Chapter 4 Land Of the Egg Eaters
The ground graduated into capsules of red and blue interspersed with upright anfractuous plants that have been stunted from growing to maturity—almost strangled to a gnarled state; Sake owned the only luster of the plain—with chain scale he wore as a doublet. He thought about dropping the scallop shield, it was tiring his arm, but a gigantic shadow slithered over the land in the distance—the size of cloud, and there were no clouds above in the depths, only impenetrable grey light. It was cold, and getting colder. The brightness to his rear—that was the Clowness’ domain-- was slowly receding with every distorting wave that blew across the plain.
Something rippled across the ground to his front, then off to his side. He pulled his hook out, and raised his shield, and walked on with clumsy gait. Another ripple. He turned, but saw nothing. He turned back around, and dangling out of from the ground in front of him was a blue and white striped snake, with blue eyes that had the flicker shape of a candle—hypnotic blue pupil silhouettes that opened up and swallowed a small remaining portion of itself, then waved and and laid down—snake eyes of a continuous liquid motion staring into the shocked green ovals of the boy.
“ And who is this?” the serpents voice was sedated, its snub jaw barely moving, but revealing small rows of fangs. Sake held his shield between the approaching snake and him.
“ I am passing through, to the, to the Coral Kingdom, so get out of my way,” the boy’s voice quaked and in turn was rectified by the conch and its ages old veteran calcium, “ Out of my way” said the boy’s facemask, but his eyes betold of hesitation, which a snake always capitalizes on.
“ Oh you are, are you” the snake’s voice was more haughty and drawn out. “ You do not want to be mon ami, we do not get many visitors.” Sake squinted and looked around him when the lethargic snake said ‘we.’ “ My name is Caviar, what is yours?” the snake twisted itself up putting its small head on level with with the boys.
“ My name is, is Sake, I have to go,” Sake could see a vaporous blue breath coiling in and out of the snake’s mouth. He turned and went to sidestep the solicitous snake, but the reptile was to circuitous and slithered through the red and blue capsuled ground and twisted up to eye level with the boy, mesmerizing Sake until he shook his head and turned around with his shield over his back, to head back to the domain of the Clowness. The ground rippled before him and up sprung a red and white snake.
“ Who do we have here Caviar?”
“ It is a new friend, introduce yourself Caliente.” The boy was turning clumsily in both directions with his shield to face the two threats at once. The latest arrival, was not sedated, talked fast, and twisted its body like a barbershop sign causing the boy’s eyes to cross. “ Please stay amigo” said the red striped snake—vapors were protruding from its nose holes forming large fangs, then retracted by dissipating; his pupils could have been the psychedelic looking hyacinth seeds if not for lacking the third dimension-- kidney shaped and white, bespattered with all shape of capillary red. The snake came up to eye level of the boy and widened his lids revealing his blood shot hyacinth eyes. The red smears seemed to come forth out of its elliptical white dimensions: intertwining…climbing, kissing…then knotting, tightening…strangling, swaying, and stilling.
Sake was gorgonized. A scream came down from up in the depths and snapped him out of it, just as Caviar was slithering forward targeting a chink in the boy’s armor. The large shadow enveloped Sake and his venomous interlocutors. He looked back at Caviar, his eyes were neon now in the shadow—with the same liquid blue metal, but no longer the ladylike form waving goodbye and laying down, but of an even more hypnotic motion, a morphine drip of tears…drip….drop. Sake shook his head…shut his eyes, but still saw the elliptical drip drops reflecting on his black eyelids. He raised his shield to the approaching Caliente—whose eyes ever brightened in the shadow, projected a film from the iris—capillary streaks were in a fight with each other; one streak struck the other, and picked it up and carried it off…back into the two dimensional realm of Caliente’s eyes.
The shadow flitted across the land and out of sight, the snakes hypnotic eyes lessened in intensity. “ Come on, let us have a kiss, a kiss is all we miss,” said Caviar in his sedated tone.
