‘He shot me! Over and over again,’ croaked Fuchsia Pig, voice-sore from shooing Rusty Boar.
Since they rescued Rusty Boar from Doubtful Sound, he replaced his boorish banter with clickety clackety snap. He found an (enchanted) camera on board and christened himself the Ship Photographer. Rusty tailed Fuchsia like the pig paparazzi. He drove Fuchsia batty, except she was a pig without a flying licence.
Ella-phantastic crooned so sweetly it belied her teasing tone, ‘He’s got a crush on you, Sweetie-pie.’
One look from Fuchsia and Ella changed her tune, ‘How much is that doggie in the window?’
‘Did you hear that, Fuchsia?’
‘Yes, you were singing AGAIN Ella.’
‘No, the barking.’
‘Very convincing Ella.’
‘It wasn’t me, honest Fuchsia.’
Auburn Snake ready to whip out a quick quip, remembered that since encountering Mars’ golden meteor sap, his scornful wisecracks had blossomed him into a billowing bottom bouncing about the boat and transformed him into a morphing kernel of many nuts. A yelp of help disturbed his thoughts. A dog scratched at the ship.
Auburn Snake checked it out. ‘I wish that klutzy kelpie quit his yelping and em-bark.’
Without warning, the kelpie was shipboard. Auburn Snake thought, ‘my words do come true. Perhaps I should be a more prudent orator.’
Kasey the courageous kelpie spoke of Sammy the shy Sheltie’s dog-dozing catastrophe. ‘A teeny tiny terror, Evil Ted dog-napped the sweet Shetland sheepdog and disappeared from this world.’
‘What?’ Auburn Snake spat, incredulous.
‘ET’s so small he’s near impossible to catch,’ said Kasey.
‘How did he get the dog?’ Auburn Snake wriggled nearer.
‘He hypnotised hippopotamuses and walruses and mesmerised rhino-serious followers,’ Kasey whined.
‘Preposterous, hippopotamuses?’ Said Auburn Snake.
‘What are his ransom demands?’ Asked Captain Fuchsia Pig.
‘He wants food to be better quality and shared with zero wastage. Many creatures starve,’ barked Kasey.
‘So he kidnapped a dog! That makes no sense. Why would selfish profiteers protect a shy Sheltie?’ Captain Fuchsia scratched her head.
‘Evil Ted believes Sammy’s Mum and Dad are instrumental in composing the lore of the world,’ said Kasey.
‘Don’t you mean Laws?’ Griped Auburn Snake.
Kasey shook his wet head.
‘If he cares so much, why hurt Sammy?’ Ella-phantastic grabbed a towel.
‘He says there’s no decent food here, so he’s going to eat Sammy.’ Kasey stifled tears.
‘But if Evil Ted’s too small to catch, so how could he eat…’ Doctor Hue voice waned.
‘Sammy is my friend,’ whimpered Kasey.
‘So, where do diminutive desperadoes abscond to?’ Past Pirate, Doctor Hue stared out to sea.
Timid, Kasey looked into the eyes of Doctor Hue. ‘Evil Ted’s believed to be in Tyre.’
‘Entire what, idiot? Auburn Snake crept closer to the conversation.
‘Tyre is in Phoenicia,’ said Kasey.
‘Isn’t that back in time, where language evolved?’ Fuchsia had Batter-fries in her belly or was it the corn she consumed earlier. It had bigger ears than Ella-phantastic.
‘We can’t let a teeny tiny Teddy terror chew on a sweet shy Sheltie’, said Ella-phantastic.
‘Then rescue him we will’, droned Dragon Doctor Hue rousing from his daze.
Fuchsia and Ella towelled the tired pooch. Ella flapped her ears to help him dry until she saw Kasey shiver. Kasey chased the towel, and that wagging thing he spied from the cornea of his eye. He lapped dribbles from a flask, not realising it was the golden sap from Mars that pervaded the ship and given all within in it: superpowers.
They joined paws to trotters and Elle-feet to claws and snake tail. Kasey thought of Sammy. Elle focused on his whereabouts. Fuchsia attempted to teleport through time and space, but she tried too hard. Indignation over an innocent puppy’s peril flooded her veins. Their need piggybacked her emotions, and they arrived in Tyre.
The southern port of Tyre was beyond pitch black. Ella shone her lantern on a clay tablet. The words were ancient. In what year have we landed?
‘In what year have we landed?’ She read the words aloud.
“I looked this way, and I looked that way, and there was no light. Then I looked towards …I saw light
The eroded words made Ella wonder, is there only darkness here?
Auburn Snake slunk by with a tiny morsel dangling from his mouth, humming, ‘I like little teddies. They taste of chocolate bear.’
Sammy Sheltie stuck in a sandwich grill, drooled apple slurp.Ropes wrapped Sammy and the impotent toaster.
Auburn Snake said, ‘What a futile fiend. There’s no electricity here!’ Ropes wrapped Sammy and the impotent toaster.
Kasey teethed the apple from Sammy’s mouth as Doctor Dragon Hue unfastened the ties that bound Sammy to the Grill. Free again, Sammy twirled around and around and sniffed Kasey’s aft.
Auburn Snake whooped and hawked until he coughed up the hairball known as Evil Ted into a sippy cup. Doctor Hue put on the lid.
‘That teensy-weensy Teddy’s far too fluffy for my belly.’
The coughing woke the rhino-serious, the weary walrus and the somnolent hippopotamus sentinels. Though they were slow on land, it wasn’t far to water.
Auburn Snake had coughed himself back on board. The others weren’t far behind, except Ella-phantastic had a high-spirited hippo snapping at her tail. Rusty Boar startled them with the brightest flash his camera ever blazed and Kasey boomed a bark so loud the hippo jetted across the wharf.
The crew was safe and sound aboard the ship, including their new-found furry friends, when Auburn Snake did the oddest and un-snakiest of things. He smiled.
Written for featured fiction run by the wonderful Melissa Barker-Simpson. Check them out for some excellent weekly prompts posted on Sundays.