Chapter 8.

The Truth Can Be Hard to Hear (alternatively: A beast's mid-life journey of self-discovery)


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Note: This section depicted in the above video

“Prepare to say nighty-night, Knighty-Knight!” the dreaded Jabberwonky leered over Tim, the enchanted suit of armour who is the hero of our tale, “especially now I’ve done away with your spear.”

“It’s a harpoon, you bulbous-headed ninny.” Tim beat their chest plate.

Tim’s Huntscrabby retreated into the refuge of Tim’s shoulder-plate to escape the breath of the Wonky One (which is saying something as the lair he had retreated into was very fishy indeed).

“Whatever,” the Jabberwonky sopped in a childish clop, for he loathed to be wrong. “All I wanted was a delightful meal, is that so much to ask?

“Geez, you’ve really got a flare for the dramatic! That’s all you wanted? Well why didn’t you say so?” Tim asked, as they gestured to the freshly dug hole the Spaghettians had only recently used to trap the beast, “here, have all you can eat!”

Tim cracked their fingers, cleared their non-existent throat and let out a thunderous cry, “Wingardium Gelatinousa!

Sparks flew from Tim’s fingers, and in the air globbed together to form a stream of purple, slimy jelly. Being the first spell Tim had mastered, they were very pleased with themselves indeed. They filled the hole to the brim.

“There you go, a meal fit for a king… or, at least, a despotic overlord!” Tim laughed, despite not knowing whether the jelly they had spouted was actually edible.

“Finally, an appetizer,” The Jabberwonky’s drooling lips smacked together, “service at last!”

As the beast greedily leapt toward the pool of jelly, Tim made their way to retrieve their harpoon.

“Look!” shouted Eric with unconcealable delight, pointing at the poised figure of Matilda triumphantly perched atop the Jabberwonky’s head; in one hand her pitchfork, and in the other an open book.

Chapter 8: The Truth Can Be Hard to Hear

If you want to know more about something mentioned in the story (e.g. a creature, place or person) go to the Lore of the Land:


If you want information about our hero’s characteristics and inventory at the start of this chapter go here and scroll to the relevant chapter:


Tim paced toward the trajectory of their harpoon in the hopes of retrieving the weapon. Their feet keeping in time with the slurps and gulps made by the Jabberwonky as they devoured the pool of jelly Tim had enchanted. In their minds eye, flashes of the beast nibbling on the flesh of Tim’s newfound friends struck him.

NO! The knight thought, the images too much to bear. I mustn’t think of that, I need to stay focused on my goal.


Meatball, the erstwhile Councillor, had been completely befuddled by a sweet fairy and a correspondence-course-drop-out necromancer.

He had been bewitched by Misery and Kackel to remain stiller than a statue, save for his eyes which followed Kackel’s movements as she hopped in through the open window and sauntered up to him. Small beads of sweat formed across his brow.

Misery followed Kackel into the room, dusting gold shimmer in her wake. “Well, he won’t cause us any trouble,” Misery giggled, waving the palm of her tiny hand in front of Meatball’s face. “Well, not for a while!” she added as his pupils followed her movements.

“He’s static with nothing in the attic!” Kackel cackled.

“Some impressive politician he is, huh?” Misery tinkled, “I can’t believe your village voted for him.”

“You’ve never had to lug a giant potato puff up an enormous bowl carved into a mountain, have you?” Kackel rolled her eyes at Misery, “his platform of sanctioning the production of gnocchi changed our lives.”

Kackel began to rifle through meatball’s robes, emptying various pockets of their contents - mostly balls of lint, a cherry lip balm, six silver coins (which Kackel gladly pocketed) and a small handbook entitled How to Be Evil: A Guide to Being Remembered.

“Easily won over, you lot,” jibed Misery, “ever stop to question why he wanted to take on the Big Spud Trade? He was in bed with Wheat Corp.”

Kackel gasped. Her hair flamed blue with rage. Meatball’s eyes widened, then squinted shut as it was all he could do to avoid Kackel’s angry, magical blows.

“But there is wheat in gnocchi!” she screeched, “that doesn’t make sense!”

