Meanwhile, she is hosting her own fiction contest and this post is an entry into her contest. I hope you like it.
Image from Pixabay.
Fenrir's eyes flashed wide open. Somewhat surprised, even exhilarated, by the stark experience of reality slapping his face, he didn't move. He simply allowed his eyes to roam, checking out the scenery from his vantage point in the garden where he suddenly found himself, a seemingly random event in an existence so chaotic no amount of order could fix it. Not that it needed to be fixed.
His eyes shifted right. His body remained in the stiff pose that came natural to it. A tree blocked his view of the rest of the garden. Slowly, he moved the round balls locked in his face to the left and caught sight of a beautiful young maiden dressed in bright colors with a flower in her hair.
"What's your name?" he asked.
Surprised by the sound of his own voice, he caught himself wondering what force caused it. And just as he became aware of the sound, he also became aware of the small hole through which it came, a hole which moved as each syllable thrust into being on its own accord. His sudden self-consciousness struck him as oddly as the fact that he now had a physical body, which he had no idea what to do with. He was equally surprised when the female gnome returned an audible. Her high-pitched voice tickled his ears in a sort of nonsensical syrupy goodness.
"You know my name, silly goose," she giggled.
"I'm not a goose. I'm a gnome."
Balrymple giggled again. “Oh, Fenrir. You're so droll.”
Amused at how his natural mean was amusing his new lady friend, Fenrir made an attempt to move some part of his body other than his mouth and eyes, which roamed left and right, up and down, here and yon as he contemplated which part he should navigate. He settled on the feet.
He found it surprising, and exhilarating, that he could just command them to rise, one at a time, into the air and then back to the ground again. What a concept, he thought.
Balrymple's soft chuckle pierced his head space again.
“What are you doing?”
“I don't know,” Fenrir said. “I can move. It really takes little effort at all. You should try it.” Of course, Balrymple did.
Together, they lifted their feet and set them on the ground again, first the left, then the right. Almost immediately, simultaneously, they began to march in place until Balrymple decided to set one foot in front of the other and take a step. Fenrir froze. She took another step forward. Then another. And another, until, finally, she had walked right out of the garden. Fenrir jealously made his own effort to walk and discovered how easy it was just to march right out of the garden and stand next to Balrymple, who turned, looked him in the eye, and grinned as big as she could in the moonlight.
“Come on!” she yelled, and ran down the slope of the yard to the sidewalk at the end. Fenrir, surprised and overjoyed, followed. When Balrymple reached the sidewalk, she veered left and continued her gallop onto the pavement, taking great pains to avoid the cracks.
When Fenrir reached the sidewalk, he too channeled his body to the left and yelled after Balrymple, “Where are we going?”
“Anywhere,” yelled Balrymple over her shoulder. “Wherever we can. We have a lot to explore.”
Fenrir sped up to put himself alongside Balrymple, then he reached for her hand. Once his fingers clasped with hers, he darted across the street, pulling Balrymple with him. It surprised him that she followed so easily, this young lady whom he barely knew and who had just moments before been leading him fell in line with his lead as easily and as startlingly as that moment when his eyes sprung open. He pulled her along the sidewalk on the opposite side of the street, and when the moment seemed right—though it almost didn't occur to him what “right” meant but seemed more of an intuitive awareness that just came to him—he turned and ran between two houses. Before long, he had rushed through a wooden gate and found himself in someone's back yard.
He stopped. With Balrymple standing beside him in as much amazement as he found himself to be in, they watched a yardful of garden gnomes, little creatures who looked and acted in a manner much like themselves, carrying on obliviously with a party that Fenrir and Balrymple unwittingly came to crash.
Some of the little gnomes splashed around in a swimming pool. Some were fully clothed, others were not. Two gnomes, both older, with beards from their chins to their knees, seemed to be playing some kind of yard game, tossing an object back and forth and watching it hit the ground near two opposing stakes in the ground emerging from sandboxes near each of the players. Other gnomes sat or stood with drinks in their hands, or cupcakes, or something else, and just talked. A couple in the far corner of the yard, in a shadow and out of the general malaise of activity taking place in the rest of the yard, were copulating. Or, at least, that's what it seemed like to Fenrir.
“Hi, are you Selindra and Kon?”
Fenrir's eyes darted to the owner of the voice, a female gnome slightly taller than himself and prettier even than Balrymple. Of course, he thought that might have been because this garden gnome wasn't wearing clothes, and he very much enjoyed what it was she so unashamedly put on display. Her breasts fell naturally into a slight lull with a perk at the end, near the exaggeratedly protuberant tips, and the rest of her body held a shape that was bulbous in a naturally attractive way. Her skin was smooth, except for the legs, which had more hair on them than his own. And her eyes sparkled like stars in the glare of the moonlight, a night fixture, he thought, to the long golden locks of hair that adorned them on either side.
“No,” he said. “Actually, we're Fenrir and--” he paused.
“Oh, well come on in. You're in the right place.”
He wondered how he could be in the right place when he wasn't looking for this place to begin with. Nevertheless, he found himself following his escort across the patio toward the pool.
