The topic for 500 words, or more or less, suggested by Susan: Emerging from the cave. That gives people lots of room - to relate it to leaving Lockdown or many other scenarios.
Write 50 words including concerned, polarity, repent, sideboard.
The furniture giant was experiencing a growing polarity between its workers and management due to the lockdown. The Board hoped that customers who cancelled orders for sideboards which the company mass produced, would come to repent their hasty decision.
“The Bible tells us to repent our sins,” uttered a solemn and concerned Mrs Cadwallader. ”On your knees colonel.”
“It was a mistake, not a sin,” pleaded the colonel. “I blew the sideboard to smithereens accidentally because I inadvertently confused the polarity of the terminals on the heater next to it.”
The polarity of emotion was stark in their conversation: him with his cool, aloof demeanour, and she with her words overflowing and heart on her sleeve. His tokenistic concern couldn’t reach her. The sideboard held her secrets, and his body held his. Neither moon nor sun would hear them repent.
“Me, repent,” he said, with a quizzical expression… “I'm not the one with the funny ideas. I am becoming very concerned about you. See that globe on the sideboard? It's tilted, right? The reason is the polarity at the poles … and that had nothing to do with Darwin.”
So you reversed the polarity and blew the thing to pieces. And you think that was funny. Well, I have news for you, I am not the least bit concerned whether you repent or not. Just leave the money to pay for it on the sideboard on the way out.
Concerned about not having any toast for breakfast, George began to fix the old toaster on the sideboard.
'But what was the correct polarity of the wiring,' he wondered.
'Damn it,' he said, 'I'll guess.'
As he switched on the toaster, George immediately had to repent of having done so.
By Dick Smith
Emerging from the cave at last the dragon shook his head
His eyes were wide, his scales were sleek his colours green and red,
His body long and broad and strong, his tail a whippy spear,
His presence then was sure to cause much fright from far to near
And so he sat and thought a while high on a rocky peak.
“Where shall I go? What should I do? What future should I seek?”
“I need some food, of that I’m sure, I have a rumbling tum
But what to eat I do not know, I’d love to ask my Mum,
But Mum is gone, she laid my egg, her conduct then was bad
She left that egg deep in the cave then took off with my dad
A hundred years that egg lay there just waiting for to hatch
To break its shell, to let me out my first cool breath to catch.
The dragon looked out on the world from high upon his perch,
“Where oh where,” he thought aloud, can I begin my search
For food enough to fill my tum and satisfy my soul,
So I can hiss and roar and fight and aptly play my role.”
So down the mount he lumbered off to search for his new life
For food and rest and company, and hopefully no strife.
The slope was steep the rocks were sharp, the way was hard to find,
“Oh dear, oh dear,” the dragon thought, “This life is not so kind.”
“My skin is thin, my feet are sore, the track ahead looks tough
The jagged stones, the bushy trees are scary, steep and rough.
But then he thought, “Oh happy day I nearly quite forgot
There are two wings upon my back, I’m sure they’ll help a lot.”
So in the gentle summer sun the dragon now took flight,
With golden wings and glinting scales he was a wondrous sight,
He glided down the mountain side and swooped upon a town,
A thousand children turned their keen eyes up, the dragon he looked down
“A drone, a drone,” the children cried, “A mighty golden one.
Come down, come down,” they called to him, “Come down and have some fun.”
So circling round and losing height the dragon came to earth,
The children flocked around him, their hearts were filled with mirth.
The dragon’s eyes were round and wide, his breath a sheet of flame.
The children were not scared of him so on and on they came.
They thought he was a special drone from China or Hong Kong.
They laughed and cheered and clapped their hands and burst out into song.
The adults in the little town took quite another view,
They called police, the fire brigade, the coastguard and the zoo,
“A mighty beast has come to us,” they called out in their fright,
“A monster green and red and gold, it is a wicked sight.”
The cops came then and drew their guns and circled round the beast.
The adults all were terrified, the children not the least.
