The most fantastic thing in the universe! Circulation: 110,013,549 Issue: 158 | 20th day of Gathering, Y6
Home | Archives Articles | Editorial | Short Stories | Comics | New Series | Continued Series
 

Postal Pals: Lumi's Letter


by barbcat00

--------

Note: If you want to read what came before go to issue 155. But you don't have to do so. This is a self contained story in and of itself. Enjoy!

------

"We did it!" The cheer was a tandem expression from all three of the pets as they piled down the stairs to the Dead Letter office; excitement cascaded off them almost as palpably as the sweat on their brows from their exuberant run back to the post office.

     Lumi, the Fire Faerie with them, hung behind just a bit, "Yay, you delivered one ancient letter. Congratulations, have a cookie." She pantomimed giving Obian a cookie as the smile she bestowed on the blue Kougra dripped with sarcasm.

     "Oh come on, Lumi. You have every right to be just as happy. You helped." Obian grinned at her.

     "I also have every right to be realistic. You three didn't make any difference in anything. We work in the Dead Letter office, none of our letters mean anything." She crossed her arms in front of her.

     "That might be true, but at least we had fun doing it. And besides," the Kougra's grin turned playful, "why'd you come with us if you didn't find it fun?"

     "Yeah!" Norbert, a green Quiggle with overly large glasses blinked back up the stairs at her.

     The faerie rolled her eyes. "I wanted to watch you guys make fools of yourselves, of course."

     Obian was about to reply when he was interrupted by the last member of their party. Chloe was standing at the foot of the stairs looking into the basement area and pointing with her yellow trunk.

     "I am afraid we have a problem, my friends."

     "What is it, Chloe?" The other three heaped behind the Elephante and gaped at the site before them.

     Before they'd left Norbert had rigged a chute system to sort packages from letters so the packages could be burned and the letters could be shredded, but something had jammed and the feed line was stopped up and lost correspondences were strewn everywhere. Ashes from the fire Lumi had started for the packages were scattered all over the floor; letters rested like dead leaves on every surface; boxes littered the ground under the chute. Not that the Dead Letter Office was ever that tidy, but this was above and beyond the call of disheveled-ness.

     The four of them just stood there in silence for several moments before Lumi finally spoke up from the back, "Well don't just stand there." She pushed past them and unearthed a broom and dustpan from under a pile of letters.

     ---

     "Why aren't we getting anymore letters or anything?" Norbert was just finishing sorting the last few envelopes from his desk when he noticed the conspicuous lack of new mail.

     Obian looked up at the chute, "I don't know, it must be jammed or something." He looked around then smiled seeing Chloe fluffing her tail in a mirror, "Lady Chloe? Would you be so kind as to investigate our out-feed problem? We would be very grateful."

     The Elephante turned to them then took a look up towards the chute before smiling quite condescendingly, "Actually I would rather not if you don't mind. Why not ask Lumi? Her wings are larger."

     Norbert and Obian looked curiously at each other before the Quiggle reported, "Lumi's gone out to take care of the pile of letter shreds."

     "Then I suppose you will have to wait for her return before your dilemma can be remedied." Her smile was now a bit more nervous.

     "Why won't you do it, Chloe?" The Kougra was confused but his voice held a note of concern for his large yellow friend.

     "I... I would really just rather not. Lumi will be back soon." Her trunk made small nervous circles in the air in front of her.

     Norbert blinked, "It's not that hard. If I had wings I'd fly everywhere."

     The Elephante sighed and lifted her head so she could look down at them, "If you really must know, I'm afraid of heights."

     "You're what?" Lumi was brushing her hands off against each other as she strode back into the office.

     "The good Lady Chloe was just telling us she'd love to help us with our stoppage problem but her wing hurts, right Norbert?" Obian shot a glance to the Quiggle who hesitated then nodded fiercely.

     "You sure about that? Hm... well what stoppage problem are you referring too anyway? I suppose this means I get to fix it. Why not just burn the whole contraption and be done with it?"

     "Because we might need it if we want to deliver another letter. And the problem's up there, we're not getting any more letters out of the chute," Obian pointed up to where the chute met a hole in the wall.

     "Oh, all right." The Fire Faerie lifted off gracefully and hovered over by the chute to investigate. "Too many letters. I'll just burn these out."

     With a flick of her wrist a small flame leapt up in the center of the mass of envelopes. They turned brown then black as their edges curled and were engulfed in flame. Each crackled its unknown message into whiffs of smoke that made their way up and through a vent in the ceiling. And whether any part of their contents ever reached its intended recipient to tickle their fur in a passing breeze, this story does not say.

