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: "

"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)

T.S. here. Old person, new name.

Quote: "Can you hand me my notebook? This needs recording." 

submitted by T.S.
(January 12, 2018 - 5:07 pm)

T.S? Could you possibly be the legendary T.O.N. who (I think) invented/wrote the first ski lodge?!

Or could you be a more mysterious and above all SINISTER person from our past?!  

PS. It's fine if you just want to leave who you are as a mystery. 

submitted by Chinchilla
(January 13, 2018 - 3:47 pm)

Preeeeettty sure T.S. and Ruby (T.O.N.) are not the same person, b/c Ruby has visited back occasionally and he always reveals himself. 

submitted by Rose bud, age 15
(January 14, 2018 - 2:41 pm)

Ooh. I'm casting my bets that he's a myserious and SINISTER person from the past.

submitted by Leafpool, age Finite, This side of reality
(January 15, 2018 - 11:56 am)

I'm joining! Lily wants to tag along,


Chloe (my captcha)! Wanna come along?




Ok then, Lily and I are coming.

What I'm bringing:

Ear plugs






submitted by orangelemon, age infinate, sarcasticsociteyrealm
(January 15, 2018 - 12:38 am)

Can I join? I'll bring Hailey. My quote is "If there's one thing I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate, it's a bully!"


orangelemon: I'm also bringing my ae Luc.

Me: I know orangelemon IRL, and we are shipping Hailey and Luc. I don't know if that means anything... but, you know...

Oh, and are you St. Owl? 

submitted by Quill, age Infinite, Sky
(January 15, 2018 - 12:47 am)

Oooh, is there going to be a Murder on the Disorientating Express? I'd love to come!

I'm Brooklyn Newsie, and I'll be bringing ALL my Agatha Christie books, my computer to take notes and listen to music, my lightsaber/slingshot/wand, and my newsie hat. 

And my CAPTCHA. Her name is Tina, and she is a mini Thunderbird. 

submitted by Brooklyn Newsie
(January 15, 2018 - 10:38 am)

Oops! My quote is 

"Life doesn't discriminate between the sinners and the saints, it takes and it takes and it takes and it takes." - Aaron Burr, Hamiton, An American Musical

submitted by Brooklyn Newsie
(January 15, 2018 - 2:07 pm)

Quill, I can confirm that The Ominous is certainly not me :)

Also, topping this, since for some reason it fell to the second page!

submitted by St. @Quill , age Recarnated, Everywhere
(January 20, 2018 - 4:30 pm)

Welcome everyone! Sorry for not replying to everyone directly, schoolwork is an evil beast that can only be vanquished by locking oneself in a dark room for weeks on end while the monsters in your mind grapple for world dominance... Not that I intend to take over the world (my schedule's much too busy for that), but I probably could if I wanted to.

Here's the current state of the ledger of the Disorienting Express's ticket-selling agency:

Tickets Sold:
Brookeira and AE Crypto
Leeli, AEs Evil Devin and Wren, and Captcha Nugget
Rose bud
Danie and Squeak
Tuxedo Kitten
Chinchilla, AEs Notes and Pepper, and Captcha Frederic
St. Owl
SopranoTwo and Captcha Mudge
Vyolette and Captcha Agatha
the mysterious T.S.
orangelemon and AE Lily
Quill and AEs Hailey and Luc
Brooklyn Newsie and Captcha Tina
Total Number: 30 + Captchas

There's lots of room, so if anyone else wants to join before we post Day 1 (later today or tomorrow), they can!

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, annoyed by the desert
(January 20, 2018 - 8:24 pm)

Cool! Just want to clarify- Luc is Oragelemon's AE. Can't wait for this!

submitted by Quill
(January 21, 2018 - 8:23 am)

Good to know! That's part of why we posted that - I'd hate to have an AE's grudge against us! They might unleash a psychiatrist to deal with my use of the royal we - or our use of the strange and mysterious I...