“ Yes, one hiss of our kiss, will be delish,” said Caliente with smoky tendrils fuming out of his nose holes. Sake turned sharply, and heard the “ting” off his scallop shield. Caliente went forward to kiss the boy, but was intercepted. " Please, leave me alone," begged the boy. He turned again, this time it was Caviar slithering down low for a fatal kiss, Sake dropped his knee and his heavy shield downward cutting the snake in half. Blue egg capsules squeezed out of the snake’s innards.
“ Nooo, Caviar,” Caliente’s hyacinth pupils were now arcing, binging with lunacy. The snake bent its body sharply and thrusted, pushing the shield and the boy backward. It recoiled for another strike almost like a fencer, Sake’s arms were tiring—the snake formed a ninety degree angle then sprung, tapping off the shield, it recovered and thrusted again, and again—Sake was grunting every time he lifted the shield, and he was losing sight of the red and white snake because his shield was steaming from the coral snakes kisses. “ One kiss is on your list, oh don’t worry it will be so delish,” taunted the snake’s voice, the boy could not locate its source. Sake took a step back and sunk up to his knee, he had stepped inside an upside down conch. He heard movement to his right and posted his shield up and in turn heard the “ting” sound emitted off his shield. Ting…ting Ting…the snake was inexhaustible. The boy’s leg was beyond his shield, and his other leg was inside the conch; he felt the small but devastating bite on his leg, gashing the snake across its face with his hook, he stunned the snake momentarily.
“ Nooo, “ the boy said, knowing the snake possessed some kind of venom. He brought the wounded leg back under his body inside the conch, took a step backwards, and as if descending a staircase, lowered into the conch, then stumbled inside its winding staircase. The shield falling over the entrance sealing it shut.
He fell onto the first landing, and then tumbled in a slinky motion finally stopping on hard-smooth-level ground. Grabbing the the hound conch guard from his mouth and tearing it off, he fell to his knees and breathed in deeply. There was a long dark corridor ahead of him, faintly visible due to the pink color of the giant underground conch tunnel. Boom….boom boom…his heart thudded.
Putting one hand on the floor, putting himself in a three point stance, he lifted himself to his feet and trudged forward. The corridor curved subtly—taking the bend, the ambiance changed drastically and took on the form of the lower levels of an aquarium, pink light reflecting down the dark walls that were equipped with large ports. Lumbering with the disregard that someone with high fever has, he came up to the first port, it was painting, a living painting that drew him forth.
It was a coral palace, an electric lighted playground almost, neon green palm’s waving tendrils that formed an arcade leading up to a throne where a most striking and beautiful queen sat—she was adorned with every color of the rainbow, and had a crystallizing white traces growing over her face that wore a veil of royal purple. At her feet, mid bow, were two warriors in shining and bone armor, the Tang and the Hoomah.
The boy was entranced with the moving painting, and went to walk into it. As his nose was a hair away, he saw what made the painting move, little hermit crabs—some with scarlet legs and some with blue legs-- busy scurrying around tracing the magnificent colors, their shells glowing to the color they were painting; their hooked claws like assembly line lasers emblazoning the pink creamy white walls of the conch. “ So beautiful,” said Sake in his delirium, then rolled along the wall to the next painting, it was the Damsel as the center of attention in a ballroom, suitors and handmaids in the motion of the minuet around her. Her purple corset shined brilliantly, her elliptical eyes modestly aimed down as if she was mid dance, the Hoomah was in the background, body still, with eyes fixed wondrously on the Damsel. The Tang was beside him, looking with considerably more affection at the Damsel; but there was a large brooding golden knight in the background—the only one adorning the vain color of gold, the color which with all its ostentatious and glare was considered a cheap imitator by the lush neon and pastel colors around him, and the void above in the depths at the golden knights shoulders in the open air court hall seemed to distinguish the golden glare to a rusty imperceptibility; the rest of the knights were in a form of silver, bone or steel.
Sake went to walk into the picture, but stopped upon seeing the hermit crabs busy rendering another mirage paintings. Hand over hand along the wall, he came upon the next painting. It shined with the colors of Caliente and Caviar’s eyes. It was the Clowness, on a lush red anemone, with blue tendril chandeliers over her, there was a parrot fish perched beside her attending. Sake backed away from the painting, the Clowness’s stare was that of aspiration, and a colder grimmace than Caviar’s. The painting started its transition with lava lamp fluidity; showing the Clowness surrounded by little clown babies, and with machine motion, the painting depicted the little clowns being gobbled up by their mother. Sake tucked his chin into his neck, “ Mmmblurf,” he mumbled, which was surely an expletive starting with “ What the...”
