The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Twenty-Two. Part 2. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

Well, this is it! After many long weeks we have arrived at the concluding chapter of my web serial. I hope you have all enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I have learned a lot about the process of writing a weekly serial; in particular I have had to be careful to keep the different threads of the story running along together and I hope I have succeeded in that. Another concern has been with continuity; there are undoubtedly some glaring errors, but as this was my first attempt at anything of this nature, I hope that you will forgive me.

My main aim has been to entertain and judging by many of the comments that you have been leaving, I think I managed to do just that.

I don’t know what happens next. There are definitely more stories to be told of the goings-on at The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. I’m not sure where to tell them. Is there a full-length book there? What do you think?

Whatever happens next, thank you for sticking with it and for all the encouragement I have had over the last few months.

And so, for one last time, settle back and enjoy the ride!

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Twenty-Two. Part 2.

(In which this story ends)

Amidst the chaos of the deranged Berserkers, screeching Harpies and demented zombies, Fiona stared out of the side of ship at Bertie and Ms Pinky on the unicorn.

‘Don’t tell me that pony can really fly!’ shouted Fiona above the noise.

‘He can,’ said Bertie, ‘and look, he’s grown wings!’

‘Who the hell is that?’ said Alice, deflecting a spear thrown by a Berserker.

‘That’s Bertie, Neil’s new boyfriend.’

‘Oh, how lovely,’ said Alice, kneeing another Berserker in the groin, ‘nice to meet you Bertie; I’m Alice.’

‘Shall we leave the introductions till later,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘or would you rather stay to be butchered by this lot?’

‘Quite right, Ms Pinky,’ said Njord, hoisting himself to his feet having wrestled a Berserker to the ground and pinning it to the floor with his staff.

‘Yes,’ said Fiona, ‘perhaps we’d better leave.’

‘Right’o,’ said Bertie, ‘come on lads, bring her down nice and slow.’

The reindeer descended with the caravan and pulled in alongside the ship.

‘Women and children first please,’ said Bertie, ‘form an orderly line.’

Fiona, Alice and Njord along with the zombies and monsters inched their way to the hatch, kicking, pushing and screaming at the Berserkers.  Reaching the edge, the zombies formed a wall of defence, allowing the others to jump into the caravan. Bertie then ordered the reindeer to pull away.

‘What about the zombies?’ cried Alice, ‘we can’t leave them here.’

‘They’ll be fine,’ said Fiona, ‘they’re a resilient bunch and as soon as we get the Kraken out, the Berserkers should calm down.’

‘Where’s Neil?’ shouted Bertie, ‘I thought he was with you.’

‘Neil!’ cried Ms Pinky, ‘time to leave!’

Neil appeared at the doorway with a Berserker between his teeth, dropped him into the water and leapt aboard the caravan.

‘My,’ said Bertie, ‘what big teeth he has.’

Fiona grabbed hold of the door frame and leant out as far as she dared.

‘Come on Cecil, the coast is clear!’

‘I can’t hold him any longer,’ cried the griffin as the huge squid began to slip out of his claws.

‘That’s ok; let him go. The mermaids will look after him.’

Cecil released the Kraken from his grasp and it fell towards the sea, where the waves enveloped it with white surf.

‘Safe at last,’ said Alice, ‘I grew rather fond of it, you know.’

Njord gave Alice a hug.

‘And we, my dear, grew fond of you.’

Finally, the Harpies flew from the ship, wailing as they carried their injured sister to the caravan.

‘Keep her safe! Help her live!’

Njord helped the injured creature inside and lay her down.

‘If I’m not mistaken,’ whispered the sea god, ‘a unicorn’s tear drop should revive her.’

Fiona smiled.

‘Will a half unicorn, half Pegasus’s tear do the trick?’

Njord shrugged his shoulders.

‘I don’t see why not.’

Fiona peered out of the caravan; the unicorn was hovering just above.

‘Ms Pinky, do you think you can make that unicorn cry?’

The monster gleamed.

‘With pleasure!’

‘Thank you Ms Pinky. Now we’d better check on Santa; Bertie, could you swing this caravan round to the Bridge please?’

  Moments later Fiona found Santa on his mobile talking to the Norwegian Defence Minister.

‘It’s all sorted, my dear,’ he said, ‘the Navy is on its way to take us back to Norwegian waters, and,’ he continued, turning to the Captain, ‘to deal with this lot.’

‘Excellent,’ said Fiona, ‘in the meantime, I suggest we keep the Beserkers locked up in the hold; they’ll calm down as soon as they’ve eaten.  I’ll leave you the zombies, furies and monsters to keep an eye on the crew.’

‘What about us?’

‘Who said that?’ said Santa.

‘Barry! There you are,’ said Fiona, smiling blindly at the poltergeist, ‘would you mind staying on board? I’m sure Santa would appreciate it.’

Santa smiled gratefully.

‘Thank you. What will you do now?’

‘I have a very brave secretary to get back to London,’ said Fiona.

‘In which case,’ said Santa shaking her hand, ‘I bid you farewell until Christmas Eve; and no peeking this year.’

‘Sorry?’

‘Pretending to be asleep? It’s the oldest trick in the book.’

Fiona blushed.

‘I’ll try not to Santa. Bye.’

Back at the caravan, Fiona found Cecil resting on the roof.

‘Would you mind giving me a lift back to London?’ he said, ‘I’m most awfully tired.’

‘Of course not, Cecil; you’ve been amazing. You’ve all been amazing.’ Fiona beamed at her employees. ‘Thank you everyone. What a team!’

When the caravan arrived back at the exchange a few hours later, the sun had risen. Neil, human once more, was sleeping off the effects of his night spent as a werewolf, whilst Bertie busied himself with the reindeer and unicorn.

Fiona, Ms Pinky and Alice climbed out of the caravan.

‘It’s good to be back,’ said Alice, yawning, ‘I can’t wait to get back to work.’

‘That,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘might be a problem.’ She pointed to the door; it was boarded up with a notice pinned to it.

‘What now?’ said Fiona. She scanned the notice and scrunched it up in her fist.

‘That bastard!’

‘Who?’ said Alice.

‘The Green Man of course; he must be the spy from the Department for Efficiencies and Downsizing. No wonder he wanted to stay behind. We’ve been shut down pending an official investigation into our “use of unregistered mythical creatures and employment of dangerously psychotic monsters.”’

‘How dare he!’ cried Ms Pinky, ‘and after he brought me Malibu Barbie’s Hawaiian hot tub.’ The monster began sobbing on to Fiona’s shoulder. ‘I liked working here; it was the first time I felt like I really belonged.’

