowned at her with eyes welling up.

"I hope she didn't have a name, girl. Did she have a name? If you had given it a name, it would make it all the more unfortunate."

The other two Little People smirked and nudged each other as they stood together at the end of Annabel's bed.

"That wasn't very nice," Annabel said as tears began to roll down her cheeks. "Why did you do it?"

"I see it upsets you. How terrible of me, don't you think? And sadly it will only get worse - for you. Tisk! Tisk! Tisk! I speak ahead of myself." The Little One turned to the others. "Flix, trill up the rest of the flock will you, please."

"Just so, Hazel," answered one of the Little Ones at the end of the bed, the male who had spoken first to Annabel, and he brought out the tiniest of flutes from a pocket in his bright red smock. The flute seemed even tinier when it almost disappeared in his mouth when he put it to his lips and blew.

"Is that a dog whistle?" Annabel asked.

"Dog whistle?" the one called Hazel asked distastefully. "Why would we want a dog here?"

"I couldn't hear it and you can’t hear dog whistles," Annabel explained, though she was already losing focus on the Little People as began to properly take in the carnage in her room.

So many of her things had been thrown and broken, all her precious things that she took so much for granted. Even some of her clothes had been pulled out of drawers and cupboards, some torn and shredded; the Little Ones had been busy in such a short space of time. She could see the result of their frenzy but had no way of understanding yet what drove it. Still, she saw enough of it to feel sick.

"No dogs can hear our whistles," Hazel said dourly. "We don't want anything to do with them. Man's best friend,” she hissed. “We, of course, despise them; just like we despise you, dear."

The sound of many pattering feet came down the passage and threw the door came more of the Little People, as many as ten. All dressed in gaudy colours, and most with bright red hair, though some of them had hair of a lighter chestnut colour.

"Cowslip!" Hazel exclaimed on spying the foremost. "Will you just look at what we’ve found. Lord Botis will be pleased I think."

The one called Cowslip looked Annabel up and down in obvious glee. His face was sharper in outline than the others and his nose bent, maybe it had been broken, perhaps more than once. A scar zigzagged across his right cheek.

"Yes, Lord Botis will enjoy this one,” said he in a surprisingly deep voice. “Her blood will be very sweet indeed, and he’ll be thirsty by now. Very, very thirsty, I’d hazard." He now addressed Annabel directly. “We haven’t found another of your kind  living in the whole neighbourhood. Not a one! Hazel has done well. Hazel, bring the brat!"

Annabel had her hands grabbed firmly by several smaller hands that gripped tightly.

"I don't want to," Annabel cried and spread her feet to gain purchase to resist.

Almost immediately her left shin felt like a bee had stung it. She jumped and squealed in pain.

The Little Ones laughed.

Hazel showed Annabel a little knife she bore.

"Like another, sweetie?" she asked with her sweetest smile and jabbed in Annabel's direction making her flinch and jerk her leg away. "Move it, brat!"

Annabel’s shin was stinging. She saw a fine red cut there, but too tiny to actually bleed. Her eyes leaked tears. For the first time in her life she knew terror and she had no power to resist anymore.
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Post by azriel Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:34 am

Very Happy  OOOh I like this a lot !! more creepy & tummy-gurgling than a full on horror  Nod 

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Post by Orwell Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:26 pm

Having deliberately not planned this out keeps it fresh for me - and so therefore easy to write. Annabel's sheer vulnerability and the apparent hopelessness of her situation offers so many possibilities. Maybe I might even do a 'George R.R. Martin' in the end. Characters should always be expendable in modern tales - just as in real life, what! Who knows? It'd be a way of resolving things realistically - and without having to write a long book or a serial.   Shrugging

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Post by The Archet Bugle Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:29 pm

TEN

If what had happened since Annabel was so rudely woken last night to be whisked away by Mrs McNaughton was confusing enough, nothing could prepare her for what she witnessed after she was made to slip through the smashed window pane by her door and out into her front yard.

It was a still day and smoke lay heavy in the air, ever thicker the higher she looked. All the houses were on fire, and every car in the street, every shrub in every garden was ablaze, or most of them at least; even the bus stop by the curb right out front was shimmering lines of fire and black smoke . The morning was getting along now, but the whole world seemed nearer the end of day, dulled by smoke and stinking of it.

Everything was so unnatural and confusing, but the thing that confused her most was the dead cat near her front gate. Headless, it lay in a smudged pool of blood already drying at the edges, its head nowhere to be seen, just one of many million acts of casual barbarity performed that morning all over the world. Even without its head, Annabel knew it for Mrs Green’s old tabby, Monty.

  “Hurry along, little human,” Cowslip said as Annabel stopped to look in incomprehension at the poor thing. The Little One reached up and pushed her from behind, and what with several pulling at her hands, she stumbled through her gate onto the pavement.

The one called Flix appeared to blow on his tiny flute again, his tiny cheeks puffing out several times suggesting a longer message being sent than the one that earlier summonsed Cowslip and the rest of his gang to Annabel’s room.

They waited awhile on the pavement by her letter box. Annabel looked blinkingly around her. The street was barely recognisable.

Then she heard an unexpected noise. Clip-clop, clip-clop, clip-clop... She turned to see more Little People coming out a side street several houses away and leading a Shetland pony drawing a small wagon by its reins. Annabel was mesmerized by it. She loved ponies. She had a collection of porcelain ponies that were now a crush of broken bits at the base of her bedroom walls.  

“Is it real?” she asked politely, forgetting everything else for a moment. Maybe some reflex deep in her brain used it as an opportunity to forget all else. Indeed, it was strange to see one in a suburban street usually busy with motor traffic and pedestrians.

“Real?” Hazel wanted to know, frowning. “The pony cart you mean? Why wouldn’t it be?” The Little One seemed quite confused by the question.

“I’ve never seen a pony here,” Annabel answered. “I’ve only seen them on T.V.”

“Well get used to ponies, girl,” Cowslip positively snarled at her. “And forget all about T.V’s. It’s not your world anymore, it’s ours.”

The pony drew closer and Cowslip instructed her peremptorily to climb onto the back of the wagon. Annabel could not refrain from giving it a soft caress on its nose. The pony turned strange red eyes on her and snorted. Annabel did not know how she knew, but she was sure it was ready to bite her and she pulled her hand away.

Seeing her fear, Cowslip laughed abruptly. “Our ponies don’t like you either. Now get on board. Go on.”

Annabel climbed obediently onto the tailgate of the cart and sat with her legs swinging. Her stomach was tight and nauseas. Her fear had been woken again by the pony. Her cheeks ran with tears.

Cowslip gave the Little Ones with the pony some quick whispered instructions and they soon were pulling the pony around and leading it back whence it had come with Annabel on board.

As it made a slow progress back up the street, Annabel looked at the burning houses sliding by. Mr and Mrs Peg’s; Mr Jones’s; her friends, Molly and Peter Quinn’s on the corner; and then the wagon turned the corner and left Annabel’s street – and her old life – behind her.

She did not to see her house go up in a fierce explosion of fire and smoke. It was out of sight by then.


Last edited by The Archet Bugle on Sat Jan 11, 2014 10:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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The Little People - Page 3 Empty Re: The Little People

Post by David H Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:49 pm

What colour was the pony? Just curious....
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