The Trolley Tracks Are Alive PART 1
Hello, dear, sweet readers. It’s story time. Yeah, I’m talking to both kid and adult WordPress goers.
Now that the Velva-pedia series has officially been canceled. Here is it’s replacement.
This story takes place a little over a year before the events in HECCTROSSIPY book 1 The Legend of the Land. Artheena and Mell May, the vervett sisters, and their grungol best friend, Audry, are all fourteen and innocently oblivious to the horrors that await them when they reach adulthood.
Artheena and Mell May broke into a sprint, halfway down their street. The jewel dappled, turtle-like shells on their backs glittered and gleamed in the light of the three moons, and their long hair trailed through the air behind them, like com-it tails. Picking up their pace to a speed faster than Earth’s cheetahs, the two vervetts’ nearly human forms became one glinting blur. The fragrant, invigorating spring night air whooshed past them, like a powerful storm wind as they continued building up their speed until they were a few steps away from their glowing teppid stone front walking path. Then like giant grasshoppers, they did a simultaneous high leap through the air. Higher than what would be possible for any human, well over the height of their house’s rooftop.
“I love Leeandro Paul!” Artheena shouted, whooping as she leaped through the air again and landed further up the walking path.
Mell May whooped with her, leaping and landing just a little ways ahead. “I’m Village 16 Mell May of South Section 40,346!” she jokingly shouted as she sprang through the air again.
“Whatever! Keep dreaming!” Artheena teased, catching up with her sister and grabbing the edge of her shell, pushing her back to the ground. Mell May landed with the agility of a cat. In a split moment, she was high into the air again, pushing Artheena to the ground in return. Artheena wasn’t so agile, landing on her shell with her limbs and rear end in the air, spinning like a break dancer. Her soiled shirt, which had been rolled up and tied tightly around her waist, limply flapped about like a lizard’s broken wing. Mell May went on ahead of her, leaping towards their house and singing the catchy chorus to the latest popular Leeandro Paul song.
The South Section 5,898 sisters always leap-raced each other home, after they came back from their favorite place to be—Village 3’s Music Club. It was a thing they started when they were little girls, yet old enough for their parents to decide that they could go to the music club by themselves. By now, they were fourteen, and leap-racing each other home was silly and childish, but it was tradition.
Artheena quickly caught up with Mell May, both sang in tandem as they made their final leap toward the front door. She caught the knob and flung the door open before her feet hit the walking path’s end.
They immediately stopped singing once they stepped inside the house. Their four-year-old kid brother, Willberry, was asleep in bed by this time of night.
Mom was in the sitting room, her shell turned toward the front door as she was busily bent over a row of small, slender wicker vases that she’d set along one of the couches. She wore a long nightshirt, and was washed up and ready for bed. The sweet, strawberry-like smell of her bathing herbs faintly emanated across the room. Using a tiny pair of scissors with blades as thin as needles, she carefully trimmed away any loose strands of wicker she had missed. These vases were her latest hand crafted wicker pieces, which the Guardians had scheduled her to deliver to the Home Decor & Housewarming Gift shop in the East Section, early the following morning. The vases were made of fine, straw-like wicker. They all had the same intricate leafy vine pattern made of died wicker sewn within Mom’s perfectly symmetrical weaving, but each pattern was a different color. These vases were for keeping paper flowers in, which was a traditional springtime household decoration all over Continent 15.
“Hey, girls,” she put down her cutting tool and turned to greet Artheena and Mell May with a smile. “How was the concert?”
“Awesome!” said Mell May, without toning down the volume of her enthusiasm.
“Willberry is sleeping.” Mom reminded her, in a hushed voice.
“Sorry.” Mell May whispered.
“Leeandro Paul is so amazing.” Artheena gushed.
“Yeah, and Artheena spilled diamond flower tea all over her shirt.” Mell May giggled.
“It was crazy,” Artheena began. “There was this group of boys in front of the stage making the biggest idiots out of themselves, singing really badly. They were like…” Both girls pumped their fists in the air and barked mumbled nonsense in hushed voices. Mom cracked an amused smile. “I don’t know how Leeandro Paul was able to keep singing without laughing his shell off,” Artheena continued. “Or at least telling them, ‘Hey, you bunch of toilet bucket heads, shut up. You’re ruining my song.’”
