This story isn’t finished yet, but I will keep writing it and posting the new bits! Miss Pickles XXX
PS: Virtual £10 if you know what Ruò Huā’s name means! And I’m not telling you the language!
PPS: Hint: It’s a language that I am learning and doing for foundation GCSE. Hee hee hee!
PPPS: 弱 花!
PPPPS: The symbols *, ^ and $ are for footnotes. Footnotes don’t really work on wordpress.
PPPPPS: And yes, I do know that PPPS, PPPPS and PPPPPS aren’t actual terms.
Morang rotates and revolves through space. Or rather, it doesn’t. Morang is the only cube shaped planet in the universe. It moves like a dice, dodging rocks like it has a will of its own, yet sometimes it randomly hurtles upwards, or spins towards other planets, stopping only just in time. Zoom out. Further. Further. There. Now you can see the great monopoly board that is life. A mighty hand the size of three universes stretches out, grabs Morang and sends it spinning further, further away.
“Three.” A voice like thunder grunted, “ Woe is headed for Earth, I believe.”
“Not Earth again,” grumbled another sharp voice, “they had a worldwide earthquake only a century ago!” These two impressive voices belong to the Gods. They have no names, just call them God 1 and God 2. The Gods are billions of centuries old; they count years as we count seconds.
“ Hmmm, but we must respect fate. Fate decided three, and three it is.” said God 1, “Hey, did you know, those monkeys living on the dice, they’ve… changed.”
“Mmmm,” agreed God 2, “less hairy.”
“They’re calling themselves humans now. They speak…”
“Making computers and stuff…”
“Woah,” The Gods shook their heads at the amazing change in the gibbering apes they had watched eat their own tails over the years…
Meanwhile, on Morang, one of these evolutionary marvels sat on an empty tortoise shell, watching a dung beetle gather in its meal. His name was Ruò Huā. The dung beetle clambered up a hill with his tasty lunch, got to the top and… dropped it. Ruò sighed. That was the second round of Dung Beetle vs Hill, and the hill had completely thrashed the beetle. Ruò was a tall, long gangly build of a man, with a chest like a cooling rack in a wet paper bag, who always smelled faintly of cabbage and seemed to have too much leg for his body to control. As a result, 70% of his time had been spent on the floor. Ruò had been declared useless by various people across Morang over his desperate search for a job. When he applied to be a waiter, he tripped over and a full teapot was sent toppling over to be brought down on the Duchess’ head. An unsuspecting customer at Hagin’s Diner was disgusted to find a roasted worm inside his burger. Of course, that was Ruò. Even the crash dummy application went wrong, because Ruò had admitted that he was probably quite breakable. Nothing was right, so Ruò was sitting depressed on a tortoise shell, watching a dung-beetle fail a Herculean task over and over again.
“There’s nothing I’m good at,” thought Ruò miserably, “I didn’t do nothing good when I was a kid and nothing’s changed. Hrmmph.” Ruò’s parents were dead. His Mother had been a witch, but she died when he was born. His father had been a wizard. He had died two years previously, with dramatic, “You’ll be great, my son,” as his last words. Ruò hadn’t really lived up to this yet.
“Probably couldn’t think of anything better to say,” Ruò always thought, and so had dismissed this dramatic premonition.
An hour later, Ruò was home. If home equals: poky attic room that reeks of cabbage with no roof, then he was definitely home. It was his granddad’s house, a four storey mansion with three kitchens, five bathrooms, two dining rooms, four play-rooms, five coffee rooms, twenty-five bedrooms and fifty other rooms that Granddad Huā couldn’t be bothered to name and furnish, including one barren attic tower room with no roof or heating. This was Ruò’s room. You’d think what with twenty-four bedrooms on offer, all furnished grandly with actual beds (not bits of rag) that Granddad Huā would let Ruò have one. But when Ruò first turned to his Granddad for help, as he was homeless and hungry, all he got was,
“You can sleep in moi tower room, it ain’t pretty, but it’s orl a’m givin’ ya’. Yoo can ‘ave boiled cabbage for breakfast, lunch and deena, and nuffing else. Do we ‘ave an understan’in’?” To which Ruò had replied,
“Yes sir.” You didn’t mess with Granddad Huā.
“Wot you doin’ ‘ere?” roared Granddad Huā at Ruò, who was in the process of boiling some cabbage. Granddad Huā frequently forgot that he had allowed Ruò into his home, and come to think of it… what was his name again?
