Sucked Through a Wormhole
A Story By
Philip R Benge
Philip R Benge on Smashwords
Sucked Through a Wormhole
Copyright Philip R Benge 2015
Cover Art Copyright Philip R Benge 2015
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This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author`s imagination and used fictitiously.
On the beautiful planet of Calamity two men were sitting in the warm sun; they were discussing whether the time had come to open their next wormhole at an even greater distance from their planet. They were scientists of the Calamity Scientific Institute; so far they had only tried to open a wormhole to one of the planets within their own planetary system, now though, the scientist in charge wanted to try to create one much longer. After much discussion, they decided to open one that would allow them to travel to the next planetary system. With the decision made, they went back inside of their large laboratory within the Institute to prepare their large bank of computers for the next in a series of tests of their wormhole-generating machine.
Their places on the bench outside of the laboratory were taken by two members of the Calamity police force; they were anxious to warm up after a cool night`s watch, the warmth of the sun sending them into a light asleep, but after ten minutes dosing they were awoken by heavy footsteps coming towards them, and even louder voices. Four large alien tourists appeared at the bottom of the steep hill that led up to the institute; they were fully seven feet tall and clad in heavy body armour that was adorned with the skulls of the now extinct Globian dragon.
On seeing them, Sergeant Malice of the police force of Calamity asked his junior officer. “Constable Cretin, why were those four fools not returned to the planet Glob, they are unwelcome guests here on our planet and they might kill someone one day, me for instance?”
Inside the scientific institute, the scientists were now ready to start their wormhole-generating machine. “Right Botox, start her up.” The senior scientist, who was named Grimly, ordered.
A low-pitched whine came out of a large whirling machine and seconds later a wide tunnel of light shot from it.
Botox was at a machine regulating the power outflow that would govern the distance travelled by the wormhole; he was smiling for everything was working just fine, for a change.
Walking up towards the institute building, two of the Globians were discussing the merits of their weapons. “I tell you Lowbug, this new heavy blaster rifle is so accurate that it is able to shoot the wings off a scindle fly, and it would not even notice, this weapon is that advanced.” Largbyt boasted.
A Scindle fly is quite large and resembled the dragonfly of Earth, except that it is yellow with black stripes.
“Prove it then Largbyt; there is a scindle fly below that chair at the top of the hill, it is sitting on the wall of the Institute.” Lowbug said in a tone that indicated a certain amount of disbelief. The chair was the one that the police sergeant and the constable were currently occupying.
“Ok Lowbug, and if I can do it then you owe me five credits.” Largbyt agreed with a smile appearing on his rather ugly face.
Unfortunately, Largbyt had only just acquired the new improved version of the Glob blaster, and in any case, he was a little drunk. Believing that he had set the blaster to its lowest setting he squeezed of a shot.
The blaster bolt whistled under the legs of the police constable, who howled in pain, for the energy bolt passing so close to his legs burnt his legs, and then grains of the exploding reinforced concrete wall of the Calamity Scientific Institute peppered his legs. The resulting blast surprised the four Globian troopers, and it stunned, just for a moment, the two police officers.
On the other side of the wall, the energy bolt had blasted a jagged hole in the main computer of the wormhole generator, and badly damaged it. The low-pitched whine of the machine now resembled the noise made by an angry, and fabled, Globian dragon; it terrified the two scientists within the laboratory and even scared the hell out of the four Globians. The two police officers heard nothing for a moment, being temporarily stunned, and in any case, they were looking to shoot all four of the Globian troopers, until they finally heard the whining noise, when its volume grew and grew.
For the angry whining machine now sounded more like a very angry Globian dragon; and it was completely out of control. Botox, had been thrown from his chair to end up sprawled against one of the computers, however, he quickly regained his feet and rushed over to the controls to attempt to turn the wormhole generating machine off, only to find that the generator was stuck on full power, its inner workings fused together. Botox went to the electrical mains control unit to shut down the electrical supply; however, he found that it was sparking madly, for it too had been fused, this time by the sudden increase in demand, so Botox left well alone.
The sudden increase in power made this end of the wormhole tear itself away from its normal fixed position, which was at the far end of the large laboratory building, it smashed through the laboratory wall, and it plopped down ten miles away, right on top of a nuclear fusion reactor. It soon demolished the wall of this building as well, and it then connected itself up to a new power source, the nuclear fusion reactor. With such a massive amount of energy to call upon this end of the wormhole somehow split into two. One end fed on the power while its sibling began to dance around the nearby countryside, picking up whatever it rested upon and sending it hundreds of light years away, but it was not to the fixed exit point on the target planet. The sudden and massive surge in power had caused the wormhole to rip itself loose from its programmed location as well, and it had sent it careering through space to touch down on various other points in space, including a blue and white planet in a far off planetary system.
The men operating the nuclear reactor ran for their lives as they envisaged a very large nuclear explosion, little knowing that the wormhole was consuming all of the reactor`s power, and was asking for more, for the wormhole was now thirty feet across, and growing fast.
After thirty minutes of repairs Grimly and Botox found that they could only operate the reverse button, but to press this big red button would make the wormhole operate from the other end instead of from Calamity, and this would allow objects to travel to Calamity. To press this button would be a very big mistake seeing as how the machine was operating at full power, for there was no knowing just what would be ripped away from wherever it currently was to plunge down upon the planet of Calamity. As Grimly considered the problem a large malignant fire bug swooped down at him and buzzed persistently around his head. Grimly did not like malignant fire bugs, in fact they terrified him because one had stung him once and he had been confined to bed for a week before finally getting over it. Grimly attempted to swat it with a rolled up science journal, but each time he missed, but then the bug settled on the computer console. Grimly was terribly afraid that it would bite him if he did not kill the terrible bug soon, so he brought his now rolled up science journal down upon it, hard and fast, and finally squashed it, right on top of the large red button. Grimly almost fainted when he realised what he had done, and he was so angry with himself that he beat the dead fire bug repeatedly while screaming out his woes. He was even angrier when the button caught fire and small explosions began to emanate from the console, for now they would not be able to reverse the procedure. He felt like screaming at the gods for their treatment of him, for there was no way that any sort of repair could be carried out, not now, this would only be possible after they had found a way to turn off wormhole-generating machine.
