Flash Fiction Fraturday – Waiting For Monkey Analogues

I’ve been watching a lot of a Doctor Who RPG over on Geek & Sundry lately (it’s called Eric’s TBD RPG, and if you’re an Alpha subscriber you should check it out cuz it’s great!) and all the timey-wimeyness of it has had me thinking about my own timetravel-related story, whose WIP name is The Cave. So I wrote this little snippet from it. It’s not (currently) a part of any actual story, but… who knows? Maybe one day it will be. Timey-wimey, after all! Here it is:

“Where is he!?” Remi exclaimed, impatience pulling at her. She should’ve gone with him. She hadn’t felt up for an excursion, particularly not once she saw the mucky terrain of where-and-when-ever they were, but now she was regretting it. What if he was in trouble? Or what if he’d just gotten up to something ridiculous as usual and got stuck in this place until they found another connection to it? She wasn’t sure which of those were most likely, all things considered, but the feeling that she shouldn’t have stayed behind was growing stronger.

“He’ll be here.” Chimna said, a picture of calm where e sat propped against eir pillows, one hand holding open a thin book bound in fine, deep blue leather. “He’s just fashionably late, as usual.”

She bit back an impulse to ask whether he would be back before the portal closed or after, and forced a nod. Chimna was right; Edios did enjoy making an entrance right in the nick of time, though he claimed that it wasn’t on purpose. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop her legs from wanting to pace, and she strode up and down the edge of the rock shelf that her bedroll was currently placed on. After a few laps, she stopped. “What do you think? Still okay to pop out?” She jerked her head in the direction of the web, its ethereal strands shifting and pulsing as they always did.

“Mhm.” Chimna nodded without looking up. Remi sighed. She was still not used to how e could sound so sure about these things without even having to look, but she took it on faith by now and headed toward the portal. Though she knew roughly where it was, a smooth blackness in the uneven cave wall, she approached with her hand stretched out and stopped when her fingers dipped into the nothingness of the portal.

She stepped through and after a moment in blackness, she found herself looking out over a strange landscape, a vast swamped where pockets of bubbling, purplish liquid dotted the mossy vegetation. The occasional scraggly tree could be seen and, far in the distance, something that looked like a forest could be seen. Remi looked around, and started at the sight of the black portal suspended in midair. Usually it was cleverer than that, it found itself some near-flat surface, a rockface, a building, a very large plant, to cling onto. She supposed there hadn’t been much for it to cling onto here.

There was no sign of Edios, and she had no notion of which direction he had gone in. She sighed and shifted her feet, her shoes already beginning to sink into the muck. No use going after him when she didn’t know where he’d gone. She might just get lost herself, or get back too late and find the portal missing. He kept saying that eventually she would learn to feel the portal like he did, be able to sense when it was time to get back but so far, she had no such instinct.

She stepped back through, removing her shoes once she got back into the cave. She found a rag and started cleaning the muck off of her shoes. “No sign of him out there,” she said.

Chimna nodded, a slight movement to show e was listening.

“How are you always so calm about this?” Remi said with some exasperation, heading over to where e was sitting. “What if he doesn’t make it back in time?”

“It’s not that I don’t worry…” e replied, then looked up from eir book finally, putting it aside. “It’s just after the first thousand or so arrivals in the nick of time, the drama sort of goes out of it.” E held a hand out to Remi. She took it, and let Chimna pull her down next to em on eir bedroll. Chimna kissed her on the shoulder and slipped an arm around her waist, pulling her close. “He’ll be back in time, don’t worry.”

Remi drew a deep breath, and relaxed into Chimna’s touch. “I know… you’re right, I know,” she said, intertwining her fingers with Chimna’s. It was just a matter of waiting. “How’s the book?” she asked.

They passed some time talking, occupying themselves with each other’s company. By and by, their glances towards the portal came more and more frequently. The strands of the web were glowing more vibrantly now, the edges of the portal growing indistinct. As it shrunk further, even Chimna was beginning to look concerned.

“Do you think you should… you know?” Remi asked.

“Perhaps…” Chimna eyed the web from eir spot. E had the ability to, when e needed, force the portal to stay open a little longer, but it was not a skill e employed for nothing. Still, if Edios was not back soon, e may have to. E stood, and began to move over to the web, Remi following closely behind.

Before they got there, a great thud was heard and there was Edios, catching his balance as if he’d practically come tripping back inside. He was covered in mud up to his knees, twigs sticking from his pulled back hair. Stranger still was his company. Remi counted four, or was that five or six, creatures, long-limbed and large-eyed and covered in thick, purplish-blue fur. One clung to his legs, another was on his shoulder, a third hanging from the slowly ripping pocket of his waistcoat.

Remi put her hands on her hips and gave him a long, slow look over. “Would you like to explain the monkey analogues?” she asked.

Edios grinned, pointing a finger at her. “I’m glad you asked. It’s a funny story…”

Hope you enjoyed it! Now it’s time for me to catch some zs. Tomorrow (well, technically, it’s today but I haven’t gone to bed yet so… *shurg*) is Waffle Day! I will be going to my folks’ for waffles and I encourage you to also seek out similar tastiness if you are able and willing!

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