21 August 2012

Elizabeth Hoysted – Insalubrious


Young genius Lucius Dalworthy climbed from his Subterranean Tunneller, straightened his top hat, and strode into the underground chamber. ‘Surrender!’ he cried. ‘There is no escape for you now!’

Standing amid the steam and dust, Cressida Mandeville – his equally young and equally brilliant arch-enemy – raised an eyebrow. ‘That’s odd. I was just about to say the same thing to you.’

Hat buzzed with excitement and wished it could hurl insults at Cressida. Hat squinted at the diminutive mastermind through its sumptuous, velvet, purple eyelids. She was no more than two inches tall. Hat ignored its cramps. It had been perched on Lucius’s head for too long.

Lucius felt Hat stirring and silently prayed that it settled. All his plotting and preparation had led to this confrontation with minuscule Cressida. He’d always dreamed that the finale of this saga would take place in a gleaming castle. But what did he get? A hole. A putrid, pungent, pestiferous hole.

On top of that, he’d needed to invent an entirely new vehicle to reach her, just because she refused to apologise for her insult.

Cressida had seen Lucius walking along a busy London street. She’d exclaimed, ‘Your B.O. is so bad you’re classified as a biological weapon.’ Hat had been irate, not understanding that hats generally don’t smell of anything at all. No one insulted Lucius’s or Hat’s aroma with impunity.

‘I was surprised you led me here,’ he began sarcastically, ‘I expected a castle, but you thought a pit would be more appropriate.’

‘Earthy colours are fashionable this year,’ Cressida smirked.

‘Last I checked you don’t need to be twenty kilometres underground to see them.’

Something stirred behind Cressida, but he was unable to make out what it was in the murk. It was taller than her (not an achievement) and seemed rectangular in appearance.

Hat suspected what it was and leapt off Lucius just as the monster revealed itself. As Hat feared, it was a Toaster, capable of holding eight slices, featuring nine settings, a stainless steel finish and removable crumb tray.

The Toaster stretched and padded towards them, its cord swinging back and forth. It slinked closer. Hat was sure Lucius hadn’t noticed. Hat had no desire for the ‘discussion’ to continue, so it opened its eyes, smiled and prepared for action. Its small, white, gloved hands turned into fists and it punched the toaster, which yowled and slashed in response.

Lucius took the opportunity and threw a pungent grenade at Cressida. It attached itself to her arm and began to emit a vile stench so powerful that worms and bugs died instantly.

Hat saw the dying insects, ran towards Lucius, leapt on his head and kneeled. Lucius sprinted for the Subterranean Tunneller and fired the engine. Even from this distance he could feel the approaching cloud of putridity rising from Cressida and approaching his machine.

As it pulled away, Cressida screamed, ‘I’ll get you for this!’

‘Well, we’ll know you’re coming. Your stench will be warning enough.’

By Elizabeth Hoysted, Year 8 (Female)