“I live here sir,” explained Ruò patiently, “Would you like some cabbage?” He glanced into the murky depths of his saucepan, “I’m afraid it’s burnt.”
“ NO WAY!” shouted Granddad Huā, “OI AIN’T EATIN’ THAT MUCK!” And with that, he puked neatly into the pan.
“Just as well,” Ruò thought as he noticed four two-pint whiskey bottles protruding from the bin, “there isn’t any cabbage left, and he’ll have a frightful hangover.” So when Granddad Huā trundled up to bed, Ruò enjoyed a delicious dinner of biscuits and cheese, the first non-cabbagy meal he’d had for three months. The next morning, Ruò lay on his fungi encrusted rag, with torrential rain gushing on his head and…smiled. After all, Granddad Huā had a hangover and Ruò had a stomach full of cheese. He was happy, in a vague, thoughtful sort of way. Ruò wondered why he was so hopeless. There was only one thing Ruò was good at, and that was being bad at everything. Unless Ruò had some kind of hitherto unrevealed power, which was highly unlikely, since in all twenty six years of his life, he had so far failed at everything, he was probably the most unsuccessful being on the planet.
Meanwhile, a meteor storm was heading for Earth. Rocks the size of small planets hurtled at sizzling speed towards this strange watery sphere of rock. Some of them were half the size of Earth; they would land in the ocean, causing it to flood the land and drown all the people. Or there was the cheerful notion that one would fall on the land, and crush everyone. There were a lot of people on Earth. Look at them. People at war. People arguing. People bullying. Wasting their lives. They are all going to die. Soon.
“Damn three,” remarked God 2. He frowned, “Damn Fate, come to think of it. He is not a happy bunny.”
“Yes,” God 1 agreed thoughtfully, “I wonder what the matter is. That’s the third planet he’s decided to destroy this week.”
“He’s only fifteen. Puberty, mood swings, I expect.”
“Fate is fifteen?”
God 1 nodded. To him, fifteen thousand was the equivalent of a humans fifteen year old.
“You know everyone goes through that phase where they start stepping on bugs for the fun of it?”
“He hasn’t grown out of it.”
There was a knock at the door. Ruò answered it and there was… nothing. Well, not nothing, there was Nothing. Nothing was a friend of Ruò’s, mainly because it occupied Ruò’s head, and knew the clumsy but loving person he was. Not many people know that Nothing is a person, because Nothing is… nothing. It has no sex, no age, no visible body. Yet Nothing is something because Nothing is there, and why have a word for something that doesn’t exist? Ruò was the only person who can see nothing, mainly because he doesn’t have the brains to think, “I can’t see Nothing! Nothing is well… nothing! You can’t see it!” and so blank this vague, shadowy figure from his vision. Which is what somebody with so called intelligence would do, because they have the sense not to see nothing. What is really there undermines sense, and sense doesn’t even notice, and goes about his business, thank you very much. So basically, Ruò had no sense, and could therefore see things logic could not.
“Good day, Ruò,” whispered Nothing. Nothing always whispers. Ruò could not see Nothing, but could sense when it came to visit.
“Sorry, I shan’t be able to see you. There’s some nothingness over the other side of the universe, and I had to send my eyes. Luckily, they were just the right size. The gas should move in soon and I can have them back, but until then…” Nothing sighed. Lots of people think they have seen nothing, not the person, but simply the absence of anything, but they haven’t. True nothing is extremely rare, because people who say there is nothing in that attic room upstairs are exceedingly wrong, because there are so, so, so many gasses and atoms and nuclei and protons and neutrons and electrons and quarks there are contained in that one little room. Millions. Trillions. Gazillions.
“Hi Nothing. You alright? Any reason for your coming?”
“I am good, thank you. I have come for a reason. It is very important. You must find Fate. I, I have looked and failed to find him. He is going through adolescence, and is VERY violent as a result. He is destroying planets, one by one. Soon there will be nothing, you will be dead and I will be lonely. I wish it were someone else who could see me. I know not of anyone else to help me, so it seems that the future of the universe lies in your hands.”
“That last sentence would be very dramatic if you were tall and muscular with blond hair waving in the breeze and if you had said something heroic and if you didn’t look so bewildered.” Nothing paused,
“And if we weren’t in a cabbagey house with your Grandfather puking in the bathroom next door.”
