Warm, delectable aromas

Chatterbox: Chirp at Cricket

Warm, delectable aromas

Warm, delectable aromas swirl through the air on a certain street, in a certain town. No restaurants in sight, nor even a grocery store inhabits it; only dusty, abandoned shops, decrepit and cold with early October snow. The heavenly smell seems to waft from an alleyway between an antiques shop and an old bookstore named after someone no one remembers. However, when the first chilly breezes coast through the streets, this alley is alit with a warm glow, and a door is seen at the very end. A Baker lives there, and every day there are fresh, steaming breads, pastries, and confections of every kind laid on the polished wooden counter. Every day the hearth is lit and blazing, and every day a pot of cocoa hangs over it, with toppings and cookies aplenty nearby. Armchairs and beanbag chairs are cramped in small rings in the tiny space, and the Baker herself sits at the counter reading a book. The bell jingles as a Chatterboxer enters and hangs her starry cloak. 

“For my friends,” she says. With a clink, she drops a small pouch of gold coins on the counter, then takes a seat by the fire with a large, irresistible muffin. The fire crackles gently now, almost as if to say: 

Come, stay awhile, and tell us a tale.

submitted by The Baker
(October 7, 2019 - 10:03 am)

*gets hyper* MUFFINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D *starts to bounce*

submitted by La’Crosse, age MUFFINS?!, I'M HERE, I SMELL FOOD
(October 7, 2019 - 1:29 pm)

back in business

submitted by Toppers Inc.
(October 7, 2019 - 5:26 pm)

I come to you

As a face of a friend

I have a story to tell,

Will you hear it to the end? 

submitted by A majestic beast
(October 8, 2019 - 12:27 am)

*the clouds darken the sky slightly as another small snow shower approaches
*a cloaked cber rises to her feet

"Listen.

"Quite long ago (no one can tell exactly when), there was a weary traveler stumbling past this very town. The night was black, the air was thin, and the wind was whistling slowly through the half-bare treetops.

"This traveler had been walking for many miles trying to find work. He had gone through a few empty villages and believed our town might be a good place for him to stay- but somehow (either by cruel accident or a cruel sort of something else) he managed to walk right past it."

*she pauses, gesturing out the window 

"The path wended its way around roots and trees and small hills when it abruptly stopped- and the traveler, although half-asleep, somehow had caught a feeling that he should stop too. He squinted and looked past where the path ended.

"The path ended directly on a very short cliff- not more than a 5 foot drop. Beyond that was an enourmous corn field, stretching in every direction, rising and falling in huge waves with the rolling hills it had been plowed on, an eerie whispering coming from deep among the stalks.

"But the traveler noticed something else: Straight ahead was a plume of smoke, caught by a weak beam of moonlight. The ground stopped being field, and candlelight glinted through glass windows. A house.

"He looked around desperately. The corn field seemed to go on forever in every direction except straight ahead. He had somehow missed the town he aimed to reach. The air was growing colder. And he was out of food.

"Taking a deep breath, he gripped the edge of the drop and swung himself down into the field. The corn was planted in neat rows crosswise and if he could manage to walk directly accross the rows he would likely make it to the house in half an hour. He began to walk among the stalks.

"If he were able to remember it, it must have been a walk he'd never forget. The stalks scratched his hands and he stumbled over every corn-mound in his frozen, muddy boots. The wind whistled through the tops of the field so loudly it sounded like waves on a stormy ocean. Numb, he began counting the rows as he passed them.

"one.

"two.

"three.

"The field must have been longer than he estimated.

"fifty-four.

"fifty-five.

"fifty-six. 

"He stumbled over a corn-mound hard enough to trip and fell onto his knees.

"eighty-sev...

"Suddenly he froze as if someone had poured frozen water into his veins. A laugh.

"He had heard someone laugh. Clear as day.

"In a panic he picked himself up and spun around. Nothing. He looked in every direction twice before continuing on.

"one-hundred-and-twenty-two. 

"one-hundred-and-twenty-three.  

"one-hundred-and-twenty-four- There it was again.

"This time the laugh was followed by a tourrent of whispers and a huge gust of wind overhead.

"He made the wise decision and began to run.

"two-hundred-and-six.

"two-hundred-and-seven.

"two-hundred-and-eight.