Then Little John and Mary Lou and several other boys,
Cried, “Sergeant Tom and Corporal Bill just put away your toys,
This wondrous beast has come to us and he must be our guest,
Let’s bring him food and lots of drink, we’ll give him all our best.
So Baker Ben and Butcher Brad went quickly to their shops,
And back they came with trays of bread and lots and lots of chops.
And all the children rushed off home and soon came running back,
With bags and boxes, bins and rucksacks filled with this and that,
Cakes there were and weetbix too and fruit of every kind,
They’d searched their homes and gardens well to see what they could find.
The dragon stared at all this food and gave a hungry look.
To see what he could just eat raw and what he’d have to cook.
The dragon raised his monstrous head and blew a breath of flame
The bread was toast the chops were roast the rest was much the same
Then with a smile upon his dial he started out to munch
The meat, the bread, the fruit, the lot, it was a lovely lunch
At last he gave a mighty burp and followed with a sigh
Then up he jumped and flapped his wings and flew off to the sky.
And as the dragon winged his way back to his lonely cave.
Each child it seemed with face upturned gave him a friendly wave,
The cops waved too, the mayor as well and people by the score,
They cried aloud and shouted out and called and called for more.
Then as he reached his cavern home and laid himself to sleep,
The dragon smiled and licked his lips, fond memories to keep.
🌏 ⛅ 🌈
LEAVING THE CAVE
By Robin J Nelson
Mummy bear and her three cubs had woken up from hibernation ages ago and the cubs were bored because they wanted to go out and play. Mummy bear said it was too cold and anyway it wasn’t safe.
She found life difficult trying to keep them amused. When she wanted to sleep, they would rough and tumble, play at fighting, ask for stories, and chase each other around the cave.
During a quieter moment, the biggest cub stopped playing and said, ‘Mummy, why do you call me Honey?’
‘Ahh, that is because when I met your father he had discovered a huge honeycomb in a tree. Together, we dug it out, and we sat by the river eating the sweetest honey all morning. I laughed at him because he had stickiness all over his face.’
‘What about me? What about me?’ said the second cub.
‘Well, at first, although I found him handsome, I was a bit shy, and he took me to a blueberry patch which he called his special place. And it was. He showed it to me, a sunny glade where sunlight shone through the trees in long straight golden shafts and everywhere I looked, I saw ripe juicy blueberries. And so I named you Blueberry.’
‘Me, me, me next, me next.’
‘On the way back from the blueberry patch, your father spent too much time gazing at me instead of watching where he was going and stepped in a pile of…’
‘What, what did he step in? Was it poo? I bet it was poo.’
‘It was ants, a pile of ants and they ran up his legs causing him to dance about like a bear with his backside on fire. That’s why we named you Dancer. Now, you all wait here and I will see if we can go outside.’
So mummy bear stood and walked to the front of the cave where she discovered an enormous pile of snow covering the entrance. But, with a bit of digging, she broke through into the outside world. She poked her nose out and sniffed. Then she sniffed some more and, just for good measure, sniffed again. When she was satisfied that the forest was safe, she stepped out, away from the side of the hill and into the trees. It felt so wonderful to be out in the fresh air, it smelt so clean after being in that stuffy cave for so long.
She was about to go and get the cubs but realised she didn’t have to. Three little black faces watched her from the hole she had made in the snow. She put a paw to her lips, to show that they must be quiet, then waved her head and the bundles of black fur stepped out into a winter wonderland of snow and trees and bushes. Dancer shivered a bit and held back, but Honey and Blueberry were rolling and jumping so he ran and joined them, not wanting to miss all the fun.
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A LIGHT SAIL
In the year 2121
By Robert Alan Moore
After a frantic month buried in work down on Earth in the CAVE (Creative Added Value Equities) Inc, he emerged humming that old old line ‘Give me the peace boys to free my soul’.
Trillionaire Tom Naidu flew his shiny top-of-the-line NukeFusionBird up to the Orbit Club Space Station, to get away for a day or two — to eat slow, sleep deep, and enjoy the view and the music of the spheres.
