"I LOVE the sound of the radiators in this place"!
Nurse threw me an annoyed look and continued to count out my meds.
The old heater pipes behind me gurgled and clinked, and I sang along with them, banging my head nice and firmly off them in time with the beat I had going. I found it quite melodic, and those wonderful moments when little lights began to float before my eyes never ceased to amaze me. So pretty. So painful, but so very pretty. With magical powers, comes pain. Fairytales fail to tell you just how severe.
Gurgle, clink, clang BANG.
Gurgle, clink, clang, BANG ohhhh, there were the lights. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. A little weak though.
Gurgle, clink, clang, BANG!
"STOP"! Nurse bellowed, her eyeballs all bulgy and bloodshot. She looked a little like a stress toy that had been squeezed too hard. Overcome with sudden pretty light induced compassion, I asked if she wanted my pills to calm down. I thought it was a kind gesture, but my offering was met with an iron glare and heavy breathing.
Some people just dont know how to say thankyou.
1,2,3,4 not a worry any more.
Gurgle, clink, clang BANG, BANG
I decided to change the beat a little, trying to block the view of Nurse's oddly purple face. Closing my eyes, I was delighted to find that the little lights didn't go away when I did this, instead they danced around inside my eyelids every time my head came in contact with the rusty pipe. Oh how wonderful! I wished I could move my arms to clap too, but they were firmly strapped inside my nice safey safey safey jacket. Apparently I wasn't allowed to use a knife and fork either. I couldn't remember why. A man with a new eye patch and a limp tended to avoid me though whenever it was time for dinner. Typical Pirates, always thinking people are after their treasure. I vaguely remember a sword fight with him. I think.
Damn, I missed a beat. My neck suddenly felt a little like jelly and my head swayed for a moment, the lights inside my eyelids blurring together into one great big shimmering star. Something warm and sticky began to trickle down the side of my face. It felt nice, the warmer it got, the brighter the lights shone.
I was magic!. I could make planets and moons of light!.I could....... Suddenly my mouth was filled with a bitter taste as Nurse pushed those pills into my mouth, then pressed a glass of ice water to my lips which i dutifully drank from. I knew this would make the lights go away for a while and that made me sad, but the Pirate would calm down a good bit . He always seemed more at ease when I was horizontal. Must have been to do with being out at sea so long, people tended to lose all of their rationality out there. I pitied him a little, wondering what it must be like to have such a strange grip on reality. So , in my generosity, I gave up my pretty lights for the Captains ease of mind. You had to be careful with the mentally disturbed you see and besides, I could make the lights come back later.I was a compassionate and caring magical creature, put here to watch over those less fortunate than me. If my hands were free I would have gifted him with my shoelaces. Perhaps too, I could wave my fingers and beckon the forest creatures inside. Then we could have a party and they would regale us with stories of the wild. I had once heard about one brave squirrels adventure crossing a river which I knew the Captain would appreciate.
One awful, frightful day , the pretty lights didn't come. Nurse had fixed some kind of heavy rugby helmet onto my head even though I never got to go outside and play. Besides, even though I didn't consider myself a girly girl, I wasn't much of a tomboy either. So I was rather relieved I didn't have to play anyway. Maybe I was a sub.
So I listened to the radiators, bopping my head to the beat, but seeing only Nurses noticeably calmer face as she observed me from behind her battle station. I tried closing my eyes and waited for the lights to appear. what?? Thumping my head harder against the pipe, I didn't get that pleasing bang, only the sound of rubber padding against plastic. NO!NO! Nurse smiled at me. I didnt like that smile. She was counting out the pills again.
Panic welled up inside me, all nasty and clammy as I stared only at the empty dark reds of my eyelids. My lights were gone! I wasn't magic any more! No! I slammed my head extra hard. Nothing. They had taken away my beautiful powers!
Utter terror thrummed through me as I was filled with the sudden fear they had taken my shoelaces too
.NOT THE SHOELACES.
If that was so then all would be lost.
Taking a darting glance feetwards, my stomach churning, I saw that in fact they still remained. Relief swept through me and my heart slowed a little, retreating from being halfway up my throat, trying to climb out and make a dash across the lino floor. If I hadn't calmed down, it would have gotten away and then the Pirate would have snatched it up and locked it in his treasure chest.
Nurse. She had put a spell on me. I knew it. I tried to shout at her, but my tongue felt fuzzy, thick. I couldn't form a single word. She had been against me when I had only shown her kindness, jealous of my powers.
But she had left me with my shoelaces. How foolish of her. I had one more trick up my sleeve. If I watched my feet, concentrated really hard, I could slowly call them into their true form. Then they would see just how powerful I was! Ha!
I fixed my eyes on my laces. They wouldn't see this awesome power coming!
Suddenly, Nurse was at my side, the pills rattling about in the plastic cup, her big rough hands on my face, forcing my mouth open.