“We will work on it.”
Granddad Huā awoke with his head in the toilet. It was two hours after Nothing had arrived, he’d been puking for half an hour, had a terrible headache, and to top it all, he had toilet water running down his neck.
“Stupid Ruò,” he thought,”I be’ it’s orl Ruò’s forl’ I ‘ave dis damn ‘eadache. What with ‘im TORKIN’ all last nigh’.” He had conveniently forgotten the four whiskey bottles he had consumed previously. He frowned. “Can’t even remember oo ‘e wors torkin’ to, anyway.”
“Ruò!” he suddenly roared, “THERE’S SICK ORL IN MOI TOILET, AND OI AIN’T CLEANIN’ IT!” He strained his waxy ears for Ruò’ reply. And he heard…nothing. He sucked through his mighty nostrils to smell the distinctive scent of cabbage that Ruò carried round with him. And he smelled…nothing. He searched the house for Ruò’ weedy, pathetic figure. And he saw… Nothing.
“Good day.” Nothing remarked, as if he couldn’t see that Granddad Huā was fixed to the ground with shock, and that dribble was weaving down his beard.
“But I… can’t… see you,” he managed and Nothing vanished. The simple truth was that Granddad Huā had seen what his mind assured him was not real, and so had blocked Nothing out. However, what he had also blocked out was that Nothing had informed him that Ruò would shortly be risking his life to save the entire universe, armed with nothing but a rusty teaspoon. Then again, Granddad Huā probably wouldn’t have cared.
Earth. Or rather, where Earth would have been if a bad-tempered force hadn’t blown it to bits with meteors.Six billion humans…gone. No more people. No more animals. No more Mcdonalds.
“Don’t worry, it’s a SPECIAL rusty teaspoon,” Nothing assured Ruò, “It belonged to the legendary God 2, who flung it down to Morang in a rage when he lost in Monopoly.” They were in Ruò’ bedroom two minutes later. Ruò frowned.
“Bit small for a God’s teaspoon, isn’t it?”
“It shrunk in the fall, melted by the countless stars it brushed. It is the most powerful object that has ever been touched by human hands, and it fell on your head last June. You’ve been using it to scrape out the cabbage bowl.” It added disapprovingly.
“Well it got rid of the cabbage better than anything else could!” Ruò answered defensively.
“And how was I to know it was destined to save the universe?”
“It wasn’t like it said on the handle, ‘Magic spoon, do not scrape cabbage’ or anything was it?”
“Hmmm” It was then that Ruò realised that Nothing hadn’t been listening for the past five minutes.”
“I’VE GOT TO SAVE THE WHOLE UNIVERSE!” he suddenly screamed, “I’VE GOT TO FIND THIS…FATE PERSON, WHO KILLS WHOLE PLANETS WITH… NOTHING AS COMPANY, AND I’M SO, SO, SO SCARED! THE FUTURE OF THE UNIVERSE LIES IN MY HANDS, AND YOU AREN’T EVEN LISTENING TO ME!”
“ARRRRGGGGHHHH!” Ruò stormed over to his bed, (or at least, sleeping area.) and dreamt angry and scared dreams.
When Ruò woke up, it occurred to him that he didn’t have to save the universe from an adolescent force. Well, if you could even call Fate a force. He was, in the sense that you couldn’t see him, he made things happen, and he was good friends with old Gravity. Yep, decided Ruò, nothing I can do about it. I guess everyone will have to die. He looked at Nothing who was sleeping peacefully beside him. Ruò’s two halves began to argue. Well, Ruò’ ¼ good and ¾ don’t-give-a-stuff began to argue.
“ Do you actually want to let everyone die? Your friends, your Granddad Huā?” His good quarter questioned him.
“Course I do. No-one’s ever been nice to me! Especially that old *******, Granddad Huā!”
“You shouldn’t swear. Granddad Huā’s the only person who’s ever been bad to you. True no-one’s ever been good to you, but no-ones been bad.” Ruò ignored this, which is the mental equivalent of Lex Luthor blowing a raspberry at his enemy and Superman running away in tears. Technically, in his mind, Ruò had got on his Doc Martens and trampled all over his conscience. Ruò was NOT going to save the universe and that was final. Some other guy could do it.
God 1 shook his head, dandruff flakes the size of continents drifting onto his shoulders.
