The fantasy series, The Mining of Lif, is a humourous look at a post apocalyptic planet that was once called..er..the..er..the…sorry, can’t remember.
Anyway, each book; there are currently three, takes a familiar Holy Theme and imagines what would happen should humans have another crack at trying to get things right.
This is from Book 2 Wholly Bye Bill and centres on the small remnant of humanity who are now forced to flee their island paradise, Shirthole, as imminent disaster looms.
They need to build a boat – a BIG boat and time is inevitably running out.
The storm finished as quickly as it had begun. The clouds soon dissipated and shortly afterwards the sun blazed, and the forest began to steam.
In a clearing among the trees, two large frogs peered out from underneath a larger green leaf and looked up at the spectacle above them.
‘I think he’s just showing off,’ one of the frogs said.
‘You reckon? I think he’s been at the mushrooms again. I mean, look at him,’ his companion countered.
‘You may be right,’ agreed the first frog.
A loud ‘thunk’ signified the end of the aerial display. The sound reverberated through the forest as the normally expert avian aviator hit a large oak tree at a *surprisingly high rate of knots then dropped twenty feet, landing on the dense, and fortunately for him, soft undergrowth of the forest floor.
Abbot Trois sat at his desk studying the large tome open before him.
The book was called Bye Bill. Although, he was considering changing the name to Farewell William.
This seemed only proper, given the age and importance of the book.
No one knew its origin. Even the worn version he had recently finished redacting was not an original, being a copy from another source. Abbot Trois reasoned that this had probably been going on for….well, a very long time.
Oddly enough, it did not cross his mind that previous copyists had also edited their versions, especially when coming across something indecipherable.
Abbot Trois was busy reading a section about boat construction. He had read this part of the book before. Several times in fact, but never with the same keen interest as now though. And there was good reason for this interest. The island was sinking.
The section was not large, no more than two or three pages, and the description concerning the boat’s construction covered only three or four paragraphs. As meagre as this was it contained enough detail to make the construction seem straightforward. Straightforward for one who knew about boats, that is.
The instructions included measurements for length, breadth, and width. There was also mention of windows, doors and even a roof. At first, this confused him; the description seemed more like a house. Of course, he realised, a houseboat. The mental picture that formed gave him the distinct impression the boat’s designers had meant for it to cross a very large expanse of water.
Good, he thought. Then it might just be what we are after. Couldn’t go sailing off into the wide blue yonder in a craft that might spring a leak five minutes after launching!
After poring over the chapter for a while longer, he felt confident he had grasped most of the salient points. However, just one small detail nagged at him: ‘What the hell…oops, heck is a cubit?’ he asked aloud.
‘A culinary term. It’s what you do to a carrot or potato when you chop it up,’ said an authoritative, voice off to his right.
‘Ah, Mrs. Perlite. That is an interesting observation,’ Abbot Trois remarked.
‘Common sense, y’worship,’ Mrs. Perlite continued. ‘Now, put that book away and eat your supper.’
Abbot Trois just managed to lay a feather between the relevant pages, close the book and slide it to one side as the cook placed a bowl of steaming liquid before him. Rummaging in her apron pocket, she pulled out a spoon made from bamboo and a large cloth napkin. Placing the spoon next to the bowl then stepping behind Abbot Trois, she briskly shook out the folded napkin and began to tie it around his neck. Only when Abbot Trois called out in a semi-strangled voice, ‘Dag’s ogay, dagyoo,’ did Mrs. Perlite leave off knotting it.
*Surprising, only because the bird had reached this speed while flying upside down.