By Christian Laforet
The Siren slid towards Sam and Robi-Jo, Zack’s blood staining her lips. Even on land, the creature’s movements were fluid.
Felicia shook her head before slapping a palm against one of her ears. It did nothing, all she could hear was a dull whooshing. Looking up, she realized that her hearing troubles would have to wait, the Siren would be on her friends in seconds. She had to do something!
The light in the cave was dim, but there was enough for Felicia to spot the pistols. Zack must have dropped when he fell under the Siren’s spell. She had never fired—or held for that matter—a gun before, but she’d seen enough movies. Without a second thought, she hefted them off the ground, aimed them at the Siren and fired.
The bullets roared like cannonballs in the confines of the cave. The Siren saw the attack coming, ceased her singing and attempted to fall back into the dark water. One of the slugs went wide and ricocheted off the craggy wall. The other found a home as it slammed into the thigh of the retreating she-creature.
As soon as the music stopped, both Sam and Robi-Jo jerked before sagging to the ground.
“What?” Robi asked as she massaged her temples.
“Good question,” Sam replied rising back to her feet. “I’m guessing we were under the Siren’s spell.”
“Where did Zack,” Robi started, but stopped abruptly upon seeing his bloody remains. “Oh, never mind, he’s dead.”
“I DID IT!” Felicia whooped and hollered in triumph. “I TOTALLY SHOT THAT BITCH! I’M SO GANGSTER!”
“Why is that fool yelling?” Sam stomped towards Felicia but stopped cold when a massive form rose up out of the water behind her.
Felicia was in the middle of a series of vigorous pelvic thrusts when she finally noticed the looks of pure horror etched across her friends’ faces. She could see they were saying something, and judging by how fast their lips moved, it was something important.
“There’s a huge sea monster behind you!” Robi-Jo screamed.
Still not sure what the big deal was, Felicia joined the other two girls. “YES, I DID SAVE THE DAY!”
Sam reached out, grabbed Felicia by the shoulders and spun her around.
Felicia felt her heart skip a beat. “OH MY GOD! WHY DIDN”T YOU GUYS TELL ME THERE WAS A GIANT MONSTER BEHIND ME?”
Sam eyed the beast. She had heard rumors of the Nicktopus during her travels. Legend was that the creature had once been a meat clerk at Fresh Choppers on Earth Prime, but due to black magic, had become something much more. She had always dismissed the stories as the Emperor’s propaganda. But, with black water dripping from its massive face, she knew that everything she had ever heard was true.
The Nicktopus arched up to his full height, his head nearly touching the ceiling of the cave.
“Oh great! A half-man, half-octopus just appeared.” Robi-Jo shook her head. “Well, at least we know it can’t get any worse.”
Behind them, the Siren re-emerged. Blood dribbled from her wound, her face a contorted mask of rage.
Sam glared at Robi-Jo. “Thanks for that.”
Robi opened her mouth to say something, but the words were stolen away when the Siren resumed her song.
Felicia watched in horror as her friends fell under the spell of the Siren once again. She remembered the guns still in her grip, and brought them to bear once more. She did not get a chance to shoot however, as she was bowled aside.
The Nicktopus had found his prey and was preparing to dispatch them when the fourth female had arrived. He barely paid her any mind…at first. Once she started singing though, something began buzzing in his head. A wave of confusion rocked him. He couldn’t recall why he was there at all. Shaking with anger, he focused—as much as he could—on the signing girl. It was her fault. He rushed forward, covering the distance between them in a blink. He was vaguely aware of brushing against one of the girls as he did so.
Felicia rolled over, rubbing her butt—she had landed on a skull. “WHAT THE HEY?”
The Nicktopus attacked the Siren viciously. His many limbs smashing the water around her in an attempt to crush her. With her focus on the beast, the Siren stopped her song.
Sam shook the effects from her head and turned to see the monstrous fight happening before her. Clearly the Nicktopus had not liked the Siren’s singing. She thanked Veets for small miracles.
“Robi,” Sam barked. “Grab the Dale piece, add it with the others in the rowboat. We’re leaving, now!”
The three girls hoped into the boat and began rowing frantically, the battle echoing off the walls behind them.
The Siren fought hard, but ultimately, the Nicktopus was too strong. The behemoth entangled her in one of its many appendages, and slammed her against the rocky wall. She felt her body break as she slumped into the water, all the fight gone from her.
With the cursed sea witch silenced for good, the Nicktopus spun in the water and gave chase to the receding rowboat.
“Paddle!” Sam shouted.
“Oh gee, is that what we should do!” Robi spat back. “Here’s a thought, why don’t you teleport us the hell out of here!”
Sam was already adjusting the knobs on the device. “The rock around us is too dense, I won’t be able to get a signal until we clear the cave.”
Felicia peeked over her shoulder behind them. A large form was moving towards them at a tremendous rate. “UH GUYS? THAT GIANT OCTOPUS THING IS CHASING US!”
The Nicktopus was so close to the boat that he could practically taste the girls. He opened his maw—he would devour the boat whole—and covered the last few feet to his target. .
Robi-Jo leaned forward, the cave entrance seconds away. “We’re gonna make it!” She yelled joyfully.
No sooner had the words left her lips when she, Felicia, Sam and the boat were all sucked into the Nicktopus’ gaping mouth.
