Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Mothballs: Iron Path to the Black Forest (part 4)

It seemed as if every carriage on the train had been occupied by White Hoods, armed with thin hammers. With almighty swings, the White Hoods smashed the windows and picked up large pieces of machinery. Spinning barrels firing storms of projectiles sat on tripods, resting on the jagged frame that looked out at the darkness engulfing the forest. When the first Hood pulled their trigger, it was nothing but the ricker rack of gunfire for the rest of the night.
The Laurisden's were falling through the air, the Obscured Man's carriage far out of sight by the time they tumbled into the icy slush of the sloped sides. They rolled through the sludge, falling into a wiry net of brambles. They crushed a bushel of blackberries, spilling the inky juice through the snow. From a far, it may have appeared they'd been shot and killed, but they were very much alive. The three of them rolled to a stop and began to sink slowly into the new patch of snow they'd landed on, their bodies numbing in the cold. Bullets flew above them, pulling chips from the trees, but Aksel- who had studied the route the train took quite intently- knew any second the train would dip, allowing for more accurate fire. "We've got move into the forest. It's safer."
Septimus pulled himself up, Verity too, and they began to trek inside the forest, ducking beneath the spray of lead projectiles. The ground was tricky beneath their feet, at first crackly as broken leaves were finished off but then softer as their feet broke through the snow and the ice into the slippery mud  that lay beneath. The trees grew taller above them as they ran, their empty branches still blocking the last dregs of sunlight from the nights sky. The Laurisden's ran quickly through the dying light, kicking up globules of snow and leaf, scratching themselves as they raced through a bare bush, luckily not finding any bears inside it. It seemed to stretch on forever, the bush that is, until it spat them out. In front of a new pieces of railway.
The train raced in front of them, whipping up leaves and plastering the trees and bush behind them with bullet holes. The Laurisden's had dropped to the floor to escape the wrath, but they could feel it's rumbling penetrating the ground below them. The train seemed to go on forever until it disappeared beyond the trees, and the Laursiden's continued across the ever quivering lines and into the forest beyond. They delved further into the Black Forest, searching for separation from the loud clacking of the train, but it always seemed to catch up with them on tracks that Aksel didn't know existed. They'd passed endless tracks and dropped to the snow laid floor so many times that they were dripping wet and freezing, every inch of their dirtied skin prickled with the customary goose bumps that seem to travel with the cold like pilot fish with sharks. They collapsed and felt the snow beneath them soak in their clothes, freezing their skin. The three of them sunk down as the snow melted beneath their non existent body heat. A sharp feeling etched into Verity's shoulder, causing her to give a sudden scream.  Aksel and Septimus hurried over as she moved out of the way. There was nothing, no- what was that? It looked like a thin plate made of snow. And then it began to quiver and rumble, as vibrations raced through it. Little sheets of snow fell off and suddenly the train was in sight. The Laurisden's leap over the line and ran into the open beyond, their tired bodies struggling to carry on. The explosions of firing bullets remained present in their ears at all times and then suddenly Aksel screamed, falling to the floor. Liquid gushed from his right shoulder as he squirmed in pain. The snow was red, and it was't with squashed blackberry.

The Laurisden's will return

Monday, 17 November 2014

Mothballs: Iron Path to the Black Forest (part 3)

