Today I’ve been invited to take part in Tell A Story Day with the Genre Underground–a group of (mostly) independent writers who’ve banded together to help readers find new stories. So, what is “Tell a Story Day”? Well, it’s an experiment based loosely on the Writer Under Glass project some of us participated in at World Con in Chicago last year: A group of authors create a story serially with no idea where the happy insanity will lead. Two authors will be adding to the story each day with their own creative spin, picking up where the previous author left off. Today I get to continue on with the story below as the mighty thirteenth contributing author (Yay 13!). I’ll also be posting another piece next week, so… stay tuned!
To read the first part, check out M Todd Gallowglas’s site. And the bit just before mine was posted by Jay Hartlove–read it if you haven’t already. I’ve posted the link to the next piece at the bottom of this page–though it won’t be up until tomorrow. And to see a list of everybody involved and links to all the current pieces, go here.
All right, then, let’s get started!
The elf muttered the incantation under his breath, the scroll gleaming and glowing brighter with each word.
“Just walk right in, it’s around the back,” the elf said, walking quickly in a circle, “just a half a mile from the railroad track…” He made the magic gesture—his arms pumping back and forth as he shuffled his feet on the steel floor of the foundry, then raised one fist over his head, yanking downward twice and letting out a magical toot—though he did issue it from a lower orifice than his mouth and he was still not quite sure that was exactly right, but it was what the stinky old wizard had done so… here goes nothing.
The scroll blazed bright in his hands, casting a light that looked… well it looked like a doorway. He dove through the magical door and tumbled onto a floor of black-and-white tiles, rolling up against a row of stools that stood on single chrome-plated legs topped by large bearded men in leather.
“Hey,” one of the large men said, picking the elf up by the scruff of his neck, “you banged into me…”
“Oh, Claus!” the elf swore. “I wanted Alice’s Restaurant, not the Cloak and Dagger!”
A feminine voice sounded just beyond the massive bulk of the leather-clad man who was holding onto the elf. “Now, Hy, put the lad down. He just slipped on the floor. Can’t hold a good wax-and-polish against the fella.”
Hy put the elf down with as much care as one might expect from what looked like a badly shaved Cave Bear in leather chaps and a matching vest. “Awww… Alice. You know I wouldn’t hurt nobody in your place. I was just funnin’.”
As the leather-clad one put him down, the elf beheld the owner of the voice and he’d be a two-headed rocking horse if she wasn’t the finest sight he’d ever seen: It was a blonde. A blonde to make a cleric kick a hole in a stained glass window. “Vavavoom,” he muttered.
The blonde stepped out from behind the counter at which the leather-clad Hy had been seated. She was holding a large glass beaker full of black liquid that steamed forth a strange, bitter—but curiously invigorating—odor. And her dress was blue, checked with white under a white pinafore apron with he name embroidered near her ample bosom: “Alice.”
The elf didn’t meant to, but he fell to his knees. “You… you must be Alice.”
The vision in blue-checked gingham giggled. “That’s my name, don’t use it up! But what can I do for you, little man?”
“I… I was told I could get anything I wanted at Alice’s Restaurant. Is that true?”
Alice nodded. “Of course it is—well, excepting me, because I’m taken. So what can get you? What’s your pleasure?”
The elf turned and looked behind him. The gleaming doorway still lay there, and he could see the giant Weeble wobbling inexorably toward them. He pointed. “I need to get past that.”
Alice looked through the magical doorway. “Well, Lordy, lord… let me just get my supplies….”
She put the steaming chalice of black liquid on the counter and walked away for a moment or two while the elf and Hy stared in horror at the massive machine drawing ever nearer.
“I think you got some serious trouble, there, son,” said Hy.
“I certainly do, sir. And if it catches up to me… the true fate of Princess Zyx will be sealed!”
Alice returned with a large sack in her hands and her apron pockets filled with instruments of destruction. “Let’s not dawdle, little man—I’ve got a business to run, y’know.”
With alacrity, Alice hopped through the doorway and the elf did the same.
The huge machine ground forward, wobbling, wobbling, wobbling but never falling down…
“What are you going to do?” the elf asked, nervously looking over his shoulder where he was sure the lawyer and the android would soon appear.
The blonde waitress drew an object from her bag and handed it to him–a curious, translucent container of thick red fluid labeled “Marinara.” “Now you just follow my lead and throw this when I tell you to. You ready?” asked Alice as she gripped a knife in one hand and a microplane cheese grater in the other.
The elf nodded, awestruck by her warrior beauty.
She graced him with a devastating smile. Then, with a spine-chilling battle cry of “Eggplant Parmigiana!” she leapt toward the dire machine and the elf had no choice but to follow….
Meanwhile, the lawyer was still arguing precedent with the security droid, saying “…and if not, you will be fined $50 and have to pick up the garbage in the snow.”
The android, having unsheathed the elf’s copper dagger, was staring at the engraving of Princess Zyx. “Curious,” he said.
“What? What’s curious?” the lawyer asked. “And please don’t distract me when I’m summing up. These legal incantations are very tricky.”
“This portrait of Princess Zyx… appears to be… alive.”
Catch the next part at Jen Wylie’s site! Mwahahahahaa….