Welcome to the next instalment of my web serial set at The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. If you are joining us for the first time, and would like to start from the very beginning, you will be transported to chapter one by clicking here. A full chapter listing is available here.
I have been very busy working this week, flying across the Atlantic four times in five days. This resulted in forgetting to list on #tuesdayserial, so apologies to anyone who usually arrives here from there. Double listing next week.
I must also say a HUGE thank you to the lovely Icy Sedgewick who was the sole participant in my web vote to choose a character to appear in the series. In a bizarre telepathic-like moment, I appear to have known exactly what Icy had suggested: her vote somehow ended up in my spam comments folder, which I only checked AFTER writing a Griffin into the serial. This was Icy’s precise myth of choice anyway. The griffin has already made his first appearance and I am very pleased that Icy gets to see him in the end. If you are not familiar with the wondrous wordmongering of Icy, do take a peek at Icy’s Blunt Pencil blog.
Enough of the chat. On with the show! (As always, comments are very welcome).
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which Ms Pinky shows the extent of her diversity training)
Neil’s revelation to Ms Pinky that he was a werewolf rendered the monster entirely speechless; conversely, it sent the assembled participants of “Operation Tooth and Claw”, who had been witness to Neil’s forced confession, into a chaotic and high-pitched panic.
The principle instigators of the pandemonium were the Harpies, who flew around the reception, whipping up a storm of frenzied terror.
‘He’ll devour us by moonlight!’ wailed one.
‘Beware the wolf-man!’ cried another
‘Death to the lycanthrope!’ screamed the third.
‘Well this is just great,’ shouted Fiona, ducking behind the desk to avoid a zombie’s arm which had been thrown across the room, ‘this is never going to work.’
‘Don’ worry yourself Miss Fiona,’ said The Green Man, who had placed a wicker waste bin on his head for protection, ‘we’ll get this ‘ere lot calmed down in a jiffy.’
Meanwhile, the Harpies had ceased circling the room and had fixed their wild eyes on Neil, who was nervously edging out of the room.
‘Kill him!’ they shrieked as they descended towards him.
Ms Pinky, who, having snapped out of her momentary state of shock, now launched her considerable pink bulk into the air, arms spread wide, legs akimbo, and hurled Neil to the ground.
‘I’ve got you covered,’ she panted as she took the full force of the Harpies, whose sharp talons were deflected by her Kevlar flak jacket, ‘now, let’s get you out of here.’
The monster crawled on her elbows and knees, commando-style, towards the corridor, dragging her charge with her. Once there, she kicked the door shut and sat behind it.
‘Thank you,’ gasped Neil, rubbing his neck.
‘I didn’t hurt you, did I?’ asked Ms Pinky.
‘Saved me, more like,’ said Neil.
They sat in silence for a moment to catch their breaths, listening as the commotion next door gradually subsided.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ asked Ms Pinky.
‘I was worried what you’d think of me. I didn’t want you to treat me differently.’
‘Like a monster, you mean?’
Neil looked at Ms Pinky.
‘I didn’t say that.’
‘We’re all unique in some way or another,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘it’s what makes us interesting.’
‘I still should have told you.’
‘How did it happen? If you don’t mind my asking.’
‘Nothing “happened” as such; my father was a true werewolf and I inherited some of his lupine genes.’
‘Meaning, physically, I turn into a werewolf every full moon; but up here,’ he said, tapping his head, ‘I’m still Neil. Mostly.’
‘What do you mean, “mostly”?’
‘Nine times out of ten I’m able to reason and I don’t attack; once in a while though the true werewolf in my blood emerges. Hence the containment room down there,’ he said, pointing to the locked room next to the fire exit.
‘So that’s what that is!’ exclaimed Ms Pinky, ‘I thought you were keeping the stationary locked up so that I wouldn’t eat it.’
‘Not at all,’ laughed Neil, ‘it’s for my protection.’
Ms Pinky shook her head in wonder.
‘So you’re a werewolf AND gay,’ she said ‘that ticks a few diversity boxes!’
‘You know about that as well?’
‘Oh please!’ exclaimed Ms Pinky, ‘there are gay monsters too you know. And anyway, it’s blindingly obvious.’
‘Neil,’ said Ms Pinky, hoisting herself to her feet, ‘I might not be able to see your werewolf blood, but I can spot a love-struck gay a mile off. He’s very sweet, by the way, Bertie; you look after him.’
Neil gave Ms Pinky a hug.
‘Shall we see if the coast is clear?’
They crept back into reception just as Fiona was explaining the role the Beserkers would be taking in the operation.
‘So,’ she said, ‘they will take over once we have located Alice and the other hostages. Please be aware that Beserkers are highly volatile and will not discriminate between you and the kidnappers. Does everyone understand? Good, so if there are no more questions, we will reconvene in the car park just before noon tomorrow; in the meantime, Ms Pinky has kindly agreed to host a combat readiness and restraint technique master class for those of you who feel that it might be of benefit.’ Fiona scanned the room briefly. ‘I suggest that you ALL take advantage of her kind offer; we must be as prepared as possible for the many obstacles which will almost certainly hamper our efforts tomorrow night.’
As soon as the last of the zombies had shuffled out into the car park, Fiona turned to her employees who had now been joined by Bertie, back from grooming the reindeer.
‘I hope,’ she said, seriously, ‘that the near disaster we experienced earlier demonstrates the need for absolute honesty?’
‘I’m sorry, Fiona,’ said Neil, ‘it won’t happen again.’
‘Good. Now, Bertie, how are the reindeer?’
‘Ok,’ said Bertie, ‘although I’m afraid I’ve had to quarantine two of them with suspected hoof rot.’
Fiona took a deep breath.
‘Fabulous,’ she said, ‘anything else you’d like to tell me?’
‘There was just one other tiny thing,’ said Bertie, wincing.
Bertie took a deep breath.
‘The Department for Efficiency and Downsizing have taken me off your case. They’ve appointed another officer to keep an eye on you, and I believe they are operating under cover.’
Fiona stared at Bertie, eyes glaring.
‘Well that’s just flipping marvellous,’ she said, ‘so now we have a government spy in our midst too.’ She looked around the room. ‘Anyone else have something they’d like to get off their chest?’
Nobody moved a muscle for a moment and then, very slowly, Ms Pinky raised a quivering paw into the air.
‘What is it, Ms Pinky?’ said Fiona.
‘I forgot to mention earlier that I get terribly sea sick. I’m prone to the most voluminous vomiting I’m afraid.’
Fiona closed her eyes in supplication.
‘Lord, give me strength,’ she said, ‘this is going to be one hell of a night.’
© flyingscribbler 2011