Day 11 – 1201 words and a total of 17 343 words! Next week for me is virtually empty, so I should be able to write all afternoon for 4/5 days :D.

Suddenly a hollow noise echoed faintly through the cave, reverberating off the walls like a ghostly whisper.

Stib looked around, not quite scared, but with just a taste of fear inside him.

“Did you hear that?!” he hissed to Stif, drawing his sword.

“Wha…” his brother responded sleepily, allowing his head to loll to one side as he slumped back against the rough stone bench.

The noise came again, echoing eerily around them from down one of the unknown tunnels, causing Stib to stiffen. It was closer.

“Did you here that one?!” whispered, satisfied as Stif—now fully awake—nodded and got to his feet, pulling his sword from his belt.

“Which tunnel?” Stif hissed, as they stood back to back, holding their blades nervously out in front of them.

Stib shrugged, trying to stop his teeth from chattering. “It’s not the one we came in by, at least!” he hissed, indicating back the way they’d come with a thumb. “So it’s gotta be one of these two!”

The sound came again, and this time to two managed to identify it. Footsteps. Coming towards them.

“I say…” Stib hissed, pointing with his sword to the north tunnel. “Is that… a light?”

Stif turned to look where he was pointing. “Hello?” he called. “Is anyone there?”

Stib stared at him in horror. “What are you doing!?” he hissed. “Talking to them?”

“Hello?” came an eerie, distorted voice, almost high-pitched. “Who’s there!?” it came again, frightening the two stickmen even more.

“Sorry…” Stif whispered, a shudder running down his spine as the bobbing light grew closer and the echoing footsteps became louder. “I thought it might have been Stikky and Leddy… I was wrong!”

Stib shivered. “What should we do?!” he hissed, turning to look back and forth between the light and the exit. “Run or fight?”

Stif decided quickly and without hesitation, trying to act bravely. “We need to get rid of them!” he whispered. “If we run, they might end up catching Stikky or Leddy or whoever else comes down here!”

Stib nodded. “On 3?”

“3… 2… 1…” whispered Stif, and then, at the top of his voice, he yelled, “CHARGE!!”

Holding their swords at the ready, the two charged down the tunnel towards the light, yelling at the top of their voices in hopes of frightening whoever it was away.

A mixture of yells greeted them, first of surprise, then of fear, and then of anger.

“Ahhhhhhhh!!” yelled Stif at the top of his voice as the light began to rush towards them, but they didn’t stop. No, they only ran faster.

Leaping into the air, he stabbed his sword at the light. Chaos ensued.

Crash!

Bang!

Cling!

Silence.

Stif and Stib lay on the ground beside one another in pitch blackness, more than half dazed, their swords still in their hands.

A moment later, a voice spoke out of the blackness, not one of the twins, but…

“I say, Stikky, are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine… I think. Do you think we got them?”

Stif stared into the blackness. “Stikky?” he called in surprise. “Leddy? Was that really you guys?”

A light suddenly lit up their faces, and they saw the faces of Stikky and Leddy grinning back at them, Stikky holding a relit lantern up.

“Wait…” Leddy said, open-mouthed in disbelief. “That was you guys… doing all that yelling?”

“You can talk!” Stif retorted, clambering to his feet and helping his twin up. “You guys were wailing away at the top of your voices, scaring us half to death!”

Stikky got to his feet, lighting a lantern suspended on the wall. “Well, I must say,” he added. “You guys have good aim, knocking the lantern right out of my hands and smashing it against the wall, putting us all in pitch blackness!”

Stib shrugged, yawning loudly. “That was all Stif…” he replied a moment later. “You can’t blame me.”

Leddy folded his arms across his chest. “Well,” he decided eventually. “What’ve you guys managed to find while you’ve been exploring?”

Stif gestured back the way they had come. “Down there,” he explained. “Are the kitchens. We’ve had a good look at them, there’s plenty of storage, a well, even a place to store cold stuff in!”

Leddy grinned. “That sounds good! Anything else before we tell you what we found?”

Stib nodded. “The kitchens were the second thing we found; before that we discovered this observatory/lab room, with a huge open window that looks out over the island at one end. You guys will love it, it’s exactly like what you guys used to have back on Stickland!”

Stikky patted them on the back. “You guys sound like you’ve done good!” he added in a congratulating tone. “We discovered the sleeping quarters—still in good shape, perfect for us, and there’s heaps, meaning nobody has to share!”

Stif pulled a face. “But we want to share!” he exclaimed, folding his arms across his chest.

Leddy grinned. “That’s why he said had to,” he explained. “If you want to, that’s perfectly fine, he just said you didn’t have to… got it?”

After a brief nod from the twins, Stikky continued. “Next we managed to find a heap of barrels filled with lantern oil, that’ll mean we won’t be running out anytime soon. Then…” he finished, pointing to Leddy.

“We also discovered a way down to the base of the mountain!” Leddy continued. “It looks absolutely perfect! There’s a gigantic bucket/container thing, big enough and strong enough to hold more than five of us, at least. Anyway, Stikky and me tested it, and it takes you all the way down to the bottom of the mountain, where if you follow a tunnel for a little, you’ll come out just at the base of those stairs we climbed this morning… or is it yesterday by now?”

Stif shrugged. “Probably… come on, why don’t we all get out of these tunnels for now, go back up to the castle and get some sleep—we’ve earned it!”

Everyone instantly agreed with the suggestion, and they set off at once, trying to keep Stib from collapsing on the ground and going to sleep there.

Stikky grinned at Leddy as the two supported the sleepy stickman between them. “We’ve done some good exploring today—tonight,” he said in a half victorious, half sleepy voice. “But there’s still much, much more!”

 

Stikky awoke a few hours later just as the sun was beginning to rise.

Yawning, he got to his feet and looked around.

The rest of the stickmen were still asleep around the campfire, which had gone out long ago.

A slight noise came from behind him, and he turned just in time to see Leddy and the twins climbing to their feet and stretching.

“How long have we slept?” Leddy asked quietly, not wanting to wake up any of the stickmen sleeping around the campfire.

Stikky shrugged. “A lot less than them, at any rate.” he replied. “Let’s go up on the walltop and have a look at the sunrise!”

The others agreed with the idea, and after searching the inner perimeter of the wall quickly, they found a staircase and climbed up it onto the wall.