Ander in Larttleight (Sequel to Ander's New Cable Knit Sweater!)

Submitted for Contest #44 in response to: Write a story that starts with someone returning from a trip.... view prompt

29 comments

Submitted on 05/30/2020

Categories: Adventure Funny Science Fiction

Ander woke up with a start, his head still spinning from the trip down the portal to the underground planet Larttleleight. He still wasn’t wearing a shirt, and the ground was cold. He looked around the dark planet, but the whole place smelled like dirt; maybe a side effect from being an underground planet. Ander touched his hands to his nose. Warm blood seeped between his fingers and he yelped. Ander hated blood outside the body, especially when it was his own. “What is this place?” 

“The underground planet Larttleleight, boy!” A voice thundered from behind him and Ander spun around, only to see a piled sweater, the same cable knit one he had thrown off in a panic. 

“Are you, um, my sweater?” Ander swallowed hard and squinted, still trying to adjust to the darkness of the underground planet. 

The sweater straightened and crossed its sleeves across the chest. “I am my own sweater, Ander. I am not a thing to be had. And I have a name, what’s more.” 

“What am I doing here? And it’s cold too. Could I get a shirt?” 

The sweater chuckled. “Nope.”

“That’s creepy though! Why can’t I be warm and modest and all that? Is this some kind of pervy planet where guys can’t wear shirts if they want to?”

“I guess you could say that. We’ve been having a shortage.”

Ander rolled his eyes like he always did. “Of shirts?”

The sweater giggled like a clown maniac. “Noo, of boys.” 

Ander threw his hands up in the air. “You’re having a shortage of boys on the planet so you kidnapped me? A teenage boy?”

The cable knit sweater inched closer to Ander and seemed to grin with every fiber of its being. “Yes, and a fine specimen at that, my boy.” A sleeve traced along Ander’s jaw and cheekbones, poked his eyes and squeezed his nose. “A very fine one indeed.”

“Help!” Ander jumped up shakily. “Help me please! I’ve been kidnapped by a, um, sweater who claims I’m to be used for science! Please help me! I need a shirt!” The sweater smacked Ander in the head and he tumbled back down to the cold ground. 

“Shut up, would you? Look, here. Ander, this planet has a queen. Her name is Fair Isle and she needs a future king for her daughter, Lambswool. But there are no more boys her age on the planet and so we’ve been collecting teenage boys from other planets, other dimensions. You’re the token boy from your planet.”

“This seems all too familiar, sweater…” 

“Really?”

“Yes! It really, really feels like I’ve seen this story before or something and it’s weird. It’s so weird.”

“Hmm. Well, maybe the search for good men is universal.”

“I guess so. Why am I the best option from my whole planet though? I’m pretty sure there are at least seven other guys at my school alone that are like, better options than I am.”

“You’re the most popular boy at your school, Ander. Don’t play the humble king. Come on, we have to get to the palace to meet the other boys. You’re having a fashion show tonight at seven.” 

“So I will get a shirt!” Ander yelled, jumping up again to rejoice. 

“Well, that depends on who your designer is, Ander. If you get one of the females, they may very well leave you shirtless, and even if you get a male designer… they could do the same. Not everyone would understand your plight.” The sweater held out a sleeve to help Ander stand up. “Do you have any abnormal markings on your torso we should be aware of?” 

“Like tattoos?”

“Yes. Like those.” 

Ander didn’t have any tattoos on his torso that he knew of. There was a scar near his ankle from the time he tripped on a glass trash can while cleaning out his closet, but unless the fashion show also took his socks, he figured that would be alright. “Nope.”

“Fantastic. Let’s get a move on.” 

They began the walk towards the palace. Ander complained for a shirt the whole time; there were girls wearing all different kinds of sweaters, some of them were sweater dresses or sweatered jumpsuits, though, and all of them were staring at him, following him with bright eyes and smiling. Ander didn’t particularly know what to do with the feeling. He kept his eyes tight to his leader, the sweater, and before he knew it they had made it off the dangerous streets and he had arrived at the palace. 

“This is a nice place.” He rubbed his shoulders. 

Sweater nodded, bobbing up and down. “Indeed!” The guards let the drawbridge down and they walked into the palace. “Here we are, but there’s no time for a tour. We have to get to the upstairs lounge before the icebreaker games are over. We’re kind of late, actually.” 

