The fierce BlogBattle day is here! Chapter 7 is my entry. If you’ve missed any of the previous chapters, you can find them all here.
Chapter 7: Power for a Price
Evading Inspector Coolette’s grasp, he trotted through the downtown’s maze of streets, a series of twists and turns until the March’s Repairs workshop and garage came into view: An uneven, two-story complex, with mix-match roofs, and a clock tower growing through the upper portion of the workshop building. Giant wheels, spindles, clock hands and a cluster of different-styled dials made its upper half resemble a living, breathing clock.
He raised a fist to rap his knuckles when the iron door of the workshop suddenly swung open. A mop of fluffy brown hair bejeweled in blue highlights met him. Harrey pushed back green visor glasses to reveal a grinning face. “It’s about time, ya slow poke!” A hand grabbed his arm and pulled Madnes inside.
Alice was at one of the less cluttered counters in the shop. An assortment of gadgets and equipment needing fixing lined every wall and shelf-layered aisle. There was barely spare space; just enough to walk, and some counter for eating or writing down notes. His friend’s uncle had been running the shop since he could first remember. Harrey worked with him, and lived up on the second floor rooms.
He dimly noticed Cheshire hadn’t stuck around—that cat had a way of appearing and vanishing whenever he liked, he frowned, and took a metal stool on Alice’s right. She fiddled with a swirly straw made to look like an elephant trunk, and gave him a knowing, secret smile. There was only one reason Harrey had invited them over. It was always the same thing.
“Wow, man. Are those bruises all over you?” Harrey pointed out his war wounds combating ninja bananas. Yeah, no way could he begin to explain that.
“Just the kind of day I’ve had.” He mumbled quickly. “So, what did your new invention damage this time?” he asked then smirked at the pouty look Harrey flashed.
“It didn’t damage anything! Why do you always assume that?”
“Because that’s what always happens.”
“You don’t even know what I invented yet!”
“By all means, show us.” His tone dripped sarcasm.
But blue eyes brightened, taking him seriously, and Madnes found himself being dragged through the workshop and into the adjacent garage. The ceiling soared high overhead, and stretched out just as wide, offering a generous amount of room in which to build and test machinery. Alice trotted behind them, a smile around the lollipop she plopped in her mouth.
Harrey dug through a mess of junk metal and objects before finding what he was looking for—dragging it out with an excited whoop. He stood the contraption before them on a space of clear floor.
His frown line twisted, and a scarlet eyebrow rose at it. “A bicycle?”
“That flies!” A big propeller sprouted up from two poles like an umbrella, and a smaller version stuck out from the back seat. Harrey hopped on, feet on the bike pedals, and began pedaling. Both propellers began to turn. Slowly at first, then gaining momentum. It whizzed and hummed, growing so loud they had to cover their ears. Gradually, and a bit wobbly, the bike rose a foot off the ground. “See, see?” Harrey exclaimed excitedly. He pedaled faster, and the bike gained more height.
Following the contraption with a lazy gaze he folded his arms while Alice cheered their friend on. Something crackled. He shook his head and shut his eyelids, not bothering to watch for what he knew would happen. The bike came crashing down, and Harrey yelping with it. CKRsshh!
“Wow. It lasted a whole five seconds. That’s a new record for you.”
“Stop~!” Harrey whined, pulling himself painfully from the wreckage and hobbling. “Don’t squash my creativity, man.”
He shrugged palms up, “Heh, you do that all on your own.”
The guy’s tanned face pouted, close to tears. He huffed and looked away. Ever the drama queen was Harrey—but determined, and too cheerful for his own good. Polar opposites; like a slice of the sun inside him couldn’t stop beaming when he was happy, and a wailing flashflood whenever he got depressed.
Alice tried to play the mediator between them. “Ah, now, that’s not true. Harrey, you come up with splendid ideas! Even if they…don’t always work.”
“That’s an understatement. Ouch—!” he yelped at a sharp heel jabbing his shin, Alice’s face a warning. He turned his nose up and away with a pout of his own.
Back at the counter, Harrey asked what they would like for a late evening snack. “Toast and eggs for me. I like night brunch,” said Alice. “Pizza,” Madnes let his tired forehead hit the countertop and hands plop.
“Looks like you’re gonna have a scar there.”
“Huh?” he lifted his head back up, and Harrey tapped the side of his face where three long cuts were still healing—made during Oz’s attack. “Oh. Yeah, I guess,” he said. “I can look even more ugly than I already do. Yay.”
Alice laughed in her hand. “Madnes, you’ve never been ugly. Even people at school think you’re cute.”
“Eh?” he stared at her, unbelief written over his face. “It’s the blind club, right? They thought Rolly Polly Boy was handsome too.”
