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. 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 Seventeen. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

Greetings lovely readers. Welcome back to The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. This week we return to the high seas and discover Alice and her fellow prisoners in a bit of a pickle. Is this the end of our plucky heroine? Will the mermaid be rescued before her scales fall off? Will the Kraken ever be free again to terrorise the sailors of the North Sea? I don’t know because I’ve yet to write the last few chapters, but in the meantime……..

By the way, if you are joining us for the first time, welcome and thank you. You might prefer to head back to the start of the whole thing. You can do this by clicking here.

Hello also to anyone arriving via the excellent twitter hashtag communities, #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial. Both these sites list wonderful flash fiction and serials and are well worth visiting. After you have read my story first, of course.

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Seventeen

(In which the prisoners are served the ‘Dish of the Day’)

In the frigid waters of the north Atlantic, somewhere off the east coast of Nova Scotia, guards dressed in black with guns slung across their backs patrolled the decks of a cargo ship. This motley bunch of ex-cons and professional thugs-for-hire were bored stiff; nothing had come near the ship or its precious cargo of the kidnapped Kraken, and now they were impatient to reach Boston where they could get a drink, get a girl or just get warm.

Several decks below, the prisoners were aware of a change of atmosphere outside their locked cabin door.

‘There’s definitely more activity than normal,’ said Alice, ‘something’s going on.’

‘I have certainly perceived an increased level of noise and general excitement since the mechanical flying contraption landed,’ said Njord, sagely, ‘how did you name this conqueror of the skies?’

‘A helicopter.’

‘Yes, indeed. Amazing how the world makes such advances and yet appears to learn so very little.’

Alice smiled at her fellow prisoner.

‘Njord, whatever happens to us tonight,’ she said, ‘I want you to know how much I have enjoyed your company.’

‘Alice, my dear,’ said the sea-god, ‘it is I who should be thanking you. Without your constant optimism and defiance in the face of danger, I doubt very much that either I or poor Lisbeth back there would have survived quite so long.’

Alice looked over to the havfrue who was asleep on her mattress. It was true, thought Alice; without her stolen bottles of water, the mermaid might have perished days ago.

‘She’s very weak, isn’t she?’

Njord nodded slowly and lowered his voice.

‘I doubt the poor creature will last the night,’ he said, ‘I will appeal once more to the gods of the seas for our salvation.’

‘That would seem to be our best bet,’ said Alice.  It had been two days since Ms Pinky’s unexpected appearance in her nightmare, and she was beginning to suspect that it had simply been just a dream and that no one was mounting any kind of rescue effort after all.

Alice remained lost in thought, until their cabin door was flung open by the werewolf, Amadeus.

‘Right you lot, on your feet; time for a nice surprise.’

‘Unless it’s a hot shower and an edible meal, we’re not interested,’ said Alice.

Amadeus strode across the cabin and hauled her to her feet.

‘Not long till moonlight, darling,’ he whispered in her ear.

‘Ugh! Vile creature,’ said Alice, pushing him away.

He walked to the back of the cabin and kicked Lisbeth in the side.

‘Oi! Fishtail. Wake up!’

The mermaid opened her eyes and stared blankly at the werewolf.

‘She hasn’t the strength to stand,’ said Njord, ‘she will have to be carried.’

Amadeus snarled and leapt out of the cabin, returning a moment later with three guards; one picked up the prone form of the mermaid and the others pushed Alice and Njord out through the door. The heavy chains round their feet made it a difficult walk down into the cargo bay where Barney Smithson, Head of Personnel at Nautilus Entertainment Worldwide Transcorporation, was waiting to greet them.

‘I see our guests have arrived,’ he said, smiling sarcastically as the three prisoners were shoved unceremoniously into seats at a table which had been positioned in front of the Kraken’s iron tank. ‘Please, take a seat.’

‘Bastard,’ muttered Alice under her breath.

