Old Sam & The Petrified Water Creatures

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Old Sam & The Petrified Water Creatures

Inktober 2022 Gargoyle / Waterspuwer

Last year, Old Sam’s Inktober adventure began in the forest where Old Sam’s tree stands. The tree that grew out of its tail in Old Sam’s first Inktober adventure. There they meet Vera Flamingo Peacock and set out together to find the Magic Crystal Wheel that has been stolen by a raven in a suit. Without the Magic Crystal Wheel, the world is lost.

Along the way, they gather old and new friends around them. Jack Squirrel, the little dragon, the Sweet Witch and Odette Oehoe and Amalia Squirrel Earhart. They travel through Riverland, and Inbetween Land to Ravenland and experience all strange and dangerous things along the way.

Arriving in Ravenland, it turns out to be a preconceived plan to get Old Sam there. A very special tapestry shows that Old Sam can send back the Time Snakes and thus prevent the world from disappearing. Old Sam does indeed manage to defeat  the Time Snakes and together with his friends they close the time leak. The adventure ends with a big party in the castle of Raven Raven.

After the party, the Sweet Witch wants to return to her home and shop together with the Little Dragon. Brother Raven offers help by traveling with the help of the Magic Compass. He still feels a little guilty for making such a mess of her house. Amelia Earhart Squirrel, Jack Squirrel and Odette Oehoe want to return to the twin tree in Riverland. Odette Oehoe lives nearby and the Sweet Witch has now given them a special potion to free Jack Squirrel’s bathtub from the wild vine.

Old Sam would like to return to his forest with Josephine via the Southern route. Direct is not possible. They cannot travel on foot through Inbetween Land. There live strange spirits who would like to keep travelers with them forever. Only with a Magic Compass or Earhart insignia can you travel through Inbetween Land unseen. Old Sam is done with traveling that way. He still gets dizzy when he thinks about it.

‘A cat is not made to travel by water or by air,’ he hums, ‘let’s go back on foot.’

Josephine completely agrees. She loves to travel and she loves to travel in Old Sam’s cat way.

‘Maybe we’ll come across a few more places where you’ve had adventures’, says Josephine.

‘That could just be the case’, says Old Sam, ‘but let’s stick to old adventures this time.’

Everyone laughs and waves the two of them off. There they go. Along paths and through forests, along mountains and along water. Old Sam and Josephine are already traveling many moons when they come to the edge of a forest at the beginning of an evening. A forest with very tall trees.  They have never seen trees so high.  The last sunlight shines through the trees and dances on the ground. Their eyes have to get used to it. In front of them is a mountain. A very large mountain.

Old Sam and Josephine look up. The mountain is huge. It seems like a someone sitting on the floor with knees pulled up. Hands clenched on the knees. Head resting on the clenched hands. And on every shoulder of this mountain, there are two figures. Gargoyles.

“Hey,”  Old Sam exclaims, “I know them. What are they doing here? Why aren’t they in Het Wild Waterlands? And why don’t they move?’

Inktober 2022 Scrury / Trippelen

Old Sam and Josephine look up at the gargoyles. They are sitting motionless still on the shoulders of the mountain.

Josephine looks at Old Sam. ‘Where do you know the gargoyles from? Tell us a little bit more.’

Old Sam sits down and tells Josephine what he knows. “They are related to the dragons but instead of fire they spit water. They live in Het Wild Waterlands, on an island in the middle of a lake. They make sure that the world always has enough water.’

‘How special,’ says Josephine, ‘I wonder what they’re doing here.’

‘Yes’, says Old Sam, ‘I wonder that too. In the adventure with the Mother Tree, they helped us spread fairy dust around the world in order to bring back life in our forests. After that, they went back to Het Wild Waterlands.’

Old Sam and Josephine look up again. It’s a big mystery.

‘Why are they sitting so still?’, Josephine asks.

“I have no idea,” says Old Sam, “I’m going to look.”

Old Sam jumps on a rock at the foot of the mountain. And on the next one. Josephine watches with bated breath at the bottom of the mountain. A cat always ends up on its paws when he falls, but this is a very high mountain. She breathes a sigh of relief when Old Sam reaches the top. There she sees him turn around the motionless still gargoyles.

‘Can you see something?’, Josephine shouts upstairs.

“They look petrified,” Old Sam shouts down.

The sound of their voices echoes between the rocks. That seems to awaken something inside the mountain. Or someone. The silence of the mountain is broken by the sound of scurrying feet. Old Sam and Josephine stiffen with fright. Then, just like that, Old Sam is gone. It seems as if the mountain has swallowed him. Josephine lets out a cry of terror.

Then something moves in the corner of her eye. At the foot of the mountain, Josephine sees the most adorable mouse.  A ladies mouse with  a large ladle in one hand  and the other hand in a bag of a apron. A French apron with a Breton stripe. The mouse begins to rattle against Josephine in a foreign language.

‘Qui es-tu? Qui est en haute de la montagne?  On n’est pas en sécurité ici.’

‘Excuse me, who are you and what do you say?’, says Josephine and she looks at the mouse with big eyes. She doesn’t understand anything of it.

Ah excuses moi”, says the mouse, “I forgot that not everyone talks Français. My name is Madeleine Mouse. Madame Madeleine.  Who has climbed up the mountain?  It’s not safe there…’

Inktober 2022 Bat / Vleermuis

Josephine looks at the ladies mouse with open mouth. At the same time, the fear strikes her around the heart.  Where is Old Sam and why isn’t it safe on the mountain?

All these questions haunt her mind at the same time. She just doesn’t know which one to ask first. The ladies mouse looks at her and sees that Josephine can no longer get out of her words.

‘Ah mon petite amie, sit down for a moment, and I’ll pour you a cup of tea,’ she says.

Josephine sits down as Madame Madeleine conjures up a cup of tea from her apron. She doesn’t understand it anymore.

‘I have so many questions,’ she says.

‘I know’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘me too. Who just climbed up the mountain and who are you? ‘

‘I’m Josephine’, says the black ladies cat, ‘I’m here with Old Sam. We have just had a whole adventure with time snakes. We are on our way from Ravenland back to the forest of Old Sam.’

‘Ah, Old Sam, c’est mon ami’,  Madame Madeleine exclaims with a happy face, ‘of course he ends up in an adventure with Time Snakes. When I find them in my kitchen of my castle, I always hit them upside down with my ladle. This is how we do it in the Land of Lost Time. Time is far too precious to just lose.’

Josephine looks at the funny apparition. ‘Ah,’ she says, ‘you’re Madame Madeleine. You helped Old Sam save Elly from the hands of the Misty Creatures. How did you end up here?’

‘I received a visitor that told me that my help is needed here.’

‘Help with what?’ asks Josephine.

‘In bringing back lost time,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘so we can stop what happened here. ‘

‘That’s not possible ‘, Josephine exclaims, ‘you can’t bring back lost time’.

‘Yes, you can.’ says Madame Madeleine, ’the only thing I need is very special blossom tea and my world-famous Madeleine cookies. And I’m going to prepare it in just a minute, right there in that cave.’

Madame Madeleine points her ladle at the mountain. Josephine looks and sees, half hidden from view by the rocks that look like feet, an entrance. It’s dark. As dark as it  can often be in mountains and caves. Then Josephine sees something. Or rather.. somebody. Two eyes stare out. They do seem to give light.

‘What is that’?, Josephine stammers and grabs Madame Madeleine by her ladle. The form takes a step forward and then sits down again.  As if he wants to show that he has no evil in mind.  Cautiously, Josephine and Madame Madeleine shuffle forward a few steps and look again.

It’s a cat. A black cat. And again, no. It is also a bat. It’s Old Sam. With the wings of a bat. What happened to Old Sam there in that mountain?

Inktober 2022: Scallop / schulprand

‘Hello ladies’, says Old Sam.

‘Old Sam,’ Madame Madeleine shouts, and she rushes to him. She wants to hug him but Old Sam quickly takes a step back.

‘Careful, dear friend’, says Old Sam, ‘I’m also happy to see you again, but I have a special passenger with me.’

‘Yes sorry’, a voice squeaks on Old Sam’s back, ‘I can’t let him go, I don’t know why.’

‘Let’s go inside,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘that way we can’t be seen either.’

She looks at the bat on Old Sam’s back and says, ‘Then you too can explain what happened and why you enlisted my help.’

Madeleine Mouse, Josephine and Old Sam walk through a narrow corridor further into the cave. That corridor flows into a large open space. With a very high tree in the middle. Josephine looks around with her eyes wide open. She did not expect this. In some places, small rays of light fall in. They ensure that the dark is not completely dark and that they can see all this. In the many branches of the tree hang bats, countless bats. Their wings wrapped around their bodies and heads.

‘They don’t move’, says Josephine.

‘That’s right’, says Old Sam, ’they are petrified just like the gargoyles.’

‘That’s why I’m here,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘to bring back lost time.’

‘Oh yes’, says Josephine, ‘you already said something like that. Something with blossom tea and tasty cookies.’

‘That’s right’, says Madame Madeleine, ’that’s why I brought some things from the kitchen of my castle.’