"NOOPE" I managed to say, though the word came out thick and muffled. I kept eyeballing my magic shoelaces, my mouth clamped tight as nurse tried to shove the pills in. Out of the side of my lips, making sure to avoid her pushing fingers I murmured " watch the laces you evil witch" Laughter bubbled in my throat as I could feel the power flow through my toes and up through my shoes. Soon the laces would take their true form. HA!
Then Nurse did something nasty. Moving down to my feet, she pulled off my shoes and tossed them off to the side, far away from me, out of my eye line.
"No shoes now missy , thats what you get for not taking the medicine"
Where did they go? My laces!
Nurses big fat fingers finally found their way into my mouth and delivered their poison. It tasted different this time, now that I was mortal. Something pinched my arm and the world went black.
I dreamed of shoelaces and squirrels, swords and eyepatches, but mostly the shoelaces. My source of power was gone, lost forever in a place far away from me.
When I woke, my room was still dark. My prison. Above me in the ceiling, the big air vent buzzed with a sound I did not quite like. The fresh pain of losing my shoelaces hung heavy on my heart as I stared up at that big square grille. I was sure by now Nurse and the Pirate had done away with them, probably burnt them on a sacrificial alter. I would wager they chanted a spell at them too, to make sure they could never take their true form.
Something flickered above me in the vent,, a faint light and my heart skipped a beat. The lights? Had they returned? I sat up, surprised to find I wasn't bound tonight. Nurse probably knew it wasn't necessary since my laces were gone. For the first time in a long while, my arms were free to move around. Excellent.
I could call the squirrels.
The light above flickered again and I stood up on the bed, peering up into the air vent. I knew I couldn't reach up but something smaller and nimble could. Laughing quietly to myself, I assumed the squirrel summoning hand position and waited.
At first there was silence, but I knew to be patient. This took time and my powers were rusty.
Soon, with intense concentration, I heard the skitter of little paws in the air vent, four sets. Four of my friends. How clever! Get the light I told them, open the vent and bring the light to me.
I could hear their jack hammer heartbeats as they searched for a way to open the vent, nibbling around the edges, whiskers twitching. Something told me that this light was going to be even more powerful than the one I had already possessed!
Finally, one of the screws came free, and the steel grill dropped, free fell, right down on top of my head.
I saw thousands of pretty lights as my vision blurred and the squirrels formed a chain to pull me up towards the light. Tiny furry paws grabbed my hands and lifted me from the bed, up , up into the darkness of the air vent. The beautiful light glowed at the end of a tunnel, beckoning me onwards. Then before my very eyes, letters began to form above the light, illuminated in soft red flames.
I squinted, crawling slowly towards them, the squirrels by my side.
Q. U.A.T .R .I . L. A. N .D.
Below the flaming letters, the mysterious light glowed, seeming further and further away the closer I crawled towards it.
Just then a furry little paw tugged at my sleeve and I looked down into the beady black eyes of one of my squirrels. Clutched in his tiny fist was a crumpled sheet of paper which he gingerly handed to me before climbing onto my shoulder to read with me.
aah greetings to you oh weary traveller,
Welcome to the Attic where fantasy becomes reality...
So glad you could pay a visit to my humble abode....
Let me explain a little bit about the Attic
Anything can happen in the Attic of Lost Things, many people come here in search of something they have lost but few ever leave. What you have lost does not concern me, it could be anything from an old sock to a childhood dream. Keep the knowledge of what you have lost to yourself because there are entities that would try their best to find and conceal what you look for to try and obtain power over you. If you can find me then you may be guaranteed of clean clothes , food, a bed to sleep in and most importantly, my help.
I am the Queen of the Attic, and I can grant you one wish , but one wish only. Then if you can answer the riddle from the Riverman, He might take you home.
You see another thing I forgot to explain about the Attic is, you can find your way easily here, but it is nearly impossible to find your way out, and so far, only three people have guessed the right answer to the Rivermans riddle.
So heres the dilemma for you....
Do you ask me to return you to your world?
Or do you ask me to return what is lost?
Choose wisely my friend, your future depends on it.
High Queen of the Attic of Lost Things
I read the letter twice over, my vision starting to clear. Something inside me recoiled as I read, but then something else leaped with eagerness to go forward. I looked back, over my shoulder to find the opening that the squirrels had pulled me up through but instead my eyes fell upon a dark lane, lit only by fiery embers held inside what looked like giant glass jars. The squirrels were growing restless around me, scampering a few steps ahead of me then looking back to beckon me forward. I had to trust them. When does a squirrel ever let you down? The light coming from the great big jars pulled my gaze longer than the squirrels had patience for, so on impulse, I grabbed up one of the jars and carried it with me, stepping under the fiery flaming letters.
"Quatriland" I murmured as I passed beneath the floating name into the dark tunnel ahead. I rolled up the letter into a tube 'and tucked it into my hair.
"C'mon squirrels" I said, and stepped forward into the darkness.