Chapter 3. I hope that you are enjoying reading it as much as I’m enjoying writing it! Not sure about the title?
Chapter 3 – Lechim
Just as they hit the brightly lit opening, Jimmy opened his eyes.
“Hang on very tight Mr. Jones,” shouted Squibble, “We wouldn’t want to lose you, would we? Especially as we are almost there.”
Jimmy didn’t need any persuading. He clung to Squibble’s arm with grim determination. He had never felt so afraid in his whole life. Then suddenly they hit the light. There was a loud bang and Jimmy felt as if his body was being squeezed on all sides. There were flashes of light all around them which hurt his eyes and felt as they were going straight through his body.
“Don’t be too alarmed Mr. Jones,” shouted Squibble, “We are just going through the outer security screen. It may feel a little uncomfortable but it won’t last.”
Just as Jimmy felt as though the exploding lights and pain were getting worse, it all suddenly stopped. Everything went quiet and still and Jimmy noticed that he and Squibble were floating downwards. He then felt his feet gently touch the ground.
“You can let go now Mr. Jones,” said Squibble, “We’ve arrived. If you will just give me a moment, I will go and let the authorities know that you are here.”
As he walked away, Jimmy looked around him at his new surroundings. He was stood in the centre of a large circular room. High above him he could see the hole which they had just travelled through. There were flashes of light all around the entrance with billowing smoke and strange rumbling sounds. Jimmy found it hard to believe that he had just come through that. As Jimmy looked around the walls of the room, he noticed five large doors equally spaced out. At each door stood a guard and it was the five guards that most attracted Jimmy’s attention. Each one looked exactly the same, large, three-legged creatures, dressed from head to toe in black, with a large hood covering their face. They were just like the two that Jimmy had briefly met back in the reception area, only these looked even larger. While Jimmy couldn’t see their faces he could feel their eyes watching him intently.
Jimmy noticed that Squibble had crossed the room and was approaching one of the guards. Squibble said something and the guard immediately bowed very low. The door he was guarding slowly opened and Squibble hurried through. The guard straightened up again and the door shut. Jimmy stood there thinking, yet again, about where he was and what on earth was happening to him.
Ten minutes stretched into twenty and Jimmy was getting restless. He was beginning to worry about what would happen to him if Squibble didn’t return. Jimmy decided to see if the guards would tell him what was going on. He took two steps forward and hit something solid. He tried turning round and moving that way but again hit something solid. He stretched out his arms but couldn’t feel anything. He couldn’t see any sort of wall or feel anything but there was definitely something surrounding him that was keeping him firmly trapped in the middle of the room.
“Excuse me,” shouted Jimmy in the direction of one of the guards, “I don’t want to be a nuisance but could you possibly tell me what’s going on and where Squibble has gone? Please.”
He had decided to take the respectful approach. His mum had always told him that you got further by being polite to people. In this case, it didn’t seem to be working. Jimmy wondered if this invisible wall surrounding him also meant that he couldn’t be heard. He shouted louder. Still no response. He tried a third time, almost screaming now. This time all five guards slowly turned their heads in his direction. They did nothing and said nothing but at least Jimmy knew that they could hear him. He was getting angry, the polite approach wasn’t working, he had been abandoned and imprisoned in a strange room, goodness knows where and was surrounded by strange creatures who were ignoring him.
“Oi! You lot!” he shouted pointing in the general direction of the guards, “Did you know that it’s rude to ignore people. Now get over here straight away and tell me what’s going on or I’m going to get really annoyed.”
The five guards looked at him and then, together, they started walking slowly in his direction. The closer they got the more aware Jimmy became of their intense, frightening glare. He was beginning to wish that he hadn’t shouted so loud, they didn’t look happy. Each of the guards stopped just outside the invisible barrier that was imprisoning Jimmy. They surrounded him and Jimmy could feel their eyes burning into him. Then each one slowly lifted their right arm and pointed a long index finger at Jimmy. As he watched them, Jimmy shivered, the tip of each finger was beginning to glow bright red. Then suddenly an intense white light shot out of each finger and hit the invisible barrier. The guards didn’t let up, they just stood there motionless, pointing their fingers at Jimmy. He could feel the area around him getting hotter and he was beginning to feel warm. Did this mean that the magic surrounding him was breaking down. At that moment Squibble emerged from one of the doors.
“Stop!”, he commanded, “Return to your duties at once!”
The white light and heat stopped immediately. The five guards dropped their arms and turned and slowly walked back to their doors, where they stood, motionless and glared at Jimmy.
“I’m frightfully sorry about that Mr. Jones,” said Squibble as he hurried across the room. “I don’t know what came over them. The Quorons make wonderful guards but are sometimes difficult to control. I can’t imagine what caused them to attack you like that. Good job I returned when I did, another couple of minutes and I’m afraid there wouldn’t have been much of you left.”
“I’m just glad that you did,” said Jimmy, “I have never been so frightened. Who are they anyway?”
“The Quorons,” replied Squibble, “Are an ancient and very secretive race. Nobody knows very much about them as they refuse to talk to anyone else. They are the Commissions Official Guard, mainly due to the fact that they are so fearsome. The magic in their fingers is their main weapon and very powerful and destructive magic it is too. It makes them almost indestructible and therefore the ideal creatures to guard the outer defences.”
Before Jimmy had a chance to ask any questions Squibble said,
“ We must hurry Mr. Jones. It’s not a good idea to keep Lechim waiting.”
“Who’s Lechim?” asked Jimmy.
“I’ll explain as we go Mr. Jones,” replied Squibble, “But we must get going.”