"The corn stalks seemed to grasp at him like hands. The laughter grew louder and clearer. The whispering was as loud as ten-thousand shouting- but still somehow in hushed tones.

"two-hundred-and-sixty-four.

"two-hundred-and-sixty-five.

"two-hundred-and-sixty-six.

"The field began to steeply incline. The house had been on a hill, he was almost there. He stopped his counting and rushed up the hill as fast as he could. At last he made it to the top- where he made the worst decision of his life.

"He looked back.

"Grinning eerily at him from between the stalks was a horde of tall, deathly thin creatures. Their eyes were scorched black hollows, their skin was pallid silver-green. They were only as tall as the corn stalks were, but their arms stretched down almost to the ground.

"With a horrifying screech, the one at the front defied gravity, leaping forward far faster than it should have been able to. Its leafy fingers gently grasped around the traveler's neck and yanked him back into the field.

"Our traveler heard loud cries of screechy, whispery laughter before he felt himself go limp.

"Now, I'm no judge of what might have happened next, but what I do know is this:

"A few weeks later the farmer of that house went out with his family to bring in the corn harvest. Among the rows he found several human bones, planted like they were trying to be corn themself. One particular corn stalk was wearing a human skull like it was a mask. The farmer was so alarmed that he sold his house, signed off the farmland, and moved. The house is in shambles now- no one's lived there for many years. 

"The corn field itself is also overgrown. There's nothing down there but weeds and clumps of dirt choked with roots. But- if you were to go down to the end of the road on a night around harvest time, you'd hear a loud whispering like the sea- a sound of leaves rustling uneasily in the wind, as if the field never left that exact spot."

*she pauses and glances out the window

"So if I were you I wouldn't go over there tonight."

 

*the fire crackles, seemingly in friendly satisfaction
*the cber walks over to the counter and asks to buy a cup of tea 

submitted by Alizarine
(October 8, 2019 - 7:54 am)

Whoa. *Starts clapping*

submitted by Rogue Wildling
(October 9, 2019 - 1:39 pm)

*claps with Rogue* That was spooktacular! *winces at that cheesy comment*

I lie back into my beanbag chair beside Alizarine, staring off into the crackling blaze. 

submitted by Jwyn, age 14, The Baker’s Hearth
(October 10, 2019 - 12:32 pm)

The dragon-girl flew over the prematurely snowy ground, blue bangs getting swept into her just-as-blue eyes. She squinted against the wind, hardly able to see in the cold, being guided only by the heavanly scent she knew would lead to her destination. She groaned with longing when she thought of the hot chocoa that would undoubtably be in her hands shortly. 

The smell was getting closer. She could see the door nestled cozily in-between too long since abandoned buildings. She crashed to the ground, picked herself up quickly from the snow, and burst through the door, shaking with cold and panting.

"Oh my Kyngdom. Could I please have a hote chocolate? And some kind of warm pastry?" She extracted a wad of cash from her jeans pocket, threw it on the counter and crashed into a chair. Several people were staring at her, but she couldn't see this through her already closed eyelids. 

Someone tapped her on the shoulder. She bolted upright, but relaxed when she saw it was only the kind baker with a plate of warm cookies and a mug with thick steam unfurling from its contents.

"Thank you," the dragon-girl said gratefully, accepting the offerings. The baker gave a wordless smile and disappeared from her side. The girl set the plate on a small table next to her chair and wrapped her red, stiff, frozen fingers around her mug. It was so hot it stung, but the dragon-girl was grateful.

"You wouldn't believe it... something insane just happened..." she mumbled, thereby hanging a rather ominous tale. 

She took a small sip of hot chocolate, her tongue singing praises. She sighed, closed her eyes for a moment, then sat up straighter in her chair, looking around at the Chatterboxers' faces.

She leaned in dramatically, like a grandfather telling children a far-fetched myth. "Okay, you guys, I've got a story to tell you," she announced, finally getting on with it, "about what happened before I came here. And it's probably going to sound insane. But I swear to Kyngdom that every word I'm about to say is true." The dragon-girl took another sip of hot chocolate before beginning.

"I was flying out at sunset, because it was so beautiful and I wondered what it would look like from the sky itself. I flew for so long, fly far beyond the edge of the world I had since known, entranced by the ashes of the dying sun.

