Friday, December 29, 2017

The Other Strangers


"Aim for the head and keep your mask on." Gilbert didn't want to take any chances, he and Clarissa were in full body suits with rebreathers on. He hoped Rick would be home and just be surprised at the outfits. But the darkened lights with his van in the driveway wasn't very encouraging.

"Anything special about these guys?" Clarissa didn't like the suit and mask, it made her feel oddly claustrophobic, but she liked the idea of losing control of herself even less.

"Nope, pretty much most weapons blessed by light can hurt or kill them, don't let them touch you or rip the suit. Easy peasy." Gilbert approached the front door and saw it was slightly open, his breath caught in his throat, he knew Rick was probably dead already. Gilbert took point, his pistol at the ready with Clarissa behind him her bow drawn. He was happy neither one of them shot the other with as quickly as they moved around the one story in the dark. Rick was no where to be found, his weapons were all neatly arranged on hooks and sat unused. It was as Gilbert feared the strangers had gotten to him fast and he didn't even have a chance to fight back.

"Maybe he went on vacation?"

"Without any of his clothes, car keys, or his wallet which I see sitting on the counter? No Rick is gone, strangers got him, and we better get to moving to Bob's house and pray someone lived." It was to the point Gilbert worried Gregg would be gone when he got to Bob's house. Whatever was behind the strangers this time felt more directed, less their usual show up and devour towns, and more remove threats to them. Gilbert drove faster than he probably should have all the way to Bob's house. He felt a sense of relief when he saw Gregg, but that quickly fled when he saw the same no house lights that had characterized Rick's house and that Gregg was alone, Dale no where around.


"Gone, Dale?"



"Hi I'm Clarissa." She held her hand out to Gregg and he shook it with a smile that had no warmth beneath his mask.

"Gilbert's new assistant? Nice to meet you, shame it had to be like this." Gregg was using a modified assault rifle, Clarissa could make out that the handle was personalized with what looked like an ancient Egypt snake motif.

"I had no idea Bob lived in a mansion." The house was huge from what Gilbert could see, he started to wonder if he was charging too little for his services.

"Oh yeah never been here? Yeah its a legit haunted house, Bob got it for a real good deal due to the fact that the ghosts will keep coming back, no one else wanted it."

"Well I'm feeling even better about going inside."

"It'll be like that mickelson elementary job." Gilbert whistled.

"Oh man that was the worst, vampires right?"

"Guys?" Clarissa's voice had a bit of panic to it.

"Yeah vampires Gilbert, we were doing that run down monastery and got tricked into that stupid elementary."

"Hey old guys maybe help?" Clarissa was getting flustered.

"Oh yeah that elementary school, floor gave way right? Dropped into a pit of those weird zombie like creatures they can make, good lord never seen so much blood in my life."

"YO OLD ASSHOLES!" Clarissa shouted Gilbert and Gregg turned around and saw she had slain six of the strangers, she was in the process of pulling the arrow out of her most recent kill. "Christ you guys like to talk."

"I like her Gilbert."

"She can hit a target at fifty yards with that bow, I mean Charlie was always pretty good with his knives, but I'll tell you the truth." Gilbert stepped over the bodies of the fallen strangers Clarissa had killed and started to move toward the house his shotgun at the ready. "Charlie couldn't make a cup of coffee to save his life, most annoying trait in a man I ever did meet." Gilbert stepped inside the house and his shotgun roared, Gregg and Clarissa followed shortly after.


"Twenty nine freaking strangers, no Bob." Gilbert was outside he had taken his suit off, he figured they had wiped out the creatures, whatever was behind them was no where to be found.

"I don't know what to tell you Gilbert, weird they would set a trap, weird they'd pick Bob's house, weird they'd come after... shit." Gregg had noticed Bob just then, he had emerged with a high caliber rifle pointed at both Gilbert and Gregg. Clarissa had said she was going to check the back yard for something and she hadn't returned yet.

"You fucking monsters, how could you do that to my children?" Gilbert could see the crazy in Bob's eyes.

"Bob they got you twisted those things aren't your anything." Gilbert cursed that his shotgun was in the Van, all he had left was a knife and he was shit at throwing them.

"No you're both twisted, all of us were, we wiped them out without ever talking to them, we're the real monsters Gilbert. It's why I sent them to get you guys, but I should have known your hatefulness would overcome my children." Bob cocked racked the bolt on his rifle and Gilbert thought for a minute of making a dodge to grab the rifle, but he didn't have to, Clarissa's arrow pierced Bob's temple and he fell to the ground the rifle landing with a thud. Gregg whistled again, Clarissa had fired the arrow from almost outside of his site range.

"Fifty yards?"

"Oh those are the easy shots." Gilbert looked at Bob's corpse with a mixture of sadness and relief. At least it made sense.

"You think they got to him?"

"No, Bob always had the live and let live argument going when dealing with these things, I figured after North Dakota he'd have learned how bad that was, but I guess he took the opposite lesson." Clarissa ran up and was horrified, she couldn't have made out it was Bob when she shot him, she just assumed it was a stranger.

"Oh god, I didn't know."

"Don't worry Clarissa, he'd been infected by those things, don't you worry." Gregg nodded at Gilbert while he hugged Clarissa telling her things would be ok.

"Be seeing you Gilbert."

"Be seeing you Gregg."

Friday, December 22, 2017

Strange Hunters


"We always burn them, I like to think of it as a way of warning the rest." Gilbert had piled both of the corpses on a small pyre in the back. Clarissa hadn't slept very well, her dreams were all about those empty eyed creatures. Gilbert assured her the dreams would go away, that it was an after effect of the poison they use, but she wasn't sure, she worried the dreams wouldn't ever go away.

"Do we really want to warn the rest of these things?"

"Hell yes I do, they attacked me at my home Clarissa, they came after you and me that wasn't no accident, I want them terrified of what I'll do to them." Gilbert had slept on it and knew something was up, the strangers would never come attack him on their own, someone guided them to him, and he worried it wasn't just him.

"What are we going to do to them?"

"Kill them all we're exterminators and they very much need to be exterminated, but first I need to make some calls, check in with some other guys." Gilbert went into the house and Clarissa followed after, the smell of the burning strangers was starting to make her nauseous.


"Gilbert? The man Dunkley himself! I saw what you did up in Olympia, quality shit." Gregg Roberts was an exterminator Gilbert knew from the service, he worked a different division than Gilbert had, but they both went private around the same time. He always liked Gregg even if he had a very course way of talking.

"Gregg I'm going to get right to the point, have you seen any strangers?" The line went quiet for a moment, the jovial voice Gregg started with disappeared.

"No, but I've been getting that feeling they are around, you know that fucking uneasy settling in your stomach, I thought maybe I ate some bad meat, you seen some?"

"Two, came to my house Gregg."

"Shit, well you made it out ok, but you don't think it was isolated, you called Rick, Bob and Dale yet?" The five of them had banded up once to wipe out an overly large group of strangers in Bismark North Dakota years back, it had weighed on Gilbert's mind when they showed up at the house.

"You were my first call Gregg."

"I'm touched Gilbert, tell you what I'll make it easy on you and call Rick, you call Bob and Dale, then we can coordinate from there, if they are back I figure it'll be some empty place again, maybe back in North Dakota?"

"Thanks Gregg." Gilbert hung up and was happy Gregg was willing to talk to Rick Baker. Rick was a good exterminator, but an absolutely horrible person to get stuck on the phone with, especially with other people to call, Bob Wright and Dale Withers were men who didn't talk much.

Gilbert got to the calls while Clarissa gathered up some traveling supplies, he already called Doris to explain the situation. She was on board with wiping out the Strangers, saying no more than they deserve no sympathy. Both Bob and Dale did not answer, and Gilbert felt that fear feeling sinking into his stomach. It was possible they were busy, it was also possible they were dead and he couldn't be sure either way.

"Yeah I couldn't get a hold of Rick either." Gregg sounded worried too.

"How about you check in on Rick, I see if Dale is still alive, and then we meet at Bob's for beers." Gilbert tried to add levity to it, but he and Gregg both were into it.

"As long as you bring the beers, Bob only buys coors light and I'd rather drink water." Gilbert hung up and Clarissa had gathered all the supplies and then some. He was very proud of her in that moment, she was recovering well from her interaction with the strangers.

"We ready to go?" She sounded almost happy.

"Yeah just have to swing in to the store and pick up a sixer of beer."

"Do I want to know?"

"Nope, just roll with it." It was the first and last time Gilbert would laugh on the rest of the trip.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Never Open the Door To Strangers


"I don't know how you do it Gilbert, its damn near midnight and we have work tomorrow." They'd been watching Gilbert's "classic movie" collection. Clarissa was surprised anyone liked Tango and Cash let alone Cobra, She started to wonder if living through the 80's caused people brain damage.

"I own the business I can show up when I want."

"You say that like you don't get up at six every morning regardless of how late you were up the night before." Gilbert frowned.

"You'll understand when you get older, sometimes you don't want to stay up, but you can't get to bed."

"And the getting up at six every day?"

"Routine, in the service I had to get up at five every morning, six is like sleeping him." He had a laugh to it, but Clarissa could almost detect a bit of sorrow to it.

"Well I'm not able to work on only six hours, we got a long day tomorrow some goblins and if I read Doris's hand writing properly a plague of rats." Clarissa went to check to make sure the door was locked. Gilbert said she didn't need bother he lived in the country and the only people who ever came knocking were mormons, but she was in the habit of it and he didn't tell her when he lived alone he kept it unlocked. When she was at the door she caught sight of something out of the peep hole, she couldn't be certain at first, it almost seemed unbelievable that anyone would be out this late let alone be at Gilbert's door, but when she looked through the peephole there was a pair of children. Clarissa was confused. It looked like a pair of teenagers, one girl, one boy, the girl looking slightly older than the boy. She was transfixed staring at them through the peep hole, she didn't even hear Gilbert's shouting as she opened the door and let them inside.

