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In Which Caitlin is Nearly A Tasty Snack, Again

by on July 17, 2011

Last time in the Caitlin Chronicles, our heroine was dangling upside-down like a girl from a Spider-Man movie, except that Tobey Maguire wasn’t weeping in a nearby corner and her life wasn’t being threatened by a mad scientist. She didn’t know much more than that, as her captors, a band of malevolent weasels, had inexplicably tied her with her face towards a dirt wall, so she couldn’t see what was going on. All she knew was what Perry (who apparently wasn’t facing the wall) could tell her. Fortunately, her magic bean, powered with equally magic words contributed by Perry, had conjured up a Panda Of Unusual Size, which had chased off the weasels. Unfortunately, the panda had kept on running after the weasels and out of the cave, and in so doing had failed to untie Caitlin or Perry, which meant that they were still trapped. Magic beans weren’t what they used to be, these days. “So…” Perry said. “How’ve you been?”

“How have I been?” Caitlin repeated incredulously. “Perry. I’m upside-down. All I can see is dirt. There’s a worm in my ear. I have no idea where the next clue is, or how I’m ever going to complete this quest. And I think I have to use the little princess’s room, which is going to be really awkward considering that, as I have previously mentioned, I’m upside-down. So how in novel character hell do you think I am?”

Perry sniffled. “I was just trying to make conversation. Now I’m not even going to tell you where the next clue is.”

“What? You know? You know where the next clue is? And you didn’t tell me? And…okay, what’s with the italics? I’m using way too much italics right now. Who is writing my dialogue anyway? Okay, that’s it. Very funny. You can stop now. No, really. STOP IT.

“Caitlin, your princess ways are strange to me. What are these italics of which you speak?”

“Oh, shut up. Just tell me the clue. Might as well think about solving it while I’m hanging here.”

She heard Perry make a sort of sound as if he were scuffling his feet in embarrassment. Which, if he was hanging upside down like her, would be a really neat trick. “Actually…I don’t know. It’s on a plaque on the wall over there. The weasel cave must be four miles east of the last clue. I didn’t get time to read the plaque before the weasels tied me up.”

“So, we’re in a cave, are we? That’s good to know. Oy, this is getting ridiculous.”

Further dialogue was cut short as the cave rumbled. It wasn’t even a short rumble, either; it was a long, ominous, ground-shaking rumble that in a movie would be accompanied by chilling music in a minor key. The worm shivered in fright, and scurried off Caitlin’s ear and up the back of her neck. Caitlin didn’t feel much more happy about the rumble than the worm. “What was that?”

“I…don’t know. But, oh, hey, I found your wolf-skin cloak. It’s right next to me. I honestly don’t know why you like that thing, you didn’t even take the pointy teeth out of it, and-”

Pointy teeth! Perry! You’re a…oh, never mind. I can’t insult you properly with my inflection all messed up like this. Look, can you reach the pointy teeth?”

“Yes….wait.”

“There we go. Dawning comprehension. I love it.”

*RUMBLE RUMBLE RAWR RUMBLE RAWR RAWR*.

“Perry. Do please hurry.”

Quickly Perry scooched close to the pointy teeth on Caitlin’s wolf-skin cloak, and began rubbing the ropes that tied up against their keenly sharp tips. In a trice he had managed to cut himself free, whereupon he set about untying Caitlin. All that time the cave was rumbling and rawr-ing and generally behaving very ominously. Once she was free, the princess snatched the worm from her neck and flung it away from her as far as she could, which wasn’t very far, as it was a small cave. Sunlight streamed in through a nearby window, though. This seemed a bit odd; Caitlin wasn’t a geography expert, but she knew enough to know that caves were typically located underground, which meant that typically they didn’t have sunlight streaming in. It was a most vexing problem, but she didn’t have time to ponder it. Instead, she ran to the plaque on the cave wall, determined to read the next clue and praying that it was something which made more sense than the last one. The paranoid dwarves were beginning to annoy her.

“O-kay, here we go…it says..there’s a snake in my boot.

Caitlin was just about to start working out the clue’s arcane meaning when suddenly a horrible thought occurred to her. She ran to the window in the cave wall and looked out. Her vexing problem about the sunlight resolved itself pretty quickly. They weren’t under the ground, they were over it, embedded in a high mountain peak, and since the sun was streaming in their window, and since she was pretty sure it was late afternoon, they had to be facing west. That meant she should be looking out towards the mountain valley where she had found the last clue. But she didn’t see the mountain valley, oh, no; what she saw was just more mountains, which then dropped away into a wide golden splotch that could only be the desert they’d passed through on the way. “Perry!” Caitlin exclaimed in horror. “This isn’t the clue; the clue’s east of here!”

Perry looked extremely confused. “But if that isn’t the clue, then what is it?”

*RUMBLE RUMBLE RAWR CRASH*

The cave wall behind them exploded in a blast of dirt and rock. Princess Caitlin wasn’t one for screaming hysterically, but now, boosted by the power of italics, she shrieked like a trooper. “AYIEEEEEE! A GIANT SNAKE!”

A POISONOUS snake!” Perry shrieked in turn.”What do we do?”

RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!” Whereupon, having duly referenced Monty Python and King’s Quest V both, Caitlin and Perry showed the giant poisonous snake clean pairs of heels. The trouble was, in a cave that small, they didn’t have very far to run to. They darted down a tunnel, but the snake thundered after them, rawr-ing and bellowing for all it was worth. Then the tunnel deposited them out in the open, on a high mountain ridge. There was nowhere else to go. The ridge was too high and too steep for them to climb down. And the giant snake was coming after them. Reluctantly Caitlin pulled her lightsaber. “Well,” she said, “I guess this is it.”

Perry squeaked something unintelligible, though it might’ve been, “Oh, no, the snake’s just come out the tunnel behind us!” because that is in fact what the snake had done. It reared up before them, towering into the sky, showing a very impressive pair of fangs. Caitlin shivered. She hated snakes. Especially giant ones that could make a single bite of her and Perry both. She didn’t want to go out like a little Caitlin-nugget in a McDonald’s Happy Meal. But on the other hand, she didn’t exactly have many options left. It wasn’t like she had something useful to escape with, such as-

“Hey!” a tiny yet angelic voice called. Caitlin whirled. There, hovering in the sky, was a massive hang glider, born up on the wings of a score of jubilant shoulder-angels. Caitlin’s own shoulder-angel waved frenetically. “Hey! Woohoo! Look at us! Deus ex machina for the win!”

Caitlin didn’t pause to question how her shoulder-angel had gotten there, or where its friends had come from, or where her shoulder-devil had got to (in point of fact,the shoulder-devil was on the sidelines rooting for the giant snake). Instead, she and Perry both ran forward, leapt into the air, grabbed hold of the angel-powered glider, and soared away, leaving the giant snake alone and snackless on the ridge. They had improbably escaped mortal peril once again. “First weasels, now giant snakes,” Caitlin commented to herself, “What’s next? A fire-breathing warthog? And will you quit with the italics already? HONESTLY.”

Note: this story was written using Prompt Number Twenty-Eight from the Chrysalis Experiment.

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3 Comments
  1. The title pretty much sums it up! Good work.

  2. LOL curse of the italics. I love it!!

    Another one read 🙂 and yes, I wouldn’t mind hearing what became of the worm after it got hurled across the cave 😛

    • The next Catrina story (or Ermingard, as the case may be), I shall definitely address the fate of the little worm. 😛

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