They walked up the marble stairs; it was weird to see a staircase knowing that they were underground, and turned to the left at the top to a large brown wooden door. Sweater picked up the brass knocker and called out, “The earth boy is here, let us in, Mohair!” 

A blue mohair sweater opened the door and nodded to Ander and, since Ander guessed they were going by the sweater type names, Cable Knit. Cable Knit and Mohair led him into the lounge room. There were boys, teenage boys of all kinds and shapes and dimensions, planets, maybe even times, lounging appropriately in seats and cushions. Ander smiled weakly to a few of them who were taller than lamp posts. They nodded back at him and one reached for a cashmere sweater laying on the ground. 

Ander watched to see if Cable Knit was watching him, and then pulled the sweater over his head. “Much better.” He grinned at the tall lamp post boys. “Thanks, guys.” 

There were boys everywhere and they were all talking to each other loudly, making small talk and trying, I’d guess, to ignore the fact that they had been captured. They’d been told too, though, that they could go home once their fates were decided. If they weren’t a good match for the princess or her court, they could leave. So the real question is whether they were going to try their best to be unlikeable, or if they would try their best to stay. “You go talk to someone, we’ll start the fashion show preparations shortly.” Cable Knit shrugged at Ander, pointing at his cashmere sweater. “Enjoy that while you can, buddy.” 

Ander headed over to the lamp post boys and sat down awkwardly. This was a new feeling for him. Cable Knit was right when he said he was the most popular boy at his school, that he was lying when he said he didn’t deserve to be here. “Hey, guys.” 

“((**^&54565357*******!gl8u:?<><>?” 

It turned out the lamp post boys didn’t speak English and no one had offered to give Ander lessons on their language, or give him a translator. This made small talk very difficult. “Um,” Ander still wanted to introduce himself, though. He patted his chest. “I’m Ander.” 

The lamp post boy who had thrown him the sweater smiled. “Ander.” His first English word was stilted, but the effort was nice enough. The boy touched his own chest. “{{{{{{{{.” 

“I don’t know how to say that, man.” Ander couldn’t even process the noise of that name yet. It was too… well, it was just something Ander’s brain and ears couldn’t connect. It was like seeing a color that didn’t exist. 

{{{{{{{{?” 

Ander knew he had to try the name. After all, the boy had managed to say Ander’s. “{{{{((((?” 

The boys shook their giant heads. Ander was about to try again, when Mohair and Cable Knit clapped their sleeves together loudly and called for attention. “Gentlemen and gentlemen and gentlemen! The time has come to get ready for tonight’s show, at which the princess, her mother, and the princess’s court will be there to see you.” 

The designers started filing into the room one by one by one by one until there were more than a hundred creatures and people in the room, all standing with bundles of fabric, needles, and thread. Ander was assigned to a short girl with tall, rabbit like ears and a nose the color of radishes. She did end up giving him a shirt; one with large blue buttons down the back that wrapped tight and made Ander’s head light. She powdered his face with blush and curled his eyelashes, making them longer than fuller than most of the cheerleaders he knew at school. He grinned. They’d be jealous if they could see him now. 

“All done!” The rabbit-eared girl set her things down at the small work table in front of her and patted the side of Ander’s head. “You look good!” 

“And you speak English!” 

She shook her head. “No, I have a translator here.” She held out her palm to reveal a small bug. “I speak a variation of Lapine.” 

“Oh. That’s cool too, though.” Ander knew Lapine was a language from a book he had read, but he didn’t think he'd ever meet anyone who spoke it. “What’s your name? I’m Ander, from planet earth.” 

“I’m Easialla. We have to get to the runway now. And by the way, Ander?”

“Yeah?”

“If you don’t make it to the next round I’ll die. The designers are the best of the best, so if we don’t do a good job, we’re not worthy of our jobs, or our lives, apparently and we’re executed. This isn’t a planet filled with cheer and bubbles, earth boy. Lives, my life, is at stake.” She tapped his shin lightly with her foot. “So work that outfit for me, would you?”

“Of course.” They walked back down the stairs with the others and across the street, to where a platform was set up and covered in red velvet. This was the runway underground. Easialla waved to Ander as he walked up the runway steps, his heart pounding in his chest. He could do this. All he had to do was pretend he was at home, in his room, like… dancing to his favorite song or something. It would be okay. Ander fed himself positive affirmations all the way up the stairs. He was number five one seventeen. 

