The Dale of Five Worlds (Part 5)

By Christian Laforet

The Dread Rainbow Emperor moved across his throne room towards the monitors. “Report,” he demanded.

On the screen, a soldier in rainbow body armor held up a name tag. “We found this in what was left of The Sensation’s palace here on hEarth.”

The Emperor stared at the piece of plastic. “It would appear that the every present thorn in my side, Sam, has found some companions. If The Sensation has already fallen, then it’s clear that his pieces of the hEarth Dale are now in her possession.”

“What would you have us do, my lord?” The soldier asked.

The Emperor thought for a moment, before waving a hand towards his minion. “Nothing. If my suspicions are correct, then Sam and her band of rebels have found their way to Teardrop. What they don’t know, is that I’ll have a little surprise waiting for them.”

Emperor Shawn turned away from the monitor, with a flick of his wrist, the call to the soldier ended. He strode towards his mighty throne and sat down. He pressed a small button on the armrest which opened a channel to his agents on Teardrop.

“Release the Nicktopus!” The Dread Rainbow Emperor smiled as he received the confirmation of his order.

The Em-Jay rocked gently through the calm waves. Gascogne Isle loomed in the fog like a colossal ghost.

Sam, Felicia and Robi-Jo stood at the bow of the ship.

“So, that’s not too foreboding looking or anything.” Felicia chuckled nervously.

Robi leaned on the rail to get a better look at the approaching land mass. The moon bathed what was visible through the fog in silver tones. “You really think this Stephanie-Siren girl, is as scary as they say?”

“No, she’s much worse.” Captain Zack approached the three women from behind. “The Siren is a force of nature. Believe me, this mission is practically a suicide run.”

Both Felicia and Robi-Jo opened their mouths to respond, but Sam cut them off. “It doesn’t matter. The fact is, if we don’t do this, we’re doomed. At least this way, there’s still hope.”

Zack nodded grimly. “Alright, in that case, I better go over some things before we reach Gascogne Isle. First, we’ll have to go in by row boat. The Em-Jay will surely attract the Siren’s attention. There’s a cove on the west side of the island. From there, we can row directly into the Siren’s lair. Secondly, if the Siren does confront us, cover your ears and run. It will probably do no good, but still, it’s worth a shot. And hey, if all else fails,” Zack patted the guns strapped to either side of his hips, “I got Beauty and the Beast here.”

The ocean led into a small inlet lined on both sides by a copse of gnarled trees. The fog swirled around the grabbing branches in hypnotizing eddies. It gave the impression that the trees were moving—reaching—for them as they rowed past. Their destination was clear. Gascogne Isle was not very large, the only thing standing taller than the surrounding trees was a foreboding black rock cave which stood before them like a giant tombstone.

Robi-Jo swatted a bug out of the air in front of her face. “What the hell, man! The damn bugs sure don’t seem to be scared of this place. They’re eating me alive!”

“Hmmm,” Zack stroked his chin. “There does seem to be an awful lot of the things. One thing going for Teardrop is that we don’t usually have a lot of bugs. There must be something on the isle they’re feeding off of.”

“There is, me!” Robi grunted through clenched teeth as she swung her hands through the air in wild arcs.

Felicia let out a retching groan. When the others turned, they found her leaning over the side of the row boat. “I think I found what the bugs have been eating.”

A soft thump caused the others to peer into the still water around them. Just underneath the surface, the rotting remains of a man bumped against their bow. The dead man wasn’t alone either, now that the fog had thinned a bit, being away from the open ocean, they could see that countless copses clogged the banks of the inlet.

Robi-Jo slapped a hand over her mouth, in an attempt to stop the bile which was rapidly rising up her throat. She failed. Her lunch splashed in the water directly on top of the floating body.

Felicia crinkled her nose at the sound and sight of Robi retching. “Well…at least we know we’re in the right place.”

The row boat continued forward towards the cave. Nobody spoke a word as they slide past the obsidian entrance. Stalactites hung down over the opening giving those aboard the impression that they were rowing into a massive sinister maw.

Darkness enveloped them as they progressed deeper into the Siren’s lair. Sam pulled a glow-rod from her utility belt. The light cast from the device was a white/blue which immediately sent a horde of shadows scattering across the rock face surrounding them.

The cave opened up into a round cavern. Sam held the light over her head, but it was not strong enough to reach the edges. There was however a small island rising up from the water directly before them. It was littered with a collection of bodies. From their position, it was almost impossible to tell where one dead person ended and the next began.

Zack tilted his head towards the macabre heap. “Whatever’s left of our Dale should be in there…somewhere.”

