Welcome to my ongoing comedy/fantasy web serial. Somehow, we have already reached chapter eleven. If you have stuck with me from the beginning, thank you and well done. If you are new to the fun, you are very welcome. (For a complete chapter listing, click here). As always, please leave comments at the end. They are very helpful!
It seems like a good opportunity to offer a quick recap of events, so before the story continues…
The staff of the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange, Fiona, Neil and Alice, are joined by Ms Pinky, former recurring nightmare turned secretary. She replaces Alice who, as the only available cephalopod communicator, is sent to Norway to find out what has happened to the Kraken. Having discovered that the giant squid has gone missing, Alice is herself kidnapped by the werewolf, Amadeus, who has tracked her from London. She is being held captive on board a ship bound for Boston along with the Norse sea-god, Njord and a very sick mermaid by the name of Lisbeth. Also on board is the Kraken, who the Nautilus Entertainment Worldwide TransCorporation (NEWT) hope to train up, using Alice to interpret, as the star attraction of their new aquatic theme park, ‘Nautilus World’.
Meanwhile, back at the Exchange, the remaining staff set about finding poor Alice. They eventually hit upon the idea of sending Ms Pinky into Alice’s nightmare in the hope of discovering her whereabouts. When we last saw them, Ms Pinky and Alice were having trouble in the lingerie section of an old-fashioned department store……it was all a very bad dream….
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which Ms Pinky reappears in Alice’s recurring nightmare)
Amadeus opened the cabin door, threw Alice off his shoulder and pushed her inside.
‘Just the manners I’d expect from an unreconstructed werewolf like you,’ she said, rubbing her arm where it had scraped against the door frame.
‘Any more of your sassy cheek, girl,’ snarled Amadeus, chaining Alice to the wall, ‘and that simpering mermaid back there gets smoked. Now, shut it or there’s no dinner for any of you.’
The werewolf slammed the door and turned the key.
‘My dear Alice, you look quite exhausted. What have they been doing to you?’
Alice turned to the Norse Sea God and laughed.
‘Oh, Njord, you know, threats of violence, torture and drowning; typical stuff for your average big business, multi-national kidnappers of mythological sea creatures and employment exchange secretaries.’
‘Your constant good humour and optimism never fails to amaze me,’ said Njord, ‘it really has kept us all going through this ghastly and unjust sea-borne incarceration.’
Alice shrugged her shoulders.
‘I try my best,’ she said, ‘how’s Lisbeth today?’
Njord cast his eyes to the floor.
‘Not good. She’s very dehydrated and hungry. They gave us fish again for lunch. She just won’t touch it.’
‘Understandable,’ said Alice, reaching inside the oily sweater she’d been given to keep out the freezing Arctic air, ‘here, I managed to fill a bottle from the Kraken’s tank. It’s not much I’m afraid.’
‘Alice, you mustn’t put yourself in harm’s way like this,’ exclaimed Njord, taking the bottle, ‘but I know that poor Lisbeth will be grateful.’
He walked as far as his chain would allow towards the back of the cabin and called out to the huddled form of the mermaid lying on a filthy mattress.
‘Lisbeth! Alice has found you some water. I’m rolling the bottle across to you.’
The mermaid’s scaly tail appeared to flip momentarily and she mumbled a few words.
‘What did she say?’ asked Alice, ‘I don’t speak Norse Mermish.’
‘She thanks you for your kindness, as do I,’ said Njord, ‘we will never forget it.’
Alice sat down on her pillow and looked out of the port-hole into the inky darkness of the northern night.
‘I’m knackered. They’ve had me in the tank with the squid all day doing tricks. I wouldn’t mind but he stinks like…..well, pretty much like you’d expect.’
‘What kind of tricks?’ asked Njord.
‘He wraps me in a tentacle and drags me around the tank then throws me up onto the deck.’ Alice rubbed her thigh. ‘We need to work on the dismount a bit though.’
‘And you’re certain they’ve no idea he’s just pretending to co-operate?’
‘Oh, quite certain. That idiot from Nautilus Entertainment hasn’t got a clue. It’s Amadeus I’m worried about.’
At that moment the door unlocked and the werewolf stepped in, shoving a tray of raw fish across the floor.
‘Dinner!’ he growled.
‘We can’t eat this rubbish,’ said Alice, kicking the tray back.
‘Your choice,’ said Amadeus as he turned to leave, ‘oh, and Alice, I hope you haven’t forgotten our little dinner date on Thursday night? There should be a tasty bite to eat.’
‘What was all that about?’ said Njord, sniffing one of the fish heads.
‘Full moon on Thursday,’ said Alice, lying down, ‘I think I AM his dinner. Night night, Njord.’
As the cold night wore on and the boat continued to plough through the waves, Alice became aware of an unpleasant smell. It was old and fusty with the unmistakable aroma of elastic and cheap fabric. Shit, thought Alice, I’m having my nightmare again.
Alice just had time to throw herself under a rotary display of ‘flesh’ coloured nylon support knickers before thirty white-haired grannies came stampeding into the polyester hell of the lingerie department. Knarled old hands grabbed at her ankles and through gaps in the underwear she caught glimpses of tartan skirts, pastel green cardigans and pink fur.
Something wasn’t right. Alice had dreamt this nightmare regularly for years and there had never been pink fur in any of them. Giving in to the inevitable, she allowed herself to be dragged out to confront her attackers.
‘Alice, don’t wake up, stay asleep!’
Alice looked through the groping gaggle of tartan grannies and found herself staring into the orange glowing eyes of a pink furry monster.
‘Ms Pinky!’ shouted Alice, ‘I don’t understand. Is this still my nightmare?’
‘Yes,’ said Ms Pinky, knocking a dozen or so old ladies to the ground, ‘but listen, we haven’t got long.’
‘What are you wearing?’ asked Alice, noticing Ms Pinky’s attempt at ‘blending in’ with her nightmare. The monster, having failed to squeeze into her tartan skirt, had instead placed it over her ears like a head scarf; she had rolled each part of the pastel green twin set into a sausage and was wearing them as ankle warmers.
‘That doesn’t matter, Alice,’ insisted Ms Pinky, kicking two more of the nightie nightmares out of the way, ‘tell me where you are.’
‘In my nightmare, of course,’ said Alice.
‘No!’ screamed Ms Pinky, ‘where are you really? You’ve been kidnapped. Remember?’
‘No,’ said Alice, ‘what are you talking about? Why are you in my nightmare?’
Some of the old ladies had now managed to get between Ms Pinky and Alice, and were preparing to pull a lemon yellow polyester nightie over Alice’s head.
‘That’s not La Senza!’ she screamed.
‘Think, Alice!’ pleaded Ms Pinky, ‘you were looking for the Kraken and have been kidnapped by a werewolf. Where have they taken you?’
Alice thought for a moment. The Kraken? That rang a bell. Hadn’t she been swimming with him earlier on in the tank on board…….?
‘A ship!’ she cried, ‘I’m on a ship heading for Boston.’
‘Well done Alice,’ shouted Ms Pinky, ‘who else is there?’
‘Njord, the Kraken and a very sick mermaid.’
Alice disappeared beneath the shiny fabric of the nightie.
Ms Pinky could just make out her muffled voice above the din.
‘Help us Ms Pinky! We only have till Thursday. The werewolf wants to eat me at the next full moon!’
© flyingscribbler 2011