The next painting was dark, barely perceptible, a nocturne of perhaps a barge on a dark stormy ocean. No, it was a bed in a room. A boy was being painted on the bed, with his eyes looking forward unblinking at something bright in the corner; the hermit crabs painted his forehead glowing hot, and there was a blue capsule on the bed stand, that looked like medicine. The painting started glowing red hot, and blinding. Sake covered his eyes, only to notice he was losing his vision—as if staring into a solar eclipse. He fell to his knees, and listened to the peaceful inner humming of the conch, he could just lie down and not worry anymore but as he was descending down, on the inside of his eyelids something was being painted, it was purple and beautiful. Dancing in the wind, it was the Damsel, and she gestured for him to get up and go get the antidote—so he got to his feet, and followed the walls of the conch back to the winding stairwell he fell down, where the inner humming of the conch mixed with the thudding of his heartbeat, along with the tinging sound that was Caliente striking the scallop shield in his red hot fury. Now Sake would have to face the snake blind, to obtain the capsule outside on the ground that was shown to him in the artwork.
All form of expression fell from the boy’s face, he sat stoically, wiped the sweat droplets from his forehead-- put back on his hound conch mask, strapped it snug and climbed up the stairs to the tapping shield.
Thud…tap….thud(of his heart)…tap(of the shield). He listened, gaging the pattern of the enraged snake. Putting his feet on the shield and his back against the inside wall, he readied himself. Tap…tap…tap, tap… all he could see was the snakes pupils now, the hyacinth seeds, the red lines strangling and slapping each other, one always overtaking the other. Tap….he straightened his legs with all his might, sending the shield upward. The decibel of the snakes jaw hitting off the shield was attuned by the boy’s ear. He scrambled out, feeling the ground, holding capsules to his eyes, almost pressing them to his eyes. “Dam, only red” he said after making out the aura of the capsule. Rustling came from behind him, Caliente was over his stunning, Sake had to turn and ready his shield, he could not gauge where the lethal snake was, he swiped the air with his hook to get his stalker to betray his location.
“ A miss, but I won’t miss with my kiss…another miss, can’t find the source of hiss,” laughed the snake toying with the vulnerable prey. “ A kiss is on your list.”
The snake lunged but the boy reacted in the microsecond stopping the strike, Sake backed up against a stunted tree. There was capsule dangling from one of its branches above his head, and the boy saw that it was blue. Instinct kicked in quick for the boy, he swiped at the capsule hanging, and hooked it in, retreating behind the tree, he squeezed it over his mouth and swallowed the juice. “ A kiss is all I wish,” came the snake around the tree. Sake wobbled backward, and readied his shield in the wrong direction—baiting the snake to strike while watching the now visible red and white snake unblinkingly feigning being blind. Caliente lunged at his exposed neck line, where the boy was expecting him, the hook came upward through jaw ,tongue and brain. Sake used the tree to help remove the lifeless snake from his barb.
“ Ya, You can kiss my butt snake,” said the conch over the boy’s mouth, which was almost near to the boys own words….surprising Sake as he stowed his hook in his belt to free his hand to rub his eyes. Everything was tinted blue. A cold breeze stirred through all the gnarled trees. The grey horizon was darkening. The capsuled wasteland was awakening from its lethargy in a red and blue glow, like lava meandering over cindering blue coal. He looked down at his hooked sword, it was steaming with red fluid at its tip. A lacerating scream came from the darkening depths. Sake sliced some thin switches from the tree, and picked up a red and blue capsule and bundled and strapped them to his belt, then retreated to the conch entrance and sat down. It was if that loud tormented cry was tolling for the oncoming night, Sake knew it was the Mahi Mahi, but was not particularly worried about it, for at the moment the stars were descending from the depths as the ground lit up, and things could be heard scrambling for hiding spaces. The blue tint lessened to a smaller degree, or so he thought. Taking refuge back in the underground conch he pulled the shield three quarters over the entrance, watching the lights descend like coins falling to the bottom of the sea. Two lights sped for each other, sparks ignited. More broke their descending methodic speed and darted for prey on the lit floor. He made eye contact with a psycho razor grin, then pulled the shield all the way over the entrance.
