The Soap Bubble - Episode 11. Melinda Kerr and the Ice Cream Van of Doom!!!

Once again the darkness began to lift, light creeping in at the corner of my eyes. Where would I wake this time? My eyes fluttered open. Above me was the inside of a reed roof and a solitary electric bulb vainly trying to scare away the shadows. That would make the droning I could here to be a generator. Which makes this Red Bubble Africa tm.

I attempted to move. Urgh! My head pounded and refused to move from the pillow, the room swam. Okay, maybe I’ll just lie here for a while longer! Maybe I’ll just use my eyes to explore the room. To my left a window , well OK, a hole in the wall with curtains. What time is it? The orange glow through the window suggests it’s either dawn or dusk. How long have I been here?

A new sound, the scrape of an ill-fitting door rubbing against the floor… faint footsteps….
“Great you’re awake. We were worried about you!” the voice was soft and feminine. I would have sat up to get a better look at her but my head remained pinned to the pillow. I’m not sure when, but I’m pretty sure that since I was last awake I had been run over.
Sharon said she found you fishing for crocs on the other side of the lake , and that you were not keeping up with your fluids or sun protection! Crazy man, still it would explain your heat-stroke.”
I would have replied, really I would have but it was at this point that I discovered I had a size ten tongue in a size four mouth. My visitor continued, ”Just relax honey, me and Sharon will get you back on your feet in no time.”
She lent over me and allowed me to sip water from a small wooden bowl. This was my first view of the angel who had saved me from the sun. Teeth, lots of brilliant white teeth, a shock of bleach blonde hair but again it was the eyes, brilliant blue and filled with emotion, I was sure that I had seen those eyes before.
“Hi there” the angel spoke to me “I’m Melinda , Sharon said you were calling out my name while you were delirious.” The light from the window was failing, I guess night was coming
“How long?”, the sounds I made were weak and coarse. “How long have I been here?”
“Honey, you have been in this bed for two days now” Melinda smiled at me, but the panic was still there, the words of the old man sang out in my head.
She handed me the bowl of water, “Small sips and you’ll be as good as new”

The bells began to tinkle, my vision blurred and then snapped back into focus. The tinkling of bells was gone. It was Melinda’s turn to look perplexed.
“How did you do that?” she asked.
“Do what?” oddly I felt somewhat better. Something had happened to me!
“Your voice. It changed. You spoke to me for five minutes about my destiny?”
Was this the old man’s doing? It must be. This was weird and getting weirder.
“You need to rest. Get your strength back. I’ll wake you when Sharon gets back, she said she had something important to do.” She rested a cool hand on my forehead.
Yes. Rest. I need rest. My eyes flickered shut and sleep returned.

A flash of lightning lit the savannah sky , there were a few clouds but it certainly wasn’t storm weather, a low rumble of thunder and the blackness returned, the savannah was no longer empty. Smoke curled from a scorched circle, a figure glowing red in the light of the moon stood at its centre radiating an aura of danger and menace. The figure turned slowly through 360 degrees surveying the landscape to the horizon. Once finished it lifted one arm and stuck its thumb into its ear. Extending its little finger to its mouth, it spoke, “ Artemis systems operating at 100% efficiency” the voice had a metallic edge,”Power supply on internal, arrival has not been registered. Initial assessment shows tracks of one human passing from this area to the south, uploading biometrics from tracking systems.”
The faint sound of static filled the air, the usual night time sounds had all stopped, every creature of the savannah held their breath in fear of this new arrival. The figure continued to talk into its finger, “As you request, Sir. Switching to predator mode. Will report in on this frequency in 43200 time units.”
Conversation over, the silver figure fell to the floor. Its body began to liquify and flow into a different shape (If I could afford the special effects, this bit would be really cool and definitely get me a Red Bubble^tm^ Oscar). Where the figure had once been now stood an unfeasibly large animal . It set off at a quick pace following the tracks through the grass…

As the sounds of the savannah slowly returned, a figure stood up in the long grass, short and shadowy with an unusual silhouette due to a large pith helmet . She moved away silently to the north towards the lake, her passing leaving no trace…

Earthquake! Now the Bubble is trying to kill me as I sleep! I opened my eyes to see Sharon and Melinda shaking the bed I was in.
“Wake up NOW dammit!” shouted Sharon , “We gotta move!” both looked stern and worried, not at all like either had been previously.
“Whuh?” (my English is definitely improving). “But it’s still dark!” (roughly translated as – Bed warm I don’t Wanna!)
Sharon snapped an answer back, “They’ve sent a sleeper after you! Too hard to explain more but I’ve made a small diversion. It won’t be long before it figures it out though. Mel has transport waiting. Let’s GO!”
I jumped out of bed, my head still feeling like it was full of cotton wool, and staggered to the door aware that they wanted to get going. Fortunately the nice ladies had kitted me out with a night shirt so my dignity was maintained. On reaching the door I looked back at to see Melinda and Sharon standing there smirking.
“What’s so funny?”, I asked, surprised that at a time when there was imminent danger they had time to laugh.
Sharon spoke first, “Ummm, Andrew , It’s not a nightshirt, it’s a surgical gown… you’re… errr… mooning .” I went beet red.
There followed a delicate procedure to get into my clothes and with the last shreds of my dignity in tatters, we were ready to go.

Outside the transport was ready. I was expecting a big 4×4 off-road monster with air conditioning and big plush seats. What I got was an old beat up ice cream van . Looking back, the hut was not at all what I had expected. A beat up shack nesting next to a row of garden sheds . I wish I had time to ask what was going on but I was bundled into the van by Melinda, the last thing I saw was a small child that was hanging round waiting for an ice cream. Sharon was already in the passenger seat so I was forced to sit on the floor between the freezers whilst Melinda took the drivers seat.

Something was odd about the way that Melinda was dressed . I couldn’t put my finger on it but I was certain that something was up, maybe it was her hat i dunno. She gunned the engine and we set off in a cloud of dust and grave.
“Keep you fingers out of the fridges Andrew , the ice cream is for later!”
The van hammered down the dirt track with the two women squabbling in the front seats. I could hear they were bickering over their art, Sharon claiming that animal art was superior (to prove this she kept pointing out images as we barreled along, this and that were just flashes to me in the rear of the van) whilst Melinda vehemently defended studio portraiture (arguing that these and those were far superior to wildlife). I decided to keep my big mouth shut as the van rattled and rolled through the dusty dawn and did it’s very best to shake my fillings free. We were heading back towards the Red Bubble City tm and civilisation, things may be looking up…


The Soap Bubble - Episode 11. Melinda Kerr and the Ice Cream Van of Doom!!!

Drew Walker

Joined July 2007

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