A simple reminder before we begin again. This is a blog. (I know you know) That means if you want to start listening and reading from the beginning of the story, you need to scroll down or click back to Chapter one.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Then let’s begin….
In a dusty darkness Flapjack opens his eyes and sneezes twice. “Shhhh!” a voice next to him hisses urgently.
“Who’s there?” asks Flapjack, sitting up fast and hitting his head on the underside of the chair. No one says anything. He can hear something moving around next to him and further away a skittering noise. His eyes become accustomed to the gloom and he remembers that he is in the library. In front of him a small figure is climbing from under the chair and heading toward a reading desk. A lamp pops on and standing beneath it is Cannibal Corpse, beckoning to him.
Now Flapjack has quite the imagination, but he had never seen Cannibal Corpse look quite so animated. He supposed it must be some sort of library magic. Slowly and carefully he crawls from his hiding spot and approaches the desk.
“Hurry up,” hisses Cannibal Corpse from above his head. So he clambers onto a chair and up onto the desk. There are some open books that CC appears to have marked on several pages as well as drawing a rough map. Flapjack looks in mild disbelief at Cannibal Corpse and rubs some sleep from his eyes. The doll is scrawling on paper again.
“What’s going on?” asks Flapjack. Cannibal Corpse doesn’t look at him. He taps the doll on the shoulder, unsure if his friend is still the same now that he can walk and talk. Cannibal Corpse starts and looks at him squarely in the face. “What!?” he demands. “Can’t hear you unless I can see you I’m afraid. No ears see?” He angles his head this way and that to show off his absence of ears.
“Oh”, says Flapjack, at CC’s enquiring eyes.
“Well if that’s all you’re going to say, there’s not much point in looking at you,” grumbles Cannibal Corpse, going back to his scratchy map.
Flapjack taps him gently on the arm to get his attention, “What are you doing?”
“Well, you want to find your parent’s don’t you?” asks CC. “I’ve been researching while you have been snoozing. The Wheatmen and Spiderladies live in a city. So I have drawn this map so we can get there. Not easy to find the right place, it looks as though grown ups don’t really believe it exists. But these books put together a few clues that will help us.” He gestures at the brightly coloured picture books.
The story books show pictures of long legged Spiderladies dancing with spiky headed Wheatmen. They stand on a revolving disk with an enormous needle resting upon it. Flapjack taps Cannibal Corpse on the arm again, “Is that record player?”
Cannibal Corpse shakes his head. “No moron, it’s a music engine. The music vibrates the crystals all round the city. It keeps the place running.” Flapjack doesn’t seem too sure, but he lets the comment pass. CC is making great progress with his directions and notes.
While CC works, Flapjack moves to the edge of the desk and looks off into the darkness. He can hear things skittering about in the dark and some giggling. He leans further to see, but the lamplight doesn’t spread far enough. “Who’s there?” he asks, loud and clear. More giggling floats up from the shadows.
He walks back to Cannibal Corpse who is packing his notes into their bag. He waves at the doll and asks, “Who’s giggling out there?”
“What?” asks Cannibal Corpse. He grabs the bag and shifts from foot to padded foot. “If you can hear them laughing, it’s probably time we got going. We need to get to the cellar and oh, oh no…” He tails off, looking past Flapjack at the end of the desk.
Flapjack turns to see what his friend is so worried about and agrees that this doesn’t look too good. Perched on the end of the desk, giggling maniacally is an enormous rat. It grins at them and giggles some more as another rat, oddly wearing a miniature trilby hat hops up onto the desk and starts sniggering.
Cannibal Corpse backs away toward the chair, their best means of escape without hurting themselves, but the rat in the hat scampers across blocking their route. It leans toward Cannibal Corpse, grinning with its sharp yellow teeth, “A dolly!” it exclaims madly. “We likes dollies, don’t we brother?” The other rat laughs. “Course we do Hugo, we likes dollies cos their stuffed with tasty fluff! Heheheheheh!”
Cannibal Corpse shudders and steps away as Flapjack moves in to block their approach. “Stay away from my friend!” he proclaims. He sounds braver out loud than he feels inside.
The rats fall over laughing. ‘They’re mad,’ thinks Flapjack as he takes a quick look around, wondering how they will get away.
“We likes children too,” says Hugo. “We likes children because we can steal their hair for our nests and bite off their fingernails, don’t we Victor?”
“We do Hugo, lovely soft baby hair too. I likes me some soft baby hair.” The rats have stopped laughing. Flapjack and Cannibal Corpse have backed away so far that they are about to fall off the end of the desk.