Page Five Ghouls

Under Loch and Quay

Byline: Gary Llewellyn

Dateline: June 3, 2017

This week, readers, we take you to Scotland, where we go in search of the fabled Loch Ness Monster. Not by choice, mind you. Nessie is such a hack subject. I normally have much better things to do than chase after some old-timey gynecologist’s toy submarine, but I’m scheduled for execution by drowning by the fairy king. Somewhere Freddie Mercury is smiling, or at least bemused. I was given a pill that is supposed to allow me to breathe underwater, but it just feels like I popped a fistful of yellowjackets. Me and Stephanie were led to a platform over a glass tank of water that would open up, drop us in, and close back up, locking us inside. Then we’d be flushed out into the loch where we were to be eaten by a drunkard’s legend.

“Any final words?” we were asked by the king.

“Oh Mother Mercury, look what they’ve done to me. I cannot run, I cannot hide,” I sang. I have a damn good voice, if I do say so myself.

“You think you’re funny?”

“Yeah.”After Stephanie said her piece, which was surprisingly impressive, he pulled a lever and down we went into the tank. After we choked and gagged on the intake of water into our lungs, we found we were doing all right (that’s another one for you, Freddie!) without breathing. The pill must have oxygenated our blood to the point of not requiring respiration. We both played dead, floating there with mouths agape, blank stares, bobbing against the glass, it was beautiful. Satisfied with our demise they flipped another level and like a toilet flushing we were sucked out the bottom of the tank, but not before we both gave the king shit-eating grins and flipped the double birds. We didn’t even plan that. Epic as fuck.

We were rushed along by a strong current through a seemingly endless series of tubes and finally launched into what I presume was supposed to be Loch Ness. We were too far south and that pipe journey not long enough for this to be Ness. If the body of water was even a loch it was probably Lomond, but in all likelihood it was the Clyde River. They were just going to wash us out to sea. Nessie my ass.

When we surfaced I saw the hilly landscape of shoreline and…Urquhart Castle? What the hell do you know? Loch Ness. Come to think of it, some of those twists and turns seemed more like I was William Shatner getting transported then actual elbow joints in the plumbing. As we swam to the shore I felt something brush against my leg. Looked around for Stephanie and she’s sitting cross legged on the head of what looked like a plesiosaur, waving at me.

“I knew it was real,” she shouted to me as they raced to the shoreline.

The student has become the master. I’d cry if I wasn’t doggie paddling so hard. And what the hell do you know? Nessie is a thing. See what a fool I’ve been (love you, Freddie!). Once I was back on shore, wringing my socks out, my only thought was: Jesus Christ, the rental car.

The Loch Ness Not So Monster

Byline: Stephanie Morgan

Dateline: June 3, 2017

Heya, SEG-ers! I’m still alive! Gary and I have survived being drowned in a fairy execution and weren’t eaten by Nessie. Turns out he’s really nice. Much nicer than fairies. And about those fairies…

Gary and I were led to a trap door on the top of a giant fish tank. I had taken the pill earlier and I felt like I’d taken about twelve adderall and it was the night before finals. The king walked out and was all like waving his arms thinking he was hot shit. Hot mess, more like. Was he wearing crushed velvet? What is he, my grandmother?

“Any last words?” he asks like we’re in a movie.

Gary starts squawking out some nonsense, but it tilted the king, so that was cool. I laughed. Then it was my turn.

“All I have to say is ‘fuck fairies’. If we get out this we’re coming back for you and your children,” I’m not entirely sure what got into me. Maybe it was the pills. Maybe I was spending too much time with Gary.

The king pulled the lever and into the fishtank we went. At first I started coughing on all the water I was breathing in. But, I realized, you can’t cough if you can’t breathe. The pill was working. I know one fairy who will be spared the coming storm. Gary tapped me on the shoulder. I saw him playing dead. The guy might be an asshole, but he’s done this stuff before. I followed his lead. Once the king was satisfied we were dead he pulled another lever and we were sucked out the bottom of the aquarium. We both gave the king the finger as we were flushed out. Maybe I really am spending too much time with him, but how else do you wave goodbye to some jerk who’s trying to kill you?

Pipes. Endless pipes, twisting and turning. I lost all sense of whether I was right side up or upside down. The curious thing was, the pipes seemed to be turning corners, but you couldn’t see any turns in the pipe. It was more like we just ended up in a different pipe, like magically. Like when Chris Pine in that Star Trek movie gets all sparkly and swirly and then he’s in another place. We finally got shot out into a large body of water. Gary darted to the surface, but I thought, when am I going to get to breathe underwater again? It was dark under there, but I could see something really big swimming past me. It swam past again and then was still. The next thing I see is a giant eye, three feet in front of me, staring in my face. Was this Nessie come to eat me like the fairies said? If it was, it was certainly taking its time.

“I hope you’re not here to eat me,” I kept thinking.

“No, I’m strictly vegan,” a voice in my head said, like when that old guy tells that whiny kid to ‘use the force’ in that movie my brother forced me to watch.

“Uh, hello.”

“Hello.”

“Are you Nessie?”

“No. I’m Stewart.”

“I’m Stephanie.”

“How are you breathing underwater, Stephanie? I thought you people couldn’t breathe underwater.”

“A nice fairy, the only nice fairy, gave me pill so I could survive my execution by drowning. The fairy king said you would eat our bodies.”

“That idiot is always dumping corpses here. I gotta swim in this water. I don’t need dead bodies funking it up. Would you like a ride back to land, Stephanie? That pill will be wearing off soon.”

“Yes, please.”

“How about your friend?”

“Hehe, no. Let him swim.”

“Heh, nice.”

He let me sit on his head as he sped me to the shore. I waved at Gary as we passed.

“Stephanie,” said Stewart, “The fairies and more like them are up to no good.”

“Tell me about it.”

“Even as we speak the Nixie Union Local 404 in Germany has already begun its incursion into human territory. They take on the guise of raccoons. It’s not a raccoon infestation, like the humans think. Soon they will begin.”

“I think I met them. I have a scar on my arm to show for it. Begin what?”

“Their invasion of the human world. They believe that humans have ignored them long enough. They no longer leave them offerings and gifts like they used to. They believe they should make themselves known and feared again. I, and many others, don’t agree with this. We feel we’re better off left as legends and myths. We’ve moved beyond the need for fear and belief to survive. But others want to return to the ‘good old days’. They used to be a fringe group, but lately they have been getting their hands on the levers of power.”

“Wow. Is this what the fairy said Gary knows?”

“Hmm, maybe. Right now it doesn’t look like he knows how to swim.”

Stewart put me down on the bank and said goodbye. We are so far from the rental car. Gary is going to be so tilted.

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