Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 7): Lure of the Lava Lady

As seen on Ricochet.com here, part 7 of an ongoing serial:

On an island far away, the mwahaha flies.

The mwahaha is a bird – not, funnily enough, so called because its cry resembles the laugh of an old-fashioned villain, twirling his moustache as the express train draws near – but just out of sheer soppy sentimentality. There used to be a thriving colony of them somewhere up around old Hollywood way, back in the “real” world. People keep hoping they might come back someday, but, sad to tell, no one in living memory can remember seeing an active colony of mwahahas. Like the dodo, they have passed into the mists of history …

… Except, here, where one watched with curiosity from the branches of a flowering tree, on the slopes of the volcano. It was watching a curious assemblage running towards it. A man, who seemed faintly luminescent, carrying a beautiful young lady in his arms, apparently unslowed by shifting rocky ground or jungle scrub, or even by running straight uphill. On his shoulder, a parrot was squawking encouragement. Behind them, masked warriors flung spears, darts, and arrows while giving chase. It’s a strange world, sometimes, the mwahaha thought, and fluttered off. Some ancient instinct warned it what might lie ahead …

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Once Upon a Spinning-Wheel (Part 5): The Limey and the Coconut

I lay back in the firelight and tried not to be sick. Which wasn’t easy. Nessa had conspired to get me to a “medicine woman” – which seemed to be a polite way of saying “witch doctress”. When I’d tried to point this out, Nessa had shushed me with a well-placed elbow to the stomach. It doesn’t pay to offend the only person with a knowledge of magic and potions for miles around.

The medicine woman wore a carved painted mask with red curving lips and big stylised uptilted eyes. It looked disturbingly feminine. And the way she looked at me through the slitted eyeholes was plain disconcerting. Hungry, almost … She swayed about the place like someone who was used to not hobbling around in baggy robes and stirring potions over smoky indoor fires, and I couldn’t work out why that was bothering me.

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