“I was rather fond of Qualia. The turtles that live there were quite charming.”
“It was a beautiful place,” agreed God 2 regretfully.
“Will Ruò be able to stop him in time? Before Fate destroys the entire Universe?”
“I doubt it.”
“Then we, my friend are in deep, deep doo doo.”
“Ahhhhh!” Ruò bellowed as he fell down the stairs. Cursing, he brought himself to his feet, grumbling and moaning. A rather fetching, (or at least in Granddad Huā’s opinion) portrait of Ruò’ grandfather with his boot on a (fake) dead deer brandishing a (unfortunately real) gun fell on his head. Slightly annoyed that nobody had come rushing to see if he was okay, Ruò continued to escape. Irritated, also by the fact that the stairs failed to creak ominously, he slunk out through the door.
There were once a number of hotels on Ruò’s planet, almost all of them fairly welcoming, give or take the odd sly kick under the table that nobody would notice. Hundreds, in fact. Thousands. So it seems slightly odd that the one Ruò chose, perhaps out of tiredness, or frugalness, or sheer thick-headedness, was as unwelcoming as it is possible to be. Rats scuttled around the grotty floors. And these weren’t even decent rats. They were the scum of rat civilisation, the rat-equivalent of thieves and drug-addicts. Filth coated any surface available, like inch-thick blankets, black as Granddad Huā’s tongue. It had minus three and a half stars, and the health inspector would have given it a F, going on G, and had it closed it down if it weren’t for the fact that she was rotting under a bed somewhere. And this is where Ruò decided to spend the night.
Stepping almost smartly through the door, (literally; half of it was missing) Ruò failed to notice everything mentioned in the previous paragraph, thus completely wasting it. He wandered through a drab porchway, tripping over a foot as he went.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, not noticing that the foots rightful owner was sitting behind a desk some three metres away from it. And no, he didn’t have a three metre leg. The man stared at Ruò, but on the other hand, he could have been staring at a rather fetching, if puke-stained curtain on the other side of the room. His eyes didn’t match, color or direction wise. He seemed welded to the chair like a exceedingly ugly statue that breathed with the sound of a plug hole sucking up wet sand. Mouth slightly agape, the man pointed a finger the size of a sausage (and we’re talking cumberland sausages here) at Ruò and with an enormous amount of effort, opened his mouth further still to speak.
“I’m sorry!” Ruò squeaked. He inwardly kicked himself for sounding like a girl in front of this lump of pure masculinity. “I’m sorry?” he repeated in (he hoped) a gruff, deep voice.
“Mrahwuh!” Ruò decided to dismiss this.
“I’d like a room for the night, pl-” Ruò never finished his sentence because, at that moment, he was knocked out by a rather heavy club.
The reader at this point may be worried about Ruò, but this sort of thing happened to him all the time and thus was no worry. What with Ruò’ bad luck, combined with the fact that he was in one of the most dangerous hotels in Morang, it was unavoidable, to be expected in fact. It was a mundane thing that he was stuffed in a sack, heaved into a van by two thugs and driven to an airport. Yawnable that he was then gassed and stuffed in the luggage compartment of an aeroplane which flew to the other side of the world. And it was amazingly, breathtakingly dull that he was tied up inside his sack and dropped into the ocean. However it was not normal that he was rescued by a mermaid and brought into a cave above the water.
Ruò opened his eyes to see an enormous fish head looming above him. What with him being near the sea, this wasn’t odd at all, but what was odd was that it had no tail and was instead connected to a pair of human legs in a hula skirt. Ruò fell asleep again.
Once again, Ruò’ eyes flickered open. The backwards mermaid was still there. Manfully pulling seaweed out of his hair, he opened his mouth and, once the shark eggs and brine had fallen out, spoke.
“I rescued you,” the creature said, “when those men dropped you in the sea.”
“You would have drowned. Would you like some seaweed?” Ruò sniffed the dripping finfull. It smelt of salty socks. He daringly risked a bite. It tasted of salty socks.
“Thank you. Where am I?” he managed after he’d finished coughing, “And why do you have fish-head?”
“I am a mermaid,” she stifled a sob, “a backwards one.”
“Mermaid?” Ruò said tactlessly, “You’re not a mermaid! They have fishtails not heads!”
“I am a mutant-” she began
“Ew,” interrupted Ruò. The backwards mermaid glared at Ruò the glare that only an insulted fish can give. “Sorry. Go on.”