“I figured, since it was all boys up there, they would let me get close to the stage too.” She flashed a proud, nearly arrogant smile. “And they did. They stepped aside to make way for me, and…” Both girls inhaled and exhaled loudly with astounded expressions, as though they’d witnessed a miracle. “Me and Mell May got a head to toe glimpse at Leeandro Paul. It was the best moment of my life.”
“Mine too,” said Mell May. “And he made eye contact with Artheena.”
“He made eye contact with me,” Artheena echoed, a dreamy look in her eyes. “Leeandro Paul likes me. I tried to call out to him, but curse of Jyoseppy, I broke into a major hiccuping fit.”
“Thank Jumellica one of the staff was nearby,” said Mell May, “I had him get me a goblet of diamond flower tea that I gave to Artheena, but when she went to take a drink…” They both burst into giggles. “She sneezed, big time, and got tea splattered all over her shirt and on some old lady’s ugly hat.”
“Thank Jumellica that lady got in front of me, before Leeandro Paul saw me make a mess,” said Artheena. “She told the boys to quiet down, which gave me enough time to quick take off my sloppy shirt.”
“I hope you apologized to that woman.” said Mom.
“She disappeared into the crowd before I had the chance to,” said Artheena. “But I’m sure she has a swimming pool, or knows someone who has a pool that would be glad to remove the stains. So anyway, you wouldn’t believe this, and I wish you and Dad and Willberry could’ve been there to see it, but Leeandro Paul was dressed up like a Guardian.”
“What?!” Mom shouted with outrage, forgetting about not wanting to wake Willberry. “You’re right, I can’t believe it! How awful of him!”
“It wasn’t awful. It was sexy.” Mell May defended.
“Sure was.” Artheena agreed.
“A villager imitating a Guardian is not sexy,” said Mom. “It’s wrong, and it’s insulting to authority.”
“He could be my authority any time.” said Mell May.
“Oh, yeah.” Artheena grinned.
“This isn’t funny, girls!” Mom reprimanded.
“Mom, it’s no big deal,” Artheena argued. “He’s a performer. Performers ware costumes all the time.”
“Yes, actors, Artheena,” said Mom. “Actors whose contribution is to play the part of a fictional character that’s scripted in a fictional play. Leeandro Paul wasn’t acting as a fictional Guardian character from a play script when he was doing his concert. Was he?” The girls exchanged looks that said, Ugh, parents. They knew that what he had done would be considered publicly offensive, but they felt their latest Music Club crush should be an exception to the rules. “So he was dressed up as a Guardian as himself, which I think is arrogant and disrespectful, and I don’t think I want you girls attending his shows anymore.”
“Mom! No!” Mell May protested.
“The Guardians didn’t care!” Artheena argued. “If they did, they would’ve arrested him and escorted him off the stage, and they didn’t!”
“Were there any Guardians around at the Music club, tonight?” Mom demanded.
“Yes!” the girls lied in unison. They couldn’t honestly answer that question, because they weren’t paying attention to whether or not if there were Guardians among the crowd when they could hardly take their eyes off of Leeandro Paul.
“What’s going on out here?” Dad demanded, hurrying out of the bathroom. The sounds of a muffled argument from behind the closed bathroom door had alerted him to jump out of his bath and help resolve the problem. He was naked and dripping wet. Tiny leafy stems and pieces of grass from his bathing herbs stuck to his skin and hair. Artheena and Mell May snickered at the sight of him.
“Dad, you forgot to weed your skin.” Artheena joked. Mell May burst into laughter, and then Mom.
“Oops,” Dad laughed, looking down at his arms and chest. “I forgot to scrub off before getting out of the tub. So what’s going on out here? What are you three fighting about?” Mom told him about Leeandro Paul’s absurd and disrespectful performance and how she didn’t want the girls to attend his shows anymore, while Artheena and Mell May insisted that it was no big deal and Mom was blowing things out of proportion.
“He might not ever do it again,” said Artheena. “It was just a costume. It might be his gimmick to dress in a different costume with each show. Next time he does a show in Village 3, he might come on stage dressed up like a poomditto bird for all we know. It’s no reason to stop allowing us to see his shows. Besides, if people were offended by him, he would’ve been booed off stage, and he wasn’t. They loved it.”
