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Re: [Jul 2016] - Story Generator - Submission Thread Story Generator: Comic, Thief, Lake, Golden Goose, Superstitious, Enchanted Animals, Goat Cheese

Wordcount: 1333

Twitter: @cldbloodedsouth

                                                   Lyla and the Cats

Spoiler for Hiden:
   Lyla skirted the forested edge of the dark lake. The great moon’s reflection rippled slightly on the placid surface. She stepped soundlessly to the water’s edge and inspected the crumbling manor looming on the opposite hillside. For a time, she watched, and then eased back into the greenery, careful to avoid her own reflection and to remain hidden from the watcher in the lake. She moved swiftly but quietly around to the other side. She wore clothing of appropriate cut and color for a thief of her caliber, and she melted perfectly into the midnight forest.
   At a crouch, she climbed the grassy rise to the Cat House. Once a great manor, the home was looted and fell into ruin after the previous owner was burned at the stake in the village square. Then the Cats moved in. Her target was reputed to still lie hidden therein, the proverbial golden goose, an alchemists dream of never ending gold. A wizard in a small hamlet on the coast of the Mhu Thulan promised an unimaginable reward in exchange for the object. She planned to arrive just after midnight, a time when, hopefully, the feline residents were out on the hunt.

   With a deep breath, she scurried through the shadows and onto the veranda, sidestepping through a shattered window and into the ballroom. The air smelled of wet fur and urate, and the eerie moonlight made shadows on the floor as it shined through broken and grimy window panes.
She scanned the room and what she could see through the various doorways, thanking the gods for her hyperactive night vision. The house appeared empty. She made several hand gestures and whispered a quick prayer before beginning her search.

   Through the house, she moved as quickly as a thorough search allowed. She checked every crawlspace and cabinet, as well as the walls and floor-tiles for hidden cubbies. The house lay about her quiet and dark, and as the search continued, her confidence grew and she slowed a bit. At the rear of the house, she knocked upon a hollow tile centered beneath a great and furry wreath. Her breath caught, and she knelt to pry up the tile.

   “Hello She, what brings you here,” said a voice from the darkness, high pitched and lispy.
Lyla froze. Fear scurried through her like a crazed mouse. Slowly she turned. The dark shapes of the Ultharians moved lithely in the shadows, green eyes with vertical black slits stared out at her, unblinking. A quick scan and she counted eight sets, but there had to be more around. The bright eyes maneuvered around, forming a semi-circle and effectively backing her against the wall.

   A great Cat, huge and gray, stepped into the moonlight. The pride mother said, “You are the great enemy of our species, and yet you come here. She, She, She. You must know we will not allow you escape this time. By morning, you will be nothing but hairballs in the corner of our litter room.”

   A chorus of mewling rose up behind the mother Cat as she spoke.

   Stay calm, she thought. You prepared for this. Nevertheless, her hands shook, as did her voice. “I…I. Our past is why I came here tonight.” While speaking, she slid her hands into the pouch at the small of her back. “I wish to make amends for my transgressions against your great and noble…”

   “And superior.”

   She gulped. “…great and noble and superior race. I am here at your…”

   “You lie, She. Why did you slink in here so, if you want peace? And what is that behind your back?”

   Here goes nothing. Lyla removed the object, and held it out in the moonlight for the congress of felines to see. She held a small glass jar, toppered with wax and filled with a granular white substance.

   The mother stepped back. “What is that?”

   "A gift,” Lyla said. “Here. I’ll show you.” With a flick of her wrist, she tossed the jar across the room. It shattered against the cold hearth, releasing a peculiar odor. The Ultharians meowed and moaned and bounded for the substance.

   That’s my cue. Now, to escape or go after the object. Whatever she did, she’d have to move fast. The trick would not last long; goat cheese bewitched to smell like catnip of a very specific and rare locality. She thought of risking her life and coming away with nothing, of the great reward promised, and then she leaped through the opening in the floor. She landed fifteen feet down onto a cobbled floor, rolled, and bounced to her feet, finding herself in a narrow corridor, dark and rank.

   Behind her, the mother Cat roared. “It’s a trap. She has tricked us. Get her. Get She and tear her to ribbons.”
Lyla ran as fast as the spongy soles of her boots allowed, nowhere near as fast as the Ultharians with their padded paws. With little to no light, her vision was little better than an average human’s, and so she ran with arms outstretched and prayed she would not strike something and knock herself out. If anything went wrong now, she would be catnip.

   Meows and shrieks echoed down the corridor, growing louder every second.

   The corridor suddenly turned downward, and Lyla skidded and slipped and fell, sliding downward into darkness, gaining much-needed speed but also scraping her back along the uneven stone cobbles. The sound of pursuit grew distant and she heard only the wind whipping across her.

   She struck bottom and rolled hard into a wall, jarring her body. Climbing to her feet, she felt a knob. A door, not a wall. She entered, and found herself standing in a crypt. Moonlight floated in through a broken stone doorway. Amid the dusty remains rose a small altar where sat the object she’d come for. Excitement bloomed within her, having found both the object and a means of escape. Quickly, she crossed to the altar, lifted the object, and wedged it into the pouch. The object was slightly larger than the jar and bulged against the fabric, but she secured it with strong twine.

   Then the Cats began to arrive. Without the door to stop them, they slid into the room, spinning and disoriented. All around her, the Great Cats of Ulthar bounced and rolled and scratched for purchase. Lyla ran to the nearest corpse, gripped both of the dead human’s arms, and pulled them off at the elbows. She held the arms out, skeletal fingers dangling toward the felines, and backed slowly toward the outer entrance.

   The immortal Cats preyed primarily on earthly humans, yet detested the long dead remains. The reminders of humanity’s short life spans, of their reverence for death, repulsed the Ultharians. They pressed into a tight group of fur and claws, their backs arched and fur on end. Vicious mewling and snarling filled the tight stone room.

   “There will never be an end to this, She. My kind will stalk you and your progeny to the extinction of your line,” the mother Cat said. Goat cheese powdered her snout. She pressed back against her followers and swiped claws at the air. “She, your transgressions…”

   Lyla shook the arm like a chew toy. “Here kitty, kitty, kitty.”

   The shrieks of indignation sent a giggle through her. She tossed an arm at the group, keeping hold of the second, and bolted for the crag in the stone. Behind, the Cats scrambled clear of the arm, mewling pitifully and licking their pelts.

   Lyla exited onto an overgrown knoll behind the Cat House. The land came alive with the lamentations of the Cats. With the remaining arm held out like a battle sword, she sprinted around the house, making her way to the forested side of the lake. Once there, she paused and made hand gestures of thanks and praise. Then Lyla took her bearings and navigated a southern course for the Mhu Thulan sea, and her great reward.


July 14, 2016, 12:02:20 AM
Re: [Jul 2016] - Story Generator - Discussion Thread Hey @ScarletBea,
I found the forums a few weeks ago. The story generator was too much fun and I couldn't turn it down

July 16, 2016, 05:46:42 AM