‘Don’t worry Ms Pinky,’ said Alice, stroking the monster’s pink fur, ‘we won’t be taking this lying down; will we, Fiona.’

‘Not a chance,’ said Fiona, ‘The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange is not closing its doors today or any other day! If it’s a fight they want, they picked the wrong team!’

© flyingscribbler 2011

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Twenty-Two. Part 1. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

Welcome to the concluding chapter of The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. I thought I would tease you all by splitting this chapter in two; the second and final part follows next week. (The more astute amongst you will see through this immediately: the final chapter turned out to be too long).

It’s never too late to join in the fun, so if you are new to the series and would like to read from the very start, click here to be instantly transported to Chapter One.  A full chapter listing can be accessed here.

It’s a busy few weeks for the flyingscribbler: my 40th birthday was this week and I’m away all next week on holiday, so if I don’t immediately reply to your comments, please accept my apologies.

I hope you enjoy the concluding chapter. Thank you for reading!

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Twenty-Two

Part 1

(In which the Beserkers go beserk)

Ms Pinky crossed her arms and flared her three nostrils.

‘Would somebody kindly tell me what that NAZI is doing here?’

Santa approached Ms Pinky and smiled.

‘My dear lady, please allow me to apologise for my uncharacteristic behaviour towards you the other day.  I’d just been sent the latest North American birth figures; they showed a significant increase, caused, apparently, by a series of black-outs in the Mid-West. Good news for the parents, no doubt, but it’s caused havoc in my workshop.’

Ms Pinky pursed her lips.

‘If it makes you feel any better,’ continued Santa, ‘Mrs Claus gave me one hell of a row for treating you so unkindly.’ He rubbed the back of his head. ‘Still hurts now.’

Ms Pinky uncrossed her arms and examined her claws.

‘Good. She sounds like my kind of woman.’

Fiona breathed a sigh of relief.

‘Santa, you say you’ve brought the Beserkers?’

‘Indeed. I owed the Norwegian Foreign Minister a favour and my reindeer needed the exercise.’

‘Excellent,’ said Fiona, ‘we’ve got the ship’s personnel under control for the moment, but could do with some help getting them back to Norway. I imagine the authorities there would like to talk to them’

Santa hesitated.

‘Those are the Besrkers’ orders, although….’

‘Yes?’

‘Well, they seem a little, over-enthusiastic if you ask me.’

‘Is that them I can hear outside?’

Santa rolled his eyes.

‘Pixies’ curses; I told them to wait until you were off the ship.’

Alice stuck her head out of the porthole.

‘What are they chanting?’

 From the deck below came a deep, rumbling, battle-like chant.

Ka-la-ma-ee, ka-la-ma-ee.’

Heavy footsteps accompanied the war cry as it became more insistent.

Ka-la-ma-ee, ka-la-ma-ee.

Ms Pinky leaned over the railing outside to get a closer look.

‘They’ve got terribly sharp knives,’ she said, eyes bright orange with excitement, ‘and they’re drooling.’

Fiona gasped.

‘Drooling?’ She turned to Santa. ‘Have the Beserkers eaten?’

‘Not a thing. They insisted on it.’

‘They would,’ said Fiona, ‘it gives them an appetite for blood.’

‘Or,’ shouted Alice above the din, ‘for food. That’s not “Ka-la-ma-ee” they’re chanting. It’s “Calamari”! Oh my God! The Kraken!’

Alice charged out of the bridge and launched herself down the stairs, closely flowed by Ms Pinky and Neil, still in werewolf form. Fiona turned to the Captain.

‘If you value your life, you will keep this ship steady. Understand?’

‘I suppose.’

Fiona ran after the others, yelling out to a passing Fury.

‘Sheeba!’

‘No, I’m Shelly.’

‘Doesn’t matter. Get in there and keep an eye on the Captain.’

‘With pleasssssure!’

Meanwhile, Cecil had flown to the bow and rounded up the Zombies. He was now ushering them down to the hold, assisted by Mildred, her squad of monsters, and Njord.

‘Faster!’ he cried, ‘move faster. We must save the Kraken!’

In its tank, the giant squid was showing signs of nervousness, sensing the arrival of an army of starving warriors.

‘Look at him, poor thing,’ cried Alice, ‘he’s inking all over the place.’

Ms Pinky jumped about from paw to paw.

‘They’re coming!’ she cried, ‘what shall we do?’

Neil growled as the chanting army marched down the last flight of stairs.

Ka-la-ma-ee. Ka-la-ma-ee.’

Just as the Beserkers began entering the hold, Fiona burst through the opposite door, followed by the zombies, monsters and Njord; the harpies and Cecil flew in overhead.

‘Form a circle,’ screamed Fiona, ‘harpies, give us air cover.’

The Beserkers, with the taste of squid on their tongues, now made a rush towards the tank, clashing violently with the monsters. Neil leapt into their midst, biting and clawing his way through whilst Njord wielded his staff, repelling one Beserker after another.

‘Be gone, crazed things,’ he cried.

Fiona spotted Cecil hovering nervously overhead.

‘Cecil! Grab the Kraken!’

The Griffin looked into the tank and shook his beak.

‘I can’t’, he said, ‘he’s too big.’

‘You can Cecil! You can do it!’

‘Please Cecil!’ screamed Alice, taking cover behind a zombie, ‘they’ll eat him!’

Cecil took a deep breath and plunged into the inky water; he emerged seconds later with the Kraken clasped between his lion’s claws.

‘Good work, Cecil,’ shouted Fiona, ‘now, follow us!’

The besieged staff of The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange began making their way slowly towards the side of the hold, using the zombies as a shield from the Beserkers. The Kraken’s long tentacles dragged on the floor and a couple of the Beserkers swiped at them with their knives, hacking off large chunks of squid flesh.

‘How does it open?’ cried Fiona, looking for a handle for the cargo door.

‘I don’t know,’ said Alice desperately, ‘but we haven’t got long.’

Ms Pinky, ducking as a zombie’s head was thrown at her by one of the Beserkers, looked around and made a decision.

‘Stand back! I’m going through!’

She took a breath then launched herself against the wall of Beserkers closest to the side of the ship. Shields, knives and helmets flew in all directions as Ms Pinky gained momentum before crashing through the ship’s iron hull.

Cold air rushed in sending the Beserkers into an even more demented frenzy. Four of them had grabbed hold of the Kraken and were trying to pull him down.

‘I can’t hold on much longer,’ cried Cecil.

