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Book: High-Tech Green Thing
Chapter 1: Bucket and Rope

Black putrid slime squeezed its way through a small crack in a rock high above the luscious green valley of Omahl.

Jock the apeworm, a hairy and fowl-smelling beast, armless and legless, slithered up to the rock, curious about the strange new substance oozing into his world. “What are you?” he asked.

The slime oozed.

“I said what are you?”

The slime still oozed.

Jock was impatient. “Tell me what you are!”

The ooze slimed.

“Pah!” the apeworm exclaimed. He turned and slithered down the hillside.

The slime squelched quietly after him.


Under a purple-leafed Mangle tree by the shore of a small but seemingly bottomless lake, Green Thing snored heavily. He was a small plump creature, a metre tall with large bulbous eyes, and he lived in a grotty little mud hut in Balm Creek, many hours walk from the valley of Omahl. Tall cliffs of lichen-covered rock towered above Green Thing’s humble abode, permanently shadowing it from sunlight. Not that it bothered him much, in fact he actually loved the permanent shade. He could sleep in almost complete darkness all day. Unfortunately, it was almost always cold.

Green Thing shivered and then awoke. The cool air had become a bit too cool. He wandered sleepily into his hut, closing the badly made wooden door behind him.

“Cool!” his messenger bird squawked from its wire frame cage.

“Green Thing nodded. “It is indeed.” He walked over to the fireplace and grabbed a couple of logs, placing them carefully over the fire gems. The logs ignited immediately. Heat of a most soothing and relaxing kind quickly filled the room. Green Thing smiled and then fell backwards onto his feather bedding. “The valley of Omahl has been rather quiet lately.” He said as waves of slumber began to massage his squat frame. “I would never have thought that I could get bored with day after day of snoozing, but I am.” Consciousness left him and he entered a deep and dreamy sleep.


Jock the apeworm slinked his way into the tiny quaint village of Grimuk at the bottom of the valley of Omahl. A loud banging noise filled the air. Sprag, a tall and very lanky creature of minimal intelligence, was sitting by the very old and very ornate well at the centre of the village square. He was hitting his tattered bass drum with great enthusiasm, announcing the arrival of mid-afternoon. This was the most complex task the gangling creature’s brain could manage.

Jock slithered up behind him. “Sprag!” he bellowed.

Startled beyond all reason, Sprag leapt into the air, dragging his drum behind him. He landed hard on his bony backside, and then tumbled backwards into the well. He screamed as he plummeted into the darkness, bounding and rebounding off the well’s jagged stone walls, and shrieking louder and louder as slices of his skin sheered off. A muffled splash marked the end of the shortest but most stressful journey of his life.

A second later, a deep booming crunch marked the end of the drum’s journey as it smashed onto Sprag’s head, partially scalping his cranium.

Jock felt a tinge of guilt. He looked down into the well. “Sorry. Didn’t expect you to over-react like that!”

“Jock!” Sprag yelled, still dazed from his remarkable descent. “Get me out of here, you greasy ugly worm!”

The apeworm started to quickly lower the well’s bucket and rope.

When it was within reach, Sprag untied the bucket and tied the rope around his scrawny waist. “Ready. Pull me up!”

Jock wound the handle and Sprag began to rise. It was a deep well – over twenty metres – and it took almost five minutes for Jock to get Sprag back to the surface. Jock, having no arms, had to use his mouth. Not easy.

Sprag peered over the wall of the well. Jock was shocked at Sprag’s appearance. His partly-scalped head was bleeding profusely, and his bony body was blackened and bruised to the extreme. Still, at least he seemed happy to be back up.

The well’s winding mechanism broke loose.

Sprag, the rope, and the winding mechanism plunged back down the well. A second or two later a muffled splash and crunch was heard.

Jock peered anxiously down into the darkness. “Hello?”

A weak and barely audible reply came back. “I am about to die.”

The apeworm thought deeply for a few moments. “I’ll get some more rope.” He turned round. A shocking sight confronted him. The slime that he had encountered on the hilltops was bubbling and oozing its way towards the well. Before Jock could even comprehend what was happening, the ooze squelched up the well wall and proceeded to pour into the shaft in large quantities. A faint and chilling whisper was heard. “B l o o d . . .”

A shriek echoed up from the well.

Jock was frantic. “There’s nothing I can do!” He looked from left to right. “I cannot deal with such strangeness!” And then a moment of calm washed over him. “But there is someone who can! High-Tech Green Thing!”

The apeworm slithered over to a giant horn hanging from a tree at the far side of the village square. Other villages had by now appeared at their doorways, curious as to what was disturbing their peaceful and dull lives.

Jock placed the small end of the horn in his mouth. He blew hard. Very low and dulcet tones wafted from the bowels of the ancient instrument, lovingly crafted from the tusk of a gargantuan and long extinct dungfest-bulge monster.

Taking a breath, the apeworm looked back at the well. More and more slime was pouring in.

Jock shuddered.

The villagers’ shuddered.

The slime simply oozed.

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© Copyright Peter Fothergill 1992 - 2017

 
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