"GET AWAY FROM THE DOOR!" Gilbert had gotten up from the couch as fast as he could, but he was too slow, the strangers were inside. He could see the girl and boy, but he knew that's not what they really were. He saw the boy touch Clarissa's hand and knew she'd be paralyzed unable to act. He had to get away, in his bedroom he kept a double barrel shotgun loaded with what he called "god shot" able to stun if not outright kill most things. The girl stranger moved on him, almost impossibly fast, she was in front of him the door to his bedroom close, but also too far.

"Where are you going mister? Don't you want to help my brother and me?" The strangers face was normal save from the black hole where her eyes should be. As Gilbert stared at her, her facial features shifted, nose becoming elongated, mouth stretching with it, teeth becoming sharp needles dripping with a green goo.

"Just going to get my wallet little girl, why don't you wait in the living room." He could feel her influence on him, feel it creeping into his body like sleep. Telling him she was safe, and he was worried about nothing.

"No you're not, you want to harm me." She reached out for him and he pulled his back. She made another grab, but a shriek like that of a banshee filled the house and froze the stranger in her tracks. Gilbert knew the scream, it sounded like his wife's used to, only amplified somehow. He didn't stop to question what happened, he just ran for his bedroom. The stranger her grip broken moved too slow this time, by the time she turned the door Gilbert had the shotgun leveled and he fired without waiting, the first shot hit the stranger dead center. It fell backwards into Gilbert's night light, it tried to get away but Gilbert fired once more into the head and it stopped. He waited for a moment in the bedroom, gathering some supplies before heading into the living room where the other stranger was waiting.

"Clarissa you ok?" He could see the stranger had her by the throat, her eyes told the story, she was terrified.

"Put down the gun." The stranger was doing its best to command him, Gilbert did as he was told, he heard an audible whimper from Clarissa as he laid the shotgun on the carpet. "Now come over here, you must be punished for what you did to my sister." Gilbert dutifully obeyed and walked towards the boy stranger, when he got within grabbing range, he pulled the knife he'd stashed in his back waistband and slashed the creatures throat. It let go of Clarissa and stumbled through the open door, leaking black fluid on the way out. Gilbert got his shotgun and followed after it.

"Stay inside Clarissa." She was freed from the creatures spell, but still shaken with the experience.

"What are they?"

"Don't have a regular name that I'm aware of, in the business we just call them strangers, don't fault yourself for letting them inside, its smell, its how they get you, I always figured I was giving up electricity costs without fixing this door's seal, turns out I made myself stranger bait." Gilbert fired into the creature. Clarissa felt sick, she ran outside to vomit. Gilbert helped keep her steady while she threw up next to the corpse of the creature.

"Where do they come from?"

"Don't rightly know, no one gets to ask, you see one, you tend to kill it."

"Is this all? Will there be more?"

"There certainly are, strangers never hunt in twos, its always a pack, get some sleep, we'll go find the rest in the morning."

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Forest From The Trees


"We return to our top story tonight, the Olympic forest massacre. Authorities are continuing to investigate the mass grave yard recently unearthed by a forest fire. We go live to Brad Bosworth for an update Brad?" Gilbert turned the tv off, the top story had been the top story for three days, the count was up over three hundred bodies, but so many of the skeletons were mixed up with each other and old so it would be impossible to know the actual body count. He had been relaxing at home, still recovering from the last ordeal with the forest. Clarissa had been working in his place, she came through the door covered in orange goo.

"Next time someone says 'it's just a little creature no bigger than a rat' I'm going to call them a god damn liar, thing was the size of a freaking great dane, with huge fangs, I feel like I'm going to stink for a week." Gilbert chuckled to himself.

"But you got it?"

"I got it, I got all of it, every last piece of it, and I did as you said to do and put a rune down to prevent the next one, I tell you Gilbert I want to be half as knowledgeable as you are."

"You'll get there, what's that?" Clarissa had a manilla envelope she put down on the table.

"Its from that photo guy you sent the camera too, figured you'd want to see if there are any pictures worth seeing." Gilbert was surprised when they'd returned to the van the camera was still there, he almost imagined it had been another illusion. But when they'd returned with Kathy Henson it was still sitting on Clarissa's seat from where he'd left it. At first he didn't want to have the photos developed, just leave sleeping dogs, but he had to know, had to know for himself over anything.

"How's Kathy Henson doing?" Clarissa had already shed the orange coated jump suit and was making her way towards the shower.

"Doctors say she'll recover, she's talking some, just small talk, she'll get there in time. Tyler Smith's mom called the office, said Tyler just woke up himself, started talking again, started being a person. Gilbert I think we did some real good out there." Gilbert smiled to himself.

"We usually do, but yeah this one feels like a win, take your shower." Gilbert emptied the envelope, it had a stack of photos and a letter from his photo guy.


Here's those photos you wanted Gilbert. I'm a little confused though, you said you found this from a person who's been missing for a while, but there are photos in this roll that were taken this week, I don't think the guy has been missing as long as you suspect he has. I'd love to hear where you found this camera.

Gilbert paused at the thought of recent photos. That part put him off guard. He didn't even notice Clarissa had finished her shower until she put her hand on his shoulder and spooked him


"No its ok, just felt off for a minute."

"Still hearing the music?"

"No not that, my photo guy says there are recent photos in the roll, that's off putting." Clarissa looked at the stack of photos on the table.

"Have you looked yet?"

"Was about to, want to join me? You can see when I had more hair."

"Ooh the glory days." Clarissa plopped down on the couch next to Gilbert and he started going through the photos. The first bunch were clearly from the first trip, a bunch of mugging for the camera and action shots of people planning out search zones. This group changed over to when Toomes got lost, just panic'd motion shots of trees ending at the tree that Clarissa found Gilbert at. Then there were the recent shots, Gilbert felt his blood run cold when he saw shots of his own house, including when he and Clarissa had been gearing up to go into the woods. He saw shots of an older looking Tyler Smith seemingly staring right into the camera, and then there was one of a farm with Alpacas. Gilbert dropped the photos at the alpaca farm bit and went to go grab his phone.

"These look like Llamas."

"They're alpacas, one sec Clarissa I'll get back to you." Gilbert searched his contact list and hoped he had Charlie's most recent number. The phone rang and rang for far too long before Charlie answered.


"Charlie, Gilbert, how are you..."

"I saw what happened up in the Olypmics Gilbert, that why you're calling?" Gilbert didn't remember Charlie being so rude to him, but it had been years since they worked together maybe some anger had sprung up in the mean time.

"Just wanted to check up with your Charlie see how you and Trish are doing."

"No you didn't, you did something up in those woods and now you're calling me, but I'm confused as to why."

"You been hearing music charlie?" There was silence on the end of the line.

"Not since the news reported on the fire."

"Look Charlie I'm sorry for what..." The line went dead, Gilbert didn't understand what had clearly happened since the last time Charlie was working for him, but he didn't want to force the issue. Figured Charlie would come around, people in their line of work usually did.

"GILBERT!" Clarissa had called out in a panic and she was hold two photos in a trembling hand. One picture was of what looked like a group of people excavating a grave site, Gilbert had seen enough in the news to know that was the crew up their digging in the Olympics. The other was of Clarissa in her orange covered jump suit opening the door to Gilbert's house, he could see himself slightly out of focus. Clarissa had a look of shock on her face "What does it mean Gilbert?"

"It means what was in those woods isn't the only thing in those woods, and it wants us to know that, know that we won the battle, but it can win the war." Gilbert heard the music faintly as if to acknowledge he was right.

"What do we do then Gilbert?"

"Nothing, these things always do this, try and hang around when they aren't welcome, I ain't worrying about it none, in fact I'm going to make some god damn Gumbo, haven't made it in years." Gilbert went to grab his coat and motioned Clarissa to follow, "Did I ever tell you about the time I was in New Orleans..."

Gilbert and Clarissa left his house, the stack of photos sitting on his coffee table, the most recent one on top where Clarissa left it. Slowly writing began to form on the photo, in a blood red shade.


Put on your dancing shoes, we'll see you soon

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Day The Music Died


"Why don't we just burn the forest? Set the whole damn thing on fire." Gilbert had started the drive up to the forest, Clarissa felt the hairs on the back of her neck rising up just going near it.

"Native Americans tried that, it wouldn't burn, then the village who tried it was found all dead, bones picked clean, but curiously they were picked clean like they'd been killed where they'd been standing. Just skeletons standing up, sitting down, like some macabre display. There was some crazy person in the fifties who wanted to build a lodge up there, he took himself and some undocumented workers up there, no one ever saw him again, though people do claim if you look in the woods at night you'll see lights up there, I never saw it, but I try not to stare." Gilbert reached a parking lot, there was no one on duty, just a parking lot with a parking attendant booth and one other car Gilbert assumed was from the missing woman.

"Who maintains the lot?"

"No one, it maintains itself really. I heard it was originally just a clearing with a sign welcoming people, now it looks like any other park though no one from the state dares come up here. Park ranger used to come up and put a sign up saying this park was closed, he went missing some years back and no one took over." Gilbert stopped the van and looked at Clarissa dead in the eyes, "Last chance on this crazy train." Clarissa gathered her coat and small supplies.

"I'm in this till the forest is stopped Gilbert." Gilbert felt better he had Clarissa with him, but he also could hear the music louder now. He'd been hearing it the whole trip, but didn't want to tell Clarissa.

"Well I'm proud to have you with me, now lets get that nuke."


"Figure of speech." Gilbert opened up the side panel of the van and drew his green chest to himself. Clarissa had wondered what he was keeping in it, every other tool he just had scattered around back there, but this one specifically had a double lock security. Clarissa saw him take the keys out from around his neck and unlock it. She half expected to see a nuclear weapon, or huge gun. Instead it was just a glowing jade Naginata, the weapon that had saved Gilbert all those years in the past.

"That's that dragon blade right?"

"Right, coated in the blood of the beast who made it, I've killed several things with this, that could not be killed, to be honest should have probably had it with me when we went after that Kraken, but mistakes were made." Clarissa was in awe at it, the weapon felt warm in a way to counter the cold she felt from the forest.