Fiona and Alice clutched each other as the circle closed in on them. Neil had disappeared from view; they could hear the odd growl as he tried valiantly to confuse the Beserkers; two of the harpies were wailing in a corner where the third was lying injured.

‘Great time for Ms Pinky to go AWOL!’ said Alice.

‘She wouldn’t abandon us now,’ said Fiona, ‘we’ve been through too much.’

Then, without warning, a hatch in the side of the ship began to crank open: hovering in the air, alongside the ship and astride the unicorn, were a very excited Bertie and a dripping Ms Pinky.

‘Ahoy there!’ shouted Bertie, ‘I heard you were in a spot of bother.’

© flyingscribbler 2011

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Twenty-One. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

Welcome back to my comedy/fantasy web serial. Last week, we left Alice in a rather sticky situation at the mercy of the evil werewolf Amadeus. Will it turn out to be a Good Friday for her? Read on to find out how she and the rest of “Operation Tooth and Claw” get on as they try to rescue the Kraken from a fate worse than calamari.

If you are new to the series, click here to be transported back to the very start.

Comments, as always, gratefully received.

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Twenty-One

(In which Alice plays a silent movie heroine)

Alice gripped the flag pole she was tied to and took a deep breath. The werewolf’s howl still hung in the air as he turned to face her: a gruesome silhouette against the full moon. Saliva dripped from his glistening canines and, raising his head to sniff the air, his dark eyes flashed briefly.

Sweat trickled down Alice’s back.

‘If you think I’m going to scream like Fay Wray, you’ve got the wrong girl.’

Amadeus paced slowly round his victim before rising up violently on his rear paws. He growled menacingly before letting out another blood—curdling howl.

‘Christ!’ screamed Alice, ‘where’s my rescuers! Help!’

Suddenly, she became aware of another howling coming from the deck above; Amadeus had heard it too and he turned away from Alice, muzzle to the air.

What happened next passed in a terrifying blur; whatever they had heard overhead had sprung down and grabbed Amadeus in its jaw, wrestling him to the deck. The two animals writhed and snarled, biting and clawing each other. Alice was confused- surely there weren’t two of them on board.

 Briefly, as both animals paused to breathe, Alice’s eyes caught the second werewolf’s gaze.

‘Neil?’

He didn’t answer; Amadeus had bitten into his back and they rolled towards the railing in a bloody mass of claws and fur. Flesh ripped and claws scraped then, with a sickening yelp, one of the werewolves had forced the other up the railing and pushed him over the top.

 Everything on deck went quiet whilst far below the mermaids shrieked with delight.

The animal remaining on deck approached Alice and bowed its head.

‘Thank you, Neil. I promise I’ll never make those jokes about you having P.M.S ever again.’

Neil nodded his immense head and curled up at Alice’s feet.

‘Now, if I could just get these ropes undone.’ Alice wriggled her wrists; she didn’t notice Cecil landing beside her.

‘Good evening madam. May I assist with those?’

‘Goodness,’ said Alice, ‘a griffin. How exciting.’

‘My name is Cecil; I’m here with “Operation Tooth and Claw”.’

‘Well, Cecil, it’s very nice to meet you. I’m Alice.’

‘Indeed you are,’ said the griffin as he set about the ropes with his beak.

Just then the unmistakable roar of a helicopter’s rotating blades reached them from the helipad.

‘That little shit!’ said Alice through clenched teeth, ‘he’s getting away.’

‘Who, dear?’

‘The bastard who’s behind all this mess.’

Cecil peered up at the helicopter as it lifted away from the ship. He splayed his lion’s claws and admired them for a second.

‘They’ll do,’ he said, ‘please excuse me.’ Cecil flapped his wings and flew away in pursuit of the helicopter.

Alice rubbed her wrists, wondering where everyone else could be.

Everyone else was, at that moment, extremely busy and none more so than Fiona and Mildred.

They had gained entry to the bridge easily enough, the guards who had been patrolling outside having been lured overboard by the mermaids’ lament. Once inside, they were confronted by at least ten more guarding the ship’s captain.

‘We demand that you turn this ship around immediately,’ said Fiona firmly.

‘Who the hell are you?’ said the captain.

‘That’s not important. Suffice to say that the rest of your ship’s personnel are under our control; you really don’t have a choice.’

‘My orders are to get this vessel to its destination; at all costs. Guards, take these pathetic women outside and shoot them.’

Fiona raised an eyebrow.

‘Pathetic, eh? Mildred, do your thing.’

Mildred smiled sweetly.

‘I’d be delighted.’

She threw back her head, opened her mouth and proceeded to swallow herself backwards. The guards watched with growing horror as the round ball of gooey flesh sprouted long spikes and began rolling around the bridge. They scattered in all directions as Mildred speared the nearest two.

‘Good work, Mildred!’ shouted Fiona as the monster rolled out onto the deck.

Fiona turned to face the Captain.

 ‘As I was saying, stop this ship.’

 ‘Impossible.’

 Ms Pinky, who had entered unnoticed during the commotion, now tiptoed up to the Captain’s ear.

‘I’ll wager my three sets of teeth that you can,’ she whispered.

The captain looked sideways over his shoulder; Ms Pinky smiled coyly and fluttered her purple eyelids. She reached out for the ship’s controls.

‘What do you say, full stop or full steam ahead?’

‘I…er…full…er…full stop?’

‘That’s the right answer,’ said Fiona, ‘thank you Ms Pinky; another timely intervention.’

‘My pleasure, Fiona, and I’m happy to report that the Kraken is safe and well and the rest of the ship’s crew is either at the pointy end with the zombies and Furies or in the water with the mermaids.’

‘Any sign of Alice?’

Ms Pinky nodded and pointed to the door behind Fiona.

‘Here I am!’

Alice stood with her hand resting on Neil’s head, a beaming smile on her face.

‘Alice, you’re safe!’

Fiona rushed over and hugged her secretary. She looked down at Neil.

‘Thank you, Neil. You did it!’

Neil growled quietly and lay down. There was then a soft knock on the door; Cecil poked his beak round.

‘Excuse me; I hope I’m not interrupting.’

‘Cecil,’ cried Fiona, ‘you’re soaking!’

‘Yes, I’m afraid I took a dip with the helicopter; but I’m quite well.’ The griffin turned to address Alice.  ‘I have placed the pilot and your kidnapper in the care of the Furies. They won’t be escaping again.’

Alice shook her head.

‘This is quite some operation; was all this for me?’

‘You and the Kraken,’ said Fiona, ‘and Njord and Lisbeth too of course.’

‘And are they…?’

‘Both safe and well,’ said Ms Pinky.

