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 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. Chapter Eight.

Welcome to my ongoing web serial which I am currently posting as part of #fridayflash and #tuesdayserial. These are both excellent flash fiction communities located here in blog world and over on twitter. If you are new to the series and would like to see where it all began, there is a chapter list here. Hope you enjoy reading, and please leave comments with your feedback. They have been known to make it into the story!

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

 

Chapter Eight

 

(In which Ms Pinky finds green is not her colour)

 

 

Ms Pinky flicked a small feather duster over her artfully arranged collection of vintage Malibu Barbies and purred with pride; this was the first time she had been left in charge of the employment exchange and she wanted to make a good job of it.

Fiona was at the Norwegian Embassy trying to track down Alice who had now been out of contact for over a week, whilst Neil was out finding stabling for the exchange’s newly acquired, unemployed reindeer. Fiona’s hastily written instructions concerning that morning’s clients had been gobbled up unread by Ms Pinky along with her extra-large blueberry breakfast muffin, so the monster was somewhat unprepared for the dishevelled looking gentleman who now shuffled into the office.

‘Welcome to the Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange, my name is Ms Pinky and it will be my pleasure to assist you this morning.’ Ms Pinky wrinkled her three nostrils together in displeasure as she watched the old man shake leaves and bits of bark from his shabby jacket. ‘Long journey, was it?’

‘Not really,’ said the gentleman, ‘I’ve been staying at the YMCA, only until I can find a job of course.’

‘Naturally,’ said Ms Pinky plucking a twig from the front seat of Barbie’s Corvette, ‘please take a seat and fill this form in.’

Ms Pinky tutted as he made a start.

‘No, no, no, you’ll have to do better than that.’

‘Sorry?’

Ms Pinky read out from his application form.

‘Name: “Green Man”, I mean, that’s like me putting down “Pink Monster” isn’t it? Imagine!’

‘But that’s my name,’ protested the gentleman, ‘I am a Green Man.’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Ms Pinky, stepping from behind her desk, ‘could you leave please, we don’t tolerate time wasters here. Goodbye.’

The Green Man walked slowly to the door, moving to the side as Fiona rushed down into the Exchange.

‘How are things?’ she panted.

‘Well, I wasn’t expecting the clients to be quite so difficult,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘but otherwise, everything’s fine. Neil is out with the reindeer; that poor boy, I’m sure he’s overworked.’

‘He’ll cope,’ said Fiona, looking nervously up the stairs as the Green Man vanished from view. ‘Anyway, we’ve a bigger problem to deal with.’

‘Alice?’

‘Yes. The Embassy thinks she may have been kidnapped; her belongings are still at the hotel and no-one’s seen her.’

‘Goodness,’ exclaimed Ms Pinky, eyes wide with excitement, ‘do you think the werewolf got her?’

‘Possibly, but before she disappeared, she discovered that the real Kraken is missing. I’m guessing if we find the Kraken, we find Alice.’ Fiona paused, deep in thought. ‘The Kraken is far too valuable to kill, and my hunch is that whoever needs a giant mythological squid, also needs someone with the ability to communicate with it.’

‘Which,’ said Ms Pinky, ‘means that Alice is probably still alive.’

‘Exactly.’

‘Unless, of course,’ said Ms Pinky, licking her lips, ‘calamari has just become a hot commodity on the international comestibles market.’

Fiona sent her receptionist up for coffee and called Neil telling him to hurry back for an emergency meeting. Ten minutes later he rushed in, almost knocking Ms Pinky’s bucket of latte out of her paws.

‘Sorry Ms Pinky, didn’t scald you did I?’

Ms Pinky lowered her head and fluttered her purple eyelashes.

‘Not at all Neil, I have a very firm grip with these paws. Can I get you a coffee, a sandwich perhaps?’

‘No thanks.’

‘How about a massage? You look stressed.’

Neil eyed Ms Pinky’s claws and hastily backed into Fiona’s office.

‘Perhaps we should get on with the meeting,’ he said, ‘every second counts by the sound of things.’

‘Good, you’re all here,’ said Fiona, I’ve just spoken to Alice’s phone company, her mobile hasn’t been used in days.’

‘And I managed to hack into her e-mail account earlier on,’ said Neil, ‘she hasn’t logged on at all.’

Ms Pinky put her paw into the air and waved it vigorously in front of Fiona.