As Squibble moved off Jimmy found that he was able to follow. The magical barrier that had both imprisoned him and saved his life seemed to have disappeared as mysteriously as it had appeared. Squibble headed towards one of the doors and Jimmy was alongside him. As they approached the guard bowed and the door slowly opened, as they went through Jimmy felt the guards eyes burning into the back of his neck and heard a low growling noise. The door closed slowly behind them and all went quiet.
“Mr. Jones,” said Squibble, “We’ve only a short journey to make but it might be a little difficult. It is vitally important that you keep close to me. If for any reason we get separated it is essential that you just stand very still and wait for me to return. Whatever you do don’t move, don’t wander off and don’t speak to anyone. Is that clear?”
Jimmy nodded. The seriousness in Squibble’s voice frightened him. As they moved off Jimmy kept very close to Squibble. As he looked around him he saw that they were in a long underground tunnel. There were jagged rocks sticking out of the sides and ceiling and the floor was covered in large stones. The only light came from odd-looking light balls that seemed to hover near the ground.
“The lights will help you to see where you are going,” said Squibble.
For the first few minutes, they walked along in silence. Jimmy had the feeling that the tunnel was getting smaller. The sides seemed to be getting closer and every now and again he felt his head touching the roof. At regular intervals there were smaller tunnels forking off to the left and the right. As they passed them, Jimmy tried to look along them but without the hovering lights he couldn’t see a thing. What he did notice though were the funny smells and strange noises that seemed to be coming from these passages. The path that they were taking was getting even more twisty and Jimmy noticed that there seemed to be fewer lights. It was difficult to properly see Squibble even though he was right next to him.
“You were going to tell me about Lechim,” said Jimmy.
“Yes of course,” answered Squibble, “Now where shall I begin?”
He then went on to explain that Lechim was in charge of Kingdom Security. Apparently, after the Commissioner himself, Lechim was probably the most powerful person in the Kingdom. It appeared that this ‘Kingdom’ that Squibble kept referring to was a place called Feleanor and that was where they were at the moment. Squibble said the Feleanor was home to a wide variety of races all of whom had one thing in common and that was magic. The more that Squibble talked, the more questions that Jimmy had but he couldn’t get a word in edgeways. Squibble was obviously talking about his favourite subject and there was no stopping him. Jimmy was quite pleased that his guide had so much to say. The light in the tunnel was now very poor and the route was getting more and more difficult with so many twists and turns. He could hardly see Squibble but knew where he was by the sound of his voice. Jimmy just made sure that he kept pace with the never-ending voice.
Squibble was half way through telling Jimmy about everyday life in Feleanor when he suddenly stopped and went quiet. At the same time the few lights that there had been disappeared completely and everywhere was pitch black.
“What’s the matter?” asked Jimmy, “Why have we stopped? Are we there yet?”
There was no reply.
“Squibble! Talk to me.” whispered Jimmy.
Again there was no reply. Jimmy put his arms out, he couldn’t feel Squibble, all he could feel were the jagged walls. As Jimmy wondered where Squibble had gone he remembered his guides warning about keeping still and keeping quiet. Everywhere was eerily quiet. The smells and strange noises of earlier had long disappeared. This was much more scary, he could see and hear absolutely nothing. Then, out of the darkness, came a quiet voice,
Run Jimmy. Quickly. Run, get out of here.”
Jimmy’s wanted desperately to follow this advice and not stop running until he was safely home but he didn’t.
The voice came again, this time a little louder and more urgent,
“Run Jimmy. You are in danger. Squibble can’t save you. Run!”
More than before Jimmy wanted to run and do what the voice was telling him but he kept his nerve and stood very still and said nothing. There was silence. Then the voice in the darkness spoke again. This time it was different and had such a menace about it that it made Jimmy shiver.
“Very well Jimmy, you stay there, but be warned I will be watching you. I do not take kindly to people who cross me.”
Jimmy felt a cold, icy wind wrap itself around his body and then something grabbed his arm.
“Is that you Mr. Jones? I’m so glad that you are safe.”
It was Squibble. If Jimmy could see him he would have given him a big hug.
“Where have you been,” asked Jimmy, “And who was that talking to me?”
“I’m not sure Mr. Jones,” replied Squibble, “I don’t know what happened. Somehow we got separated and I don’t think that it was by accident. By the time I realised what was happening, I rushed back here. I’m so glad you remembered my advice Mr. Jones. I dread to think what would have happened if you has started running.”
“But who was it telling me to run,” said Jimmy, “And how did he know my name.”
“I don’t know Mr. Jones,” replied Squibble, “But there is a sinister mixture of strong magic and evil feelings in the air that even frightens me. The sooner we move on the better. I’m hoping that Lechim might be able to tell us more.”
As they moved off Jimmy felt a cold whisper by his air and the words, “I’m watching you.” Echoing in his head.
The rest of the journey was uneventful but Jimmy made sure that he kept a tight hold on Squibble’s arm. Squibble didn’t speak a word, his mind was obviously on other things. By now, the tunnel had started getting wider again and the hovering lights had returned. Ahead Jimmy could make out the opening to a large cave.
That’s where we are heading Mr. Jones,” said a somewhat relieved Squibble, “That’s the Cave of Feleanor.”
As they entered the cave Jimmy was struck by how majestic it looked. It was enormous and everywhere seemed to glitter. There were lights shining from every crevice. In the middle of the cave there was a huge lake with calm, bright blue water.
“Welcome!” boomed a voice from behind them, “My name is Lechim.”
Jimmy turned round and couldn’t believe his eyes. This couldn’t be Lechim. He’d met this person before and his name wasn’t Lechim.