A NASA Fractured Fantasy

 

Adventures of Sir Oldbod and the Cosmic Priestess

    Memoirs of Sir Oldbod, a knight of an ancient world, lost in time.

 

Part 5 The Brown Monster

 

copyright Des Pensable, 2013

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I woke up in a clearing on a hill side feeling somewhat nauseous and very hungry. This time travelling concept was not only confusing my mind but also my body. I looked around and saw my horse Misty casually grazing nearby. All of my riding and camping equipment was piled in a heap a few paces from her.

‘What happened?’ I asked still not quite sure whether the last few days were actually a dream or not.

‘Oh you’re awake at last. You’ve been sleeping for a two nights and a day.’ Said a voice in my head that sounded like Misty.
‘Moonshine said that you were probably suffering from temporal transport shock.’
‘She’s gone to sleep as she’s not feeling too well either although I think her problem is different.’

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘Well she said she’s starting to suffer from deprivation of some sort of drug I think. She calls it the brown monster. Unless she has it regularly she gets headaches and feels weak and has no energy. She generally has several cups of it each day.’

‘She’s a spirit inside of you isn’t she. How can a spirit be addicted to a drug? I asked.
‘I’m not sure about that but I know that when I’ve eaten warm bat berries I get a real lift that sounds a little like how she described it.’ Replied Misty.

‘You eat warm bat dung? Why of all the crazy things in creation would you do that? I said quite surprised.

‘Well when you’re a horse and eating grass you don’t always see what you’re eating you know. One time a couple of years back I was munching away and there was a lot of warm bat berries around on the grass I accidentally ate some. It felt really good. It felt like I could run twice as fast and I had heaps of energy. The next time a few weeks later when we came upon some more I tried them with the same effect. Maybe it would help Moonshine with her addiction to the brown monster?’ she replied.

‘That is a preposterous idea!’ I stated in quite uncertain terms as I went over to my saddle bags to search for some food and beverage.

I made a small camp fire while drinking a cup of water flavoured with some lemon rind and ate some way bread and jerky then began to wonder where we were.

‘Oh hello! You’re up and around.’ said the voice of Moonshine in my head.

I was starting to get used to this mind speech that both my horse and Moonshine used so I wasn’t startled and didn’t even bother looking in the direction of my horse.

‘It seems that I’ve lost a day and two nights. Was it all a dream? Was I actually up there in the sky? Did we have some sort of plague? Did your people kill my friend and destroy his home?’ I asked.

‘Yes. I’m afraid all of that is true. It is now history.’ She replied. ‘I’m sorry about your friend. I tried to intervene on his behalf but I was over-ridden by the council. You were only saved because you agreed to become a citizen of the Confederation of the Free Worlds and were my partner and protector.’

‘So what do we do now?’ I asked.

‘We continue our search for GYTOBEB and find out what happens.’ She said chirpily.

‘Misty told me about the brown monster.’ I said interested to see her reaction.

‘Oh. Yes. It’s a bad habit I picked up on the last world I was on with you. You gave it to me.’ She replied. ‘It was a hot brown drink made from roasted beans. You drank it all the time as you said it gave you great energy for fighting. I tried it and got hooked. It’s actually quite stimulating in the morning. I miss it. Do you have it on this world?’

‘No I’ve never heard of it but perhaps one of the apothecaries might know of it. I’ll ask when we meet one. Perhaps you could explain where we are?’ I asked.

‘We are approximately one hundred leagues north west from where Lord Percy’s estate was located and approximately half a day’s walk from the nearest village. Perhaps we could go there and that will orientate your mind and with luck there might even be an apothecary there.’

I put out the fire, saddled Misty and tied on our equipment in silence. My mind was in a state of shock and confusion with so many strange things in such a short amount of time. It was quite unsettling to know that there were unbelievable numbers of other people living on other worlds up in the sky. There were boats that flew around up there and doctors that could appear out of thin air fix my wounds and disappear again. I was now a part of all that but I understood none of it. It was all strange unsettling magic. I would have to learn if I was to survive.

‘I wish to know many things and since I am now a part of your Federation I think that you should now be able to tell me!’ I stated as we walked along.

‘There is more knowledge than all the people on all the worlds together can know or even imagine. I only know what I wish or need to know but I can find out almost anything if necessary. What would you like to know?’

‘Where were you born?’ I asked.

‘On a world that no longer exists. It was destroyed by people that were greedy and wished for more than they could ever need.’

‘Oh. I’m sorry.’ I said rather surprised at her answer. ‘I know where we are now. I have been here before. We are just outside the village of Cuss.’

‘That’s a strange name for a village.’ Said Moonshine.

‘I remember this place.’ Said Misty. ‘The old court jester lives here and he’s supposed to be an apothecary of sorts. You are in for a treat. He he.’