"Gilbert Dunkley, I remember the first time you came up here," Gilbert and Clarissa nearly jumped out of their skin at the sound of another person, "Rick Toomes, Everett herald, you probably don't remember me, but I was the photographer on that first missing person."

"Right Toomes, you brought donuts for everyone, wanted to take the first photo of the search party when we found the young woman, kept saying it would be your big break." Gilbert held his hand out to Toomes and the man shook it, Gilbert felt a chill go up his body, but wrote it off to the forest being a cold place. Clarissa didn't like Toomes, he had a look to him that felt off, but they weren't in the woods proper yet, Gilbert said the weird stuff didn't happen out here.

"It was my big break Gilbert, it was, never did find that woman, what was her name?"

"I don't remember, sad right?"

"A little." Toomes walked up to the front of the van, and looked into the woods, they seemed darker by the minute despite it only being nine in the morning. "You still hear the music Gilbert?" Gilbert didn't know how to respond, he hadn't told Toomes about music, never spoke to the man again after that first trip. Toomes walked from the front of the van to beside it, Gilbert went to follow and he was gone. Like he'd never been there. Next to Clarissa's door was his camera though, an older model, something from the 90's before everything went digital.

"Where'd he go?" Gilbert cursed under his breath and put the camera in the van.

"I'm an idiot, Toomes was the first one to go missing all those years ago, god damn forest is fucking with me." Gilbert turned from the van and stared at the tree line looking for anything moving, but saw nothing.

"Still going in?"

"Still going in, come on don't want it to get dark."

"Gilbert wait." Clarissa went back to the van and rummaged around in the back before coming back with some rope. She tied one end around her wait and handed the other part to Gilbert.

"Smart thinking."

"Figured this way if one of us sees something, and tries to wander off, rope will stop that."

"Unless something cuts the rope."

"No one likes a cynic Gilbert." Clarissa and Gilbert had a laugh at that and then both turned to look at the woods. "Well lets get this damn thing done, sixth times a charm right Gilbert?"

"I'm feeling better already Clarissa." Gilbert wasn't feeling better, but anything to stop the music would be welcome.


"I guess I was expecting something scary." Clarissa and Gilbert had been walking for a few hours, they hadn't seen anything. Exactly as Gilbert had said, the forest felt like a normal place up until it wasn't.

"I've heard it said as the Banality of evil, the regular old normal ness of terrible."

"I guess your stories scared me so much I expected something to be waiting for us." Gilbert was walking with the Naginata over his shoulder in a casual manner. It was the easiest way he'd found to carry it since it was so unwieldy normally. Clarissa had an arrow notched at the ready, she didn't know what she'd shoot, but she felt being prepared wouldn't hurt.

"Don't worry, something is waiting for us, I can feel it, though maybe don't walk so close to me the line is pretty slack." Gilbert turned to see why Clarissa was so close when he noticed the line had been cut. Clarissa wasn't anywhere near, he called out, but heard nothing in response.

"Well shit."


"Gilbert you're awfully quiet." Clarissa had been following Gilbert for hours, the sun was starting to descend which she figured would be time to turn around, but he kept on walking deeper in. He hadn't even turned around to look at her. Clarissa got a bad feeling when she noticed he didn't have the Naginata either. She stopped and when the rope pulled tight "Gilbert" turned around and revealed it wasn't actually Gilbert at all, but some horrific looking ghoul. Clarissa didn't even think she just notched the arrow and fired. The shot didn't so much as hit as it dispelled the not Gilbert, the rope went slack, she could see now it had been cut, probably hours ago.

"Fuck." The forest was all around her, she figured this was probably how it got a lot of people. Had you thinking you were with people and then when you realized you weren't it was too late. She didn't hear music, but she figured it was coming. Clarissa also hadn't brought anything other than the bow, her arrows, and her coat. Hadn't even though to bring a flash light or a lighter or anything, she'd assumed Gilbert would bring everything they needed and she was just there to help him from getting lost, which had worked out great.

The only thing she found was she had left her Ipod in her pocket, so she could die like so many idiots in horror movies, not being able to hear what was coming. Clarissa was about to put the ipod back in her pocket when she thought of something. What if hearing the music wasn't the first time you heard something, it was just when it became obvious? She had to test the theory quickly, she turned on the ipod and was happy to see it had most of its battery. She put her earbuds in and turned up the volume to almost painful levels. At first she regretted it because she'd been listening to an awful pop song and at that volume it just made her regret having the song in the first place, but then something weird happened. The forest changed. Instead of the endless samey looking trees, it looked different, she could see changes, see which way the sun was, and see other foot steps in the ground! They looked big as if made by someone in work boots like Gilbert. She ran in that direction immediately, hoping to find him before the forest got him.

The foot steps ended at a large ugly tree. She looked around it hoping to find some indication where Gilbert had went, but they just stopped at the tree. Just being near it she could feel her skin crawl, like she was in a place no one should be. Clarissa knew immediately she'd found what she needed to kill, but she saw no way of doing so. She had her arrows, but shooting an arrow into a tree felt like a really stupid idea. She was about to just try jamming the arrow head into the tree hoping to do something when she noticed one of her arrows looked different than the others. It was the fire poison from when they'd been hunting the Kraken. She remembered afterward Gilbert said to carry one just in case "never know when you need to burn something from the inside." Clarissa didn't know if it would work, but figured she had nothing else to lose. She slotted the fire poison arrow up and aimed dead center on the tree.

"What are you doing?" It was a young boy, Clarissa knew it wasn't an actual young boy, she could barely hear him shouting over her music, but she knew the forest was trying to stop her.

"Ending this."

"Why don't you hear the music?" The boy was now a man, a twisted ugly broken looking man. Old and twisted in a way that reflected the tree.

"Just not a tune I can dance to." She let the arrow fly, it hit the middle of the tree and nothing happened at first. And then the twisted man caught on fire. The tree itself started to smoke from the branches. Clarissa wondered what she would do next when she saw a black man's hand shoot up from underneath the roots of the tree. She ran to it, assuming it was Gilbert, but the hand disappeared again. She was about to start digging when the Naginata emerged up from the same place Gilbert's hand had been.

"Cut it down." She could hear Gilbert, he sounded hoarse, like he was struggling to speak, almost inaudible over her ipod.

"Let me get you out first!" Clarissa was shouting without realizing it.

"Can't get free, cut it down." She nodded her head and dropped her bow. She took up the large pole arm, surprised at how light it felt compared to how heavy it looked. Clarissa didn't even know how to swing it. Her first attempt was like a baseball bat, the blade turned sideways and slammed into the tree sending a tremor up her hands that hurt up to her shoulders. She was undeterred though, and her next attempt had her place her hands equally apart and swing with all her might. She figured she'd cut part of the tree, make an impact and then have to keep chopping. Instead as soon as the blade touched the tree it sliced on through, it almost knocked Clarissa off her feet to have it cut as if she wasn't cutting at all. The slice took her halfway through the old rotten beast of a tree, and with some walking she managed to finish it off, the cut having also magically extended out the backside despite the blade not being able to normally reach that far. Her work done the entire tree caught fire and feel away from her, almost writhing as it burnt.

"Gonna need some help." Gilbert's voice was louder than before and Clarissa felt better. She ran to his hand and pulled and with his help she got him out of the ground. He was covered in dirt and leaves, as soon as he was out he vomitted up some black sludge with other tree parts.

"Oh my god I'm so glad you're out."

"Not alone, the Hansen woman is down there, still alive, but barely." Clarissa helped Gilbert dig the woman out, she was naked and shivering, but alive. Clarissa handed over her jacket and Gilbert lifted her up on his shoulder like a small child. She looked impossibly thin to Clarissa, she hoped she'd come out ok.

"So which way is out Gilbert?" Gilbert nodded in the direction opposite the tree.

"That way, though I swear to god I can still hear music, though this sounds worse than that carnival barking shit from before." Clarissa went red and reached into her pocket to turn off her ipod.


"Yeah, though I am going to have so many questions later Clarissa."

"As will I Gilbert."

"Grab my Naginata, and lets get the fuck out of here."

"Yeah I think this dance party is done." They both had a chuckle at that, but the groan of Ms. Hansen cut their moment of levity. They still had a job to get done, and daylight was fading.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Fifth Trip


"I really wish you wouldn't do this." Sheriff Marta, or as the young deputy called her when he said he'd get her Sheriff M, was a woman older than Gilbert. She had the look of someones grandmother, she looked out of place in a police uniform with a gun, though Gilbert told Clarissa looks can be deceiving and Marta was about as hard heeled as she looked kind.

"Marta I got a duty to do."

"The fuck you do, you know what's in those woods, you been up there enough Gilbert, each time you go I see a little more of you left behind, don't you remember what happened last time?"

"I know what happened last time Marta, I got Clarissa here with me, I'll be fine." Marta spit.

"That's another god damn thing, why are you bringing someone else up in those damned things, so determined to kill yourself want to bring a witness?"

"Grown woman makes her own decisions."

"Fine, you big idiot, then go I already told Hansen his sister was dead, only gave him your name hoping you'd talk him out of searching not go up there yourself." Gilbert went to leave the Sheriff's office, he nodded as he left.

"It was nice seeing you again Marta, be a shame when you retire."

"You won't be around to see it exterminator, go before I arrest you." Gilbert and Clarissa made their way out of the sheriff's station and into the van. Gilbert got out his pipe and had a smoke before starting the van back up, it was the first time Clarissa had seen him smoke prior to a job.

"You can always leave, you don't have to go up there with me." Gilbert had stopped the van at gas station, behind it looming like a bad dream was the woods.

"I'm afraid Gilbert not going to lie, but before I make a choice I want you to tell me what happened on those fourth and fifth trips." Gilbert looked away from her for a moment, she couldn't tell if it was to think or plan a lie.

"Fourth time was nothing, I went up there feeling sick to begin with, the family had told me they'd been missing for two weeks and didn't even know if the guy was in the woods, so I went up looked around found shit went home told them I searched all day when I did nothing of the sort, I didn't feel too bad about that one," Gilbert let a huge puff of smoke out the window, "That fifth trip, that's when shit really went south fast..."