Another large machine within the laboratory now scanned the point in the laboratory where the wormhole was supposed to be; when it could not locate the wormhole there, it scanned the world outside of the laboratory. It finally found the wayward rampaging wormhole and linked up to it remotely, it then sent a deadly stream of Gama radiation in a directed beam which wrapped itself around the outward travelling wormhole, the beam then travelled to the other end of the wormhole. When it reached the far end it slammed the wayward wormhole into reverse, moments later the wormhole computer sprang to life, and it gave a fearful Grimly some new data.
“The wormhole has been successfully reversed; incoming travellers will soon be arriving.”
Grimly heard the announcement and shook with fear, he then looked down at the big red button that was covered in quashed bug, and he went very pale and felt very faint.
“Oh no Botox, if anyone or anything is sucked in to the wormhole they or it will be brought to the planet Calamity, and the exit point is now hundreds of feet above the planet, and the lord only knows where on Calamity the exit will be when whatever is picked up finally arrives.” Grimly wailed in despair before finally coming up with an idea.
“Botox, phone the engineers at the reactor building, tell them we need help in turning off the power supply.” Grimly ordered. Which Botox did, and five minutes later four engineers from the nuclear reactor rushed in to the laboratory, they had finally worked out how to shut down their reactor, but they needed the wormhole shut off one micro second beforehand.
“Professor Grimly, we need to turn off your wormhole generator using this remote control, it will then shut down our reactor, and then all will end well for Calamity.” Doctor Watsonia said breathlessly.
“But Doctor Watsonia, we cannot shut it down, the controls are fused.” Grimly exclaimed in a wild panicky voice.
“Do not worry professor, we will fix an electronic power governor to your main power supply, it will activate when I push the button on the remote control. It will turn off the power to your laboratory and stop the stream of commands sent by your computers to the wormhole. Then, one micro second later, it will shut down our reactor.” Watsonia explained calmly, although when he said this he did have his fingers crossed behind his back.
Thirty minutes dragged by for Grimly and Botox, watching nervously while Watsonia and his team of engineers connected their impressive looking machine to the incoming, and very live, electrical mains supply, but finally they was done. Doctor Watsonia then stood up and addressed the people within the laboratory.
“Right, I am ready, here goes.” With that, he pressed the remote control device and less than a second later the whining generator turned off.
Outside the laboratory, and oblivious to the dangers of an out of control wormhole and a defective nuclear reactor, the four Globians, who were now under arrest, were arguing about the shot. “I think that the scindle fly noticed your shot, so that is five credits that you owe me, Largbyt.” Lowbug said triumphantly.
“Sorry Lowbug, but the scindle fly did not notice anything; the blast killed him before he even knew I had shot him. It is you that owe me five credits.” Largbyt crowed.
On a beautiful planet far far away from the planet Calamity, two young friends had somehow won a trip around their hometown in a light aircraft, and they were both very excited when they arrived at the long grass meadow that was to be used for just this one time as a runway. Their mothers had brought them and were now standing by their cars watching as the aircraft, that their sons were sitting in, took off on the thirty-minute trip. Reuben and Jasper were just twelve years old and they were sitting in the two rear seats. They watched with excitement as the craft moved away from the ground and flew over the English Channel before turning back towards the town of Hastings.
All seemed to be going well for them until an angry looking storm appeared from out of nowhere, just above and in front of them. They watched in terror as a fiery mouth opened in the middle of the storm clouds, it was whirling around at a great speed and gyrating around the storm clouds in a mad dance, sucking in everything close enough to its greedy maw. Their pilot tried to avoid the monstrous thing but the fiery mouth seemed to anticipate his every move, and then it gulped down the aircraft, along with Reuben and Jasper. The two boys could not believe this was happening to them, they were sure that they had now left their universe behind them, and that they had entered into a secret netherworld beyond their own. From out of nowhere a hurricane force wind appeared that pulled them forward at an increasing rate of knots, it flipped the plane upside down, it hammered against the fuselage doors and finally ripped open the one by the pilot. Mr Craddock, their pilot, had never worn a seatbelt, seeing himself as far too macho, when the wind caught the small aircraft and threw it upright again, he found himself thrown violently out of the plane. The last that the two friends saw of him was as he pulled the ripcord that opened his parachute, although whether it would save him depended on the gods, and impossible as it might seem the storm now grew in intensity.
“Reuben where are our parachutes?” Jasper asked anxiously.
Reuben looked around, he looked under his seat, he looked behind his seat, and then he gulped. “I do not think that we have a parachute Jasper!” Rueben said with another gulp. “In any case Jasper, I really do not fancy jumping out of the plane, not into this storm.”
Reuben decided that they really needed a pilot, so when the aircraft stopped gyrating for a moment he climbed into the pilot`s seat, as his strapped himself in the wind veered sharply and threw the aircraft violently to the side, and knocked the two boys against anything near enough to hit. It was now that the engine of the aircraft began to stutter, as if it too was panic stricken, and finally it began to fade as if it did not dare to fly within this new and very scary environment, but somehow the engine kept turning over, just. Reuben was now piloting the aircraft, with Jasper sitting next to him, for he had also climbed into the front seat. Even though Reuben had tried to keep the aircraft on an even keel, it kept bucking as a strange wind hit it from every direction. The fear on the face of Jasper had returned twofold, and Reuben could feel the same fear and panic rising in him as well, how he was able to hang onto his own ragged nerves for so long, he would never know. His knuckles must have turned white from gripping the joystick so hard, and he was certain that they were doomed to die in this storm of storms. All about them Reuben saw a nightmare vision that wanted nothing more than to attack their flimsy aircraft and it`s two passengers.
