Challenge #02152-E323: Meet the NeighbourssteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  9 months ago  (edited)


"You know, Master, there is this ice-filled uninhabited continent in the South. ...Are we sure it was always ice-filled and uninhabited?" -- Anon Guest

"Currently, Bickreese, the population is entirely penguins and sea lions. In summer, there is moss and algae. Hardly anything to write home about, really."

"I know you said that," Bickreese was naturally nervous, but here, where nights lasted six months, he was more nervous than normal. "That's why you decided to build your secret lab here, under the ice and underground. But. Um..."

Lokax sighed. "Out with it, Bickreese." He did not look up from his studies. Arcane, multiplanar math was difficult, but not so difficult that Lokax couldn't work on his masterpiece and soothe the illogical fears of his assistant.

"I'm... I saw... There were... shadows."

"Shadows," Lokax echoed. Hallucinations brought on by the liminal quality of the secret base and all its tunnels, no doubt. Bickreese was used to the city life, with people everywhere. Not relative solitude and darkness for months on end.

"Um," said Bickreese. "Not... just... shadows, sir. Um. I've found... other things." He had bundles of somethings in tissue wrappings. Inside each were fur samples. One looked like a hairball. If a hairball could be coughed up by a human-sized creature. One sample was a piece of paper with a muddy footprint on it. A rather large, muddy footprint. "I... don't think... we're entirely alone, sir."

Lokax thought briefly of telling Bickreese to shush, but this was... This was amazingly perspicacious detective work for his usually bumbling self. That sort of thing had to be encouraged. "Where do you think they're coming from, then? They certainly aren't up and about on the surface..."

"Um. Basement thirty-seven had that hole in it?" Bickreese, having put the samples down, was now twiddling with the tightening cords of his parka. "On the far side? Andum. You sent me to look just after we'd used the excavators and it just looked like a big cave? Um. Now... there's like a pile of stones leading up from the floor of it? Andum. It kind of looks... It look s like drywall? Except it's a stair? The risers are -um- they... match... those footprints. Like in size?"

Lokax finished his current arcane mathmagical transformation. Put his pencils down and tidied his multiplanar abacus. He stood from his work and said, "Show me?"

There was, indeed, a stone stair leading down into a subterranean cavern from the far corner of Basement thirty-seven. A very wide and stable stair. Lokax lit the end of his staff and ventured down. Subterranean civilisations didn't crop up just anywhere, after all. There had to be logic and reason behind it. Besides, the fur that Bickreese had brought him was actually feathers. That lead to a lot of questions that his assistant clearly couldn't answer.

Finding an underground civilisation of dinosaurs who were waiting for the end of the planetary winter wasn't what Lokax had expected, but it was almost as interesting as divining the secrets of interdimensional travel.

Bickreese almost ruined it all by blurting, "Bigfoot is real..."

"Bickreese... shush."

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / antpkr]

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Poor things didn't realise they were stuck under Antarctica? XD

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Who says just Humans make bad executive decisions?