Chapter 5 Night Of The Viper
His footsteps rang into the hollow curving chamber of the conch, he turned the bend to find that the previous paintings on the left were now gone. The interior walls of the conch were blue now and not pink. He doffed his conch from his face, and walked in a brusque manner to the first painting.
The hermit crabs were arcing with blue lightning diagonally from each other, assembling a blue hour glass, that then turned sideways forming the Damsel’s elliptical eyes. Tremendous sadness and shame assailed the boy’s heart. He walked on to the next painting.
It was Crabaltar, with its entire dark crevice, the hermit crabs were hot pink as they were working slowly to lazer the jumble of rocks in the same nominal speed of a photocopier. Next to the pink lines was infinitesimal darkness, and the real picture came into the boy’s view. The shadows formed the Crab—in the interstice of the Stonehenge like rock jumble--with its scythes upward, with the Damsel in his claws, she was dripping hot pink. He moved on quickly from that painting.
Adjacent, was a painting almost bordered itself by reflective blue waves, Sake could not make out where the conch ended and the painting started. The hermits left the canvas blank, until its viewer stepped fully in front of it. There were many painters assigned to this piece, and it would be massive. Twilight lines started the head and forehead: Siberian white stripes, ranks and ranks of clashing silver scale, nebulas of red dots. As the massive beast was being filled in, studs and studs of hooks came into perception, dangling from the massive lips. Trident anchors of barb hung from the gills, diamond line strangled around its throat. A giant spear or harpoon protruded from its chest. The artwork enlivened, startling Sake backward, it swam the depths, with a tortured look on its face. It grew and grew, taking up the entire tunnel, then it screamed revealing trident hooks on its tongue and tonsils.
Covering his ears, “ arrrrrrrrrr” he screamed, which was only a whisper under the shriek of the Mahi Mahi on the conch wall. He tried to retreat away from the growing monster, running around the bend to the unexplored corridor, the beast followed in length and torturous echo. Tear drops were landing on his shoes, he fell forward in front of a painting that was just before a rising spiral-staircase at the end of the conch. The sound and sight of the Mahi Mahi vanished as Sake kneeled, crying, before another painting, denoted by the flurescent arcing, suggesting it was warming up--
The hermits painting assembled the image with the reticulate pattern of the human iris. But it became apparent that it was coral, a giant massive brain coral, with a frontal lobe of bright green, right of red, and left of blue, underneath was purple. It was an oracle of some sort, a ‘Coracle.’ The purple was flaring more than other parts and was leaking into the grey matter grooves and spilling out of its section. Three figures came into view at the base, the forward one was a boy, in armor, scallop shield and straight sword; to his rear was the Tang in a shiny cuirass with a dorsal sabre and pectoral dagger; next to him, the block body of the Hoomah, in his mouth like a toothpick was a barbed hook-- the war paint of yellow and pink dripping from his right eye, his lids were wide open and he is staring intensely at the interaction of the boy and the coral.
Battle erupted on the painting, showing the Hoomah and Tang back to back. The big body of the Hoomah spit bolts and barb at assailers of pscyho grin as they screamed with sadistic seizure from the impalement they recieved. The glowing skull lure of a thousand vipers were surrounding them from the darkness. It was as if the two knights commanded the spotlight on a dark stage with the audience grinding their teeth of flint.
As the vipers lunged forward, the two fish moved too quickly to be perceived correctly, the Tang was a forge bedecked with silver swords fresh from the flames; and the Hoomah: who’s bone armored body resembling the shape of a cross bow with the sight rising just under his large mouth screamed baritone at the demonic hoard with a powerfull war cry shockwave that bought his armor time to load the next bolt.
The attackers were limitless, and occasioned with bigger deep sea creatures; spinal cords connected to bear trap brown scale heads, their jaws wide and ready, as their tongues slithered in front as their form of lure for their prey: they were the Gulpers.