I was looking for a young boy, its what got me out there again. Someone who had been on a fishing trip with his dad and gotten lost or so they thought. I don't know what idiot thought to fish up near the woods, but these are the kind of things you see in hindsight you didn't see the first time. It had been less than a day since the kid had gone missing. Marta hoped if I got out there early enough I might find a trace, I'd found the Smith boy within a couple days, she figured even sooner might make it possible.

Something felt off from the start, the woods smelled and I'd never smelled shit before. It's why I knew something was really wrong. I didn't hear music, but I don't think anyone had ever come across what I did in the woods and lived to tell anyone about it. I had cleared what I called the "sound line" the line in the forest where sounds of the forest had dropped off and the quiet of those deep woods existed. The smell started bad and got worse as I went, and then the smoke was there. Like being in a fog, I should have left then, figured some how a fire had started and prayed it took that evil place with it. But I knew it wasn't real, that no real fire could exist in that place without being allowed, so I pushed on.

I came across a clearing, that being rare enough in these woods, with eight people being burned on stakes. I didn't recognize all eight, but I knew at least three of them including the former Sheriff Powell who'd been missing going on twenty years. They were all screaming and begging for help. I didn't hestitate I ran, I didn't hear the music but I felt it was coming along with the carnival barker and his evil call. I knew they were dead, couldn't even be alive, but I was also worried I was wrong and I left those men to die when I ran away.

The problem for me was the smoke, it distorted and threw me off. I thought I was running out of the forest, but I ran deeper in. Just got lost entirely. I knew I was fucked when I saw how dark it had gotten. I had never been in that forest after dark and I hadn't even thought to bring a flash light. I thought it was bad before, I was wrong, the carnival barker was the forest playing nice. At night it really came alive. I could hear the heart beat of the place, an actual beating heart drumming along in my ears. Every branch or cloister of trees felt like arms and hands reaching out to me. I kept walking though, I felt a desire to keep moving, if I stopped I sensed something would get me. I'd hear the music and know it would be it for me. So I kept moving through tree branches, sticker bushes, and everything else. The forest felt like a creature tearing at my clothes as I blindly smashed through in the dark.

I knew the place was evil, I just didn't know how it could trap you. I figured if I kept walking I'd make it out, make it to something like the mountains or a clearing or something. But no, it was just more forest. I never changed my direction, never went in circles, but I wasn't getting out. I started to worry if that's what happened to all the people I'd not been able to find, if I'd run across one of them, hair all wild, naked, barely any flesh on their bones wondering if I was an illusion or not. I had never felt that alone in the world, not since my wife had died. Just stomping through the forest, not eating, not drinking, not even having to take a piss. Always feeling like something was right behind me, but too afraid at that point to turn around.

It came as a bit of a shock to my system when I almost barreled into Marta. She was crouched talking to a horrifying creature. It was all flesh and bone like the carnival barker. I could see an ugly bone claw reaching up near Marta's neck as she cooed at it that everything would be ok. She didn't even see me, she was so focused on the creature and trying to sooth it. She went to pick it up and I screamed.

"MARTA NO!!!" And crashed into her, the creature's bone claw sliced down her neck, you didn't see it when she was in her office because she uses make up and wears turtle neck shirts, but she's got a scar running from just under her earlobe to her breast bone from what that thing did to her. I picked her up and started running now. I couldn't see the creature, but I got the sense I'd interrupted it and much like when Tyler Smith had saved me it wouldn't pursue us. I was of course still as hell, and figured I'd keep running through the woods until my legs gave out and Marta died from her wound, but that didn't happen. Somehow I got out, got Marta to the hospital and saved her life as she had saved mine.

Took me a month to fully recover. Apparently I'd been eating leaves and pine cones and shit while I was lost. I don't recall doing it, but I sure as hell started crapping things out of myself I never want to see again. Along with the tree stuff was a black sludge, don't know what that that was, don't want to know. After the month I was mostly fine, still had the occasional dream when I'd wake up scared I was back in the woods, but those have faded in time.


"So that's the fifth trip, and now we're back." Gilbert had gassed the van up and bought some snacks from the clerk who seemed skittish for no good reason to Clarissa.

"Why would you ever want to go back here Gilbert?"

"Because I'm hearing music Clarissa, been hearing it for a couple months now, faint at first, but I'd wake up in the middle of the night hearing that carnival music, I'd look out in the direction of the woods from my porch and I'd see him standing there, the carnival man, and he's not alone, standing next to him are the ones I didn't get back. As the month's have gone on more and more people are being added to those next to him. I don't know if those are the ones who have been lost, or the ones to be lost. I have to go back, one way or another, go to stop the music."

Friday, November 17, 2017

When You Hear Music, Run


"This will be my sixth time up in them woods, on my previous five trips, I only found one person, and that one was," Gilbert paused for a moment, "Well he came back wrong best I can say it, he's still alive last I heard, and his parents are doing their best, but what's in them woods isn't a normal creature, it takes things from you." The two exterminators were on a ferry at the moment, the sun was going down. Gilbert had informed Clarissa they wouldn't be going into the woods till the morning, he didn't dare start out at night.

"Is it some kind of ancient spirit, like something native american?" Gilbert smiled.

"You went the same place I did on my first trip up there, I checked a local reservation figuring someone had cursed the place, maybe I could get it removed? They knew the place, knew the evil there, but it was there before their people had ever come from wherever they came from. They put me in touch with the only person to ever come back from them woods. He was old, up over the age of 98, didn't speak, when I ran across him he'd moved to just outside of the woods, lived in a small cabin his grand daughter helped maintain. She told me he hadn't talked to anyone in over five years, spent most of his time sitting on the porch in a rocking chair just staring into the woods. I asked my questions, he didn't say anything, I was about to leave when I told him I was going into those woods, and that's when he snatched my arm strength like a taught cable, he stared me right in the eyes and said 'When you hear music, run.'" Gilbert fell silent for a bit. Clarissa felt a chill run up her spine at the story, she could tell Gilbert was bothered by it. He himself was staring at the mountains, she could tell he was probably going back to those woods in his mind.

"For my first trip I wasn't alone, authorities hadn't learned to avoid the woods, we had search and rescue, sheriffs, even some fire fighters had joined the effort. I was just hired at the time because I'd worked for the sheriff once to kill a werewolf, so he knew that the woods could harbor things normal people didn't believe in. We had no idea what we were walking into. Lost five people in two days, never found a trace of them, they were just up and gone, including the sheriff who hired me. The second time out it was just me and Charlie, no one else would go. Charlie saw something in the woods I didn't, he wouldn't tell me what it was, but he never went back to them. Hell he didn't come back to the peninsula for any regular job, I never blamed him, I don't take jobs in wyoming either." Gilbert didn't say anything again. Clarissa was beginning to regret coming on this job.

"That third job though, it was just me, so I was already high strung. Those woods are deep and you start seeing things, hearing things, and you know you're hearing things, because those woods are quiet like the grave. Its the first thing you notice about when you get deep in, past the normal woods areas, past the birds, and squirrels and other shit, when you get in deep it gets quiet, real quiet," Gilbert considered his next words carefully, Clarissa had goose bumps all over her arm, "When I heard it at first I thought I was just hearing more shit, I swear I'd heard my mothers voice earlier in the day, but that music was unmistakeable, faint at first, just drifting on the wind and then it was all around me. You know carnival music? Loud and bombastic? It's what I heard, my father used to take me to carnivals as a young man, I loved it, loved seeing clowns and high wire acts, it was a grand ole time. This music put the chill into my spine. I'd forgotten about the old native american's warning up till then, and then it came flooding back and I was chilled to my core." A bird made a loud cawing sound from somewhere on the sound and both Clarissa and Gilbert got startled and laughed at the situation.

"Out of nowhere amidst this music was a carnival barker. He even had a little booth, I couldn't believe my eyes at first. I was dumb then, just a stupid fool who didn't run when he should have. 'Step right up, step right up, we have rides, we have thrills, we have stuff you ain't never seen, step right up sir' I was paralyzed, unable to move, unable to talk, and that barker had a look to him, something was off, I mean obviously because it was a carnival barker in the middle of the woods, but there was something else, something insidious about how he was looking at me. While I was staring at him his outfit changed, started small, fabric getting frayed, skin looking off. Soon enough his clothes were made from skin and bone, his own body that of a corpse. And I was being strangely drawn to him, I could feel my desire to go with him," Gilbert shuddered again and gathered his thoughts, "I probably would have gone with him if not for Tyler Smith, the young boy I was out there to find, he screamed at me no and I woke up like from a dream, I snatched him up and ran, I could hear the barker behind me making demented requests cursing my family but I paid him no mind. I just ran."

"When I got Tyler back home to his family he wasn't speaking, his hair was all white, all the boy would say is 'when you hear music, run' I heard that's all he does say now, though he hardly speaks. Just sits on the porch looking back to the woods, his family moved away, but he knows which direction to look, knows where to stare." Gilbert looked to the woods again, shivered and walked back to the van, the ferry ride was almost over.

"So what's the plan?"

"I booked some hotel rooms, we will set out in the morning, check in with the sheriff just to let her know we're going up there, she'll probably give me a song and dance like Doris did, and then we'll find Ms Hansen, or not, either way we will leave those woods by night time, but remember what I did not."

"When you hear music run."

"When you hear music run, good Clarissa you may outlive me yet." Clarissa didn't feel that, and couldn't help shake the feeling Gilbert had mentioned he'd been up there five times but only told her of three of them.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Into the Woods


The front doors bell toned and Gilbert looked up from the exterminator catalog. He was all by himself. Doris and Clarissa had taken a personal day together to do something Gilbert didn't care to hear about and he'd been the one to hold down the fort. He had been flipping through the catalog for a few hours, deciding if he really wanted to order anything or just look.

"Excuse me?" The man had thick dark rimmed glasses, he was wearing a wrinkled suit the type you throw on for an unexpected funeral.

"Help you? We're running a discount on goblins and lesser demons, only lesser demons though, full blown exorcisms are still full price, hands are tied on that one catholic church rates, you understand." Gilbert didn't even really look up, he'd already been pestered by a couple people looking for a regular exterminator and he was tired of it already.


