The Day of the Sniffids

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Simbellini
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The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 12 Nov 2018, 16:45

The Day of the Sniffids - The Simwich Cuckoos revisited

1

In the dim light of the coming dawn the slimy shape near the wall was just visible. It began to writhe and moan. Then it gave a loud sneeze and an even louder moan.

"Oh my head hurts" she said aloud because it was a she and not a creature from the black lagoon after all.

She put her hands to her sticky face and gave another even louder sneeze.

"Ugh" she said looking at her hands "blood?"

But even in the half light she could see the slime was bright green but not as green as her hands.

"What the..." she stammered and then she gasped. In front of her on the grass was a furry-looking shape.

"A cat..?"

But when she touched it she realized it was a ratty black wig. Then she noticed near it a cone-shaped purple hat. She looked down at what she was wearing - the lacing, the pointy sleeves.

"I don't know who I am" she thought "but I know what I am - a witch!"

Then she noticed with a shock that there was a ghostly pale face watching from the window of the darkened house.
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SKatF
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by SKatF » 13 Nov 2018, 03:26

Great opening
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 13 Nov 2018, 15:51

SKatF wrote:
13 Nov 2018, 03:26
Great opening
Thank you :D
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 13 Nov 2018, 15:58

2

Frank Einstein hadn't always been a monster. Well not in the very beginning anyway. As he stood staring at the injured woman from his kitchen window he felt a mixture of emotions because he at least knew exactly who she was. He'd known from the second he'd seen her enter his garden over half an hour ago.

He'd heard her first. That sneeze in the dark was what betrayed her. Then he saw the pointy hat silhouetted against the street lights as she crept around his garden wall. He'd laughed aloud at her disguise. The fact that she was still wearing her regulation trench coat over a witches outfit was what gave her away. She'd worn the same coat when she came before in daylight and pushed her card through his door. He'd slipped it under his fruit bowl and forgotten about it.

But 'Special Agent Blaize Ashman of the Simwich PD' was back and this time he was ready for her or at least the sniffids he'd planted all around his house were. If fearsome dragon statues and fire pits hadn't put her off perhaps they would. He sniggered - they had already picked up her scent and were slobbering and slurping greedily.

Blaize had heard them too before she saw them. As her eyes adjusted to the dark she realized with horror that there were at least a dozen of them. She'd always hated sniffids - nasty eye-less heads, lolling tongues and hideous teeth. She shuddered. Then

"Ha" she said scornfully "if you think that's going to scare me off - you're mistaken matey!"

Blaize was a trained negotiator so this would be a piece of cake.

She threw down her coat and the proton gun she had concealed under it and approached the first sniffid crouching like a sumo wrestler.

Frank watching from the safety of his kitchen chuckled.

"This is going to be entertaining."

Blaize wrestled with the first sniffid. Caught unawares by her boldness it seemed to be losing the battle and it's tendrils thrashed uselessly. Then Blaize gave an almighty sneeze straight into its gaping maw. This seemed to stun it for a second but then it made a ferocious lunge and swallowed Blaize head first.

"Oh! Ha ha! Frank laughed clutching his side's as he enjoyed the show.
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 14 Nov 2018, 22:57

3

Blaize used her feet to pry herself free and she shot backwards onto the grass. Her hand fell onto the proton gun.

'The Simwich Ghostbusters Reenactment Group' had called it a 'neutrino wand' when she had asked to borrow it. They couldn't refuse as she was the law in town and could have revoked their licence. So they warned her to be careful.

"Whatever" she scoffed "I am a trained weapons specialist" but they still looked worried. She'd only intended to use it to intimidate this Frank Einstein character but these sniffids were going to get it now. She'd had enough.

She grasped the heavy weapon and fiddled with the controls in the dark.

"Blast" she thought "should have had a practice run. Too late now."

She whacked what she thought was the power control up to max and unsteadily aimed the gun at the first plant.

"Take that you ugly sap-sucker!"

The weapon warbled and whirred and seemed to be slowly winding itself to fever pitch. Blaize shook it impatiently which was a mistake. A bright yellow stream suddenly snaked itself out of the gun. But it missed the startled sniffid completely. It hit the wall of the house and bounced straight back at Blaize knocking her off her feet and throwing her against the garden wall.