At that moment, the Harpies landed outside, screeching and wailing.

‘He is here! The bearded one is here!’

‘Oh God, now what?’ said Fiona, heading for the door; her exit was blocked by a rotund figure dressed in red.

‘Ho! Ho! Ho!’

‘Santa!’ cried Fiona.

‘You again!’ snarled Ms Pinky.

‘Now then,’ said Santa, ‘which little girl asked for a marauding army of Beserkers?’

© flyingscribbler 2011

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Twenty. A comedy/fantasy web serial. #fridayflash #tuesdayserial

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!

You might also want to check out the fabulous #fridayflash community of flash fiction and the wonderful #tuesdayserial community of web series writing. I did, and this was the result!

Let battle commence…….

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Twenty

(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.’

© flyingscribbler

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Nineteen. A comedy/fantasy web serial. #fridayflash #tuesdayserial

Welcome back Dear Readers and well done for making it this far. We have reached chapter nineteen and this week our plucky team from the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange take to the skies in an unusual flying machine. Their aim: to rescue Alice,the Kraken, Njord and Lisbeth the havfrue from the evil Nautilus Entertainment Worldwide Transcorporation.

If you are joining us for the first time, you are very welcome! To find out what the hell is going on, you might prefer to go to chapter one and start at the very begining.  A full chapter listing can be found here. As always, a big hello to everyone linking in from #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial.

Please leave your comments; they really do help.

And so the fun continues…

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Nineteen

(In which our intrepid heroes learn the importance of fastening their seat belts at all times in case of turbulence)

 

Bette and Barbra, reared up and launched themselves into the air, followed by the other four reindeer. The schizophrenic unicorn wedged between them, still under the impression that he was Pegasus, joined in the frantic kicking and ‘Operation Tooth and Claw’ took to the skies.

Fiona checked behind to make sure the caravan was still tethered to the animals.

‘Everything seems all right back there,’ said Fiona, ‘how about the reindeer?’

‘They’re alright,’ said Bertie, ‘it’s that bloody unicorn I’m worried about. Look at him.’

‘Is he supposed to be glowing like that?’

Bertie shrugged.

‘No idea; you’re the expert on mythological creatures.’

‘Well,’ said Fiona, trying to remember what the handbook had to say about unicorns, ‘they are magical. I suppose they can do pretty much anything.’

‘Apart from fly,’ said Bertie, ‘look at him; he really thinks he’s got wings.’

‘It’s no wonder he was looking for work: schizophrenic unicorns don’t make the most reliable employees. Is that Judy and Liza in the middle?’

‘No, that’s Cher and Kylie.’

‘Whoever they are, they’re glowing now as well. In fact, they all are. I knew we shouldn’t have brought along that stupid pony.’

Bertie looked down; towns and villages flashed past in a blur.

‘We’re speeding up.’

The wind certainly felt stronger on Fiona’s face.

‘How fast should we be going?’

‘No idea,’ said Bertie, tightening his grip on the reins, ‘but even the reindeer look nervous. It must be the unicorn making us go faster.’

‘I’m quite aware of that, but right now, we have a bigger problem. Look out!’

Fiona and Bertie ducked as a 747 shot past overhead.

‘Turbulence!’ screamed Bertie.

Inside the caravan, Ms Pinky, who had just begun handing out muffins, was knocked off her paws as the caravan passed through the aircraft’s wake. She landed on top of one of the zombies, snapping off his legs.

‘I do apologise,’ said Ms Pinky.

‘Don’t worry,’ said the zombie, ‘happens all the time; arthritis.’

‘Oh you poor thing,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘that must be terribly painful. Have you had it long?’

The zombie wearily picked up a leg and examined the knee joint.

‘Centuries,’ he replied.

‘We’d better be careful,’ said Neil, reaching out to help Ms Pinky up, ‘the reindeer are going much faster than I expected; we can’t afford any more accidents.’

‘I agree,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘I’ll just finish handing out the snacks. You know, I always wondered what it was like being an air hostess.’ The caravan lurched violently to one side throwing the monster to the floor again.  ‘It’s very glamorous, isn’t it?’

‘Not quite what I was thinking,’ said Neil stepping in a pile of vomit in front of the Furies. ‘Is this yours?’

‘It’s Sasha’s,’ said Sheba, ‘Shelly’s feeling a bit green too.’

‘Get her to the toilet please,’ said Neil, ‘and then clean up this mess.’

‘We can’t use the bathroom; the poltergeists are holding a séance in there and won’t come out.’

‘We’ll see about that!’ said Neil, knocking on the toilet door. ‘Right you lot, out!’

‘Sshhh! We’re in communion with the spirits,’ said a voice from the other side.

‘Barry, you ARE a spirit and I’m communing with you to vacate this facility immediately.’

‘Oh very well; come on lads.’

Neil waited for a moment.

‘Are you out yet?’

‘Yes,’ said Barry from behind him.

‘Right,’ shouted Neil, ‘listen up everyone.’

The occupants of the caravan fell silent apart from the monsters huddled round the dinette squabbling about who was the scariest: one of them was demonstrating how he could wrap his tongue around his head five times; Mildred had turned herself inside out again; a third had just regurgitated a cat she had swallowed for breakfast.

‘And I mean EVERYONE!’

The monsters stopped arguing and looked up.

‘We are very disappointed in your conduct so far, aren’t we Ms Pinky?’

Ms Pinky, who was attempting to squeeze into her black body stocking, nodded vigorously.

‘Yes, we are,’ she gasped.

‘In a few short hours, ‘continued Neil, ‘you will be embarking on a daring rescue mission. At the moment, I doubt if any of you could rescue a cat from a tree.’ The monsters started to protest. ‘Licking the cat from the tree and eating it does not count,’ snapped Neil. ‘I suggest you put your heads together and start working as a team. Do I make myself clear?’

There was a general mumbling of agreement.

‘Good. And be careful please; we’ve picked up speed and we don’t want any more injuries.’

Neil rejoined Ms Pinky at the front of the caravan.

‘You’re very masterful sometimes, aren’t you?’ said the monster. ‘Are you sure Bertie’s the one for you?’

Neil smiled.

‘Quite sure,’ he said, ‘but thanks anyway.’

Having safely avoided any further near-misses with commercial aviation, Fiona and Bertie were now enjoying the experience of flying by reindeer; they weren’t even feeling particularly cold, much to their surprise.

‘The magical glow must be keeping us warm,’ suggested Bertie.

‘I think you’re right. If anything, it’s almost too warm.’

Fiona admired the view for a moment.

