Fifth Week Fiction – Just When You Thought There Wouldn’t Be One

Even though I got rid of my “Grab-Bags”, that doesn’t mean I’m gonna forsake my fiction snippets. After all, they’re the easiest posts to do – since most of the time they’re already written. *grin*

Nope, I still don’t have original work for you. You wanted to enjoy more fanfiction anyway, right? (RIGHT?) Here’s a continuation of my last FWF.

*This is not a final draft, so all continuity errors in format should be disregarded.


[Fireworks!]

— OUTSIDE THE PALACE several Nimbusans have gathered around boxes set by the palace entry. One Nimbus boy jumps up and tries to look inside. His mother peeks too.

[The mole, King, and Queen Nimbus exit the palace. Nimbusans disperse and bow to the royalty, but they still talk animatedly with each other. The mother of the peeking boy sheepishly smiles as she pulls her son away.]

MOLE

(more comfortable now, like he’s in his element) Well! Haven’t had a fanfare like this any other place I’ve sold my wares. Y’all curious to see what’s inside?

[The crowd exclaims several things at once.]

NIMBUSANS

Did you bring these boxes?

Ooh, what’s inside them?

We haven’t had anyone visit from Below in years!

Does everyone from Below look like you?

(child) Are you gonna show us what you brought?

I think it’s clothes. Or food. Ooh! Or dirt! I’ve heard about dirt!

[The mole pulls one box toward him and prepares to lift the lid.]

MOLE

Y’know, back in my hometown we make most of our livin’ in the mines. But I always kinda hankered for a more intrepid career. And now here I find m’self, clear past the edge of the world!

(He turns back to the King and Queen, and resumes a little of his shyness.)

If, ehm, yer Majesties will permit me…

[The King and Queen motion for him to continue, and so the mole, with a bit of flair, whisks off the box’s top. Inside, there are mounds of fireworks. The Nimbusans crowd in excitedly.]

MOLE

(pleased with himself) Heh, we use dynamite, see, for breakin’ the tougher rocks. But I thought to m’self, I says, “These boom sticks might work as entertainment, given the right adjustments.”

(He pauses modestly.)

So here I am, tryin’ to make a mark in the business world. If it pleases yer Majesties, I’d like to offer maybe…a few nights’ firework displays? First night’s free, ‘case you have yer doubts about my workmanship.

[The crowd buzzes and turns to their rulers.]

NIMBUSANS

Yes, please, King Nimbus!

(child) Mama, we’ll get to see them, won’t we?

Too bad it’s not dirt…

[Everyone, Queen included, watches King Nimbus for his response. He strokes his mustache thoughtfully.]

KING NIMBUS

(frowning) Hm, no. No, I don’t think that will do at all.

[The Nimbusans look shocked, and there’s a collective sigh. The mole’s hopeful smile droops.]

KING NIMBUS

We simply must pay for the first night as well.

[The mood changes immediately. Nimbusans cheer. The children jump around the mole, who looks happily stunned.]

QUEEN NIMBUS

(aside to the King) You’re too clever, dear.

KING NIMBUS

I do try. And honestly, it’s just proper etiquette. Why, when I was young, everyone knew how to treat a visitor, and I certainly learned…

QUEEN NIMBUS

(while the King rambles on) Yes, dear. Speaking of, shall we arrange for our visitor’s stay?

— Transition to NIGHTTIME in Nimbus Land, same scene.  Nimbusans are gathered together, exclaiming at the fireworks the mole is setting off. Nimbus children run around with sparklers. Garro stands near the mole, and we faintly hear him apologizing for his failed escort earlier that day. Valentina exits the palace and approaches the King and Queen—mingling among their people.

VALENTINA

(somewhat to herself) What is this ruckus for? It’s like a bunch of pillows exploded, and the fluff’s just flying everywhere.

KING NIMBUS

(turning from the crowd) Ah! Valentina. I didn’t expect you’d join us, what with your tendency to loiter around the throne room while we’re away.

[King Nimbus mentions this with complete obliviousness, but Valentina puckers guiltily.]

KING NIMBUS [cont.]

At any rate, this mole fellow puts on an astonishing show, so I really recommend you stay for the rest of it.

[Garro, now holding a sparkler, is drawing detailed pictures with it in the air. The Nimbus children enjoy this immensely. Valentina wanders through the assembly of Nimbusans, turning a skeptical eye toward the fireworks display.]

VALENTINA

(as she approaches the mole) So you’re the cause for all this fuss, hm? Ho ho… This land is so estranged from the ground, its people get excited over the craziest novelties.

MOLE

(a little taken aback) Well, erm, I think these folks right kindly, an’ I don’t mind the enthusiasm. You…you look a smidge different from the folk here, yerself.

VALENTINA

(in a brush-off manner) Oh, no no, I’m one hundred percent a resident of the kingdom. Head of the palace workers, in fact—VERY important position.

MOLE

Oh! You work for the King and Queen? They seem like right nice individuals. Must treat their employees real kindly-like.

VALENTINA

(with as false a smile as possible) Why, it’s ALMOST like being royalty yourself. Ah, ha ha…

[They watch King Nimbus play with a crowd of Nimbus children. Queen Nimbus is talking with an animated young girl who seems very pleased with the attention.]