Sake stepped away from the painting, it was so intimidating, and immediatly felt cowardice at not being brave enough to want to help the suicidal duo in their last stand. He clenched his fist, inspired, commanded by the travesty of the besieged.
The Tang became maimed first, a gulper bit out a chunk of his tail fin in its fast jaw spring lethality. The Hoomah blew air from its powerful mouth blowing the assailers off the Tang then rammed a gulper with a barb sticking out of his lips, like a prow of a trireme at ramming speed. But a viper took advantage of the Hoomah’s distraction and bit between his bone armor. Bright yellow lids widened at impending death. The vast glowing lures of the approaching darkness that surrounded the spotlighted arena formed the outline of the Crab, in the interstices of the darkness. The two tropical warriors could not be seen anymore, only wagging tail fins of the voracious vipers, as the glowing lures became inordinate, as the stars in the black expanse. I rather die with them, then be enchanted by the viper like everybody else—thought but did not speak Sake, for fear that the painting's depicture would be given materialistic merit by his words, making it an actuality, rendering him alone. Then the thought of the tendrils from the Clowness’ palace wearing the two fallen knights armor came to mind, infuriating him. The depravity and onslaught of it all.
The painting reverted back to the Coracle, but no one was standing at its forefront anymore; purple was spilling out from the coral and engulfing the entire canvas until all was of one color; in turn the whole tunnel glowed with the royal color, then in one blink the tunnel was empty except for blue waves of light interspersing the walls. The tunnel was quiet. Sake continued looking at the spot where the artwork was, something about it, something fated about that depicture that told him he must re-unite with both knights before it is too late.
He climbed the stairs past the point where the last painting was, and found a cat hole to look out of at the top. The glowing bait of the prowling vipers dashed and cruised the black expanse. Struggles could be heard at intervals, but otherwise it was tranquil. Sake sat on the step, and was resting his back against the wall, when he heard his name being called from the darkness. He looked to first see a flowing dress, ghastly white, then a frail arm, “ Saaaaake” the voice was childlike, or was a child-like predator. The flowing dress and the frail hand moved over the loophole, Sake saw what it was. The skinny arm was a tentacle belonging to the translucent dress of a jelly. The head came into view, and Sake whacked his head against the back wall; the jellyfish had a globular head, that en-sphered a dissolving viper head; the psycho grin and black eyes of the viper became the jelly’s face. “ Disgusting,” whispered Sake, trying to be barely audible to this dark world. He moved four steps down, and rested, until he fell asleep.
His dreams were loneliness, the black expanse beyond the conch poured into his mental panorama as a black cauldron pouring out black fluid. He felt the strength of an undertow when something massive swam by him, but paying no attention to him. He searched for a glimmer, as he was sinking, or rising… pure vertigo, pure pure vertigo in a never ending cold black universe. Then the feeling came, as a blacker essence came forth in the abyss, it was the crab’s scythe , and it clicked close foretelling the boy that death: is oblivion. The boy screamed at the form, the ultimate tragedy leading to his ultimate shame, he screamed the words “ The Coral Kingdom” the claw clicked open, only to close again; he couldn’t believe it, all were subject to the cannibalistic realm of the crab, the realm of ‘ In the eye, out the mouth’ , he screamed for light, and there came forth a glimmer, a sparkle, a glimpse of hope. It fluttered to him, and a halo of light illumined from a beacon, it was the glowing skull lure that was arched from a vipers forehead, it was squirming into his black panorama to devour his hope, it writhed and gnashed, Sake woke up.
A viper was writhing through the cat hole, it was breaking its own teeth to get inside in a metallic frenzy. Sake stepped to the intruder, and drove the barb through its brain. The view to the darkness was now blocked by the dead viper. He was almost glad it had waked him from that dream.
Before he sat down, he saw a cleft in the shape of a oak leaf in the conch’s wall, and immediately thought of a sword, looking down at his hook his brain was moved by the thought he could straigten out the hooked weapon he held in his hand. Arising, he stuck the hook in it with an upright position; the barb fit inside as a key into a tumbler; Sake then bent it straight, leaning every ounce of meat and bone on his body.
