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In Which Caitlin Is Nearly a Tasty Snack

by on July 12, 2011

Note: I was on vacation last week, which is why there wasn’t a short story as usual. To make up for my absence, this week we’re doing a Caitlin double-header!  Part one, today’s story, is based on Chrysalis Experiment Prompt Number Twenty-Seven. Part two, later this week, will be based on Prompt Number Twenty-Eight. Enjoy!

Last time, in the Caitlin Chronicles, we’d left our piquant heroine and her sidekick, Perry, surrounded by a chanting mob of small female weasels intent on slaying both of them (don’t you just hate it when that happens? I know I do). Caitlin drew her lightsaber and ignited its blue blade, then did a swift calculation. “Right, if I decapitate three weasels per minute and there’s…let’s say…two  hundred…and they’re all coming straight at me…hm. Problem.”

“M-maybe they’ll only come at you one at a t-t-time?” Perry stammered, obviously trying to put a brave face on the situation.

Caitlin rolled her eyes. “Yes, because they’re all clearly stupid. Perry, these aren’t minions, they’re…well, weasels. They’re not going to play by standard minion rules. They’ll come at me in a rush, and I have to work out how I’m going to stop it pretty much in the next three seconds, so unless you have something important to contribute just be quiet and let me think! Honestly, why I needed a sidekick in the first place I don’t even-”

It was at that dire point, surrounded by vicious weasels, that something snapped. Perry drew himself up, stared Caitlin right in the eye, opened his mouth, and…gave a violent sneeze. Then he recovered himself and started to deliver what would have been a stirring heroic speech, and Caitlin would have learned a valuable lesson about respecting her sidekicks, and Perry would’ve discovered that he had gifts after all, and together they would’ve defeated the weasels and linked arms and walked happily into the sunset and….and it didn’t happen. You generally can’t give a stirring heroic speech when a large rock has thwacked into the back of your head. Perry crumpled to the ground. Caitlin, stricken with a sudden burst of guilt, debated briefly on whether she should fall to her knees and scream “NOOOOOO”, or whether she should attack the weasels in a blaze of guilt-driven fury. Then a second rock hit the back of her head, and she was out like an environmentally friendly carbon-neutral bulb that looks like a curly fry such as you might get at Arby’s.

When Caitlin woke up, the first thing she saw was dirt. A worm squiggled through the dirt; Caitlin wondered if she was looking at the worm’s head or its other end. She tried to move, but found she couldn’t; apparently she’d been tied up. Worse, judging by the way the blood was rushing to her head, she’d been tied upside-down. And they’d tied her facing the wall, not outward, so she couldn’t even see where she was or what was going to happen to her. Then she heard the weasels again, still chanting, and besides that unpleasant sound she heard the crackling of a fire. An acrid smell, oily as the oil it in fact was, met her nose. “Oh, wonderful,” Caitlin thought. “They’re going to eat me. I’m going to die, again.” Of the several deaths she’d had thus far, beaten eaten by weasels after staring at the tail end of a worm would not rank as one of her favorites.

The princess tried valiantly to move again, but the weasels had tied her so tightly that she couldn’t even twitch. She was sure going to have rope burns in the morning, or she would have, except by morning all that would be left of her would be weasel droppings, and the literature’s surprisingly scarce on whether weasel droppings would have signs of the rope burns of the food they’d once been. She couldn’t feel her lightsaber in her hand, which meant she couldn’t use it to cut her way out. Caitlin scrambled to think of a solution. Her apple wouldn’t help her at all, nor her nice red uniform, nor her wolf-skin cloak…the magic bean! Maybe she could use it…but she hadn’t the least idea how to finish that sentence. And she was getting dizzy from hanging upside down so long.

Then an answer came to her. She didn’t like it much, but under the circumstances, she didn’t exactly have a better option. So, reluctantly, she whispered for Perry. It occurred to her then that he might’ve already been eaten. “Perry?” she whispered again, a little louder. “You’d better not be weasel poop right now, you hear me?”