He docked the NukeBird alongside a dozen one-person light-sailers, tethered to the station with their incredibly thin reflectors tightly rolled and folded.
And he walked right into a lively argument among his fellow trillionaires.
- Pete Speed the food and pharma baron,
- Steve da Vinci the moon miner,
- Tracer Botswana the orbital mechanic.
Trillionaires were a dime-a-dozen in 2121, like billionaires in 2020 and millionaires in 1919.
‘Peace boys,’ he said, ‘I am feeling free.’
It was good to see them, especially Tracer who was not a boy. They ignored him and argued on, like they always did. He couldn’t even figure out what about. Not business. They argued like arguing was a fourth dimension for them where they could relax, like a sport they didn’t have to win. Anyway, he knew he could count on them.
‘Stop arguing,’ he yelled. ‘Please.’
‘I think I need more than a couple days off. I think I need a huge breath of fresh air. I think I need a serene swoop around the Sun. Somebody swap me one of those shiny lightsail boats for my NukeBird?’
‘That trip's like six months, man?’ said Steve da Vinci the moon miner, ‘maybe a year, depending … yeah, maybe a year depending on solar flares.’
‘And the gravity situation,’ said Pete Speed, the food and pharma baron..
‘Which kind of gravity?’ said Tom Naidu, of CAVE Inc.
‘Both kinds,’ said Pete, ‘and can you afford it? You’re not a quadrillionaire, you know.’
‘I think so,’ said Tom. ‘I can keep in touch with everybody at CAVE Inc, but they will know (and I will know) I cannot just pop back there any old time from the other side of the Sun.’
‘That’s like a home run. That’s the one. Can I come?’ said Tracer Botswana the orbital mechanic. ‘Two ships sailing side-by-side.’
Tom paused, weighing up this and that in his head, entering his zen state where he could feel essences — would it work? When he realised that Tracer would really like to sail around the Sun, even though for him it was not that big a deal (even though he said it was), it clicked into place. It hit him like a song again, but not such an old one.
She said, ‘We can talk and talk inter-ship-com about the speed and calibration of orbital angle, eccentricity, inclination, argument of periapsis.’
‘OK let’s go,’ he said.
‘OK let’s go,’ she said.
‘OK then go,’ said the food and pharma baron, ‘Take my sailer, Tom. It’s got a great sound system.’
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EMERGING FROM THE CAVE
By Annemarie Endt
Do I hear traffic?
Strings of normality floating in the air?
How many weeks were we in lock-down?
I actually enjoyed it as everyone was home it felt secure.
We had time to talk, no-one needed to go anywhere, we saved time and money. It was really relaxing.
At my age there is so much to reflect on … in my troubled ‘30’s when children came first and having to earn a living as well was quite hectic especially if you got weighed down with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
It was actually quite pleasant to not have to worry about anything. I'm quite happy to stay a little longer before emerging from the cave.
I can’t believe we’re now in level 2, and it is good to feel a little freer,
I really need a haircut but first all the birthdays. Aylah my great granddaughter has turned 7, I’ve forgotten what she looks like, a visit from her uncle Jared, one of my grandsons announcing it was his 29th birthday today. Oh yes, and I remembered it had been my son’s mother-in-law’s 90th, I couldn’t contact her as she was staying at my son’s sister-in-law’s home.
Then a phone call from my son Gerald who is currently running our other farm on Gt Barrier Island announced that he was coming over on Friday, oh yes he was allowed to fly over.
“We’ll organise a lunch and maybe you can get Murray your taxi-driver to bring you here to Orewa and take you back … I’ll come over on Monday and take you out for your birthday as I’ll have to fly back again and can’t stay until Thursday, which will be your 80th!! I just can’t believe you’ve had eight noughties on this planet.