‘I’d appreciate this even more if I wasn’t so worried about Alice,’ she said, ‘I hope we’re not too late.’

‘I’m looking forward to meeting her, she sound like quite a character.’

‘You’ve never met her, have you?’

‘No,’ said Bertie, ‘but it won’t be long now; by my calculations we shouldn’t be too far away.’

They both peered over the side of their reindeers.

‘I don’t see a ship,’ said Fiona.

‘Me neither, but what’s that flying towards us? Is it a bird?’

Fiona shook her head.

‘Maybe a plane?’

‘No,’ said Fiona, ‘it’s a Harpie!’

Sure enough, one of the Harpies zoomed up towards them shrieking at the top of her voice.

‘The ship is found! The ship is found!’

‘Thank goodness,’ said Fiona, ‘Bertie, get our coordinates from your sat nav and I’ll text Jenny the details.’

‘Wilco,’ said Bertie.

‘This is it!’ shouted Fiona, ‘Hold on Alice! We’re nearly there!’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Eighteen. A comedy/fantasy web series.

Welcome back to my comedy/fantasy web series. This week, the employees of the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange take to the air in their bid to rescue Alice from the claws (and jaw) of the werewolf Amadeus, the Kraken from its fate as star attraction at the Nautilus World theme park, and Njord and Lisbeth from a watery grave. Will they succeed? Who knows? I haven’t written the final chapter yet!

I’ve been writing this as part of the brilliant #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial hashtag communities over at twitter. Check them out if you haven’t already. On that note, I didn’t get the chance to list on #tuesdayserial this week and so as not to get out of sync with #fridayflash, chapter seventeen will not appear on the #tuesdayserial site. If you are visiting from there, and so you don’t skip a chapter, click here for chapter seventeen.

Newcomers are always welcome; a full chapter list is to be found here. Click here for the portal to the very first chapter.

Comments, as always, are encouraged.

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Eighteen

(In which ‘Operation Tooth and Claw’ takes to the skies)

 

Just as Alice was contemplating her imminent demise at the hands of Amadeus, the eager participants of “Operation Tooth and Claw” were assembling in the Exchange’s car park.

Bertie had just arrived with his team of six reindeer and was busy trying to harness them to the battered old caravan Neil had ‘borrowed’ from his Granny.

‘How are you getting on?’ said Fiona. She peered inside the caravan thinking how it was going to be a bit of a squeeze to get everyone inside.

‘Just about ready,’ said Bertie.

‘Which one’s Blitzen? That was always my favourite,’ said Fiona, stroking the animal nearest to her.

‘None of them; they’re not allowed to use the real reindeer’s names, so I took the liberty of naming them after gay icons; they don’t seem to mind. Bette and Barbra are up front, that’s Cher and Kylie in the middle and these two are Judy and Liza. I was going to name them after famous dictators, but Pinochet and Stalin don’t have the same ring to them.’

‘What is that unicorn doing between Cher and Kylie?’

‘Ah,’ said Bertie, ‘I didn’t know what to do with him. He has a personality disorder and is convinced he’s Pegasus; he insists on flying with the reindeer.’

‘Well, as long as he doesn’t get in the way, I suppose he might be useful. Did you remember to bring your sat nav?

Bertie patted his top pocket and saluted.

‘Present and correct, Ma’am.’

Meanwhile, Neil and Ms Pinky were checking names off their list.

‘The Furies are on, as is Mildred, the other monsters and most of the zombies,’ said Neil, ‘but that poltergeist hasn’t turned up yet.’

‘Yes I have!’

‘Sorry, Barry,’ said Neil, ‘didn’t see you. Did you manage to rustle up some of your pals?’

‘Yes,’ shouted the poltergeist, ‘ten of them.’

‘Excellent; are they, er, here yet?’

‘We’re in the toilet!’ shouted Barry’s friends.

‘Hope no-one needs to use it,’ laughed Ms Pinky, ‘or they’ll get a nasty surprise.’

Fiona walked over to the Griffin and the Harpies who were consulting the shipping forecast before departure.

‘How’s the weather looking?’

‘There’s a slight headwind which shouldn’t slow the ladies up too much,’ said Cecil, ‘although I might struggle a bit.’

‘I’m sure you’ll be fine Cecil. Right, Harpies, as soon as you have them I’ll need the ship’s coordinates so I can text them to Jenny Greenteeth.  Rendezvous is six o’clock. Got it?’

The Harpies wailed ‘yes’ and shot off into the clouds.

‘Everything alright Cecil?’ said Fiona, ‘you seem a bit subdued.’

The griffin looked down and pushed some grit around with his paw.

‘I’m too old for this caper,’ he said, ‘I’ll be no use to you at all.’

‘Nonsense,’ said Fiona, ‘you’re essential to the mission’s success; we need aerial surveillance in case they try to escape; and who else is going to carry the Kraken back?’

On hearing this, Cecil plumped up his feathers and raised his beak into the air proudly.

‘Really?’

‘Really. Now, off you go.’

Fiona watched as the griffin rose majestically into the air and flew away towards the west.

‘Everyone’s on board, Fiona,’ said Neil, ‘shall I lock up?’

‘There’s no need; The Green Man is staying behind. He’s worried about turning to compost with all the water. Right, let’s get going. I’m travelling up front with Bertie; you two can look after that lot in the caravan.’ Fiona smiled at her Exchange employees. ‘I’m very proud of you all; thank you.’

‘Thank us when we have Alice back, safe and sound,’ said Neil.

‘In which case, break a leg!’

‘Any leg?’ said Ms Pinky.

‘Always the joker,’ said Fiona, smiling at her receptionist ‘and I said no luggage, Ms Pinky.’

‘It’s just a few essentials: muffins and bin bags.’

‘Bin bags?’

‘In case I get sick. Shall we Neil?’

Neil climbed inside and turned to give Ms Pinky a hand.

‘I’m stuck,’ she announced, trying to force herself through the door.

‘Hang on.’

Neil climbed out through a window and started pushing Ms Pinky from behind, whilst two zombies pulled her paws from inside.

‘Watch my fur, you clumsy half-deads!’

‘Everyone ready back there?’ shouted Fiona from her saddle on top of Barbra.

‘Yes!’ cried Ms Pinky, tumbling into the caravan.

‘Ready!’ said Neil, closing the door.

‘Right then, over to you, Bertie!’

Bertie clambered into position on Bette and got out a megaphone.

‘Ladies, Gentlemen, and Things; our flight time today will be approximately four hours as the reindeer flies and we will be cruising at an altitude of approximately five thousand feet. Please now listen to the safety briefing given by your caravan crew.’

