Monday, September 29, 2008

Miss Pickles likes to fire kids up

To read the tale before this, go here.

Mason stared at the flame headed pixies that landed in front of him. Up close, the beauty of the Fireflies was even more terrifying. With incandescent skin and scarlet glowing eyes, they looked as though they had been sculpted of glass. The heat from their blazing heads made sweat run down his face in thick droplets, sizzling the second it dropped from his face into the air.

"They're hot," Ralph commented, edging his backpack away from them protectively.

Beatrice snorted. "Just like a boy," she muttered, glaring at the Fireflies.

"I didn't mean it like that," Ralph stuttered, continuing to push his bursting backpack as far from the Fireflies as he could. "I meant they were hot. The chocolate is melting inside my backpack, see?" He pointed to the large brown stain on the top of his bag.

Don rolled his eyes. Jasper sidled up to one of the dragons and fingered one of the thick green scales with this scythe-like hands. "Remarkable," he breathed. "As hard as glass and as malleable as leather, depending on how you move it." He tapped his foot against the dragon's toe, ignoring the dragon's irritated grumble. "And claws as thick as stone but as sharp as a sword." He stared at his reflection in the dragon's jade scales, gaping as tiny clicks filled the air as the dragon exhaled. "Fascinating! The scales move like dominoes but remain as thick as chain mail!"

"Yes," a voice boomed from behind them. "They are wonderful creatures. A pity they no longer visit your world."

Mason whirled around and felt his heart jump into his throat. A enormous lantern lay on top of glass stairs. Floating in the center was the most remarkable Firefly of them all. Her flame was pure blue, so intense the tips were white edged with pink. She wore a blood-red dress that sizzled at the bottom of her feet. Steam curled from her ears and fire burned in her eyes.

"Why, Smoky, is that you?"

The Fireflies gasped. Whoever this person was, she was apparently very important. The dragons snarled and smoke streamed from their nostrils.

"Who dare use my childhood nickname?" the Firefly ordered as flame erupted from the top of the lantern. "Who indeed? I am the Empress of Flame, the Ruler of Fire, the Queen of Blaze. Who dare speak to me in such a insolent tone?"

Miss Pickles giggled as she landed next to Mason. Folding her pink parasol, she pointed the tip at the Firefly. "Now don't tell me you've forgotten?"

"Oh, Miss Pickles," the Firefly's voice filled with amusement. "I should have known you wouldn't have forgotten."

"I never forget anything, duckie," Miss Pickles said jauntily, twirling her parasol in the air. "How's the husband?"

"Traveling to the center of the Earth," the Firefly scorned. "Again. Sometimes I get so mad at him--I wish we had an ocean nearby. I would dunk him into it."

"Well, some are good, some are not," Miss Pickles grinned with a shrug.

"Miss Pickles," Mason whispered, tugging at her sleeve. "Miss Pickles..."
"Oh, right." Sweeping her arm out, Miss Pickles pointed to the huddled group of children.

"Smoky, let me introduce you to the class of Ordinary Elementary. We went on an adventure and I fear I got a little too carried away. Any way you might be able to help us back?"

The grand Firefly tapped her chin, sending sparks chiming in the lantern. "The next volcano is scheduled to erupt in a few hours," she mused. "But it's in Hawaii.

You'd have to find someone to fly you back. What time do the children have to be back?"

"By three," Miss Pickles said.

"Well, that's a bit of a problem," the Firefly murmured. She tapped her chin and furrowed her brow. "I can't think of anything," she said finally. "I'm afraid we can't do anything."

Miss Pickles smiled, but Mason could tell she was getting worried. "That's all right duckie," she said. "Maybe next time."

"But your Flame, they have chocolate!" a tiny Firefly cried, running towards Smoky. The adult Fireflies gasped in fear and clutched at her, trying to silence her. "They have chocolate, ma'am!" she cried. "I've seen it with that boy there!"

She pointed at Ralph. Ralph squeaked and draped himself over his backpack.

"Chocolate?" Smoky licked her red lips. Greed filled her eyes. "Really? This changes things."

"That fat boy there has it!" the little Firefly called as Ralph howled in agony. "I've seen it."

"Bring it to me." The Firefly was drooling, the drops bursting into smoke as soon as they dropped from her lips.

"NOOO!" Ralph bellowed, clutching onto his backpack. "Not my pies! Not my candy! Not my eclairs!"

"Get up and show them the chocolate," Don muttered nudging Ralph.

"You idiot, we can go home," Beatrice snapped, kicking at his backside. "It's not like you can never see another pie again."

Ralph shook his head back and forth, clamping his lips so tightly his cheeks turned purple.

"Don't worry, duckie, we'll get you another pie," Miss Pickles said. "Would you mind sharing?"

"MINE!" Ralph howled. "They are my pies! My mother made them for me!" He looked desperately at Mason. "Tell them!"

Mason shook his head. "That's your pies, not mine," he pointed out. "It's your

"It's for the adventure," Miss Pickles added encouragingly.

Ralph stared at Mason and whimpered. He looked at Don, then Beatrice, then the rest of the children. He gave Jasper a pleading look, then fixed his watery eyes on Miss Pickles.

"You'll buy me more pie?" he asked accusingly.

"All the pie you can eat, duckie," she assured him.

"You'll go broke," Don muttered.

"And you'll buy me some chocolate bars," Ralph asked, his voice quivering. He ignored Don's exaggerated sigh. "And some cookies too, perhaps? Maybe some chocolate ice cream?"

"We'll have a sugarfest," Miss Pickles promised. "You have my word." Ralph stared at her with his reddened eyes, tears streaming down his face. He cast one last look towards his backpack.

"Ok," he murmured, climbing off his backpack. "You can have it." A giant chocolate stain remained on his shirt, and he held it to his face and licked it mournfully.

The Fireflies descended on his backpack, ripping it in shreds as they each grabbed handfuls of sweets. The chocolate cream pie was taken to Smoky, who devoured it in one bite.

"Mmm," the Firefly breathed, licking her fingers. "I love chocolate."
Ralph chocked back a sob, watching as she licked each finger slowly.

"Now," she said, fixing her eyes on Miss Pickles. Her mouth curved into a smile. "There may be something I can do..."

Picture by Marie Rayner


Maria said...

What a great way to start the week. Thanks for the fun read!

Marjie said...

The things we'll do for a sugar fix....

jenjen said...

Wonderful Duckie! I am hooked. I missed reading your daily installments while I was gone. Hope you are having a great day!

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

Goodness but you're creative! It's very inspiring.

noble pig said...

Seriously I will do anything for sugar...another wonderful post.

Marie said...

I'm afraid I noticed a distinct resemblance between myself and the queen of Blaze!!! I am greedy when it comes to chocolate myself! Loved this latest installment Duckie! I can't wait to see the rest!You're so wonderfully talented my girl. Would someone please get the blinkers off their eyes and publish this girl!!!

Dee said...

If you keep this up, Borders will lose my business for good :) Did you illustrate this too?

Thanks for the kind words.

Ben sounds like a keeper!

Lore said...

Ralph wouldn't give his pies even if his life depended on them :) But a sugarfest changes things completely :) Can't wait to read more and thanks again for the adventure dose!

Prudy said...

Ralph, Ralph, Ralph, what a tough choice. You know I love you, Ralph! Even though I love all the jokes about you too, like Don muttering under his breath.
Another great read, M!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I waiting for this! Thanks for another great read.

Pam said...

I read these stories to my kids and they get so excited when you have a new post - you are very talented.

Anonymous said...