Steampunk Family
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

Gerhardt fished in his pocket for his knife but the vines grabbed his hand. He managed to get two fingers on the knife and fling it towards his other hand. Luckily he was not bad with his left hand and managed to open the blade and start sawing away at the vines. Tendrils slapped his face and grabbed his hand but he slashed back. It pulled his feet into the mud. He kicked and shouted and slashed with his pocketknife.

Behind him the water exploded. A wave hit the bank, uncovering little Bettina’s buried face. She coughed and spluttered. Something sailed over Gerhardt’s head and landed on the bank with a thud. It was Annabelle! She jumped up and stomped on vines, shouting Italian curses.

Then there was an earthquake. At least that’s what Gerhardt thought when he found his eyeballs shaking. It was a roar, a deafening roar. Enormous brown hands plunged deep into the mud and tore out vines and children alike. Gerhardt flew onto dry ground and Bettina landed beside him.

The yeti was awake at last. It tore at the vines, pulling out great clumps from the mud. The tendrils whipped wildly at its face, wrapped its arms and legs, but to no avail.

The yeti ripped at the vines until they flopped into the water, lifeless. The creature roared again and again, attacking the other bank. The children were never sure, after, if the yeti wanted to save them or just wanted to kill the vines, but there they all were, sore, shaken, coughing, and covered in mud.

The yeti roared again and leapt for the cave mouth. The vines overhanging it parted like a curtain to avoid its wrath. With a splash the creature disappeared into the darkness.

Annabelle started after it but Gerhardt grabbed her.

“Let it calm down,” he said.

She nodded, but tears streamed down her face. She knelt to help Bettina, slapping her back as she spit out the last of the mud.

“I know. It’s a wild animal again now. That’s how it should be.”

Mirabelle, Claire, and Adolphus were on the opposite bank. After some minutes shouted discussion they agreed to walk downstream on their respective sides until they could safely cross to one another. They used sticks to poke into the bank to retrieve Bettina’s shoes, but they all agreed not to go into the water until they could see through to the bottom.

They rested a bit, surrounded by the remains of the plant that had tried to kill them. Mirabelle pocketed a sample of the vine, for her hands were still shaking too much to sketch it properly. Then she realized her observation book was floating downstream. She ran to catch it, fishing it out with a stick, though Claire was frantic lest she fall afoul of more killer vine. She did not.

The twins then inventoried their pockets, shouting across the river to tally their supplies. They had lost the hammer, the tweezers, 3 of their 7 spanners, and the cricket cage was crushed. They had already eaten the apple and all the cookies, but joyously discovered that their cheese tin was waterproof (but saved the cheeses for later).

As they walked they had time to observe their surroundings. Adolphus was fascinated by the purple-white sky and stumbled frequently, as he never looked down. Claire scowled whenever she looked up, and Annabelle declared that she couldn’t bear to look at it. The constant swirling motion made her sick all over again. They tried and tried to agree on a scientific explanation for the color and motion, but the closest they cam was “maybe some sort of bizarre volcanic effect?” and left it at that.

The ground was much more reassuring. The river cut through a forest of tall trees and scrubby underbrush. The trees looked to be deciduous, that is they had leaves rather than needles, but none of the children, not even Claire who was a natural classifier, nor Gerhardt who paid more attention to Mother’s greenhouse lessons than anyone else, could name a single species.



This story began with On Grandmothers. The previous episode is Ambush and the next is In a Strange Land.
Entries in this series:
  1. On Grandmothers
  2. With A Bang!
  3. In Search of Ancient Angiosperms
  4. Assault on the Galley
  5. The Sorrows of Chef
  6. Faeries, Helpful Siblings, and other Mythological Creatures
  7. Meanwhile, Back in the Lab
  8. A Day of Discovery
  9. The Children’s Hypothesis
  10. A Research Date
  11. Aboard the Schmetterling
  12. The Cave
  13. The Cage
  14. Knee of the Yeti
  15. Kidnapped!
  16. A Clue
  17. The Yeti and the Comb
  18. Fighting the Count
  19. Fighting the Yeti
  20. Falling
  21. Breadcrumbs
  22. The Search is On
  23. Flight to Saigon
  24. On the Streets of Saigon
  25. The Sad Man
  26. At the Grandiere Club Aeronautique
  27. If you Give a Count a Cookie
  28. Out of Cookies
  29. Stuck!
  30. Airships Float?
  31. Where is Claire?
  32. Drowning
  33. Into the Drink!
  34. Boat!
  35. Mushroom Trip
  36. Ambush
  37. The Variegated Strangler
  38. In a Strange Land
  39. Hand over Hand
  40. The Last of the Gouda
  41. An Unusual Breakfast
  42. Downstream
  43. What's for Dinner?
  44. Axe and Fire
  45. Meanwhile, Back at the Airship
  46. Over the Gobi
  47. Return of the Grandmothers
  48. Warning from Huang
  49. Anxious Hours
  50. Ulrik Prepares
  51. Destruction by Dawn
  52. Finding Philomena
  53. No Luck in Pekin
  54. The Children Rescue...Something
  55. Corndog Liberation
  56. The Fate of Corndogs
  57. Have you Tea?
  58. Antafrican Hosptitality
  59. Onion Porridge
  60. Homesick
  61. On the Hunt
  62. Farm Living
  63. Singing for Supper
  64. You Say Potato...
  65. Curiosity is the Foundation of Discovery
  66. An Awkward Position
  67. Trouble Comes Riding
  68. Capsicum Capture
  69. To the Palace
  70. The Death of the Lincoln
  71. War Wings
  72. A Long Way Down
  73. Enter the Lightning
  74. Before the Queen
  75. You are a Tomato!
  76. A Sunken Ship
  77. Eglantine Aubergine
  78. Children of the Soil
  79. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  80. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  81. At Night in the Nightshade Court
  82. The Price of Popcorn
  83. Ulrik and Chef
  84. Fire!
  85. Claire's Bluff
  86. Tomato Queen and Aubergine
  87. It's Going to Blow!
  88. Rhodri in the Gardens
  89. The Servant's Fountain
  90. History Revealed
  91. Fight at the Fountain
  92. Repercussions
  93. Father Discovers the Yeti
  94. Aboard the Lucy Stone
  95. Summoned
  96. The Queen's Accusation
  97. The Queen's Rage
  98. The Khan
  99. The Last War Wing
  100. Eglantine Departs
  101. Thumping Rhodri
  102. Bad News from the Boys
  103. Where's the Count?
  104. In Search of the Count
  105. Spying on the Queen
  106. Confronting the Count
  107. Orphaned?
  108. Orphaned?
  109. Montesanto's Experiments
  110. Montesanto's Experiments
  111. The Queen's Tantrum
  112. Bettina's Tantrum
  113. The Flaming Queen
  114. Uprising!
  115. Uprising!
  116. Escape
  117. On the Run
  118. The Mysterious Coach
  119. Red Racer!
  120. Revolution Reset
  121. By the Acid Sea
  122. Farewell Antafrica
  123. Home Again!
Powered by Hackadelic Sliding Notes 1.6.5

1 Trackback or Pingback for this entry

Previous Post
Next Post