Yes, a sobering thought. I had rung one of my pupils who is now in his late 60’s, just fancy that I taught him together with 41 other six-year-olds way back in the ‘60’s, I had asked him if he could organize a party at the Oratia bowling club to celebrate my 80th birthday there. Now I’m starting to lose my nerve … What if …?
Anyway I’m still deliberating coming out of the cave is harder than I thought. I’ll just play it by ear and leave this story unfinished.
To be continued.
🌏 ⛅ 🌈
By Nicola Treadwell
The darkness enveloped Selethine like a cool balm. Here it was safe, where she was secret and untouchable. A gash in her thigh stung fiercely where a white bear cub had clawed at her, but she had fashioned furs from its hide. As cold and foreboding as the cave was, it was preferable to freezing to death on Mount Vireska, or worse, perishing in the icy breath of a silver dragon. She was winged, foetal and vulnerable, but this would not be her end.
The nymph stumbled to her feet and explored her surroundings. She followed the sound of running water, summoning an orb of silver-green light to illuminate the tunnel. Eventually she came upon a vast opening littered with fallen fey, a great sacrificial maw. An icy river wound its way through the gloom, meandering down to a sunless sea.
A voice spoke from the jaws of oblivion, startling her.
“Why does the nymph wander so far from the forest?”
“I have many miles to travel yet,” she said.
“You will not find what you seek here, fey-wanderer.”
“Do not presume to know of what I seek.”
The voice fell silent, and Selethine searched for its source. It had seemed to come from the heart of the maw, a deep darkness that would swallow her whole if not for her luminescent orb. Knowing how vulnerable she was, she readied her magic. She settled into the Vae’lir, the deep focussed awareness that primed her senses and allowed her to channel her arcane energy. At her neck was a silver talisman, and she held it lightly in one hand, for it was the focus from which she drew her fey magic.
At the river, Selethine filled her flask to the brim. Then she fluttered across the water and alighted upon a shiny black surface. Obsidian... a grim omen. With all her mental fortitude, she tossed her glowing orb into the cavernous opening. The light revealed a creature that chilled the very marrow of her bones.
It was not a daemon, nor was it a dragon, yet its mere presence would instill fear into the hearts of any mortal. Selethine recognised the creature immediately, for elven and fey minstrels alike had sung of its unmatched cunning and poisonous fangs. She knew it to be rare to the point of mythos, and dangerous enough to leave few survivors.
Forever nimble with her words, Selethine trilled: “Why does the nightshade panther wander so far from the jungle?”
The enormous cat bore its teeth in what resembled a laugh. Iridescent saliva trickled down its chin, and Selethine almost flinched, knowing the liquid to be poisonous. But she was too proud to betray how terrified she felt. She clutched her talisman fiercely and began to work a powerful enchantment.
“You have an audacity about you for one so small,” the cat snarled, and batted at her playfully with a vast paw. Selethine shrieked and darted out of the way, almost losing focus on her spell. “And quick as a fish, too. You will make for a delectable snack. But first, my curiosity gets the better of me... What do you seek here, so far from home?”
Her retort came quickly: “If your curiosity is the only thing keeping my demise at bay, why would I give you the answer so easily?” She drew her power up from deep within her, shaping it in her mind.
“Do not toy with me, feyling,” the panther hissed, narrowing its emerald eyes. “My patience is wearing thin, as is your lifespan. Why are you here?”
“I seek the Vireskan crystal,” Selethine declared, struggling to maintain concentration on her spell. It was one which had taken her many moons to learn, yet there was a hair’s breadth of a chance that it would actually work. It was like balancing on a narrow tightrope across the edge of a precipice, and it took all of her energy and focus.
“A bold venture, for one so small,” the panther purred. “A valuable treasure... And you are so close to reaching it. But you will surely die before you see it.” The cat hissed, sibilance reverberating through the cavern, and leaned forward, preparing to pounce.
Selethine wasted no time on prayers or further quips, knowing how precious the next few moments were. The panther’s vast fangs and toxic saliva could inflict far more damage than a bear cub. The creature was easily six times her size, and it lunged toward her with its jaws wide, but she did not waste her breath on crying out in fear. Instead, she held her hands aloft and uttered the incantation: “Ilthuran delandi.”
