Steampunk Family

On the Run

August 4, 2012
This entry is part of a series, Voyage to Antafrica»

As their laughter subsided the children became aware of how thirsty they were. They escaped the palace with the clothes on their backs and the contents of their pockets – no water or food. Lady Aubergine had long ago emptied the twins’ cheese tin, and for all their thoughts of escape they had not filled it with anything else. They pushed on through the woods, hoping to find a valley on the other side. The lowest land usually had springs bubbling through it, and they could find water at least. Food would have to wait until morning.

It was getting late. The sky darkened purple and shadows deepened amongst the trees. Adolphus scooped Bettina up to ride piggy-back and they picked up their pace. Fear overrode exhaustion and they trotted through the murky wood. The land sloped downward and they hoped the forest would end. They forged ahead through the gloom, racing sunset.

“I think we’re out of it,” Gerhardt said, peering ahead. “I think it’s clear up ahead.”

“We’ll never find a spring in the dark,” Annabelle said.

“Still have your torch?” Adolphus asked.

“The cloth’s burned away. I’ll need another handkerchief.”

“Let’s get in the open first,” Claire said. “Don’t stop.”

Mirabelle screamed. “It’s got me – the vine!”

“Torch!”

“Can’t. She’s got the engine cleaner!”

A scrape and a flare as Bettina lit a match. Mirabelle’s pale face glowed through the darkness three yards away. As the match sputtered out Bettina lit her last firecracker with it and threw.

BAM!

The explosion flared yellow. Adolphus leaped after it, dragging Mirabelle back out of the questing, carnivorous vine. They huddled together, recovering, until Claire broke the silence.

“I have a handkerchief.”

They cobbled together another torch with the last of the Boiler Chief’s engine cleaner.

Adolphus took it and led the way out of the forest. The sky was fully dark by the time they found their way out. Adolphus walked slowly into the field, testing the ground for soft (and hopefully wet) spots, but the dirt under the tall grass was as firm as the forest. The children stumbled around the field, parched and dispirited, until they heard a rumbling sound.

The twins drew together. “Not thunder,” Mirabelle said.

“No.” Annabelle closed her eyes in concentration. “Wheels.”

The brilliant thing about a torch is that it lights the immediate vicinity brightly and well. The unfortunate side effect is that it blinds you to everything outside its dazzling circle of light. The rumbling came towards them, loud and fast.

“Put it out!” Claire cried.

“Too late,” Adolphus said. “Whatever it is has seen us, and I’m not loosing my only weapon.”

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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!
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