“Yeah, especially us,” said Mell May. “And like we said, there were Guardians there, and they didn’t stop him. Please, Mom and Dad, please don’t make us have to stop seeing his shows. His music is so wonderful and uplifting, and it makes me and Artheena happy. And you know how happiness is the key to better empowering Jumellica’s positive energy.”
“Maybe we should just let them go see him,” said Dad. “He’s just a Music Club singer. I never heard of performers being harmful and dangerous to the public. Yes, he had some nerve portraying himself as a Guardian, but he wasn’t hurting anybody. If he’s foolish enough to keep imitating authority, the only harm done would be brought onto himself.”
Artheena and Mell May silently hoped to Jumellica that Leeandro Paul would perform in normal stage clothes from now on.
“You’re right,” Mom sighed. “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to let the girls enjoy his music while it lasts, because I don’t think he’ll be performing much longer.”
Both teenagers rejoiced, whooping and clapping and jumping up and down as they thanked their parents repeatedly. Mom and Dad couldn’t help laughing at how ridiculously passionate their daughters got over their Music club crushes. Then all four of them fell silent at once when they remembered that Willberry was sleeping.
Artheena tossed her shirt into the pool with the rest of the day’s laundry. The living liquid would remove the tea stains overnight, and the shirt would be as good as new by the following morning. Then she and Mell May took their baths and swished some teeth wash, but they had no intentions of going to bed, especially not after the thrill of going to another Leeandro Paul concert. While taking a quick dip in the pool to let the liquid remove the bath water wetness from their hair, they made plans to sneak out and see what their grungol friend, Audry, was up to. They had to tell her all about the awesome concert. Audry had never went to a Leeandro Paul concert, but she’d heard about the alluring vervett singer/songwriter/musician from a few of her grungol friends who had seen him when he toured Group 1 a season or two ago. They said that even grungol girls were smitten with him.
His deep aqua marine eyes were stupefying. His tall, lean muscled build and pretty-boy face made Artheena’s and Mell May’s hearts pound with desire. Blissful goosebump chills ran through their bodies at the sound of his melodic voice. Once they saw him and listened to him sing, they couldn’t get him out of their heads. Leeandro Paul was a new artist to their village group, but that night, he had the confidence and swagger as though the whole land was under his thumb—Like a Guardian.
It was a school night, but Mell May and Artheena did their usual sneaking out routine that they had been getting away with since they were little. They were, what we Earthlings would call, night owls. After exchanging good-nights with their parents, they acted like they were going to bed. Once in bed, they waited for the sound of Mom and Dad’s bedroom door being closed, and then waited another few moments. Their parents were hard working, socially active people who also had an overly energetic four-year-old, so it didn’t take long for them to fall asleep. The girls would then slip out of bed and change into daytime clothes in the light of the moons and the teppid stone that glowed in the yards.
Mell May’s room was at the front of the house, so she was the first to open her door as carefully and quietly as possible and creep towards Artheena’s room with silent footsteps. Artheena, the gifted one, always intuitively knew when Mell May was approaching. Then she’d sneak out of her room the same way. Both girls would creep across the house in silence until they snuck through the back door and were out on the teppid stone pool deck. The coast was clear when they were outside, and they didn’t have to be careful and quiet anymore.
They hurried over to Audry’s favorite burrowing spot in their back yard and called out for her. Although she lived deep underground, grungols have an unusual sense of hearing. To them, every sound on the surface reverberates through every grain of dirt, allowing them to hear what goes on above ground from their under-village.
Far below the South Section 5,898 family’s back yard, Audry was in her cave home, eating breakfast. The house was bustling with friends and relatives all preparing for a big night. It was Audry’s mom’s second cousin’s 167th birthday—Or rather, birthnight, since grungols are nocturnal. Through the noise of the chatter and clanking of breakfast dishes, Audry could hear the distant calls of her vervett friends on the surface. She excused herself from eating and hurried out of the house and down her street. One of her friends from around the neighborhood, a grungol boy named Brotell, came with her.
“Ditching the party already?” Brotell teased, knowing how devotedly attentive Audry was to her two vervett friends. No matter what she was doing, she always dropped everything and burrowed up to the surface whenever Artheena and Mell May called her from their back yard.
“Of course not,” said Audry, climbing up a neighbor’s wall garden. Maybe they’ll want to come to Jill’s party with us. They sound like they have something important to tell me.”