Instead of the beating he was anticipating, Meatball instead felt a soft, yet unbearable and persistent pressure across his form. He felt as though he was ripping at the seams, but the enchantment trapped him from moving out of the way from the ultimate device of torture: a large tickling feather.

“Where… is… the… scroll?” Kackel demanded, teeth gritted as she waggled the feather she had conjured under his armpits.

Meatball replied only with screeches of laughter, muffled by his immobile lips.

“Hurry, the spell keeping him in place is due to expire!” Misery yelled.

Sure enough, Meatball’s frozen in place stance was slowly defrosting; his fingers began to waggle and his toes curl.

“Tickle… tickle… tickle!” Kackel spat, moving the feather swiftly across the backs of Meatball’s knees.

Regaining movement, Meatball began to thrash his arms about. The lips of his mouth abruptly unclasped, unleashing bellows of laughter. Out from under his robes flew a long, thin scroll bound with a black ribbon.

“Got it!” hollered Misery, as she caught the scroll with both arms. “Now tie him up!”


Eric couldn’t believe his eyes. He had considered the hole he and the Spaghettians had dug to be impressive, after all, it was deep enough to encapture the Jabberwonky. Despite this, mere seconds following Tim filling the hole to the brim, the Wonky One was greedily hoovering up the dregs at the bottom of the pit, intent on imbibing every last scoop of the goop.


Eric, being the typically-terrified variety of butcher, was indeed mortified to the spot. His eyes were fixed on Matilda, who had remained firmly saddled atop the head of the beast.

Now drive in the pitchfork, deep into his head, he willed silently Yet, she didn’t. Instead, she leant in close to the Jabberwonky’s left ear. Eric squinted, and as he sheilded his eyes from the sun, he could just make out an object in the hand not brandishing the pitchfork.

A book! He laughed to himself, Never took Matilda the basil farmer to be a literate one.


Jabby,” Matilda whined into the beast’s enormous, waxy ear.

“Who said that?” the Jabberwonky cried out, spitting forth a slop of saliva and magical jelly which landed on a pair of unfortunate Spaghettians.

Matilda had hoped she’d garner a response from the Jabberwonky by adopting the nickname used by the librarian, Drew E. Decimelle, who lived upon the Jabberwonky’s back.

“It’s Gorkorn. I thought I had everything I wanted in life: a husband and a successful career,” Matilda held back the giggles as she continued, “but now I’m newly widowered I am facing a turning point-”

“It can’t be! Not that stupid book, anything but a self-involved tale of a mid-life journey to find themselves!” the Jabberwonky cried, for he knew he had to hide his passion for his beloved Beat, Slay, Trudge and feign the same tone of annoyance as the critics who had unjustly panned it, “…can’t you see I’m in the middle of a hostile takeover!”

“It’s funny you should mention that,” Matilda continued as she frantically flicked pages to decipher the plot. “Oh look, how refreshing! My quest for enlightenment diverges from the norm; I don’t mysticise a culture with my American money to achieve self-actualisation. I just go on a good old-fashioned killing spree!”

“Yes, I’ve always imagined Julia Roberts in the lead role,” the Jabberwonky nodded, before snapping back to reality. “Look here Little Voice, whoever you are, I don’t have time for this!”

“Ah yes, Julia would do nicely.” Matilda giggled.

The Jabberwonky released a frustrated huff, “I’m staging a delightful coup. There is no time to immerse myself in the privilege of being an upper-class widower without a rudder.”

Matilda grinned. Her plot was working. The Jabberwonky remained stationary, giving the Spaghettians ample opportunity to escape.

“That’s just what Gorkorn says - ahem, I mean what I say - here on page sixty-four,” Matilda cleared her throat before quoting directly “It wasn’t just the smell of lavender and the faint melody of the organ that permeated around Gorkorn. No, the thoughts of his lost love, Krashkallab, were ever-present, ever encircling, but here, amongst kith-”

She licked her finger dramatically as she flicked over the page and continued, “and kin in the local funeral parlour, he could not let his overwhelming emotions lead to a crack in his façade. He had to remain the ferocious, villainous barbarian his reputation had always insisted he was.”

