Between the Floors- part one-(an Elfin fantasy story)
Between the Floors (Part One)
by John Hansen © 2014
They lived in their own tiny world between the upstairs and the downstairs. Peeking between the cracks in the floorboards, they were forever on the lookout for bits of food, clothing scraps, or useful odds and ends.
Most of their activity took place during the night, in the wee hours, when the 'big ones' were sleeping. They had always been most careful that their presence remain a secret, for this was important if the Elfin race was to continue to survive.
Grandpan and Grandmup had both lived between the floors in this same house for almost 40 years and had seen various 'big ones' come and go over that time. The present occupants were a family of four, two adults and two youngsters, who had only moved in some weeks before, and had no idea that this house already had permanent residents.
Grandpan was the oldest Elfin in all the world, or so the childelfs thought, they themselves never having ventured beyond the walls of this house. He had arrived in Australia many years ago, having stowed away in a case of ceramic garden gnomes shipped from Scotland. With his stout build and long white beard Grandpan looked even more gnomelike now than he did back then.
Panpip and Muppet, the two twin childelfs, loved to sit and listen to Granpan's exciting tales of the 'outside world'. The story of how he first met Grandmup was quite amazing. A young she-elfin at the time, it came to pass that she was captured by a group of 'big ones', and Grandpan, brave elfin that he was, rescued her from a certain hideous fate. (The whole story is very exciting but it happened in a different time and place and, regrettably, I don't have time to relate it here).
These risky encounters with 'the big ones' and the often daring escapes captured the childelfs' imagination and they longed to experience such adventures for themselves.
Their parent elfins, Papan and Marmup, had always warned Panpip and Muppet of the dangers of venturing too far and scolded Grandpan for filling their young heads with so many wondrous tales of the 'outside world'. The childelfs knew that Papan must also have had experiences 'outside' but he always declined to talk about these, saying he didn't want to encourage them, or he'd tell them when they were older. Well, that was no fun. They were sick of waiting until they were older.
The elfin's greatest enemy in their world between the floors, had always been the mice. They had to compete with them for food, and also defend themselves from the occasional attack. A full grown mouse was about the same size as an adult elfin and, with its great speed and razor sharp teeth, posed a constant threat, especially to the childelfs.
Papan and Grandpan had made or acquired various weapons to repel the mice, such as tiny spears made from toothpicks or needles, and a box of matches that could be used as flaming torches. All the elfin had been trained in the use of these weapons and could protect themselves from attack if need be.
The one asset provided by the mice was the holes that they chewed in the walls. These offered easy access to the 'upstairs' rooms and enabled quick escapes if required. The only obstacles to the use of these doorways were the mousetraps placed outside each of them by the 'big ones.'
Grandmup had always warned Panpip and Muppet, "Beware of the mousetraps!" she would say in her squeaky voice, "Don't ever touch the cheese!" They never had, of course. They'd seen what happened to many a mouse who tried to do just that.
Papan showed them how to set off the traps by bowling a marble at them, and the childelfs often did this just for fun. They quickly retrieved the marbles after setting off the traps, and it was funny to hear the 'big ones' questioning how the mice had sprung the traps without getting caught.
One day, as the adult elfin slept, Panpip and Muppet slipped out of their matchbox beds and set out to explore the 'upstairs' world. It was daytime but they were sure the 'big ones' were out of the house because the floorboards had not rumbled and shook from their heavy footsteps for some hours, and there had been no sound of their loud talking and laughter.
Panpip bowled a marble through the mouse hole in case the trap had been set. The marble bumped the trap slightly but it wasn't a direct hit and failed to set it off. "Let me try," said Muppet, and selecting her favourite, an opaque marble with bright green swirls, she bowled it at the mousetrap.She pushed it with much less force than Panpip, but her aim was better, and the marble rolled slowly but surely onto the trap setting it off with a loud "SNAP!"
She clapped her hands excitedly, and the two childelfs quickly scampered out through the mouse hole.
They raced into the kitchen, Panpip leading the way with his sister Muppet in close pursuit.They weren't searching for food today so weren't interested in stopping here. This would have proved a difficult task anyway for the linoleum had been freshly polished, and in their stockinged feet they slid, squealing, across the vast kitchen floor.
Neither childelf had been allowed to venture this far before and they both marvelled at the size of the house and the hugeness of everything in it. Any nervousness they felt was surpassed by the excitement of what they might find beyond the next doorway.
..........................to be continued........................
Between the Floors-part 2-(The Upstairs World)
- Between The Floors- part two- (a fantasy story for children)
The second chapter of the fantasy tale about a family of elfin living between the floors.