Three and Three Quarters Out Fishing
A curse had been put on our town by a meændering witch from strange places. We wouldn’t know when, but it would come. She left us with small stone figurines of mice. Weeks later, I had been out fishing, and was rushing home toward calamitous boomings. It was the sound of giant stone mice, lumbering toward my small city. Or the boulders they were hurling into the streets, which plowed over food stands and shattered store fronts.
I wanted to get to my parents and sisters, but I wasn’t fast enough. After the witch had left us cursed, our town sought help from from far away lands. We had reached someone, and as promised, our moment of need was answered. The city would no longer be reachable. The fabled Three had arrived to counter the mice, and, thank goodness (for my city, if not for me), they had barred the way. With a great rumbling and a flashing of lights, there stood behind the three figures The Three Quarters. From my hiding place on a knoll I marveled at the structures.
One, an slowly billowing wall of green fume, emerald electricity brimming below its vapors, a sideways swirling whirlpool of mist on its face. Another, a tree turned stone, crowned with a golden parapet, arrayed with a pink crystalline canopy. The last, a cerulean monument to defense, gleaming and pulsing with lights from behind it’s gleaming surface, and from giant scarlet gems.
I had my sketchpad with me, and since I was far from any danger, I tried to capture the vision before me. But it couldn’t be done. I later found that The Three Quarters were magicked into existence as “Leafing Legends”. Even as they unfolded into the world, they were as legends are; unconstrained by definity, free of exact measures or factual concretes. As my rendition near it’s completion, the lines I had laid down became less and less acurate, until I was forced to return to the rough, gestural doodle I had begun with.
But their power was certain. As the stone mice approached, they were met with forks of viridescent lighting from the undulating smokey quarters, which I learned was called “Rampart Roilous”. Giant drops of glimmering dew fell from the “Pleurminéral Palais” quarters’ canopy, lulling the mice to sleep. Some mice tried ascending the way up the tree but were met with hidden traps and defenses. From the last quarters, “Fort Fortifite”, great crystal missles were fired at the rocken rodents. Strange lights beamed down from crystals, slowing the movements of the mice or making them fade away. The Three Quarters were an impenetrable barrier.
I thought I saw people scrambling atop the different quarters, manning the armaments, directing the attacks. But it was unclear. However, The “Three”—SeapCreature, Kraggberry Krrumble, and Cosmi-Compt—did not seek safety behind the protective walls of The Quarters. With crackling blade, flaming club, and pulsating racquet, they did their part to turn the monsters away.
Some of the mice that backed away tried going around The Quarters. I wondered why The Three were unconcerned. I was shocked to see that my city was gone! On either side of The Quarters, I saw only with rocky, barren lands. This was the magic of the meændust, a special extention of The Three Quarters. Dust that existed in many places throughout the galaxy simultaneously. Passing through the dust, you were within it’s bizarre cosmos-spanning phenomenon, and potentially at the other places in which it floated and settled. The Three determined this local, and now, as the mice stepped through the dust, I saw them step into a barren red landscape—not the other sides of The Quarters, and not to my city. How far this bewilderness of meændust reached, I couldn’t tell. But the only way to my city, was clearly over, or through The Quarters.
From Rampart Roilous, a great sideways cyclone erupted from the vapor whirlpool, searching out the mice like a spectral kraken’s tentacle. Skeletal limbs creeped out at the mice from the green fumes.
Some mice tried ascending the path up the fossilized tree. It’s surface crumbled and split apart, and the mice were slogged down to the ground in glittering slime.
The blue and red fortress, composed of magical fortifite, revitalized quickly with each wave of attacks. Beams of red light strobed over the stone mice, sending them scrambling away, dissipating their power.
For the entire day, Three and Three Quarters protected my city. For an entire day I hid in my spot, sustained on raw fish and stale sandwiches. As night fell, the mice halted their attacks, and even retreated a bit. The mice were still in between myself and The Three, so I stayed where I was. I continued to watch for hours, but, having had an early morning, I eventually fell asleep on my knoll.
I was stirred by the sound of gravely sneakings. The stone mice had wandered to my area, and had discovered me soundly sleeping! (Perhaps not so soundly. They may have heard me snoring!) Other than them, all was quiet. The attack on The Quarters had not resumed, and there was no sign of SeapCreature, Kraggberry Krrumble, or Cosmi-Compt.
I had no choice now, but to try and run past them towards The Quarters. Thankfully, I was nimble enough to get around them, leaving my fishing gear behind. But I had a long ways to go before reaching The Quarters. The stone mice, though lumbersome, took large steps. I waved my arms as I ran and called out. Lights blinked from the giant gems on Fort Fortifite. I thought I saw moonlight glint golden balcony of the Pleurminéral Palais. Had I been seen? Was I being scanned? Did anyone on the other side know I was out here? The Quarters offered no response.
I remembered the mice getting siphoned by the green, sideways cyclone. Where did it take them? To the rocky, barren lands bookending The Quarters? Was it worse than getting flattened by the monsters behind me? It was a desperate hope that was instantly dashed as I approached the looming Rampart Roilous. Something about the fuming wall was too forboding. It felt like standing under a great black stormcloud in the middle of a flat field. Suddenly, I found myself running back towards the mice, wanted to get as far from the smouldering wall of gas as I could.
But I saw the mice looking up past me, so I turned. One of the giant, spindly appendages soared out from behind Rampart Roilous. It dangled a long line, the end of which was a mess of splayed claws, clearly in anticipation of snapping shut. The giant bug-like appendage coaxed the line and claws to swing just above the ground, very swiftly. Before I had a chance to react, they claws had pummeled into me, wrapping around me, as the line was yanked off the ground! As I rose higher, and higher, I saw the remaining mice persued and demolished by Kraggberry Krrumble and Cosmi-Compt. The threat of the mice monsters had drawn to a close.
The line and claws lifted me over and around the wall of green cloud. Now I was behind all Three Quarters, and miraculously, could see my town again! The line and claw (now I could see it was manned by the SeapCreature) lowered and then released me onto familiar cobblestones. Everyone was waiting for me, and were of course relieved I had finally returned.
There would be plenty of time to talk with them. I wanted to get a better look at The Quarters! I turned, and was disappointed. I shielded my eyes as billowing meændust sparkled and beamed intensely. There was a great wind, and I knew that The Quarters would be gone when I next could look.
Sure enough, I looked out across and empty field. Only SeapCreature remained, with a small cloud of meændust waiting behind him. He asked if I was okay, and explained they had been called away on another mission, far, far away.
I pleaded to have a chance to see the insides of The Quarters, but I knew they would never be back. The mice threat was the first of its kind in generations, and a return visit from The Three would be unlikely. Seap looked around as he walked into the glimmering haze, saying they might decide to explore our world. I saw no interest on his face as he vanished. His voice, very distant, as the last motes of meændust faded, told me I might get my chance. But, as a fisherman myself, I knew when I was being strung along—especially by him.
Copyright © 2018 Kelly Ishikawa. All rights reserved.