"Carriage 15!" Cried Septimus. He straightened his useless goggles and jumped down, Aksel ready to follow behind him. They landed with a thump and Septimus instantly drew his spanner and began to work on the door. He levered it around and around and then the handle fell out as the door clicked open. He pushed it open and stepped in. Aksel, wishing the freezing cold good riddance, walked in and then saw why his brother had frozen before him. A hoard of White Hooded Men, the carriers of the dead from Madame Bazarian's Freak Show, held guns, two facing towards the brothers and the third placed directly against Verity's head. "You let her go!" Aksel screamed, but was silenced immediately by the unwavering pose of the gun.
"Or what, young Mr Laurisden?" Asked a voice from the back of the room. He shivered. It was that of the Obscured Man, the voice of the devil incarnate to the Laurisdens. Aksel searched the room for the source of the voice and saw it was emerging from behind a straw veil facade in the far corner. Flickering bulbs in white lamps hung from the ceiling, illuminating mock bookcases on the walls. Oak desks were positioned all around the room, holding leather rectangles and open books, ink fountain pens positioned randomly. In one corner there was a piano with a seat in front of it, next to a oak stove. First class was considerably nicer than the coal carriage they'd been staying in.
Aksel didn't have a reply, but the Obscured Man seemed to. "Exactly as I expected. You are simply disappointing."
"Tell me, what was your plan when you finally got here?" The Obscured Man demanded.
"To make you give us Sebastian." Septimus said.
"Why do you care about the cow so much?"
"Why do you?" Aksel instantly retorted.
"Clever answer. Mine is equally clever. You, Aksel Laurisden. You are a genius. How in the name of sanity did you manage to create a device that could make a cow talk?"
Aksel didn't answer. To answer would be what the Obscured Man wanted.
"It really is quite clever. And think of all your potential! All of this, it's a trap for you."
The old mission statement. Let them two get away, protect them. Three, two, one. He charged forwards, knocking the barrels of the guns to one side, grabbing Verity and throwing her out of the shot of the gun. It exploded a loud shot, tearing chunks out of the wall. All three White Hoods fell to the floor quickly and Septimus barged into the straw veil. He knocked it over hoping to catch the Obscured Man, but instead revealed a gramophone. "He was never in the room." He cried. "He'd already written the script." He turned to Aksel. "Much like you."
"Great minds think alike."
"Don't compliment the villain." Verity said.
The carriage shuddered. "What was that?" Aksel demanded. It shuddered again and the windows to the left smashed and more White Hoods jumped in. Verity, Aksel and Septimus jumped out of the right into the Black Forest to the sound of the gunfire.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Mothballs: Iron Path to the Black Forest (part 2)

Septimus swung the makeshift hook and straightened the rope, grinning. He stretched out his foot and kicked the window open, tossing the hook out and swinging it. The first swing, it failed. He swung again and failed to catch it. He tossed it up and heard the piece of metal from the spade clank onto the roof. He pulled the rope till it was fully stretched and then edged his way out of the tiny window. He thanked God for his makeshift goggles as they prevented a large pebble from piercing his eyes.
With all the skill and grace of a paralysed barnacle, he clambered onto the roof and dug his fingers into the roof. Verity came next, almost falling from the window, but one of Septimus' long, muscular arms grabbed her and heaved her up. She struggled on and glared at him, as Aksel wormed himself up as well. The wind pulled at their clothes, ripping at their hair and spattering against their goggles. Septum struggled to clamber to his feet, but as he moved, a gust of wind nearly made him fall back down. With his long fingers, he began to pull himself forwards and then climbed up, staggering through the darkness. He could hear Aksel and Verity's footsteps being pulled away by the wind.
They ran quickly but suddenly the train turned in a strange direction, sending them tumbling. Aksel flew off the side of the train but threw the hook quickly, tugging into the train and smashing into the side. As the passengers in the side of the carriage turned to look, they saw two pairs of legs scrambling up onto the roof. His body ached as he climbed up and he imagined that without Verity's childish lack of strength, he wouldn't have been able to get back up again. They continued down the train until it suddenly jolted onto the bridge and they all fell forwards. Verity stumbled down a gap between two carriages and merely her screams of terror, apprehension at being lost forever from her brothers, warned them that she'd fallen.
"Where is she?" Septimus cried, the howling winds ripping at his voice.
"I think she fell." Aksel replied, water beginning to dampen the interior of his goggles. "We need to go back for her."
Another twist in the bridge sent them both tumbling, cracking one of Septimus' lenses. "We can barely make the way ourselves." He thought a second. "Verity can you hear me?"
A muted shout replied, "Yes, I'm down here!"
Septimus cupped his hands around his mouth. "You need to make your way through the carriages. Your rucksack should have some tools in it. Use them how I showed you."
"Where should I go?"
Septimus had noticed when they first boarded that the number of each carriage was in the back right corner of the carriage painted in white numbering in the middle of a crimson square. He quickly checked it, carriage 24, and he shouted, "Carriage 15. That's the beginning of First Class, so that's where we'll meet you. Good luck."
"Thanks!" She shouted and was gone. Septimus and Aksel clambered up, the wind stinging at their now exposed eyes, and blistering their faces with salt. They began to run but found their selves weighed down by the wind and the cold. Aksel overtook Septimus and felt the tip of his toes pointing over the end of a carriage. Septimus ran into him and cried in shock as Aksel flailed his hands in a mad attempt to balance. Septimus put his hands on Aksel's shoulders and steadied him, and Aksel felt a tear trickle from his eye. His father had done that once, before it had all got too much. Septimus was similar in so many ways, the jutting chin, insatiable curiosity and tinkering. Too similar.
Steadied but not as aware as they'd want to be, the two Laurisden's continued across the train in the darkness, the shadow of the Black Forest far in front.