‘Yes, Ms Pinky?’

‘Well, I took the liberty of calling everyone in Alice’s address book; she’d left it in her desk.’

‘And?’

‘Nothing, I’m afraid. Although I think one of the young men might have been an ex-boyfriend. He sounded lovely.’ Ms Pinky turned to Neil, blushing vermilion. ‘Not as lovely as you though, Neil’

‘Yes, well, thank you Ms Pinky, good work,’ said Fiona, unrolling a large map of the Atlantic, ‘I think our first and most important task is to locate poor Alice. Any ideas?’

‘How about a search plane?’ said Ms Pinky hopefully.

‘The ocean’s just too big,’ said Fiona, ‘it could take forever.’

‘Is Moby still on our books?’ asked Neil, ‘he can cover a lot of sea very quickly.’

Fiona pursed her lips, shaking her head.

‘Mr Dick was poached by a private Australian agency last year.’

‘Oh no!’ sobbed Ms Pinky, ‘how could they?’

‘Not that sort of poached, dear, they offered him more cash.’

‘Oh, I see,’ said Ms Pinky, calming down, ‘because poaching a whale would be a nightmare; you’d never find a pan big enough.’

Suddenly, Fiona leapt up from her chair, knocking over her award from the Mythological Work Ethics Guild.

‘That’s it Ms Pinky. You’ve got it!’

‘Got what? Where? Is it dangerous?’

‘No, you’ve solved our problem!’ Fiona rushed over and planted a kiss on Ms Pinky’s furry face.

‘I don’t follow.’

‘Nor me,’ said Neil.

Fiona removed a ball of pink fluff from her mouth and continued.

‘Ms Pinky, do you still have your recurring nightmare permit?’

‘Yes!’

‘How does that help us?’ asked Neil

‘Well,’ said Fiona, ‘If Ms Pinky can get into Alice’s nightmare, she might be able to talk to her and find out where she is.’ Fiona took Ms Pinky’s paw. ‘Will you do it?’

Ms Pinky’s eyes glowed orange and a smile spread rapidly across her three rows of serrated teeth.

‘I will!’

‘Thank you,’ said Fiona, ‘just promise not to scare Alice too much, won’t you.’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange. Chapter Seven.

Welcome back to the continuing tale of Ms Pinky and friends at the most unusual employment agency there is. Please feel free to comment on the series, it really is helpful. If you are just joining in with the fun, it’s lovely to meet you. Please click here for a chapter listing to take you back to where it all began….

 

The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange

 

Chapter Seven

 

(In which Alice meets her nemesis)

 

 

Alice drifted in and out of sleep, dreaming of a large ship ploughing through heavy seas. God, she thought when she finally woke up, how much did I drink last night? She clutched her head gingerly before forcing her eyes open. Expecting a view of Bergen’s snow-covered rooftops, Alice was somewhat surprised to find herself looking out of a small porthole; she appeared to be on board a ship ploughing through heavy seas.

‘What the….,’ she began.

‘Hell?’ resounded a voice behind her.

Alice turned to see a very tall, broad man with a bushy white beard and long hair; he was naked from the waist up, biceps bursting from his arms.

‘Not quite the word I was thinking of,’ said Alice, ‘who are you?

‘Please forgive my rudeness,’ said the man in a strong Scandinavian accent, ‘you must find this particularly confusing. I am Njord, and I would shake your hand were it not for these chains with which we are bound.’

Alice looked down at her own feet, finding that they were also chained together.

‘Njord as in Norse sea god?’

‘Indeed,’ beamed the legend, pleased that this young woman seemed to have heard of him.

‘Where am I?’

‘Ah, my dear, we are all prisoners on board this vessel. I doubt even the great Thor himself knows to where our fate leads us.’

‘Who else is here?’ asked Alice, trying hard to piece together recent events.

Njord indicated to the back of the cabin where the forlorn figure of a blond-haired mermaid lay prostrate on a dirty mattress.

‘That poor havfrue,’ said Njord shaking his head, ‘she desperately needs water for her tail.’

‘How long have I been here?’

‘They brought you aboard last night, by helicopter.’

Alice suddenly remembered the bar and the young man who had approached her.

‘That bastard!’ she exclaimed, ‘he must have drugged my gin and tonic.’

‘You mean the werewolf,’ said Njord gravely.