A shimmering magenta force hung about her fingertips, and she coaxed it toward the panther’s head. The beast was in mid-air, mere inches from her, but she leapt out of the way with swift wingbeats and it continued its trajectory. Doubt clouded her mind; surely a creature of such power could resist a fey enchantment?
But as the magical aura floated around the panther, it halted and swayed gently from side to side. It looked up at her with trusting eyes, pupils dilated in a sea of green.
“How could I harm such an innocent being?” it mused. “I am in your debt, feyling. What would you ask of me?”
Selethine exhaled in relief. “Take me to the crystal.”
She followed the panther through labyrinthine tunnels, pausing here and there to pluck glowing mushrooms from crevices in the rocks. Discreetly, she ground the mushrooms into a paste and withdrew ettercap dust from her alchemist’s pouch. She swilled the ingredients in her flask and offered it to the panther.
The cat opened its mouth and she poured the liquid inside. Helios be praised. The gods were truly on her side today, for although she was weary from casting the charm spell, it had been even more effective than she had hoped — and the potion would prolong its duration.
As they made their way through the caves, the panther spoke little, still dazed from her magic, but Selethine learned that they both came from the Khindjani Woods. Having been starved of company, she spoke of her arduous journey across the Zenitar Plains, and her search for the Vireskan crystal, an artifact that had been stolen aeons ago by a frost dragon.
“What would you use the crystal for?” the panther asked, for apparently even charmed cats were curious.
“It would be a powerful spell focus,” Selethine admitted. “And the Moontouched priests need it for their rituals.”
She expected the fabled crystal to be sealed away in a great chest, or resting in an ornate bracket. But when they stumbled upon it, it lay abandoned in a pile of rubble. She picked it up reverently, admiring its sparkling facets. The crystal was even more beautiful than she had imagined, radiant with prismatic energy.
“It was likely discarded by a bandit who didn’t know its worth,” she murmured, wiping away the dust and carefully and stowing it in her pouch. Despite her fatigue, the world felt a little brighter.
Selethine retraced her steps with the panther at her heels. Hours later, the pair emerged from the cave, exhausted but in high spirits. The cold bit into their limbs like a knife.
“I can’t believe I found the crystal,” Selethine said. “No fey have ever returned from Mount Vireska... And the journey home is so far that I might not survive.”
“You may want to see to your charm spell,” the panther remarked. “You don’t seem quite as captivating as before, and I do seem to recall a pink cloud...”
Selethine gasped and sprung several feet away, hurriedly preparing another charm.
“Don’t waste your energy.” The cat slanted its eyes at her fondly. “Your tales of home have reminded me of the joys to be found in the woods. And you are too tiny to sate my hunger... So I shall return home with you.”
With the cat and the crystal at her side, Selethine made her way down the steep slopes of Mount Vireska. After a short while, the nymph tentatively hopped up onto the panther’s back, and he padded swiftly through the snow, his fur gleaming in the afternoon light.
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LOST AND FOUND
By Carl Kjellberg
Toruk emerged from the cave-like structure that had been his home for thousands of years. It was necessary to do so in order to find more water, a scarce commodity in the planet’s now harsh environment. He was the last of his kind. Others had gone off, long before he was born, in search of new worlds while those who chose to remain eventually succumbed as the planet itself gradually died. Everything has its time. As Toruk felt amongst the rocks for signs of water, a bright fireball erupted in the sky behind him. If his eyesight hadn’t been so bad, he might have seen it and so avoid what was to come, but this wasn’t to be.This was his time.
As Patterson scanned the chart on the board in front of him, Nicols gently adjusted the landing thrusters of theirspacecraft.
‘There,’ said Nicols as the ship touched down. ‘That’s as close as I dare get to the site.’
‘According to the map,’ said Patterson, ‘whatever we are looking for is about half a kilometre over the ridge.’