The inside of the aircraft was ice cold, far colder than Reuben had ever been before, his breath now froze as he exhaled, he shivered uncontrollably as the windows of the aircraft began to mist up. Reuben looked across at his friend who looked back, his fear mirroring the one that Reuben felt. Nothing aboard the aircraft was working except for the stuttering engine that still refused to die completely, and Reuben was sure that it would also give in to the storm soon. They should have crashed into something but still they flew on intact inside the clouds, they should have been torn apart, but something seemed to want more from them, more than just fear.
The colour of the clouds had become almost psychedelic, as a continuous flow of bright orange lights sped towards them at impossible speeds, only to shoot by them and disappear back into this terrifying cloud, making Reuben believe for a second that he was in an x-file movie. For a long moment, the glare of a lightning flash temporarily blinded Reuben; then another lightning bolt, one that exploded uncomfortably close to the light aircraft, closely followed this flash. Finally, his sight returned, but it brought more terror as he saw his skin changing colour to match that of the cloud, but he did not think that it was just a reflection of the cloud`s colour, his skin appeared to be really changing colour. Then he noticed that the aircraft, Jasper, everything, every atom of everything was changing, was in motion, disassembling from its neighbour. Reuben wanted to scream to relieve his stress, but by now, nothing remained still long enough to allow him even this small amount of comfort. His body, that of Jasper, even the aircraft, everything single atom was in constant motion. He was sure that he would soon pass out, but as his mind verged on hysteria everything stilled, Reuben stilled, the aircraft stilled, Jasper stilled, time stilled. One piece of information not known by Reuben was that the aircraft was now nowhere near to the planet Earth, it had just passed Alpha Centauri and was still moving even further away through space. To Reuben it seemed to be a contest between the strange storm and gravity as to which would kill them. Another huge blaze of lightning lit up the sky directly ahead, they plunged straight into its fiery embrace, lightning rippling along the aircraft much as water does across a rock. Reuben and Jasper were both feeling very light headed, as the oxygen within the craft was used up. Normality had indeed left the room he thought as he began to lose consciousness, leaving only a supernatural storm that battled against the small aircraft, tossing it and its occupants about like so much flotsam.
Many things appeared in the skies of Calamity when they cut the power supply to the wormhole, such as huge rocks, ones dragged from asteroid fields in other planetary systems. These now crashed down onto the planet causing widespread local damage amid a massive thunderstorm scooped up by the wormhole. Some other things rushed through the atmosphere of Calamity, such as a storm of meteorites that burnt up in the atmosphere of the planet, and one small aircraft, battered and falling fast towards the ground below.
Reuben was on the verge of losing consciousness when the fresh air of Calamity rushed into the aircraft bringing him around, and like a cork from a champagne bottle the aircraft burst forth from the clouds and there was light, natural light, normal light, light that was not supernatural light, but unfortunately the small aircraft was losing altitude fast.
Rueben could see that they would either crash into the ground, or into the towering cliff face ahead; both were coming nearer with every second. The two boys screamed out in fear, but Reuben now recovered from his state of shock, he realised that he had to act quickly to prevent the aircraft from crashing into the ground below, a ground filled with a waiting jungle! However, there was no time to wonder about the presence of the jungle, for with a stuttering engine pondering such matters was not high up on the list of priorities. As more and more jungle filled his field of vision he did the only thing he could, he pulled back on the joystick, and then he remembered his video game, of course the engine needed more power. Reuben now pushed the throttle forward to increase the power to the engine, and it roared back into life just as Jasper took hold of the joystick and help to pull it back, and the aircraft slowly began its climb away from the ground. But the battle was not yet won, for with the cliff face looming ever closer it was in the lap of the gods as to whether they would live through the next few moments. They could now plainly see every detail of the rocky cliff face fast approaching them. Time and space were fast running out, and just as it seemed as if time had indeed run out, blue sky suddenly appeared before them as the cliff face disappeared from view. The aircraft had somehow managed to find an updraft of warm air and gain enough height to clear the top of the cliff and get them to safety. Reuben and Jasper both screamed with delight, but it all seemed premature, for the aircraft shuddered as it hit a particularly solid piece of the vegetation that covered the top of the cliff top. A loud thud rang through the mortally wounded aircraft, telling of untold damage to the lower portion of their now stricken aircraft.
Smoke began to pour out from beneath their speeding aircraft, and all they saw around them was ‘wall to wall’ jungle, which spread out beneath them like an Amazonian rain forest. Reuben looked over to Jasper.
“This cannot be real; surely we must have died and gone to hell”
Jasper looked over at Reuben and smiled. “Well it seems very green to be the fiery depths of Hell, Reuben, more likely one of us is having a nightmare, and if it is you will you please wake up.”
Reuben gave a half grin to Jasper. “We will have to find somewhere to land, and fast, for we don`t have all that much fuel left Jasper, and I think that the aircraft is very badly damaged, there is a great deal of smoke streaming out behind us.”
As if to reinforce this view the engine began to cough and splutter again, and the nose of the aircraft dipped sharply towards the waiting jungle.
“You`re right Reuben, the engine doesn`t sound too good, do you think that it will last long enough to get us down safely?” Jasper cried out in desperation
“It`s not over yet Jasper, look, look, over there, a meadow.”
In front of them, a pocket-handkerchief sized meadow slowly grew in size as they approached it until Reuben was sure it would do, if he were as good in real life as he was when playing computer games.