Below them, Verity stumbled through the carriages, avoiding the curious glare of the seated passengers. Every time she opened the door at the end and stepped into the next, she looked up into the dark chill and wondered whether Aksel and Septimus were jumping over head, progressing through the dark. She opened a door and stumbled into the next carriage, the lull returning and light burning her eyes. When the fizzles of light broke away, her sockets opened wider and wider. There in front was Sebastian. That was the good news which made her smile. Immediately her grin died as she saw the bad news. The White Hooded Men who guarded him.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Mothballs: Iron Path to the Black Forest

Aksel Laurisden had heard many tales about exotic travellers in faraway lands and, despite being reasonably clever, he'd always believed they could be true. Since they'd sold their every belonging to fund their pursuit of the Obscured Man, he'd discovered the ugly truth. They weren't.
Verity, his little sister, had been struggling to sleep. As Septimus, his older brother, had reminded him during those rare seconds of rest bite whilst Verity found the path to dreamland, she had always been closest to Sebastian, their pet cow.
The bouncing of the carriage on the rails of pure iron had managed to lull Verity asleep, and she lay under a rough blanket on the cold metal floor, her chest rising and falling with dainty movements. Aksel and Septimus had taken blocks of coal from the mound in the corner of the carriage they were stowed away in and used them to sketch images, from the hastily packed blue prints that Septimus had stuffed his bag with, onto the white panelled walls of the carriage. "Are you sure you heard nothing?" Aksel said.
"I'm sure. Why they're so interested in the speech collar I've no idea." Septimus replied. He smiled at the brilliantly redrawn blueprint, before turning his attention to a selection of maps he'd pinned to the floor. "According to our research, the Obscured Man took a hidden route to Germany, intending to board the train on the other side of the Canal d'Alsace. Our train stops just before the bridge in about an hour and by midnight we'll be over the bridge and pulling to a halt outside the train station. The train then stops and doesn't start till midday. Furthermore, the Obscured Man is expected to get off at the station after. The distance between is a days travel meaning we have a day to track him down and make him tell us where Sebastian is."
There was a scream behind them and they spun to see Verity waking up. Aksel rushed over and knelt down. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah, I've just had that nightmare again." She wiped a veil of sweat from her forehead and climbed up. "What's the plan then?"
Septimus repeated what he'd just said and then explained the plan itself. "When we stop just before the bridge, we jump off the train, leg it up the side and climb aboard at the back of first class. The Obscured Man is meant to be quite wealthy, so that's where will find him."
"What if the train sets off without us?" Asked Verity.
"I doubt it, and I'm sure we could find someway to get back on." Septimus replied, but he was as early as confident as he sounded.

An hour passed but there was no sign of slowing down. Septimus flipped open his fathers pocket watch to reassure himself. There was a skeleton key tightened to the chain, a faithful reminder that Time is the Key, and his finger graced against it as he moved up to straighten his hat. There was a box leading from one corner of the room to the other along the joust. Inside were several taunt wires. The taunt wires vibrated with messages, resent at checkpoints dotted along every three carriages. Septimus had spent the first two days they'd been on the train designing and building a device to read the wires and he applied it to them as a new message rattled through. "They're not stopping."
"What!" Aksel cried. "Why?"
Septimus retuned his gadget. "An anonymous passenger requested for them to hurry to the bridge."
"The Obscured Man." Aksel realised.
"But we won't be able to get to the front unless we do it now." Verity said.
Septimus estimated the odds in his head. "Aksel, did you bring the goggles?"
"Yes, why?" Aksel replied.
"We're going to need something to keep the smoke from our eyes."
"Why?" Demanded Verity. "Why would there be smoke in our eyes?"
"Because we're going over the top. We need to run across the top of the train."

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Fandoms against cyberbullying

IT homework! It's probably the best of all homework, or so I think. It gives you a chance to use your imagination and express yourself, something that other subjects seem to want to prevent you from doing. My IT homework for this holiday was to make an advertisement about Cyberbullying. Which is why I created Fandoms Against Cyberbullying! Beneath you can find the kind of posters I made and feel free to share them with #FandomsVCyberbullying or share your own and include the hashtag. We need to get this trending, because Cyberbullying is wrong, and it's about time that Fandoms stood up to them!