Raji Singh’s Lore of the Lindian Woods
Last week: A tsunami sweeps young Ollie Octopus far from home, to the vilest of places, a garbage dump. To survive, she must reside in a discarded water tank. Bulldozers prepare to bury the area.
Little does Ollie know; the patron saint of foundlings, Carpier, watches over her. Of Carpier, a 7th century Lindian mystic, it is said, “He can change to any form, human, or beast, to aid foundlings. Most notably, he becomes the gentlest of creatures, a butterfly.”
“I shall find you a safe home, Ollie,” Squirrel says to the foundling Octopus, as he looks down from atop the water tank.
Squirrel leaps skyward and spins like a tornado. Ollie and all the other dump creatures, snakes, rats, wild cats, watch entranced as the brown of his funnel cloud quickly melds into the brightest oranges, blues, and reds. Just as magically, he continuously rises, instead of gravitating back to earth. Then with a poof sound, he transforms, becoming the butterfly, Calico. She flutters off, toward the Lindian Woods to find the one creature she is sure can help the Octopus.
It is Turt, who relaxes on the pond’s cool bank. He’s cracking nuts in his powerful beak-snout to give to sickly Woods creatures. His slippery, foot-long pals, The Ten Otters, play a game of King of the Mountain atop his mighty shell. Calico communicates to him through her antennae vibrations. “Come quickly, Turt. One who is of the sea is land-bound, and needs help.”
Turt To The Rescue!
The river isn’t far off. Turt submerges all but his football size and shape head, and swims in the direction Calico leads. Turt is slower than most creatures, on earth. Few are as fast in water though, except The Ten Otters, who secretly follow at a distance in quest of adventure.
Reaching the dump, they see the bulldozers rumble toward Ollie’s sector. Turt scrunches his nostrils and surveys the hilly terrain. Turt trumpets to Calico. “I’ll never get to her in time, unless…unless I do as when we rescued the shelling tortoises trapped down in the cavern.”
Calico winks. She remembers.
She spies The Ten Otters, hiding behind underbrush. She vibrates orders to them. “You loungers! Come help Turt.” They rush to him. She vibrates instructions and adds. “Now hurry Otters! No time to waste.”
The Ten Otters grunt, squeak, and squeal as they crawl beneath Turt and push with the tops of their heads. They climb atop one another so they can push him further up. A couple of times he almost falls on them. That surely would be a crushing blow. But after a few minutes, the Otter jacking up process succeeds. As they balance Turt sideways, Calico flutters near. Her slight breeze is just enough to begin Turt rolling downhill. He’s an accelerating disc. The Garbage heaps look like somersaulting mountains to him. Dark earth and bright sky churn, becoming a buttery yellow.
The excitement of the spiral journey overtakes Turt. “Whee!” Clunk! Clunk! He bounces over rocks.
Splat! He pulverizes sage, lavender, and wildflowers, perfuming the wretched stench of the dump with a bouquet of pleasant aromatic scents. Turt speeds alongside the bulldozers. The drivers blink hard, disbelieving what they see. Just as one of the dozers readies to crush into Ollie’s tank, Turt leans hard to the right, changing directions. He cuts in front of the bucket-mouth. He bumps Ollie’s tank, tipping it directly at the dozer’s steel teeth. The tank breaks. The water, along with Ollie spits upward, just as Turt calculated.
But Ollie couldn’t know this.
Her rubbery arms flail wildly. She closes her eyes and prepares to be flattened like a stingray.
Turt trumpets out. “Land on me, Ollie, I’m right below you.”
Ollie opens her eyes. Instinctively she suctions her arms to the sideways turned dome of his shell. She appears a protruding gray hubcap as Turt loop-de-loops safely away from the machines. He has far to go, since he’s still on an incline. Ollie’s getting dizzy. She crawls to the perimeter of the shell. She must do a crazy eight-armed dance to keep balanced. The dizziness passes.
Finally, they hit flat land. Turt teeters like a coin that no longer can stand on its side. He and Ollie thud, stirring dust. They can barely breathe. Still it’s a ten-minute Turt slow walk to the river semi-circling the dump.
One of the dozer drivers, curious about what he saw, followed the rolling pair. He rumbles, ever closer to the land stranded creatures. Turt knows he and Ollie are an oddity and are about to be scooped up, to be displayed at some jailing zoo.
This time – The Ten Otters To The Rescue.
Calico had directed them back to the water, and they torpedoed to where Calico led.
They rush from the water. Eight of them grab Ollie’s arms. The other two crawl beneath her. As if Ollie were a living palanquin, they rush her away from the oncoming dozer. They get her to the water.
But Turt! What of Turt? Otters and Octopus look from the safety of the river. The machine is snorting and charging. Turt is trumpeting wildly, lashing out with his fin claws at the bucket mouth trying to capture him. Calico distracts the driver by flitting around his face.
The Ten Otters and Ollie think it is hopeless for Turt, but Turt seizes one of the dozer’s glistening steel teeth in his beak snout. The bucket lifts him. Turt holds tight. He leaves the ground, and then he lets go. Just as he expected, the bellowing monster keeps coming. Calico bothers the driver so much that a wrong lever is pushed. Instead of scooping Turt, it pushes at him, sending him rolling on his side again, toward the river.
The dozer chases Turt.
“Come on Turt. You’re almost home,” he hears his friends chant. He begins teetering before reaching water. The over-anxious dozer chomps wildly. It bumps Turt hard, propelling him, splash, into the water sanctuary. Turt hisses excitedly at the machine. It becomes stuck in the riverbank mud, belching dead-dinosaur smells as it tries to free itself.
Calico vibrates to Turt, “Well executed, Sir.”
“Likewise,” Turt trumpets in return.
Turt, Ollie, and The Ten Otters swim safely away, to the Lindian Woods. Calico flutters “Fare thee well, friends! I am off to watch over other foundlings.”
Next Week’s finale: Ollie finds a new home and begins building her grand Octopus Garden in the Lindian Woods.
(Join me every Sunday night at the Fiction House, your place for short story, lark, whimsy, and merriment. Meet the many residents as I archive their lives and centuries of adventures. You can read of their origins in my novel TALES OF THE FICTION HOUSE. They are completely different stories. My novel is available at Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.)
©2014 Raji Singh