Sam let out an annoyed grunt. “How in the hell are we supposed to find him? We could be collecting pieces of somebody else entirely and we wouldn’t even know it.”

“It won’t be as hard as it seems.” Zack directed the row boat forward until it came to a rest against the small island. “Dale always wore the most flamboyant clothing. The day he came out here, he was wearing a purple and silver shirt with a large orange fish stitched on the front.”

“Wow,” Felicia laughed. “And I thought our Dale dressed funny.”

“Can we all stop talking and start looking? I’d like to get out of here before the man eating girl comes back,” Robi-Jo said impatiently.

“You’re right, we should hurry.” Sam hopped out of the row boat and began wadding through the corpses.

Zack and Robi-Jo quickly followed suit. Felicia did not move however.

“Oh gross. Can’t we use gloves or something? I just think we’re going to catch some kind of disease by touching all of the dead people,” She said.

Robi snapped a finger at her. “Uh-uh, if I’m handling body parts, so are you. Besides… Man. Eating. Girl.”

In the deepest part of Teardrop’s massive ocean, a large metal chamber clicked as giant gears begin to turn. Within the confines of the submerged prison, the monster stirred. Memories swirled through his brain. He was a man once. He walked on land and had a job, and then all that changed. Something happened. Magic. Death. Pain. So much pain. And Dale. The name sent a shiver of rage through the creature. Even with his memory a shattered collection of fragments, he could still recall the one who had doomed him to this existence.

A new thought entered his mind. It was more a suggestion than a concrete idea, but still, he was powerless to stop it. He knew that this new sensation came from his captor, the Emperor. An overwhelming urge to find a group of people, and destroy them swept aside his ruminations.

The beast extended his many arms, muscles stretched and pulled underneath the rubbery skin. There was a moment of stillness in the deep black of the ocean floor before he exploded like a shot towards the surface.

“I found him!” Robi-Jo proclaimed. “Well, some of him, anyway.”

The group gathered around Robi’s find. The garish shirt that Zack had described clung to the dismembered torso.

“Hey!” Felicia said excitedly. “That’s the part we need. We got a head from our world,” she pointed at Robi-Jo, “arms and legs from that creep, The Sensation, and now we got the rest. We can put Dale back together, save the day and go home!”

“Not so fast,” Sam said, a grim tone to her voice. “Look.”

Felicia took a closer look at the body part. There was a ragged hole torn in the chest. “Oh man, she took his heart.”

“Ladies, if we could hurry this along.” Zack looked around nervously at the darkness around them.

Sam nodded and tilted her head towards the girls. “Grab the torso. We’ve managed to avoid the Siren so far, let’s not push our luck.”

“Uh…guys?” Robi stood staring past Sam. “Bubbles.”

Just off the side of the small mound of land, a swarm of bubbles began collecting along the surface of the dark water. Zack cursed and started fumbling for his guns.

The woman rose from the water in one smooth motion. Her long black hair glistened in the light from Sam’s glow-rod, it contrasted sharply with her alabaster skin. Shells, coral and seaweed clung to her exposed flesh. Her eyes locked on the foursome.

Robi-Jo turned to run, but slammed into Sam sending them both toppling over a small pile of dead people. Zack pulled the guns from their holsters and aimed them at the Siren. He would have had a clear shot except for the fact that Felicia was standing directly in front of him.

“Move!” He yelled, but the girl was scared stiff.

He knew he’d never get a better shot than the one before him, so he thrust the guns past each side of Felicia’s head and fired.

The thunderous claps sent Felicia to the ground, her hands clasped over her ears.

Zack’s aim was off, the lead balls sailed just to the left of the Siren. In a scramble he began reloading the weapons.

The Siren took a step onto the tiny island, opened her mouth and started singing.

Zack’s hands went slack, his guns falling the ground. He walked slowly towards the Siren. Once he was in front of her, he dropped to his knees and lifted his chin so that his neck was exposed. He did not make a peep as the Siren sunk her teeth into his throat.

Sam and Robi-jo swayed gently as they waited meekly for the Siren to finish off Captain Zack.

“What the hell!” Felicia yelled from her spot on the ground. She rose up and spun around only to stop dead at the sight. Zack was nearly half eaten.

“Robi! Sam! We gotta run!” Felicia noticed two things in that moment, her friends were completely under the spell of the Siren, and that—thanks to Zack’s guns—she was completely deaf.

To Be Continued!

Christian Laforet is the author of the short horror collection, The Space Between Houses and co-founder of Adventure Worlds.

The Space Between Houses is available through Amazon:

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