“I was born under the king and queen of the sea, Menina and Murambo.” Ruò tried not to laugh. “They left me at an orphanage when they saw what I was. Then the orphanage dumped me here, with this letter.”
‘Vos parents vous aiment.’, it read, ‘Ils ne pouvaient pas vous garder, parce qu’ils savaient que vous mener une vie horrible, vivant dans la ville, ce qui de la façon dont tu es laid. Mais Vous pouvez les rencontrer secrètement quand vous êtes âgé de douze ans sur le septième de Mars. Cordialement, l’orphelinat. Jum.’ Ruò nodded in what he hoped was a knowing way, gazing out at the calm sea in front of him, wondering how to get away from the mad fish-thing.
“Do you know what it means?” she asked, her weird fishy eyes brimming with hope.
“No,” Ruò said cheerfully, “Can’t say I do.” The mermaid seemed in terrifying danger of crying, so Ruò hastily changed the subject.
“What’s your name?” he asked.
“Jum. That’s what it says at the end of the note.”
“Jum.” Ruò said, “Well Jum, where am I?”
“Here. Stuck. Forever.”
Ruò lived a relatively peaceful life for a week or so.The first day he lit fires and swam in the sea and ate seaweed. The next day he lit fires and swam in the sea and ate seaweed. The day after that he lit fires and swam in the sea and ate seaweed. Then on the fourth day there was a drastic change: he lit fires and swam in the sea and ate seaweed. Ruò was bored. Not the sitting-in-the-car-idly-wondering-when-the-journey-would-end bored, but ultimate boredom. The kind of boredom that causes lesser men to go insane and claw their brains out. But Ruò was sick of excitement; boredom was better than being attacked by flying monkeys or something. Jum proved to be particularly boring company. When one has spent all of one’s life in a cave by the ocean with nobody to talk to but a stuffed monkey (it had washed up long ago and disturbed Ruò so much he had buried it), one tends to be extremely, homicidally dull. There had actually been a shipwreck a few years ago, Jum told Ruò. Three people washed ashore. Upon spending half an hour with her, two committed suicide and the last tried to swim away, where he was eaten by a blue whale*. Jum never found out why.
After a particularly monotonous, tedious, humdrum, tiresome, dreary, flat, wearisome meal, (there, the author has used up all her adjectives now. Don’t expect any more) , in which Jum talked of nothing but the time she found a dead seagull on the beach, Ruò actually considered leaving the cave.
“Hey Jum,” he called after her, “Is it possible to leave our island?”
“Boat.” Ruò looked wildly around, the claustrophobia suddenly kicking in.
“What boat? Where?”
“Need to make one. I saw one once. over there,” she gestured vaguely out into the blue, “It was white and absolutely huge and it had Titanic ^written on the side.”
“Titanic?” Ruò said in surprise, “That was fifty years ago!”
“Was it?” Jum said absent-mindedly, “Time doesn’t seem to exist here. Have I told you about the seagull I found on the beach?”
“Yes, yes, ” Ruò said hurriedly, “How old are you, Jum?”
“Forty thousand, give or take the odd century. Why? You know mermaids are immortal, don’t you?”
“Yes, yes of course I do. Can we build a boat?” Was Ruò’s reply.
“Yes, why not?”
Bravura, the planet famous for the creation of tap-dancing goats went tick-tick-tick… Tock. Kablooey! An explosion of epic proportion sent goats hurtling into space, the expression of bewilderment on their faces only lasting a second until they themselves also blew up. Five million Bravurians dead. And several hundred goats.
Two days later, Ruò and Jum had a raft that looked like a flat board of wood ripped off the back of a sofa. The reason being: it was. Ruò observed it with a critical eye. He’d never seen the sea at its worst, so he imagined he could float along it on his board as if it were a big calm pond.
Perfect, he thought. Jum was extremely excited about leaving the island. She’d even packed up her belongings (a toothbrush and a pebble she’d named Jeremy) in the red spotted handkerchief tied to a stick which is traditional in circumstances such as this. Ruò, of course had no possessions, so he sat on the board waiting as Jum walked around saying goodbye to each individual grain of sand. Time was speeding away.
“Are we nearly there yet?” Jum repeated for the nth time.
“No.” Ruò snarled through gritted teeth, “And stop saying that!”
