Chapter 4

Sweets stops dead in his tracks. “Chumples! I just heard Chumples! Shhh!” Sweets looks around, as he tries to listen for the call of his lost lizard-goat.
Enkirash raises an eyebrow and listens. A sequence or drums can be heard, five beats, pause, five beats pause, over and over. With it the faint chanting of many voices, a foreign language. Biggs starts jumping around his magical prison cube making wild gestures and banging on the walls. A dark figure approaches and utters in a low cold voice, “Revival of vengeance. Sleepless ancients. Unity, fealty, infinity.”

Sweets gasps, “A shadowy figure! Run Beanie!” He and Beanie turn and run behind the church and stop. They both peek around the corner and watch.
Enkirash’s shadow can be seen confronting the other dark silhouette. There are hands waving and finger pointing, but their words cannot be heard. Beanie realizes that this is because the chanting has become much louder here. He turns his head to follow the sound and finds it is coming from a small window behind a shrub. A faint flicker of light can be seen through this 6 x 9 inch window divided by 3 metal bars.
Peeking in he cannot see anything else, but the sound of chanting is definitely coming from within. And there is a familiar smell, the smell of lizard-goat milk.

Enkirash becomes animated in his discussion with the unknown figure. Seemingly irritated he throws his hands in the air and a small globe of red light shoots high into the air. The brightness bathes the area and causes Beanie and Sweets to cover their eyes and turn away. At this point they here a tapping sound behind the church. When they look up they find a masked, frail looking figure holding up a small writing board. On it is scribbled, “You are late, but there is still time.” The mask is a surreal caricature of a kindly old man. But something is off about it. The figure offers Beanie and Sweets two black robes, similar to the one he is wearing.

Sweets, a little frightened begins to sing quietly.
“Green and creamy,
sweet and sour,
I drink and drink for hour upon hour.
Thick and chunky,
chewy and scummy,
Days old milk is most yummy.
Lizard or goat,
no one knows,
this gift from whence the milk flows!

But beware my friend, do not drink,
on full moon nights, you must first think.
For should you drink under the moon,
You may exit this world all too soon.”

The figure, nods when he hears the song and produces from his robe two glasses and a pair of twisted tongs. He motions the pair to a gap behind a stone stair case. The masked man hobbles over pulls aside a heavy stone with ease, a seemingly impossible task for someone so frail looking. A narrow staircase leads downward, the figure motions again.

“We have to go, I am sure Chumples is down there.” Sweets whispers to Beanie. Beanie looks at the glass and tongs. “What do you think he wants us to do with these?”
“I’m sure they want us to milk Chumples for them. There are very few wit the know how to milk a lizard-goat. It’s a difficult and dangerous process. Can you whistle with one leg behind your back while operating tongs with one hand and stroking a lizard-goat’s tongue with the other?”
Beanie stares at Sweets with mouth hanging open.
“Just put on the robes and let’s hurry.” Sweets says.

The pair stumble down the stairs and follow a downward sloping passageway. The passage is a roughly carved tunnel with only enough space for one man to pass through at a time. The tunnel weaves back and forth, and is completely black. Beanie moves slowly, feeling his way ahead. The air is stale and heavy. The echoes of chanting slowly get louder as they continue along. The passageway stops. “I think this is a door,” Beanie whispers, “I have an idea.”
Beanie knocks on the door. The sound of scraping metal fills the small space. A voice asks “What has brought you here?”
Beanie says, “We have brought you the much sought after cookies baked by the fae of the forest. The famed “Wilderness Girl Cookies”. They will compliment your lizard-goat milk most nicely.”
Sweets calls out “I am a lizard-goat milker!”

Bolts are heard sliding and the door opens to a dimmly lit chamber. “We have no need of your confectionery. The chosen await your skills in the milking chamber. Here is your agreed payment.” Says a younger, stronger looking figure, also robed in black and wearing a mask. This mask is made of wood and has been carved with a horrible looking frown. “Also, as agreed, you must drink this first.” He hands them two cups of a clear, foul smelling liquid.” Once taken, the figure folds his hands and says “We are tales in the darkness.”

The man picks up a bag of coins and throws it at Beanie’s feet.

“Oh, thank you!” Sweets says as he takes the cup and raises it to his lips.
Beanie takes the cup, it has the smell of burnt toast and strawberries.
“Sweets, what is this?” Beanie asks.
Sweets finishes his cup. “I don’t know, it isn’t bad. Hey why did it get so dark?”
“What are you talking about?” Beanie asks.
“I can’t see anything!” Sweets retorts.

Beanie waves his hand in front of Sweets face and gets no response. He tries to put the cup down, but he is stopped. The cloaked figure grabs his hand, four more figures step out from the shadows and grab Beanie. “You must drink” one says and they force Beanie to drink. The liquid pours down his face as he struggles to fight them. Despite his struggle, Beanie’s sight leaves him as well.

Unseen hands push along the pair, then suddenly they are gone as a door slams behind them.
The chanting continues to grow louder and faster paced. “Grrahadhsg!”

“That’s Chumples! We must find him!” Says sweets.

“What’s all this business about milking? How are you going to milk HIM?”