     But one letter remained even as its neighbors charred to incomprehensibility. Sheathed in a black envelope it refused to burn. Suddenly letters and boxes poured through onto the chute, pushing the strange letter aside as they rushed down finally able to finish their misguided journey. Lumi just managed to snag the message from the stampede, but in doing so the corner of a package slammed against her tiny wrist.

     "What's this? Ow!"

     "What happened?"

     "Are you all right, Lumi?"

     "Oh! Watch out for the box!"

     The pets each cried out simultaneously.

     The attacking box had been knocked hard enough that it flipped over the edge of the chute and was headed to a spot on the floor that was at that time occupied by Norbert. He tried to move out of the way but his short legs couldn't waddle him fast enough. Obian dove to push him out of the way and Lumi turned to see what was going on.

     "Norbert!" She quickly shot a huge blast of flames to propel the offending package off to the side.

     As it crashed to the floor in a ball of fire, engulfing a nearby stack of letters addressed to The Jelly Llama in its fiery peril, Obian rolled off his green friend and realized his own tail hadn't been quite smart enough to stay out of the way of Lumi's fireball. With a snap of her finger though, the flame in his fur was out and she had landed gently back on the ground.

     "Now I know why I was never supposed to play with matches." Obian caressed the tip of his tail, now black and gray.

     Thanks went around the room for services rendered: the warning call, the saves, and the concerns.

      "So what did you find so interesting you just had to create more excitement, Lumi?" The Kougra was still being gentle with his sensitive tail.

      Lumi produced the black letter. "It didn't burn when I unclogged the chute."

      "Why not?" Norbert asked.

      "That is most irregular," Chloe added.

      The Fire Faerie examined the envelope and rolled her eyes after a few moments. "Carbon paper."

      "OK, so it's fire proof. Who is it to?" Obian craned his neck to see the address.

     "The Lava Ghoul."

     "Well why is it down here then? He is real."

     "Yes, but he also doesn't take visitors, not unless they're well done, preferably black and crispy around the edges," Lumi said this as if stating the obvious. "No carrier can deliver it and survive."

     "You can, can't you Lumi?" Norbert smiled at her from across the room.

     ---

     After almost an hour of protesting they'd finally gotten Lumi to agree to delivering the letter, but only after a lot of eye rolling and arm crossing. They resolved to catch a boat to Mystery Island the next day though Lumi was no more positive about the outcome of the attempt than she had been the day before. She continued complaining all the way over to the coastline that overlooked the boiling lava seas the Lava Ghoul called home.

     "Who writes to the Lava Ghoul anyway?" Lumi's arms were crossed but she did have a slight smirk touching the edge of her mouth.

     "It is dreadfully hot here. I am afraid my makeup will run." The Elephante was fanning herself with a palm fan she'd acquired at an inflated price from one of the locals.

     "Look!" Norbert pointed to a spot a little way distant where the lava seemed to rise up like a giant bubble.

     "Time for fun." Lumi stepped forward, letter in hand. "Mr. Ghoul, I have something for you."

     The Lava Ghoul hissed as he formed out of the bubble Norbert had pointed out a moment ago. His eyes shone like bright embers and his tongue reached out towards them menacingly. Chloe cringed back into the trunk of a tree and Obian was left with a Quiggle hiding behind him as he put a paw up over his face to shield himself from the heat.

     "Who dares disturb my slumber?" His voice echoed ominously off the nearby rock faces.

     "Oh cut it out, will you?" The Fire Faerie appeared singularly unimpressed.

     In response the ghoul took a deep breath and blew out a long stream of fire at the small party. Lumi threw her hands up and the deadly breath deflected against an invisible barrier, but they could all feel the intense heat of the fiery confrontation as if they were standing next to a bonfire. Lumi grimaced with exertion as she tried to keep up the shield against the lava ghoul's prolonged attack.

     She strained and grinned back at Obian almost smugly, "Still think this was a good idea? Now you see why no one delivers letters to him."

     As the lava ghoul took another breath the odd stillness after the roaring flames was shattered by a pitiful mew. Lumi did not hear it because she was trying desperately to gather her powers back together for another round of attack. Chloe however was under the tree from which the cry had come. She turned a trembling look high up into the branches and saw a small white Kadoatie shivering with fear.

     "Oh no. Don't worry little one." She tried to reach the Kadoatie but it was too far up even for her trunk to reach.

     Meanwhile the Lava Ghoul did a spin in mid air and cackled before speeding off to a cave on the opposite side of the tree.

     Lumi actually laughed and flapped her wings to launch herself up, "I did it! I stopped him! Not a lick of flame got through," She did a turn and smiled to them all. "You all stay out here, and watch out," With a few strokes of her wings she was flying into the cave after her target. "Mr.