‘Did you say something, Miss Finchley?’

Before she could answer, a desperate squeal emanated from the tank.

‘Was that the Kraken?’ asked Alice.

‘I think so, yes.’ said Barney.

‘It sounds ill.’

‘Not ill, Alice; far from it. It’s probably just the trainer giving him an electric shock. Amazing what tricks that squid performs with a few thousand volts of electricity applied to a tentacle.’

Alice’s eyes filled with tears and she looked over to Njord.

‘Stay strong,’ he whispered, ‘it’s not over for us yet.’

Barney walked over to the table and poured himself a glass of champagne from the bottle which Amadeus had just brought in.

‘A toast!’ he announced, ‘to a successful journey and a bright future for us all at Nautilus World.’ He took a sip from the glass. ‘Well,’ he continued, ‘almost all of us.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ said Alice, through gritted teeth.

‘Well,’ said Barney, ‘we’ll hardly require the services of a crusty old sea-god or a desiccated mermaid at Nautilus World; they wouldn’t be much of an attraction would they?  After all, we’re not in the business of terrifying children. Where’s the profit in that?’

Lisbeth sobbed and laid her head on the table.

‘There, there, dear,’ said Barney, ‘it won’t be long now. In the meantime, I must dash. I have a lot to sort out before I leave.  You probably heard my helicopter earlier on; it’s taking me to Boston so I can be there to welcome our star attraction to his new home.’

‘I think you mean prison,’ said Alice

‘If you like, yes,’ said Barney, ‘in the meantime, please enjoy the meal my chef has prepared for you. Think of it as a last supper, if you will.’

‘You really are a little shit, Barney.’

‘Come now, Alice. You could at least be civil to me; after all, this is the last time you’ll be seeing me.’

‘Bollocks to that,’ said Alice.

‘Please yourself,’ said Barney, getting up from the table, ‘but do try to enjoy your last evening with us. I understand that Amadeus has a very special send-off planned for you later.’ He paused at the door. ‘Shame really,’ he said, ‘you’re quite pretty; in the right light.’

‘Not looking good, is it?’ said Alice once Barney had disappeared.

Njord sighed.

‘I think not. But we must face our destiny with bravery; show them no fear.’

Easier said than done, thought Alice, as the guards reappeared, placing large plates of food in front of them. Amadeus drew a chair up next to Alice and sat down.

‘Now,’ he said, ‘you will eat.’

Alice looked down at the plate and retched.

‘What’s wrong?’ said Amadeus, ‘don’t you like calamari?’

© 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 Fifteen. A comedy-fantasy web serial.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. We have now reached chapter fifteen and it looks like a rescue plan is begining to take shape.

Apologies to those of you who come to the series via #fridayflash: I forgot to place last week’s episode on the collector, which is why I have listed two this week instead. It did, however, make the #tuesdayserial list!

If you are joining in the fun for the first time this week, Ms Pinky and friends wish you a warm welcome (actually, Ms Pinky says “where the hell have you been?”). Please click here to go back to the start, or here for a complete chapter listing.

I hope you enjoy this week’s shenanigans.

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Fifteen

(In which Ms Pinky models the latest in combat chic)

 

There was a noticeable buzz in the air at the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange.

‘I’ve never seen this many people in here before,’ said Neil as he handed out information sheets to a couple of zombies, ‘it’s very exciting.’

‘Exciting it may be,’ said Fiona, stepping aside to avoid ruffling the feathers of a large griffin, ‘but let’s not forget that we’re here to rescue Alice.’

‘And I’m as worried about her as you are,’ said Neil, ‘but you have to admit, this beats interviewing talentless vampires for mini-series extra work.’

Fiona regarded the noisy collection of zombies, harpies, furies, oddly-shaped monsters and assorted mythical animals; she had to agree: it was going to be an interesting few days.

She approached the griffin who had taken a seat in the front row.

‘Cecil, could you move to the back, dear, some of the others are having trouble seeing past your wings.’

