The Floor Below - (part 3 of the Elfin Adventure)
Previous Chapters of Between the Floors
- Between the Floors- part one-(a fantasy story for ch...
A children's fantasy tale about the adventures of Panpip and Muppet and their family of Elfin who inhabit the world between the floors.
- Between The Floors- part two- (a fantasy story for c...
The second chapter of the fantasy tale about a family of elfin living between the floors.
The Floor Below
by John Hansen © 2014
Panpip and Muppet had been content to stay close to the other elfin and not wander off on their own since the adventure into the Upstairs World. The encounter with the huge cat had been a terrifying experience for the childelfs. But now the memory was beginning to fade and they were starting to return to their mischievous and curious selves.
One day when the rest of the family was sleeping soundly (Elfins sleep during the day and are active at night when the Big Ones sleep) Panpip quietly slipped out of his tiny matchbox bed and went over to wake his sister. Muppet rubbed her eyes sleepily, "What do you want Panpip? Let me sleep," she sighed grumpily.
"I am going to check out the Downstairs World!" he said, waiting for a reaction. "I thought you might want to come too."
The words started to sink in through her drowsiness and Muppet sat up with a start. "The Downstairs World?" she questioned excitedly, "But what if Papan and Marmup find out? We'll be in big trouble."
"Scaredy mouse!" Panpip teased, "They are all sound asleep. We'll be back long before they wake up. Are you coming or not?"
Muppet was a little wary but wasn't about to let her brother go off on another adventure without her. "Ok, I'm coming," she said, "but we better take care. That cat nearly ate me in the Upstairs World last time."
Panpip grabbed his sister's arm and placed a finger to his lips, "Shhh! We'll be careful, but keep your voice down so you don't wake the others."
With that the two young childelfs made their way silently towards the staircase that led downstairs. The steps were too steep for the small elfin to negotiate easily but Panpip, being a little taller, lowered himself over the edge of each step, then reached up to help his sister. (Although childelfs were born with wings, they couldn't fly. The wings served simply to indicate their moods; for instance, if they were excited they would flap wildly--or sad, they would droop. As they grew older these wings usually withered before shedding) It took them a good 20 minutes to make it to the bottom, and both sat down exhausted to catch their breath.
"What if the Big Ones are around and they capture us?" asked Muppet looking around, "It is daytime when they are awake."
"You are a worry wart," replied Panpip. "Just trust me. I have overheard the adults speaking one day about going to work, and taking the kids to school, whatever that is. They seem to do it most days at about this time."
Muppet shrugged. She wasn't confident in what her brother said, but she couldn't get back up the stairs by herself either. "Ok, why not?"
They headed along the hallway towards the kitchen, looking left and right before entering the doorway. The coast was clear so they ventured inside. "Wow, everything is so big!" exclaimed Muppet looking around with wide eyes.
"This must be where they keep the food," said Panpip, his sensitive nose twitching. "Let's look for something to eat. I'm starving."
The pantry door was slightly ajar, and the childelfs slipped carefully inside. Three plastic storage boxes were stacked in ascending order, with the largest at the bottom, forming a fine set of steps to allow them to scale up to the shelves.
Most foods were in containers or cans that they couldn't access. Then Muppet said excitedly, "I've found something!" A loose packet of cracker biscuits lay on the bottom shelf.
"Well done," Panpip replied encouraging her. "Let's open them." Then taking the packet, he managed to tear it open using his teeth and fingers. The two childelfs then sat down and feasted on the tasty snack, and are so many crackers that they were soon full.
They left what remained in the packet on the shelf, but as they began to climb down, Panpip slipped and accidentally upended a container of flour that fell to the floor. Its lid was displaced and the white powdery flour spilled all over the floor and the childelfs.
"Oh, no-- look what you've done!" cried Muppet.
"Well, if you hadn't bumped me..let's just get out of here."
They tried to run from the pantry, but the flour-covered floor was quite slippery and they slid back and forth making a great game of it and leaving tell-tale footprints everywhere.
At that moment they heard a strange "whirring" noise from the other side of the kitchen, and were startled when a weird round thing began to move towards them. The family of Big Ones had recently bought a new robotic vacuum cleaner and had it pre-programmed to clean the floors at precisely this time each day.
To the childelfs, however, this was one scary robot monster that seemed to have a mind of its own as it dodged and reversed if it came in contact with any chairs or anything else in its way. Anyway, they weren't sticking around to be attacked and have to again be rescued by Papan and Grandpan as had happened with the cat.
"Come on, run!" yelled Panpip, grabbing Muppet's hand and pulling her after him towards the stairs. He just managed to hoist Muppet onto his shoulders and lift her high enough so that she could climb up onto the bottom step, when the 'robovac' came banging into it.
Panpip jumped as it rushed towards him, narrowly avoiding being crushed against the step. However, he wasn't entirely safe yet, as he landed on top of the whirling machine.
The 'robovac' seemed to go crazy with the elfin clinging on top of it. It was moving around the room in ever increasing circles. It was quite scary, but also kind of fun at the same time, and Panpip hung on for dear life.
Muppet stood on the step in a panic as her brother was thrown from side to side as though riding a bucking bronco in a rodeo.
Then just as suddenly as it started the 'robovac' slowed down and stop moving in circles. It's preset time was up, and it headed slowly back to its base station. Panpip climbed off the robovac and wiped his brow. He ran back to Muppet who was still on the step, and both were very relieved that the strange machine had stopped.
"OK, pull me up!" he commanded her, and Muppet reached her tiny hands down towards him. They clasped hands and she pulled with all her might, but even if Panpip jumped at the same time, she wasn't strong enough to pull him up."Pull harder!" he yelled but it was to no avail.
Frustrated, Panpip exclaimed, "Now we'll never get back before the others wake up!"
Both childelfs looked up as a gruff voice shouted from the top of the stairs, "No, you won't will you? You are bad childelfs and I should leave you down there to learn your lesson." Papan stood there, hands on hips, and a deep frown on his face.
Then gripping one end firmly, he began to release a ball of twine that he had been holding. It began to unravel and rolled down the stairs and across the floor. "Grab hold of the string!" he ordered, "Hold on tight and I will pull you up."
Panpip did the gentlemanly thing and let his sister go first. (The fact that she'd be the first to experience Papan's anger had nothing to do with it.) When Muppet was safely at the top, Panpip grabbed hold of the twine and was pulled up as well.
Later when they were back with their elfin family, they were told they were grounded and made to promise that they would never again go exploring alone.
"When you are older, I will take you on much more exciting adventures," said Granpan.
Marmup and Grandmup both just scowled at him.
As part of their punishment, the childelfs were sent back to bed without any breakfast or lunch. However, little did the older elfin realise they were already full from biscuits, and the childelfs couldn't eat another crumb if they tried.
Tucked back in their matchbox beds, Muppet turned to Panpip and quietly whispered, "Where will we go next time?'
"Hmmm, maybe the 'Outside World," he said grinning.
More by this Author
This short story is in response to a hub challenge by annart to write a story based on her painting of Burnham Beach.
This is a continuation of "Maureen's Story" that appeared in my hub "How to Construct a Short Story Using One Sentence as a Prompt"
Many people don't know the value of the plants around them. Do you see a dandelion as a weed spoiling the look of your lawn, or as a wild herb packed with vitamins? Everything in nature has a purpose.