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I is for Infernal Iguanas

by on August 19, 2013

Last time in the Catrina Chronicles, Susan, Catrina’s archenemy and fairly unpleasant villain all around, had just opened the gates of Character Hell….

It was everything Susan had imagined. And oh, how she had imagined it. Ever since that terrible day when the minions of Character Hell had risen against her and chased her out, she had been planning her revenge. She had prepared ominous Latin chant selections for a choir. She had practiced her villainous pose, the one she would strike when the gates opened and the powers of Character Hell realized who’d just come back. She’d even planned what she would do then. Twin laser pistols blazing, she would march right through Character Hell, level by level, all the way down to the deepest point, the Lake of the Omnicides, the frozen horror in which were imprisoned all the fictional villains who had tried to destroy their universes.

Down there, she knew, was a throne, locked in ice, and on that throne sat whoever it was that was currently in charge of the whole shebang. Susan had heard that Edmund, Catrina’s evil brother, had taken over, but it seemed he had gotten himself pitched into a river of lava. As this was fairly near one of Character Hell’s entrances, the jury was still out on whether Edmund was permanently or just mostly dead. Susan hadn’t given it much thought; the main point was that Edmund wasn’t ruling Character Hell anymore. More than likely some random fictional demon had taken over in his place. Susan meant to give that demon the battle of its life (so to speak), a battle that would live in horrible tales, a battle that would illustrate to the minions in graphic detail exactly what happened to people or beasties who crossed her. And then she would take the throne of Character Hell, bring it back into line, and start working on her ultimate plan: destroying all fictional reality. It was positively glorious. Epic, even. She couldn’t wait.

So she smiled as the doors rumbled open and the Latin chanting cued up. Susan’s fingers tightened on the firing pads of her laser pistols, expecting to face a whole swarm of rampaging minions. But…then her mouth fell open. Nothing. There wasn’t anybody on the other side. All that met her was an empty field that stretched away to a distant grey river. The Latin choir fell silent. Susan actually thought she heard a cricket. She wasn’t even sure if it was a Hell-cricket, with its horrible Chirp of Insanity, or just a plain old ordinary cricket.

Oh come ON!” Susan shouted. That wasn’t exactly the first thing she said; she let out a whole string of expletives that would’ve made the proverbial sailor blush. She hoped faintly that someone listening might be offended and attack. But no one came. All she saw was the same empty field, no grass, no trees, just boring old dirt, and the same river in the distance. It was infuriating. She’d been prepared to be challenged, attacked, even (just possibly) driven out again. She hadn’t been prepared to be ignored.

Then suddenly she saw a gazelle loping merrily across the field. Actually, as it came closer, she realized it wasn’t a gazelle at all but an impala. Not the car. The actual antelope. Leaping around like it was a perfect sunny day. Worse, Susan realized that it was showing clear signs of wanting to come close and nuzzle her hand. The thing must have wandered off from Character Heaven. “This place has just gone to crap,” Susan said, as she leveled her laser pistols. At least she could kill something.

“Hey,” said a small gruff voice behind her. Susan spun around. Standing there next to the door was a tiny green iguana. “You here for the tour, miss?” he asked, punctuating his question with a spit into the dirt.

“Miss,” Susan repeated.  “Miss? MISS? I am SUSAN, you brainless bug-eating reptile, I once ruled Character Hell, and I have returned to claim my-”

“Actually, ma’am,” interjected the iguana, “That’s a common misconception. Iguanas like me, we’re herbivores. We only eat plants. Not bugs.”

Susan’s face went sheet-white with fury. “I don’t care what you eat. You think this is freakin’ Dante? You think I’m here for you to show me around, consequences of sin, all that, so I can go on my merry way to Paradise? No way. I built half this blasted place, I know the layout, and I want to go right to the bottom. Lake of the Omnicides. Right now.”

The iguana grimaced. If you’ve never seen a grimacing iguana, it is a sight to behold. “Ma’am, there’s rules involved, protocol, I can’t just take you straight down without going past-”

“Oh yes you can,” Susan said, aiming her laser pistols. “Or I will destroy you right now.”

“You do know we’re in Character Hell, yeah? And I’m one of the spirits that helps run the place? So your laser pistols won’t, y’know, work?”

Susan had hoped the iguana wouldn’t be smart enough to grasp that. Apparently she had underestimated it. It would be the last time she would underestimate a sentient iguana. Not that she expected to have too many more encounters with iguanas, sentient or otherwise, but one never knew anymore. “Fine,” she growled, holstering her weapons, “we’ll do it your way. Level by stinkin’ level. And on the way down I wanna know what’s going on. Hippobears and hippogriffs loose outside. Random impalas bouncing through. No one here to fight me. Who’s running this dive?”

“That…” said the iguana grimly, as they made their way towards the river, “is kinda complicated…”

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. Be sure and tune in next week as Susan’s descent into Character Hell continues. For previous episodes, go here. For my Amazon author page, go here. And as always, thanks for reading.

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3 Comments
  1. I love that in your world ‘fictional reality’ is not an oxymoron 🙂

    • An excellent point. I hadn’t even thought of it as a potential oxymoron. It’s weird the way my muse works. 😀

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