‘Thank you!’ said a disgruntled voice from an empty seat in the row behind, ‘you might be able to see through me, Beaky-Boy, but it doesn’t work the other way you know.’

‘Barry!’ said Fiona, looking into the space she hoped the voice came from, ‘how are you?’

‘I’d be better if those bloody snake heads stopped trying to sit on me. Who are they anyway?’

‘They’re the Furies,’ said Fiona, ‘let me introduce you. Ladies, could you stop screaming for a moment? Thank you. This is Barry Dodsworth, our lead poltergeist for the mission; Barry, these are the Furies, Sasha, Sheba and Shelly. I’m sure you will all get on very well.’

The Furies turned as one, their snakes sniffing the empty seat with forked tongues.

‘Pleasssed to meet you, ssssir.’

‘Now, if you’ll excuse me,’ said Fiona, ‘we had better get started.’

Fiona joined Neil at the front of Reception and called for quiet, but couldn’t make herself heard above the wails of the Harpies who were zooming around overhead; she was about to try again when Ms Pinky arrived with a tray of coffee.

‘Sorry I’m late,’ said the monster, out of breath, ‘there was a huge queue.’

‘What on earth are you wearing?’ said Neil.

Ms Pinky looked down at her military- issue, camouflage flak jacket and matching combat trousers

‘It’s my rescue mission outfit,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘does it go with my pink fur?’

Fiona smiled at the receptionist.

‘Ten out of ten for effort Ms Pinky,’ she said, ‘but we’ll all be wearing black on the night. In fact, I’m having a black body stocking made especially for you.’

Ms Pinky looked downcast.

‘But your outfit is perfect for our training session,’ said Fiona, ‘and you can start by getting this lot to shut the hell up.’

Ms Pinky put down the tray, took a deep breath and opened her tooth-filled mouth.

‘QUIET!’ she roared, spraying large globs of spit on the unfortunate creatures seated at the front.

The three unruly Harpies instantly gave up their cacophonous air-borne chase and landed in a row of seats next to the Furies, who looked distinctly uncomfortable.

‘Thank you, Ms Pinky,’ said Fiona before turning to address the room. ‘Welcome, everyone, to “Operation Tooth and Claw”. You have each been handed details of which team you are in and your particular role in the mission.’ She paused for a second whilst one of the zombies in the front row searched blindly for its eye, which had fallen out and rolled across the floor. ‘Basically, we will be boarding the ship at dusk, locating Alice, the Kraken, and the other prisoners, rescue them and return them safely to their respective homes.’

Mildred, the spiky flesh monster, who was today in human form, raised a timid hand.

‘Yes, Mildred?’

‘How will we get to the ship? It’s hundreds of miles away.’

‘That’s a very good question,’ said Fiona, ‘Neil, would you like to answer this one?’

‘Certainly,’ said Neil, rising to his feet. ‘The Griffin and Harpies will make their own way to the rendezvous; the rest of us will fly in a specially fitted caravan pulled by our crack team of renegade reindeer.’ He paused briefly for effect, giving Fiona time to raise a cautioning eyebrow. ‘The reindeer are at this moment being put through their paces by my associate Bertie. Boarding will commence at midday tomorrow. Do not be late.’

‘Thank you, Neil. Now,’ continued Fiona, ‘once at the ship, an aerial diversion will be created by the Harpies; the Furies will do likewise on board and we have an international team of mermaids who will attempt to lure as many of the ship’s personnel overboard as possible.’

Ms Pinky now got to her feet and placed her paws on her hips.

‘Zombies and monsters, you will locate and detain anyone, or thing, which tries to escape, apart from Mildred, who will go with Fiona to find the ship’s captain.’

‘Meanwhile,’ said Neil, ‘I will take a team to track down the werewolf known as Amadeus; hopefully before the moon rises.’

Ms Pinky gasped.

