Leap of Faith
The hero stood above a deep swirling funnel of pitch-black clouds. Booming thunder sounded in the darkness. The stakes were dire…there was no choice.
– Falling –
Falling…faster and faster—the air whipped around him violently. He tumbled through the gloom like a rock plunging into an ocean.
The destination – a dark and terrible shadow; so vast it seemed to block out the sky.
In grim determination, he thrust his arms behind him – an electric blue radiance shone from somewhere within and he sped unrelentingly downwards.
– Boom! –
The landing was so heavy it sent out a huge shock wave like a thunderclap, the thick hide of the beast cracked open as if struck by an earthquake.
The monster turned its long ungainly neck in astonishment. Huge glowing eyes burned malevolently into the intruder.
– Blinding light –
A funnel of platinum fire burst forth like a sword… explosion upon dreadful explosion sounded from within the behemoth. Its head fell back in a silent scream as molten red hot plasma belted and streamed out of its broken carcass, turning everything red with fire.
Of the hero…it wasn’t known. The vision fell into darkness. The dream ended.
Lightning flashed and crackled over the desolate, asteroid scarred planet of Insectica. Two red moons glowered moodily through thick smouldering clouds. Rain pelted down relentlessly, causing a deafening noise which was broken only momentarily by deep thunder claps on the jagged horizon.
The rain water gushed from mouths of cheerless ancient statues, and tumbled into what seemed a bottomless ravine below the Royal capital of Buttville.
Deep down in the subterranean bowels of this city, so far below that the storm above could not be heard, an apprehensive figure stood uneasily before two enormous doors. Eventually they creaked slowly open—the noise echoing far into the gloomy hall.
“You there…our Queen will speak with you now.”
It was a lofty elite zurb guard who broke the silence. His four enormous scaly wings flared irritably. Noisily clicking his sharp mandibles, he scornfully turned away to resume his door duty.
With narrowed yellow eyes, the guest entered the room.
The gigantic stone doors rumbled to a close behind him, which made him stumble forward awkwardly. Gritting sharp teeth, he swore quietly under his breath, trying to peer through the darkness. It was almost pitch black inside. A sinister shroud of gloom spread out before him.
An ominous voice sounded from far into the darkness. “Ah. Finally here at last. Do come closer.”
He faltered at first…then steadying himself, shuffled uneasily forward.
Upon a thorny mass at the end of the dark chamber sat the Evil Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed, Slug-for-a-Butt.
Her huge bulbous slimy rear end wound its way around the entire length of the huge cavern. One of her four claw-like hands clenched a scarab beetle shaped scepter. Glowing with mysterious magic, it under-lit her sharp twisted features and cast a dim silvery glow down at her visitor. She grimaced evilly at him with four cruel red eyes.
“So! You’re the greatest and most feared bounty hunter that I’ve heard so many impressive feats of. What do they call you by?”
“Erm…,” He stammered nervously –
“That’s Erm your highness, to you!”
Her guest shuffled uneasily. She continued with a smirk;
“Ah…That was a good one. We are most amused by oneself. Of course I jest. I know who you are.
So! Tell me, you little yellow suited bird…Psycrow—why do you think you have been summoned here by the greatest queen of the greatest empire in the universe?”
The queen was not without arrogance. She flashed rows of razor sharp teeth through her thin lips as she said this.
Psycrow was starting to wonder what he was doing there, but he didn’t say anything. He stared blankly up at the enormous horned monster, and bit his tongue. He knew it would cost him his head if he uttered what he wanted to say.
“Ha. I knew you would say that!” Smirking contemptuously, she continued her speech.
“I require you to collect an object of immense importance. Professor Monkey for a Head has built a weapon that is capable of such immeasurable force, that it can destroy enemies of my great empire with ease. He is waiting for your arrival. I trust you know where to find him.”
Psycrow nodded. “Aye your Highness…me and him goes back a long way.” He grinned widely with his jagged teeth, at the thought of the many proud creatures he had hunted down for the professor’s twisted experiments.
The queen’s expression of indifference was enough to wipe his reedy smile away.
“Don’t be careless. There may be spies on the lookout. You must bring this weapon to me before they realise your full intention. Failing to do so will result in an insufferably painful death.”
Psycrow’s “-gulp-” echoed around the cavern.
“And…err…the…the payment?” He couldn’t help the words fall out of his pointed beak. He stepped back gracelessly, quickly adding “Er…your highness!” at the way she widened her terrible eyes at his impetuousness. The queen relaxed her incensed gaze a little and smirked sardonically.
“How very amusing. We’ll deal with that when you bring it to me. Now get going. Before I change my mind!”
Short story by Katherine Garner.