“There is a secret to that old song about lizard-goat milk, Beanie. And you must never repeat it to anyone. It is only the milk of the males that possesses dangerous magic. But there are few left who know how it may be obtained. That knowledge has been passed down through my family to me.”

“That they were expecting another ‘milker’ is strange, I know of no others in this area.”

There is a blood curtling scream. And the chanting stops. Beanie and Sweets stop talking and listen. Silence. The lack of visual or audio stimulation allows fear to grip them. A warm breeze touches their faces and fills their nose with a horrible stench.
Something pushes them forward and they stumble forward bracing themselves upon the walls. There is something sticky covering them. Again they are forced forward, wet strands of something hit their faces. The pushes become more frequent, the strands more dense. They begin to move like tentacles, wrapping behind their heads pulling them forward to the unknown.

The squeezing, pulling tentacles increase in number, propelling the protesting Sweets and Benie. When at last they seem completely enveloped in a writhing mass they find themselves free, but also in free fall. The pair wildly flail in an attempt to catch hold of something to stop their descent. Sweets manages to grab a hold of something and hangs dangling in the air.
Beanie’s descent is stopped when he is caught by something or someone. Quickly he is stood up by the unseen force. A loud chant begins, voices boom from all sides.

“Milk! milk! mahfaeraak mu fent lahney ko faal arms se lot gein!”

“Gruglach!” Chumples call, and breath hits Beanie in the face. An object is placed in Beanie’s hand his other places upon Chumples.

“Milk!” He is commanded by an unsceen voice, and the chant renews with vigor.
“Milk! Milk! Milk!”

“Sweets, where are you?”

Filled with panic and fear, Beanie, still blinded by the poison drink of the cultists, begins to focus on the one thing of which he truely cares. What his hope and his heart are tied to may bring him peace and steadiness. Blocking out the rythmic chanting of the cultists, the cries for help of Sweets, and the horrifying bleats of Chumples, Beanie pictures the bag of gold tossed at his feet just moments before. Under his breath he repeats to himself, “Gold, gold, gold, with gold I shall be bold.”
Taking a deep breath he moves closer to Chumples, feeling around until he finds his face. “Chumples, I know we haven’t always been on the best terms, but I need your help. These people want your milk and I want their money. Will you help us?”
“GLUTTERGUURF!” bleats Chumples. Then he rams Beanie straight in the head with his horns and Beanie falls to the floor writhing in pain. But this pain is not normal, it is a headache filled with strange images. A kaleidoscope fills Beanie’s mind. A lizard-goat with a long white beard stands upon a golden boulder, a crown upon his head. Men with lizard-goat heads dancing wildly. A storm where apples fall from the sky. Goblets of milk spilled upon the earth. Flames, stars, leashed men, mountains peaks filled with goats, and over and over the images fill Beanie’s mind. Then in an instant they are gone except for one, the full moon fills his mind and a faint ticking of a clock can be heard within his head.

Beanie stands up, and hears the screaming voice of Sweets rapidly approaching.
Beanie crumples under the weight of Sweets as he breaks Sweets fall. Sweets stands up, placing his food directly on Beanie’s leg. A cracking sound, and then “Owww! My knee!” Beanie writhes in pain. Chumples bleats and the cultists chant, “Milk! Milk! Milk!”
Sweets blindly makes his way towards Chumples. “Sweets,” Beanie calls out, “Take this goblet from me, it is to be filled with the milk!” Sweets stumbles back towards Beanie, accidently kicking him in the face, Beanie looses consciousness. Sweets takes the goblet and begins the milking ritual.
The cultists become silent with the occassional “Ooo and Ahh” escaping their lips.
Several minutes later Sweets announces he is finished. The goblet is quickly stripped from his hand. The sound of pouring is heard.
“Drink my brothers! Drink for the great Tongagik!”
In unison they shout “Tongagik!” and begin to drink.
Sweets cannot tell you what happened next for he remained blind. Chumples did witness the events, but would not tell the tale. For in those moments after they drank there was a great chaos of sound. Retching, whining, garbled screams, panicked yells for help, and unidentified sounds which caused Sweets stomach to knot up with nausea. For half an hour did the cacophony go on, until Sweets and Chumples were left in silence. When Beanie awoke, Sweets described the horror of it. Beanie found he could not walk. Sweets was able to release Chumples from his bonds, but still the two friends were blind, but seemingly completely abandoned in this dungeon. Beanie wept, “My gold, my gold…” he bemoaned.

A slight smell of smoke begins to fill the air, and there is a rythmic sound, could it be something breathing? It would have to be something large if it were.

A lost soul rises from the mud from whence it fell from Beanies shoulder. Just a day before it bore witness to the measure of intelligence held by the young man, and it dealt him such a blow as to knock him unconscious. A strange state for a disembodied soul to experience to be sure.
The soul, seeing that his companions were gone, made way to Hashnuk’s emporium and abode. There he found his fellow lost souls. Hashnuk sits in a chair in his sitting parlor. He is rolling strange polyhedral objects and making notations on a piece of paper. The other souls float above another chair talking amongst themselves.