Brotell climbed after her. Once she reached where the garden ended and the wall was bare dirt and rocks, Brotell was on the wall beside her. He was sometimes more attentive to her than she was to her vervett friends, which gave her the suspicion that he liked her.
The two grungols then tightened every muscle in their bodies and flattened themselves against the wall. Their dog-like snoots pointed strait up toward the under-village ceiling, and their fluffy lopped ears were held firmly against their heads. They took a deep breath, closed their eyes and nostrils, and sped up the wall with all six limbs, faster than scurrying spiders. Their four remarkably powerful arms and two remarkably powerful legs allowed them to burrow through the dirt at a speed far beyond Earth’s digging machinery. They also had the ability to resolidify the dirt as they burrowed through it, never leaving behind any holes or dirt messes or unstable ground.
“I know we’re earlier than usual,” Artheena yelled over the loud motor-like sound of the grungols’ burrowing, as they emerged to the surface. “But we have a long, amazing story to tell, and we need plenty of time to tell you it before you have to get ready for school. Hi, Brotell.”
“Hey, girls.” he said, giving them a friendly, silver toothed smile.
“There’s no school today,” said Audry. “The two and three-year-olds’ schools’ roofs started crumbling apart during the day, and several other schools for kids and adults have cracks in their walls and roof that the Guardians thought looked too threatening. So all the schools are undergoing inspections and repairs tonight, which is great.” She clapped all four furry, flat fingered hands. “Because tonight is cousin Jill’s birthnight! I’m so glad I don’t have to miss it. I hate when people’s birthnights are on a school night and I have to miss out on them.”
“Thank Jumellica it was during the day when those kids’ schools caved in.” said Mell May.
“Thank Jumellica,” Audry repeated. “Although I’m not surprised this happened. Our under-villages school buildings have been around for I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of years. Probably since Group 4 was first built.”
“Audry thought you girls might like to come to the party with us.” said Brotell.
“Of course!” the vervetts said in unison.
Mell May jumped onto Brotell’s back and got into the awkward but speed promoting burrowing position. Artheena jumped onto Audry’s back and did the same. In less than an Earth second, they were on Audry’s street. Moving through the ground at such speed felt more like moving through a strong blast of wind. It was a speed to fast to allow any dirt to cling to them.
To us, the grungols’ under-village would look like a place where a race of mystical people from a fairy tale would live. The streets were made of silver-white crystal and bordered with glowing gem stones that were either silver-white, warm gold, or a soft shade of blue. The South Section street that the four teenagers walked down had scenic vertical gardens on either side. Hundreds of different species of colorful underground plants grew along the exterior walls of grungols’ cave homes. Most bore flowers and many other kinds of produce.
“Audry and I invited a couple more extra guests!” Brotell announced over the crowd noise, as the four of them stepped through the curtain of pink and purple flowered vines that was Audry’s front door.
Artheena and Mell May were greeted with many welcoming hellos and furry, four-armed hugs while Audry sat back down to finish her purely herbivore breakfast of three kinds of vegetable salads, bread made of ground nuts and seeds, and a stewed dark purple vegetable that was like a cross between turnips and Brussels sprouts. The vervetts helped themselves to some salad and sour fern & sweet berry tea as they mingled about the jam-packed kitchen, chatting with the party guests.
Cousin Jill lived in the North Section of Under-Village 8. Mell May and Artheena had went to Jill’s house with Audry and her family only a few times, since they were ten years old. So they didn’t know her all that well, but they were still excited about visiting her. She was fun and bubbly and like a big kid. Best of all, she lived in a different under-village, which meant they got to ride an underground trolley. It was so much fun to ride the trollies. They sped along their slippery wet tracks as fast as the wind, and the walls and ceilings of the trolly tunnels were festively lit with glowing pictures and designs.
After breakfast was finished, everybody pitched in with cleaning the dishes and the kitchen as quickly as possible. Then all the grungol guests strapped travel totes to their backs, filled with presents for cousin Jill, along with their coin holders and bottles of well water. And they were off to the trolly stop.
Well, folks, that’s all for Part 1. I hope you enjoyed the read. Keep your eyes peeled on your WordPress Reader for Part 2, which will be coming soon. Want to know more about vervetts and grungols? Click the link below, and help yourself to a full length novel about them.
Love you all! Post you soon!