The Seventh Voyage of Temperance (The Adventures of Ichabod Temperance Book 7) (4 page)

Chapter Three:
Icky and the Sugar Buzz

.     .    .  s n o r e  .    .      .

.   .   .  slumber  .  .  . slumber  .   .  

.     .    .  s n o r e  .    .      .

.    .   .  slumber  .  .  .  slumber  .   .  

I do not want to wake up...

A sickly sweet sugar buzz rebounds about my expansive head, sapping my energy, but I refuse to allow myself the luxury of an extended hibernation.

No, I must rouse this great body of mine! Sit up, I command my slowly waking limbs. Come, my chubby legs, pull up beneath my butt and bear this bare bear into an upright position. No, that doesn’t seem to be working. Spread out wide, my jumbo legs and I will put my expansive belly to work! Ill rock back and forth a couple of times and with a mighty grunt I use my substantial momentum to heave myself forward! Rise, you glorious creature! I am as brilliant as I am large, in the manner in which I used my immense weight to my advantage! Higher, and higher my commanding presence looms, for I am the biggest and strongest occupant of this island!

“RRRRAWR!!!”

Ah, the tremendous weight of my glorious body is such a comfort! I am sure that I must weigh a massive fifty tons! None may oppose me! I am the
’Inescapable One’!
No ill-begotten, pseudo-super-monster, nor madman scientist with ’Evil Eye’ attachment, can resist me!

That deluded fool, Doctor Atwell Lionelstein, may have inadvertently created the superior being when he created me, but his other attempts at super-monster development are disgusting! Someday, I will put an end to that mans indecent meddling with the Laws of Nature, but until such time, I find that I am distracted by a scent in the air; that of something tangy and sweet. I smell fruit! My orchards! I must go and check on my orchards!

This entire island quakes at the thudding footfalls of my gigantic feet. Let that be a warning! Stay away from this end of Monstrous Island!

“RRRRAWR!!!”

My orchards, how beautiful and bountiful you are! Acre after carefully planted acre, my squared fields of fruit trees stretch across my valley in a neatly arrayed checkerboard of delightful colours.

“Hello, yellow! My Pineapple trees, look at how tall you have grown! Why some of you are thirty feet tall! Almost up to my waist! You poor trees are sagging under your burden of heavy pineapples! The same is true for my scrumptious banananananas! I shall harvest your wonderful crops and savour your succulent flavours!”

Oh, but now I must be careful, for the lemon and the lime trees are very short in comparison. I do not want to step on and crush your tangy goodness! Oh, I could just squeeze your tarty fruit flesh for every last drop of sour power! How do you two do it? You are exactly the same size and shape! The only difference is your bright yellow skin Mr Lemon, and your dark, green husk, Mr Lime! Except of course for your fantastic flavours that differ in a subtle, yet distinctive manner.

I am almost afraid to look. My happiness, or eternal sorrow depends on the state of this next beloved tree. Are you there? Will you care to share with this bear your delicious bounty?

Yes! Triumph is mine! The bright, glorious, red gleam of cherries in the sunshine gladdens my sugary soul. The cherry trees are loaded with ripe berries! The heady fragrance of your wild cherry scent intoxicates me! Oh, cherry, you are my most favourite flavour of all time. Almost as much as I love orange, tangerine, and coa-coa-coaconuts! I grow dizzy with delirious desire for your rich, sweet yumminess.

Hello, what’s this? There’s a rumbly in my tumbly. A trembling, quiver has begun, deep down in my slightly extended and rounded, yet, precocious, belly. I cannot control it! Is it trying to tell me something? Yes, of course! My super-monster senses are alerting me that strangers have dared to trespass on this island!
My
end of the island!
Inconceivable!
I shall destroy these intrepid, though foolish, trespassers with my inescapable impunity!

“RRRRAWR!!!”

 

---

 

“Bippity Ping!”

Bippity Pong!”

“Bippity Pop, Bop, Pah.”

 

“You have traveled fast,”

You have traveled far.”

“Monstrous Island”

“Is where you are.”

 

“It’s time for us to split.”