"Yeah catholic exorcisms are a damned racket, though I haven't found anything that works better, lesser demons I can get rid of easily enough, sanctify burn the little bastards with some holy water, but full blown demon stuff needs the big guns and big guns aren't cheap." Gilbert had tried to get Father Clarence to do an exorcism, but he said it wasn't his area of expertise.

"I'm not, I'm not here for an exorcism sir." Gilbert looked up from his catalog and gave the man a more serious appraisal. He looked sad more than anything, and that told Gilbert it wasn't a normal job he was calling about.

"How long have they been missing?" The man seemed taken back.


"Had to have been the Jefferson County Sheriffs who told you to come to me, your suit looks like a long drive without a change of clothes and your face is red from crying, so someone is missing in the Olympic forest." The man didn't know how Gilbert had guessed all that but he felt a sense of relief.

"I just didn't know what an exterminator in eastern Washington could do, my sister, she went missing yesterday we were supposed to have dinner last night, I fear the worse."


"Ornithology its..."

"Study of birds I know, though no one studies birds in those woods, no one studies nothing."

"She thought people were just being superstitious." The man started to cry, and Gilbert came over and hugged him, he'd been in this position before, and everytime it broke his heart.

"Ain't no superstition about those woods, but I understand, and I can help you, but I want you to know I've been up there five times, I've only ever gotten one person out and even then there were changes."

"Anything you can do, anything." The man started deeply sobbing and Gilbert let him. It was a good hour before he left. He made sure to give Gilbert a picture of his sister even though Gilbert knew in his heart he wouldn't need one, he knew the woman was dead and he was wasting his time.


"No Gilbert you stubborn old man you will not go into the woods." Doris had never liked Gilbert going into the olympics, in the past she couched it in just a bad feeling, now with her elf heritage out she spoke from a position of the fae, it was an evil place.

"Got a job to do Doris, and its a job that needs done end of discussion."

"You are a fool Gilbert, a damned fool, that wood almost killed you a couple times and here you are. Do you even have a picture of this dead woman? You know she's dead, they all have to be." Gilbert showed her a picture Kathy Henson was written on the back.

"We all have jobs in life Doris, this one is mine."

"Then you do it alone, leave Clarissa here, she can continue the business when whatever is up there kills you."

"I can make my own decisions." Doris looked at Clarissa with anger, and then pulled out a photo album from underneath the counter. She flipped through pictures that looked as old as civil war photography to more recent modern day shots.

"Over a hundred people that we know of have gone into those woods and never came back Clarissa, what's there is not meant to be disturbed, its not meant to be bothered, it just is, leave it where it is."

"You make your own choices Clarissa, I'm going, you don't have to." Clarissa looked over the pictures, most of them were adults, but some were children young looking children at that.

"I'm going."

"Screw both of you, I will not mourn you." Doris slammed the album shut and stomped back into the office.

"Let her go Clarissa, we got a long drive ahead of us."

"Don't we need to get gear or anything?"

"We'll get some warm coats from the house, everything else ain't worth a damn in them woods."

Friday, November 3, 2017

Courting Disaster


"I think we're done here." It had been hours, Gilbert was tired, the man in the suit was tired, and they were getting no where.

"Is that to say I can leave?" The man stared for a minute and then the door opened.

"Free man, but do please try and avoid future wars with the god damn fae courts." Gilbert stood up his legs creaking from sitting.

"No promises." Outside the door Clarissa was waiting, she had there stuff from when they'd been arrested. Gilbert didn't say anything though clearly Clarissa wanted to talk, he waited until they'd gotten into the van and were down the road from the military base before he said anything.

"So you want to know what happened?"

"Yeah I'm so confused, I mean I told them everything I know and I don't know anything, how did we start a war with the autumn court?"

"Well we didn't, summer and autumn are already at war, as are winter and spring, we just kind of stepped in one through deception."

"Who deceived us?"

"Pretty sure it was god damn everyone on this one."


Arrows were stuck near the ground. The autumn ambush had been almost picture perfect, most of the escort was dead, Gilbert, Rolo, and Clarissa were crouched behind the shields of the fallen hoping to survive. Rolo was more than a little upset.


"Yes Rolo I arranged for you to carry us through this specific passage in the fae on the way to my office so I could die to your enemies, it was my brilliant plan to die to the court of autumn." The arrows stopped, that scared Gilbert more than anything, when your enemies aren't showing you where they are, they become unpredictable.

"Man, you can leave, we only want Rolo." It was some kind of gutteral creature, the word barely intelligible.

"Nice knowing you Rolo." Rolo grabbed Gilbert by the arm his eyes desperate.

"You can't leave me here, you don't know what they'll do to me."

"Kill you probably, but I don't know what you want me to do about it, I'm unarmed, Clarissa is unarmed, and we aren't anywhere near the office, we're in the fae."

"I can rip us out of the fae, I don't know where we'll be, but it'll be a far sight better than here." Gilbert smiled, he figured Rolo had a way out he wasn't using.

"Do it."


"And so as you know we wound up in a military base and may have inadvertently caused a minor scuffle with the court of autumn and the US government."

"No I got that, I'm still confused how Doris fits into this."

"We're about to find out."

It took Gilbert a few hours to drive from the military base back to his office. All told they'd been gone over a day and a half from when they were supposed to be back in a few hours. Gilbert was expecting to find his office in disarray or at the very least Doris upset. He was mildly perturbed when he came in to find her watching tv at her desk.

"Oh Janice you can do so much better than Jerome."

"Doris! We've been gone over a god damned day and this is where I find you just watching tv at your desk which I told you to specifically not to do." Doris just rolled her eyes.

"You guys are always over due or late, I swear Gilbert I'm not going to get the national guard every time you get lost in the woods." Gilbert was beyond angry but Clarissa couldn't help but laugh.

"Doris we were kidnapped by elves of the summer court who told me quite a tale about you! Are you an elf?"

"Yeah? I listed other on race when I submitted my job application, you never asked I figured you knew."

"This whole time?"

"Why do you think I wear my hair like I do? have to cover my ears, people always making jokes, it gets very tiresome." Gilbert had to sit down in one of the chairs in the lobby, he was just so overwhelmed by the situation in general.

"I think it's cool you're an elf Doris," Clarissa spoke up while Gilbert collected his thoughts.

"Thank you dear, so what did the Summer Court want anyway?"

"They accused you of being a traitor, that you sold them out to the autumn court." Clarissa had stepped up while Gilbert just held his head in his hands.

"Probably Queen Lustria right? She's the real traitor, probably arranged the whole thing to kill Rolo my half brother."

"Yeah he almost got killed in an ambush!"

"Well there you go, need to talk to Rolo, guy always was a headstrong fool, well I'm glad you guys are ok, well mostly Gilbert looks a little green under the gills, might want to take him home."

"That's an excellent idea, I need to rest, take some time, stop watching god damn tv though Doris I mean it." Doris rolled her eyes again, waited till Gilbert and Clarissa had gotten back into the van and then went back to her program.

"Janice! Don't you tell me you are having Jeromes baby!"

Friday, October 27, 2017

Prison of Summer Court


"What is the prison of the Summer Court like?" Gilbert inhaled deeply, he hated debriefs, hated them even more when he was potentially facing charges by the government. He knew Clarissa was talking, told her it would be fine to do so, but it meant the government man probably knew more than Gilbert would like them to know. Especially about Doris and her royal connections.

"Summer Court doesn't believe in prison ordinarily, so it wasn't like bars and stuff."

"How progressive."

"They ordinarily torture and then execute people." The government man frowned.

"Decidedly less progressive, so they tortured you."

"Extensively." The man noted something on his pad.

"You don't look like you were physically assaulted?"

"Mental torture is what the elves excell at."

"Loud music? Games with your food? Help me out here Mr. Dunkley."

"Mostly they talk at you until you want to kill yourself."


"We can probably just visit the office and get him there." Rolo had followed Clarissa and Gilbert to their "Cell" a very nice looking sitting room. If not for the guards with weapons Gilbert felt it would be pretty comfortable. They had been talking for hours, Gilbert's voice felt hoarse from all the talking, Rolo invigorated by it

"Her she goes by Doris now and I'd appreciate you recognizing that." Rolo sneered.

"Humans are so temperamental, still what's to stop us from going there right now?"

"What's stopping you? Probably fear, you know how long I been doing what I do, you know the kind of things I'd put to keep you out to keep myself safe, yeah you could just walk right in there, but you wouldn't be walking right back out and you know that." Rolo smiled now.

"Or your bluffing us now."

"One way to find out."

"And that would be?"

"Take us to the office." Clarissa didn't want to interrupt, she could sense the tension in the air.

"So then you can spring your trap instead of us just walking into it." Gilbert leaned back and threw his hands up.

"Or don't man, leave us here annoyed for all eternity."


"So you negotiated your release with the summer court to set up an ambush with the fall court?"


"Than your secretary Doris set up the ambush with the autumn court?"


"Well how did the ambush happen?"

"Mistakes were made."

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Court of Summer


Gilbert and Clarissa were lead through fire and into a room of glass. Clarissa hesitated at the portal of flame, but the sharp end of a spear from their captors pushed her through. The court of Summer was so beautiful it defied description. The glass was alive it seemed, pulsing with an inner flame. There were all sorts of creatures that Clarissa didn't have names for, noted among them were the elves though, they seemed to be in charge based on clothing and position relative to others. They were lead from the opening area to a throne room, seated at the front was a large elven lady. She was oppulently lounging her rolls of fat on open display. Almost naked aside from strategic clothing.

"My Liege I present to you Gilbert Dunkley and hmm don't think I got your name miss."

"Clarissa Shipley my liege." When she said my liege Rolo choked on a laugh. the Queen herself smiled at her stammering reply.

"So eager to serve Ms Shipley? In due time, in due time, but for now you can call me Queen Lustria." Gilbert said something under his breath and got a sharp rebuke from the spearman behind him.

"Something to add Gilbert?" Rolo had a smile on his face.