The other boys were marvelously talented at the talent portion, they were beautiful in appearance, and for the most part they seemed to be genuinely interested in what they were doing. Ander was more nervous than he had even been in his entire life. When his turn finally came, Ander wiped the sweat from his hands and smiled at his designer. He wasn’t going to let her die, even if he had to marry the princess to do so. Actually, the princess looked like someone Ander would like to marry. She had half straight and half lightning bolt electrocuted hair the color of a cloudy day sunset and blunt brown eyes that clicked open and shut like she couldn’t find a place to concentrate. She was kind of pretty, but more than that, she was intriguing, and Ander was feeling quite the detective that day. 

He winked the direction of the court and started to stride down the runway, stopping in the middle to stop and spin, giving everyone a view of the back of the coat, big blue buttons and all. He finished the rest of the runway in three beautiful ballet leaps and paused at the end of the stage to tip an invisible hat at the princess, tilting his head so the above lights highlighted his “fine specimen” comment worthy face. He skipped back down the runway with a flourish only the most popular boy in school could manage without seeming ridiculous, and then ran back down the steps, panting. Easialla met him at the end of the steps. She looked smug and Ander frowned. “What are you giving me that look for?”

“You did great, that’s all!” Her ears fell in front of her face and she threw them back, still smirking like she’d won some kind of prize. 

“So you don’t think you’ll be executed? I feel kind of really horrible for all these other people though. Does the queen just do whatever she likes or something? It doesn’t seem like a fun place to live. I’m glad you’ll be okay though, I guess.”

“If I tell you something, can you promise not to be too mad at me?”

Ander blinked. The next boy was getting to the runway. “Sure… but that’s not too reassuring.” 

“I told you I would get executed if you didn’t win a hand of the courts because there’s a super big prize and I really wanted to win.” Her ears fell again but she didn’t move them. “I’m sorry, Ander. I hope you understand.”

Ander pretended to be upset for a moment. He closed his eyes and tried his best to look like he wasn’t laughing. “How, Easialla? How could you do such a thing?” He bit his lips together to keep from laughing, but ended up cracking up anyway. 

Easialla pushed him into the stairs and held a finger to her lips. “Shh, they’re getting ready to announce the winners of this round. You have to get on stage.” She pushed him up the stairs and he stood beside a lamp post boy and a boy with octopus legs. 

The princess walked out into the crowd and floated up to the stage. She was picking her three favorite boys before any of the rest of the court could pick theirs. “Hi.” She was holding a translator bug in her palm too, just like Easialla had. She walked around and through the line of teenage boys, collected from all over just for her. Well, her court too, but mostly her. These were the very best of the best. She laid a hand on the shoulder of a very large boy from the planet Jupiter. He was the color of ripe bananas and was called Chucklehead, as Ander learned by the translator, in English formattings. So there was one boy. Chucklehead the fat boy from Jupiter, who had been chosen because on that planet they value a healthy body image so much that he had been voted the most confident, beautiful, and intelligent boy of the whole planet. He was happy to be there and had caught the eye of the princess with his excellent, electric aura. 

“Come along, Chucklehead.” The princess Lambswool said, so Chucklehead followed behind her as she moved to choose the next boy; the next top three candidates. She walked past the lamp post boys, the octopus leg boys, the boys that looked like they had been carved out of marble, the boys that laughed like hyenas… she walked past hundreds of them before stopping on another. He was a magnificent merman who sat in a fountain spilling chocolate coins. “You.” He gave her a lazy smile. 

“Me.” It was obvious they knew each other from somewhere else.

“I’d say come along, but I know you can’t walk. You can only,” Lambswool made flippy gestures with her gloved hands. “Swim.” 

“But still, you liked me.” 

“Indeed, Banner Amzi, I do like you. So you are my second choice.” 

Lambswool continued down the line, smiling politely at the boys who obviously bored her and glaring at the ones who watched her too closely or smiled too widely. She walked past Ander and stopped at a boy with antlers sticking out from his cheekbones. Her hands went to the antlers; she pulled the boy closer to her and inspected his face. Upon finding a sliver of cheese stuck between his lower teeth, she released the boy and shrugged. She started to move forward, but Ander sneezed. 