“You must not be beaten!”

“But most of all, please,”

“Don’t get eaten!”

 

“Sayonara, Ichsibod and Persephone!”

“Wait please, Misses IndiGoGo Girls Ma’ams! We don’t know what we are getting ourselves into! We don’t know what it is that we are supposed to accomplish! Come back! We ain’t even got no provisions!”

“Oh dear, it would appear, Mr. Temperance, that our hosts have abandoned us on the narrow, bare, black-sanded beach of this most forbidding of islands. Huge boulders, blackened with eternal wet spray tower above us, blocking off any view of this uninviting place. Many active volcanoes belch their unhappiness to a rainy sky above our heads. Dark and frightening jungles cling to the steep, black cliffs of the disconcerting landscape. This, sir, is not my idea of a Pacific Paradise.”

“Ner mine, neither, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am.”

“What is that you have found there, Mr. Temperance? It is the size and shape as one might envision some ancient Mediterranean Bronze Age officer carrying. It suits you very well, Mr. Temperance. Dare I say, even heroic? The way you stand there, posed as some ancient Spartan warrior, with your shield upon your arm is a thrilling picture. As to the strange shield you have found, I describe it as almost spadelike, that is, pointy at the bottom, smooth along the  circular sides until changing to three wavy ripples across the top. Approximately a yard across, it features a slightly rounded, concave shape tapering toward a central spine. I say, it does appear rather organic; wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Temperance, eh hem?”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, I believe this to be a scale, torn from some kind of gigantic sea monster.”

“Ah, yes, of course, Mr. Temperance, I see now that what you possess is, obviously, a loosened scale. Some titanic creature must have lost it while in combat with some other colossal beast, yes? There is no need to point out the many and varied footprint and slithering trail of a wide variety of creature that has passed over this locale. I see evidence of the huge creatures having waged battle on each other, if I am not mistaken, in the scarred landscape.”

“Yes, Ma’am, that’s what I was just thinking. Um, Miss Plumtartt? Can I ask you something?”

“Why of course, Mr. Temperance, ask me anything you wish; I have no secrets from you, sir.”

“Thanks, Ma’am, that’s nice, but I was gonna ask, do you hear, something? Somewhere beyond the intermittent volcanic eruption, there is now a different sound. Maybe I don’t really hear it as much as feel it. Can you sense a steady vibration in the ground?”

“Why, yes, now that you mention it, there is just a slight tremour that runs through the island. Yes, I hear it more distinctly now that you mention it. It has the quality of something familiar...”

“Running feet, Ma’am?”

“Yes, Mr. Temperance! By Jove, that’s it! These steady, pounding, island quaking vibrations do put me in the mind of a set of immensely heavy, running feet! I say, Mr. Temperance, why do you ask?”

“Well, Ma’am, it’s just that they seem to be getting closer. I also hear an accompanying uproar of the jungle being thrown aside at this giant’s approach. I’m thinking that maybe we should run really fast to escape this open beach, and to seek shelter in that scary black jungle because it sounds and feels like something really big is headed right for us in a great big hurry.”

“I see, perhaps you are correct sir. Hear, hear, let us make all possible haste in an effort to evade and elude this troubling, tundra-trembling, titanic threat.”

“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt!”

“I say, we have just made the cover of the jungle as our pursuer crashes the beach behind us. Did you happen to get a glimpse of the creature, Mr. Temperance?”

“No Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, and I hope I never do!”

“Of course, sir, quite right. I do so wholeheartedly agree with your wishes, though, regrettably, I sense the behemoth that pursues us so diligently draws ever nearer.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“RRRRAWR!!!”

“I say, if the uproar of the jungle being thrown aside willy-nilly as the brute is chasing us is any indicator, then I should say that we shall expect to get a very close inspection of our Monstrous Island host at any moment, Mr. Temperance.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Tell me, are you armed, Mr. Temperance?”