She points with her ladle to a corner of the cave. There is her stove, such an old-fashioned one that is fired on wood. Next to the stove a cupboard, also such an old-fashioned one. A French cabinet with wooden doors and in it a frame of glass. Behind that glass, the shelves in the cabinet are visible. On the edge of the boards of those sides cream colored scalloped edges. And on the shelves themselves are jars and pans, glasses and bottles, herbs and spices, coffee beans and tea leaves.

‘Can we find the blossom leaves in there to make the tea?’, Josephine asks.

‘Yes,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘I was just about to grab the jar when I heard you shouting outside. Let me do that now, then the tea can be made while our new friend on the back of Old Sam tells us what is going on.’

Madame Madeleine pulls open the cupboard, wants to grab the jar of the blossom tea but after some rumbling sounds lets out cry of fright. ‘Oh no’, she shouts, ‘I can’t find the jar anymore. Now I can’t make blossom tea.’

Inktober 2022 Flame / Vuur

‘Can you still bake cookies?’, a voice squeaks on Old Sam’s back.

Madame Madeleine turns around smiling. ‘Yes, I can’, she says, ‘in the meantime you can tell Old Sam and Josephine what happened?  Then we will look for the jar with tea leaves. ‘

‘Maybe you can start by telling us your name?’, says Josephine.

‘My name is Victoria Bat,’ says the figure on Old Sam’s back, ‘I am the queen of this lot.’

The wings on the back of Old Sam flutter upwards, pointing to the many branches in the tree where the bats hang upside down. Old Sam and Josephine look up with big eyes. The tree is really huge and there are countless bats in the branches. They are all petrified, just like the gargoyles.

‘How come they are petrified?’, Josephine asks.

‘I’ll tell you,’ says Victoria Bat. ‘I am queen of a special kind of bats. We are water bats. We are here on the edge of The Forest of Forests, the oldest primeval forest in this world. A beautiful forest with trees that reach as high as the sky, all wearing a crown and being as old as this world is old. It is beautiful with her sheltered clearings and many small lakes. We prefer to fly right over the water or through the tree crowns.’

‘Wow’, says Josephine, ’that sounds great.’

‘It certainly sounds like that, young lady’, says Old Sam, ‘but that doesn’t explain where you’re sitting on my back and don’t want to let go. It’s kind of difficult to only hear you talking in my ear and not seeing you.’

‘I understand,’ says Victoria Bat, ‘but this isn’t my choice either. I also prefer to just sit here as myself waiting for Madame Madeleine’s cookies to be ready.’

Immediately the eyes of the three go in the direction of Madame Madeleine. She’s scurrying around her stove and French cupboard. Meanwhile, she is talking to herself and throwing anything and everything in a large bowl for the cookie dough. She stirs everything together with her ladle. Then she pours the dough into cute shapes that look like a shell. Then her eye falls on the threesome watching her.

‘Ah, what are you looking at, she exclaims, ‘rather light the oven with one of my eternally burning matches, otherwise we still won’t have cookies.’

Josephine jumps up and grabs the box. She takes out one of the matches and strokes it along the side of the box. A flame rises. She puts on the lid of the oven and lets out a cry of fright. The whole oven is filled with green light. And the green light moves..  in the direction of Josephine.. outside..

Inktober 2022 Bouqet / Boeket

Josephine recoils and holds her breath in terror.

‘What’s up?’, Old Sam shouts, ‘what do you see?’

Green lights’, says Josephine, ‘moving green lights.’

‘Ah, sometimes it seems like my oven is a door to another world’, says Madame Madeleine.

She hits the stove with her ladle and shouts: ‘Get out of my oven, now!’

In an instant the green light flies out of the oven, hangs silently in the air for a moment and then starts dancing through the cave. They fall apart and come together again. It is a beautiful spectacle. Then Madame Madeleine claps her hands and the dancing green light settles on top of the French cabinet. Old Sam and Josephine look at Madame Madeleine with big eyes.

‘What was that?’, Old Sam exclaims.

‘That was the dance of the fireflies, Old Sam’, says Madame Madeleine.

‘Fireflies’, says Josephine with a big question mark in her voice, ‘I’ve never heard of that.’

‘Fireflies are bringers of light and happiness. No one knows where  they come from.  The story goes that they live in a completely different world.

‘Well,’ squeaks Victoria Bat’s voice on Old Sam’s back, ‘we could use some luck.’

‘Well,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘we could  use a little more than a little luck. We could use a lot of luck. But enough fiddling now, light the oven, then I can finally bake my famous cookies. Then you can tell us what happened and why you  need my help.’

So said, so done, the oven is lit and when it is warm enough, Madame Madeleine slides a baking tin full of cookie dough into the oven. A bouquet of scents slowly spreads throughout the cave.

‘Mm’, says Josephine, ’that smells really good.’

‘Yes’, says Old Sam, ‘I can remember that they also taste very good. It’s been so long since I’ve tasted them that I almost don’t know anymore.’

‘I’m also very curious’, says Victoria Bat from the back of Old Sam.

‘In the meantime, tell us more’, says Josephine, ‘I’m so curious what happened here and why you need  Madame Madeleine’s help. ‘

‘I will’, says Victoria Bat,  ‘but we can also use your help too.  We can use all the help there is to save this world, this universe.  I hope it’s not too late.’

Inktober 2022 Trip / Reis

Old Sam and Josephine look at Victoria Bat. They are now very curious about what happened and why the world needs to be saved.

‘What’s going on?’ asks Old Sam.

‘An evil wizard has petrified my people,’ says Victoria Bat.  ‘And not only my people but also the gargoyles. Now the world is no longer getting water.  And when the water runs out, this world can no longer exist. Then  everything in this world are lost. ‘

‘Jeez’, says Josephine, ‘what a story.’

‘You can say that much’, says Old Sam, ’tell us what happened?’

‘We had already heard rumors that the evil wizard was looking for us,’ says Victoria Bat, ‘so I went on a trip . To the Wild Waterlands to ask for help from the gargoyles.’

‘Are these the same gargoyles that are sitting on top of the mountain?’ asks Josephine.

‘Yes’, says Victoria Bat, ’those two came with me, to the primeval forest where we water bats have lived for centuries. The rest remained in the Wild Waterlands. We thought we could defeat the evil wizard.’

‘How did you want to defeat the evil wizard?’ asks Old Sam.

‘The gargoyles have magic wands. They are beautiful. If you stamp them on the ground three times, you disappear into thin air with a big flash. So we hoped to make the evil wizard disappear.  To the Land of Lost Time, to the part where the Misty Creatures live.  But it went completely wrong.’

Victoria Bat’s voice sounds sad.

‘What went wrong?’, asks Old Sam.

‘The evil sorcerer came in the middle of the day, when I and my people were asleep. The gargoyles kept watch with their wand. But they couldn’t see the evil wizard. It was wearing a camouflage cloak. He only became visible when he stood in the clearing where our tree stands and cast his spell. Then it was too late. The gargoyles stiffened completely and slowly turned to stone.’

‘Ai’, says Josephine, ‘that doesn’t sound like a nice process.’

‘No,’ says Victoria Bat, ‘it wasn’t. They shouted with all their might that we had to wake up to help them. But I was the only one who woke up. The rest of my people were already petrifying.’

‘How is it possible that you weren’t petrifying yet?’, asks Old Sam.

‘I don’t know,’ says Victoria Bat.

Inktober 2022 Match / lucifer

‘I know why you didn’t petrify,’ says Madame Madeleine.

‘Oh’, says Victoria Bat, ’tell me, I’m really curious, I’ve been wondering that all along.’

‘You have royal blood’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘it takes longer before an evil spell gets hold of you.’

‘My royal blood then explains why I was given just a little more time. When I saw what was going on, I very quickly flew to the gargoyles to grab their wand. I thought that if I could stamp it three times on the ground, I could still make the evil wizard disappear. But that went completely wrong.’

‘What went wrong?’, Josephine shouts, ’tell, tell.’

Victoria Bat continues her story. ‘The wand was too heavy for me. I couldn’t stamp on it very well. I didn’t let the evil wizard disappear, but myself. To the planet where Madame Madeleine’s castle stands.  To The Land of Lost Time.  I ended  up near Madame Madeleine’s kitchen. She found me and I told her my story. She immediately packed her things to travel back to our world  with me. ‘

‘Yes,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘I really wanted to help save this world. Because without this world, my planet cannot continue to exist either.’

Old Sam and Josephine tumble from one surprise to another. What an adventure Victoria Bat and Madame Madeleine have already experienced. What else awaits them.

‘When we came here, we found this,’ says Madame Madeleine as she swings her ladle around.

By this, Madame Madeleine means the cave in which they are now located. The cave with the primeval tree in which the bat population hangs petrified. The cave that is located in the mountain. The mountain that looks like a seated form with raised knees on which a head rests.  With a gargoyle on each shoulder.

‘I was just about to start making cookies and blossom tea to wake everyone up when we heard you outside,’ says Madame Madeleine.

Victoria Bat nods.

‘Oh’, she says, ‘now I know where I left the jar with the blossom leaves. On the cabinet. I wanted to have my wings free to fly up and then suddenly you crawled in. I grabbed you and now I can’t let go anywhere.’

‘It’s great you saved me’, says Old Sam, ‘but I would really appreciate it if you could let me go. How do we accomplish that?’