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, hiding in a sand dune
(January 21, 2018 - 7:16 pm)

Day 0 – A Friendly Desert Community (a.k.a The Fellowship of the Railroad)

The Sock Monkey, enemy of the free peoples of Middle Earth, (and Narnia, Redwall, the Seven Seas, Troy, Hogwarts, the Universe, Discworld, etc) was defeated. The narrative passed to The Ominous, who had this one chance to continue the story. But the hearts of hoodie-wearing individuals are easily corrupted. And the narrative has a will of its own. It betrayed The Ominous, and came to an end. And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend, legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the RMS Tiny passed out of all knowledge. Until, when chance came, it awoke, and ensnared a new story.

- The Ominous

This story starts at an incredibly busy train station. Well, a train station that was busy, back in the day. In fact, due to the decline in tourism activities like being buried up to your neck in sand, summer camps for digging holes in the sand, and naming grains of sand after oneself – the only business that seems to have survived is cactus acupuncture, but that's been exported – the train station is, in fact, deserted. It also happens to be in a desert.

The station is empty, save for one small man sitting in a folding chair, with a cup of coffee in one hand, a newspaper in the other, and a plate of dessert balanced on his lap. This is the Former President of the United Chatterbox (he had resigned after the world-ending incident, feeling that paying large sums of money to giant fish was the last straw). He flipped a page in his newspaper, The Daily Punctuation, and took a sip of coffee.

Then, out of the silent, sunny desert, a wind whipped up a cloud of dust and sand. A menacing guitar riff filled the air. Vaguely futuristic lights whizzed through the cloud (I say vaguely futuristic because there is a large chance that they're just nightlights) and then two figures walked out if the mist – I mean dust. Brookeira and Crypto arrived at the station, and looked around, disappointed that apparently no one had noticed their appearance.

The former president of the Chatterbox (who we shall now refer to as Jiminy, because that's his name) took a bite of his dessert.

Brookeira surveyed the tiny train station and the surrounding empty desert. “Well then, here we are.”

“Where's this Ominous person? I didn't come all this way not to kill someone!” Crypto crossed his arms and huffed.

Brookeira raised a hand to calm her AE. “Patience, Crypto. And don't act needlessly suspicious, this is, after all, a --”

“AAAAAAH!” Brookeira was interrupted as someone fell from the sky and landed on Crypto. The person leapt up, grinning. “Wow, that didn't make sense at all! Then again, nothing has made sense since a punctuation mark packed my laundry, so I probably shouldn't worry about it.” She smiled, and offered a hand to help up a angrily-muttering Crypto. “Hi, I'm Kitten.” Crypto turned his back and glared at the vast expanse of sand.

Brookeira glared at Crypto, and then turned to Kitten. “So you got a ticket too?”

Before Kitten could reply, there came a thud from a nearby pillar, followed by maniacal laughter. Then two CBers, two AEs, and a Captcha fell through the apparently solid pillar – Leafpool continued laughing maniacally, one of the AEs joined in, the other AE looked around with a slightly dazed expression, and Leeli stood up and waved at Brookeira and Kitten before turning to the laughing AE. “DEVIN! What did you have to go and do that for, getting us trapped in an alternate reality? It's a good thing I brought cookies!”

The AE stopped laughing and straightened up. “That's EVIL Devin to you! And we weren't trapped, we got out, didn't we? Entirely contrary to my diabolical scheme, but that's beside the point.”

Jiminy raised an eyebrow at the mention of alternate universes, but caught sight of an interesting headline in his paper (“Cocoa Powder Banned in Anti-Polar Regions!") and mused no more on the matter.

On the other side of the station, a trapdoor opened on the floor of the platform, and Rose bud, Danie, and Squeak rose up like magicians in a stage illusion. Squeak brushed a bit of dust off his shoulder, and sneezed. Danie adjusted her deerstalker hat and looked around. “Well, this is intriguing.”

Rose bud followed Danie's gaze. “You're right! We're obviously on a train station, but there's . . . no train tracks. Mysterious.”

Squeak sneezed again. “Yeah, there's just sand. And dust. And people. Oh dear.”

