The first draft of THE ADVENTURES OF PERIWINKLE BLISS is a fantasy story I'm currently writing and serializing on Twitter, inspired by daily prompts -- mostly #vss365 #vssnature #vssmagic and #vssmystery. This is a transcript of Part 1 (23 tweets). READ THIS STORY ON TWITTER.
THE ADVENTURES OF PERIWINKLE BLISS - PART 1
Night had already fallen when Captain Limpet reached the mountain cottage where #Periwinkle was waiting for him. He looked at the whirligig on the table—grotesque little thing—then frowned at Bliss and said:
"I thought you were a man."
"You're thinking of #Judge Bliss," said #Periwinkle—and proceeded to turn the whirligig with a pen, revealing an underbelly full of symbols scribbled in #lilac ink.
"What does that mean?" asked Captain Limpet.
"Not sure," said Periwinkle Bliss.
#vss365 #vssnature #vssmystery
"What do you mean, not sure?" cried Captain Limpet. "Aren't you supposed to be an expert on these things?"
#Periwinkle Bliss smiled. "That's precisely why I'm not sure. No need to #panic, though. Well, unless—"
"Unless this thing's not dead."
Captain Limpet, horror creeping upon his face, considered the whirligig—and its surreal scribbled underbelly.
"That thing's not dead?" he asked. "It looks so—"
"Dormant? Yes. It might even be broken—but dead? I wouldn't bet on it," said Periwinkle Bliss.
Captain Limpet looked puzzled. "Are you saying that as a sensitive? You can feel that thing's not dead—is that it?"
"As a sensitive? Sorry to break it to you, captain, but I'm not a sensitive," said Periwinkle Bliss. "Not in the paranormal sense, anyway."
A sudden glare silenced them. Starlight breaking into the room? As it faded, a tiny young woman appeared. There was something about her that made you think of little owls.
"Am I too late?" asked the young woman. "Got the destination wrong twice, I'm afraid."
"Welcome, Nicky," said Periwinkle, smiling. "You're not late at all!"
The owlish young woman noticed the whirligig on the table. "Oh, that is #heavy stuff—isn't it?" she remarked.
"Who is this person?" asked Captain Limpet.
"Nicky—Eunice—at your service, sir."
"Nicky, this is Captain Limpet," said Bliss. "Captain Limpet, this is Eunice Noctua. She's a—"
"I know what Noctuae are," retorted Captain Limpet. He didn't look pleased.
"Yes, of course you do. The thing is—"
"Why have you summoned a Noctua?" asked the captain.
Bliss waved at the whirligig. "I need to show this—thing—to an old friend. Nicky can take us to him."
"Us?" echoed Captain Limpet. "My orders are—"
"Your orders are to contain the threat—am I right? And how do you propose we do that without knowing what this is?"
Captain Limpet glanced at the bug on the table.
"We destroy the—thing— while it's paralyzed. End of threat."
"And how exactly—?"
"With fire. We just burn it to ashes."
"Brilliant," said Periwinkle Bliss, trying hard not to sneer. "Ever heard of the Phoenix effect?"
"What are you trying to say?"
"We need to be sure about what this thing is," said Bliss. "Otherwise—"
Captain Limpet shook his head. "I'm the one in charge here," he noted. "And I'm going to burn this thing."
"Fine—I surrender to y/ unquestionable authority."
Bliss scoffed. "You obviously know what you're doing. I have to #surrender."
"He does? You do?" questioned Nicky.
"Of course! Captain Limpet wants to toast an unknown whirligig? Great! Let's just hope he doesn't get himself #electrocuted in the process..."
"Now you're just trying to scare me," said Captain Limpet. "I'm not surprised. All Vincas have a very inclement nature."
"And how many Vincas have you met?" asked Bliss. "Besides me, that is."
The captain looked away.
Bliss grinned. "That's what I thought."
"#Anxiety," said Nicky. The owlish young woman pointed to the whirligig's scribbled underbelly. "That symbol, right there in the middle, can you see it? I'm sure that's what it means."
"Anxiety?" echoed Captain Limpet.
"It wasn't there before," noted Periwinkle.
"Uncanny," murmured Captain Limpet.
"Indeed," said Periwinkle Bliss. "I'd really like to isolate what is causing this."
"Bloodstone might work—or perhaps wormwood?" ventured Nicky. "Shall I go back and ask Professor Abercrombie?"
#vss365 #vssnature #vssmagic #FlexVSS
Young Nicky Noctua gazed quizzically at Captain Limpet. "I just said that bloodstone or wormwood might help to isolate—"
"No, not that. The name—You said a name."
"Of course," said Periwinkle. "Why?"
#vssnature #vssmagic #vss365
"Why?" cried Captain Limpet, his eyes madly #flickering from Nicky Noctua to Periwinkle Bliss. "What kind of question is that? How can you stand there and coldly say that you're going to ask the opinion of a—"
"Calm down," said Bliss. "It's not as crazy as it seems."
"You look a bit—spinachy," said Nicky. "Would you like a valerian tablet? I make them myself."
Captain Limpet stopped flickering and waved the young woman's offer away. Then, pointing his finger at Periwinkle, he ordered: "Explain Abercrombie."
#vss365 #vssnature #vssmagic
Periwinkle Bliss grinned. "Sounds like you have an #axe to grind."
"That's beside the point," retorted Captain Limpet.
"Is it?" Bliss nodded at the whirligig on the table. "All I want is the professor's expert opinion on this thing."
"But he's—Isn't he?"
"Maybe?!" echoed Limpet. "Either he is, or he's not!"
Bliss, brows like tall arches over heliotrope eyes, gazed at the captain and said: "Are you sure you're from the OWIA? That kind of narrow thinking sounds way too pedestrian for someone working with the agency."
"I don't want to interrupt or anything," said Nicky. "It's just—The whirligig is starting to—well—whirligig?"
Periwinkle Bliss and the captain motioned to the table.
"Seems dead to me," stated Limpet. "Maybe a flicker of the candle gave you the idea it was moving."
"That's not what Nicky meant," remarked Periwinkle Bliss. "Look at the symbols. They're changing."
Silence overpowered them as they eyed lilac ink transmogrifying on the bug's underbelly.
"What's happening?" asked Limpet.
"I think it's healing itself," said Bliss.
"Peri," murmured Nicky Noctua, her owlish gaze nailed to the whirligig. "Don't you think the symbols are getting smaller?"
"Is that bad?" asked Captain Limpet.
"Oh, dear," said Bliss. "That thing's not healing itself. It's counting down! GET OUT OF HERE! NOW!!!"
END OF PART 1