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In Which There Are Dramatic Revelations and Also A Cow

by on March 29, 2012

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, Princess Catrina was off in the 42nd century, meeting the Spork Brigade and working out how to survive the Second Zombie Penguin Apocalypse long enough to retrieve the Golden Spleen from a museum. We’re going to leave her there for right now, and go back to the 12th century, where the Erminauts were trying to decide what to do now…

“Like, what’re we going to do now?” Phoebe segued in unnecessarily.

“Beats me,” Fred the Fire Gnome replied, shooting a dirty look at the other fire-gnome, Sparky, whose time-traveling hovercraft had gotten them in the whole mess to begin with. “Ya don’t have another one of them things, do ya?”

Sparky replied with a very rude gesture. Phoebe looked scandalized. Before another gnome-fight could break out, however, the Naiad Triplets emerged from the water, very distressed. “We checked!” Crystal started. “She’s not down there!” Psyche continued. “She’s really off in time!” Lynette finished, with a dramatic flourish of water-spray about her face.

Fred sighed. He had sorta hoped Ermingard had really just dived underwater somehow, and she was really good at holding her breath. That unlikely possibility ruled out, he had to face facts. He had an uncomfortableness, too, an odd thought worrying away at the back of his mind. Then it pushed to the front of his mind, and he realized all at once what had been bothering him ever since they set out. “Hey, we’re supposed to be doin’ this thing fer Catrina and ‘er spleen, right?” he said.

“Yeah, duh,” Phoebe said. “That’s the whole point, silly.”

“Anyone ever think to check with Catrina before we set off?”

“Um….no?” Phoebe answered tentatively. “Because this isn’t, like, her quest. This is Ermingard’s quest.”

Fred scowled. “Only Ermingard ain’t here no more. And since we can’t go after her, either we stand around here waitin’ to see if she comes back, or we go do somethin’ useful. Like, make sure there’s a Catrina for Ermingard to get the Spleen for.”

Phoebe giggled. “You’ve got so depressing vibes, dude. Why wouldn’t there be a Catrina?”

Of course, she ought to have known that this is precisely the sort of thing one should never say, akin to “What could possibly go wrong?” or “At least it’s not raining.” But she said it, and none of the others picked up on her error.They had no idea that her question already had a very sinister answer. But they found out. Boy, did they find out.

The next morning, as the Erminauts rounded a corner in the path and came within sight of what should have been Shmirmingard Castle, every one of them stopped in amazement and stared. The castle wasn’t there. Or perhaps it was; one couldn’t be sure, what with the gigantic black cube of some indefinable metal that loomed above them. “Whoa…” the Naiad Triplets chorused.

Phoebe’s mouth worked, but she couldn’t find the words to express her bewilderment. She didn’t like metal, much. It wasn’t very tree-ish. She tried to sense beyond it, hoping to catch a mental glimmer of the trees in the castle garden, but she didn’t get so much as a snippet of pine cone.

Fred just hoped the cube was hollow. If it wasn’t…he had a sudden mental picture of Shmirmingard Castle and its denizens, including Catrina, getting squished flat, and instantly decided on action. “Right, you lot,” he snapped. “We gotta smash through this thing. You, Naiads, whichever one of you does the ice thing, try freezin’ it”

“That’s me!” Crystal exclaimed. “But I need water! There’s no water here!”

“Look!” Psyche said. “A cow!”  Sure enough, a cow stood nearby, just shy of the cube, chewing placidly and thinking whatever thoughts a cow thinks of.

“Of course!” Lynette shrieked in excitement. “Every cow has 0.0000000000025% of the world’s water!”

“YAY!” the Naiads screamed, and ran to the cow. Six hands joined across it. “Naiad Triplet Powers, energize! ” A blinding blue-white ray of light show from the startled cow and blasted head-on into the cube. Ice crackled across the black surface, sunlight sparkling like a Twilight vampire in its reflection. Fred waited until the ice was fairly spread across before he wound up and unleashed a fire-blast. Shards of ice flew everywhere, accompanied by a spurt of steam. But when the steam cleared, the cube still loomed above them, smooth and impenetrable, without even the tiniest little smidge of a crack. “Well….” Fred began, taking in a breath, “….crap.”

“Maybe it’ll, like, go away by itself?” Phoebe suggested hopefully.

Her question was met by a burst of harsh laughter. Phoebe looked hurt. “I was only trying to help,” she sniffled.”Way to harsh my mellow.”

Fred might’ve asked when “harsh” became an acceptable verb form and what on earth a mellow was, but he had more pressing concerns. “Uh, Phoebs, that wasn’t me.”

Phoebe glanced at the Naiad Triplets, but they shook their heads in unified denial. “Then….then who?”