The Miles Finch, for this was the make of the aircraft, answered the question for them, when it`s engine finally gave up the battle. This forced Reuben to use all his skills as a computer game`s pilot just to keep the aircraft airborne long enough for them to reach the meadow, and the hoped for safety that it offered.
The meadow was not very large by any standards, but it was maybe just large enough, and it did look flattish, anyway flat enough for their desperate needs, but what was the point in worrying now when the aircraft had made the choice for them? The aircraft skimmed over the tops of the trees, Reuben had no need to lower the wheels of the Miles Finch as it had fixed wheels, Reuben just hoped that they hadn`t been damaged when they had hit something a minute earlier. The stricken aircraft was now falling quickly towards the waiting meadow, and it needed all of his skills as a computer game`s pilot to keep the nose of the aircraft up, and then they were clear of the trees and over the meadow. Reuben had almost brought the aircraft down onto terra firma, but it was still not all over, for the jungle was rushing towards them from the far end of the meadow, but he finally got the craft down and they now bounced along this short improvised runway. In fact there followed a series of bumps and bangs that jarred their entire bodies causing Jasper to cry out in pain, as for Reuben, well he needed all his concentration just to keep them alive. The craft was down though, with the long grass of the meadow flattening out beneath them, leaving a long crushed strip as the aircraft rushed along through it at what seemed a suicidal speed. The tall grass blocked their view; it gave the appearance that they were moving through a long green tunnel where the wall in front of them was rushing along ahead of them, as if to stop them from running over it.
Rueben reduced their speed down to a more sedate rate when the grass in front of them disappeared, and ahead of them appeared a massive rock wall with a large cave inset into it, and they were approaching it far too fast!
“I don`t think we can stop in time.” screamed Jasper.
Then Fate took another hand in the events when one of the wheels struck a large boulder shearing it from the aircraft and spinning the aircraft so that it finally came to a rest with a large crash that almost destroyed the rear of the aircraft. The aircraft had ended its days at the back of the large cave that they had been tearing towards just moments ago, and with no sign of whatever had been burning to leave a trail of smoke behind them. Reuben had hardly had the time to react to all the events, they had all happened so quickly, so he did not bother to try as he slowly let out a sigh.
“Well, it was not what I would have called a really smooth landing Jasper, but… I suppose it will do.”
Both of them broke down in a fit of laughter, after all the stress of the last hour it was nice to be down in one piece, and finally safe.
They both opened the doors of the aircraft and stumbled out, or maybe it was they fell out, onto the ground, happy to feel something firm beneath their feet.
From outside the cave, rocks hurtled down out of the sky keeping them a prisoner within it, but they finally let up allowing Reuben to walk out of the cave. Just as he was about to take in the view, two long spears hurtled from the sky and pierced the ground, one either side of Reuben, and with a very loud thud. Reuben`s heart began to beat just as loudly as he looked at them, one had been so close that it was actually touching one of his shoes. Inside the cave Jasper looked on in disbelief, and for all of two seconds before reacting, then he grabbed his young friend and pulled him safely back inside of the cave.
The cave was rather smelly and they now noticed a pile of bones at the rear of the cave, which did not make them feel any better. “We really do need to get out of this cave Jasper.” Reuben said in a very quiet shaky voice.
First though he looked through the wreckage of the aircraft for anything that might be of help to them, the only thing he found was a silver cigarette lighter, obviously lost by the pilot during the storm, he picked it up and put it into his pocket.
They only had to wait two more minutes for the meteorite storm to be finally over, then they left the cave, eager to be away from it before the owner returned, as they left, they both pulled one of the spears out of the ground, just in case they met a savage animal. They found themselves at the edge of a large meadow, and to head into it seemed appealing, until Reuben remembered the second Jurassic Park movie, then the people who had run through the tall grass had died, however, to their right there seemed to be a narrow animal track.
“This way Jasper.” Reuben said and moved off along the track with Jasper close behind him.
They had been walking for ten minutes when they entered into a small glade, but then up ahead of them, and also entering the glade, an extremely large black furry animal resembling a bear ambled towards them. Jasper`s first thought was to escape; unfortunately he had two left feet, and he got them tangled amid a vine that ran across the floor and up the trunk of a nearby tree. He promptly fell flat on his face knocking most of the wind from his lungs and losing his grip on his spear, what air remained in his lungs Jasper used up with a loud cry of terror. The animal thankfully was not as quick as a bear, but even so, it was making short time of devouring the space between it and the two boys. Reuben quickly pulled a complaining Jasper to his feet and almost pushed him to a nearby tree that looked climbable. Reuben stopped at the base of the tree and helped his young friend, whose feet franticly searched for footholds, and propelled him up towards the safety of the tree`s branches, but it was slow going. This meant that Reuben spent valuable moments shoving a puffing and complaining Jasper up to safety.
Unfortunately, the beast was too near now to allow Reuben to scramble to the safety that Jasper had found, and so Rueben did what was natural to him, he fought back. He threw his spear at the large animal, unfortunately, it only raked the hindquarters of the animal, it did not stop it, but it did make it very angry, as Reuben could tell from its loud roar directed straight at him. Reuben felt like fainting, but he did not, instead he picked up a section of a branch that was behind him, a victim of a recent storm, and with the bear almost upon him, he spun about and caught the bear a blow with the heavy branch. However, he had almost mistimed it for it only caught the beast a blow on its stubby snout, but the beast stopped its charge abruptly and howled out in shock and pain. Reuben followed this up by jabbing the branch into the animal’s stomach, which made it give ground before him. Unfortunately, the animal then stood its ground and lashed out at the branch with its massive fore feet. It should have sent the piece of wood flying across the clearing, but Reuben found that he possessed more strength than he thought he had. He was able to not only keep a hold on it, but spinning around again he brought the added momentum into play, and with great satisfaction brought the branch crashing round against the beasts head. The blow knocked the creature to the floor and stunned it long enough to give Reuben time enough to head for another young tree some fifteen feet away, and here he was able to scramble up it to safety.