‘Won’t that be terribly dangerous for you?’

Fiona sighed with exasperation.

‘You haven’t told her, have you?’

‘Told me what?’ said Ms Pinky.

‘You said you were going to tell her,’ insisted Fiona.

Ms Pinky became very excited and started jumping up and down.

‘Tell me what? Go on Neil, I want to know.’

Neil looked sheepishly at the monster.

‘I’m a werewolf,’ he said in a whisper.

‘You’re a what?’

‘A werewolf.’

‘Where were you?’

‘I’m a werewolf! OK?’ shouted Neil.

Instant pandemonium broke out across the reception: the Harpies rose from their seats, screeching “death to the werewolf!” and the Furies began hissing and spitting as they span into a wild vortex; meanwhile, Mildred had turned herself inside out, almost spearing the Griffin through a leg with one of her spikes, whilst most of the zombies had taken cover under their seats.

Fiona held her head in her hands.

‘What were we thinking?’ she moaned, ‘this is a disaster.’

 

© flyingscribbler2011

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 Thirteen and a Half. A comedy/fantasy web serial.

Welcome to the next instalment of my continuing comedy/fantasy web serial set at The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. If you are new to the saga, you can start at the very begining by clicking here. A full chapter listing is available here. You can also vote for a mythical creature of your choosing to appear in a forthcoming episode: click here for details.

Meanwhile, on with the fun!

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

Chapter Thirteen and a Half

(In which Alice finds herself out of a job)

 

Alice slumped on the top step next to the Kraken’s tank and yawned. Despite having slept for hours the night before she was exhausted, plus she ached all over as if she’d just finished a long session at the gym. She closed her eyes for a moment and immediately drifted off.

‘Wake up! Get back to work!’

Alice opened her eyes as the guard prodded her in the back with his rifle.

‘Ouch! Watch what you’re doing with that thing,’ said Alice, getting to her feet.

‘You’re not paid to sleep on the job, Missy,’ snarled the guard, whose face was covered by a black balaclava.

‘Paid!’ exclaimed Alice, ‘don’t make me laugh. Imprisonment with hard labour would be more a more accurate description of my situation, wouldn’t you say?’

‘Whatever,’ replied the guard, ‘but if you haven’t got that two ton lump of calamari trained in time, the boss will not be happy. And when the boss isn’t happy,’ he continued, smiling, ‘bad things tend to happen to pretty little girlies like you.’

As he spoke, the guard’s eyes glinted and his pupils dilated. Whatever he is, thought Alice, it’s not all human. She shivered and zipped her Nautilus Entertainment boiler-suit up to her neck. As far as she knew, the ‘boss’ had never set foot on board; she wondered if they even knew about the prisoners being held with her on the ship. Weren’t operations like this run by hedge funds these days anyway?

Alice peered over the edge of the tank; the Kraken was floating on the surface, one dinner plate-sized eye looking forlornly at her. She’d grown very fond of him, and they had established a surprisingly good working relationship: the Kraken had grasped the idea very quickly that he was to pretend to co-operate and had now taken to performing tricks unprompted. In fact, Alice had very little ‘work’ to do, apart from worry about what was going to happen to them all.

‘Ah, Alice, nice to see that you have adopted the corporate uniform at last.’

Alice turned as Bradley Smithson, NEWT’s personnel manager, made his way up the stairs.

‘I didn’t have much choice, did I? They’ve taken away my clothes. And didn’t anyone tell you that boiler suits went out of fashion in nineteen eighty-three?’

Bradley flashed his perfect smile and shrugged.

‘Well, you won’t need to worry about that for much longer.’

‘I don’t understand. I thought you were taking me to Nautilus World.’

‘No, you are mistaken. Nautilus Entertainment Worldwide Transcorporation has no further need of your services; we have found a willing, and, more importantly, very able cephalopod communicator.’ Bradley paused, flashed one last smile and continued. ‘Consider yourself terminated, Ms Finchley. Amadeus! Take her back to her cabin.’

