Welcome to the next instalment of my current fantasy/comedy web serial. Thank you for dropping by. If you fancy, please leave a comment; it really is useful to know what’s working and what’s not working. To catch up on previous chapters you will find a list by clicking here.
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which Ms Pinky gatecrashes a nightmare)
Ms Pinky peeled off her bright purple eyelashes, placed them in their box and looked at her Barbie alarm clock; it was only seven thirty, earlier than her usual bedtime, but tonight she was a monster on a mission.
Ms Pinky had left the Exchange just after lunch to give her time to prepare for the night ahead; entering someone’s recurring nightmare unannounced was a risky undertaking and there was no knowing what or who was already lurking within Alice’s night terrors, and more importantly if they would welcome a seven foot pink monster.
Ms Pinky yawned; she had deliberately limited her caffeine intake to three quadruple lattes, but just in case had taken a bottle of herbal sleeping pills recommended by Neil. She needed to stay asleep for as long a possible to increase her chances of entering Alice’s nightmare; they both needed to be asleep at the same time for this to work.
Ms Pinky climbed into her super king size divan, kissed the photo of Neil on her bedside table, and placed a quilted satin mask over her eyes.
Meanwhile, many hundreds of miles away in the icy seas just south of the Arctic Circle, Alice was also trying to settle down for the night. She adjusted the iron chain around her ankle and pulled the thin sheet up around her neck. Njord was snoring away on the other side of the cabin and Alice wished, not for the first time, that she had the sea god’s ability to sleep through the storms and freezing temperatures. On a mattress behind her, Lisbeth was quietly singing a melancholic lullaby to herself. Alice had managed to smuggle a bottle of water back from the Kraken’s tank to pour over the mermaid’s dry tail; she was suffering terribly and probably wouldn’t last much longer.
Alice yawned; maybe she would drop off after all. It had been a busy day with the Kraken and they had made excellent progress. So far she had succeeded in persuading the giant squid to perform a spectacular ink squirt which had covered Bradley from head to toe. Whilst the Nautilus Entertainment executive was out of earshot getting changed, Alice had convinced the Kraken to pretend to learn the tricks which the vile multinational had specified they wanted; she hoped that this would buy enough time to save her fellow prisoners and to give her friends at the Exchange enough time to mount a rescue attempt, which, she hoped, they would do very soon.
Alice closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on the mermaid’s singing; it wasn’t long before she found herself drifting off to sleep.
Ms Pinky sniffed the air: this was definitely Alice’s nightmare. Fiona had sent Ms Pinky home with one of Alice’s jumpers which was now wrapped around the pillow underneath the monster’s head. It wasn’t exactly illegal, but smelling your way into someone’s nightmare unannounced was generally frowned upon by most in the business; she would have to tread very carefully.
‘Alice, Alice Finchley?’ Ms Pinky spoke quietly; the nightmare hadn’t come into focus yet and she was hesitant to move in case she found herself on top of a cliff or in the middle of a busy motorway, both predictably dull but popular nightmare scenarios.
Ms Pinky waited as objects slowly came into view.
‘This is all very odd,’ she said, ‘not what I imagined at all.’
She was standing in what appeared to be the lingerie section of an old fashioned department store. Racks of over-sized brassieres and voluminous knickers competed with assorted woollen hosiery and floor length winceyette nightgowns.
The heat, she noted, was intense and increasing all the time, whilst some dreadful lift music was playing over the public address system.
Ms Pinky became aware of a commotion on the fringe of the nightmare, and as she was trying to make out the source of the noise, she was bowled over by a stampeding group of elderly women. For a moment, Ms Pinky thought she had gone blind, but realised that she had become caught up in a pile of double G cup bras; she unhooked one of them from around her ears and looked up. Some of the women had stopped and were starring down at her; they were dressed identically in tartan skirts, twin sets and very stout shoes. Their tightly permed grey hair finished off the effect.
‘Who might we ask are you?’ they said in unison, ‘there are no monsters in this nightmare.’
‘I am Ms Pinky,’ said Ms Pinky climbing to her feet, ‘and I do apologise for intruding whilst you are working.’
‘What are you doing here?’ said one of them, ‘this is most irregular.’
‘I need to speak to Alice, she is in terrible danger.’
The old women looked at each other in horror.
‘Alice!’ they shouted, ‘quick, find Alice!’
They hurried off around the racks of underwear with Ms Pinky trying her best to keep up. As they turned the corner, Alice could be heard screaming from underneath a particularly unpleasant nightdress which some of the tartan clad women were forcing over her head whilst the others held her down.
‘Get this polyester off me now!’ she yelled, ‘I only wear designer!’
Ms Pinky tried to break through the ranks of grey haired tormentors, but gave up and shouted over the noise instead.
‘Alice, it’s me, Ms Pinky! Can you hear me?’
Alice’s head finally forced its way through the tight neck hole of the garment.
‘Alice! Wake up!’
‘Alice, look at me, it’s Ms Pinky.’
The lingerie and old ladies disappeared and Ms Pinky woke up.
‘Damn! I was so close,’ she said, groping for the light switch.
Over the ocean, in the freezing cabin, Alice opened her eyes.
‘So sorry Alice,’ said Njord, hovering over her, ‘but I think Lisbeth needs our help. Are you quite alright?’
Alice rubbed her eyes.
‘I’m fine. I was just having a bad dream.’
© flyingscribbler 2011