"Yeah I said bullshit, I'll call no elven lady from the summer court or any court my queen." This brought another strike from the spearman behind him, but the queen held up her hand.

"So proud Gilbert, so proud and strong, you worked for us once now you hold us with such contempt?"

"Not contempt, I bow for no one, honor no royalty."

"And isn't very polite either." Rolo added with a smirk.

"Brave strong Gilbert Dunkley last of his line, you do not have to kneel to me, or honor me," Lustria rose up off her thrown, her gluttonous body gleamed in the fire glass. "But you will respect me in my court or I'll have you flayed alive for my amusement, now to your association with a traitor to this court." Gilbert looked to Clarissa and Clarissa back at him.

"We just took a job from the dragon to kill a troll it wasn't like a long term association." Clarissa assumed it had to be the dragon that had offended the queen, but instead she laughed, she just laughed and laughed.

"Dragon? On my court? That would be the day, no my dear not your association with one of the low creatures of earth that is a dragon, I'm talking of Gilbert continuing to employ Prince Ilon."

"Doris? You are telling me Doris is a prince of your court?"

"Not just a prince, but a traitor to this court!" Gilbert steeled himself, Clarissa saw him stand straight and stare at the Queen.

"I hope your fires are hot, I'm not turning on Doris."

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fairly Warfare


"Did you knowingly or unknowingly start a war with the court of autumn?" The man was in a suit, he had a piece of paper in front of him that had all sorts of scary words about treason and aiding the enemy of the united states. Gilbert just sighed, he'd been in this room before, been in this kind of interview before, he'd been on both sides of the table, but now seeing the man in his suit and the military MP's behind him with rifles he felt very old and tired.

"Well with unknowingly in there I can't really answer that now can I?" Now it was the man in the suits turn to sigh.


"I don't know, I didn't know then, and I don't know now, am I being detained?" For Clarissa this was all new, the man in the suit, the men with guns. She didn't know what to feel, ever since they'd been marched out of Gilbert's office in shackles with armed guards she'd felt things had taken a decided turn for the worse.

"Ms. Shipley do you understand the kind of trouble you're in?"

"I have no idea."

"Ok, lets just take it from the top, you said you and Gilbert were being chased by a 'Gravoboom' is that correct?"

"Well that's what Gilbert called it, I really don't know if that's correct or not." The man sighed again.

"Ok why don't you just take it back to the encounter with the fire creature..."

"I'm just confused."

"Yeah me too I thought Lord of the Rings was just a movie." The Gravoboom had pursued them through most of the forest, never attacking, just menacing and seemingly pushing them away from the van and deeper into the charred forest. They were currently hiding out in a small grove of trees that had managed to avoid being burnt down.

"No not that, only time I've run across one of these when I did some work for the court of summer, and it was just a kept creature not something out and about."

"Court of summer?" Clarissa felt more confused than normal.

"One of the Courts in the fae, they are broken up by season, made up of elves, fairies the whole bit."

"Its like all the things I dreamed about as a little girl come to life."

"Except you don't want anything to do with the courts, believe me the one time I dealt with the court of summer it was.... shit." Gilbert turned around and noticed they had been surrounded. It was mainly an elven force, armed with spears and bows.

"You don't write, you don't call, Gilbert I'm beginning to think you don't like us very much." The lead elf who spoke looked like a fashion model to Clarissa, like he'd been plucked straight from a romance cover.

"Forgive me Rolo, I thought we were more of a fling." Clarissa was even more lost than usual, and that only got worse when they entered the Fae realms.


"So Gilbert willingly admitted to knowing the summer court and even worked for them?" The man in the suit seemed very excited by this Clarissa didn't think it was hidden knowledge.

"We work for anyone who pays is what I always assumed."

"Noted, now please continue and tell us about your time in the fae."

"Ok well see it was like the care bears..."

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Importance of Being Right


"I couldn't tell you what was in it, tasted all right going down, burned like a fire coming out, but oddly enough it worked. When I came out of the bathroom I was a changed man." Gilbert and Clarissa were walking through the remains of a burnt forest. They were wearing respirators because the wild fire was close enough a bad change of the winds would potentially be dangerous with the smoke, but Gilbert had been assured by the fireman that was a rare possibility.

"So did you thank the good reverend for curing you?"

"Oh god no I threatened to kill him the next time he showed up at home."

"That's not very nice."

"Trust me after what he put me threw, killing him would have been a mercy, how did your time with Sylvia play out?"

"It was fineish, we killed some werechickens and then a gargoyle." They were picking through the embers looking for fire sprites, when Gilbert had told Clarissa about the job she kept laughing at the idea of fire sprites despite him telling her they weren't a laughing matter.

"Gargoyle? So did you use stone poison."


"Heart of a harpy?"


"Crush it in a car crusher? Did that once it was horrific and yet oddly satisfying." Clarissa sighed.

"No, I shot it through the eyes and then the mouth, Sylvia had basically left me to die beforehand."

"Ahh so that's why you were so quiet about it, see you assumed my dislike of Sylvia was related to her reminding me of my wife or just general orneriness and you wouldn't be wrong to an extent, but its also that woman only look out for herself, always has, always will."

"So you told me so."

"If you want to hear it that way, yes I told you so." Clarissa stomped off and Gilbert didn't follow, he knew she couldn't get into too much trouble against fire sprites, and she eventually would calm down. Gilbert started to wonder if the fire jumpers who had reported the sprites were merely suffering from smoke induced hallucinations. He hadn't seen any of the normal indicators of the little buggers, and the longer he stayed in the charred forest he worried about what he was breathing in even with the mask.



"What do Fire Sprites look like?"

"Small like a keebler elf."

"So not the size of a tree and bathed in flame?" Gilbert felt the hairs stand up the back of his neck.

"No that's not a fire sprite."

"Then I think we should run Gilbert."

"I like that plan, I like that plan a lot." And so the exterminators fled in the charred forest, and the Gravoboom followed shortly thereafter.

Friday, September 29, 2017



"You must repent brother Gilbert repent and your sins will be clean." Gilbert's insides felt like they were being torn up by razor blades, the soup had been delicious, the aftermath agony. Made worse by Reverend Clarence taking his moments on the toilet to preach at him.

"You're lucky I didn't bring a gun in here with me Clarence I'd shoot you."


"Ok so this looks bad, and it is bad." Clarissa and Sylvia were trapped in a barn, the Gargoyle was outside, it hadn't crossed into the barn yet, but Sylvia knew it was only a matter of time.

"So what's the solution? How do we kill a gargoyle." Clarissa was beginning to see what the issue Gilbert had with Sylvia.

"Sunlight is mostly the way you kill one."

"The sun just went down!"

"Yeah that's why we are in this barn for the time being." There was a breaking of boards from the roof, the gargoyle was finding out a way in. Which would be all of smashing its way into the barn, but it was struggling to figure that out for some reason.

"Can't we just shoot it a lot?" Sylvia laughed, and another board broke.

"Bullets won't do much to a gargoyle, your arrows even less. Their skins is hard as rock." Another board smashed through and the gargoyle did too. The creature which Clarissa hadn't seen much before they'd ran, it was easily over nine feet tall with large leathery wings that it had fully extended to make it look even more massive. Sylvia had already ran, Clarissa heard her say something behind her and fled. Clarissa was just in awe of the creature, even as it flexed its muscles and roared at her. Clarissa slotted two of her arrows and let them fly. They found their mark right in the creatures blood red eyes. Suddenly it went from roaring in defiance to wildly smashing around in pain. Clarissa knew the barn was not long for this world and she made a hasty retreat as the thrashing creature brought the barn down on itself.

"What did you do?" Sylvia was outside she had been running prior to Clarissa just emerging unscathed.

"Skin is rock hard, eyes aren't, and he's got nice and big ones."

"You know that its not dead right?" Just as Sylvia said that the Gargoyle emerged smashing from the ruins. The arrows partially broken were still lodged in its eyes. Clarissa was unphased, the garoyle roared again and this time Clarissa fired arrows right into its open mouth, three shots in the Gargoyle slumped to the ground dying. Clarissa took up one more arrow and shot it through its eye again and the creature stopped moving.

"I just thought of in jaws where Roy Schneider shot the air tank, I figured mouth/throat couldn't be armored." Sylvia had no words, she'd never seen someone just stare a creature down like that. Sinaa itself was impressed.

"You've got ice water in your veins."

"Can we just go home now, I think I've had enough of were chickens and gargoyles."

"Fair enough Clarissa, fair enough."

Friday, September 22, 2017

The Were Chicken Issue


"Oh no Candice don't let Ray do that to you have some respect girl." Gilbert was three hours in to watching day time TV. He could already feel his sanity fading. He imagined this was how people wound up in homes, just watching garbage tv until the men in white jackets picked you up and carry you off to where people went to die. He was saved from his fate by a knock at the door. Gilbert was surprised to see Clarence there waiting for him with a bowl in his hands.

"Brother Gilbert you're looking mighty under the weather."

"I knew I was bad off, I didn't know I was see a priest bad off."

"Not at all good brother not at all, not here for god business, I'm here to get you better!" Timms invited himself in and put the bowl down on the kitchen table.

"You have some kind of make people feel better ability?"

"Soup, not just any soup, spicy chicken soup, this is the stuff of legend Gilbert, I've seen this stuff put such a fire in someone as to almost wake the dead." Gilbert looked at the soup skeptically.

"Ok well I do like spicy things." A statement Gilbert would come to regret many hours later.


"When you said were chickens I guess I was confused as to what they actually were." It was getting toward dusk, the farm they had traveled to was out near the Canadian boarder north of Spokane. Mostly just arid farmland with the occaisional cow. What Clarissa saw on top of a hill looked like ostriches with fangs.

"What did you expect? Small chickens that look like wolves?"

"Kind of." Sylvia laughed.

"Yeah were just means weird, people just thought it meant some kind of lycanthrophy because people are idiots, just like a la mode really meant the fashion at the time, not specifically ice cream on top of pie."

"Is that true?"

"Sure." Sylvia racked her rifle and took aim at the first were chicken, she had been told there were at least three, but could only see the one.

"So what's the plan here again?"