The dream maddened him still, and the sound outside the conch, had the sound from inside his dream. He lopped off the viper’s head and carved the vipers ribs, making a cup hilt for his handle. He had to pry the ribs out, for they were metallic, and the sound was that of claws scraping down a chalkboard. Sake had a scowl on his face as he worked, but he was still aware of his fear of the vipers carcass coming alive like a mesh mower and dicing his arms off. He finished the work and quickly wiped the sinewy white guts on his coral snake blue greaves--not wanting any part of the disgusting predator's flesh on him. " Eeeck, "he sneered, without his conch on.
A painting came alive on the wall, it was a blue-red lazer outline of a sword, almost like a mold. Two hermits were spaced apart with their claws facing out, almost beckoning Sake to put his sword on their hooks.
He went up to the wall as if he was summoned and placed the sword onto the hook like projection of the red and blue hermits within the lazer sword outline More hermits came, the mold outline exploded with spectrometry of a diamond flooded with electrons; the hermits fashioned the hilt to the shaft with green laser precision first, grooving the handle and making a pommel. Red lasers gave the forte, shell cutting sharpness by smoothing out the barb. ‘ Sake’ was laser etched into the debil of the blade forming a blood groove; the lights ceased. Sake picked up his modified rapier that was still hot and returned to the step to sleep, thinking all the while, that if he ends up in that dream of tragic darkness again, he will have his sword to sink or see with.
The night was over, and the shell was back to its creamy pink color due to the bright rays of light coming in from their unknown starting point, and refracting down the shell tunnel. He put his hound conch back over his face and picked up his custom rapier, and with a slow and achy gate made his way back to his shield at the entrance to the underground layer. Using his rapier to hold up the shield, and thus provoke any enemies, he made his way back to the land of stunted growth . There was already movement under the surface, and what he thought a large tree, was a strangled sapling seething with more bi-color coral snakes. He looked back to the direction of the Clowness’ domain, and pondered going back, “ I would not stand a chance getting by there…then there is Crabaltar,” he felt cowardly, due to his pragmatic conclusion that he wouldn’t stand a chance alone in either domain. The Damsel would have to hold on.
It was much colder, and that fact was hindering the snakes, they huddled together to keep warm. There was barely any capsuled fruit around, “They must have gobbled up em all, to not feel the cold, or feel warm, dumb snakes” thought Sake. He proceeded in the direction of the Coral Kingdom, his balance much better, but now weighed down by a heavy sword. Caviar’s body was still strewn on the ground, Sake stopped to use his tough hide to reinforce his shoes, and making blue greaves. He approached Caliente’s body at the base of the swarming tree, the snakes reared their heads, and put their pupils in unison, making a blue red motion picture of Sake getting devoured. Sake looked away, and using his rapier, fetched the body and fell back. The snakes were helpless from their cold lethargy. Strapping muscle shells to his knees with the red snake hide and diamond line, Sake did not worry about the coral snake's little teeth anymore. The armor, felt personified to Sake, maybe because at one point it was alive, and thus he felt better for putting the coral snake hide at his feet, and the calcium conch knuckle on his mouth. It fortified him against the loneliness of the landscape; from the depths above, the grey impenetrable light behind, and the faint infra-red and ultraviolet stars growing from the horizon in the direction of his travel: which did not possess the deceiving color of the anemone’s spectrum but something by the light of a liberating x-ray.
Chapter 6 The Hunting Grounds
Trudging along, the landscape molted its previous colors. Even more depressing than the land of chimes—was this land of sockets, cesspools, and seaweed. The boy’s leg disappeared into the mire up to his knee, he ripped it out using his shield as leverage. He used his shield as a boat over the rotting ground with his long rapier as an oar; a journey worse than Virgil and Dante in hells river choked with drowning moan. The gaping wounds from the oar would send up fuming gas that would send him slipping off his shield into the muck. Sake looked behind him, to his horror, was vast muckiness, it had crept behind him in a high tide stalk, furthering him in the muck more so than he had thought. A sense of return was out of question.
