As I hurtled through the air with a squirrel tail flapping in my face, two things flashed through my mind, the first being that the little claws buried in my shoulder hurt like heck, and the second being I was most surely going to die. Then as an afterthought, I also realized I would never find my shoelaces. After this I stopped thinking, and began to consider screaming; it seemed fitting for one who was about to die by meeting the ground with open arms and a free fall.
A long free fall at that. A delay like this could never end well.
Simple physics pointed towards the fact that the more momentum I gained, the further I would spread when Me and Ground finally re-united. Also , judging by the whiplash speed the squirrels tail was hitting my face, we were traveling downwards quite fast.
I had never given my furry little friend a name I mused, as it seemed after a while my imminent death was being put on hold. Naturally, the mind wanders.I wondered where the other three had gotten to, also regretting not naming them.
It was then that I realized what I had been forgetting, the reason to that odd ache in my chest.
"My name"! I cried out, getting a mouthful of fur. I spat it out " My name is Y-
This was when the fall ended. I'm almost quite sure I pulled a funny face just as my body connected with the ground, most likely half scrunching my eyes shut and suddenly assuming a massively exaggerated overbite that people seem to have just before a) crashing into something b) getting shot or c) just being in a rugby action shot. It is as if the bottom half of the jaw wants to die last.
Yet, die I didn't. A very peculiar thing happened instead.
When Me and Squirrel met Ground, instead of our bodies yielding to a superior density, the opposite seemed to occur. The ground appeared to bend. As if made out of elastic, it stretched under our hurtling weight, down and down until the force of our fall slowed. Then, like all things elastic, it sprung back to its original shape and we were sent shooting upwards, as if out of a catapult. I have to say the experience was not at all unpleasant compared to the one before. The squirrel didn't seem to agree, as he worked on getting a firmer grip on my shoulder. We flew up through the darkness, slowed, stopped, hovered for a moment, then plummeted back down and once again the ground received us. Up and down we bun-geed, making less and less distance each time until finally we came to settle on the ground.
It was still pitch black wherever we had landed, so we had no idea of our surroundings. I only wished I had my lights now. And my shoelaces of course. Without them I was just a mere mortal. Although I had no idea where I was, one thing I was immensely thankful for was that the squirrel had finally loosened his grip. We sat there, in the pitch blackness for a while, me trying to gather my rattled thoughts and the squirrel, well, he was rummaging in my hair for the acorn he had tucked in there. When times of trauma strike, squirrels tend to eat.
As he hunted for the nut, I heard a papery rustle in my ear and the Queens letter dropped onto my shoulder and down into my hands. At first I couldn't see it, only knowing what it was by touch, but as my eyes strained in the blackness, I thought I could make out its outline. Looking harder, the paper seemed to slowly light up, only a faint in the beginning but surely getting stronger. It almost seemed that if I were to look away and back again it would be gone.
Then, I was sure of it, as the shape became more definite, a faint green hue coming to it. Gradually, it became brighter and brighter, and I thought I could see the words on it now, dark gold in the green glow. Yes! I could see the words now! As the papers light grew stronger, the words became clearer, and I found I could read them with ease. I read the Queens words again, finding a strange comfort in them.
By the time I had gotten to the end of the letter, the paper was on fire with light, so ferociously ablaze that I turned my face away from it. But in doing so , I realized that my surroundings were now illuminated too. Rolling the letter up into a tube, I held it out in front of me. It dissolved the thick darkness, cutting through it like a stadium spotlight, casting everything around me in stark green light.
I was in some sort of underground tunnel. Looking upwards, I could see where I had fallen from. High, high above was the ledge I must have tumbled off. It was only a faint shape in the distance but somehow the light seemed to reach as far as my eyes strained, as if knowing what it was I wanted to see.
" I bloody love lights " I said loudly, making the squirrel jump, startled from his acorn search. The walls around me were slick and wet looking, their rough, jagged angles cast into sharp shadows by the letter, disappearing up into the darkness.
I was more interested in the ground that hadn't killed me. Looking down at it, it looked like any other normal flat hard ground you would see, and I guessed it was probably the colour of tarmac. The light from the letter cast everything in a green tone, so I couldn't be sure. I pressed it with my hand and it seemed to have an odd, cork like density. "Interesting"
Something else caught my eye as I was pushing my hand up and down on the ground, getting quite a satisfying feeling from doing so. The same feeling you get when you pop bubble wrap. The green light from the letter caught a very different shape in my seemingly stark surroundings and my attention was immediately drawn to it. It lay against one of the wet wall, its bottom half glinting brightly. Squinting, I tried to make out what it was and as I did, I slowly began to approach it. It was tall and long and thin, curved slightly. Something made out of what looked like material was wrapped around the top of it.Part of me already knew what it was but still I continued to approach it. As I drew nearer, I could make out the hilt, and the blade, and the material wrapped around the handle looked like a scarf.
It sat against the wall, alone, its blade clean and untarnished like it had never been used. Impulsively I picked it up and found it surprisingly light. In fact, it seemed perfect for my weak and un-worked arms. I should hold onto this I thought, In case Nurse comes. I had never had a sword fight with Nurse, only the Pirate, but I was full sure I could take her. She was big but I was nimble.
Unwrapping the scarf from around the handle, I tied it around my waist and slid the sword carefully into my makeshift belt. There was no sheath it seemed, but it sat at an angle that seemed to point out and away from my legs. That was always good.
I wondered what to do with the letter. I looked at the squirrel who had jumped from my shoulder while I was examining the sword and was now nibbling at the acorn he had successfully retrieved from my hair. He looked at me, quizzically, as I stared at him. Pulling the black ribbon Nurse always used to tie my hair back I advanced on him. "Here, sit still a second while I put this letter on you" He complied, but looked none too happy about it as I secured the glowing letter to his back. I think he was jealous of my increasingly quick mind. I was jealous of my increasingly quick mind too.
I wondered momentarily about the other three squirrels we had left behind, but found I didn't miss them that much. It was then that I remembered what I had been thinking about while hurtling towards almost certain death. My Name.
What was it ?
"Yoli" I mouthed as it rolled about in my mind, glancing off the tip of my tongue then disappearing again.
"Yolishi Hoav-" Gone.
I looked at my squirrel and he looked back, one paw sneakily trying to pull the letter off. My hand settled on the sword. The Pirate used to call me something. What was it? Ah, yes. Yo-Ho. That's what he called me.
So that is what I would call myself until I remembered my full name. I had a suspicion it was one that was very hard to spell. Now for the squirrel.
"You need a name" I said to him, as he continued to try and dislodge the letter in the most subtle way he could. He had even resorted to using his hind paw while blatantly looking me in the eye. I tried to think of something noble for him as I watched his attempts. Finally, after a good five minutes mulling I settled on a name.
The squirrel paused dead in his struggles and gave me a look. This, I promptly disregarded, deciding it was time to take charge.
"Lets go" I said pointing ahead of me to where the tunnel seemed to lead and turn a corner. I was growing curious now, and a little more confident now that I had the amazing glowing letter of super light power. Corners had always excited me. As long as Nurse wasn't around one of them. Squanchie looked at me with a pained expression on his little whiskered face but I didn't pander. I pointed forwards. "Lets go get these laces"!
We marched forwards into the murky tunnel, glowing green like a radioactive experiment gone wrong.