He craned his head back letting gravity help with the task of swallowing. His momentum kept him moving forward straight out of the cave.
It started as a ripple, which shivered through his body, and was followed by a shock of blue light which burst from his mouth. The Nicktopus bellowed in agony.
Felicia, eyes squeezed shut, screamed, “OH MY GOD! WE”VE BEEN EATEN!”
Sam socked the girl in the shoulder.
“OUCH!” Felicia’s looked up as she rubbed the spot painfully. “WHAT’D YOU DO THAT FOR?”
“We’ve been trying to tell you that we’re no longer inside the Nicktopus…or even on Teardrop for that matter. I managed to teleport us out of his stomach.”
“HEY,” Felicia spun in a circle. “YOU GUYS! WE DIDN”T GET EATEN! HOW DID WE MANAGE THAT?”
Sam rolled her eyes and shook her head. It wasn’t worth it.
Leaning over the side of the rowboat, which sat in the middle of large field full of dried grass, Felicia stuck out her tongue at the sight on either side of the boat. “YUCK! WHAT IS THAT?”
Sam smiled. “Teleportation is a tricky thing. Sometime you manage to take a bit of your surroundings when you jump. In this case, the Nicktopus’ intestines.
“IT LOOKS LIKE GUTS! WHAT IS THIS STUFF?” Felicia looked towards Sam for an answer.
Sam balled her fist ready to lay another punch onto her, but was stopped by Robi-Jo.
“As funny as it is watching you two, can we get a move on?”
“You’re right, we don’t have time for this.” Sam scanned the horizon for a moment before speaking again. “Well, first let me welcome you both to Hardpan. When the Emperor took over, he transformed ever Fresh Choppers on this world into a prison.
“Sounds just like our world.” Robi chuckled as she nudged Felicia.
“WHAT?” Felicia replied.
Robi let the joke go and turned to Sam. “Okay, so what awful thing are we going to have to do on this world?”
“Well, first we need to find a processing station,” as she spoke, Sam hopped out of the boat, her boots squishing a ropey intestine, “which as luck would have it, there’s one right over there.”
The processing station was a small single room building. The men stationed inside were no match for Sam. She sat before one of the many computers.
“Hmm, our luck continues. It appears that the Dale on this world is being held in prison 9822.” Sam read off the screen. “And he’s already dead.”
Felicia nodded enthusiastically. “Hey, I heard some of that! My hearing’s coming back.”
“Well, I’m glad you’re happy,” Robi-Jo brushed past Felicia, “but my hearing’s just fine, and what I heard is that we have to retrieve yet another dead Dale and this one from a fricking prison!”
“Don’t worry about it.” Sam clicked off the computer. “Hardpan prisons have a common practice, when an inmate dies, his or her organs are tagged and preserved for future use. That means that there is a perfectly healthy Dale heart waiting for us to take it.”
Robi shook her head. “Okay, fine, but there’s still the part about breaking into a prison.”
“Let me tell you something about Prison 9822,” Sam said as she headed for the door. “When the Emperor flipped all the stores into prisons, he was strapped for competent management. This resulted in 9822 being run by some of the stupidest people across the multiverse. I’m not kidding here, you may think you know incompetent, but if even half the stories are true about this place, it’ll be like taking candy from a mentally challenged baby.”
“Wow!” Felicia proclaimed as she walked around the warden’s office, the warden himself dead in the corner. “That was easy!”
Sam laughed. The burst of joy felt good, it was about time their luck changed. She keyed a code into a control panel on the wall near the warden’s desk. The code itself was written on a post-it stuck next to the panel, she guessed the man had been too stupid to remember the four digit number. Within seconds, a tube holding the Dale of Hardpan’s heart, appeared.
Robi-Jo sat slumped in the warden’s chair. She was still winded from the task of carrying all the Dale pieces. “So, we just stick all the parts together and bam, new Dale?”
“That’s the theory,” Sam said as she removed the organ from the tube.
Robi sat up. “Theory?”
“Don’t worry about it, it’ll work.” Sam was already arranging the body parts.
“It better,” Robi grumbled.
Felicia nudged one of Dale’s legs into the socket with her foot. “Once Dale is revived, can we go home?”
“Yes. The Emperor will be no match for the resurrected Dale. The five worlds will be free from tyranny once again.”
“Good! Then let’s do it!”
Sam pressed the heart into the ragged hole. Once it was secure, she stood back and watched.
“Uh…maybe it takes a couple of minutes. Like he needs to warm up or something.” Felicia tried to sound positive but even she didn’t believe her own words.
“No,” Sam shook her head. “Something’s wrong.”
“You forgot the soul.”
The three girls spun around to find The Dread Rainbow Emperor Shawn standing before them. He held up a glass tube, five glowing balls hovered within.
“And look at that, I happen to have all five right here.” The Emperor’s voice was like ice.
Sam let out a hiss and charged the man, he battered her aside as if she were nothing more than an insect.
“Now now, we’ll have time to play later.” He raised his hand. A dozen armed guards rushed into the warden’s office. “I have such fun plans for you all.”
TO BE CONCLUDED!
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: http://www.amazon.com/Space-Between-Houses-Christian-Laforet-ebook/dp/B00P5N8TRS/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-ueredtext&ie=UTF8&qid=1420681234&sr=1-2&keywords=the+space+between+houses