‘Mais qui’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘I think my blossom tea and biscuits can help with that too. Can you fly up with Victoria Bat and grab the tea leaves? ‘

Suddenly everything shakes to its foundations. The door of the oven flips open and a gust of wind blows through the cave. The fire in the stove goes out, the eternally burning match goes out and the fireflies on top of the cupboard stop giving the green light.  Our friends are holding their breath. What’s going to happen next..

Inktober 2022 Nest

The gust of wind dances through the cave and moves everything it encounters in its path.  The doors of the cabinet flap and the jar with blossom leaves falls down on the floor, in a thousand pieces. The gust of wind picks up the blossom leaves, turns around and shoots back into the oven.  The door closes again.

‘What was that?’,  Josephine exclaims in horror.

‘I really have no idea,’ says Madame Madeleine.

Old Sam walks up to the oven, pulls open the door and looks. The blossom leaves are gone. The Madeleine cookies are still on the grid but not all of them are there anymore.

‘That’s very strange’, says Oude Sam, ‘let’s investigate. Those leaves and cookies can’t just be gone.’

Josephine nods and together the two black cats sneak through the dark cave. Old Sam with Victoria Bat still on his back. Madame Madeleine can’t see in the dark like a cat, so she stays put.  She knows that Old Sam is used to  all the adventures, but she finds it exciting. None of them have ever experienced anything like this. There is nothing to discover in the cave.

‘Let’s look outside’, says Old Sam.

‘Only when it’s dark’, says Victoria Bat, ‘I can’t stand light very well.’

‘I know that’, says Old Sam.

‘I’m going to see if it’s already dark’, says Josephine and she walks to the tunnel through which they have come in.

‘Be careful’, says Madeleine Mouse.

‘I’m always careful’, says Josephine.

She carefully sneaks through the tunnel until she reaches the opening. She sits very still for a few minutes and takes the surroundings. Then she runs back in.

‘It’s still dusk,’ she says, ‘but I don’t see anything or anyone outside so I suggest I explore the mountain further.’

‘I think that’s a good plan’, says Old Sam, ‘but be careful. Strange things are happening here.’

Josephine trips out again and explores the ground around the mountain. There is nothing special to discover there so she climbs and clambers, circling all around, up the mountain. When she arrives at the shoulders of the mountain,  she takes a good look at the gargoyles.  She understands why they are also called water dragons with their large wings.

Then she continues her way to the top of the mountain. There she sees something. A big thing. A structure. From sticks and branches.  What is it?  Carefully she peers over the edge.  Frightened, she holds her breath. She sees eggs. Very large eggs. She has found a nest.  Then she hears something rustling…

Inktober 2022 Crabby / prikkelbaar

‘Hey, what’s are your doing there, ‘ a voice shouts, ‘stay away from those eggs.’

Josephine is so startled that she almost falls off the mountain. Who shouts there and where does the rustling come from. She can’t see anything at all.

‘Who’s there?’, she shouts, still a little bit shocked.

‘Me!’, the voice shouts.

‘Who is I?’, Josephine shouts back.

‘I’m not you,’ the voice shouts.

Somewhat annoyed, Josephine looks around.

‘Yes, I understand that I’m not you,’ she says, ‘can we stop these word games?’

‘Well, well’, it sounds amused, ‘you don’t really have a sense of humor. ‘

Josephine looks around. Where does that voice come from? It’s a big mystery.

‘Are you going to show yourself or what?’, Josephine shouts very boldly.

‘Oh, I can come out, but beware. I’m a bit crabby. ‘

After those words, there is a lot of rustling in one of the treetops.  Someone flips out an umbrella, such a red one, and sticks it up, right through the canopy.  Josephine sees someone taking a jump and floating towards her on the red umbrella.  Someone with a round body and pointed snout.  Back and head completely covered with sharp spines.  Belly covered with small hairs and a very sweet face. The cute apparition lands on the edge of the nest and closes her umbrella.

‘So,’ she says, ‘there I am. What are you doing here?’

‘I’m on my way to The Forest of Old Sam’, says Josephine, ‘but I believe we have ended up in an adventure again.’

‘Old Sam’s forest?’ , says the cute appearance in a questioning tone, ‘are you here with Old Sam himself? ‘

‘Yes’, says Josephine, ‘do you know him? ‘

‘Yes,’ says the cute apparition, ‘I once helped to get his tail back on his body. Together with the Ninja nurse.’

Josephine looks at the cute apparition. Another acquaintance of Old Sam. That can hardly be a coincidence.  What is this lady doing here in this forest, on top of this mountain with this nest? Then suddenly the clapping of wings sounds. Very large wings. Something big buzzes over Josephine’s head and lets out a terrifying cry..

Inktober 2022 Forget / Vergeten

The terrifying appearance with the large wings circles above the nest and shrieks. It sounds terrifying.

The cute apparition jumps up and down and waves her umbrella at the big bird.

‘No danger, no danger,’ she shouts, ‘good people, you can come down.’

‘Come down?’ Josephine squeals anxiously as she looks at the large bird flying to the edge of the nest.

Josephine has never seen such a large bird and certainly no bird that looks like this.  A large body covered with black and white plumage, strong legs wrapped with big claws and a striking head met wild hair, orange beak and big eyes. Worried eyes.

The bird lands on the edge of the nest and looks at Josephine.

‘Who is that?’ the bird asks the cute apparition, ‘what is she doing here?’

‘That’s Josephine’, is the answer, ‘she’s here with Old Sam, I’ve told you about that, you know, the black cat that is capable of doing special things.’

‘Ah,’ says the bird, ‘Old Sam. Did he come here  to help us?’

Josephine takes turns looking at the cute apparition and the big bird. It shouldn’t get any crazier.

‘Who are you?’ she exclaims, ‘and what are you doing here?’

‘Oh yes,’ says the cute apparition, ‘I haven’t introduced myself at all. My name is Emilia Hedgehog. I’m here to help with the birth of these babies.’

Emilia Hedgehog points to the eggs in the nest. Josephine has never heard of that. A bird incubates its own eggs. A thousand questions shoot through her head.  Why can’t this bird do that?  How does this nest get on this new mountain?  And who caused the gust of wind that just extinguished all the fire in the cave? Were those the wings of the bird. Or is there something else going on?

The bird looks at Josephine and sees those thousand questions shoot past her eyes.  She nods kindly and sits down on top of the eggs to keep them nice and warm.

Josephine decides to start with an easy question.

‘Who are you and what are you doing here on this mountain?’

‘I’m Alberta Eagle and I was looking for a place for my nest’, is the answer, ‘a place where Emilia can easily help me with the birth of the babies. ‘

‘Why do you have to help with the birth of these babies’, Josephine asks Emilia Egel.

‘Because these  are very important babies, the last of their kind,’ her answer is, ‘if they don’t  survive this adventure, then all life in this world is doomed to be lost.’

Inktober 2022 Forget / Vergeten

Josephine looks at Alberta Eagle and Emilia Hedgehog. What a couple. What a story.  A nest on top of the mountain that an evil wizard has conjured up, around the primeval tree of the water bats. What does all this have to do with each other.  And where did the mysterious gust of wind come from that extinguished all the fire in the cave and took the tea leaves and cookies with them. She still doesn’t know.

What she does know is that Old Sam and Madame Madeleine will be worried by now. She went to investigate all by herself and has been gone for a while.

What she also knows is that these two do not pose a danger. In fact, they play an important role in this adventure. The only question is what role.  She jumps up. Old Sam probably knows what to do.

‘May I invite you to come with me to Old Sam?’, Josephine  says to Alberta Eagle and Emilia Hedgehog.

‘It depends on where Old Sam is,’ says Alberta Eagle, ‘I can’t leave my eggs here.’

‘Oh’, says Josephine, ‘you’re close to Old Sam though. To be precise.. he is here, inside this mountain.’

‘Not,’ says Emilia Hedgeheg with disbelief in her voice.

Yes, says Josephine, ’together with Madame Madeleine and Victoria Bat.’

‘Madame Madeleine’, says Alberta Adelaar, ‘I’ve heard of that too. From a cousin of mine. Together with his daughter, he once visited her in The Land of Lost Time. She seems to bake the most delicious Madeleine cookies.’

Josephine chuckles.

‘Well,’ she says, ‘then I have good news for you. Madame Madeleine is busy baking her famous cookies and I assume they will be ready in no time.’

‘Enough talking,’ Alberta Eagle shouts, ‘on to the cookies. Just jump on my back, the two of you, and I’ll fly us down.’

So said, so done. Alberta Eagle spreads her wings and lowers her tail so Emilia Hedgehog and Josephine can clamber on her big back.

‘If you go first, Emilia Hedgehog says to Josephine, ’then I won’t hurt yourself with my spines.’

Josephine thinks that’s a good plan. She wraps her arms around Alberta Eagle’s neck and Emilia Hedgehog does the same to her.

‘Au’, she shouts when one of Emilia Hedgehog’s spines stings her.

‘Sorry’, says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘it just hurts for a moment. Let’s go.’

Alberta Eagle spreads its wings and circles down the mountain. The nest of eggs is left behind, forgotten..

Inktober 2022 Kind / Aardig

Our group of new friends arrive at the foot of the mountain in no time.

‘I hope you fit through the entrance’, says Josephine.

‘I hope so too’, says Alberta Eagle, ‘I’m really looking forward to tasting those cookies.’

