Welcome, dear readers, to chapter twenty of ‘The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange’. This week, the story switches up a gear as our intrepid (some would say foolish) team of myths, monsters and marvels attempt to stage their daring rescue of Alice, the Kraken, Njord the norse sea-god, and Lisbeth, the almost desiccated havfrue.
If you are new to the fun, it’s never too late to join in; you might prefer to head back to chapter one, although whether this makes things any clearer I’ll leave up to you! A full chapter listing is to be found here.
Thank you for your comments over the weeks; they are very welcome and give me vital encouragement!
Let battle commence…….
The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange
(In which our heroes attempt a rescue)
Just before six o’clock the various components of ‘Operation Tooth and Claw’ were in position having received a final briefing from Fiona.
Beneath the waves, Jenny Greenteeth and her international team of sirens, mermaids and water nymphs, waited for the signal to begin their aquatic-based offensive.
High above, Cecil the griffin patrolled the sky whilst the Harpies hovered over the ship’s bow. The reindeer, who had pulled the Operation’s caravan across the Atlantic, were treading air. The caravan’s occupants, an assorted bunch of zombies, monsters, Furies and poltergeists, had changed into night-time camouflage, ready to board the ship and affect their daring rescue of Alice, her fellow prisoners and the Kraken.
‘Er, Barry,’ said Neil to the poltergeist, ‘why are you wearing the camouflage? You’re already invisible.’
‘Oh,’ said Barry, looking at his arms for the first time since his untimely death in 1837, ‘so I am.’
‘It detracts rather from your unique element of surprise, don’t you think?’
Everyone felt tense; Ms Pinky felt a little queasy, but this was mainly due to the tight body stocking she had forced herself into. Her pink fur had sprouted through small rips along the seams and she was desperately trying to stuff it back inside.
Outside, on her reindeer, Fiona checked her watch.
‘That’s it, six o’clock. Bertie, take us down!’
‘Roger,’ said Bertie, steering the animals towards the ship.
At precisely the same moment, Jenny signalled to her team to surface. Unseen from the ship’s decks, hundreds of heads appeared in the water; long hair trailed like seaweed from each one and a watery chorus rose up from the waves.
Instantly, the guards who had been patrolling outside became mesmerized by the mermaids’ call. One-by-one they climbed over the railings and jumped into the waiting arms of the siren’s below. A particularly beefy guard landed just in front of Jenny. Her slimy green teeth glistened in the moonlight.
‘’Ello sailor,’ she winked.
The poltergeists were the first to leave the caravan when it had landed, passing through the door before Neil had a chance to open it; within seconds they were on every deck, flushing out as many terrified and confused guards as they could find. They were quickly joined by the zombies who staggered around the ship creating as much mayhem as possible.
The Furies, assisted by some of the monsters, waited outside, and began herding the ship’s crew towards the bow using a pincer movement of hissing, screaming, teeth gnashing and tongue flicking. The Harpies, armed with lengths of strong rope, flew at speed around the petrified crew.
‘Seize them! Hold them! Tie them fast!’ they wailed.
Within minutes, most of the ship’s crew had either thrown themselves overboard, or were otherwise restrained on the forward deck.
The mayhem had not gone unnoticed by Njord and Lisbeth, chained together in their cabin.
‘My sisters,’ croaked the havfrue weakly, ‘I hear my sisters; we’re saved.’
‘By Thor’s mighty thunder, I believe you’re right,’ cried Njord, ‘now, if only we could loosen these infernal chains.’
‘Do you need a hand with those?’
Njord looked around the cabin.
‘Who said that?’
‘I did. Barry Dodsworth, poltergeist, at your service. I take it you are the sea-god by the name of Njord, and this must be the lovely Lisbeth?’
‘In…indeed we are,’ stammered Njord, ‘might I take it that rescue is at hand?’
‘You might,’ said Barry, ‘although I’ll be needing a hand with these chains; I can’t seem to get a grip on them. Won’t be a second.’
Thirty seconds later Ms Pinky, who had already burst out of her camouflage body stocking, crashed through the door, taking it off its hinges. She stood panting in front of Njord, her pink fur fluffed up and eyes burning orange.
‘You must be Ms Pinky!’ said Njord, as the monster bit through his chains.
‘However did you know that?’
‘Alice told us all about you.’
Ms Pinky looked around the cabin.
‘Where is she?’
Njord held his head in his hands.
‘Alas, dear Lady, I fear it is too late to save her; the werewolf came for her not ten minutes ago. He was still in human form, but is that not the moon I see appearing from behind the clouds?’
Ms Pinky peered out of the port hole.
‘Oh dear,’ she said, ‘I hope Neil gets to her in time.’
Njord joined her at the port hole.
‘I hate to be a further nuisance, but could you assist in returning this poor creature to her sisters?’
Ms Pinky rushed to the Lisbeth, tore off her chains and picked her up. She carried her outside and held her over the railings.
‘Will you be alright?’ asked Ms Pinky.
‘I think so,’ whispered the mermaid, ‘sink or swim, as they say. Thank you!’
Ms Pinky let go and watched as the Lisbeth splashed into the water. She floated for a few seconds before being dragged beneath the waves by a myriad of mermaid’s arms.
Turning away from the water, Ms Pinky was almost knocked off her paws by Fiona and Mildred who were rushing towards the bridge.
‘Good work, Ms Pinky!’ shouted Fiona, ‘keep it up!’
‘My boss,’ explained Ms Pinky to Njord, ‘she’s such an inspiration. Now, let’s find the Kraken.’
Meanwhile, at the ship’s stern, Amadeus had been tying Alice to a flag pole.
‘This,’ he drooled, ‘is going to be a night to remember.’
‘You’re a vile dog,’ cried Alice.
‘Wolf,’ said Amadeus, ‘vile wolf; please don’t insult me.’
He paused for a moment, hearing the mermaids’ lament as it caught on the breeze. Amadeus, immune to its charm by virtue of his lupine blood, leant over the back of the ship; his guards appeared to be throwing themselves overboard.
‘Mermaids!’ he cursed, ‘what in Hell’s name are they doing here?’
‘Sounds like you’re in trouble!’ shouted Alice.
Before Amadeus could answer, he was distracted by a bright reflection in the water. His gaze followed the moon beam into the sky and, throwing back his head, he opened his mouth and released a blood-curdling howl.
‘Oh shit!’ said Alice, ‘they’re too late.’