“What's your name?” he asked.
“Oh, forgive me. How rude of me. I'm Gorchock.”
Upon the mention of her name, Gorchock wiggled her hips, causing Fenrir's eyes to drop and Balrymple's hand to smack him in the face. “We may be seeking knowledge,” she said, “ but not that kind of knowledge.”
They followed Gorchock around the pool to a table filled with snacks and drinks. Gorchock explained the contents of the table and followed up with, “Help yourselves.”
Balrymple took a cookie and Fenrir helped himself to a cupcake and a glass of garden punch. Gorchock then led them across the yard and introduced them to a handful of gnomes huddled in a circle and talking about the state of the world, none of which made sense to Fenrir, having just arrived.
A tall garden gnome wearing a cowboy hat was the first voice Fenrir heard.
“These humans don't seem to care for each other much,” Cowboy Hat said. “Let's show them how.”
“We can't reveal ourselves,” said another garden gnome, a short plump lady in a long skirt. She looked to Fenrir as if she had just arrived from a ball and had spent the evening dancing with princes.
“Why not?” asked Cowboy Hat.
A fat gnome with a mustache piped in, rubbing his facial hair with his index finger in one swoop below his nostrils. “Cause that would be awkward.”
“And walking around in these body suits ain't?”
A black garden gnome who had been silent voiced another concern. “What do you think would happen if we just stood silently by and watched? Doing nothing. That's one option, isn't it?”
Fat Guy and Long Skirt nodded their heads as if agreeing. Cowboy Hat had opened his mouth and was about to speak when Gorchock cut in. “I'd like you all to meet Fenrir and Bal--”
Balrymple could tell that her host had forgotten her name and finished it for her. “Balrymple,” she said, stepping forward with her arm extended in what seemed like the most natural gesture for the moment. The other garden gnomes looked at her as if she had just performed the most random act she could think of. None of them extended their hands in return.
Long Skirt was the first to speak. “So what brings you to the party?” she asked.
Before he could stop himself, Fenrir blurted the first thing that popped into his mind. “Legs!”
There was a short pause before the small group burst into laughter. Gorchock stole the moment to excuse herself and walk away. Balrymple cast a glance in Fenrir's direction that seemed to say she was not pleased with his simple honesty. For his part, he was confused; he didn't understand what sparked the laughter, was equally unsure why Balrymple suddenly looked upset, and mentally questioned whether Gorchock was leaving because of him or if she was simply going to find other guests to greet.
Cowboy Hat threw his arm around Fenrir's neck and squeezed the shoulder on the opposite side. “Fenrir, my pal, welcome to the 19th dimension. I'm gonna take you under my wing and show you the ropes. You'll be my personal protégé.”
Fenrir looked at Cowboy Hat to see if he could find wings. He didn't see any evidence of them, and while he was darting his eyes to search for evidence, he decided to look for ropes as well. He didn't see any sign of those nearby either. But what Cowboy Hat said sounded impressive even if Fenrir didn't know exactly what was meant by “protégé.” He smiled.
Long Skirt leaned over and whispered something into Balrymple's ear. She giggled and grabbed Long Skirt's hand. They skipped off together happily as Fenrir watched.
After the ladies has gone, Fenrir asked, “Did you say 19th dimension?”
“Yes sir,” Cowboy Hat bellowed. His voice was loud and confident, cheerfully delivered without a hint of self-consciousness. “You're in the right place, just at the right time.”
“Exactly how many dimensions are there?” Fenrir asked.
“Thousands,” said Fat Guy.
“Millions,” said the black gnome.
Fenrir wondered how there could be hundreds, thousands, and millions at the same time. He quickly brushed those numbers out of his mind and tried to remember what he may have felt, saw, or heard before entering this dimension. There was a strange blackness that clouded his mind regarding anything prior to opening his eyes back in the garden. Where was I going? he thought. Were Balrymple and I together or did we just show up here at the same time?
The questions flooded his mind, questions which had no answers, or at least he did not know the answers. And a part of him was afraid to ask them. He wasn't sure if it was because he was afraid there might be answers or if perhaps because he might not like the answers. Nevertheless, before he could think about it too long, his mouth opened and out flew a question.
“What brings us all here?”
The other gnomes laughed. Cowboy Hat, his arm still around Fenrir's neck, squeezed Fenrir's shoulder again. “My gnome, what brings us here is the divine providence of a being so great, so glorious, so wonderful that no words can do justice to its awesomeness.”
“That's right!” Cowboy Hat paused to remove his arm from around Fenrir's shoulder. As he continued to talk, he reached into a shirt pocket and pulled out a little stick of something, inserted it between his lips, and put a flame to it. Fenrir noticed the flame extended from a small contraption that seemed designed specifically for that purpose. “The Portal of Dimensions!”
Fat Guy and the Black Gnome stood grinning ear to ear as if in on some cosmic joke Fenrir was missing.
“Say that again,” Fenrir choked. More questions raced to the center of his mind, flooding it with thoughts that shoved each other out of the way to attract his mental attention. “Why are we here? In this dimension?”
