Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Fifteen

Happy Wednesday and welcome to another edition of the Wednesday Briefs! I hope everyone is having a wonderful week, and staying safe. It's been a rough week, weather-wise, hasn't it? Hopefully it's behind us for a while.

As you know, since it's Wednesday, we have some flash fiction for you! Last week, in Dallas II, Dallas and Campbell crossed the strawberry river and found their way to a small cottage in the woods. Find out what happens in this week's chapter. Then be sure to see what the other flashers are up to! Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

Dallas in Wonderland II: Chapter Fifteen

“A feast? That sounds wonderful! Sorry to intrude,” Campbell apologized.

“No apologies needed,” the first twin declared. Mentally, Dallas dubbed him #1.

“And none accepted,” came from the other, #2. Though if the twins should shift position when his back was turned, Dallas knew he’d never be able to tell them apart again.

The man by the cauldron sneezed again. Dallas was fearful he’d sneezed into the contents of the cauldron, whatever those might be. He didn’t really want to find out, either.

“The feast shall begin shortly. As soon as the others arrive,” #1 declared. From the pocket of his hunting jacket, he produced a large watch. He stared at the face of it, then pulled out a cloth from another pocket and began to polish the surface very carefully. His every movement carefully observed by #2.

When he replaced it in his pocket, the second twin turned and stalked away. It didn’t take a weatherman to know a storm was brewing here.

“Thanks for the invitation,” Dallas said politely, “but we really can’t stay. Smells wonderful, though.”

Here the man sneezed once more. Without turning around, #1 barked, “Wendell, please!” Dallas assumed that Wendell was the sneezing man until the other twin, with a loud sigh, approached the sneezer and began to pound him on his back. Which brought on a few more short sneezes.

“It does smell divine, doesn’t it?” The first twin took a deep breath and exhaled it, as if to trump the sigh of his brother. “This was for the queen, you know.” He leaned toward Dallas and Campbell and muttered in a confidential tone that carried through the whole room easily. “Chosen we were to cater the queen’s birthday party. You have no idea what an honor that is.”

“I can imagine,” Campbell politely replied when it became apparent a response was required.

“Indeed.” #1 sniffed loudly.

“It’s not my fault, William,” Wendell protested. He took a container and began to vigorously shake its contents into the cauldron, which only served to exacerbate the man’s sneezing into loud explosions of sound that seemed to shake the very walls of the dwelling.

Wendell shoved the container into the man’s hand, before stomping across the room to his brother. “You know it’s not my fault,” he repeated, the whine in his voice increasing in pitch. “How was I to know the queen was in a bad mood? I tried to help!”

“And how did you try to help?” The sarcasm in William’s voice was unmistakable.

Wendell’s lower lip pushed out, giving him the appearance of a naughty child. “I made some tarts.”

“Tarts. Exactly. I rest my case.” William turned toward Dallas and Campbell, a note of exultation in his voice.

A little voice in the back of Dallas’ head told him this was not going to end well. He reached for Campbell’s arm, intending to back from the room and out the door. Too late.

“What’s wrong with tarts?” Campbell innocently asked.

“What’s wrong with tarts? What’s wrong with tarts?” William’s voice rose another octave. Dallas and Campbell both winced. “I’ll tell you what’s wrong with tarts. It reminds the queen of the tart she lost. And then she gets all grumpy wumpy. And then—” He made a swiping gesture across his throat with one finger.

“That means off with their heads,” Wendell confided before he scolded his twin. “Not everyone understands what you mean. You should speak plainly, Brother.”

William’s face purpled instantly, his cheeks expanding with suppressed anger.

“Oh dear, shouldn’t we do something?” Dallas looked to Campbell uncertainly.

“Oh no no, don’t worry, he’s just throwing a tantrum. He’s holding his breath because he hasn’t gotten his own way. Don’t worry, he’ll stop in a minute.” Taking advantage of his twin’s distraction, Wendell reached into his pocket and emerged with the watch in his hand, a triumphant grin spreading over his face.

The next moment the watch had been snatched back. Wendell gave a cry and held his hand to his lips. Dallas thought he spied blood. Big fat tears rolled down Wendell’s cheeks.

“You shouldn’t hurt your brother,” Campbell chastised William. “And you can stop holding your breath. It won’t kill you. You’ll pass out before you reach that point.”

William sulkily released his pent-up breath, reminding Dallas of a deflated balloon. He turned to Wendell with a smirk. “I didn’t hurt him, he’s happy, can’t you tell?”

“Those aren’t happy tears. You hurt me, you idiot!” Wendell snapped. He’d been sucking at his wounded hand. Suddenly he lashed out and slapped his brother’s cheek. Loudly. The force of the blow was enough to cause William’s head to wobble back and forth.

In the back of the room, the man sneezed again. The twins turned in his direction and shouted in unison, “More pepper!” The man began to furiously shake pepper into the cauldron until the air was fairly thick with the stuff.

Without warning, Wendell leapt on his twin, and the two fell to the floor, arms flailing, screams filling the air. From what little Dallas could see through the thickening air, their punches were poorly aimed and their crying was more for show than for any actual injury.

Dallas sneezed, and then Campbell. It was hard not to, the pepper was flying everywhere. For a moment, Dallas thought the pig on the table sneezed.

“Let’s get out of here.” He grabbed Campbell’s hand.

“That’s my watch,” Dallas heard Wendell scream. “Give it back, back, back!”

“No, no, no!” that was William now. And then their outraged cries became screeches as they continued to roll about on the floor.

Dallas and Campbell felt their way to the door and beat a hasty retreat, shutting the madness behind them.

They wiped at their streaming eyes, randomly sneezing, although the fresh air helped their breathing.

“This Wonderland is a very strange place,” Campbell observed. He patted Dallas gently on the back.

“Tell me about it.” Dallas rolled his eyes.

to be continued

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