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by on May 1, 2014

“I’m bored,” said Catrina one evening. She had cause to be. Two years had passed since her last quest, two years of absolute normalcy in Shmirmingard. There had been no penguins, zombie or otherwise, no random travels through time, no Atlantean invasions, not even so much as a squeak from otherworldly monsters like Cthulhu. Susan hadn’t shown up once. Catrina assumed she was settling back into power in Character Hell, but she didn’t feel like journeying down there to find out. Ermingard and Katrina had gone off again, apparently to track down Dr. What since they hadn’t quite found him the first time, but they hadn’t been seen since. Catrina didn’t care so much about her evil twin, but Ermingard was a nice person, even if she was a bit gloomy.

All in all, it had been a very quiet two years. Catrina was into her early twenties now. She had enjoyed lots of time with her family, Perry and her newborn twins,  Tamalyn and Timothy. They had come through their terrible twos without (miraculously) burning the castle down, for which Catrina was very thankful. It seemed Tamalyn in particular had a fondness for setting things on fire, which was an unfortunate trait indeed for a two year old. Timothy was much more well behaved.

But even family time could get wearing on one after a while. That was why Catrina had taken to staring out at the stars of an evening, hoping that the Dangling Participle would flash in for a visit, or perhaps an eerie green glow would blot them out as Cthulhu emerged to take his revenge. Night after night, no Cthulhu appeared, and no spaceship either. Catrina was beginning to wonder if she’d ever have an adventure again. Perhaps her author had moved on to other projects. A cold thought chilled her soul: perhaps she had been replaced. She had never been quite clear as to whether she was a final-draft character or a first draft. Suppose she had been edited? Would she even know if she were?

After two years, Catrina was beginning to despair. She had obviously been forgotten. Her stories were mouldering in a drawer somewhere, and she was consigned to a dreary existence in an epilogue. Pre-epilogue, really. Perhaps in another ten years her narrator would check in with a few paragraphs about her children heading off to school, and she’d have to say something wistful about how they were named after very brave people she had known in her adventures. This wasn’t at all true: Catrina had picked the names simply because she liked how they sounded. So her epilogue would probably be very short and uninspiring.

That was why, once again on a summer evening as the sun fell slowly below the horizon,  Catrina was standing on a balcony of her castle overlooking the surrounding countryside, and remarking aloud how bored she was. She didn’t even have any royal duties to perform. Her parents, King Montgomery and Queen Maralyn, had finally returned from their anniversary vacation or second honeymoon or whatever it had been, and had resumed their part in ruling the little kingdom. Catrina, rather than acting queen, was back in princess status again. So she had wandered out once more to the balcony. The moon had risen by now, its light glowing silver on her face. Catrina had an odd feeling that she should break into song. Perhaps she should express that she wanted much more than this provincial life, or that she wanted to be out there, standing in the sun, or that she wanted to be part of their world….. she couldn’t quite make up her mind.

Then, above her head in the night, she heard a low thrumming noise. Catrina hadn’t been in the modern world long enough to catalogue all its sounds, or she might have recognized it as a propeller. She knew enough to know that it wasn’t a right sound for the 12th century. Then the moonlight dimmed around her. A hulking shape loomed over the castle. Something clanked, and a figure dropped from the looming shape and landed before her. It was a tall man, grey-haired, with a livid white scar on his face, though it was difficult to see behind the pair of brass flying goggles he wore. He carried a harpoon in one hand, though it was covered in metal bits and twisty things the likes of which Catrina had never seen. One of his legs had gone, replaced by a glinting metal prosthetic. Little wheels whirred and clinked as the grim figure stepped towards her.
“Ay, missie…” he growled. “Have ye seen a white whale?”

“I beg your pardon?” said Catrina.

“A white whale,” said the man, a wild look in his goggle-shaded eyes. “A white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw, with three holes punctured in his starboard fluke. Have ye seen him?”

“Er, no…”

“Well, have y’ seen his grandmother, then?”

Now Catrina was absolutely lost. “I haven’t seen any whales at all really, except once years ago at the beach, and it was pretty far out to see. I certainly didn’t have the chance to ask after it’s grandmother. And it wasn’t white, it was sort of blue-ish. Now, if you don’t mind my asking, who-”

But the man had turned away from her in a burst of anger. “Death and devils, I’ll pursue him and his grandmother through all the currents of time before I give him up!” He waved his harpoon at the looming shape above him, and a rope and metal ladder clanked down. The man grabbed hold of it and rose swiftly up into the sky. Then the shape thrummed off into the dark and was gone, leaving Catrina absolutely bewildered on her balcony.

She didn’t stand there long. Catrina’s heart raced with excitement. This was the first unusual event in two years. It had to mean something! She flung out her hand, there was a nearby crash, and then Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor) raced towards her and thwacked into her outstretched palm. “After him!” she cried, and the mighty Shovel lifted her off the balcony and soaring away into the night.

This has been an episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, go here. Thanks for reading!

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  1. BAM! Now THAT is the way to start your next adventure! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sing every Disney song that I know in the hopes of dislodging the ones now stuck in my brain…

    • Well, what I think is, as far as the Disney song, you should just……let it goooo, let it goooo, can’t hold it back anymoooore….

      • Ha, you dirty rat! Now I have to sing it to get it out, I don’t know how to conceal, don’t feel…

  2. Haha… I guess she can’t be happy unless she’s tempting fate and cheating death 🙂

    Hey, congrats on placing in the Speakeasy top 4!

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