‘Let me lead the way’, says Josephine, ‘otherwise they will be so startled when strangers suddenly enter the cave.’

‘Yes’, says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘you go first. I’ll go last. Then I can always prick Alberta Eagle with one of my spines if she doesn’t go fast enough. We can’t keep the cookies waiting any longer.’

The three of them burst out in laughter. There they go. Josephine in front. Then Alberta Eagle, who indeed has to bend down because she hardly fits  through the entrance. Emilia Hedgehog closes the row.

‘Yuhu’, Josephine shouts to announce their arrival.

‘Josephine’, Old Sam shouts, ‘you’re back. I’m so relieved I was already starting to get worried, you stayed away for so long.’

The two cats affectionately give each other cups. The wings of Victoria Bat on the back of Old Sam flutter around enthusiastically.  Madame Madeleine is enthusiastically waving her ladle.

‘It looks like you’ve made new friends,’ she says, pointing to the newcomers.

‘That’s right,’ says Josephine, ‘new friends who have already heard of your cookies.’

‘Ah’, says Madame Madeleine, ’then you are right on time. The oven is working again and they are ready. ‘

Madame Madeleine places the cookie jar and a large pot of  tea on a picnic blanket on the floor of the cave.

‘So,’ she says, ‘sit down, eat and drink.  Then it’s time to talk about all the strange things that are happening here.’

Everybody sits down and waits patiently for Madame Madeleine to pour the tea.

‘May I?’ asks Alberta Eagle as one of her wings hovers over the cookie jar.

‘Go ahead,’ says Madame Madeleine.

Alberta Eagle grabs a cookie, takes a bite and lets out a blissful sigh.

‘These are really the most delicious cookies I’ve ever tasted,’ she says.

‘Oh dear, that’s very nice of you,’ says Madame Madeleine with a blush of pleasure on her cheeks.

Suddenly Alberta Eagle shouts it out and grabs her throat.  Everyone looks on in shock.  It looks like she can’t breathe anymore.

‘Uhhhh’, do something’, Josephine exclaims, ‘do something, before she suffocates…’

Inktober 2022 Empty / Leeg

Emilia Hedgehog jumps to her feet and runs towards Alberta Eagle.  Along the way she pulls one of her spines out of her coat. With a kamikaze scream she pricks Alberta Eagle in her tail. Alberta jumps to her feet and lets out a cry of fear and pain. That helps because the cookie shoots out of her throat.

‘Oh dear,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘did you choke?’

‘Yes,’ says Alberta Eagle, ‘because I just realized that we left my nest of eggs alone. ‘

‘Uh,’ says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘that’s not smart at all in this precarious situation. We have to go back. Now.’

The two run out of the cave, leaving the rest of the party in shock.

‘Come on’, says Old Sam, ‘we’ll go after them. I want to know what’s going on here and why those eggs are so important.’

‘Only when it’s already dark, though’, squeaks Victoria Bat, who is still stuck on Old Sam’s back.

‘Don’t worry’, says Josephine, ‘I think it’s evening enough by now.’

The rest of the party also rushes to the exit of the cave. Madame Madeleine, Josephine, Old Sam, Victoria Bat rush to the exit of the cave. The fireflies dance through the air and follow them. It is indeed dark enough for a bat to be outside.

High above our illustrious company, they suddenly hear a huge scream. Followed by uncontrollable wailing and crying. What’s going on?

‘We have to go up as quickly as possible’, says Old Sam.

‘That can be arranged’, says Victoria Bat and she spreads her wings. Josephine lets out a cry of terror. Old Sam has suddenly become a flying cat. Well, bat cat might be a better word. They circle up. The fireflies follow.

‘Sorry’, squeaks Victoria Bat, ‘I can only take Old Sam with me, otherwise it will be too heavy for me.’

Josephine and Madeleine Mouse look at each other.

‘Just jump on my back’, says Josephine, ’then we will also go upstairs together’.

With Madame Madeleine on her back, Josephine climbs and clambers up the mountain for the second time that evening.

Old Sam is already on the top, at the nest of Alberta Eagle.  Who sits there sobbing uncontrollably.

‘What’s going on?’ asks Old Sam.

Alberta Eagle cries so hard that she can’t say a word. Instead, she points her wings at her nest. Old Sam jumps on the edge and looks around. He sees nothing except sticks and branches.  The nest is empty. Where have the eggs of Alberta Eagle gone..

Inktober 2022 Armadillo / Gordeldier

‘What happened here?’, asks Josephine, who just arrived at the nest, together with Madame Madeleine. She jumps off her back and straightens her apron.

‘Alberta Eagle’s eggs are gone,’ says Old Sam.

‘Oh no,’ Josephine and Madame Madeleine exclaim in unison and hurry to the big bird to comfort her together with Emilia Hedgehog.  Old Sam looks on pensively, still with Victoria Bat on his back.

‘Who could have stolen your eggs?’ , asks Old Sam.

‘I have no idea,’ says Alberta Eagle, ‘but that person has put the life of this world at risk.’

‘Tell me more about that,’ says Victoria Bat, ‘my people are petrified, and without us, this world is also in danger. Maybe there’s a connection.’

‘There are waterflies in my eggs. Together with your water bats and gargoyles, they ensure that there is always enough water everywhere in this world. Without all of you  this world is drying up and there is no life possible anymore.’

Everyone holds their breath.

‘That’s quite something,’ says Old Sam, ‘why would anyone want that.’

‘We have to stop them,’ says Victoria Bat.

The whole company nods. Everyone agrees on that. But how, that’s another story.  They sit here on top of a sitting mountain with petrified gargoyles on his shoulders.  In the interior of the mountain the primeval tree containing countless petrified water bats.  On the mountain an empty nest from which eggs with waterflies have been stolen.  That’s quite a few problems to solve.  Not to mention all the inexplicable things that have happened.  Victoria Bat stuck on the back of Old Sam, the weird gust of wind, the disappeared blossom leaves and madeleine biscuits, too much to mention.  Old Sam sits down with a sigh.

‘Come,’ he says, ‘let’s consult.’

Our friends sit in a circle on the floor.  Everyone talks right through each other. It’s a cackle of the highest order. No one can understand each other. Madame Madeleine is fed up with it and hits the floor with her ladle.

‘Silence, sil-vous-plait’, she says .

‘Hey, what does that have to be’, it sounds  somewhat vicious at the same time.

Everyone looks at each other in shock. What was that? Then the ground begins to move in the middle. An animal emerges. An animal that has dug itself in. He shakes the sand off his back. It is the most special animal ever. It looks like he’s wearing a suit of armor.

‘Oh dear,’ squeaks Victoria Bat into Old Sam’s ear, ‘that’s an armadillo. They eat eggs..’

Inktober 2022 Fowl / Gevogelte

Alberta Eagle lets out a cry when she sees the armadillo. She spreads her mighty wings and flutters upwards. The huge gust of wind that accompanies it blows our friends around.

‘What did you do with my eggs?’ roars Alberta Eagle.

The armadillo is the only one left standing. His armor is so heavy, you don’t just blow him away.

‘I didn’t do anything with your eggs,’ says the armadillo somewhat sharp, ‘I don’t like eggs at all. I’m a vegetarian.’

Emilia Hedgehog blew into a tree and got stuck. Hanging upside down, she looks at the scene in front of her.

‘That has been solved then’, she says, ‘so you are not the egg thief. Can someone perhaps help me out of here before I have to go through life as an upside-down hedgehog.’

Alberta Eagle lands on the ground flapping and hops towards Emilia Hedgehog.

‘I will get you out of there, dear friend,’ she says.

‘Watch out for my spines’, says Emilia Hedgehog.

‘Let me do that, young lady,’ says the armadillo. My harness will protect me. The day that a prick of a hedgehog’s spine hurts me is yet to come.’

Everyone laughs, still a bit nervous after this scare.

‘Who are you?’ asks Old Sam, ‘and what are you doing here at this nest on this mountain?’

Meanwhile the armadillo continues to loosen Emilia Hedgehog’s spines from the tree.

‘My name is Armando Armadillo,’ he says, ‘I’m private investigator. I am conducting an extremely secret investigation into a missing person.  At your service.’

The latter says the striking appearance to Emilia Hedgehog who got unstuck and is back on the ground with her two feet.

‘Thank you, thank you,’ says Emilia Hedgehog as she knocks the dust and leaves out of her spine cloth.

‘What kind of missing person?’, Josephine asks.

‘I can’t say that’, says Armando Armadillo, ‘because otherwise it’s no longer an extremely secret research.’

‘Have you seen who stole Alberta Eagle eggs?’ asks Old Sam.

‘I can say something about that’, says Armando Armadillo, ‘and also not. Because I didn’t feel like revealing myself to a flying bathtub full of singing fowl.’

Inktober 2022 Salty / Geïrriteerd

‘A bathtub full of singing fowl..’, says Madame Madeleine with raised eyebrows.

‘A flying bathtub..’, says Josephine, ‘are you sure there wasn’t a squirrel in it?’

‘I’m very sure there wasn’t a squirrel in the flying bathtub,’ says Armando Armadillo.

Old Sam looks pensively in front of him.

‘What kind of bathtub was it?’ he asks.

‘It was just a bathtub,’ Armando Armadillo says, somewhat salty, ‘why all these questions anyway.’

