Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 010

Welcome to the UnderWhere (Episode One)The puddles of water grew oblong as they walked along, widening until, at last, they converged upon the buttery path. Bottle-green water lapped at the newly created shore, and a soft wind blew over the waters, perfuming the air with brine and the elusive scent of free, clear waters.

“Oh,” Glop sighed, his eyes wide as he dropped to his knees. He put a tentative finger into the water before Wednesday could stop him and held a glistening finger up for Gahtoof’s inspection.

“You like the water?” Wednesday murmured, coming up to kneel beside him.

Glop opened his mouth, but Wednesday firmly clamped a vermillion-scaled hand over his lips. “Remember?” he whispered.

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Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 009

SotUcoverWednesday stared at the path, the basket his mother had packed tied securely to his back. Neither his mother nor his gran had been able to see them off, for which he was grateful. The yellow paths were perhaps the rarest in the UnderWhere, and he didn’t like to think what they would have to say about that—especially if they ever learned that this wasn’t the first time he’d set foot on one.

“Nah-nain,” Glop observed from beside him. The child frowned at the buttercup stones that uncoiled before them. His bear said nothing, but simply dripped with slime and stuffing.

“No,” Wednesday sighed, “not a nain.”

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Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 008

SotUcoverWednesday and his mother exchange a look while the child babbled something that sounded suspiciously like an affirmation. His mother sighed, and patted their Ember on the arm.

“Perhaps you would like some nice, soothing tea once we’ve cleaned these two up.”

Great gran shook her head impatiently. “Don’t patronize me, missy,” she growled. “I was doing the work of ten while you were still in diapers. I know what I saw, and I saw what I know. That creature has been here before, sure as I’m the Great Ember.” She set her jaw and glared at Wednesday’s mother with unseeing eyes.

Wednesday shuffled his feet and glanced at the child who had taken an interest in the beads and feathers hanging down from the polished knob of his great-gran’s staff of office. He grabbed him before the child could catch a particularly bright feather. Messing with the Staff of Office was not a mistake any monster child ever made twice, and it would be easier for them all if they could avoid any of that particular sort of unpleasantness.

“We are just passing through,” he said. “The Prince ordered that the child be brought to him by teatime.” He gave his mother a sheepish look. “The Lord Mayor assigned the task to me.”

His mother gave him a surprised look, but didn’t press the issue. “Very well. Do you have enough time that I could put together basket for you? You never know what mischief the roads might be up to. Better to go prepared.”

Wednesday nodded. “Yes, thanks. Just have to get the saddles.”

His mother led their Great Ember back to the house while Wednesday led Glop—he shook his head at the child’s new name—back toward the stables.

Glop followed him, alternating between hopping and skipping. All the while singing softly, “Nain, nain, nain,” as though it was a charm or a hidden delight only he could see.

Wednesday frowned. What was it about that name that made his thoughts flutter with a swirl of night-colored feathers not unlike those of the Lord Regent’s black thought? And why did he have the sinking feeling that teatime, like as not, was only going to be the beginning of his troubles, but not the end?

. . .  TO BE CONTINUED . . .

© 2015 by Danyelle Leafty. All rights reserved.


Come back to the UnderWhere next Thursday to see what other complications arise. After all, it isn’t often that a child finds his way into the UnderWhere on his own–if you aren’t counting a small, stuffed bear that is more slime and stuffing than bear by this point. It isn’t by accident that a Great Ember is there to meet him either, or so we would hope. :)

*Author’s Note: This story of a monster and his boy in a faraway place called the UnderWhere has been the most stubborn and intractable of stories in recent storytelling. It first ambushed me nearly a year ago, and after that initial meeting refused to say a word. Being an author, I soldiered on. The Story, of course, watched with hooded eyes, smirking to itself as it watched follow false road after false road. After nearly a year of this back and forth, it either grew a sense of conscience or exasperated enough to finally start talking.

And, oh, how it has been talking. As Storyteller, I must accept the fact that I will never be able to perfectly capture each thread and texture of it. There will be bits and pieces I either fail to convey adequately or forget to tell entirely, although I shall do my best to tell the story as best as I can. But the more I trek along in this UnderWhere, the more its world and history unfolds. It isn’t often that the world itself catches my whimsy and wonder. Though the path to this point has been long, it was worth it for all that’s coming. :)

If this is your first time, be sure to check out the first installment. And, if you’d like, dip your toes into the other stories. On Mondays, we’re exploring the moon with an enchanted flower and her–well, that would be telling. On Tuesdays, we’re off to the Garden with Gwyn who is hopefully avoiding the wrath of the Ruby Queen, and on Wednesdays we’re meeting with Mira as she discovers her destiny to become the Queen of the Nearly Dead Fae. No zombies. Promise. 😉

Have a great weekend!


Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 007

SotUcoverWednesday wracked his brains for answers that would allow them to get to the castle on time while his great-gran rubbed her chin and cocked her head to the side thoughtfully. The feathers and rattles tied to the top of her staff rattled with her movements.

“Meena,” she said in a quavery voice, “the fates see a lot clearer when you attend to your task. Is someone mortally wounded?”

His mother sighed, but gave their Great Ember a look of loving exasperation. Great-Gran had drafted her to be her eyes, and wasn’t shy about pulling age or rank.

Wednesday’s mother led her over, carefully, and the child stopped squalling as he watched them approach. Wednesday didn’t blame him. His great-gran may be shorter than most, but she had a presence about her that reminded one of a mountain strong enough to make even the wildest wind think twice before shrieking anywhere near its peaks.

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Secrets of the UnderWhere: Welcome to the UnderWhere 006

SotUcover“Wayaway?” the child burbled to the bear who looked even more ragged and wretched in the clear light of the star lamps burning brilliantly all around them.

Wednesday let out a breath and his muscles relaxed. He didn’t like going to the meetings the Lord Mayor liked to hold. Too many speeches about everything and nothing with too little to show for it. Not to mention that the more metropolitan areas of the UnderWhere relied on the wisps for light which meant that, at least part of the time, the bigger cities relied on torches to keep the night at bay. And torches with their greasy red light could hardly compete with the clear milky illumination of his village’s star lamps.

It was good to be home.

Or it would be if he could sneak in and out without alerting any more of his clan.

He just needed to ease the side door open to the storage shed where they kept the spare spare saddles and—

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