Chapter: Search For Thimble
Read all the chapters here. Enjoy!
Previously: In the Wonderland realm, Madnes and his group have split up in their search for the 7 crystals of the Terraforming Spell (a dangerous spell currently threatening to destroy their home on Earth, Okinala Island). Cheshire is with Cosmic, Harrey is with the orphans, and Madnes with Alice. They now journey through their individual missions, but the Red King has his own plan to put a stop to them, sending out his knights and Wanted posters. Meanwhile, the story follows Harrey, Ash and Drisel up in the Floating Isles of the Baa people as they hunt for one of the crystals. Thimble became their new Baa friend, and is the only Baa who cares about the strange introvert Wolf—who people have been blaming for the disappearances of several Baa. Now Thimble has gone missing too, and it’s up to Ash to find and save her from the real culprit…
Man had Thimble captive, and he was planning to leave the Floating Isles with her. Ash had to stop him!
But how? Where was Thimble being kept? He had to get back on the Moon ship—and fast.
Ash gathered every ounce of courage he could muster, before sneaking back to the anchored airship. He made the climb back up on deck, taking the stairs down into the hull as he’d done before, this time taking painstaking care not to make a sound. There was no excuse to give Man in Moon if he caught him a second time wandering inside his ship.
Ash reached the cluttered hallway hull and held his breath, listening, making sure Man wasn’t nearby. Coast clear, he inched his way to the first door. His heart did a back flip when the door creaked at his touch, and he quick peered inside: Nothing but cluttered junk.
He checked the next door, and the next. Nothing. And then he recalled the tucked-away room where Man had shown them the more expensive items for sale. Ash crept to that same door now, and fished around for a hairpin in a bowl of clips, screws, and pins. Having lived on the streets, he knew how to pick a lock, and soon had the door open.
He leaped in, hands up, preparing to karate chop if Man was there. Thankfully for Ash, nothing but fancy, perfect drawers and shadows lay in wait in the little room.
He straightened, feeling a bit foolish.
‘If Man plans on leaving soon, then he must have Thimble somewhere onboard,’ thought Ash. He looked about, scanning the walls for more secret doors. She had to be close; there weren’t many more options left.
He considered calling her name, but Man would surely hear. Instead, he tapped on one wall, listened…tapped on the floor, listened… He was about to move on to another room, when something thumped. A muffled sound, as if from far away.
He froze, ears on high alert. The muffled thump came a second time. He lowered his chin to the floorboards.
It was coming from the bottom of the ship!
He shoved rugs and whatnot aside, fingers and gaze roving for a trap door. It wasn’t long before he felt the straight cracks and a hinge with a metal ring. He pulled on the ring, and the trapdoor rose up. He stuck his head inside, and a cloud of dust motes greeted him along with another thump. It was too dark to see.
He reached his hand into the well of darkness, feeling for a lamp or anything that might give light. He felt a knob and twisted it. In a chain reaction, flames flared to life in five lamps across a floorboard ceiling. The glow was dim but enough to see a ladder drop down from the trapdoor. The airship’s hull went much deeper than it looked on the outside. Ash swallowed before twisting around and climbing down the ladder.
He reached the lowest planks of the ship, and the thump came again. This time loud and clear, and followed by a muffled voice. His head jerked instantly toward it.
Ash staggered back, and would have fallen if not for the wall behind him, at the sight—at the row of shackles and chains lining the wall opposite him. In those shackles were bloody wrists, attached to slumped forms and bowed heads, a row of them leading off into the darkness of the airship’s other end.
Ash couldn’t suppress a startled sound in his throat at the sight. Then his chest pounded that Man in Moon might have heard him.
‘All of the Baa that have gone missing! He’s been stowing them in this perfect hideout.’
“Thimble?” He strode quickly down the line of Baa shackled to the hull wall. Each was alive, he realized, but dazed and slack as if drugged, woolly fur and skin red where the metal holding them had dug too deep and drawn blood.
Another thump and he stopped. A hoof-like foot slid back down from making the sound, and Thimble’s pink woolly hair tilted up as she looked at him, only vaguely aware that Ash—that someone—was there.
She tried to mouth something, before her body tilted forward, going slack. “Thimble!” Ash knelt at the shackles around her ankles and fished out the hairclip to unlock them.
“You could not leave well enough alone, could you? Troublesome human pest.”
Ash turned to find Man at the top of the ladder, staring down with a sneer through his twisting beard.
Man craned his neck out like a vulture, then dropped down into the dim hull. His robes spread like wings, and he landed as if it were a single stair and not a fourteen-foot drop.
Ash scrambled to get back—but there was nowhere to scramble back to. The other end of the long room was a dead-end wall of wood. He tried to straighten his back, tried to face this evil head on with an ounce of dignity, before it tore him to pieces…
At the shout, Man paused, sharp hands inches away from Ash’s face, and craned his neck around like an owl. Ash tried to see what stood in the square of light cast by the open trapdoor.
Pointed furry ears, long bushy tail, Wolf shouted, “What have you done to her?” The words echoed down with a cold fury. His growl rumbled through the floorboards.
Man stared icily up at him. But Wolf’s fury made him unfazed, nothing else bearing any meaning to him but the injured form that was Thimble.
And then Wolf lunged, claws out.
What will happen next? Share this story with friends and see what they think! #MadnesSolver
Subscribe to author E. E. Rawls’s e-mail list to get the inside scoop on special excerpts, books, and exclusive content!
© copyright 2015-2016 E. E. Rawls and Rawls E. Fantasy, All Rights Reserved
This is my entry for this week’s #BlogBattle challenge by the wonderful author Rachael Ritchey, where the challenge is to write a short story based on that week’s chosen word. This week’s word was: “perfect.” Check out the link, read other great stories there, and VOTE for your favorite 3 to win!
(the ads are by WordPress, not me, in exchange for using this sight free.)