The bear like animal was now back upon its feet, or to be precise it`s two back feet. It stood fully ten feet tall upon its hind legs, it was very mad at missing its dinner, and very angry at the treatment it had received at Reuben`s hands, so it roared its displeasure at the two boys far into the night. It had been a close thing though, for in a final attempt to get it`s dinner it had made a try at grabbing Reuben`s feet, but thankfully it`s claws just missed their target, brushing Reuben`s left shoe as he quickly drew his foot up to the safety the rest of his body enjoyed. For a while, the bear pounded against the trunk of his tree as if attempting to knock him down, but tiring of this it then continued to roar its displeasure, and Reuben who was just a little way above the savage beast could smell its fetid breath as it complained to him about missing its dinner.
“Thank you Reuben, you saved my life without a thought for your own safety, you are a true hero.” Jasper called across to his brave friend in sincere thanks and admiration.
“Shucks, it weren`t anything.” Reuben said copying a phrase that he had heard on Looney Tunes, he then smiled at his young friend. Reuben was very glad to come through their ordeal in one piece, and without turning completely to jelly, and so he said a silent prayer to god for saving him.
“You stopped to help me to my feet even though a two ton bear was bearing down on us.” Jasper continued with his thanks, and in awe of the bravery shown by his friend.
“Bearing down on us, what else would a bear do?” Reuben said laughing, but now feeling a little self-conscious at all of the praise heaped upon him by his friend.
The night soon passed, and without either of the two boys being able to get very much sleep, Reuben almost fell from his perch once, only just grabbing hold of another branch to stop himself from providing dinner for the bear, but as the sun rose so the animal left them.
They eventually scrambled down and went in search of food and water, with their precise location once again the main topic of conversation, although the large ringed planet that also rose with the sun did stop their idle chatter as the two boys stopped still and looked at it in wonder, plus a little fear.
“Reuben where did that planet come from?” Jasper wondered fearfully.
“Jasper, I don`t think we are on Earth any more, we must have travelled a little further than we thought, maybe that giant mouth was the entrance to a wormhole.” Reuben replied in a stunned voice.
It was now that their luck changed, for they came upon a small mountain stream to relieve their thirst, though their stomachs were rumbling, complaining about the lack of food.
Ahead of them was a large clearing, the grass well-trimmed by the creatures of the jungle, and Jasper started to move across it, even after Reuben had advised against it, for should another hungry beast appear there would be no safe retreats. It was now that a giant ostrich appeared, known to the locals of the planet as a Magi. On seeing Jasper foolishly walking across the meadow, it let out an unholy screech and charged towards him. Jasper froze for a moment, but then turned to run back towards Reuben who had wisely stopped nearer to the trees. Poor Jasper must have really been born with two left feet; he tripped again, and fell sprawling to the ground, the air knocked out of his lungs, again.
Reuben could see that his friend was in dire trouble now, and so he rushed forward and put himself between the giant bird and his friend, when the bird reached him he brought his spear up to defend himself. He lunged forward with the spear, feeling it bite into the giant bird, the sharp metal spearhead forcing its way into the breast of the Magi and tearing into its vital organs, the momentum of the bird`s charge adding to the strength of Reuben`s earthly muscles, for Calamity had a lower mass than Earth. The Magi did not die though, although it was really mad now, its head on the end of its long neck lunged towards his head, and that would have finished things had it reached him, but Reuben managed to leap to one side and so kept away from its vicious beak. The Magi squawked its protest at its prey as Reuben grabbed his spear that was still sticking in the bird`s breast and pulled it free and then pushed it forward once again into the breast of this gigantic bird. The bird roared out again in pain, and again it lunged at him but he was too fast for it, its small yellow beady eyes glared out a hatred that Reuben almost felt, and it wasn`t finished yet. Reuben withdrew the spear again as the bird moved its neck snake like, moving it from side to side as it looked for an opening to continue the attack with its huge beak. At this range, one successful kick from its feet could easily finish the battle, but thankfully, it did not unleash this particular article of its arsenal yet. Reuben didn`t have time to think of this, or much else as he fought for his life, and maybe that of Jasper`s too. Reuben, used his spear to parry each of the bird`s attempts to reach him with its large beak, but the bird almost succeeded in getting through his defence more than once. Repeatedly he caught the bird a sharp knock against the side of its head or neck when its head darted in towards him, desperately trying to find a way through his defence. Blood was running down its neck from these blows, down onto its bloody breast, when the bird changed its tactics. It almost finished Reuben off there and then when it did let loose a terrific kick towards him, Reuben only just succeeded in leaping aside, the birds sharp talons lashed towards him raking his side, had the blow connected it would have been fatal. However, with the bird having lost so much blood its final attempt to kill him was slower, and so he managed to survive it. Reuben jumped to his feet and thrust the spear into the breast of the Magi once again, the bird could only stand there and let cry with another terrific squawk as it began to retreat away from Reuben, but in a direction that would take it near to Jasper, who was now coming to his feet. Jasper rushed forward to aid his friend and thrust his own spear into the bird`s knee joint sending it crashing to the ground. The head and long neck crashed down just inches away from Reuben, who thrust his spear down for the last time to spear the giant bird through its head, finally killing it.
The two boys looked at each other in triumph, and when they finally got their breathing under control Jasper once again thanked his friend. Reuben merely shrugged and began to talk about the battle, and how he and Jasper had finally put paid to the monster bird. Jasper`s stomach chose now let out a very loud noise, reminding him just how hungry he was, and making the two boys laugh. Looking down at the bird Reuben had a good idea. “Jasper, let`s eat the bird, well some of it.” Reuben declared eagerly.
