Loom of Ceiling Land
Loom Vs. The Potted Tentacles
Things really did look much more interesting, Loom decided, when you were standing on the ceiling.
That plant pot, for example. Those horrible, wiggly Potted Tentacles that remained unnervingly still whenever Loom was watching them closely, but sprang to life and tried to eat him when he wasn’t expecting it. From the floor, they looked bad enough, but from up on the ceiling, where he was safe, Loom was rather disturbed to find that they looked like a number of very frightening spiders. Spiders should not have suction cups; of that he was certain.
Loom shuddered, and reached up (or maybe down?), to screw in the light bulb on his antenna more tightly. As a Robot Grundo, he often found that parts of his anatomy tended to come loose with startling frequency. He supposed that standing on the ceiling in his Anti-Gravity Robot Boots certainly didn’t help matters.
Loom liked it on the ceiling. He was less likely to get in the way of his brothers and sisters up here, who bustled about their business on the ground, often so fast that he barely had time to get out of the way before being bowled over. He was also less likely to walk into things. The fireplace, the sofa, the kitchen table, and most of the other furniture were very reluctant to settle on the ceiling.
The Potted Tentacles twitched rather violently all of a sudden, making the table they were on lurch and wobble, and Loom emitted a number of startled beeps in surprise. He glared at it, upside down, and carefully shuffled sideways, further away from the plant, his boots making soft twump noises as they connected with the plaster.
Loom looked around the room in an attempt to distract himself. He had lost his favourite recipe book, and was eager to find it. He did all the cooking in their Neohome, because he was best at it. He also rather enjoyed it. It was one of the few times he liked being on the floor.
But he was quite sure that the book was not here, in the dining room. His brother Marloute, a rather fanatic Royal Grundo, had cleaned the room that morning. Mar did not like dirt; he said it made him feel wobbly. If he had found the book, he would have said so.
With a sigh and a few despondent beeps, he moved to leave the room. He was interrupted, however, when the tentacles wiggled again.
He stared at them, sure they were mocking him. Ever since Mar had brought them home one day and placed them in the dining room, Loom had been sure they had been taunting him on purpose. They never attacked anyone else, only him. They never shook so suddenly and loudly in anyone else’s presence, only his, when they knew he would jump out of his casings. (Not that he really wore them, apart from the boots. He found them far too bulky, and often liked the fact that he could see his own mechanical lungs under them).
The Potted Tentacles, he decided, had spent far too long tormenting him. He was not some weak minded pot plant, to be bullied by the Tentacles. He was a Robot. He had light bulbs on his antenna, and a fluidic torso, and mechanical lungs. He walked on the ceiling, a land unexplored by any one else.
He was Loom of Ceiling Land. Yes, he liked the sound of that.
He looked around the room again, determined to find something to attack the plant with. One of Mar’s brooms was leaning innocently against the wall in the corner. Loom space-walked over to it, upside down, and stretched to reach the handle. He managed to grab it, chirping happily as he pulled it up. The tentacles shuddered ominously.
Loom took a deep breath, glaring at the tentacles from across the room. One quick strike might do it, he thought. Just one jab into the middle of the pot might stun them for long enough for him to throw them out the window.
Reinforcing his courage, Loom watched the Tentacles swaying slightly, as if waiting for him. He hoisted the broom like a weapon, and charged.
From the ceiling.
The thing about Loom’s Gravity Boots, was that if he moved too quickly, they short circuited for several seconds. Add that to the fact that charging a menacing plant on the ground with a broom on the ceiling was a rather odd way of going about things, and failure is pretty much guaranteed.
Loom fell onto the dining room table with a deafening thud of metal on wood. The silverware rattled. A chair fell over.
The Potted Tentacles wriggled pleasantly. He was sure they were laughing at him.
He scrambled off the table, wincing at the thought of Mar’s reaction when he saw what had happened to his neatly ordered dining room. He hastily adjusted the positioning of the cutlery, already laid out for dinner, and pulled the broom off the table. He would charge from the ground then. Yes, that seemed much safer.
He hoisted the broom over his shoulder, studying the Potted Tentacles with narrowed eyes. Carefully, Loom arranged a new angle of attack, prepared himself, and ran at the plant.