“…” said Jum icily. Ruò couldn’t see anything but blue. Blue rolling waves, blue dazzling sky, blue Jum. Metaphorically blue Jum of course. She was miserable because she’d left the seagull behind. Ruò refused to turn back after two days of sailing to fetch a dead seagull, so Jum hadn’t spoken to him for twelve hours. Ruò sighed. Jum caught nothing but plankton for meals, and it was unbelievable how that stuff didn’t fill you up. Ruò wondered if he’d made A Big Mistake. Too late to turn back of course, he mused, but maybe if I found a big island, with lots of beautiful native women on it-
“NESSIE!” shrieked Jum
“Don’t be stupid, Jum; Nessie’s just a-a-a- ARGH!” Jum, who had been plankton-fishing struggled onto the ‘boat’, her fins flapping in anxiety.
“Look! There! Row away!” At which point Ruò dropped the oars (two huge spatulas, original purposes unknown) into the murky depths of the ocean.
“IDIOT!” bellowed Jum. Ruò shrugged modestly.
In the meantime, the loch ness monster charged through the water like a huge snake on steroids. Which of course was what it was. $ Her scales were like dinner plates. Her eyes were like merciless, black, shiny pebbles. And most importantly, her teeth were like sharper-than-sharp angry knives. Ruò fainted. Jum ferociously tried to row the ‘boat’ with her toothbrush, failed, and gave up. All the while Nessie shot through the water like a green scaly bullet, gaining on them, gaining, gaining- SNAP! Darkness…
To be continued…
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Jum drifted through the water, steadily losing consciousness… she only had one mouthful of air before she drowned… If she had eyelids, her eyes would be steadily closing as she prepared to die. Death isn’t so bad, she thought dreamily, in fact I feel fine. I can breathe! Am I dead?
No you have gills, idiot, an inner voice told her, rescue Ruò.
Stuff him, her brain thought.
You love him, don’t you Jum? the voice said slyly.
Shut up! Jum thought, outraged.
Well, if you ever need you, you’re always here. Bye.
Jum grabbed Ruò by the head (with her mouth. There’s not much else you can use when you have no arms) and rose to the surface, kicking her human legs frantically. Then she remembered Nessie, and ducked back under again with a now awake and spluttering Ruò.
“Glub, glub glub glub glub glub. Glub glub glub.” bubbled Jum.
“Glub?” asked Ruò.
“GLUB GLUB GLUB!” Ruò then proceeded to start choking, so Jum, concluding after considerable thought that humans need air, bobbed back up again.
“Och, weir did you go?” a deep rumbling, but somehow feminine voice queried from behind Ruò. He shook off Jum and turned around slowly. He knew this was the part where he found out something terrible was lurking behind him. A huge green face with pink lipstick smothered all over it smiled at him. Teeth. He thought. Ugh.
“A-a-are you going to eat me?” he managed to stutter.
“Did the water just get warmer?” Jum mumbled under her breath.
“Me?” Nessie laughed, “Eat an ugly, scrawny pathetic specimen like you?”
“Er, thanks,” Ruò murmured.
“Do ye need a new boat?” Nessie asked with a voice like a drum set falling down the stairs.
“Yes,” squeaked Ruò.
“Weel, a’ve not got one.”
“S’fine.” Ruò knew dimly that it was not fine, since he was floating in an over-sized puddle (with no boat) with a fat snake three miles long, and he needed a new pair of trousers. But in front of the Loch Ness Monster, one tends to forget these trivialities.
“But ye can raid on ma back, if ye be wantin’ too.”
Jum was quick to leap upon the sea monster’s back, her inexperience in general humanity (and snakanity) causing her to trust the monster inexplicitly. Ruò, who had been attacked, mauled, tricked, poisoned, and had bad poetry read to , had more understanding of the mean cruel world, and what happens if you trust a big green snake on steroids.
“Actually, we have a boat right here!” he announced brightly, treading water (failing to)
“Weir?” Nessie queried sarcastically “I dinnae ken weir you’d be heidin’ a great big boat, a skuggan like yerself. Is it up yer troosers?”
“Nay. I mean no.” He sighed. Even though he hadn’t understood most of Nessie’s words, he knew he had lost; the inevitable consequence when you argued with females.
“Och, ye bampot, claim on ma back then.” Ruò, with a resigned face clambered onto her vast scaly back. He fell off several times.
“Soo, weir would ye be goin’, wee bairns?”