‘What do you reckon it is?’
‘I’m not sure. But it is our job to find out. The boffins picked it up using the satellite about 3 months ago following a dust storm. They said that the site had an interesting chemical signature.’
‘If I had a dime for every timethat I heard them say that, I would be a very rich guy.’
‘Well,’ said Patterson, ‘for now this is how we earn our money.We had better radio the bosses to let them know that we've arrived safely and suit up to do the investigation.’
‘The place reminds me a bit of the Arizona desert,’ said Nicols looking up at the sky. ‘My dad used take me camping there when I was a kid.’
Paterson paused to check a soil sample with his instrument.
‘Yeh, except here there is no life,’he said.
Crossing the top of the ridge, the two men came across a small darkened area of earth.
‘Is that it?’ said Nicols.
Paterson scanned a sample of soil.
‘Well the boffins were right. It does appear to have a slight organic content,’ said Paterson
Further on, something caught Nicols’ eye and he began to dig into a patch of nearby dirt.
‘Hey, I think I found something buried. It feels kind of metallic.’
Both men began to scrape away the dirt to reveal a cylindrical object.
‘Look, there’s some sort of writing on it,’ said Nicols. ‘B...E...A.’
Patterson gasped as the remainder of the writing was revealed. ‘We’ve found Beagle 2
Beagle 2 was one of a series of robotic probes sent to Mars to search for signs of life. Shortly before attempting to land on the planet in 2003, all communication with the craft was lost.
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EMERGING FROM THE CAVE
By Koichi Kodama
During the past half year, I have been forced to live in “a cave”, first environmentally by Australian bushfires and then hygienically by a COVID-19 pandemic. It was a kind of aestivation, or summer/autumn dormancy prior to hibernation.
It has been challenging to survive in Sydney for an octogenarian Japanese-Kiwi who is in cancer remission since July 2018.
In early November 2019, the historic emergency declaration of bushfires was very scary. Everyday dimmed skies and smokes had affected my respiratory system, which was cured of over 70 year old dormant TB just 10 months ago. It was such a nightmare that I kept staying at home as much as possible.
I hardly felt free of bushfire impact when the virus began threatening me. This time I had to lock up myself, because I belong to the most vulnerable generation to the vicious virus.
When the pandemic began, the rush of toilet paper panic buy exploded in Australia, triggering shortages of other daily essentials such as pasta, flour, rice, sugar, meat, etc. This crisis resulted in my responsibility to secure some of those scarce goods by taking advantage of senior card holders-only hour in supermarkets, because I am the only senior in the family.
I used this privilege a few times, risking corona infection, even though protected with a face mask and social distancing and other official restrictions.
I had been very cautious while shopping and taking walks on the streets, however I was very, very unfortunate to have been hit by a virus.
It was Saturday, May 9, I woke up to find strange reddish spots on my upper right chest. I thought they were insect bites. Sunday morning they had spread to the back of my right shoulder. There was no fever or pain, just a slight itch. I could not tell what was happening. So I called my GP and secured a telephone consultation for Monday at 8:45. By Monday morning, the spots had spread to the back of my neck, with some pain.
The doctor, who diagnosed my cancer and saved my life in October 2017, instructed me to visit him immediately. I saw him at 10am. On examining the rash covering the right side of my body on the neck, shoulder and chest, he instantly diagnosed it as “chicken pox” or shingles (herpes). I was greatly relieved to know it was not that horrible virus. Shingles is highly infectious, but almost everybody has been vaccinated against this virus.
Mine was a dormant virus once cured during the cancer treatment, but reactivated with my weakened immune system. It’s a reminder to remain vigilant and maintain good health. One month after the onset, the disease is disappearing.
Now, pandemic restrictions are being lifted and people are becoming more active and lively. However, vaccines are yet to be developed. So until then, I will stay up in “my cave”, which is the highest vantage point in our neighbourhood, and I very much look forward to emerging from the cave.
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