"Crikey" said Frank as he ducked thinking the beam would come through the wall. But when he got up everything was quiet. Blaize lay against the wall motionless. The coat,hat,wig and gun lay scattered on the grass.
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 15 Nov 2018, 09:26

4

Frank knew what he should do but the truth was he was afraid of the sniffids and had a growing respect for Blaize and her bravery. After he had planted them they grew so big he was too scared to leave the house. He knew he was the only one left in his deserted town and no-one would come to rescue him from a nightmare of his own making.

Then he heard a sniffid sneeze. He thought he must have imagined it. But one after another all along the row they began giving great slimy sneezes directly at each other.

"Ugh - disgusting" said Frank. But they were plants after all with no hands let alone hankies to sneeze into.

Then there was a loud pop and what seemed like a giant bucket of green goo hit the window. Frank jumped back involuntarily. They were exploding. One after another all along the row until the last one in the line went with a soggy plop.

Frank was astounded. There was nothing left but a neat row of empty beds and a lot of green gloop.

"Blimey who'd have thought it" said Frank "common cold kills monster sim-eater. Perhaps that's why they're called sniffids - one sniffle and they're snuffed!"

So he crept outside and found that Blaize was coming round. He picked up her coat and then grabbed the gun in case she might be tempted to use it on him.
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 16 Nov 2018, 15:03

5

So there she was sitting in Frank's kitchen showered and dressed in some of his ex wife's old clothes. She gingerly felt the bump on her head.

"You were only winded" he said feeling guilty "you'll live."

He'd gradually realized that she'd lost her memory and he couldn't believe his luck. He made her a drink as she sat at his table staring at his fruit bowl. The card caught her eye. She read it but it meant nothing to her and she quickly pushed it back. She saw the slimy trench coat on the stand and noticed the weird weapon propped up behind it and all she felt was stunned. She sniffed and felt sorry for herself.

"Here. Have a hanky" said Frank "I think you have a cold."

"I think I'm a witch" said Blaize dabbling her red nose.

"You're no more a witch than I am a wizard - anymore."

"You're dressed like one" she said eying his strange robes "is it Halloween then?"

"I was learning wizardry now I'm not. I'll show you" he smiled. "What's the harm?" he thought.

Down to his secret cellar they went. Down the creaky stairs, through the secret doorway disguised as a bookcase and into a long stone corridor lined with torches which jumped into flame as they passed. Frank glanced at Blaize but she didn't look very impressed.

Then they were in a large chamber and Blaize quickly scanned the place. An owl on a perch, crystal ball, a cauldron and a wand resting on a podium with a huge old book.

"So when you were doing this wizardry - what exactly did you do?"

"Spell casting for hours and hours."

"To do what - exactly?"

"Oh I could materialize things err ... common apples, strange toad-stools."

Blaize snorted mockingly.

"Beholder eye" he added hesitantly.

"What's that?"

"Mmm - not sure."

Blaize shrugged and was turning to go back upstairs when a door burst open and two broom-like things chased each other across the floor. Blaize jumped but said sarcastically

"Don't tell me - magic broomsticks!"

"Well they're really mops" said Frank defensively "but I did other things that I'm ashamed of now."

Blaize was suddenly interested. Somehow she felt that this was something she was good at - getting a confession.
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 17 Nov 2018, 16:56

6

So Frank told her his story. How as a geeky college kid his only ambition was to have a career in science. He had achieved that. A good job at Simchem Labs gave him a wealthy lifestyle. But as a college kid he had also fallen hopelessly in love with a beautiful, talented cheerleader who had won the 'Teen Idol" competition and moved into her prize - a mansion on the island. He was heartbroken.

Even as an adult he couldn't forget her and his desperation made him fall under the influence of a powerful wizard who promised him everything - but at a price - and so he began spell casting.

He never did win the cheerleader - the wizard hadn't been over specific about that. But eventually he married Harriet, a co-worker and they had a son. Frank named his first born Merlin as he had promised the wizard and when he was old enough got him a broomstick so he could follow a hobby which would lead him along the path to magic.