‘You won’t get away with this you slimy little bastard.’

‘But we are getting away with it, Alice, and nothing you, or anyone else can do will stop us.’

The werewolf appeared from the shadows, dragged Alice down the stairs and threw her roughly over his shoulder. A few minutes later they were back at the cabin.

‘I’m so looking forward to Thursday night, aren’t you?’ growled Amadeus, as he unlocked the door and dropped Alice on her dirty mattress.

‘I won’t hold my breath,’ sneered Alice.

The werewolf chained Alice’s feet together and laughed.

‘Enjoy the rest of your cruise,’ he said, ‘while you can.’

The werewolf slammed the door shut and turned the key.

‘You are back rather early,’ said Njord, ‘they normally keep you working all day.’

Alice looked up at the friendly face of the Norse Sea God and forced a smile.

‘I’ve been replaced, Njord; they don’t need me anymore.’

‘Oh dear! That bodes ill for the three of us; I fear our days in this realm are numbered.’

Alice couldn’t argue with this but decided to stay as positive as she possibly could.

‘It’s not over till the fat lady sings,’ she said, brightly.

‘To which fat lady do you allude?’ said Njord, ‘have you met this over-sized songstress on board?’

Alice chuckled to herself; she liked this bearded old man and his colloquial confusions enormously.

‘It’s just an expression,’ she explained, ‘how’s Lisbeth today by the way? Has she eaten?’

‘Not a thing, although she took some water this morning. The poor havfrue, she had the most dreadful nightmares last night; you won’t have heard her wailing as you were lost in the deepest slumber yourself.’

Alice fell silent; something about what Njord had just said was ringing a very loud bell.

‘My dear, are you quite alright?’

Alice stared at her chains and tried desperately to remember what was nagging her.

‘Did you say Lisbeth was having nightmares?’

‘Yes, and of the most dreadful kind.’

‘I had a nightmare last night,’ said Alice, scratching her head, ‘at least, I think I did.’

‘How did your night terror manifest itself, my dear? We gods set great store by the messages our demons send us through our subconscious existence.’

‘Yes, well I’m not sure about that,’ said Alice, ‘but I’m pretty sure it was my usual recurring nightmare. Although…’

Njord looked intently at his fellow captor.

‘Yes? Think, my dear, it may be important.’

‘Well, it sounds silly, but I’m almost certain Ms Pinky gate-crashed my nightmare last night. Come to think of it, she was there the night before as well.’

Njord looked confused.

‘Ms Pinky?’ he said, ‘who is this strangely named character?’

‘Ms Pinky is the monster who was hired to replace me at the Exchange,’ explained Alice, becoming suddenly rather excited, ‘and before that she worked for the Sandman as a recurring nightmare!’

Alice closed her eyes and immediately recalled her nightmare in vivid detail, cringing at the memory of the polyester nightie being forced over her head.

‘I spoke to her, I’m sure of it. Yes, I remember telling her about you and Lisbeth and the Kraken. Oh, Njord,’ cried Alice, ‘they’re coming to rescue us, I’m sure of it.’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange goes Interactive!

*****stop press*****stop press*****stop press*****

Since starting ‘The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange’, many of my new blogging friends have become regular visitors to the series. I have therefore decided to go all modern and make things just a little bit INTERACTIVE.

Do you have a favourite mythological creature or monster that you would like to see featured in an upcoming chapter?

Have you created a monster that would benefit from a brief sabbatical over at the Exchange?

If the answer is yes, please vote by leaving a comment after this post and I will endeavor to write the most popular choice into the series before it ends.

This is just like a reality TV talent contest, only better: voting here is free!

Ms Pinky and the gang look forward to meeting a new character of your choosing, (unless it’s a goblin- they smell).

P.S, if you have no idea what this is all about, click here for a chapter listing and start reading!

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