His question seemed to imply that all these garden gnomes could be dispersed throughout the dimensional planes—if there indeed were millions of them—and they could all exist in separate dimensions. Why congregate in one and leave the others alone?
“Same reason we'd be in any dimension,” said Fat Guy.
“Because this is where the portal put us,” Black Gnome added.
“And because we can only exist in one dimension at a time,” Cowboy Hat said, puffing on his little smoke stick. “So it might as well be this one.”
“Yep, why not?” Fat Guy grinned.
There was something going on. Fenrir had no clue what it was. Everyone seemed to be in on the secret except him. He wondered if Balrymple was privy to all of this talk of dimensions. This portal the others kept talking about, Fenrir wondered where was it and why he couldn't see it? Then it dawned on him that he had no recollection of anything before that moment when he opened his eyes in the garden.
“Where is this portal?” Fenrir asked. “I'd like to see it.”
“You can't see it,” Cowboy Hat said, chewing the firelit stick between his lips.
“You've already moved through it,” said Fat Guy.
“The only way out now is a random extrication event,” threw in Black Gnome. “And that won't happen for several more years.”
Fenrir was about to ask another question when Cowboy Hat put his arm around Fenrir's shoulders again. “Remember that cold thrust up your arse just before you opened your eyes, and the impending darkness that swallowed your whole being for about 30 seconds?”
Fenrir strained himself thinking back. Did he remember it? He couldn't be sure. Something weird happened, but he couldn't recall what it was. He rounded his lips as if to speak and was cut off again.
“That was the Portal of Dimensions,” Cowboy Hat whispered in Fenrir's ear. “It's underground.”
“No kidding? So why these bodies then?” Fenrir asked, growing frustrated.
“Why not?” Fat Guy responded.
“Yeah, why not?” Black Gnome agreed with a grin.
Cowboy Hat laughed. He removed his arm from around Fenrir's shoulders, pulled the firelit stick out of his mouth, and said, “Young Fenrir, there's plenty of time for questions, and there will be plenty of time for answers. Tonight, it's party time. Tomorrow, work.”
No sooner had Cowboy Hat removed his arm from Fenrir's shoulders when the ladies reappeared, each holding a glass full of some colored frozen concoction. They sipped their drinks through straws and giggled each time one of them said something, which annoyed Fenrirt. His mind wandered as he contemplated what kind of work it was that Cowboy Hat referred to. It startled Fenrir when Cowboy Hat jumped up on a table near the pool and whistled over the bustle of the noise in the yard. Everyone stopped what they were doing to listen.
“Who wants to watch a movie?”
A loud ruckus rose up from the yard as garden gnomes of every shape and size yelled their assent.
A movie? More questions entered Fenrir's head.
As he stood wondering what in the 19th dimension is a movie, the other garden gnomes, hundreds of them, suddenly rushed past him and into the house that, before, he was oblivious to. Garden gnomes filtered in only moments later to filter out with something in their hands. A handful of them carried a sofa, a smaller handful pushed a recliner through the door, several others brought out the dining table and chairs, some carried food and drinks, and others carried random pieces of furniture from various rooms of the house but mostly the living room. One garden gnome pushed by Fenrir on his second trip toward the house and stopped long enough to slap Fenrir on the shoulder. “Come on, brother!” Fenrir followed.
Once inside the house, Fenrir found himself distracted. As the other garden gnomes busied themselves moving furniture, food, and whatnots out of the house and into the yard, he wandered around looking at the framed images of smiling humans on the wall, various pieces of artwork and other collectibles placed about strategically throughout the house, and marvelled at the general décor of the home's interior. He noted how strange it all seemed. Is this how creatures in this dimension live? he wondered silently.
All alone, he made his way up a flight of stairs, down a long hall, and into a dimly lit room. In that room he saw a long piece of furniture with legs, some other items lined against a wall, and a hole covered in glass on the opposite wall. He wondered why the other garden gnomes weren't moving things out of the upstairs rooms. He walked over to the glass-covered hole, pulled himself up on the sill and peered out at the pool, watching all the other garden gnomes settle on the ground, on chairs and sofas, and in various parts of the yard. In front of the crowd was this big box with a screen from which emanated a light and moving images. He could faintly hear some sound coming out of the box, as well. When he heard someone below calling out his name, he bent forward to see who it might be. He saw Balrymple standing in the grass, looking around. She appeared worried. “Fenrir?” she called. “Fenrir? Where are you?”
He was about to yell at Balrymple from above when he suddenly found himself losing his balance. Before he could catch himself, he tumbled forward, and the next thing he saw was the open window and the dark sky, then the ground, and then—darkness. His entire existence went black.
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While you're here, check out some of my other fiction:
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And these Steem Monsters tales:
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The backside 5 (my five latest posts):
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- Giant Roc: Born of Wind, Hard as Stone
- Farmpunk Flash Fiction Contest Winner
- Poetry Sunday: 'I Like War' and 'Piano'
- Literary Mashup: A Furry Little Love Triangle
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with permission from @guiltyparties