“No more!” The beast whined.

“Oh sorry,” Matilda said with false empathy, “I didn’t realise you weren’t across the complicated subtext, Jabby!”

“Please don’t CALL ME THAT!” He said stamping his foot, “and you ought to know I crush the Beat, Slay, Trudge round at every quiz night.”

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” dismissed Matilda, “you see, there are parallels between yourself and Gorkorn.”

“There is?” the Jabberwonky was clearly flattered.

“Oh, yes. Gorkorn’s reputation as a barbarian is much like yours as a vicious revolutionary. You feel like you have to violently overthrow the government but deep down you know you have another true passion, don’t you Jabby?”

“Destroying democracies is my game and dabbling in hypocrisy is my fame,” he puffed out his chest, “where did you hear otherwise?”

“Sure thing Jabby. Maybe hearing about Gorkorn’s secret passion will help you in revealing yours”.



Meatball was no longer frozen in place, he was tied to a chair. Misery had worked up a sweat removing his boots (for they were twice her size) to expose his ten little piggies.

Kackel’s eyes glinted, as she swished the feather before Meatball’s face, “it’s time to fess up and divulge what the Meatball family have been up to… for generations and generations.”

“What is the meaning of this?” Meatball yelled, his face redder than passata, “I demand to be released from these ropes at once. I am an elected official.”

“Not anymore, you’re not. I’ve learned a lot about you and the Meatball Dynasty and I haven’t liked what I’ve heard.”

“Oh yeah, well I’ve got to tell you, I’m completely on the level. I am not a crook!”

Misery perched herself on Meatball’s restrained knee, dusting it with gold sparkles. She faced the Councillor, and with a voice as sweet as raspberry pie, she began to laugh.

“I was there, Meatball Jr.” she waggled her finger at him, “I’ve watched generations of your family benefit from the actions of Michelangelo Meatball.”

Meatball gaped.

“I know all about how your ancestor summoned the Wonky One, and what for? To keep this town in check.”

“I-I d-don’t k-know what y-you’re t-t-talking about!” Meatball struggled against his restraints.

“Your thieving great, great, great, great gramps even took my Kingdom’s Dagger Eyes,” Misery was furious, “and just like him, you want total control.”

“You can’t prove it!” Meatball cried.

“That’s it, I’ve heard enough! Kackel, we need some leverage,” Misery took flight, her outstretched finger pointing at the feather held by the Necromancer.

“Don’t you mean some feather-age?” Kackel sneered, swishing the feather across the soles of Meatball’s feet.

“HA HA HAHA, O-KAY! OKAY! HA HA HEE HEE, I’LL TALK!” Meatball called out amid violent fits of laughter.

“What’s that?” Kackel teased, continuing to tickle his tootsies.

“YES, YESSS, HOO HOO HO, I’LL TALK!!!” Upon this last cry, Lady Kackel withdrew the feather. Meatball slumped back in his seat, utterly defeated.

“It’s true,” Meatball sighed, “Michelangelo Meatball was a phony.”

“…go on,” Kackel urged, swishing the feather and causing Meatball to flinch.

“He set this whole thing up. He wanted to seize power. But I didn’t ask to be a part of it, I was just born into it!”

“But you were part of it, and your constituents who put their trust in you are endangered because of you!” Kackel thrust the feather viciously from ankle to ankle.

“YESSS, HOO HOO HO, but it was all, HOO HO, going to be safe!”

Kackel ceased tickling, allowing him to continue, “if we upheld the schedule as planned, the spaghetti would have been eaten and the Jabberwonky would have already left.”

Kackel again raised the feather.

“There would be no sacrifice!” Meatball yelled, squirming at the threat.

“You could have called off the beast at any point,” Kackel shook before him the scroll she had retrieved from Meatball’s robes, “so why didn’t you?”

“That, that KNIGHT!” Meatball cried with anger, “that Knight ruined everything, corrupting the bowl with their awful scent - fish doesn’t go with this dish!”

Meatball’s head shook as he continued, “taking the Dagger Eyes I needed to get close enough for the incantation.”