Back on the first side of the station, Leafpool finally stopped laughing. She gasped for air, and then said, “I didn't mind being trapped in an alternate universe . . . that much. The cookies helped.” She looked around. “Hey, what's that?”

On the horizon, a large shape quickly grew bigger. As it came closer, large wings and the white face of a barn owl could be seen, and then the silhouettes of three people on its back. It landed, and Tuxedo Kitten (who we shall now refer to as Tux to avoid confusion with Kitten (as much as we enjoy kittens)), St. Owl, and SopranoTwo (with a small, smudgy-looking Captcha on her shoulder) dismounted. The owl left in a flurry of feathers and hot desert air, and Tux punched the air. “Yes! Now I know what it feels like to be Gandalf!”

SopranoTwo sighed. “Yes, it's very annoying when the eagles always show up and save the day.” She brightened up. “But that was fun! Thanks for the ride, St. Owl.”

St. Owl made a face. “I actually like being saved by large birds. It's better than the alternative, you know. But you're welcome. You should have thanked the bird, though.”

In the middle of the station platform, a suitcase appeared. Muffled shouting emanated from it, and it rocked a few times and then tipped over. For a moment, the wind in the sand sounded like a chorus of strange voices chanting “Welcome, sister...”. Jiminy folded his newspaper down and looked at the suitcase curiously. Nothing happened, so he went back to reading an article titled “New Chocolate Mousse Shop Opened In France By Former (Not Dead Yet) Volunteer For Canned Cakes Committee”, by “an unreliable reporter”.

Somebody walked onto the platform – which was beginning to look slightly crowded – picked up the suitcase, and went over to wait by the edge of the platform for the train. Somebody looked down at the expanse of sand, but before the fact that there were no train tracks could register, someone skated into her and knocked her down. “BLEEP! Hey, what'd you do that for?”

xp rolled off Somebody and pulled off her roller skates. “Sorry, sorry! Here, have some sugar!” xp held out a palm piled high with sugar crystals.

Somebody frowned, and then cautiously took the sugar. “Well then...”

Then the suitcase exploded, and the scent of Pepper filled the air as two AEs, a Captcha, and a grumpy Chinchilla climbed out of the suitcase. “I'm never getting into a small space with you guys again!” She paused, and then amended, “Possibly the trunk of a car, or the hold of an airplane, but NEVER a suitcase. Nevermore!”

A cotton candy dispenser appeared, sensing the possibility of an economic opportunity. It promptly hid in a corner.

Jiminy took another sip of his coffee.

A few awkward moments passed, and then the cotton candy dispenser exploded into a pouf of rainbow-coloured fluff, and HipsterUnicornCat (who we shall now call UniCat) and Vyolette tumbled out. UniCat jumped up. “Woohoo! Caffeine!” Then she noticed the sun and ran, shrieking, to the weak shadow of the pillar previously mentioned.

Vyolette brushed fluff off her shoulders, pulled a small cat-shaped Captcha out of the pink spun sugar beside her, and stood up. “Well that was interesting.” She looked sideways at UniCat. “That's an unusual reaction to coffee, my friend.”

Before UniCat could respond, a loud hissing sound came from above, and then a brightly coloured hot air balloon crash-landed on the sand behind the station platform. The basket tipped over, and out fell three CBers. Shoshannah was the first to stand up, and she turned to survey the wreckage of their balloon. “Oh no! Look what happened to our balloon!”

Evergreen groaned. “Are the provisions crushed? Tell me there's at least a sandwich still surviving!” She groaned again for dramatic effect, and then sat up. “Well, technically it wasn't our balloon.” She turned to elementgirl “Do you remember whose balloon it actually is?”

elementgirl shook her head. “Nope! Well . . . it could have been either the wizard of Oz, or Phileas Fogg. I can't quite remember any details other than that they were wearing a vaguely Victorian outfit when I knocked them out.”

Shoshannah frowned. “I thought we agreed no casualties!”

elementgirl shrugged. “There was nothing casual about it – and anyways, they're still alive, just with a bigger headache than they might otherwise have had.”

