The Magical Cave IX: An Intriguing Problem

Eeks, a rat!” Ramya yelled.

The next moment the small creature disappeared and the demon that had been chasing them appeared in front of them.

 The children froze. They thought they had escaped the land of odors. But the people from there had come after them here as well. The creature blocked the entrance of the borough. There was no escape unless they decided to go down Bracken’s passages.

As they stood indecisively, Bracken boldly approached the demon and rubbed his nose against the demon. Bashful also approached the demon tentatively. The children wondered what was happening.

Suddenly in a blink of an eye, the demon disappeared and there were two Brackens exactly alike like peas in a pod. What the hell was happening? As both the Brackens neared they could make out the difference. While one of Brackens was solid, the other looked kind of shadowy and insubstantial.

So the second Bracken was the demon. What tricks was it up to? Bashful gently stroked both of them. Then he spoke up. “Don’t be scared of him. He won’t harm us. He is more scared of us than we are of him?

Him scared of us? Why would that be? He is the one who has come after us to capture us.

Well, circumstances have changed. Their land has moved away and he is all alone in our land. He is so scared.

As he said the words, the creature transformed into a cute little girl and gave them an endearing smile. They now understood what had happened. Sneezy’s sneeze had swept their pursuer into their world and the land had moved on without him. Now their roles were reversed. He was now entirely at their mercy.

Vinod finally spoke the question that was on the top of all their minds. “So what do we do about him?

They all looked at each other. The room was filled with smell of a hospital.  There was a thin half starved puppy in front of them that was whining piteously. The children still found it difficult to get used to the sudden transformation. But they were at least no longer scared. It was clear the creature was not hostile and it was trying to communicate to them the best it could. They needed to somehow help the creature. But how?

How much time would it take for the land to come again?” asked Vinod.

It is very difficult to say. It can take years or even decades before a land comes back here. Some lands never come back. Some come back within months. There is no pattern to it.” Doc shook his head.

Is there a way of finding out when the land may come again?

Sleepy can try to find out. All the knowledge regarding such things is hidden in the Land of Dreams. But very few people have power to enter this land at will and even fewer to interpret a meaning out of what they see there. For most people it just appears to be a crazy place where nothing makes sense. Sleepy is one of those few who can visit it when he sleeps at night and find answers to specific questions from there.

So I think best course would be to ask Sleepy to find out when the land will be back here next. Till then this creature has to be with us I guess.

If he is going to stay with us for some time, I think we should try to learn to communicate better with each other. I am not sure how much of what we say he really understands,” added Ramya.

As I said he can sense our thoughts in the form of smells. But it is not clear like talking. It is different. Similarly he tries to convey his feelings through smells and shape transformations.

 But I think we need to go beyond communicating emotions and be able to exchange ideas. Otherwise it would be tough to work together,” said Ramya.

Everyone nodded in agreement.

Why are we bothering to help this creature who landed up in this situation due to his own fault? If he had not tried to capture us, he would have been safer and sound in his own land.

No, Grumpy. What he was doing was right from his point of view. He was just trying to stop felons escaping from captivity. It was his duty as a responsible citizen of his land. I am sure he did not have any personal malintent towards us.” Happy was always the reasonable one.

Grumpy did not look convinced but he remained silent.

I think Bashful and Bracken should work with him. They are best at not verbal communication,” said Vinod.

The others agreed.

Ajay suddenly looked at watch. It was 6.00 pm. “I think it is getting late and we must be heading back home or our parents will be getting worried.

The children reluctantly got up and began to walk towards the entrance. There was so much excitement here. They did not at all want to go back. But they had to.  Anyways there wasn’t much left to do either till Sleepy had got the information from the Land of Dreams. They promised that they would return as soon as they could and were soon back on their way home.


Suresh Chandrasekaran said...

Gets better and better. Again you leave it intriguingly poised

The Fool said...

Thanks, Suresh.

Midnight scribbles said...

Grumpy being a grumpy! Lol
If only they had a flying chair!:p

The Fool said...

Indeed. Flying chair is a good idea. Maybe it will make its appearance some time in the story. That is the advantage of live story writing. You may get ideas from readers that can be incorporated later in the story.

Midnight scribbles said...

I shall take no credit for it btw. It was but a stolen idea from enid blyton :)

The Fool said...

I owe this entire concept to Enid Blyton.

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