‘Well’, says Old Sam, ‘I can explain that. A very good friend of ours, Jack Squirrel, has a bathtub that can fly. Or sail. A bathtub on duck legs. With a large stick in the middle with two propeller blades attached.’

‘It wasn’t a bathtub like that,’ says Armando Armadillo, ‘it was a bathtub with a sunflower shower head. There were waves painted on the side. And the bath tubs had ordinary legs.’

‘Mm’, says Old Sam, ’that sounds familiar to me. Were there two chickens in it?’

‘Two chickens’, says Josephine, ‘why would you say that?’

‘Well,’ says Old Sam, ‘I remember the sweet little dragon having to look for chicken bath water for the potion for my tail.  He told me about those chickens. Maybe it was their bathtub.’

Josephine turns to Armando Armadillo.

‘What kind of singing fowl was in the bathtub?’ she asks.

‘Singing was a big word,’ says Armando Armadillo, ‘cackling was a better word.’

‘That sounds like the chickens from my forest’, says Old Sam, ’they find themselves very chill and behave like that.’

“Well,” says Armando Armadillo, “I didn’t find anything chill about that cackling. This mountain didn’t think so either. I heard a crying sound and saw a black sphere from which a storm rose. Suddenly, with a big flash, the eggs were gone.’

Everyone looks at Armando Armadillo with big eyes. Another weird thing. Another thing that disappears. What’s going on anyway.

‘Where did the chickens go?’, asks Old Sam, ‘have they also disappeared?’

“No,” says Armando Armadillo, “they haven’t disappeared. Take a good look, high up there in that tree there.

Everyone looks in the direction Armando Armadillo points to. In the treetop they see a bathtub containing 2 chickens. Petrified. Our friends look at each other pensively. The mystery is getting bigger and bigger..

Inktober 2022 Scrape / Schrapen

‘Staying here doesn’t make sense either,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘let’s go back to the cave and see if we can find some more clues there.’

‘Good idea,’ says Old Sam, ‘come on, let’s go.’

The company descends the mountain.  Arriving in the cave , Alberta Eagle crashes on the floor.

‘So,’ she says, ‘just give me tea with cookies.’

‘There are few cookies to serve,’ says Armando Armadillo, pointing to the upside-down cookie jar.

He is right. There is no cookie left to be seen. The cookie jar is empty. Everyone looks at each other.

‘Who of you secretly emptied the cookie jar?’, Madame Madeleine asks sternly.

‘Not me’, it sounds.

‘I didn’t.’

‘Me neither.’

‘So no one did it,’ says Madame Madeleine as she waves her ladle around, ‘then someone else must have been inside.’

‘At your service, ma’am,’ says Armando Armadillo, ‘I will solve that mystery. ‘

Armed with a magnifying glass, he begins a thorough examination of the cave, mumbling and murmuring.  Old Sam decides not to wait for the outcome and waves his paw at Josephine to look around. In the end, everyone in the group decides to help. They can’t discover anything.  Then Emilia Hedgehog lets out a cry.

‘Come soon,’ she shouts, ‘I’ve found something.’

Everyone rushes towards Emilia Hedgehog who is standing in one of the farthest ends of the cave. The fireflies are with her and dance their beautiful green light around.

‘What’s going on with the fireflies?’, says Josephine.

‘I have no idea,’ says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘when I wanted to explore this part of the cave, they started dancing very wildly . I’ve never seen anything like it.’

‘I do’, says Madame Madeleine, ’that usually happens when they are very enthusiastic about something .’

Our friends take another good look. The light of the fireflies reflects on the walls of the cave. Then they see a door. A metal door. A beautifully carved metal door. Our friends stand still when they suddenly hear a key scraping into the lock.

Inktober 2022 Ponytail / Paardenstaart

Everyone is holding their breath. A key is turned in the lock.  Tension fills the air.

‘Who can that be?’, Josephine whispers to Old Sam.

‘No idea,’ Old Sam whispers back.

‘As long as it’s not that evil wizard,’ squeaks Victoria Bat.

‘Or the egg thief,’ Alberta Eagle whispers, ‘if that’s it, shake him or her until they tell me where my eggs have gone.’

‘Silence, sil-vous-plait,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘let’s  be careful.’

She gestures that everyone should take a step back so that they are completely swallowed up by the dark.  Only the fireflies dance on. The green light they emit helps to be able to see a little something.

Suddenly there is movement. The door squeaks and creaks. As if it hasn’t been used for a long time. It looks like somebody is pushing it a bit more.  Then, very carefully, the door opens, a very small crack.

Whoever it is on the other side of the door, they can’t see much. Only the fireflies give a little bit of light , this part of the cave is hardly illuminated.  Our group of friends is holding their breath. Will the door open even further? Who is hiding behind that door and what will is he or she do?

A soft light falls from the door into the cave. Breathlessly, our friends watch.  A serene silence descends into the cave, it seems as if time slows down.  Until suddenly a female voice  breaks the silence.

‘Ah, there you are, come back soon.’

The fireflies dance excitedly through the air and take a nosedive, disappearing through the door. Suddenly the fireflies are gone. The door is closed and locked again.

Our friends look at each other.

‘What was that again?’, squeaks Victoria Bat.

‘Who was that’s a better question?’, notes Alberta Eagle.

‘Could you see anything? ‘, Josephine asks Old Sam and Victoria Bat.

‘I felt like I was asleep,’ says Victoria Bat, ‘as if there was a gap in time.’

‘I had that feeling too’, says Josephine.

Our other friends also agree, they felt the same. Only Old Sam does not recognize the feeling.

‘I saw something,’ says Old Sam, ‘I saw a woman, with dark hair, pointed ears and a ponytail..’

Inktober 2022 Bluff / Bluf

Everyone looks at Old Sam. How is it possible that he has seen something and she has not.

‘It probably has something to do with your abilities’, says Josephine.

‘Yes’, says Old Sam, ‘I think so too. But in the meantime, the fireflies have disappeared. Who will bring us happiness now.’

‘You have to do that yourself’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘come on, Old Sam, you always know how to come up with something to solve problems.’

‘Yes, but there are a lot of them these times’, says Old Sam

‘Let’s explore the cave further, says Josephine, ‘outside I have already researched everything.’

‘I wanted to suggest that too’, says Armando Armadillo, ’there’s no more to discover outside.’

Josephine looks at the private detective. She wonders who Armando Armadillo is looking for. Then she shrugs her shoulders. She is sure he is not going to tell. It’s just one of the many mysteries in this adventure. Let’s investigate first.

Our friends spread out through the cave. Every corner is thoroughly examined. Surely there must be at least one clue about everything that has happened here.

‘I’ve found something,’ shouts Emilia Hedgehog from the back part of the cave, not far from the door in the wall that the fireflies have disappeared.

‘What is it?’ asks Alberta Eagle.

‘I have no idea,’ says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘it looks like a black hole.’

‘A black hole?’, Josephine says with a tone of disbelief in her voice.

‘Uh, beware,’ Madame Madeleine exclaims, ‘black holes really exist. They gobble up everything.  Whole worlds can disappear in them. ‘

Everyone arrives cautiously. No one has ever seen a black hole before.

‘What happens if you throw something into the black hole?’, asks Emilia Hedgehog, ‘will that disappear forever?’

‘There’s only one way to find out,’ says Armando Armadillo, and before anyone can do something, he throws a stone into the hole.

There is a loud growl.  Everyone recoils.  It sounds really terrifying.

‘I’m going to look,’ says Armando Armadillo.

That’s bluff,’ says Alberta Eagle, ‘no one with a little common sense in their right mind would do that.’

Inktober 2022 Naughty dog / Salty dog

‘Who says I don’t have common sense, young lady,’  Armando Armadillo snorts, ‘you underestimate my qualities.’

‘Well,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘I don’t think it’s such a good idea either.’

The growl in the black hole was toned down for a moment but now sounds really loud again.

‘I do think it’s a good idea,’ says Armando Armadillo, ‘certainly when I think what it is.’

He drenches to the black hole, takes a leap and disappears.

Everyone is holding their breath. The growl in the black hole sounds even louder.

‘Take it easy, boy, take it easy,’ our group of friends hears Armando Armadillo shout, ‘it’s just me.’

The growl gives way to barking.

Our group of friends looks at each other.

‘That looks like a dog’, says Josephine.

‘How strange’, says Victoria Bat, ‘we have never seen dogs in this forest.’

‘You haven’t seen more in this forest,’ says Madame Madeleine, pointing to the tree with the petrified bats and the strange black hole.  That immediately reminds everyone of the petrified gargoyles on top of the mountain and the mysterious fireflies that have suddenly disappeared again.

‘It sometimes seems as if there is a gate with another world through which things appear here that do not belong here at all,’ she says .

‘That’s what it looks like,’ says Old Sam, ‘just like the snakes in our previous adventure came right to us through a leak in time.’

Then suddenly our friends hear a whole lot of grunts again. Everyone immediately stands still.

‘What’s going on there’, Josephine whispers.

‘No idea’, says Old Sam, ‘I’m going to have a look anyway.’