“I’m not…” came Perry’s weak voice at last. She couldn’t see him, but she guessed he was tied up just like her. “And, good news, my allergies have cleared up.”

“Oh joy. Look, we’re in a bit of a predicament here, and…oh…ick.” The aforementioned worm had just happily discovered a lovely new thing to crawl on, which happened to be Caitlin’s upside-down face. “My author just hates me, doesn’t he?” she complained to no one in particular.

“What?” Perry said.

Caitlin decided not to blow his mind with the revelation that he was just a story character too, and a sidekick at that, and instead returned to her previous thought, distracted as she was by the overjoyed worm’s squiggling down between her eyes. “You remember that magic bean I had? The one that does something I don’t know? I need to know what it does. Now.”

“Erm…” Perry hesitated. “Well, I’m not sure…but I think it’s supposed to provide help in dire situations. Or something.”

“Dire situations. This qualifies. Okay, so how do I activate it?”

The weasels had stepped up their chanting, and Caitlin had a sneaking suspicion that it was almost dinner time. Perry considered. “I think you have to say some magic words. I read them once somewhere…erm….”

The weasels were practically doing a Riverdance scene now, and Caitlin heard them shuffling towards her. “Perry?”

“I’m thinking….”

Perry?” 

“I’m thinking!”

“PERRY!”

“I remember! It’s…erm…oh dear…”

“JUST TELL ME!”

“She does not get eaten by the eels at this time!”

Caitlin wondered if she’d heard right. “Perry, while I appreciate your vote of confidence I’m not about to get eaten by eels, I’m about to get eaten by weasels, and, oh, ew, now the worm’s on my nose!”

“No, no, it’s the magic words! That’s them exactly!”

The princess didn’t have time to wonder under what circumstances anyone would craft a magic bean to protect themselves from getting eaten by eels. Instead, she gathered herself together and yelled as loud as she could, “SHE DOES NOT GET EATEN BY THE EELS AT THIS TIME!”

Flash. Bang. Zing. Pow. Splurk. 

When the chaos subsided, all Caitlin heard was a chorus of tiny moans, and a startled gasp from Perry. “Holy cow,” he exclaimed, “I…I never…holy cow.”

“What?” Caitlin asked. Even the worm seemed to pause in suspense, hanging over the bottom of Caitlin’s left ear.

“The magic bean, it transformed into a Panda of Unusual Size, and…I didn’t know P.O.U.S.’s could be so deadly.”

“Maybe in the future someone will put that in a book. Except they might change the panda, because no one would believe a Panda of Unusual Size. Now, back on target, Perry, just to be clear, the weasels are all dealt with, right?”

“Yes…” Perry replied in a daze. “Holy cow.”

“Wonderful. Now, can you untie me, please?”

“Erm, the thing is, I’m sort of tied up too.”

Caitlin sighed. “I don’t suppose the P.O.U.S. is still there, is it?”

“No. It’s gone. And the bean’s gone too.”

“So basically I’m stuck here. Upside down. Facing a dirt wall. With a worm exploring my ear.”

“Right.”

It was then that Caitlin made her most serious mistake yet. “Well…at least things can’t get worse.”

Oh but they could. And, very shortly, they did.

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4 Comments
  1. What a life our heroine leads, right?

  2. Indeed. The fun never stops for her.

  3. Another one read!! I love the little worm and his antics – very nice touch. hehe. While reading this I decided that these stories would make a brilliant children’s book! For slightly more high-brown children at least 😉 But also one that adults can enjoy, naturally. hehe

    • A children’s book…what an intriguing idea. I might just do that. 😛
      And you know, I don’t think I ever said what happened to the little worm…did the P.O.U.S. get him? did he go on to live a live of wormy fulfillment? His fate could haunt me forever!

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