The end of the broom impacted with a soft and rather nauseating squish. The Tentacles grew very still, and for a minute, Loom thought he had succeeded. Then they started to move.
Before he could even process what was going on, the Tentacles wrapped themselves around the end of the broom, and heaved themselves out of the pot. They began to squelch their way up the broom handle alarmingly fast, getting closer and closer to Loom’s hands.
He let out a frightened whistle, and dropped the broom, turning on the spot and scrambling back onto the ceiling as fast as his Gravity Boots would permit. When he looked down, he saw the Tentacles still wrapped firmly around the broom, looking not at all inclined to let it go. They wriggled, and then settled.
Loom remained on the ceiling for quite a while after that, to calm his nerves and steady his shaking circuits. One of the light bulbs in his antenna had come loose again. He reached down to screw it back in more firmly.
So, brute force was not going to work. And he had, unintentionally, freed the Tentacles from their pot. Loom made a mental note to cook his brother Mar something thoroughly unpleasant for dinner as payment for the stress he had suffered.
Shaking his head, he tried to pull himself together. He was, after all, Loom of Ceiling Land. And pets who dominated the world of the upside down had no need to fear common household plants. Even if they did have a mind of their own.
Loom space walked across the ceiling. After a tricky moment when he almost fell getting through the door (he had not yet mastered moving from room to room gracefully) he made his way down the hall, looking for another, more effective weapon. Opening the door to the cupboard in the hall was also not easy, but he managed it.
This room was Mar’s most shameful secret. It held everything he didn’t have a place for in the rest of the Neohome. In other words, it was inescapably chaotic.
Loom rummaged through the odds and ends, upside down, looking for something he could use against the Tentacles. He pushed aside many things, an old Toy Car, some clothes that didn’t fit any of them anymore, a staff, and for some peculiar reason, a Bottle Clock. Finally, he came across an old and faded umbrella.
Triumphant, he pulled it out of the mess, and held it high (or was that low?). This would do nicely. Loom headed out of the cupboard, and back down the hall, entering the dining room cautiously, still dangling from the ceiling.
The Tentacles were where he’d left them. Out of their pot, on the floor and wrapped around the broom. To his horror, Loom saw that half of the broom had been bitten away.
I am Loom of Ceiling Land, he thought to himself. I am not afraid of plants.
He came down from the ceiling, careful not to make too much noise, watching the Tentacles chew happily on what was left of the broom.
He approached carefully, and then, just brushed one of them with the tip of the umbrella.
They reacted instantly, reaching to wrap around the umbrella just as they had the broom. Loom, half panicked, opened the umbrella as fast as he could. The Tentacles were forced to cling on to the material, and could not move around it for fear of being dropped.
Loom seized his chance and headed at once for the window, the umbrella held in front of him like a weapon. Unfortunately, he failed to account for two things.
One, that the Tentacles would quickly adapt to their dilemma. And two, there was still a broom lying at his feet.
Just as one of the tentacles punctured the material of the umbrella, and attempted to jab him in the face, Loom let out a high pitched whistle and fell spectacularly over the broom, landing in a disorganised heap on the floor while the umbrella and Tentacles went flying. He cowered, praying they would not land anywhere near him, and covered his eyes with his hands.
Minutes passed in silence. Loom finally dared to look up.
The Tentacles and the umbrella had landed, miraculously, back in their pot. The umbrella was upside down, held in the plant pot quite comfortably, and the Tentacles had landed inside it. They were sitting on the material, happily chewing away the handle.
Loom got up shakily, stared at them, and then bolted from the room as fast as his metallic legs could carry him. He resumed his position on the ceiling in the hallway. Through the open door of the dining room, he could see the Potted Tentacles, sitting in their umbrella, swaying gently to themselves. He shuddered.
Loom of Ceiling Land, he thought. Perhaps, pets that lived on ceilings really were just a little bit afraid of pot plants. As a rule.
Loom made his way along the ceiling, heading for his bedroom, which was devoid of pot plants and therefore much less stressful. He wondered how he was supposed to explain the unfortunate fate of the umbrella.
The Potted Tentacles let out a wheeze which sounded suspiciously like laughter, and continued swaying pleasantly in the breeze.
Note: Although Herrloom has a rather nervous disposition, the Potted Tentacles did him no lasting damage. ;)