"I shoot the lead one here, when the other two show up we kill them too, go for body shots, the head is too small to hit with an arrow especially if they are moving."

"And the silver will work?"

"It better god damn work I paid a pretty penny for it." Clarissa didn't have Sylvia's confidence in the silver tipped arrow, but she figured if Sylvia god powered or not had managed to live as long as she had, she probably knew what she was doing. The first shot did indeed bring the other were chickens, there were four of them on top of the dead one, which seemed like the farmer had either miscounted or did not know the full amount. It didn't ultimately matter, the ground and weaponry won the day for Sylvia and Clarissa.

"Should we drain the bodies? Were chicken blood is useful."

"It is? I have just always let them rot in the di..." There was an awful screech that stopped Sylvia dead in her tracks.

"Were chicken?"

"Nope that's a gargoyle, and we're a little far from the car."

"That's bad?"

"Real bad."


Friday, September 15, 2017

Sick Day


"Stay home Gilbert." Gilbert was dressed in his usual work outfit, despite the doctor warning him he needed at least a week of bed rest. Clarissa was not happy.

"I make my own decisions."

"Clearly like risking pneumonia, now get out of those clothes, and into bed or at least the couch watch tv or something, STAY HOME!" There was a honk outside and Gilbert saw Sylvia's BMW with a waving Sylvia inside.

"No No this will not do."

"See you later tonight Gilbert I've got a work thing to do!" Clarissa was gone before Gilbert could even chase after her. Aided by a coughing fit. He mumbled to himself about how he'll definitely talk to her tonight about palling around with Sylvia.

"My.... dolllllllla, sir." Santinni announced his presence in his usual show up style.

"This isn't like a fake out and what I'm giving you is more than just a dollar right?"

"Just the dollar, rules must beeeeeeee followed." Santinni punctuated followed with a smile. He was dressed like he'd come off the African Savannah, Gilbert found himself wondering what the demon did all day.

"Just a second let me get my wallet."

"Not feeeelllllllling well?"

"You can see that with some freaky demon vision?"

"No its written on your face, the seeeeaaaa is a harsh mistress I would know." Gilbert handed Santinni his dollar and turned to head into the living room.

"Was going to write you a check, just to see what you'd endorse it as." When he turned around Santinni was gone and Gilbert was all by himself "Now I'm resigned to day time tv, a fate worse than death." Gilbert coughed so hard his vision was marred by little black spots for a bit, deciding that was a sign he just went to go lay in bed catch up on sleep like he'd say he'd do for the last few years.


"I'm so glad you took me up on my offer." Sylvia was not dressed in a jump suit like Clarissa was, she instead was dressed up more like Lara Croft in tomb raider with short shorts and a tight t shirt.

"I just didn't want to be stuck at home with Gilbert, he won't take care of himself, but he likes to complain about how he's not getting better."

"Same old Gilbert, Shirley used to complain about him all the time with regards to that."

"She still does." Sylvia smiled at that, Clarissa had told her of her sisters ghost if only to let her know she was still around, Shirley was ok with her sister knowing as long she promised to not do anything to her.

"I hope you're good with that bow, what we're after are obnoxious from a distance but a nightmare up close."

"What are we after again?"

"Were chickens."

"You're joking?"

"You'll find out when we get there."

Friday, September 8, 2017

Sympathy for Poor Queequeg


"So we're running?" Janice was the only one qualified to pilot the ship. Gilbert and Clarissa were on the deck watching the Kraken slowly gaining on them.

"Well not so much running as hoping to run as you can very much see damned thing is gaining on us." Gilbert had went over his cache of weapons and found them all coming up underwhelming in the face of how big the Kraken looked.

"I was thinking."

"About how to kill the Kraken?"

"No I figure we're going to die horribly to that."

"You're far too young to be cynical like that, probably correct, but far too young." Gilbert always enjoyed these kind of conversations on a job, in the face of death that someone could just casually talk was heartening.

"Anyway, if Janice is Starbuck, and General Joe is Ahab, wouldn't that make you Queequeg?"

"I never took you for a racist." Clarissa laughed.

"Why is that racist?"

"The one minority on that ship and you think thats me."

"Well he was an islander, not black Gilbert, also the aged hunter doomed to go down hunting the beast, well that does fit you Gilbert." Now Gilbert laughed.

"I'm just glad you read the book."

"Watched the movie."

"Gregory Peck?"

"Who? Patrick Stewart." Gilbert looked back at the Kraken it had gotten closer now, the tentacles almost enough to grab the ship.

"Not talking to you anymore." Gilbert turned his back on Clarissa. It was mostly so he could try and come up with literally anything to harm the Kraken, but he also couldn't believe she didn't even know who Gregory Peck was. Gilbert was mad at himself for not packing better, but to be fair he had no idea what to do against something so large.

"So we're screwed?" Janice had come up, apparently she had just put the boat in cruise control.

"Completely, best I've got is this stuff." Gilbert held up a small tin, both Clarissa and Janice were confused. The tin read "Red Jim's laughing powder" and had a horrifically racist american Indian characture on the package.

"You're going to give him laughing powder?" Gilbert laughed.

"Nah the tin is enchanted, what's inside is well its best left to creature like Santinni to fully explain, all I know is when I was given it, it was told to me 'never open it, unless you have to'."

"Ominous." Clarissa was terrified of what was in the tin, something innocuous with such a scary description.

"So what do you want me to do Gilbert?"

"Kill the engine, lets let the creature grab us and then I'll throw this at it."

"Sure why delay the death anymore." Janice killed the engine and the ship slowed to a stop. The Kraken hadn't anticipated that and shot past the boat, causing the three of them to laugh. It course corrected and flung its tentacles on the deck ready to melt them into organic nothingness. Gilbert hurled the tin at the Kraken and at first it did nothing. The Kraken's tentacles rose up, and then stopped, they twitched at first, and then shot beneath the deck, the fog horn noise reverberated in the air as the creature thrashed wildly next to the coast guard ship, for a moment Gilbert worried it would drag them to their deaths. And then the sea went calm, the large creature was just gone, and the tin of Red Jim's Laughing Powder was in the hand of Santinni who has appeared out of no where much to everyone's surprise.

"Mr. Dunkley the use of hell mites is strictly regulated."

"Is that what those things are? Glad I never opened that before." Santinni didn't even respond, he just disappeared and in his place was a scroll of sorts. Gilbert opened it up and read part and started laughing.

"What?" Janice had never dealt with the demon warden before, but she knew of him, it was rather strange he arrived and then disappeared, Gilbert always said he was a lot more verbose.

"He's fining me for unauthorized use of dangerous hell organisms."

"How much is he fining you for?"

"One dollar." That caused all of them to laugh in relief more than anything else.

"So uhh do you guys want to know the bad news?" Janice had waited till the laughter had died down before talking again.

"How could their possibly be bad news after what just happened?"

"I don't think the boat has enough fuel to get back to harbor and the radio got damaged in the fight."

"Shit." Both Clarissa and Gilbert said it in unison, they couldn't even see the shore from where they were. Gilbert reached into his pack and withdrew a deck of cards.

"Least the weather is nice, poker?"

Friday, September 1, 2017

Aunt Mable's Slapdash Stu


"Could have sworn I packed better." Gunfire was erupting behind him. Janice and the small group of coast guard people on the ship were fighting the undead, but the battle was not going great. Gilbert had his duffle bag out and he was looking for the right ingredients for a ritual to do something about it, but he had none of the stuff he needed.

"Gilbert its kind of going badly here." Gilbert could hear the shots, but he was trying to not listen to them, he was trying to work out what he needed from the bag.

"Its like when Aunt Mable would want to cook something, she didn't have okra so she'd use broccolli, didn't have sausage went with chicken, just trying to use what I got to make this stew right."

"What? Are you cooking?"

"Nah trying to hodge podge some stuff together, it's not exactly an exact science you know." Janice's gun jammed. She saw two of the coast guard people, and looked back at Gilbert in a panic.


"Lets hope Uncle Gilbert brought the heat then." Gilbert hurled the cannister he'd been working on at the horde of the undead and prayed to whatever god would listen that it worked.

"We have to save assholes Clarissa, yeah easy for you to say". Whatever the undead were doing was rocking the ferry. Clarissa was struggling to stay on her feet as she made her way towards the CDC people. She could tell things had gone poorly, there were screams and shouts, and she'd already come across some of the undead eating some of the scientists. Maddingly they were running from her and not too her, so she was having to continue to pursue deeper into the ferry instead of away from it. The water was now up to her calves and she was worried in the murky water there were things lurking.

The arrows were working at least. She was pulling them out of the things she killed, and so far they hadn't come back to get her, so she assumed that was ok. Though she was worried if numbers over whelmed her, she only had 6 arrows, and in the tight spaces the potential for one getting damaged was high. Clarissa also worried that by the time she got to the CDC people they'd all be dead anyway. She had almost convinced herself to leave the CDC to die in down in the depths when the person who had been a rude dick to her came running at her screaming.

"Help me!" He ran full on into her knocking her to the ground and causing the arrow she had notched to shoot into the ceiling where it splintered.

"Get off me you asshole." Clarissa was soaked now and her quiver had gotten wet as well which probably meant the arrows would be damaged much to her dismay. She got to her feet in time to shoot the two undead that had been pursuing the CDC man.

"We have to get out of here."

"Who's left?"

"Come on the water's rising and there are more of those things!"

"Who's left you selfish prick?"

"They are all dead, we have to go." Clarissa shook her head and went where the CDC guy had come from, he yelled something after her, but she hoped she'd missed an undead and he's get eaten too. Up the corridor was some kind of engine compartment that the scientists had holed up in and it had gone badly. The remains of the team were in the process of being eaten by the undead. Clarissa didn't waste any arrows or even disturb the creatures, she just backed slowly out of the room. Clarissa wanted to close the door, but seeing the water depth she knew it would prove difficult. Clarissa was barely up the corridor from the scene when she heard the CDC man scream.

