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D is for Denoument

by on July 15, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine was about to be eaten by a whole horde of vengeful C-monsters from Character Hell….

“Oh,” declaimed Catrina dramatically, “what a dolorous day, despite being destined in a dubious and desperate dare to descry the digging doohickey of the deity denoted as Thor, doubtless I am doomed to be devoured until dead by a deluge of dreadfully demented and discontented demons, dragged into depths of desuetude and darkest despair! Darn, what doleful denouement for a defenseless damsel in deepest distress! In short, this stinks, and you can call me C.”

There was no one nearby to ask if she was a crazy person other than the aforementioned demons of Character Hell, and they didn’t much care if she were crazy or not, only tasty. Catrina didn’t think she was at all good to eat, being fairly high in cholesterol and carbs, and she wouldn’t have wanted to cause any of the demons health problems. So she screwed up her courage, planted her boots on the hard rock of the lava river’s shore, gripped her Sporksaber in one hand and Mlrning in the other, and tried to work out how she could use them to smash all those demons before they could get to her.

The horde of chupacabras and chimeras and catoblepases (catoblepi?) and most especially the dread Cthulhu surged towards her in a wave of fangs and tentacles. Then, suddenly, her shoulder-attorney winked primly into existence on her shoulder. “Excuse me!” it called above the din. “Don’t you know you’re all supposed to attack one by one?”

The horde paused in some confusion. What? boomed Cthulhu in a voice dripping with primordial terror and unspeakable evil.

Catrina’s shoulder attorney quivered. It wasn’t every day one had to engage in an oral argument with Cthulhu. She hadn’t even done that in moot court. “Erm. It’s part of the Code of Story Characters. You’re legally obliged to attack my client one by one. If you all attack her at once, either you win and the story’s over prematurely, or you get tangled up in confusion, and she escapes. It’s…it’s more fair this way.”

You have a point, rumbled Cthulhu. Very well, insignificant worm. We will attack one by one.

“Oh good,” the shoulder attorney said.

I shall go first.

“Thanks a lot,” Catrina said to her terrified shoulder attorney.  

Cthulhu’s slimy tentacles slithered towards her. You will soon be driven mad by your feeble attempts to comprehend me. And then I will devour your soul. I look forward to it. You have done murder of an alien blob, and destroyed an entire world through an apocalypse. Your soul will be very tasty indeed.

But just then the dread alien entity was distracted as the pack of chupacabras made a furious protest. It turned out that they wanted to be the first to attack Catrina. As the C-monsters fell to arguing about it,  a sudden wild thought sprang into Catrina’s mind, sparked by Cthulhu’s mention of her prior sins. She rounded upon her shoulder attorney and whispered hasty instructions. The shoulder attorney hesitated. “Are you certain? This isn’t exactly professionally responsible-”

“Go!” Catrina said, as the C-monsters decided to settle the dispute by a method honored from time immemorial. Rock-Paper-Scissors. The other monsters fell back to a respectful distance, as the chupacabras selected a representative in the game. Cthulhu, of course, needed no representative.

The chupacabra deputy and the dread cosmic entity stared at each other. The first throw. Cthulhu’s mighty tentacle whipped into Rock, while the chupacabra went for Scissors. Cthulhu rumbled in terrifying laughter; the chupacabra pack whispered nervously amongst themselves.

“C’mon,” Catrina whispered, looking anxiously at the black sky above them, “C’mon, c’mon….”

Second throw. Cthulhu went for Rock again; only this time the chupacabra had gone with Paper. The chupacabras cheered wildly, and Cthulhu looked very unhappy. He rumbled something about dreaming in his house in somewhere Catrina didn’t quite catch. She guessed he wasn’t making a reference to Sleeping Beauty.

Time for the final throw. She could practically see the chupacabra’s mind going. If Cthulhu threw Rock again, obviously the chupacabra should throw Paper, and win. But Cthulhu had thrown Rock twice already; suppose it went for Scissors this time. If it did, it would beat Paper, and win. Therefore, the chupacabra should throw Rock in order to beat Scissors. But suppose Cthulhu thought that the chupacabra would think that Chtulhu would throw Scissors, and decided to go Paper instead; that would mean the chupacabra would lose if it threw Rock, so instead it should throw Scissors. But if Cthulhu thought that the chupacabra was thinking that Cthulhu was thinking that the chupacabra was thinking that Cthulhu would throw Scissors, and decided to throw Rock for a third time…..the poor chupacabra went mad from the revelation and had to be replaced by a substitute deputy.

Catrina heard a very faint buzzing in the air. Lights flashed in the glowering sky. For the first time in a long while, she smiled. It started on one side of her face and spread across, like a dawning sun.

The two C-monsters didn’t notice. The replacement chupacabra betted on predictability and threw Paper. But Cthulhu, being pure chaotic evil, threw Scissors. It gurgled thunderously on realizing that it had won, and turned to face Catrina. Now I will devour your s-

A plasma beam as big around as a small tree slammed into Cthulhu, knocking it back in a spray of slime. Even as it began to reform, more laser blasts tore into it and the rest of the C-monster horde. A swarm of beetle-shaped battle cruisers blazed in from the atmosphere.  “I’d be delighted to let you devour me,” Catrina said, smiling fiercely, “but it seems the Zarminnan Community wants me first. I killed their alien blob deity, you know. They’re very upset about it!”