Before anyone can react, Old Sam sticks his head through the black hole. At first, he can see nothing at all. Only when he takes a step further through the opening of the black hole does he end up in the light again.  There he sees a dog.  A dog on short legs, a wide chest and head full of wrinkles. Wrinkles hang over his muzzle, his eyes, his forehead.  Not only his wrinkles hang, but also his ears. The dog is growling in front of Armando Armadillo.  One of its legs rests on a book. A big book with all kind of magical signs.  Behind the dog are more books.  With every step Armando Armadillo takes, the dog growls louder.  He even pulls up his upper lip to show his sharp teeth.

Armando Armadillo hits the ground hard with his tail and says: ‘Give back, naughty dog, that book is not yours!’

Inktober 2022 Heist / Overval

Startled, Old Sam jumps back into the cave.

‘What happened, what happened?’

“There’s a dog there, a very big dog,” says Old Sam, “one that looks very angry, with very sharp teeth, and that growls very dangerously. I think he can eat you with one bite if he wants to.’

“I heard Armando Armadillo shouting that he has to give something back,” says Madame Madeleine, “is that right?”

‘Yes, that’s certainly true’, says Oude Sam, ’that dog has books that are not his’.

Madame Madeleine jumps up when she hears those words.

‘Really?’, she says with hope and, according to a barrage of questions, she throws at Old Sam, ‘What kind of books? Could you see something on the outside?’

She jumps up and down excitedly and swings her ladle around. Everyone has to bend down to avoid the ladle.

‘Ho ho, quiet but’, says Oude Sam, ’they were very large books, in all kinds of colours, with all kinds of beautiful drawings on the outside.’

Madame Madeline is clearly enthusiastic. Everyone is looking at her in amazement.

“I think I know what kind of books they are,” she says, “in my Castle of Lost Time, we suffered from mysterious books for a while. They flew through the corridors and I had to bend down continuously to avoid the books. Suddenly they were gone.’

Everyone looks at Madame Madeleine with wide eyes.

‘If those are the same books,’ Josephine says pensively, ‘how did those books get here?’

‘I think it was when Victoria Bat opened a travel portal with the gargoyles’ wand. She ended up with me and the books here.’

‘Then the answer might be in those books’, says Josephine while jumping up enthusiastically, ‘let’s get them back now. That bad dog just has to give those books back.’

“Don’t rush anything, young lady,” says Madame Madeleine, “we don’t want to be torn to pieces. If that dog is really as dangerous as it sounds, then we’d better come up with a plan.’

‘Yes’, says Oude Sam, ’that seems better to me. Think first and then do it.’

‘Do you have an idea?’, Josephine asks.

‘Yes,’ says Oude Sam, ‘I think we all have to go through the black hole. The only way to retrieve the books is to commit a heist .’

Inktober 2022 Booger / Snottebel

‘A heist, says Josephine, ‘how do you want to do that?’

“Well,” says Old Sam, “we have to distract the dog. That is only possible if we all suddenly appear. Then the dog no longer knows what to look for. We can sneak up to the books and secretly take them away.’

‘A good plan’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘but also a risky plan. I do think it’s smart for someone to stay here. He or she can then take the books and put them in a safe place.’

‘That’s certainly a good plan’, says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘I suggest that Alberta Eagle stays here.’

“I don’t want to stay here at all,” says Alberta Eagle in a determined tone, “I want to give that dog a hearty word. Who does he think he is, just stealing magic books.’

‘I think it’s a better idea for you to stay here’, says Oude Sam, ‘you are the only one who can fly well. You can hide the books in the tree with the bats. Imagine that the dog goes after us, then at least the books are safe in the bat tree.’

Alberta Eagle sighs deeply and plops down again.

“Okay,” she says, “I’ll stay here and hide the books in the tree.”

‘I’ll stay at the edge of the black hole’, says Madame Madeleine, ’then my ladle can show where we have to get out again.’

‘That’s also a good idea’, says Oude Sam, ‘come on, is everyone ready? Then we go.’

Everyone nods and Old Sam gestures for everyone to stand in a line behind him. It’s a motley crew. Old Sam in front, with Victoria Bat on his back, then Josephine and Emilia Hedgehog. Madame Madeleine with her ladle at the back of the line and Alberta Eagle at the foot of the black hole ready to tackle the books. Old Sam sticks his head through the black hole, sees Armando Armadillo standing in front of the dog and jumps back inside. Josephine and Emilia Hedgehog do the same and Madame Madeleine stands in the transition and holds her ladle in such a way that a connection is created between the inside of the black hole and the cave beyond. The dog falls silent when he suddenly sees all those visitors appear.

‘What are you doing here?’, Armando Armadillo hisses.

“We’re coming to help you,” says Old Sam, “we want to distract the dog so we can take the books back to the cave of the water bats.”

Armando Armadillo is completely stunned. He has never experienced that before, that others come to help him. Despite his hard armor, he has a small heart. Tears well up in his eyes.

“How sweet and brave of you,” he snips as he tries to sweep away a large booger by his nose.

Everyone looks at the snottering armadillo and no one sees that a light is starting to shine high up in the black hole.

Inktober 24 Fairy / Elfje


The light above the black hole increases and then slowly descends downwards. Josephine is the first to see it.

‘What’s that?’, she whispers to Old Sam and points upwards.

Old Sam looks and then jumps up enthusiastically.

‘That’s a Fairy,’ he shouts.

Everyone in the cave falls silent, including the bad dog, and looks up. Armando Armadillo wipes his nose again and puts his handkerchief back in his armored coat.

‘How beautiful she is,’ he whispers in awe with his deep, heavy voice.

The radiant light gets bigger and bigger until it puts the entire cave in the black hole in the light. Then the light dims and the fairy becomes visible. She is enchantingly beautiful. Her blue hair waves like the sea and she wears a dress that looks like a water lily.

‘Hello dear friends’, she says in a soft voice, ‘how nice to find you here.’

‘How nice to meet a fairy again’, says Oude Sam, ‘it’s been a while since I was on an adventure with the tree fairies. ‘

‘Oh well,’ the fairy sighs, ‘what a wonderful job you have done to give the world back its forests. I still hear my tree sisters talking about it a lot.’

‘Tree sisters?’, says Josephine in a questioning tone.

‘Yes, tree sisters’, says the fairy, ‘I am a Water Fairy. You can recognize us by our water lily dress. Just like you can recognize the tree fairies by their skirts of leaves.’

‘Oh’, says Old Sam, ‘I never knew that. ‘

‘We take care of the water like our tree sister takes care of the trees’, says het Water Fairy, ’that way our world stays in balance.’

‘You are doing important work, miss Water Fairy,’ Armando Armadillo snorts as he straightens his jacket. He is heavily impressed by the beautiful appearance.

‘Are you coming to help us?’, Josephine asks.

‘I’ve already done that,’ says the Water Fairy, ‘I brought the eggs here with waterflies and asked Alberta Eagle and Emilia Hedgehog to take care of them.  There were strange forces at work and the eggs had to be protected until they were ready to hatch. Then we can give the world its water back.’

‘I don’t have good news’, says Emilia Hedgehog with a dejected look, ’the eggs are gone.’

Inktober 2022 Tempting / Verleidelijk

‘No’, exclaims the Water Fairy, ‘what a disaster’. We have to find them, otherwise this whole world will soon have no water no more. Do you know where they are right now?’

‘The eggs were taken by a black sphere that came out of a storm’, says Armando Armadillo, ‘a storm from another world. ‘

Armando Armadillo’s words impress our group of friends and at the same time raise even more questions.  The mystery gets bigger every time.

‘Explain’, says Oude Sam.

‘Someone has  opened a gate between our world and that of Almaos,’ says Armando Armadillo.

‘Almaos’, Madame Madeleine exclaims, ’that is a world in another dimension. There is also a version of my Castle of Lost Time located. ‘

Then Madame Madeleine chuckles.

‘Well, located isn’t the right word,’ she says, ‘floating is a better word. My castle floats there, defying gravity, in a giant nest on the highest peak of the highest mountain.  They call that area the Screaming Barrier.’

‘Wow’, says Josephine, ’that’s really special. Why is it called the Screaming Barrier?’

‘The mountains are so high,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘that when the wind howls along the peaks it’s like hearing the sound of hundreds, no, thousands of souls screaming.’

‘Ieuw’, says Josephine, ’that doesn’t sound pleasant at all. I wouldn’t want to live in a castle like that.’

‘It’s not too bad’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘inside the castle you don’t hear anything of it. The journey to the castle is the worst.’

‘How do you get there?’, Josephine asks.

‘The best way to travel is by air whale’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘but that is a rare animal on Almaos.  It seems that one of the shamans, one of the wizards, has an air whale. I don’t know if there are any more.’

Old Sam looks at Madame Madeleine pensively.

‘Can you jump from castle to castle?’, asks Old Sam, ‘as you can do with my twin trees?  Then we could see if we can find more clues there. ‘

‘No, you can’t,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘but I do know that people think there  are rune stones hidden  in the cellars that allow you to travel to other worlds.  Provided you know the right spells.  Maybe they are in the books that this dog guards.  Maybe I can tempt him  with a Madeleine cookie to give us those books.  Madame Madeleine puts her hands in her apron.

‘Oh no,’ she says, ‘I forgot that all the cookies are gone. Now what..’

