Postal Pals: Lumi's Letter
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
"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
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!"
"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
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
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.
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
"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
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.
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.
"Yes you can. Just take a deep breath and do
it." Norbert hopped up and down nervously as Obian tried to encourage their
"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
"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.
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."