“Tim came here to save us!” Kackel replied, softening at the mention of her crush.

“I don’t need the feather to laugh at that!” Meatball went on, “I had heard from our scouts that Tim was coming and I know why they are here.”

“And why is that?” Misery asked.

“They know about the secret… I mean… nothing.” Meatball pursed his lips and fixed his gaze on the ceiling.

“What secret?” Kackel leaned in, menacing him with the feather she brandished.

“Okay, okay, don’t come near me with that thing again. The Great Spaghetti Bowl was built for another reason. Not just to appease the beast, that was just a cover,” Meatball paused, fighting every impulse in his head telling him not to continue. “The truth is… it hides the secret entrance to the lost Catacombs.”

Misery and Kackel both gasped.

“The Catacombs? The fabled labyrinth of countless caves?” Misery cried before covering her tiny mouth.

“The cave walls, glistening with precious jewels? The legendary glowing jellyfish that float through the air?” Kackel continued, eyes glazing over.

“The very same.” Meatball caved.

“But why?” Misery asked.

“To hide our family fortune from the likes of scavengers, robbers and thieves!”

“Like Tim?” Kackel huffed, offended.

Meatball continued, “there are items that have been in our family for time immemorial. Legendary items.”

“Such as?” Misery enquired.

“I know that this is why Tim Cognito is here. Not for any altruistic reason but for selfish gain!”

“Did you hear me?” asked Misery, “what legendary items?”

“I don’t know,” he attempted to shrug, however he remained restrained, “the challenge of creating the most delicious pasta menu to outdo the ones that came before it became all-consuming. I never actually checked.”

“You what?” Misery was in disbelief.

“That’s right. No member of the Meatball family has been down there in generations,” Meatball insisted.

Kackel, who refused to believe Meatball was ignorant of the treasures nor his assertion that Tim could be anything but a hero, resumed tickling Meatball.


“He isn’t cracking on this one,” Misery urged Kackel to stop, seeing she was pushing him over the edge.

Despite being unsatisfied he was telling the truth, Kackel ceased the tickling.

As he regained his breath, Meatball added, “maybe you should ask the Knight. Perhaps they know more than they are letting on.”


Eek! We all put our faith in that good ol’ Tim Cognito, could they just be some big treasure raiding plunderer? Where are Lady Kackel’s affections going to fall? What scary happenings are bound to occur deep in the catacombs? Surely, they’ll lead to more MISADVENTURES!

Leave us a comment here and tell us what other dastardly things might exist down there!

Thanks to the likes of person - literally, that’s their name on here - who suggested the Catacombs as a location way back in February.

Remember you too can be like person and pitch new areas, creatures, characters, and items/spells in the existing threads and see them get added to the Lore of the Land encyclopedia.

Voting closes a week from posting and the next chapter will follow about a week after that… if we can get our act together, ya know?

Cartoon Catastrophes

Had some animation problems in the last few days - which might be why it looks a bit funny in places but that’s all part of the misadventure, right?

Chosen Choices

Anyway this week we’re making good on the distraction of gelatify-ing the hole, the start of Gorkorn’s descent into Beating, Slaying and Trudging and some tickling torture from the ladies of magic. All of these choices have been yours. So keep on voting!

Perilous Polls

This week we’re using Substack’s new built in polling system, a feature we feel was almost made for us. There’s a slight problem though, part of the fun of writing the polls is you essentially get a bunch of jokes in one with only one of them having to be committed to the story proper. There’s a devastatingly short character limit to the polls though so when I wanted to write a joke about the Cupid’s Scarecrow, the mythical scarecrow that causes nearby birds to fall in love, I wanted to write:

Cupid’s Scarecrow, love is literally in the air.

but instead had to settle for:

Cupids Scarecrow, love is in da air.

I really just want people to know that we’re funnier and better at grammar than this would imply. Anyway, I’ve asked Substack if they’ll extend the limit and hopefully they will because this makes things much easier. They will even automatically close after a week.

Shameless Plugs

What’s that? You wouldn’t mind sparing two minutes to read the latest edition of ‘Places I’ve Never Lived’ - you’re too kind!

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