“Anywhere.” breathed Jum, a faraway look in her eyes, “Just think, Ruò, we’re actually going somewhere!”
“We were before,” Ruò grumbled, “I could have managed perfectly well without… her.” Nessie was charging through the water now, at speeds Ruò and his sofa board could only dream of. Ruò shoved his hands deep into the fathomless recesses of his pockets and touched… metal. Metal? Perhaps the magical elves had visited with gold and silver. Ruò hoped so. He fished it out, struggling against the currents of the mini rivers flowing down his pockets. A spoon. No, a Spoon. No, The Spoon. Ruò stared at The Spoon in horror. He’d chucked the damn thing in the ocean, hadn’t he? He shivered. It had found him. Staring at the slightly luminous teaspoon made him remember Nothing. He’d let Nothing down. What would Nothing be doing now? Trying to save the Universe on its own, Ruò supposed. He cast that thought aside. Nothing could cope. Wait… there was something more important. How about… FATE WAS DESTROYING HIS UNIVERSE?!? Ruò slapped his hand against his head. How could he have forgotten? How could he have left his responsibilities of saving the universe? He glanced down. How could he have ruined his best pair of trousers? Look at them, Ruò thought, all salty and wet… How can I be thinking of my trousers? I have to save the Universe!
“How do I save the Universe?” he suddenly said aloud.
“Does it need saving?” queried Jum.
“Yes,” replied Ruò, “And I have to save it. With this teaspoon.” To Ruò’s disappointment, Jum did not look impressed. More sceptical… of Ruò’s sanity.
A giant rabbit bounded towards Morang, each mighty boing! covering thousands and thousands of miles. When you’re a force, you don’t have to have reasons. Its murderous teeth protruded from its mouth like dinosaurs’ tombstones, bared in anticipation for the meal ahead. It was pink, fluffy and deadly.
The sea, contrary to popular belief, (eg: of plankton enthusiasts) is very, very boring. Wave after identical wave sloshed against Ruò’s feet, which he rather suspected, after two days of constant wetness, were rotting. He hoped this was a figment of his imagination, whatever a figment was. Sometimes Nessie killed a shark, and tossed it back to Ruò and Jum, which Ruò gladly devoured, until Jum informed him that sharks urinate through their skin. He stuck to plankton after that.
“Why the rabbit?” God 2 asked.
“Well, because, obviously… well… um… I don’t know.” God 1 mumbled.
“Well there goes our last chance of survival. That teaspoon boy lives on Morang, you know.”
Icicles protruded from Ruò’s nose. Jum’s scales were coated by a sheen of thin ice, her legs- which Ruò tended to avoid looking at- blue and covered in goosebumps. Yet Nessie still cracked her way through two-feet-thick icebergs with her head, as if she was pushing her way through whipped cream.
“It’s pure dead chankin’, is it nae? Baltic!” she roared over her shoulder.
“What does she mean?” Jum whispered to Ruò.
“Beats me,” he replied helpfully.
“Yes?” said Jum.
“Och, a’m I talking mince? Naither o ye ‘as a scooby as te wit a’m sayin’! … Ach, a’m scunnert. Jist cooch doon fae the night.” For some reason, at that moment, Ruò realised that he didn’t actually know where he was going.
“Yeis, ma wee dobber?”
“Weil, ah, I mean well, um… Where exactly are we going?”
“Ma hame, o cous! Loch Ness! Scotland! Eyerth!” As Ruò tried to decode this in his brain, Nessie stared at him expectantly, as if waiting for a reaction. Jum got there first.
“We’re going to Earth?”
“What’s Earth?” asked Ruò ignorant as ever.
“Wit dae ye mean, wit’s Eyerth? och ye scunner, have ye ne’er kenned o’ ma hame planet? Wait.. ye’ve ne’er kenned o’ Scotland?”
“No…” mumbled Ruò, anxious that he should have heard of this unfamiliar… Scotland.
“Auld Reekie? Barras? Glesga?” Ruò’s bewildered expression sent her into the pits of despair, as she let out a wail, “Thees is wors’ than a kenned. It’s risky, bu’ we’re a gaein’ right noo.”