     Ghoul..."

     Outside Obian and Norbert looked to each other to make sure they were all right when another cry from the Kadoatie caught their attention, "Chloe?" The Kougra scooted over to her quickly.

     ---

     "I'm not leaving until you take this," Lumi stood a short way inside the entrance to the cave with her hands on her hips.

     Thinking to try his previous answer again the Lava Ghoul launched another fireball at the faerie. This time however, she didn't move to defend herself. The spherical inferno passed right around her without so much as a scorch mark.

     "Nice one. Want to try again?"

     ---

     Suddenly, a fireball erupted from the mouth of the cave and hit the trunk of the tree Chloe's Kadoatie was in. The Elephante was thrown backwards and the petpet scrabbled frantically up to a higher branch. It's fur stood on end.

     "Chloe! Are you all right?" Norbert blinked through fogging glassed then ran up to his friend and helped her up.

     "We've got to get that Kadoatie down. It'll burn.," Already the lower branches were aflame, and Obian could do nothing but stand and watch.

     ---

     "Should I get some marshmallows to roast?" Lumi had a triumphant smirk.

     With a crackle and a hiss the Lava Ghoul settled up near the ceiling, floating with delicate ease, "What do you want?"

     "This is for you," she holds out the letter to him.

     ---

     Chloe stared in agitation as her two friends tried to make a pet ladder with Norbert on Obian's shoulders, trying to get high enough to reach the Kadoatie who just kept going higher.

     ---

     The ghoul spat a small wad of flame at the proffered letter but it once again went undamaged.

     ---

     "Look out!" Quiggle and Kougra collapsed in a jumbled pile at Chloe's warning as a tiny fireball shot past them and added to their troubles.

     ---

     "Would you stop it already? I already tried that. You can't burn this one."

     "What?!" With a crackling swoosh he swooped down and curtly grabbed the letter, "You tried to burn my letter?" Returning to his spot near the ceiling he glared down at her.

     ---

     "Chloe, you've got to go up and get it!" She stared at Obian in disbelief, "You've got to, you're the only one who can."

     She stuck the tip of her trunk in her mouth uncertainly. The tree creaked and groaned, straining to stay upright.

     "Lady Chloe..."

     ---

     He opened the letter and let the envelope fall carelessly to the ground. Flames licked impotently at the paper as his eyes scanned over the words and he looked to the faerie curiously.

      "What?"

      ---

      "I can't!"

      "Yes you can. Just take a deep breath and do it." Norbert hopped up and down nervously as Obian tried to encourage their friend.

        ---

      "I don't know how to read." His flames died back some in his embarrassment.

      "You can't read?!"

      "Would you read it to me?" Then after an awkward pause, "Please?"

          ---

      "Yes!" Chloe giggled excitedly as her tiny wings beat furiously trying to lift her weight and were actually succeeding, albeit less than smoothly, "I can do it!"

     ---

     Lumi reached for the letter and cleared her throat.

     ---

     Chloe reached for the Kadoatie and gathered it to herself gently.

     --- Dear Mr. Lava Ghoul,

     My petpet Moltenore is sick and you're the only one who can help me. Everyone says you're mean and won't help, but I know it's not your fault you're mean. Something terrible must have happened to you to make you upset at everyone. But you don't have to be mean. Please help. I would be your friend forever.

     Your Friend,

     Bobby369

           ---

     Chloe alighted on the ground softly with a shivering Kadoatie in her arms. She beamed a smile at Obian and Norbert that was unmistakably filled with pride and happiness.

     "Wonderful job, Lady Chloe."

     ---

     He sank to the ground slowly as a sizzle came from the lava ghoul where he'd started to cry and the tears were instantly burned away, "He wants to be my friend. I've never had a friend before."

     Lumi handed him his letter back then quietly commented to herself, "I'm glad it wasn't a singing telegram."

The End

 
Search the Neopian Times




Great stories!


---------

The Search for Petpet World: Part One
It had been three years since Jobo was born. He had turned out to be smart and useful around the home. But, one day, when he was turning four, he had suddenly stopped using his intelligence...

by darkfaerie700

---------

Only an Accident
"If you say 'Eld of the Fire, come to my aid!' while holding this leaf I'll come and try to help you," Eld said. "But please do be careful, this can only be used once."

by shadowcristal

---------

Giving's Cafe
"Losing Customers"

by random_joy

---------

My Own Theme Day
I thought I would tell you all the wonderful, magnificent, superb, outstanding, fantastic things about my FAVOURITE vegetable: tomatoes.

by tinybaby_orange1



Submit your stories, articles, and comics using the new submission form.