"You know asshole the undead have ea... oh good lord." The CDC person had been "digested", there was a long sucker like tentacle that had sprayed him with that orange goo she'd seen in janice's videos. He was still screaming of course, but Clarissa knew he was as good as dead, and if she didn't act quickly she would be sharing his fate. She slotted the fire poison arrow Gilbert had given her and hoped that the water hadn't screwed with it. When she let it fly the tentacle reacted immediately swinging her way like a sentient creature, then it burst into flame. Clarissa heard a sound like that of a fog horn and the ferry shook viciously. Clarissa was thrown off her feet and once again into the water. She dredged her way back to her feet and managed to get away from the gurgling death of the CDC man, unable to put him down herself. The shaking of the ferry was getting stronger. Clarissa feared she hadn't wounded the Kraken, and only pissed it off. She ran as best she could to the coast guard ship and got there just as Gilbert was throwing some kind of green goo on to a group of undead.

"No dice on the CDC guys?" It looked like only Gilbert and Janice had survived the undead.

"We got problems Gilbert." Clarissa was panting running in water had tired her out.

"Nah I took care of the undead, though that damned ferry is sure rocking a lot."

"That's the problem! The fucking Kraken is here!" Tentacles burst free from the ship and Gilbert looked on in horror.

"Well ain't that just ruin my day."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Full Ahead, The White Whale Nears


"1982, we lost a destroyer between Hawaii and Bremerton." Janice had pulled up an older video on her laptop. This one while clearly lower quality than the recent ferry video, had a lot of similarities. "At the time the pentagon believed it was the russians, General Joe Hollings, at the time he was a colonel, believed differently."

"Yeah Joe's always had this thing about Krakens, I don't rightly know what it is, but anytime there is some kind of water event he suspects Krakens, never have proved they exist." Gilbert had seen the footage, he was there when they shot it. Janice forwarded the video to the same yellow goo, except this time there was a least a couple living sailors struggling in it. Clarissa let out a yelp when she saw someone on camera shoot the men dead.

"They were already dead, they looked alive, but believe me that was a mercy."

"You guys were there?"

"Yeah it was Janice's first op with Special Eliminations, my, god I don't know, several hundred."

"Thousand probably."

"Yes Janice I'm old thank you."

"Either way, we weren't exactly thought of as highly as we are today, so us putting forward a theory that a gigantic octupus like creature had killed those men and left that goo behind wasn't met with much acceptance. Even less so when we couldn't prove anything and so until now the encounter sat in a file under the 'unknown category'," Janice closed her laptop.

"So now you and the General want us to kill a Kraken, even though we still don't know if that's what this is, and only have its most recent meal."

"What is a Kraken again?" Clarissa was confused, she felt like she was only hearing part of a conversation. Gilbert reached into his bag and produced an old well worn leather book and flipped to a marked page that showed drawings of a huge octopus attacking some kind of old ship.

"Big octopus basically, supposedly they spit that goo shit on to things to eat them. Melts you down and then they suck it back up."

"That's disgusting."

"Either way Gilbert, the General wants you here, and so you're here, no more questions." Gilbert smiled.

"Aye aye Starbuck, anything for the captain."

The ferry was partially in the water and not. It looked wrong to Clarissa when they saw it along side the beach. She'd seen ferry's before, but never partially out of the water and it looked enormous. Clarissa felt a chill go up her spine at the thought of a creature big enough to harm the boat, let alone to wedge it along the shore like that. The coast guard ship had pulled up toward what looked like the front of the ship, it was still bobbing slightly with the waves.

The cdc folks had already disembarked by the time Gilbert and Clarissa left the ship. Janice had stayed behind to "coordinate" but Gilbert knew that mainly meant not be in the line of fire. Janice hadn't exactly been the get her hands dirty type when he knew her in the past. Gilbert had brought some stuff he had read could work against a Kraken, but seeing as they weren't really a well known entity it was all guesswork. He didn't tell Clarissa this, if only not to scare her, on top of that, he suspected the Kraken was long gone and all he'd be doing is what he did in the past, nothing.

"So what is this stuff again?" Gilbert had attached to a couple of Clarissa's arrows some poison, she had an arrow notched as they walked around the ship, Gilbert didn't tell her how ridiculous it looked.

"Fire poison, I've used it on the past with some monster fish, fairly effective, you put it into the creature, and then it uses their blood to ignite."

"Good god why are there so many different kinds of poison?"

"Lots of things need killing Clarissa, lots of things, you want to know about a lot of lethal things let me go through all the various explosives I've used over the years you'd lose your mind."

"So what are we looking for again?"

"I don't rightly know." Clarissa chuckled, Gilbert felt honesty was the best policy, he didn't know what they expected to find, certainly not the Kraken. They weren't very far into the ship when he first heard the banging, at first he thought it was some CDC people doing a test or something, or maybe even a passenger that had managed to survive the slaughter. Eventually Gilbert figured it out that it was gun fire, he felt stupid for not thinking of that at first, and even dumber when he realized he had his walkie talkie turned off.

"Where the fuck are you Gilbert?" Gilbert could barely hear Janice over the sounds of gunfire.

"Middle of the ship, what's going on? What are you shooting at?"

"The undead! Didn't you hear my previous messages?"

"Nope had it turned off, we have undead?"

"Yeah look like passengers, lots of them, and hungry, did you bring any Yanya root?"

"Probably in my damn bag which I don't have."

"Iron's keeping them down, but I'll need something more permanent get up here." The walkie went silent and Gilbert looked to Clarissa who looked startled.



"So that's probably what got the ship right?"

"No, if anything according to lore we're more on target than ever, Kraken's don't just kill you they turn you, supposedly, shit, you've got some iron headed arrows, you'll need them to kill the undead, I have to go top side help out."

"Wait where am I going?" Gilbert pointed deeper in.

"CDC guys won't have brought weapons Clarissa."

"But they are assholes Gilbert."

"We save assholes, its what we do." Clarissa nodded and swapped the poison arrow for a more traditional iron headed one.

"So I save the CDC dicks proving the power of the common man and then meet you up top to get out of here right?"

"Sure that's the plan."

"You don't sound convinced."

"I'm not, lore says the undead show up and then..."

"The Kraken."

"Stay safe, the undead can't spread to you like a zombie film, but their bite can give you a nasty infection."

"Got it."

"Oh and Clarissa hows your shoulder?" Clarissa flipped Gilbert off and went deeper into the ship, Gilbert looked back towards the way they had come and sighed. It was going to be a long day.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Time to get Kraken


The sun was high in the sky, but all Clarissa could feel was cold. The ship they were on was some kind of coast guard transport, it moved fast, but it also made the already chilly sound in the morning even more cold. There was a man up front fighting to be heard over the sound of the ship, some CDC dude who introduced himself as a doctor of something, but Clarissa couldn't listen to what he was saying the cold and noise made it hard to pay attention. Between herself and the doctor was a group of CDC scientists she assumed, they all seemed to be paying more attention than she was.

"Should I be listening to this guy?" Gilbert was next to her, one duffle bag slung over his shoulder another one at his feet. She thought he packed heavy, he told her wasn't taking chances.

"Nah he's just talking to be heard, what he's got to say ain't got shit on why we're here."

"Why are we here?" Gilbert hadn't even really told her where they were going when he got her up and told her there was a job that needed doing. She assumed it was going to be in eastern Washington and had dressed accordingly, the shorts she was wearing under the jumpsuit weren't doing much to keep her warm.

"Well we kill monsters, so that."

"So helpful Gilbert." He smiled.

"How's the shoulder by the way?"

"Fine like the other six times you asked me today."

"Good might need you to carry this other bag my shoulder is starting to hurt." She punched him in his none carrying arm and he feigned being hurt. The CDC man finished talking up front and Clarissa went to mingle with the science team to get more info than Gilbert was giving her.

"She's nice, new trainee?" Colonel Janice Mortimer was a trim lady in her late 40's she had long graying hair, but Gilbert remembered when it was was very blonde.

"Janice, its nice to see you."

"Glad you took my calls, the General was worried you wouldn't."

"Half thought I wasn't going to." Gilbert could see Clarissa mingling with the other younger people, he had been telling her she needed to get out more prior to her being attacked.

"Was it curiosity or a sense of duty that made you change your mind."

"Bit of both." Janice laughed.

"Well I'm glad you decided to come along, this looks like a real problem." Gilbert shrugged.

"Honestly I don't even know what we're dealing with do you have a description."

"Step into my office Gilbert, let me show you the video we got." Janice's office was a cramped cabin on the ship, but it was warmer and less noisy than outside. There was a small bed and a laptop on an attached desk, the laptop was secured with straps.

"You heard about the missing ferry right?"

"Nope." Janice frowned.

"It was like a top news item for three days Gilbert."

"You know my stance on reading the news Janice." Janice sighed.

"Ok so a ferry went missing last week, Bremerton to Seattle, over a hundred people on board, just gone. It showed up near the strait of Juan De Fuca on Monday." Janice pulled up a video on her lap top and it was of what Gilbert assumed was the ferry. The shot was at an angle showing the ship wasn't sitting properly and the light was from the camera with only small flickers from the ship lights. There was no one, no bodies, no blood, just nothing.

"No bodies?"

"Nothing, they did find this though." Janice forwarded the video to what looked like a lounge of sorts covered in yellow slime. Gilbert sucked in his breath.

"Well now I know why General Joe called."

"He thinks its the same one."

"Course he does, you know I bought him a copy of Moby Dick I never thought he'd take the lesson Ahab was the good guy." Janice was about to say something in return when Clarissa came inside very red in the face.

"Some fucking asshole just said maybe if I finished my degree I'd be wearing a CDC logo instead of one for pest inspection." Gilbert and Janice both laughed.

"Pleasure to meet you." Janice held out her hand, Clarissa shook it while looking confused.

"This is Colonel Mortimer, she's with the Army Special Eliminations Division."

"Meaning she's a monster killer like we are."

"Yes and Janice is fine, its nice to meet you Clarissa." Clarissa looked at the laptop and looked confused.

"What the hell is all that?"

"The army thinks its a left over from a Kraken." Gilbert's tone implied he wasn't so sure.

"What's a Kraken?" Janice and Gilbert both sighed.