MOLE

Have to say I like this place. I’ll have to come back once I build more fireworks back home. Want to be able to support a family sometime soon, y’know. Settle down and raise a passel of mole pups. Looks like the King and Queen make fine parents, themselves. Which ones are theirs?

VALENTINA

Theirs? Oh, the King and Queen don’t have any chil…dren…

[Valentina zones out as the thought settles in.]

MOLE

(embarrassed) Oh gosh, I wouldn’t’ve asked if I’da known…Blast a bomb in my face fer bein’ so rude. It’s not my business, is it, ‘specially when it’s royalty concerned. Ohhh, I bet I’ve made a blunder. You won’t tell ‘em I been nosin’ around about their personal lives, will ya?

VALENTINA

(blinking out of her stupor) Hm? What’s that? Oh! (chuckles) Don’t worry your little head about that. Your secret is safe with ME. Now, um, if you’ll excuse me…I have to get to some of that…WORK I was talking about…

[Valentina walks away, trance-like. Scene fades.]

 

[Valentina’s Plan for the Throne]

— Open on the EDGE OF NIMBUS LAND. It’s been a couple of days, and the mole is preparing to leave. King and Queen Nimbus see him off ahead of many more Nimbusans waving goodbye. Before the Mole starts down the vines, King Nimbus arrests his attention and holds a notepad up to the Mole’s face. The Mole smiles bashfully and signs his name on the page—to the King’s immense delight.

VALENTINA [off-screen]

It can’t be as simple as that; it can’t! And yet—

— Cut to Valentina pacing her QUARTERS. Dodo and two Birdies are in the back of the room, watching Valentina walk back and forth, back and forth…

VALENTINA

(stops abruptly; Dodo and the Birdies get neck cricks) —I’d be a fool if I didn’t take advantage of it. It’s practically coronation on a silver plate.

BLUE BIRDIE

(tentatively) I don’t get it, Valentina. Just because the King and Queen have no kids, you get to be in charge?

VALENTINA

Try to think about this, dimwits; I know it’s hard. Look, it’s not just that they have no kids. They’ve had no kids for years. And they’re getting old. If they planned to sign things over to an heir, they’ve put themselves in a corner. A corner I can definitely FILL.

[The Birdies and Dodo exchange glances. Valentina’s bust coincidentally takes up a whole corner of the shot.]

RED BIRDIE

So, you’re going to be the heir instead? But you’re not even related to them. Why would they give YOU the kingdom?

[Valentina clutches the Birdie’s beak and pushes down so he’s forced to stare up at her.]

VALENTINA

(smiling cruelly) Because YOU all are about to make me a HERO to the royal family.

[Scene fades as Garro narrates.]

GARRO (as NARRATOR)

This seems like an appropriate time for me to explain the Nimbus Land “birds and the bees”.

(beat; the screen stays completely black)

Whoa, hey wait, where are you going? No, it’s not like THAT! Just relax and let me explain.

— In a Nimbus couple’s HOME a Nimbus man is saying goodbye to his wife as he heads to work.

GARRO (as NARRATOR) [cont.]

We Nimbusans fall in love and marry like anyone would. But after this things go a bit differently for us.

[The Nimbus man enters the palace and begins his shift as a guard.]

GARRO (as NARRATOR) [cont.]

See, I hear that for others there’s a point where you find out you’re having a baby, and then after you prepare for a bit, the baby arrives. For Nimbusans…there’s no time for preparation.

[The guard returns home, walks in the door, and stops in his tracks when he sees his wife standing there with an infant in her arms.]

GARRO (as NARRATOR) [cont.]

The little one just shows up.

[The Nimbus man wanders over to marvel at the baby as his wife smiles with a “here we go” kind of look.]

GARRO (as NARRATOR) [cont.]

We can’t control it; we can’t predict it. It’s just the way things go. Oh, but we adore our children. When they come, it’s like a surprise party you didn’t know your friends were planning.

[Cut to the Nimbus couple presenting their new child to King and Queen Nimbus, who smile in congratulations.]

GARRO (as NARRATOR) [cont.]

Here’s another particular thing about our children: families usually only ever have one.

[Another family comes to the King and Queen on a different day, presenting their child. King and Queen smile again.]

Sometimes two…

[The first family returns; time has passed, and their first child is grown, with a second baby in Mom’s arms. King and Queen Nimbus look surprised, but still smile.]

…NEVER three, good lands, no. Something to do with keeping a short monsoon season, I think.

[The new infant begins to cry, and we see rain streak down outside the palace windows. The older child of the family shyly approaches Queen Nimbus and hands her a flower.]

GARRO (as NARRATOR) [cont.]

Now, as a bachelor, maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. But I think the surprise of having a child is one of the most anticipated events for families. Ours always wait excitedly for it.

[Focus on King and Queen Nimbus as the last family leaves. Queen Nimbus holds the flower, but her smile falls, and she looks to the side. King Nimbus notices and reaches for her arm. She turns, manages a half-hearted smile, and then looks away again. King Nimbus watches her, concerned. Scene fades.]

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