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C is for C-Monsters

by on July 8, 2013

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had finally managed to unlock the power of Mlrning, the Shovel of Thor, thanks to the heroic sacrifice of her shoulder angel. Now she’s flying off to Character Heaven in order to retrieve her fallen manifestation of her conscience….

Wind whipped in Catrina’s face as the Shovel of Thor rocketed into the sky. She clung fiercely to its rune-emblazoned handle, wishing that it had one of those t-shaped holders at the end that shovels often did. If she lost her grip, well, it was a very, very long way down. She risked a glance to see just how far down it was, and was startled to see the entire planet itself receding into space below her, like a shiny blue marble on a black rug. “Oh dear,” Catrina said. Of course, she shouldn’t have been able to say anything, as she was now well into the void of outer space, but if Superman can breathe in space, so can Catrina.

Stars shone cold and bright in the distance. All of a sudden they all winked out, and the Earth went with it, and Catrina found herself racing through a long dark tunnel, with a tiny gleam of light at the end. She was very curious to know how one got to Character Heaven; she’d only been there once, after her first death (but not her last, sadly) in the Zombie Penguin Apocalypse, and she didn’t remember too much about the way. So far it all seemed fairly standard. Long dark tunnel, tiny gleam of light at the end…she assumed that once she emerged, she’d meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, and then she could explain her mission and everything would be fine.Β  But suddenly the tiny gleam of light changed, from heavenly golden to a blaze of red and green, and Catrina, to her utter astonishment, began to hear a jingling of bells.

She came to a bumpy halt on a puff of white cloud. Before her, in shining red and white, towered gates that very much looked like they were made out of candy cane. Pine trees, glittering in ornaments, rose from the clouds around her. A wide, gurgling brown river flowed before her. A delicious smell rose to meet her in a wave,Β  and Catrina realized in blank amazement that the river was made of chocolate. She could even see little marshmallows bobbing along in the current.

There wasn’t a bridge anywhere, but Catrina made a move with the Shovel, and she found herself skimming across the surface of the chocolate river. Then she was across. Before her, at a wide desk covered in papers and the occasional child’s toy, sat a man in a bright red suit fringed with gold, with a white beard that flowed down across his ample waistline. Catrina recognized him at once. “You…you’re Santa Claus!”

“Close, but not entire,” said the man, giving a tremendously jolly laugh. “I’m St. Nicholas, the very first Santa. Since me there have been many people who’ve held the office of Santa Claus. I believe the person holding it now is a time-traveling were-bear from the 12th century!”

Catrina was about to object that her sidekick (and lawfully wedded consort) wasn’t a were-bear at all (a fact about which she was slightly mistaken, but St. Nicholas had moved swiftly on. “It is my task to guard the gates of Character Heaven, only admitting those who were heroes in their stories. The villains, of course, go Down Below.”

She shuddered, knowing well the terrible place he referred to. “Well now,” St. Nicholas said, “What is your name, my dear?” He peered expectantly at her through his spectacles.

Under the circumstances, Catrina momentarily considered lying, but then she decided that, whatever else she had done, she couldn’t lie to the first Santa Claus. “I’m Catrina,” she said, “Daughter of Montgomery, Princess of Shmirmingard,” She had one or two other titles, but St. Nicholas’ beaming smile had turned into a frown. He rummaged about on his desk, and held up a paper that bore the heading, “Naughty List”. Catrina’s name was right at the top.

“Oh, dear,” he said sadly, “Letting loose a dragon, starting Ragnarok, and destroying the world. That’s very bad. Very bad indeed.”

“I don’t suppose you could check it twice?”

“I’m sorry,” St. Nicholas said, making a mark on the list, “but I’m afraid you can’t enter into Character Heaven.”

With that, the clouds opened underneath Catrina’s boots, and she dropped suddenly into the dark.

She landed in an entirely different place than she had been. Instead of fluffy white clouds, the ground underneath was scarred black volcanic rock. Instead of a chocolate river, an angry red stream of lava boiled its way past her. Instead of candy-cane gates, the wall that towered before her was hard iron. Catrina shivered. She was about to try leaving when the gates swung open. Edmund stood there, smiling like a predatory piranha. “Hello, darling sister,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this a good long while.”

“I’ll bet,” Catrina snapped. “You never got over being forgotten after the first episode, did you? Spoiled twit!”

“Spoiled?” Edmund said. “Me? Need I remind you that you’re the one who’s had your name on these stupid Chronicles from day one? You’re the one whose author keeps bringing her back for no good reason? You think you’re beyond death now, don’t you? You’ll just keep getting resurrected, just like the Zombie Penguin Apocalypse, and the magenta ghost episode, and Murphy the Terrible. Well. Not anymore.”

Catrina raised the Shovel, intending to fly away again as she had before, but suddenly there was a tremendous boom from behind her. A massive three-headed dog stamped its gigantic paw on the ground and growled menacingly. “Ah, you’ve met Cerberus!” Edmund said, snark filling his voice. “And you’ll notice that very large creature over there, the one with the body of a buffalo and the head of a wild boar, that would be the Catoblepas. It’s good for you the beast’s looking down; if you get caught in its gaze you either turn to stone or die. And over there, that’s a whole pack of chupacabras, and they’re fresh out of goat. And then there’s my personal favorite, that thing that looks like an octopus gone terrible wrong, that would be the dread C’thulhu. You see, I’ve got a whole horde of C-monsters just waiting to get a bit of you, like a pack of toddlers after a plate of cookies; my only dilemma is which one to throw you to first!”

Catrina didn’t much appreciate being compared to a cookie by her Joffreyan snot of a brother; on the other hand, she had a few more problems to deal with just now. Mlrning was a fairly powerful weapon, she knew, but could even the mighty Shovel of Thor get her out of this? Fighting Cerberus alone would be a big do, and then there were the chupacabras and the catoblepas, and she was pretty sure she’d seen a chimera that Edmund had forgotten to mention, and then after all that, there was the primeval terror of C’thulhu. The princess wasn’t given to unprincess-like language, but this certainly seemed the place for it. “Oh….crap,” Catrina said, bracing herself, as the horde of C-monsters lurched towards her.

This has been another episode of the Catrina Chronicles. Be sure and tune in next week to see if our heroine survives. For previous episodes, go here. For my author page on Amazon, where you can get Catrina in Space, plus my new Volcano Rain story (which you can actually get free starting tomorrow through the end of Thursday, go here. And as always, thanks for reading!

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4 Comments
  1. Lovecraft reference ~swoon~ πŸ™‚

    • Ironically, I haven’t read Lovecraft myself, but I have seen the Justice League episode where Aquaman, Doctor Fate, Hawkgirl, and Solomon Grundy, among others, attempt to stop C’thulhu from unleashing monsters on Earth. Apparently Hawkgirl’s planet used to worship the big guy, but changed their minds. Conveniently, they did this after he gave them maces and other weaponry made from Nth metal. πŸ™‚

  2. Ouch…going from chocolate rivers to raging monsters is quite the change. Had to laugh at asking Santa to check the list twice…the song says he does πŸ™‚

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