And so the two boys decided to make up a fire, Reuben remembered seeing a small ring of stones not far from where their dinner lay, for during the fight he had almost stumbled over them. When they investigated them they found that the ring of stones was an old camp fire, one that was filled with ash from previous fires, and there laying in the grass was a metal skewer along with two metal uprights, a spit, left there by someone in a rush to escape a Magi bird perhaps?
“You know what this means Jasper, there are people living on this planet, and all we have to do is find them.” Reuben declared, feeling much better now they had proof that help was not too far away, hopefully.
They then collected some wood from the forest and dry grass from the meadow for their fuel. Then using the blades of their spears the two boys cuts four large fillets of meat from the dead bird`s breast and pushed the skewer through them. Reuben then lit the dried grass and added small twigs to get a small fire going, adding fuel only when needed to stop the fire getting out of control and burning their dinner rather than just cook it. The resulting meal was not as good as the meals cooked for them by their mothers, but it did drive away all of their hunger pangs, although it had a definite smoky taste to it. They ate two steaks and saved the other two for later, not wanting to leave their kill without a supply of food, so they wrapped the meat in their cotton hankies, ones that their mothers had insisted they carry, and saved the food for later.
Jasper finally noticed the line of blood seeping through his friend`s shirt. “Reuben, you are hurt!” He exclaimed loudly.
Reuben looked down and saw the blood stain. “That bird did it just before we killed it.” Reuben explained as he pulled his shirt out of his trousers to see how bad the cut was, thankfully it was not deep and had already stopped bleeding. Therefore, he tucked his shirt back in and decided to forget it until they came across another mountain stream in which to clean his injury.
“We should probably head off, away from the bird before that bear catches the scent of its blood and comes here after a meal.” Reuben advised his friend who agreed, for he did not want to meet the bear on open ground, not after the way Reuben had treated it.
So the two boys now decided to walk off their meal, they moved off down another jungle track that finally took them to a part of the planet that was very rocky, hardly any vegetation grew here, however, Reuben was still feeling up after their defeat of the giant bird and so they investigated this area. One hour later and with aching feet they found a shady spot to rest up in, and with the warmth of the day, and after their long walk, they both fell asleep, it was just as the sun began to set.
Reuben woke up suddenly, it was dawn, and the sun was just touching the distant hills. He struggled to sit up wondering what all the noise was, it was Jasper, he was screaming for help. A small man with large eyes and pale skin was carrying a struggling Jasper slung over his shoulder. Reuben`s last sight of him was his friend`s imploring eyes begging for help, for the man sped away, and he really was able to move quickly for a small person carrying a load. Reuben just had time to see them disappear around a bend in the rock, the one beneath which they had been resting, but by the time Reuben had come to his feet the man had gone, and so had Jasper. Reuben immediately grabbed his and Jasper`s spears and gave chase, however when he came around the bend he found that Jasper and the ugly small man had vanished. The man`s footprints stopped at a rocky track, and just before a rock face that went up forever, and Reuben felt it highly unlikely that the strange little man could have scaled it with a struggling Jasper over his shoulder. There was another strange fact, Reuben could still hear Jasper`s cries for help, but they were now sounding a little muffled. Reuben hurried further along the track and there just feet away was a narrow slit in the rock, but easily wide enough for Reuben to walk through. At the end he came to a large cavern, and leading away from it was a dark tunnel, and it was from the tunnel that Reuben could hear his friend`s cries for help.
To enter the dark tunnel would be foolhardy, he needed light, and he found it laying on the floor near to his feet, it was an old home made torch made of twigs and moss, he picked it up and lit it with the pilot`s cigarette lighter. Then he moved forward into the cave and along the tunnel and into the stygian darkness of the underworld of Calamity, he held his torch in his right hand, and his two spears were in his left hand, their shafts resting against his shoulder. He moved slowly ahead, his torch throwing a cone of light before him, lighting his way. A very real fear began to consume him, would he be in time to save Jasper or would he get there too late. A week ago, he sat behind a school desk, now he had to be a hero, and one with the job of rescuing his best friend. A thought flashed into his head, even if he found Jasper in time; would he be up to the task of rescuing him? After all, he was only a young boy. He pushed these thoughts away as he hurried along the tunnel; it seemed that it went on forever before him. He was a little worried that he would get himself lost in this labyrinth, but once again, he did not allow the fear of getting lost down here in this realm of eternal night to affect him, for he would never succeed in his mission if he did. In any case, he was following a mostly straight tunnel with a strong breeze blowing down it, one that had been beating cool against his back. He had come across numerous side tunnels and thought that he had probably missed others, but he had always followed the direction that the breeze was blowing, and his friend`s muffled cries.
Reuben had been in the tunnels for some twenty minutes when he thought he heard hurried footsteps behind him. Reuben quickly extinguished his torch and stepped into one of the side tunnels that luckily had appeared just at the right moment, standing there to await his tracker. Twenty seconds later and he heard the heavy footsteps of someone coming along the tunnel. Reuben decided immediately that if it were a Troglodyte tracking him found him, then he would fight, knock him out maybe, for he couldn`t allow anyone to get in the way of his mission to save Jasper. The main tunnel suddenly became brighter as the Troglodyte warrior approached the side tunnel where Reuben was concealed, and then the warrior stopped immediately in front of Reuben, Reuben could see him clearly in the light of the man`s torch. The warrior began sniffing the air for the scent that he had been following since he had entered the main tunnel, and Reuben knew that with all of his recent exercise that he probably smelt some. The warrior`s eyes swivelled round in search of Reuben, but Reuben did not wait to give the warrior a fair chance, he brought his torch violently down onto the troglodyte`s head. The torch that the native carried fell from his hands and then the warrior sank to his knees and finally collapsed onto the floor, Reuben`s muscles were made for use upon Earth, not Calamity, and so he was as strong as the Troglodyte, added to that was the heavy wooden handle of the torch. Reuben knew that he could have used the spear, but the thought of killing a stranger was repugnant to him, even one who may be his enemy.