As Nessie shot like a long, green bullet through space, dashing past stars and narrowly avoiding planets, Ruò contemplated Life. With his eyes closed. There is no wind in space, but if there was, it would have blown his straggly, salty hair off his face, allowing him to see (if his eyes were open) the infinite velvety blackness of outer space, lit up by little pinpricks of light, as well as considerably bigger burning balls of gas that singed his boots. It seemed that all this trouble had only started when Nothing had given him the teaspoon. Or maybe it was when he’d run away. Damn. That meant he had nobody to blame it all on. Damn. Damn, damn, damn. Damn.
FtzzzPP! That is the noise of a ten-mile long snake crashing through where her planet used to be, and stopping suddenly as she realises it is not there. You don’t get to hear that very often. Her reptilian face was shocked and horrified, gaping mouth wide open as she darted from one random point to another.
“A must be blootered…” she kept mumbling under her breath, “Am a blootered, Ruò?” Her wide eyes were desperate, desperate for the chance that this could have been a horrible mistake, that Earth was still out there somewhere.
“Probably,” answered Ruò vaguely, not having any idea what ‘blootered’ meant. Nessie relaxed an inch.
“Hoo much did a tan?” Ruò eyed Nessie’s green shining scales. They were exactly the same shade of green they’d been yesterday.
“Not at all.” His answer seemed to confuse Nessie.
“Sae hoo’d a get pished then?”
“Oh!” Jum sighed in sudden realisation, “Pished means drunk, Ruò. That sailor told me. You know the one who washed up and got eaten by the whale? Nessie thinks she’s drunk. Blootered must mean drunk. And tan must mean drink.” Jum’s face hardened, as much as it is possible for a fish’s face to harden. “She doesn’t understand what’s happened.” Ruò snorted in exasperation.
“But what has happened?”
“Earth was her planet, Ruò. And it’s gone.” The Loch Ness Monster let out a howl of grief, just as Morang got eaten by a giant, pink rabbit.
Upon reaching the bloated pink rabbit that was resting contentedly in the place of his home planet, Ruò decided Something Had to Be Done. He didn’t entirely understand what was going on, but this, this… Fate person was destroying whole planets, which he just might have been able to ignore, but this rabbit was the Last Straw.
Morang was gone. Hagin’s Diner was gone. Granddad Huā was gone. Although he could probably survive the last one, he was forced to concede, he would honestly miss the RatBurgers at Hagin’s diner. But things are always more dramatic when they come in threes, are they not? So Ruò kept the original sentence in his head, for drama’s sake. Suddenly, a blindingly obvious solution popped into his underused Brain (since Ruò regarded his Brain as a whole other person, it deserved the capital letter). Concentrating all his mental power into one seemingly pointless task, he thought of nothing. A happy vacant expression spread across his face; thinking always results in unhappiness. Then, nothing turned into Nothing.
“Where have you been?” It whispered. But it whispered in the scary way that is worse than shouting, the tone of voice that causes people to fall to their knees, begging to be run over by raging rhinos, rather than face the Beholder of The Voice. It was the voice of mothers, of teachers, and of very, very angry people.
“Your home planet has just been blown up- well, eaten by a pink fluffy rabbit, but anyway, you could have stopped it! Where on Morang did you run off to?”
“You left your own species to die, including your own Grandfather, and now it’s all gone!”
“Who’s that you’re talking to, Ruò?” Jum interrupted sharply.
“This is- hang on, how can you see it?” Jum eyed Ruò soulfully and replied:
“Fish see things. Who is…” She struggled for a moment to determine the sex of the newcomer, “He?”
“It. It is Nothing.”
“Well that’s not very polite!”
“No, my dear. I am Nothing, the pure absence of Something, the centre of planets, the crack in time and space, the contents of Ruò’s head. There is more of me than you would think.”
“See?” Ruò said, hoping fervently that Nothing wasn’t playing the I’m Not Talking To You trump card. It seemed he was, since his attention was solely concentrated on Jum, while Nessie was biting her own tail whilst flailing about, desperately trying to throw Ruò and Jum off.
* It is commonly believed that whales are gentle creatures, who’d never harm anyone but plankton-and they don’t really count- but try telling Jum’s escapee that. Never trust a whale biologist.
^ In some ways Morang is very similar to your planet, Earth. Titanic was one of the many catastrophes these two planets have shared.
$ Nessie is in fact from Earth, but she was created unaturally by some Scottish scientists who felt some extra tourism was due for Scotland. It went very well for a while, until Nessie exploded into the air like a space rocket, straight to Morang, where she settled down nicely, thank you very much.