‘So he is.’ I replied remembering the last time we met. ‘and he owes me a favour. I saved his life.’

Misty knew the way and several minutes later we stopped outside a rather ramshackle small cottage and I dismounted and knocked on the door. A small grey haired man half my size came out.

‘Hello Cuss it’s been a while. How are you keeping?

‘Well bugger a turkey it’s Oldbod come to see me. Has our ass of a king forgiven me yet?

‘No I don’t think so.’ I replied.

‘Well what the wuck do you fant ... I mean ... you know what I mean?’

‘I seem to remember that you are or were an apothecary. I was wondering if you knew of a brown brew made of roasted beans that would give you a bit of energy when you drank it?’

‘Ha. Your short sword on strike is it ...it's gone rusty has it? I don’t make any potions for that any more. Nearly got myself cut last time I did that when it didn’t work.’ He replied.

‘No. My short sword is okay. My friend is interested in these beans. Do you know about them? ‘I asked again a little embarrassed at how crude this fellow was in front of Moonshine.

‘Of course! Warm bat berries. That old tart, your grandma used to get them from me but I haven’t got any. You’ll need to get them yourself. There’s a warm bat lair up in the hills to the east. Follow Cow Piss creek, up through Brown Ass pass and up to the Witch’s Testicles. If you scratch around there you’ll likely to find a warm bat lair. Just watch out for drunken warm bats if they get on the bat nip they become troublesome.’

‘He seems like a colourful character.‘ said Moonshine chuckling as I remounted and we headed east.

‘Yes very colourful. He used to be the king’s jester until one day he carried out a practical jest that ended up catching the king’s pants on fire. Fortunately I was nearby and put out the fire with a flask of wine. He was going to execute Cuss but I stupidly pleaded for his life and he granted it. I have several reasons to regret that decision but that’s a story for another day.’

‘I can tell you one story.’ Said Misty and then went quiet. Suddenly Moonshine broke out in laughter. ’Really!’ Ha ha. That is so funny!’

Misty and Moonshine whispered and laughed together all the way up to the Witch’s Testicles which were two large smooth boulders at the top of a ridge at the entrance to a shallow valley covered mainly in wild waist high grass. There were warm bat trails everywhere but few warm bat berries. I noticed a patch of bat nip dismounted and examined it closely. Some of it had been cropped recently.

‘Damn there might be drunken warm bats around.’ I said remounting and carefully looking around.

Moments later we heard the sounds of an animal fight a couple of hundred paces away. I could see three large warm bats attacking something on the ground out of sight. The warm bats were heavily muscled pig like creatures covered in thick black fur. From memory they had large tusks like boars. They were normally quite docile but when aroused or drunk would attack fearlessly and could inflict terrible wounds.
We waited several minutes until they stopped fighting and moved off in a direction away from us and then we went to investigate what had taken the brunt of their fury.

On arrival we .found a half sized warm bat, possibly a young one or runt badly injured but still alive. The creature lay there unable to get up panting for breath its eyes open but pale and glazed as if it had not long to live.

‘Quick set up the dome I will try to save it.’ Said Moonshine.

‘Why?’ I asked. ‘This is the way of life for animals out here in the wild.’

‘Stop talking and set up the dome, please.’ She pleaded.

I dismounted unpacked the dome and activated it to erect itself. Misty entered and transformed into Moonshine as I dragged the animal which was about the size of a large dog into the dome. Had I been watching outside I would have noticed that the dome suddenly became invisible.

Moonshine began singing a beautiful soothing song and the warm bat relaxed. She examined it thoroughly and cleaned its wounds covering them with slave. She then injected some liquid into its body and sat with its head nestled in her lap while she sung gently to it patting its head and gently rubbing its ears.

‘I saved an injured mountain lion once and it saved both of us a few months later.’ She said. ‘You get some rest. I’ll look after this little fellow until he’s out of danger.’

I had some food and went to sleep. When I awoke she was washing her hands and the warm bat was standing beside her nuzzling her leg. Its wounds were healed.

‘You’ve used those nano things to cure its wounds.’ I said and she smiled and nodded.

‘Meet Tubby our new warm bat pet and look he will give us an unending supply of warm bat berries.’ and she showed me a container loaded with them.

‘We might even be able to sell or trade some along the way for other goods.’
‘How about you get a fire going outside and we’ll roast them and you can try out a mug of the brown monster. You’ll love it and it will pay you back for getting me hooked on it in the first place.’ She chuckled.

I shook my head. With women you never know what’s going to happen with them next and this one was a cosmic priestess. That multiplied the possibilities endlessly.

If you enjoyed this story send an note to Des the author and watch for more memoirs of Sir Oldbod, coming soon on this website.