‘Thank you, Bertie,’ said Fiona ‘very professional.’

Inside the caravan, Neil and Ms Pinky were struggling to maintain control. The Furies were hissing at everyone and the zombies wouldn’t sit still for more than ten seconds. Mildred and a couple of her monster friends were huddled together on a banquette looking terrified, and the poltergeists were squabbling inside the toilet cabinet.

‘Quiet!’ yelled Ms Pinky.

‘Thank you, everyone,’ said Neil, ‘we would like to remind you to stay seated at all times in case of turbulence; there is no smoking allowed on board; and if it should be necessary to make an emergency landing on water, please try not to drown.  In the meantime, sit back, relax and try not to pull the zombies’ legs off-they’ll need them later.’

On top of her reindeer, Fiona zipped her fleece up to her neck.

‘These animals can actually fly, can’t they?’

‘I think so,’ said Bertie, ‘we’ll soon find out.’

Fiona rolled her eyes.

‘I was a boring old civil servant a week ago, now I’m sitting on a reindeer about to rescue a giant squid and save Alice from a werewolf.’

Bertie smiled.

‘Fun, isn’t it?’

Fiona laughed.

‘Yes, it is.’ She grabbed a rein and shouted back to the caravan. ‘Hold on everyone, Operation Tooth and Claw is underway!’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Sixteen. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

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

Chapter Sixteen

(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.’

Neil nodded.

‘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?’

‘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.’

‘Sorry?’

‘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.

‘Well?’

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

 

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Fourteen. A comedy web serial.

Welcome to my ongoing web serial ‘The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange’. If you are new to the series, please click here for a complete chapter listing or here to jump straight to the first chapter

As always, please leave comments afterwards; I really do appreciate the input and it is good to know what is and isn’t working. This week, I’d be particularly interested to know if The Green Man’s accent sounds ok. (It’s supposed to be sort of West Country- think Devon).

On with the fun!

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Fourteen

(In which Fiona conducts a rather damp interview)

 

By the time Fiona returned from the coffee shop, The Green Man, assisted by Neil and Bertie, had managed to separate the wailing Harpies from the howling Furies, and a semblance of order had returned to the Exchange.

‘What have you done with them?’ asked Fiona.

‘I ‘ope you don’t mind,’ said The Green Man, ‘but I took the liberty of placing the ‘arpies in your office, and Neil ‘as kindly offered to interview the Furies in ‘is.’

‘Very sensible,’ said Fiona, glancing nervously down the corridor, ‘has anyone else turned up?’

‘Well,’ said The Green Man, scratching his head so that a dozen or so dead leaves floated to the carpet, ‘a coupla’ goblins were ‘ere, but when I told ‘em that there were no money involved, they disappeared in a flash.’

‘I thought I could smell burning,’ said Fiona, ‘goblins always were a bit on the mercenary side; we’re probably better off without them.’ She looked around the reception. ‘Where’s Ms Pinky?’

‘In the ladies’ toilet, she weren’t feeling too good.’

Fiona looked annoyed.

‘Well, she can’t stay in there; I’m interviewing the next candidate shortly.’

‘In the lav?’

‘Yes, of course,’ said Fiona heading for the toilet, ‘where else?’

Once inside, Fiona immediately found Ms Pinky slouched on the toilet seat in the cubicle; she was snoring loudly, each of her three nostrils flapping wildly with every exhalation.

‘This won’t do,’ said Fiona, looking at her watch, ‘she’ll be here any minute.’

She stood at the door and took a deep breath.

‘Ms Pinky! Wake up!’

Ms Pinky opened her yellow eyes and roared, revealing all three rows of her serrated teeth. She took a few moments to remember where she was, then, spotting Fiona, she gasped and put her pink paw to her mouth.

‘I’m so sorry, Fiona; must have dropped off.’

‘That’s ok, Ms Pinky, you had a busy night. Why don’t you take the rest of the day off? Put your feet up.’

‘But the interviews, won’t you be too busy?’

‘There’s only a few more, I’m sure we can cope.’

Just then, a muffled knocking began inside the toilet.

‘Ms Pinky,’ said Fiona, ‘would you be so kind as to lift the lid please, I think my eleven thirty has arrived for her interview.’

The monster lifted herself up sleepily, turned round and held up the toilet lid. For a moment, nothing happened, then quite suddenly a pale green face, framed by lanky dark green hair appeared in the bowl. The head smiled, revealing a set of sharp teeth which matched the hair in colour. Both creatures looked at each other with yellow eyes.

‘Blimey,’ said the head in the toilet, ‘you’re ugly.’

Ms Pinky turned her nose up and sniffed.

‘I could say the same about you,’ she said.

‘Ladies, please, there’s no need for unpleasantness,’ said Fiona, squeezing herself into the cubicle, ‘Ms Pinky, may I introduce Jenny Greenteeth. Miss Greenteeth, this is our new receptionist, Ms Pinky.’

‘Well, why didn’t you say?’ said the girl, holding out her long, bony fingers, dribbling toilet water down her chin, ‘pleased to meet you.’

‘Now, Ms Pinky, if you don’t mind, Miss Greenteeth and I have important business to attend to. Go home and have a rest, and we’ll see you bright and early in the morning. The Rescue Committee meeting is at nine o’clock.’

As soon as Ms Pinky had shuffled out, Fiona set about explaining the nature of the rescue mission to her wet and slimy client.

‘So you see, Jenny, we need the cooperation of a large number of sirens and merfolk if we are to stand any chance of our mission being successful.’

‘And you say they are holding a havfrue captive on this ship?’

‘So we believe,’ said Fiona, gravely.

‘If this is true, it is an insult to every water-dwelling creature alive.’ The river mermaid ran her sharp fingers through her knotted hair. ‘It is not often that my kind enters salty waters, but we will do so on this occasion. We will head north and search out our sisters of the frozen seas. Together we can attack from below.’

‘Thank you, Jenny, you are very kind.’

‘Not at all; it’s been a long time since I sank my teeth into something this exciting.’

Fiona flinched as the creature slowly ran a dark tongue over her thin lips.

‘I’ll be in touch when the plan’s been finalised; how will we contact you?’

Jenny Greenteeth held up a waterproof box containing a mobile phone.

‘Text me,’ she said, before disappearing round the u-bend.

Exiting the ladies’ loo, Fiona found Neil showing the last of the Furies out of the Exchange.

‘How did you get on?’

‘Not bad,’ sad Neil, ‘as long as we keep them separated from the Harpies, they could prove quite useful.’

As he spoke, a piercing shriek reached them from Fiona’s office.