Reuben was about to leave when he noticed the warrior`s bow, and a quiver of arrows, both still slung about the troglodyte`s shoulders, and so he appropriated them for his own use. Reuben then walked back into the main tunnel and picked up the Troglodytes torch, for it was better than his own, and just as he was about to leave Reuben`s eyes lit on the small man`s cloak. Reuben thought that it could come in useful later on, to use as a disguise, and so he quickly removed it from the seemingly unconscious body. The cloak felt greasy and smelt even worse than he probably did, but if he held his breath for the next hour, it would be ok.
Now he was finally ready, so he moved off along the long dimly lit tunnel in continuance of his quest. He did not hear the ping, or see one of the Troglodyte`s eyes spring up and wobble on the end of a spring. He didn`t even see the small aerial poke up through the creatures hairline and send out a message of distress.
Up ahead he finally saw the blackness becoming lighter, and then he heard alien voices coming from ahead of him, so Reuben extinguished his torch and crept forward, keeping the torch for use later on. Light danced on the walls before him, and he soon saw that the tunnel turned sharply to the right, and finally the pathway went down to the floor of a large cavernous chamber. In the middle of the chamber, thirty Troglodytes danced about a large fire, looking like witches from a medieval scene. Smoke from the fire drifted up and up and coated the roof of the chamber with a thick layer of soot.
As Jasper finally started to regain consciousness, having fainted from fear, he found that he couldn`t move his arms so he now opened his eyes. He found himself in a large dimly lit cavern, his hands and feet bound, and he was tied to a large rock. He struggled with his bonds, but they had been tied too tightly for him to be able to free himself. Then he saw the vile creatures dancing about their large fire, screams and shrieks coming from their filthy mouths as they worked themselves into a frenzied state. They were preparing themselves for their disgusting feast and he, Jasper realised, was to be the main course. He started his struggles with his bindings again, but only got torn skin for his pains. Jasper strained his eyes as he searched the cavern for any sign of help, maybe Reuben would find him, or maybe find help.
Reuben could hardly restrain himself when he saw that Jasper was still alive. How to release him though when between them were thirty bloodthirsty Troglodytes who would kill him as well, if they caught him. All he had was his bow and his two spears, and as he knew of no trickery to scare them away, he assumed that he might have to wage war upon them. First though, he would try a more silent approach, for that he had to cover fifty feet to reach Jasper, and without being seen, but the cloak he had taken from the Troglodyte might help him there. Reuben put the disgusting piece of clothing over his head and pulled it down over his own clothing. Now is as good a time as any other Reuben thought, and making his move he slipped down the ramp that led from the tunnel to the cavern`s floor. Once there he began to sidle around the wall, keeping to the shadows when he could, brazening it out when he couldn`t. He was now only ten feet from Jasper who had seen him and thrown him a smile. Reuben quickly covered the last few feet and cut Jasper`s bonds with the blade of the spear. The blood in Jasper`s veins began to flow normally as pins and needles affected his arms and feet, so Reuben had to almost carry him towards another tunnel on the far side of the large cavern, and through which the breeze continued on its way. Somewhere ahead of them there had to be an exit that would allow the breeze to escape from the labyrinth, and to allow them to escape.
They had almost made it when a loud cry went up from behind them. A Troglodyte was pointing at them, and screaming out something in his guttural tongue in anger at seeing his prisoner escaping. The mad dancing bunch of warriors turned en-masse and hurried after them, calling out to them all the time, but by then Reuben and Jasper had reached the tunnel at the far end of the cavern. Taking out an arrow, he put it against the bowstring, aimed at the nearest Troglodyte, and let fly the arrow. It whistled through the air to bury itself into the chest of the warrior. The warrior stopped and just stood there, small sparks coming from where the arrow entered the warrior`s body, but the two boys did not notice them, they only had eyes for the other Troglodytes, who were getting nearer all the time, Reuben fired another arrow followed by another, but both of them missed. Jasper had taken his own spear and thrown it, all his anger and fear of these creatures adding to his natural strength, but it whizzed over the top of the warriors to fall harmlessly on the floor behind them, as did Reuben`s spear. The warriors were almost upon them when Reuben turned to Jasper and said one word, “Run!” and they rushed into the tunnel where Reuben stopped to take a moment to light his torch which would light their way through the dark tunnels before them.
“Ok Jasper we will have to risk the dangers in front and hot foot it out of here, but be of good cheer for we will soon be away from these monsters.”
They both bolted away from the cavern`s entrance, but from behind them they could hear the Troglodytes` feet as they pursued them, luckily for Reuben and Jasper the Troglodytes were merely walking briskly, not being in a hurry to catch up with them. Fortunately the walls were quite smooth in this part of the labyrinth of tunnels, and with the light of the torch to light their way they didn`t hurt themselves against the hard rocks of the tunnel walls. The tunnel seemed to go on for miles, but at least the sounds of their pursuers had now faded away into the distance. The tunnel now began to narrow until they had to run Indian style, with Reuben following Jasper. Here the breeze strengthened into a wind, blowing them along, when all of a sudden the tunnel seemed to end at a solid wall of rock.
“I don`t understand it.” Reuben said. “We have been following the direction that the breeze has been blowing all the time; there must be a way out?”
“There is Reuben, look above you, it`s a chimney, and there is the sky.” Jasper cried in joy.
Reuben thrust his burning torch up into the small opening above their heads and the strengthened breeze took the flames up into the chimney, the flames roaring now as the breeze fed them even more oxygen.