"Before I knew it, it was dark and I was stuck in a foreign place. Fearful, I landed on a mountain, searching for someone who could help me or, if worse came to worst, a place to stay for the night.

"But there was something strange about the mountain. It... whispered."

She paused here, liely for dramatic emphasis, but maybe just for an excuse to start on one of her cookies. She could feel eyes on her and swollowed quickly. 

"Yes. At first I thought it was simply the wind, but I knew something more... supernatural was going on around me. The air teemed with voices. And I felt something sinister pulling at the edges of my mind.

I begon walking along a flat expanse, not really knowing where I was going but somehow knowing I had to go there... it was like I was following an instinct I never knew I had.

I was lead into a cave, where a light was coming from deep inside of. The voices seemed to be coming from it. All doubts about what I was doing were erased from my mind as I stpped deeper into the cave and found a haunched, shadow-wreathed figure standing eerily by a crystal ball on a spindily stand. The voices stopped suddenly.

"Before I could speak, a scratchy, haunting voice came rattling from the figure. 'You have come a long way, Luna-Starr', they said.

"I was pretty shocked--- almost enough for common sense to take over and leave the darn place--- but I was stuck by a force I couldn't identify, and so stood and waited with baited breath, knowing whatever words wheedled themselves out of the old bat's mouth would be important.

"They continued, 'You have been downed by your own desire for poetics, Luna-Starr. Your thirst for wisdom is your downfall.' At that point, something inside of me started to wake from the coma I had been put in, because I knew only someone cruel or ignorant could say something so belittling about knowledge."

The dragon-girl again paused for a bite of cookie, and to let the verse of the poet inside of her resound in their own minds. The clearned her throat before going on.

"Just then, the contents of the crystal ball began to swirl like a dense, misty tornado. I watched, fantinated and newly fearful, as the firgure spoke again. 'Your mistake has lead you here, Luna-Starr, right to me...'

"The voices retunred as one--- 'Mistress Malum, Mistress Malum', and then they were gone. The figure, who I supposed was Mistress Malum, continued like she hadn't heard them... and perhaps she had not.

"'You know of the art of telling one's future by gazing into a crystal ball, yes?' They asked. I was definitely starting to feel like myself again, and I was panicking, but still staying in place. Then, though I couldn't see it, they smiled... I could feel their glee, in the sudden rush of screaming voices, in the swirling crystal ball like a pulsing hurricane, with the words that came next and the horrifying image in the crystal ball..."

The dragon girl of course took a dramatic pause, which was now getting on many of the Chatterboxers' nerves.

"So they said, 'And now, because you have cast your luck upon my dwelling, this is what I have in store for you...' 

"And the mist in the crystal ball stopped swirling. It formed a hazy, sinister hand, clenching suddenly and ominously into a fist.

"The voices returned, just for a moment, all as one, to give me a warning with one word:

"'RUN'. 

"And I did. I broke the trance and ran, flat-out, slipping and banging into things- the light of the crystal ball had disappeared- until I was out of the cave, and I just flew. I didn't know where I was. But somehow, I knew where I was going. I don't know how my sudden directional sense was turned on in the dark, but something lead me right here.

"Something strange about my flight here was that the voices stayed with me. they didn't stay behind in the cave. And I realized, they must be the voices of all the people Madam Malum has lead into her cave before. 'You have escaped her', they said. 'You are safe now that you have fled'. And I knew that I could believe them. They spoke ten times the truth that Madam Malum did.

And so... that is my tale. So I would be wary on the mountains from now on."

And the dragon-girl began to eat the rest of her cookies contently.

(Admin, I apologize for this crazy long post.) 

submitted by Luna-Starr, age 27 eons, Existential Ponderment
(October 10, 2019 - 4:26 pm)

*clears her throat* I have a story to share, but be warned. It will do nothing to decrease your worry.

There once was a family who loved salt. Every market day, they sent the older brother to the market to buy a large bottle of salt. Any kind of salt, from mine to sea, was welcome. They weren't picky.

One market day, the older brother was doing farm chores, so the parents asked the little sister to go. They gave her two coppers and a silver, which should have been enough to buy the large bottle of salt. So she set off, toward the town, when she heard a sweet vendor calling out.