‘Crikey,’ said Neil looking worried, ‘I sent Bertie in there to keep the Harpies occupied; I hope he’s alright.’

‘I’ll go and check,’ said Fiona, ‘they’d be very useful to us, especially as they can fly.’

‘Before you do that,’ said Neil, ‘the Norwegian Minister for Myths called whilst you were in the toilet; they want Njord and the Havfrue returned as soon as possible and have offered assistance.’

‘Really? Did he say what kind of assistance?’

‘He mentioned something about the Beserkers. Does that mean anything to you?’

‘The Beserkers!’ exclaimed Fiona, ‘fantastic.’

Neil looked confused.

‘Who, or what, are they?’

‘Think of them as a kind of Old Norse shock-troop of completely mental warriors.’

‘Wow,’ said Neil, ‘impressive.’

Fiona nodded in agreement.

‘You know Neil, I think this plan might actually work; Alice might be rescued after all.’

‘Good,’ said Neil, as another ear-splitting scream came down the corridor, ‘but let’s start by rescuing Bertie from those Harpies; there’s not much to him and his experience with women is somewhat limited.’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Twelve. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

Welcome to my continuing web serial. If you are just joining us for the first time, a complete chapter list is available by clicking here.

As always, your comments are appreciated. The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange appears as part of #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial, both excellent twitter hashtags where you will discover many exciting writers.

On with the fun….

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Twelve

(In which the Harpies declare war on the Furies and Ms Pinky is out-monstered)

 

 

Arriving early at the Exchange in order to prepare for a day of interviews for Alice’s rescue mission, Fiona found herself battling through an unruly throng of applicants who were milling around the entrance.

‘Excuse me please,’ she shouted, pushing a couple of smelly ghouls to one side, ‘coming through!’ She reached the top of the stairs where Neil was trying to keep some zombies from blocking the way in.

‘Morning Neil, having fun?’

‘It’s been like this since half seven,’ said Neil, ‘you did say there was no pay involved for these jobs, didn’t you?’

‘Yes, of course, and what the hell is that smell?’

Neil pointed to the top step.

‘Unicorn shit. I sent it round to the park to finish its business. In the meantime,’ Neil bent down with a dustpan, ‘this will do nicely for mum’s roses.’

Fiona turned to fend off a ragged zombie who was attempting to squeeze between her legs.

‘Oi! Worm food, back off! Go and get some breakfast and come back in an hour.’

The zombie stood up and smiled. Its lower mandible promptly fell out and clattered down the stairs.

‘I guess that means you won’t be eating anything then,’ said Fiona, ‘but you still have to wait with everyone else.’

‘Blimey,’ she said, locking the door behind them, ‘we haven’t been this busy since positive discrimination for monsters started.’

Neil quickly removed the steaming unicorn dung from the reception area and deposited it outside the fire escape.

‘You’re not going to leave that there are you?’ said Fiona, ‘it’s going to be a busy day; you’re bound to forget.’

‘Don’t worry, I’ll get Bertie to remind me. I hope you don’t mind, but I asked him to drop by later. All hands on deck and all that.’

‘The more the merrier,’ said Fiona as she arranged some chairs in reception, ‘Ms Pinky will be here by nine. She’s exhausted, poor monster; Alice stayed asleep for hours and Ms Pinky had to fend off her nightmare army of polyester grannies all night.’

‘Well, at least we can form a proper plan now,’ said Neil, ‘how long did Ms Pinky say we had?’

‘Until Thursday, the next full moon.’

Neil tutted loudly.

‘Well that counts me out.’

‘No it doesn’t.’

‘But I’ll be locked up in my containment cage.’

‘Not this month,’ said Fiona, ‘you’ll be in the rescue party; we need you to stop that werewolf getting to Alice.’

‘What if I get to Alice first?’ he said quietly, ‘you know, in a bad way.’

Fiona placed a hand on his shoulder.

‘You said you thought you could control it, and I trust you.’

Neil nodded and smiled.

‘Thank you, I’ll do my best.’

‘I know you will,’ said Fiona looking at the clock, ‘right, we’d better sort ourselves out; can you start with the animals whilst I interview the undead?’

‘Ok,’ said Neil, ‘what about monsters?’

‘Ms Pinky can deal with them. Oh, I nearly forgot: I asked The Green Man to help out with the admin; I’ve a feeling things are about to get really busy.’

By eleven o’clock, the staff of the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange had between them interviewed fourteen zombies, three gaunt looking vampires, an assortment of ghouls and ghosts, three covens of haggard witches, the unicorn, a griffin and various monsters of indeterminate origin.

Fiona sighed, stretched her arms and headed for her office door; it was time for coffee.

‘What about me?’

Fiona looked around; there was no one in the room.

‘Over here!’

Fiona walked to where she had heard the voice and immediately felt a chill pass through her.

‘Ouch! You people! Always doing that.’

‘Doing what?’

‘Walking through us.’

‘Us what?’

‘Poltergeists, of course. The name’s Barry, Barry Dodsworth.’

‘I see,’ said Fiona, sitting back down, ‘any special talents Mr Dodsworth?’

There was no answer for a moment.

‘BOO!’

Fiona leapt from her chair and screamed.

‘Bloody hell!’ She caught her breath for a second.  ‘That was very good! You’re hired. See The Green Man on your way out please.’

Fiona entered the reception where Ms Pinky was interviewing a wiry middle-aged woman.

‘Sorry to interrupt,’ said Fiona, ‘just nipping up to Gino’s. Did you want anything Ms Pinky?’

The monster looked up at Fiona. She had large sagging purple bags under her blood-shot eyes.

‘Quadruple-shot latte then,’ said Fiona.

‘Thank you,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘this is my old friend Mildred, by the way.’

‘Pleased to meet you,’ said Fiona, ‘although you are supposed to be conducting interviews today Ms Pinky.’

‘I am,’ said Ms Pinky indignantly, ‘show her Mildred.’

The small woman leant her head back and opened her mouth. Her jaw appeared to break as both halves continued round until they had turned completely inside out, swallowing her body entirely. Ten inch spikes popped out over the round bundle of flesh, making her look like an alarmed puffer fish.

‘Impressive,’ said Fiona, looking for the woman’s eyes, ‘err, coffee, Mildred?’

Just then, a scuffle broke out in the waiting area; The Green Man was trying to separate two howling groups of wild-looking women, some of whose heads were writhing with serpents.

‘Excuse me ladies,’ said Fiona sternly, ‘we’ll have none of this nonsense in here thank you.’

