The Disorienting Express

Chatterbox: Pudding's Place

The Disorienting Express

The Disorienting Express – The Return of RMS Tiny

You drink the last dregs of your tea, and then hand the teacup back to the fortuneteller. Her head bobs, and her frizzy red hair shakes as she examines the tea leaves. Suddenly, she gasps, and the cup drops from her fingers and SMASH!, breaks against the floor. "My best antique teacup! No! This is a calamity!"

You look at her, confused. "What did you see in my future that was so shocking?"

Her lips shook. "An invitation. An exclusive invitation, to any Cber who happens to recieve it, from The Ominous, that strange, hoodied captain of the RMS Tiny and the RMS Humbug, whose past adventures with CBers were chronicled here: http://www.cricketmagkids.com/chatterbox/inkwell/node/145605 "

"What's so shocking about that?"

"Well, I've heard of the RMS Tiny, and the story I heard had THE END at the end of it, so I thought that was the end of it all. Not to mention that sequels are often never as good as the original, and the story ended with The Ominous trying to dig the RMS Tiny out of the middle of a desert! Now that's what I call writing yourself into a corner!"

"Hmm. Perhaps they had a sledgehammer on them, and they escaped through the fourth wall."

The fortuneteller frowns for a moment, and then nods. "I suppose that's possible. Do you want to hear what the invitation will be?"

"Yes please."

"The adventure of a lifetime! Boundless fun! An express ride to anti-polar regions, aboard a ship aboard a train, surrounded by the most colourful of characters! You are hereby invited to the first railway passage from the Sahara to a handy mountain range (the location of which we cannot divulge at this time), and you'll have lots of fun!"

*  *  *

You leave the fortuneteller's tent, and go home. On your doorstep is a large package, wrapped in brown paper and tied with red and white striped string with purple fuzzy bits. You rip open the paper, and a puff of dark brown powder explodes in your face, permeating the air with a chocolatey flavour. Your eyes sting with the bitterness of the pure cocoa.

We would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors, the makers of pure, high-octane cocoa, made from fresh nyad springs on the plains of Latteland. Their only purpose in life is to make your day better – wait, nevermind, sorry, actually their only purpose in life is to make some money. And find enlightenment.

By your feet there is now a pile of cocoa powder, and in the middle of it lies a letter. You pick up, open it, and read the letter:

Dear CBer, the ticket enclosed in this letter will grant you passage aboard the last 13 coaches of the Disorienting Express, the train that will carry my dear ship, the RMS Tiny, on my journey to repair her. It is my wish that you would come along with me, as I believe CBers like adventures, and adventure seems to follow me everywhere. I give you my word, as a slightly shady individual who likes to lurk in alleyways waiting for my morning coffee to be delivered by vampire bat, that I will not let any of you murder each other, and the most dubious and sinister people of my acquaintance are not invited. Should they arrive, I'm sure your abilities of deducton will be able to be well used in apprehending them, as doubtless they will leave clues to their actions. Of course, if you accuse someone who is innocent, the actual murderer will likely choose you as their next target.

Anyways, here's some more words to convince you to come, thanks to my advertising agents, the Fortunetellers of Aura Alley: The adventure of a lifetime! Boundless fun! An express ride to anti-polar regions, aboard a ship aboard a train, surrounded by the most colourful of characters! You are hereby invited to the first railway passage from the Sahara to a handy mountain range (the location of which we cannot divulge at this time), and you'll have lots of fun!

- The Ominous

A NOTE: This is a murder mystery inspired by T.O.N's Ski Lodge and its various spin-offs, and it's sort of a continuation of the story of The Ominous and RMS Tiny detailed in the link above. However, for this we've changed some things about how it works so it's a bit more game-like, inspired (of course) by Clue.

A roll of the Die of Doom will determine how many people are killed each day, and their names will be drawn from Pandora's Fedora. The first death will occur on the third day.

All of you are innocent (at least as innocent as you can be, being yourselves), and you need to work together to discover which of the non-CBer characters aboard the Disorienting Express is the murderer.

Starting on the third day, there will be a few codes (think morse, first-letter codes, Sebald code, number codes) hidden (or not-so-hidden) in each day. The first person to find and decode each code will be granted, according to the Die of Doom, either immunity from death the next day or a clue in the form of a story snippet. Obviously, clues are given to everyone, while immunity is person-specific.

If you think you know who the murderer is, post your guess and tell us that it's an in-story accusation (we really want your input/interaction, so don't worry about us mistaking suspicious musings for in-story accusations, we'll double-check with you before making story-you accuse anyone). In the next day, the results of your confronting and accusing your suspect will occur. A Warning: Accusations of innocents will make the murder worry about your suspicions, and you will likely die (immunity will not necessarily help you here). However, accussations of innocents are still helpful because you now know the one you accused is innocent. Also, ghosts can totally help the other CBers guess and point out clues or codes they spot – and if they get immunity by spotting things, they can give it to someone who's alive.

The Disorienting Express starts its journey on January 20th. Sign up with a quote that you could be heard saying, and your packing list if you so wish. Any latecomers will be forced to walk.

Any complaints should be directed to The Ominous's editor and secretary, who will direct the complaints to John F.Q. and Pied Piper, along with all the other rubbish they send them.

*  *  *

You sneeze cocoa powder from your nose, and wonder if it's wise to trust this Ominous person. Will you accept the invitation? And if you do, how will you find this train? You wonder, and then a question mark falls on your head.

Then a comma hits the sidewalk, and you look up at the sudden rain of punctuation. A bracket and a quotation mark land in the cocoa powder, sending up a huge cloud of powder that seems tinted green in the sudden strange light. And then the King and Queen of punctuation, the interrobang & the ampersand arrive‽

Resplendent in their inky black armour and spiky crowns of accent marks, their presence announced by exclamation marks blaring trumpets, they walk towards you. The King waves, his infinity-sign moustache looking glorious. The Queen holds up her sceptre, mounted with a shining asterisk. They stop before you, and the King clears his throat.

A moment of silence.

The King coughs again, pointedly, and then two small tuxedo-wearing, upwards-pointing arrows run forward. The Shift keys. They carry a large suitcase that is a beautiful shining black - but not a boring black, this is the kind of black that galaxies are born in, the colour of a raven's feather, or of letterpress ink, holding all the possibilities of every written word. The King and Queen lift it from the hands of the Shift keys, which cling to it for a moment before dropping to the ground with small squeaks of dismay.

"Without hesitation, deprivation, aggravation, or mortification, we present you with this gift. Use it well." They pass the suitcase to you, and you stare at it for a moment. A hush falls over – or rather, into – the crowd (Aaaaah! THUMP! "sorry, sorry, shhh.")

With trembling hands, you lift the lid, and inside lies . . . your favourite pair of socks, folded perfectly. Beneath it a bunch of your other clothes are packed, and all sorts of travelling supplies.

"Oh yes – and I made you a nice warm drink." The King passes you a large thermos, and then blows his nose into his handkerchief. "We'll miss you, dear!"

The Queen pats your shoulder. "You're ready now, off you go. Goodbye, good luck, and have fun!"

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, stranded in the desert
(January 6, 2018 - 6:28 pm)

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submitted by Top, age Top, Top
(May 7, 2021 - 8:06 pm)
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(July 17, 2021 - 8:32 am)
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(August 18, 2021 - 9:52 am)

I refuse to admit that this has probably died.

submitted by Top! Please?
(October 27, 2021 - 10:37 am)

Not dead yet, feeling better.

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(July 7, 2022 - 6:02 am)

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