Evergreen shook off the sand. “Don't worry about it, we had to get here somehow!”

On the other side of the platform, a small wormhole opened up and a mysterious and sinister figure from the past fell through. It was T.S., wrapped up in chains. A stern voice came from the wormhole: “Don't get into trouble, and don't let me detain you again. And remember, my safety is your concern!” A green notebook was tossed through, and then the wormhole closed with a blip.

T.S. looked down at the chains encasing her and sighed.“Guess it's time for the old Houdini routine. At least I'm on what looks like a train station, that's something new.”

As T.S. struggled out of her chains, Rose bud and Danie, who were still looking at where the noticeable absence of train tracks, watched with horror as a hole opened up in the ground. A hole dug upwards in sand is a strange thing to watch – the sand falls inwards like the grains of an hourglass, it's like quicksand and backwards time and a hole being dug upside down. And that, my dear readers, is the extent of my poetic abilities at this moment. Anyways, out of this hole clambered two CBers and three AEs: orangelemon, Hailey, Lily, Quill, and Luc. Quill flopped onto the flat sand as the hole filled itself in. “I think I hate, loathe, despise and abominate that hole!”

orangelemon (a name which I cannot help but point out is an interesting paradox with a lovely citrus tang and a slightly cinnamon-y aftertaste – what, have you never eaten a paradox? Well, you'll have to take my word for it) said, “Well, it wasn't my idea!” She glared at Lily, who glared at Hailey, who looked not-so-glaringly at Luc.

Luc held up his hands in surrender. “Okay, okay, I concede that it was bad idea! It just seemed like going straight through would be faster than going around!”

Hailey smiled. “Well, at least Mr. Verne was nice. And there was less lava than I expected down there.”

Jiminy reached the end of his paper, folded it in half, and then remembered that he'd missed a page and opened it up with a snap. To his surprise, someone fell out of the newspaper with a yell. After a moment of shock, Jiminy recovered and offered his hand to help up Brooklyn Newsie. “Nice to meet you. May I ask how you got there?”

“Oh, you know, it's just print-travel. Gutenberg invented it! Where am I?” She looked around. “Hey, I made it! I wasn't sure if I took the right exit, running from a mob of rogue journalists as I was... Have you ever been blinded by flash cameras as journalling notebooks are thrown at your back? It's very hard to navigate under those conditons!”

“Hmm, I can only imagine.” Jiminy nodded absently, and turned back to his coffee. “Oh blast, it's cold!"



Zoom out.

Rewind 10 seconds.

See that dust cloud on the horizon? Next to Jiminy's left ear?

Zoom out more. See the crowd of CBers and AEs, paused mid-arguments. Ah, nostalgia. Oh, for the good old days of bustling tourists wearing khaki and floral-patterned shirts, buying souvenir sand-shovels. Those were the days . . . Anyways, back to the scene at hand. I'm going to replay those 10 seconds – watch the dust cloud.

“-blast, it's cold!”


A banshee-scream of a whistle, a puff of smoke arises from the dust cloud. All faces turn to see the oncoming haze of spraying sand.


It's here. A huge wave of sand spews up from the ground, and everyone shields their faces from the grit raining down. Jiminy, unfazed, pulls out an umbrella from beneath his chair. For a moment the sun is blotted out, and then the dust settles, and the smoke and sandstorm begin to clear. The platform is completely buried in sand. What monstrosity could have created such a mess?

*  *  *


Note: If you want to write your own view of the day, we'd love to know more about the strange adventures that brought you to this deserted desert station!

submitted by The Ominous, age unknown, mysterious
(January 21, 2018 - 7:38 pm)

Thanks for putting a space in my name! That's what makes it original! I loved the wordplay (desert, dessert, deserted, etc.) 

submitted by Rose bud
(January 22, 2018 - 10:32 am)

Amazing! I always enjoyed your slightly chaotic writing style.

submitted by Danie
(January 22, 2018 - 12:47 pm)