Now, the girl loved sweets, so she rushed up to the stand and showed the vendor her money: two coppers and a silver. The vendor, satisfied, took her coins and gave her a small box of sweets. As she walked away, she realized what she had done. Her parents would be so angry!

Suddenly, she had an idea. She rushed to the cemetery, just at the edge of town. She found one of the newly dug graves, dug up the corpse, and crammed the bone dust into her sweet box. Box full, she trotted home, happy that she had at least appeared to fulfill her parents' request.

Her parents, of course, were proud. That night, her mother made her favorite meal: potatoes and gravy. She covered the food liberally with salt, and the girl, knowing what the salt was, didn't touch her food.

The next morning, she woke up, only to find her mother dead.

The girl felt horrible. It was her fault, she knew, for replacing the salt. But she knew she couldn't say anything, so she kept silent.

That night, her father cooked vegetable stew, with carrots, turnips, and potatoes. He covered the meal liberally with salt, and the girl, knowing what the salt was, didn't touch her food.

The next morning, she woke up, only to find her father dead.

Once again, she felt horrible. If only she hadn't wasted money on sweets! But she kept silent.

That night, her brother cooked roast beef, and baked fresh bread. He sprinkled their plates liberally with salt, and the girl didn't touch a single bite.

The next morning, she woke up only to find her brother dead. Now she was the only one left. There was no one she could tell.

That night, she tried cooking eggs. Knowing what was in the salt box, she didn't touch it, eating her burnt eggs plain.

No one knows what happened that night. Some say she wasted away from hunger. Some say she escaped town, never to be heard from again.

But I think that ghost, the spirit of the one whose bone dust she took, that ghost was the one who took her.

*stands up and orders a mug of hot chocolate from the baker* 

submitted by Summer, age pi, Pastries!
(October 11, 2019 - 10:32 pm)

A tan cat with one brown, deformed, three-toed paw stalks through an open window, silent as the night air. Its mouth doesn't move, but a calm, quiet voice slides into your right ear and curls around your skull.

I am known as Clovertoe. Have no fear of me. I come for a bowl of milk in exchange for a story.

She gazes at the Baker with startlingly green eyes, and then the rest of the people in the shop, one by one.

You accept, do you not?

Without waiting for an answer, a story begins to echo throughout your head as the Baker sets a shallow bowl of milk in front of the unexpected visitor.

A few milleniums ago, there lived a prince, no more than 5 miles from here. I remember him well. He had curly auburn hair, large, innocent blue eyes and a handsome face, with a pixie nose and a pointed chin. You would not expect great power from him, yet great power he had.

Clovertoe stopped to lap up about a quarter of the bowl of milk, then continued. 

In the country across the south sea, a great ruler attempted to take this land. The prince struggled to defend his kingdom againt the many armies.

After many, many hard-fought battles, he had no choice. As a last resort, he asked his castle witch to ward off the ruler's powerful armies.

After searching many spellbooks, she found the answer. 

This was a dangerous process, and the witch told him the following.

The spell has great consequences. You will pay a great cost. I warn you for you may regret it later. Do you still wish to proceed?

The answer was thought over, and came out as a yes.

The witch tossed many rare ingredients into her cauldron, mentioned in the spell, and recited that very spell:

Armies many, reinforcments few

Cauldron bubble, cauldron brew 

Battles battled to no prevail,

Werewolf drool, Dragon scale

Hard-earned Vampire fang

Sleek shiny Unicorn mane

More and more items into the pot

More and more battles fought

Gift of Life

Gift of Strife

Bloody war is now to end

For shouldn't we all just be friends?

Suddenly, a chill runs down your back.

Clovertoe busied herself with lapping up her milk. For some reason, she looked wistful.

The prince's eyes glazed and he keeled over as the spell ended. At the same moment, the ruler called for his armies to retreat. You see, he was gift of Life, gift of Strife.

Clovertoe sighed sadly.

I warned him, but I couldn't tell him the effect of the spell. Then it would not work. He was a good man.

Everyone in the shop stared at Clovertoe in confusion. She looked miserable.

The witch's name was Clovertoe.

You, and everyone else, gasp.

Suddenly, another voice enters your mind.

And I didn't regret my choice for a second.

And Clovertoe is gone. 

submitted by Clovertoe, age 24 Moons, WindClan
(October 13, 2019 - 7:52 pm)