Harrey’s hand slapped the table, laughing. “He’s witty, isn’t he? I doubt anybody could beat you in a contest for dry humor!”
“Does that mean I’ll get paid more?”
A cuckoo clock interrupted their mirth, and a small creature came walking from the kitchen with a large tray held up. It hopped onto the table and delivered a plate for each of them with what they’d ordered. Madnes got a better look at the critter and realized it was a small robot: a frog robot, to be more precise. It’s metal gleamed bronze beneath a little tux and bowtie as it walked upright on long, thin hind legs; height only around two-hands tall. “A waiter frog. You couldn’t just make something…normal?”
“You fixed him!” Alice reached and patted the glossy metal. “It’s been a while since you had him out.”
“He got run over by a steam car. Took some time to fix him back up. But he’s his ol’ helpful self again, aren’t ya, Frobbit?”
“YES. I AM FUNCTIONING NORMALY-ribbit.” Round, glass eyes flashed yellow as it responded.
“See? I can make something that works.” Harrey stuck out his tongue.
He sniffed and rolled his eyes.
“ARE YOU DISPLEASED WITH YOUR PIZZA?” The frog turned to him. He blinked down at the robot. It moved forward, gears clanking and creaking, took the plate and threw the pizza up into his face.
“Yuuuck!” Madnes peeled cheese and sauce off, then swiped a hand at the robot. The frog leaped up, easily dodging.
“YOU DID NOT EAT YOUR PIZZA. YOU ARE A BAD BOY-ribbit.” It grabbed the toast and eggs and began throwing it at each of them. Alice ducked under the counter.
“Make it stop!” he shouted, hands snatching at air as the frog robot hopped about like a bad arcade game.
“I’m trying!” Harrey shielded his face with one hand while grabbing a flyswatter with his right. He aimed a swat at the frog’s back, pressing the shut-off button.
“BAD BOooy….” Its battery died.
Looking down at the mess he now was, Madnes got up to find the bathroom. “Yeah. You really made something that works.”
“It will work!” Harrey’s frustrated fists pounded behind him.
After cleaning up, he remembered with a jolt that he’d forgotten to call home and tell Mom where he was. He picked up the phone’s teal receiver, dialed in the number, and left a message for her saying he would be at Harrey’s a while longer. As he spoke, he fiddled with the buttoned cuff of his maroon sleeve. Some pizza stain lingered on it, but at least the color wasn’t much different from the shirt’s. Something dark peeked up from under the sleeve: black ink writing.
He dropped the receiver, and pushed the maroon fabric down. The image of a roman numeral clock was inked in black on the inside of his wrist’s skin. He stared intently. The clock’s long hand moved one tick from the 12:00, and the gap in between blossomed black, like ink droplets on paper, until the space churned solid dark.
“What…” He rubbed at it, scratched at it with his thumb. It didn’t smear. He tried water. It wasn’t affected. “How did…?” Looking at the roman clock, his arm began quivering. The air about him felt heavy, ominous, and his breathing grew ragged. ‘Don’t panic, don’t panic,’ he tried telling himself. But a horrible gut feeling welled and cycloned inside him, a feeling that this clock was counting down time. His time.
He hurried past the sink, past the counters and clutter—Harrey and Alice looking up and wondering at his rush—until he stumbled out of the workshop. The cool, night air hit him, moistened from gathering clouds overhead. “Cheshire! You have to be around here, come out. Now! What is this?” He yelled from the dark, empty street outside March’s Repairs. He showed his wrist up in the air.
Only silence met him, and a single dog barking in the distance.
“What…” he let his arm fall, eyeing the clock through shaky vision, “…is this?” An uncontrollable tremor rattled through his body. He had never felt shaken like this before.
“Am I…” his throat swallowed, dry.
O_0 Dun–dun–dunnnnn~~! Gotta love cliffhangers. What do you think this clock means, and how does it make you feel?
COMMENT-ribbit, OR FROBBIT WILL COME AFTER YOU.
“Frobbit! Be more polite.”–E. Rawls.
THAT DOES NOT COMPUTE. YOU ARE A BAD AUTHOR. I MUST PUNISH YOU.
“Eeyaaaah!”–E. Rawls screams, *runs away*
If you liked this story, please share with friends and help spread the word about Madnes Solver! #MadnesSolver
Thank you for reading, and check back next Wednesday for Chapter 7 and more Okinala madness! 😀
© copyright 2015 E. Rawls Dreamer, All Rights Reserved
This is my entry for this week’s #BlogBattle challenge by the wonderful Rachael Ritchey, where the challenge is to write a short story based on that week’s chosen word. This week’s word was: “Frog.” Check out the link if you are curious and would like to join in the challenge.
Come back to Okinala Island (here) next Wednesday for the next chapter!
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