“Come on Jasper let`s climb out of here.” Reuben yelled jubilantly.
The sound of their pursuers had grown while they had stood their looking for a way out, and Reuben hoped they could climb high enough to get away from them in time. Reuben threw the burning torch to the floor and then slipped his bow over his shoulder, he didn`t need to urge Jasper to go first for he was already climbing up into the narrow shaft above Reuben`s head. At first, the going was comparatively easy, although Reuben had to depend on what his fingers told him, until his eyes gradually adjusted to the dim light inside of the chimney. They had both covered another ten feet before their pursuers finally arrived at the bottom of the chimney, their torches throwing a flickering light up the narrow chimney. The Troglodytes called up to them in their alien language, they were in fact urging the two boys to come down and join the party, but Reuben and Jasper could not understand them. They only had to climb another ten feet to escape the Troglodytes, and once up at the top Jasper turned round and called down to the Troglodytes.
“The next time we see you had better run back to your filthy camp and hide.” Then the two boys fled before anymore of the Troglodytes appeared. One hour later they found a solitary tree and climbed up it`s trunk to rest and sleep.
The next morning they saw a town in the far distant, and feeling better, they began their walk towards it. However, no sooner were the two boys feeling more confident about their future, than something happened to scare the living daylights out of them. From behind them they heard the sound of heavy footsteps, and turning around in trepidation they saw a giant smiling down upon them, he was at least thirty feet high with large muscles and no hair.
“Hello boys.” The giant said to them in English. “Are you my breakfast?”
The two boys screamed and fled the giant, who had they turned to watch merely laughed. The boys were so scared that they did not even wonder why the giant had spoken to them in English.
They soon got to a high fence and decided to hurry along it in search of a gate, they came to one not far away, and standing at the gate was a police officer.
“You two boys are under arrest for trespassing and malicious damage, come with me.” Sergeant Malice ordered, once again in English.
“Trespass, malicious damage, we haven`t done either of those things Sir, that must be someone else, we just want to return to our homes.” Reuben wailed fearfully.
“Oh it was you two all right, first you killed a Magi bird, they are protected by law you know. Then you damaged two of the Troglodyte robots in the Wild Reserve. Do you deny it?” Sergeant Malice asked angrily.
“Sir, we are strangers here, we are sorry, and we never meant to break any laws, but the giant bird and the Troglodytes wanted to eat us, so we defended ourselves.” Jasper explained.
“You must know that you are not allowed to enter into the forest domain unless you are part of a tour. Sentry scanners in the Wild Reserve found you, and the Troglodytes intended to collect both of you, and then bring you back, to ensure that you came to no harm. You must have realised that they could never harm you in any way, they are robots, boys, surely your parents must have told you about the Wild Reserve.” Sergeant Malice said, hardly able to hold back his laughter.
“But Sir, we are not from your world, you see Sir, we were sucked through a large mouth that appeared suddenly in a storm and pulled through space to your planet, and now we`re marooned here, wherever here is.” Reuben declared boldly.
“Sucked through a large mouth you say, in the sky.” Sergeant Malice said, looking thoughtful, it was just as he had expected. “Well maybe you are innocent after all, because from what you say I think that I know what happened to you two boys, and don`t worry we will get you home.” Malice said kindly.
“Sir, what is the Wild Reserve?” Jasper asked shyly.
“It’s our newest theme park; unfortunately you two lads landed in the middle of it rather than go through the usual entrance and enjoy one of the tours.” Sergeant Malice replied with a kind smile upon his face.
“Sir, how is it that you and the giant both speak English?” Reuben enquired politely.
The giant is another of our robotic life forms, and they can speak any language that is stored in our linguistic database. As for me well the people of Calamity all have to learn one specialist subject, and when it came to my turn, all the easier things had gone and all that was left was a language spoken on a far off planet that one of our spacecraft had been researching, and the subject was your language.” Malice replied kindly.
Sergeant Malice took the two boys around to see Professor Grimly, and once there he repeated what the two boys had said.
“I see Sergeant, well I suppose that we should count ourselves lucky that these two young fellows are our only victims, but we can hardly send them back via the wormhole, no, they would most likely end up in the middle of some ocean, or on a mountain top perhaps.” Grimly said, after thinking the matter over. “No there is nothing for it but to take them back the old fashioned way, in a spaceship. I will get on the phone to Kanavaral space port and ask them to arrange it.”
Reuben and Jasper were both very relieved to be going home, and they were also very excited to hear that they would be returning aboard a spacecraft. Then Sergeant Malice added to their excitement by promising to take them both to the Wild Reserve, but on a tour this time.
The next few days flew by, they did indeed get to go to the Wild Reserve, and then finally they were on a spacecraft, and it was soon approaching Earth.
“Right boys, we have located Reuben`s house and if you have your things together then I will beam you down.” Captain Korken said. Two minutes later the two boys appeared in the front room of Reuben`s house, much to his parents surprise and relief. Jasper`s parents rushed round as soon as they were phoned, then Reuben and Jasper told their story to two pair of shocked parents, and also showed them the presents that the kindly Sergeant Malice had given them, mementoes of the Wild Reserve.
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I was born in London, England. Like most of the world, I had to work hard to pay my mortgage and all the other bills, so I only had the time and the energy to write some short stories. My wife and I have a son who is now married to a lovely wife and they have five children of their own. Since retiring to the Greek island of Crete, I have finally found the time and the energy to write some full-length Science Fiction stories.
Trial by Ordeal
The Colonies of Earth Collection
Strange tales; three short mild horror stories
Kidnapped and Bound for Hell; A full-length story
Rescue Mission to the Stars
The Treasure of Altaraus
Return to Mazere
The Haunted Abbey
The Pirates Treasure