Then, at that crucial moment in the story, a red beam sliced down from overhead, smacking the grass between them and setting it ablaze, the shock wave knocking all five of the Erminauts aside like toy dolls. Phoebe bounced off the side of the cube like the world’s hippiest ping-pong ball, hit the ground, and didn’t move. The Naiad Triplets and the cow all tumbled together in a heap. Fred, on the other hand, tucked and rolled in midair, so he bounded right back up again when he landed. He looked wildly around to see who had attacked them, his dagger already in hand. Smoke billowed up where they had been standing, but through it he saw the outline of a person, someone who almost looked vaguely familiar…”Catrina?” he gasped.

“No, you imbecile. Someone worse. Someone way, way worse. And also someone with a much cooler theme song. Seriously. Three verses! And her song’s only got two! Ahahahaha!!”

With an evil grin, Susan emerged dramatically from the smoke. “Yer behind this, ain’t ya?” Fred snarled.

“Actually, no,” Susan said, sounding a trifle disappointed. “I mean, I’m not behind the big cube there. That’s what we in the biz call a Writer’s Block. See, Catrina’s not  in the storyline right now; she’s in continuity limbo or whatever. When she comes back in the storyline, fine, but until then….until then this world’s all mine. Well, mine, and my new friends here. Oh, but you haven’t met!”  Her evil grin grew even grinnier and more evil as a second figure, hulking and powerful, tromped into view. “See, I decided that my previous world-destroying schemes were a bit too, oh, ambitious. If I’m going to destroy the meta-verse, I need to hit it where it hurts. And you know what all these princess stories like Catrina and Ermingard and Cinderella and all have in common? Princesses. The guy can’t save the damsel in distress when there’s no damsel. So I’m going to kill them. The damsels, I mean. Every last one. And how am I going to do that, you ask? Say hello to my very big friend: the Char-Bot.”

Fred had never seen a robot before, and certainly not one that almost looked like your standard medieval-era prince, except for the laser eyes, solid metal body, and machine-gun mounted on its left arm. “Char?” he asked. “Like, Charming?”

“No, like, when he’s done with you, you’re just going to be a little heap of charcoal,” Susan said. “Oh, but he’s not my only new friend. See, I’ve been watching you twips. And I know all about your stupid Ermie and her stupid little spleen-quest. Well, assuming she ever gets back from the future, I’ve got a little surprise for her. I finally figured out the problem all this time. Why I couldn’t beat Catrina. I mean, lord knows I tried. I really did. I But I’m the villain, right, and villains never win. Sucks. But then it hit me like a brick that I would normally use to smash a priceless china figurine with (because I’m evil, yo).  As Lex Luthor once said, basic rule of business: turn every weakness into a strength!”

Susan snapped her fingers, and a third person emerged from the smoke (there was a lot of smoke, really, totally enough to conceal two women and a robot until they could make their dramatic entrances. This is not a continuity error in any way.)  The new arrival was fairly tall and slender, with long black hair streaked with bright yellow, which was supposed to convey a daring tiger sort of effect but instead rather looked as if she had tried to shampoo her hair with a banana. She had eyes the color of sickly green, and the birthmark on the back of her neck was the exact shape of North Korea. Her mouth worked, and a neon-pink bubble of gum slowly expanded out into the air, and then popped with a bang.

“Catrina?” Fred gasped again, even more thunderstruck than before.

Susan’s evil grin went positively feral. “Close. See, I’ve been doing a bit of time-traveling myself. Right around 2016 or so. I landed in New York, walked around for a bit, mugged a Girl Scout, and then, as I was eating one of the Thin Mints I stole from her, I looked up. And there it was. Catrina: the Movie!”

“You mean…”

“Oh, yeah. She isn’t Catrina, not the one you know, not the one that beat me. This…this is Movie Catrina. And I could defeat Movie Catrina in my sleep!”

“No…you…wouldn’t!” Movie Catrina said theatrically, waving her arms in a new height of Shatnerian eloquence. “I…will…defeat….YOU!”

Susan rolled her eyes. “Look. Over there. It’s Justin Bieber.”

“WHERE? WHERE?”

Movie Catrina spun around to see her idol, whereupon Susan slugged her into blissful vapid unconsciousness. Then Susan turned back to Fred, smiled, and cleared her throat. “MUWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!”  As evil laughs went, it was one of her better ones.

to be continued….

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4 Comments
  1. Drama AND a cow?
    Perfect!

    • More dramatic shows should have cows in them. Like Jersey Shore or one of those vampire things. It would probably improve the quality immensely.

      Incidentally, did you get the email I sent you? I wasn’t sure if I sent it to the right place…

  2. MOOOO! 😉 Love it, Michael. And a JB reference. wahoo!

    • There seem to be a lot of JB references cropping up in the Chronicles….I wonder what it means? 😛

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