Sake suddenly felt like he fell inside the dank deep disgustingness of an outside toilet. Or swimming in the dissolving enzymes of his own liver, in brown excruciating bile. Almost too much for the boy, his nose and mouth burned, he suddenly needed someone, anyone….he was too young for a landscape that betold : in the eye and out the mouth.
He struck his sword for another laborious row on top his scallop shield to keep his body moving in the burping land. The muck made a noise, a moan. Sake readied his weapon, but the glimmer of silver came up from the dankness, it was a knight, the Dragon Goby, that wore a silver masquerade mask that connected to a large silver bladed serrated horn that emitted from his forehead just over the knight’s nose.. The rest of his body was submerged, but one could tell from the countenance of the unfortunate knight, and the languid fluttering of his lower jaw, that he was in pain, and mortally wounded.
“Where are you wounded, let me get you on my shield, I am a friend of yours knight,” said the boy, in self-deceiving hope that he would not be alone.
“ I…I have…failed…Damsel…the prawn…go before…” Sake began trying to dig out the stricken knight, only to find big clawed, slender crustaceans devouring his lower body. They were prawn, and they were voracious. A claw stuck through the eye behind the silver masquerade mask,pulling the unfortunate knights eye inside the socket. Sake fell backward in horror and splashed in the muck. They came for his exposed eyes, one prawn almost speared his oval right through the epicenter before Sake caught it with his hand and flung it. Flopping his belly on his shield, the prawn scurried up his back, they snipped at his snake hide, but it proved as durable as his viper chainmail. As quick as he flung one from his face, another would scurry onto him for his eyes. Another wound in the muck opened and a stream of prawn came out, covering Sake and weighing down his shield.
“Ahhhh, “ he screamed in utter desperation, his scream was not tempered by the conch, for the conch knew the gravity of the situation, as a prawn snipped the diamond line holding the white knuckle conch felling it as another prawn crawled in his mouth and cut off his scream. He flung it with lightning reflex as he was being weighed down into the fowl undersurface. Reaching for his rapier,” no use” he thought, as he let go of the hilt. It would have just opened another wound for prawn to come out if he pulled it out and he could not even wield its weight in the strength sapping muck.
“ The red capsule” whispered a voice in his mind. Flinging prawn off his belt, he uncovered the red capsule, and as his vision was being blotting by the pincers of the prawn, he held the capsule over his head with his eyes closed. The smacking’s and sucking’s of the prawn were in his ear. A prawn snipped his ear on the lower lope making a bi-lobe, Sake grunted in pain, but the prawn’s claw was so sharp as to be almost done by a professional surgeon with a scalpel cutting the cartilage in half. His fist clenched, breaking the hyacinth streaked capsule over his head; it was as if Caliente’s eyes leaked their capillary blood shots from the capsule, wrapping round the prawn like snakes, boiling their shells instantly, turning the prawn from maroon to bright boiled arterial red. The surviving prawn scampered off, perhaps the coral snakes were predators of prawn, and the fumes of the capsule were more than enough for them, the opposite smell of the methane decay they cherish.
He caught his breath, caught his rapier, and steadied his shield Barely alive with his ear dripping blood on his shoulder, and the hyacinthe lines of the capsule squirming off to find prawn or fade away. He looked back down at the poor knight, and grabbed his silver masque, and detached the blade and slipped it off the knights horned forehead. The blade was hollow as to fit over the Dragon Golby knights horn making a sharp horn even deadlier. He used it as a scabbard to sheath his rapier diagonally across his back, affording extra armor, and tied the silver zorro type mask along with the snipped off conch on his mouth and nose-- effecting a total face mask with visor; for he almost lost an eye to those things and was still squinting from the encounter, but now he looked out through a horizontal slit with the visor in the flipped down position. The conch clenched white knuckle hot again, and burned off all the savage muck. The conch steadied the boy, who was still not in possession of his mind and body, after that close encounter. Sake was shaking his head, as his right eye shed a tear, and his left ear shed a droplet of blood. “ I’m not going to make it out of here, and there is nowhere to make it to, “ said Sake, despondent, for the horizon of ethereal glow was out of sight, blocked by distorted rising gas of methane or the vile fountains of prawn nest—which resembled pagan sacrificial altars, with the top most part a dark offering plate….they were empty at the moment.