“Who was that?” 

Ander didn’t raise his hand. 

“I said, who was that? Come on, just tell me, I’d like to know.” She moved backwards now, like a spider crawling back into shadows. 

Ander held his breath but she knew it was him. She stopped in from of him and her smile widened. “You were the boy with the eye problem.”

“I was winking…ma’am?” 

“Ah, yes, a strange custom from your planet, I’m sure. Well, lucky for you, I happened to think you were funny and kind of cute in an obscenely pitiful way, like the little creatures on the commercials for pounds or nutritional depravity.”

“I’m not ugly though!” Ander’s hands instinctively went to his face. “I’m really not.”

“Hm, you aren’t humble either. I still choose you. Come on, this round is over.”

Ander was pulled out of line with a sharp tug of Lambswool’s hand. She waved to her court and they started their way up the stairs. As Ander left with the princess, all he could think about was whether Easialla was waving goodbye to him, like he would’ve done if his hands weren’t being held hostage. 

This planet, as it turned out, was a trip and half. 


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29 comments

Pragya Rathore
06:12 May 31, 2020

Nice story

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:11 May 31, 2020

Thank you, Lennie!

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Kathy Villanueva
04:25 Jun 12, 2020

What an interesting story. Nice job with the conversations all the way thru.

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Rhondalise Mitza
04:28 Jun 12, 2020

Thank you!

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01:14 Jun 03, 2020

Wonderful story. It satisfied my curiosity from the ending of the last story. Absolutely loved the sequel. Hope there will be more to this amazing series. Great job!

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Pragya Rathore
04:27 Jun 02, 2020

What an amazing series... This is lovely,Rhondalise! Please review my stories too...

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Rhondalise Mitza
04:29 Jun 02, 2020

The next one is coming out tonight and I will make sure to do that, Pragya! I've liked them all but haven't had a chance to comment yet. :)

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Pragya Rathore
04:30 Jun 02, 2020

I can't wait to know what happened next! Please comment as soon as you can... I'd really like your review!! :)

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15:15 Jun 01, 2020

Waiting in hope for the threquel...? You could make a pretty successful series out of this. ;)

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Rhondalise Mitza
15:44 Jun 01, 2020

Aw, you think so? What prompt would work for this though, I’m wondering. Hmm. I do like it a lot too. I’m also wondering how I should move forward from here; make Ander go to the finals or stay with the bunny girl... or whether he wants to go home or not? I don’t know! So many options for young Ander. Any preferences by the people? ✍🏻🌸🌟

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20:47 Jun 01, 2020

I'd be excited to see whatever he does. Besides...isn't it the place of the author to surprise us? ;) XD

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Rhondalise Mitza
21:02 Jun 01, 2020

Haha, yes! It is.

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Vrishni Maharaj
10:37 Jun 01, 2020

Wonderfully written!!!

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15:32 May 31, 2020

Beautifully executed. love it!!

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Daryl Gravesande
13:02 May 31, 2020

Also, NEW STORY IS OUT!!! Read it and spread the word!!!!

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:11 May 31, 2020

Of course, just read it!

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Daryl Gravesande
10:35 May 31, 2020

Eyyy the long awaited story is here!!! Is there a sequel in the works? Also, amazing work once again! There's a reason you're head writer, lol.

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:11 May 31, 2020

Haha, I guess so! I'm working on that today by the way... :)

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Daryl Gravesande
15:23 May 31, 2020

Awesome! Send me the script when you're done! I want to read the masterpiece!!!

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Rhondalise Mitza
15:36 May 31, 2020

Will do! 🌟

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Daryl Gravesande
15:56 May 31, 2020

Nice!

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Rhondalise Mitza
19:56 May 31, 2020

Just sent episode one!

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Khadija S.
02:28 May 31, 2020

Nicely done! Awaiting more sequels (?) :)

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Rhondalise Mitza
02:37 May 31, 2020

Perhaps!

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05:10 May 31, 2020

Great story. I'm loving it! Can't wait if there is a next! ❤❤ ^^ Oh, and thanks for checking out my latest story. Really appreciate it :)

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Rhondalise Mitza
14:00 May 31, 2020

Yeah, no worries! I think another one could work! Ander isn't finished on Larttleight.

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15:41 May 31, 2020

True! Can't wait! 😊💕

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