Indeed the alien bugs were, and they weren’t about to let a bunch of C-monsters devour the Earthling who’d killed their god; they wanted to drag her back to be properly executed by laser rifle. The C-monsters, Cthulhu howling at their head, rallied. Mighty tentacles smashed Beetle-cruisers from the sky, and many a Zarminnan went screaming insane that day. Meanwhile, while everybody fought about who was going to be the first to bump off Catrina, Catrina herself made straight for Edmund.

The Prince of Character Hell saw her coming, Mlrning held high, and backed rapidly away. “Now, now, dear sister, let’s let bygones by bygones, shall we? I mean, I admit our relationship has been a bit, ah, rocky, we may have had a few misunderstandings-.”

“Misunderstandings?” Catrina said, eyes blazing in fury. “You tried to throw me to Cthulhu. You tricked me into destroying the world. That’s a bit more than a misunderstanding, wouldn’t you say?”

Edmund suddenly found that he could back up no more. He stood right on the edge of a cliff overlooking the river of lava that flowed outside the gates of Character Hell. He swore to find out whoever had designed this place and execute them with dispatch, but suddenly the blade of Mlrning was against his throat. One slight push from Catrina, and he would fall right in, probably vaporized before he even touched the lava by the sheer heat emanating from it.

Catrina wanted to make that push. She really did. She knew that heroines and heroes weren’t supposed to want that; whenever they had their worst enemy trapped on the edge of a cliff, they were supposed to relent, not push them over, and instead let them go quietly. The Beast had done that (and got stabbed for it), Simba had done that (and then Scar had jumped him from behind)….come to think of it, that policy hadn’t entirely worked out. Catrina was about to run through a quick ethical debate about sparing Edmund when he would almost certainly turn on her or pushing him over and thus possibly turning her to the dark side ala Anakin Skywalker’s murder of Count Dooku, when a stray laser bolt from one of the Beetle-cruisers zinged in and solved the problem for her by sending Edmund flying off the cliffside, right into the lava.  “Oh,” Catrina said, as Edmund’s last scream echoed in her ears. “Well. How helpful.”

She thought about staying to bravely challenge her enemies, but considering how many of them there were, and that one of them was Cthulhu, she prudently decided that discretion was the better part of valor. She was about to fly away when she suddenly noticed a smear of mud on the ground. The mud had apparently been on Edmund’s boot all this time,  and then fallen off when he’d been hit by the laser blast. Catrina rolled her eyes; he’d always been untidy. Never even bothered to clean his boots…..and then suddenly it hit her. Mud was merely wet dirt. That dirt was Earth dirt. And with that dirt, and with Mlrning….quickly she bent down and gathered the mud into her hand. Then she raised Mlrning high. “Take me back to the ocean!” she cried, and in a flash she was gone, leaving the Lovecraftian monsters and the space-age alien bugs furiously squabbling behind her.

Back up top, the derphins had swum unhappily away, leaving Catrina’s raft to bob about on its own, untended. Catrina dropped in, landing smack on it. She wasn’t entirely sure what to do next, but then she decided to let Mlrning work it out. She threw the mud into the air and struck at it with the Shovel of Thor. There was a blinding green flash and a crack of thunder. Catrina’s raft shattered underneath her feet and she tumbled towards the water and-

And landed on soft grass instead. She looked up quickly. Shining golden walls surrounded her. Stars twinkled in the distance. Asgard was back. Everything was back!

A golden light flared on her shoulder, and materialized into a tiny angel beaming with joy. “Hooray!” it squeaked. “You saved the Earth! And Asgard, and everything!”

Catrina breathed a long sigh of relief. “Right. I think I’m resigning from the job of reversing apocalypses now. I just want to go home. Mlrning?”

The Shovel of Thor moved in her hand, and whisked her away into the sunlit sky. And so, her shoulder angel and everyone else restored, and her evil brother defeated, she lived happily ever after. Except for her consort being a were-bear. That she didn’t find out about until she got back. What happened then, and how he got turned back into an ordinary person instead of a were-bear, is a matter for another story.

This has been the concluding episode of the Quest for Mlrning story arc, but don’t worry; as mentioned above, I’ve got another story arc planned. Actually, I’ve got at least three. So, stay tuned! For previous episodes, go here. For my Amazon author page where you can find two stories starring Catrina, plus a story that doesn’t have her in it but does have a volcano spirit, go here. And, as always, thanks for reading!

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6 Comments
  1. Firstly, YAY ALLITERATION! It’s my favorite ridiculous writing device 😉 I loved the back and forth about the Rock, Paper, Scissors – totally reminded me of The Princess Bride and the poisoned wine.

    • Ah, yes. Never get involved in a land war in Asia, and never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. 😀

  2. Oh gosh, I’m behind again! I need to catch up … again. 😉

    • I think you’d read through the end of the story arc with the Second Zombie Penguin Apocalypse….but then of course since then Catrina got pregnant, had the kids, found her brother again, and ended the world. It’s been a busy time. 🙂

  3. Great conclusion to the story. I’m glad Edmund was taken care of and Catarina didn’t have to do it. It didn’t seem like her to shove him off the clif 🙂

    • Now, it really wasn’t. Catrina’s heart’s in the right place, even if her shoulder angel is missing on occasion. 😀

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