Inktober 2022 Ego

Look at our friends. In a black hole where a Water Fairy has just appeared. Where a bad dog guards a pile of magical books. Where fireflies suddenly appear in Madame Madeleine’s oven and later disappear through a mysterious door.  Where blossom leaves and Madeleine cookies disappear in a wink of an eye.  Where the eggs of Alberta Eagle disappeared in a flash.  And where the water bats and gargoyles are petrified in and on a mountain that looks like a seated shape.

‘Indeed, quite a mystery’, says Old Sam, ‘what now?’

‘Not so modest, Old Sam’, says Emilia Hedgehog, ‘you always know how to find a solution.’

‘Yes, Old Sam, you do know that.’

Our whole group of friends joins Emilia Hedgehog. Old Sam smirks. That strokes his ego a bit, that everyone has so much confidence in him. On the other hand, that also makes it extra exciting.  Can he save the world from the mischief that awaits them? He really needs his friends for that.

He turns to Armando Armadillo and the Water Fairy.

‘Tell me a little bit more’, says Old Sam to Armando Armadillo, ‘I think you know more about that other world.’

‘That’s right’, says Armando Armadillo, ‘a while ago there was a strange opening between Almaos and this world.  The fireflies, which were in Madame Madeleine’s oven, came in through that opening.  But I have serious indications that the instigator of this event is also here.  On Almaos he is missing.  That’s why I’m here. ‘

‘Oh dear,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘don’t tell me now that creatures from the world of Almaos have come here.’

Armando Armadillo looks at Madame Madeleine and nods.

‘You know how bad that is, Madame,’ Armando Armadillo says in a solemn tone.

‘I do know that’, says Madame Madeleine, ’that’s a very bad thing. Now I also understand all the crazy things that are happening here.’

‘What do you mean?’, squeaks Victoria Bat from old Sam’s back, ‘are you going to tell me now that all this is not the work of the evil wizard?’

‘Oh,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘I think the wizard certainly has a role in this whole thing. But the question is whether it is really an evil wizard .’

The moment Madame Madeleine utters those words, the dog starts barking and jumping back and forth. It startles our group of friends.

‘What’s wrong with that dog?’, Josephine exclaims.

The dog turns to her and comes towards her..

Inktober 2022 Snack / Tussendoortje

The whole group is frozen in terror. The bad dog slowly comes towards Josephine. Of course, Old Sam can’t let that happen. He jumps in front of Josephine and growls and hisses towards the dog. He, in turn, is startled by that and starts growling.  That’s how the two of them stand in front of each other

It’s all too much for Alberta Eagle. With a big sigh she plops down.

‘Oh, I can’t stand this like this’, she whispers  to Emilia Hedgehog, ‘I think it’s too exciting.’

‘I get it’, squeaks Emilia Hedgehog, ‘do you want a cookie?’

‘Yes, nice’, whispers Alberta Eagle, ‘just a snack.’

Emilia Hedgehog opens her nurse’s suitcase and takes out a Madeleine cookie. Old Sam sees it happening out of the corner of his eye.

‘What do you have there?’, Old Sam hisses , ‘do you really you have a Madeleine cookie.’

‘You have a Madeleine cookie’, Madame Madeleine exclaims, ‘give it to me. We have to give it to that dog.’

Emilia Hedgehog looks around in bewilderment and gives the cookie to Madame Madeleine.

‘Well, I didn’t know my secret stockpile was so popular.’

‘I think your secret supply is going to help us solve this mystery,’ says Madame Madeleine and she walks with the cookie to the dog.

The dog starts growling when he sees madame Madeleine approaching.

‘I think it’s you who has to give the cookie, Old Sam,’ Josephine says.

‘I think so too,’ says Old Sam and he walks up to Madame Madeleine to pick up the cookie. He holds it between his paws and walks towards the dog.  The dog stays seated and its tail wafts enthusiastically back and forth.

‘Here, just take a bite,’ says Old Sam as he sticks out his paw to hold the dog’s cookie in front of him.

Very carefully the dog takes a bite of the cookie. And one more.  Then, with one more bite, the cookie is finished. Blissfully, he looks  ahead.  Then the dog suddenly begins to tremble and grow.  It seems as if his house is a coat that has become too small. Everything is tightly buckled around his body. The Water Fairy takes a nosedive and circles around the dog. She sprinkles some fairy dust on him.  A dazzling light envelops the dog and becomes brighter and brighter. Our group of friends holds their hands in front of their eyes, that’s how bright the light is.  Slowly the light fades. Old Sam is the first to open his eyes again.

The dog is gone. Instead, a somebody stands there. Dressed in a black cloak with a blue scarf with yellow emblem. On his head a black hat with a blue stripe and yellow star. Who is this..

Inktober 2022 Camping / Kamperen

‘Oh dear,’ stammers Emilia Hedgehog, ‘are you all right, sir?’

The figure looks up and lets out a deep sigh.

‘Thank you,’ he says, ‘glad you managed to get me out of this spell.’

‘Who are you?’, Josephine asks.

‘My name is Pallandor’, says the appereance.

‘Pleasure to meet you’, says Madame Madeleine, ‘I think in another world your name means ‘he who comes from far away’.  Do you want to tell us where you come from?’

‘I come from Almaos’, says Pallandor, ‘I accidentally ended up here.’

Armando Armadillo clears his throat and looks at Pallandor.

‘Things like that don’t happen by accident,’ he says sternly.

‘Yes,’ says Pallandor, ‘it really wasn’t my intention to end up in this world. I just wanted to help.’

‘Help with what?’, Josephine asks.

‘To bring a lady who loves to travel back to life.  She had accidentally looked a basilisk in the eye and was petrified. The whole school was looking for the right remedy. ‘

‘What kind of school? ‘, squeaks Victoria Bat from the back of Old Sam.

‘Porkerquarter’, says Pallandor, ‘one of the best schools for wizards in the realm of Almaos. ‘

‘What remedy were you looking for?’, Josephine asks.

‘I had found some books in the library about recovering lost time. I was practicing with that but it didn’t work out very well because everyone was so busy on Porkerquarter. So I decided to go camping in the woods at the foot of the Screaming Barrier.’

‘Near my twin castle of lost time,’ says Madame Madeleine.

‘Yes,’ says Pallandor, ‘I was hoping I could get into the castle through the rune stones.  The only other way is via air whale but they are very rare on Almaos.  But something went wrong while opening the gate. ‘

‘What went wrong?’ asks Josephine.

I was accompanied by a weird firefly with a blazing magical fire which was quite handy by night. But when I opened the gate a very strange force came loose. A black sphere formed and with a crying sound a storm shot out. The fireflies went all crazy. Then the wind picked me up and tossed me around.  I lost consciousness and woke up here, locked in the guise of a dog..

Inktober 2022 Uh-oh / Oh oh

Uh-oh,’ Madame Madeleine says, ‘I think I know what happened.’

‘Do tell’, says Josephine.

‘I suspect that opening the gate caused a chain reaction.’

‘A chain reaction’, squeaks Victoria Bat.

‘Yes,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘a chain reaction. I suspect that Pallandor ended up  in the cellars of the twin Castle of Lost Time on Almaos. And from there in the cellars of my Castle of Lost Time.  Along with that black sphere. Ithink an evil force has taken advantage of this situation to  spread chaos and despair across both our worlds. ‘

‘Is that why my people are petrified now?’ asks Victoria Bat.

‘Yes,’ says Madame Madeleine, ‘I wonder what Almaos is dealing with. ‘

‘I wonder who stole the eggs from Alberta Eagle and where they are now,’ says Old Sam, ‘because I think  the waterflies are needed to save this world.   ‘

The Water Fairy dances back and forth at eye level for our group of friends.

‘Old Sam, you have the gift of being able to look where others can’t see’, says the Water Fairy.

‘That’s correct’, says Oude Sam, ‘but I always need help with something with magical powers. And we haven’t come across them yet this adventure.’

‘Yes, we did come across magical powers’ says the Water Fairy, and she turns to Pallandor the Wizard, ‘I think you can help Old Sam to see.’

‘I wouldn’t know how,’ Pallandor says.

‘Of course you do,’ says Madame Madeleine, waving her ladle toward the pile of magic books.

‘That went very wrong last time’, says Pallandor, ‘I wouldn’t dare anymore.’

Josephine walks towards Pallandor .

‘I have faith in you,’ she says, ‘we’d better have tried than not. Giving up is not an option. Never ever quit.’

Pallandor looks at Josephine. With a lump in his throat, he says, ‘Okay, I’ll try.’

He walks up to the pile of books and starts messing around.

‘I do hope that the good book has come along.’

Inktober 2022 Gear / Uitrusting

Our group of friends watch while Pallandor searches. They also hope that the good magic book is among them.

‘Oh look,’ says Pallandor, ‘found!’

He picks up a book bound in red leather from the stack. Beautiful gold letters decorate the cover. He opens it and scrolls through until he finds the right page.

‘Let’s see if I still have the right gear with me’, says Pallandor.

He rummages in the pockets of his cloak until he finds his wand. With it he draws a hexagram in the sand of the cave. He gestures that Old Sam should sit in the middle with Still Victoria Bat on his back and the rest of our friends in a circle around it.  Pallandor swings his wand around while casting a spell.

The little light in the cave flickers.  A ball of white light with red glitter comes off the wand and surrounds Old Sam and Victoria Bat.  Old Sam stiffens. His eyes stare unseeing into the distance. Everyone is holding their breath.