‘They started it!’ screamed one of the snake-headed Furies, ‘Dog-ugly bitches; always butting in where they’re not wanted.

The Harpies began wailing in unison and rose into the air creating a mini-tornado in the process.

‘Just wait till Zeus hears about this outrage,’ yelled the most cosmetically-challenged of the three.

Fiona placed her hands firmly on her hips.

‘If anyone is talking to Zeus, it will be me. Now, if you don’t all put a sock in it this instant, none of you will be considered for this mission. Kapiche? The only person who should be making that level of noise is me,’ she said, heading for the door, ‘it’s been three hours since my last coffee, and my patience is wearing thin.’

 

©flyingscribbler 2011

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter 10. A Web Serial.#fridayflash, #tuesdayserial.

Have we really reached chapter ten already? It would seem so. This week in my web serial, the staff of the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange begin to form their rescue plan. Will they find Alice before the werewolf gets bored with her? What has happened to the Kraken? And just who will turn Ms Pinky’s eye this week? Read on to find out….If you like what you read, you may wish to go back to the start: please click here for a complete chapter listing. Thanks for reading and, as always, please leave comments. Go on. Be honest!

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Ten

(In which Ms Pinky buys a disguise and Fiona rallies the troops)

 

Ms Pinky was all of a dither. She had slept fitfully after her failure to make contact with Alice inside the kidnapped secretary’s recurring nightmare, and when she finally managed to drop off again, she had suffered her own recurring nightmare; the horror of parading for the Miss Universe judges in a skimpy rhinestone bikini and nine inch heels was still with the monster as she made her way down the steps to the Exchange.

Under one arm she carried a bag containing her recent purchases: a tartan skirt, pastel green twin set and a pair of stout Headmistress shoes; Ms Pinky intended to be fully prepared tonight when she re-entered Alice’s nightmare. Everything depended on her; she’d even switched to a decaf double fat latte this morning to help her sleep.

‘Ah, good morning Ms Pinky,’ said Fiona as the monster entered the Exchange, ‘did you find what you need for tonight?’

‘Yes thank you, Fiona, although the shop assistant didn’t seem sure about it. Come to think of it, the policeman who threw me out wasn’t all that taken with it either; maybe they thought green wasn’t my colour.’

Fiona shuddered to think what had gone on in the department store and tried to put it out of her mind.

‘Talking of green,’ she said hastily, ‘I believe you’ve met The Green Man.’

Ms Pinky hadn’t noticed the earthy smell and rustling of leaves until now, but, sure enough, the dirty old man she had thrown out yesterday was back at the reception desk, filling in another application form.

‘I asked Mr Man to come back after your little misunderstanding.’

Fiona looked pointedly at Ms Pinky, trying desperately to convey her meaning.

‘I can assure you Fiona,’ said Ms Pinky haughtily, ‘there was no misunderstanding on my part.’

‘Nor mine,’ said The Green Man in his thick West Country accent.  He rose to shake Ms Pinky’s paw, ‘but as I always says let bygones be bygones. What do you say we start over, my lover?’

Despite herself, Ms Pinky shivered all over as he held her paw. She didn’t even mind that he had knocked over her carefully arranged pyramid of Malibu Barbies.

‘Well, I’m glad you two have made friends,’ said Fiona, ‘we’ll be in touch as soon as anything comes up Mr Man, and thank you again for being so patient with us.’

The Green Man bowed as he made his exit, dropping twigs, bits of mud and what looked suspiciously like an old bird’s nest on the carpet.

‘They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, don’t they,’ said Ms Pinky, carefully placing the nest on her desk, ‘what a lovely gentleman.’

‘Indeed, and one of our oldest and most valued clients. Now then, to business. Are you sure you can get to Alice in time tonight?’

‘Absolutely,’ said Ms Pinky, taking her purchases out of the bag, ‘dressed like one of her nightmare battleaxes I can get into the thick of it much sooner.’ She held up the twin set with a worried look on her face. ‘I hope it fits.’

‘Don’t worry too much about that,’ said Fiona, thinking how even she would have trouble getting the clothes to fit, ‘just concentrate on finding out where Alice has been taken.’

A few minutes later, Neil arrived back from grooming the reindeer at the stables.

‘Morning all,’ he said cheerily, ‘you remember Bertie, don’t you?’

‘Yes,’ said Fiona sharply, ‘the little tyke who wants to put us out of business. The pleasure’s all yours, I’m sure.’

Neil looked wounded.

‘It’s not like that,’ he said, ‘go on Bertie, tell her.’

Bertie pushed his long fringe back over his head and smiled sheepishly at Fiona, all the while keeping an eye on Ms Pinky; their last encounter had been rather unnerving for the civil servant form the Department for Efficiencies and Downsizing.

‘Ms Macalister, I must apologize for my last visit, I had no idea of the strains you are all under at the moment. Neil here has been filling me in with the details, and I’d be thrilled if you would let me help you.’

‘Neil’s been filling you in, has he?’ said Fiona glancing at her blushing colleague, ‘that’s lovely. But I fail to see how you can possibly be of any use to us.’

‘I can keep the Department off your back for a start,’ said Bertie, ‘and I’m not above a little moonlighting; I’ve been giving Neil a hand with the reindeer already.’

‘That’s what the smell is,’ said Ms Pinky, licking her lips.

‘Well, since you’re here, you might as well make yourself useful,’ said Fiona, placing chairs around the reception desk, ‘come on everyone, seats please!’

Fiona waited whilst everyone got settled and Ms Pinky had re-erected her Barbie pyramid.

‘Ok, so although we don’t know where Alice is yet, we can still hazard a guess that she is a long way away, probably at sea and in grave danger. Agreed?’

Ms Pinky and Neil both nodded, whilst Bertie, who was wedged between them, offered a forced smile: he was sure the monster had her paw on his knee.

‘So,’ continued Fiona, ‘we’re going to need help. I’ve drawn up a job advertisement to go out tomorrow. What do you think?’

She placed a large mock up of the ad in the middle of the desk.

“Employment Opportunity for Myths and Monsters.

Start Date: Immediately

Would Suit: Myths and/or Monsters with a Sense of Adventure

Qualifications Required: None

Some experience of the following would be an asset: flying, swimming, fighting and scaring.

Interested parties should apply in person to The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange, London.”

‘It’s perfect,’ said Neil.

‘I agree,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘but don’t you think “Monsters” should come before “Mythical Creatures”?’

Fiona turned to Bertie.

‘What about you?’

‘You haven’t said what the salary is.’

‘Very observant, young man,’ said Fiona, clearing the desk, ‘that’s because there isn’t one.’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011