He rowed on with without his prior coordination, he so wanted to be gone from this foul land. Upon looking around he spied many yellow fins poking up out of the muck. An unnerving thought came to him, “ how did they fall into mire if they can hover above it?” Then the scream came down from the depths, and the green brown abscess that was the quicksand seaweed mud frenzied itself in burping bubbles. There was nowhere to hide or run. Sake said “ oh no” but his conch said “ready yourself.”
The massive shadow slowly stalked over the cess; the black shadow lacing the land in slithering darkness. Sake flipped down his new visor over his conch and scanned the greyness. He felt so cluttered and hindered from the muck on him, and the wobbling shield he was on that would not stay still due to his nervous legs. “All the knights must have been sitting ducks” thought Sake, he raised his rapier in a futile taunt to the depths above him. The shadow and scream told him that his sword would be esteemed as straw by the behemoth. He plunged his rapier into the mire to see if he can make any sort of a getaway, but the dank land and the Mahi Mahi were in symbiotic cahoots—he could not row anywhere.
The scream tore through the land, splitting the muck into divided wake, foretelling the boy which way it was coming, as he covered his ears. “ Nooo, please God,” he muttered in futility as he saw the mouth wider than he saw in the hermits painting, he could not jump out of the way, the hook studded mouth spanned two to three of his jumps on solid ground. He saw the trident hook on the ghastly tongue wiggling in anticipation of bathing in minced boy.
The gape was becoming larger and larger, until Sake smelled the stank breath, and thrusted his rapier onto his shield and pole vaulted with all his upper body strength out of the swooping beast’s jaws. His head banged off the side of the cold lip of the beast. He splatted into the muck, as the beast’s velocity and slip stream caused the mire to churn sending the boy struggling to keep his head above it. A prawn went onto his face, braving the red capsule, but Sake’s helm proved sufficient. He churned and slapped maniacally. The large shadow was returning, the scream split the muck, Sake ducked into the disgusting cesspool as the massive undertow went by him overhead sucking him sideways under the surface. He could hear the Prawn sucking their lips, in momentous unison, and snipping at his cordage to rend his flesh. He had to get out of there, he surfaced his head, breaking into air with a sucking sound, he saw a diamond line trailing the massive body, a trident hook on the end.
The rapier was an arm’s length away, he reached for it, skimming his fingers off it. The giant shadow turned round, Sake finally grasped the rapier and used the handle to pull his shield to him. He climbed atop, hooked his feet into the handle, held his sword backwards, “ Alright Mahi Mahi, COME ON, COME GET ME “ yelled the boy in a voice rectified by the veteran calcium of the conch. The gaping mouth came after the scream, he quickly regretted his taunt, “ On second thought maybe we can be friends” said Sakes mind, but Sake held his place, almost like a sacrificial boy on the plate of the behemoth who esteemeth his bones as straw. The trident pierced tongue was almost on his conch helm. The last possible second Sake flattened himself, and felt the prickling’s of the Prawn as he raised his rapier above the muck with all his strength, and the diamond line streamed by; Sake caught the trailing trident hook with the hilt of his rapier and was violently spun up and around, skiing on top off the muck, then the shield lifted up into the air. He was waterskiing behind a battleship, the wake of which was enormous. Sake’s stomach dropped as the great beast ascended, he could see a great harpoon in the chest of the Mahi Mahi, and past that sight post was a glowing kingdom, as the beast was starting its turn, Sake released his rapier from the trident and he coasted at missile speed in the direction of the glowing city. But the shield he was using as a wake board spun around, so he was flying backwards, looking at the massive seamless pivots of the Mahi Mahi cruising the lonely depths, with eyes fixed downward, bestudded and bejewled with swaying chain and hook, resembling chimes of a lonely graveyard. A beast eager to pass the pain to someone else, and replicate itself.
Sake tried to spin around, but to no avail, he awaited his toboggan to smack into an implacable object at any moment.
Chapter 7 The Coral kingdom
" Some will follow wandering fires."