‘Look beyond time, Old Sam,’ Pallandor says, ‘and when you’re done seeing, slowly come  back here.’

It seems as if every second takes three times as long before passing. Then the sphere of light retreats, becomes smaller and smaller, until there is still one point of light left. It dances back and forth in front of our friends. It almost looks like a firefly. Then, just like that, that light is also gone.

‘Look,’ Josephine shouts, ‘Old Sam and Victoria Bat are no longer one’.

Everyone looks at the middle. There, Victoria Bat is still a bit dazed on the ground.

‘How nice to see you like that, dear Victoria’, says Oude Sam, ‘but I didn’t like to see another of your kind in my vision. ‘

‘What did you see?’, Josephine asks.

‘I saw a very big scary bat’, says Oude Sam, ‘who, screaming with laughter, stole the eggs with the waterflies with a ball of starm. As soon as he had them within reach, he devoured them.’

‘Oh no, my eggs are gone,’ Alberta Eagle exclaims desperately, ‘are both worlds doomed now?’

‘I’m afraid so,’ says the Water Fairie, ‘I think the demon  wants Almaos to drown and stone this world.’

‘That shouldn’t happen,’ shouts Victoria Bat.

Old Sam jumps up and walks towards her.

‘I think there is still hope’, he says, ‘ I have also seen that good forces are at work in that other world. Do you remember when I saw a woman standing in the doorway. I saw her again. Together with a dragon that guards the water on Almaos. I think they have done something that can save our world..

Inktober 2022 Farm / Boerderij

Everyone jumps back and forth excitedly.

‘Tell, tell’, everyone shouts through each other.

‘In my vision I saw a farm’, says Oude Sam, ’that’s where we have to go’.

‘That’s not far from here,’ shouts Victoria Bat.

‘Hurry’, says Oude Sam, ‘let’s go, I hope we’ll be on time.’

Our friends rush to the exit of the cave.  Fortunately, it is still a bit dark so Victoria Bat can show the way.  Via a meandering path in the forest they arrive at a clearing. Green grass shimmers in the moonlight. The lawn is dotted with sleeping daisies. On the other side of the clearing is a farm. With a barn and a water well.

‘Oh that’s great, says Oude Sam, ’that still fits with my vision. We have to go to the well. If my vision is correct, then we will find something very important in the bucket.’

They cross the lawn. It is a colorful procession. Old Sam and Josephine lead the way and are on foot. Behind them Madame Madeleine, Emilia Hedgehog, Armando Armadillo and Pandalor the Wizard. Alberta Eagle, the Water Fairy and Victoria Bat fly with them.  Arriving at the well, Old Sam jumps on the edge and peers down.

‘No more water here either’, he says, ‘but there’s a bucket down there. Come, help me bring up it up.’

Alberta Eagle can’t wait any longer. She takes the rope in her mouth and pulls it up while flying. Rattling, the bucket comes up.

‘Ohhhhhh’, shouts Josephine, who has also jumped on the edge of the well, ‘I see them.’

‘What do you see?’, says Emilia Hedgehog and she raises her umbrella to take a look.

‘I see the eggs’, says Josephine, ’they’re back. How is that possible?’

‘What did you see in your vision, Old Sam?’ asks Madame Madeleine.

‘I saw the woman with the ponytail talking to a Water Guard named Panlor. He called her Sally. Through the portals, the Madeleine biscuits and the blossom leaves to make tea have ended up in her world and she has used them with his help to bring back lost time. Somehow  she also managed to bring the eggs with the water flies back to our world and hide them  in this well.’

‘Wow’, says Josephine, ‘what a story again. Have you also seen what we have to do with the eggs?’

‘Yes,’ says Old Sam, ‘we must surround the eggs with all our love and solemnly promise that we will do everything we can to take good care of our world.  Only then can the eggs hatch and the water flies do their job and restore the balance.’

Old Sam gestures for Josephine to grab his paw. With his other paw he gestures Victoria Bat.

‘Come,’ he says, ‘let’s form a circle.’

The rest of our special group of friends also grab each other’s hand, paw or wing. Together they form a circle around the eggs and release a lot of love with all their feeling.  A beautiful glow envelops our friends and the eggs. Slowly a crack develops in one of the eggs. And then one more. Until all the eggs are full of cracks. A beautiful light tries to find its way out until the eggs burst. Countless water flies flow out. The Water Fairy breaks away from the group.

‘Come,’ she says to the water flies, ‘let’s bring the water back to this world.’

With the Water Fairy in the lead, the water flies start their journey. Over the lawn to the seated mountain that suddenly turns into a beautiful lake. With in the middle of the lake a small island with the bat tree in which the water bats slowly wake up and start to chatter excitedly. The tree is so large and so full of leaves that it protects them from the light. On the boulders the gargoyles that stretch and immediately dedicate themselves to supplying the world with water.

The bathtub with the petrified chickens also slowly comes back to life.

‘Whieoeoeoeo’, they shout in unison, ‘what a trip this was’.

While flailing and cackling, they sail around the island in circles.

The water flies and the Water Fairy continue their journey to provide the world with water again. They are waved off by everyone. Victoria Bat, meanwhile, flies happily aound. Her people have been brought back to life.  Then she sees something at the edge of the lake, where the Forest of Forrests begins.

‘Oh look,’ she shouts, ‘I see Madame Madeleine’s oven and cupboard.’

‘Ah tres bon’, Madame Madeleine shouts, ‘now it’s time for a party!  But what’s on top of my closet?’

It turns out to be the pile of magic books.

‘I’ll take them back to my Castle of Lost Time’, she says, ’then they’ll probably end up in my twin castle on Almaos again.’

‘Hurry up,’ calls Alberta Eagle, ‘Emilia Hedgehog and I want to eat the biggest mountain of Madeleine cookies that can be made.’

In chorus everyone shouts ‘Yesssss’ very loudly and together they get to work and prepare a feast.

They sing and they dance and they eat until everyone is tired and satisfied and goes to sleep. Old Sam and Josephine climb into the top of one of the trees in the Forest of Forest and enjoy the view of the beautiful world in the moonlight.

Josephine sighs contentedly and industriously faces Old Sam.

‘It was a great adventure,’ she says.

Old Sam sighs a  s deep and says, ‘That was it.’

Then he waves his paw and invites the InK, the writer of this story, to sit with her two cats.

‘Do you also want to know of the readers of this adventure want us to end with ‘See you next year’ or with ‘It’s been beautiful’, he asks InK.

InK nods yes and says ‘I also love to hear how you experienced this year’s story’.

The three of them they look at you, the reader and say in unison: ‘Drop us a message via mail, social media, whatsapp and let us know!’

See you next year?
With love from Ink


What a special writing adventure Old Sam’s 2022 adventure was. Inktober’s prompt list took the story through the strangest twists and turns and the collaboration with Alex Maassen brought new challenges to get the story ‘done’.  I hope you enjoyed reading and listening. Time for looking back.

I was already writing when Alex contacted me on September 8th and asked how I felt about a collaboration. I immediately liked the idea. We ‘met’ each other during Inktober 2020 and have been fans of each other ever since. We talked about my characters who could show up in his world and vice versa but soon the dynamics of creativity took over.

His fireflies suddenly appeared in my story while writing and from there it developed further without our audience knowing what we were doing.


A small sketch of my mountain on day 1 became Alex’s first drawing in week 37.. my ‘mountain’ seen through the eyes of his main character Sally, how nice is that.


Also nice was that suddenly there was someone who already knew what was going to happen before my readers knew it. Fun and also weird after all these years where every new episode and drawing was only announced on the day itself. It came with a very special dynamic and a lot of creativity. Wonderful.

For me it was a challenge to weave the elements of Alex’s story into my story. For Alex it was a challenge to align his weekly story with the speed of my daily story. What we have both proven during this adventure is that limitations stimulate creativity.

It was also so much fun to take a look at Sally and her world through a door on my day 19 and Alex’s week 41 while she did so on mine and my crew of characters. We shared a lot of drawings to coordinate both drawings as much as possible. A nice creative sneak peak into each other’s ‘kitchen’.

Naar elkaar kijken

Also so much fun was day 25 vs week 40 in which madame Madeleine’s Castle of Lost Time played a leading role.

Kasteel van de Verloren Tijd

Pandalor, my wizard who was my drawing on day 29, was wearing Porkerquarter’s school uniform. That was the drawing from week 14 of Alex.


The Madeleine biscuits (day 6) and tea leaves of blossom (day 4) also played a major role this year. They mysteriously disappeared from my world and suddenly appeared in Sally’s world in week 38.

Madeleine koekjes met thee

I was also able to make a nice link with Sally who was found petrified in week 27. She had been transported to Porkerquarter where everyone was busy trying to see how they could bring her back to life. This allowed my wizard to set in motion the events that caused him to enter my world during his practice. The fireflies also played a role in this. My fireflies in week 5 are reflected in the drawings of week 36, 37 and 41 of Alex.


All adventures also come to an end. This is also the case with this adventure that is titled ‘Old Sam and The Petrified Water Creatures’. My story ended with a big feast at the farm where the waterflies were found. Sally and Alex’s story ended with a look at Old Sam and his friends before the gap between our two worlds closed again. Thank you for wanting to travel with us this year. Glad you were there!

Einde van dit verhaal

With love from InK