‘I knew it!’ cried Alice, ‘his ears twitched exactly like Neil’s.’

‘Neil?’

‘Just a friend,’ said Alice, trying to loosen the heavy chain around her ankle.

‘Are you saying you enjoy a friendship with a lycanthrope?’

‘Yes,’ said Alice, ‘but he’s not really dangerous, more of a self-harmer.’

‘What a remarkable person you are,’ said Njord, ‘I wonder why they need you.’

‘Who?’

‘The charming people who are holding us here against our will.’

‘Oh,’ said Alice, ‘I expect it has something to do with my search for the Kraken.’

Njord gazed in wonder at Alice.

‘Yet again you amaze me. Your search, my dear, is over. The Kraken is being held on this ship.’

‘Curiouser and curiouser,’ said Alice.

‘I’m afraid I was forced to help these villains navigate through the fjords to find him. That poor wretch you see over there was sent down to lure him out of his cave. They threatened to salt her tail if she refused.’

Alice shook her head: cruelty to animals was bad enough, but mistreatment of myths was an outrage.

‘Where are they taking us?’

‘My instinct tells me that we are heading west, and by a northerly route,’ said Njord.

At that moment, the cabin door was unlocked and the young man from the bar stepped inside.

‘Good, you’re awake,’ he said, addressing Alice, ‘the boss wants to see you.’

‘You’ve got some nerve,’ said Alice.

‘Save it lady,’ sneered the werewolf sniffing the air around Alice’s head, ‘or you’ll be screaming louder than a banshee burning at the stake.’

The werewolf unchained Alice from the wall and picked her up in a violent fireman’s lift.

‘Careful!’ she screamed, ‘this blouse cost me a week’s wages,’

‘Feisty little thing aren’t you?’ said the werewolf as he carried out into the corridor, ‘bet you taste nice.’

Alice found herself being carried down a set of metal stairs into the depths of the ship which was lurching alarmingly from side to side. They entered a cavernous room, presumably the vessels hold, in which Alice spotted a large metal tank, riveted on all corners, and from which water was slopping in large quantities.

Alice was thrown unceremoniously into a chair.

‘Ah, Miss Finchly, welcome aboard!’

She turned to see a boyish man with cropped hair and wire-rimmed glasses approaching.

‘Thank you Amadeus, that will be all for now,’ he said, indicating to the werewolf to leave.

‘Yes, goodbye, PETER,’ spat Alice as the werewolf walked out. She turned to the young man. ‘Whatever it is, the answers no.’

‘Now, there’s no need for rudeness. I haven’t even introduced myself yet.’

‘Well? Who are you?’

‘That’s more like it. My name is Bradley Smithson, Head of Personnel at N.E.W.T.’

‘What is N.E.W.T.?’

The man smirked.

‘The Nautilus Entertainment Worldwide Transcorporation. In other words, your new employer.’

‘I already have a job.’

‘Yes, let’s see. Alice Finchly, PREVIOUSLY in the employ of The Mythical Creatures Employment Exchange, BA Hons in Literature, MA in Mythology and Folklore of Olde England, author of ‘The Secret Diary of a Myth Hunter’, and, most importantly, Licensed Cephalopod Communicator.’

Alice glanced at the tank.

‘Have you met the Kraken?’ said Bradley, climbing the stairs which ran up to the top.

‘Not yet, thanks to you,’ said Alice.

‘Come and meet him. You’ll be spending a lot of time together.’

Alice rose slowly from her seat,

‘How do you mean?’

Bradley shot a perfect bleached smile at Alice.

‘Nautilus World opens in six weeks time in Boston Harbour; the Kraken is our star attraction and you are his trainer.’

‘Never,’ said Alice, firmly.

Bradley nodded.

‘Thought you’d say that. Let’s see if I can’t change your mind.’ He spoke into a walky-talky. ‘Amadeus, bring in the mermaid.’

The werewolf appeared, carrying the dried-out mermaid from the cabin.

‘This,’ said Bradley pointing to the doorway, ‘is Lisbeth. There’s plenty more like her being held on this ship. Every day you refuse to cooperate, one mermaid becomes shark bait.’

‘You wouldn’t,’ cried Alice, ‘you can’t!’

‘We would,’ said Bradley, smiling, ‘and we will.’

 

© flyingscribbler 2011