“No, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am. We left on this little jaunt so unexpectedly, that I did not get a chance to pack. I got a little pouch of small tools, but they aren’t real dangerous. I got a jack-knife, but it ain’t real good for sticking nobody. The blade would just fold back and cut the back of my finger. Actually, it would probably just give it a really nasty pinch. You know, that might be a real handy invention though. A locking mechanism to hold your knife open so it doesn’t fold back on you. Another handy little addition to the common pocket knife might be to put a button on the blade’s side so that it can be opened with one ha...”

“RRRRAWR!!!
Fools! Who dares to trespass Monstrous Island? Hah! Just a pair of puny
humans?
Fools
, I shall
devour
you!
RRRRAWR!!!”

“My word, Mr. Temperance, I disbelieve what my eyes are telling me! The creature that pursues us is incredible! Eighty feet tall and of enormous heft, the creature produces its own softly glowing light! Its translucent body is constantly changing in colours from red, to orange, to yellow, to green, and back to red again.”

“I ain’t never seen nothing like it, Miss Plumtartt. It kind of reminds me of a giant, angry, stained-glass pudding Koala.”

“RRRRAWR!!!
Gaze upon my terrible form and tremble, puny, and insignificant human. Before you stands Monstrous Island’s greatest monster! I am the
’Inescapable One’!”

“I, . . . am, . . .
Gumibara!”


RRRRAWR!!!”

“Hey, seeing how this giant, jellied bear is walking on two legs, I betcha I could take out one of his legs and drop him to the ground! Holding my sea-monster scale by the edge, I’m gonna stand sideways to Gumibara. Drawing the shield shaped scale back across my body, I torgue all my leg, hip, and shoulder energy into flinging the spinning missile at my colourful foe with all the mustard I can muster.
Unh!”

“Good show, Mr. Temperance! Your counter-Olympic discus throw has spun with unerring accuracy to bury deeply into Gumibara’s shin! He shall certainly topple without the use of that leg.”

“RRRRAWR!!!
You Fools! Gumibara has no shins! Not only am I the
’Inescapable One’
, but I am also, the
’Boneless One’!
Ha, ha!
RRRRAWR!!!”

“I can see why you are known as the ‘Boneless One’, but why are you called the ’Inescapable One’?”

“RRRRAWR!!!
Because of this incredible super-power, you ridiculous Fool! Ha, ha!
RRRRAWR!!!”

“Aw, heck; in hindsight, that was probably a silly question to ask.”

“Oh, drat, Mr. Temperance! Gumibara has snatched us both up in his enormous paws; however, instead of actually grabbing us, per se’, he has merely absorbed us into his paws until only our heads extrude from each gooey, glowing, mitt.”

“RRRRAWR!!!
That’s on account of how I always like to start by biting off the head.”

“Yessir, I’m the same way with gingerbread men.”

“Mr. Temperance!”

“Oops! What I meant to say was, uh, wouldn’t you rather start with the feet?”

“Mr. Temperance!”

“Oops! What I really meant to say was, uh, please don’t eat us, Gumibara! We are here to do all we can to help save Monstrous Island!”

“RRRRAWR!!!
This island does not require saving, you do, puny human! I am going to gobble you up all gone! Ha, ha!
RRRRAWR!!!”

“My word, I say, many foes have tried to defeat us before, you know, but at last, it is the magnificent Gumibara that finally has done us in.”

“RRRRAWR!!!
Ha, ha! That is because you never had a foe like Gumibara! Ha, ha!
RRRRAWR!!!
Er, eh, what was that adjective you used a moment ago, ...”

“Why, magnificent, of course, you silly boy. How else would I describe such an awe-inspiring and handsome beast?”

“RRRRAWR!!!
Yes! Gumibara the magnificent! I believe that suits me quite well! Ha, ha!
RRRRAWR!!!
Er, eh, hem, eh, and what is your name, dear lady? You are such an observant woman, that I feel I should know your name before I devour you.”

“Why, of course, Gumibara. My name is Plumtartt, Miss Persephone Plumtartt. I am traveling in the companionship of a Mr. Ichabod Temperance. If you would be so kind as to recede your jellied substance from where it is suffocating the man, perhaps you will be afforded a glimpse of the fellow before he expires.”

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