Harriet had gone along with some of this. She didn't know what Frank was doing in the cellar but she liked the name Merlin. But eventually Frank became too obsessive and Harriet feared the influence he started to have over Merlin and one day they left him.

Frank avoided eye contact with Blaize as he could feel the hostility of her disapproval and he needed to continue.

Again he had despaired. He'd lost his teenage love and now his wife and son. But then Lee came to work at the lab.

"Lee?" Blaize interrupted her expression changing to one of puzzlement "I know that name."

Frank ignored her. He had to finish his story - how he fell madly in love with Lee and realized that she was the real true love of his life. She seemed to love him as well but then he had blown it with her too.
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 18 Nov 2018, 23:00

7

"I wanted to protect her and share this with her" Frank said sadly "but I know I scared her off"
and before Blaize could interrupt again he continued.

He'd looked into the advanced section of his wizard's manual, which Blaize gathered was the dusty-looking book on the podium. He'd found a spell and created a clone of Lee. Blaize's horrified look didn't stop him continuing.

"I called her Audrey and she was perfect. She worked there" and he pointed to the cauldron "brewing potions. I knew while I had her under my spell she at least would never leave me."

Blaize had an irresistible urge to call him 'a real Frankenstein' but she saw he had tears in his eyes.

"But she wasn't Lee - and I tried something else" and he hung his head. "You have to wait until the subject should be asleep and then you summon them."

Blaize looked even more horrified - she was taking him seriously now.

"She came - I know she did" he said "but I didn't concentrate enough and she never entered the house. But the next time - I was here with my wand at the podium and when I looked up there she was in the doorway - my Lee! But then she saw Audrey, gave a blood-curdling scream and ran. I tried to run after her but she'd startled all the mops and they panicked and I fell over them."

"There's only two" said Blaize as the mops near her feet stopped in mid dash.

"Well" said Frank "there were a lot more ...But I chopped them up with an axe and threw them onto the stove."

The mops suddenly jumped up and dashed away slamming several doors behind them.

"Can't blame them" said Blaize wryly.

"I was angry - mostly with myself. I reversed the spell on Audrey. I'm not proud of what I've done."

"Hmmm this wizard - long white beard, impressive staff - met him in his cottage in the woods?"

"Well yes ...He was a very convincing wizard."

"You must have spent a fortune - told you to buy all this stuff from 'Spells 4 Less' when you made all these promises?"

"Well. Yes ...and I made big donations to the 'Wizard's Benevolent Fund'."

"Dodgy" said Blaize "we've been investigating a similar operation in my town."

"Oh" Frank gulped realizing the implications of what Blaize had just said "are you going to arrest him ..or me?"

Blaize didn't answer but rubbed her head, sniffed and then suddenly ran back upstairs.
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Re: The Day of the Sniffids

Post by Simbellini » 20 Nov 2018, 09:29

8

Frank found her staring out of the kitchen window. The hat and wig still lay on the grass surrounded by green splats and plant debris.

"I know who I am" she said and reached for the card under the fruit bowl which seriously alarmed Frank.

"I dressed as a witch because I was undercover. Even though Halloween was over everyone on the party boat I came on was still dressed as zombie cheerleaders and Frankenstein's monsters ..Oh sorry" she said seeing Frank grimace painfully.

"I came here to Simville because in my town there were disappearances and I thought you might be involved." Frank was looking more and more worried.

"But it's the plants" said Blaize "you've let the sniffids get out of control. They've eaten everyone in your town and now they've spread and are doing the same in Simwich."

Blaize found her ID in her coat and was ready to leave.

"But I can save my town" she said "I killed your sniffids with this" and she picked up the proton gun.

Frank wanted to put her right but just said sadly

"My sniffids have certainly had their day but they don't really eat anybody - although they can give you a nasty munch. This town had started disappearing a long time before Lee arrived. Something changed - everyone started aging prematurely and then they were gone."

"Oh that's ancient history" said Blaize "that happened in my town and it was a hard time but they found a cure."

"Well that didn't happen here" said Frank quietly "whoever was in charge here was too traumatised by losing so many and the town was abandoned. I think I'm only here because they forgot about me in the cellar."
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