Buried Bones And Drooling Dead Part 1
Buried bones, and drooling dead

I wrote this in November of 2013 for NaNoWriMo and got it done exactly at midnight, but too late to turn in. I have never written a story this long before, and this is the unedited form. So…beware….

A little girl was hiding under her covers, the pretend shield that protects all children from the terrible ‘things that go bump in the night.’ This night was especially scary. Not because it was Halloween, which it was, not just because the wind was howling in such a way that it sounded like an army of angry skeletons were knocking on her bedroom window.
It was because of the giant fearsome monster she had seen while trick-or-treating that night. No one else had seen it, but she knew what she saw. It was no costume, but a giant horrible creature that had emergence from the town graveyard and gone running off into the night.
Her mother and father had told her hundreds of times before bed that night that there was no such thing as monsters. They had sighed at her terror and shared the kind of glance that grownups share when they think their children are being overdramatic. But that did nothing to ease her fear, not when she knew they were wrong.
The little girl listened to her bedroom clock ominously tick away the minutes while the wind whirled and howled about her window. She decided to get out of bed. She wasn’t sure why, it seemed silly. But she wanted to prove to herself that there was nothing lurking outside her window. It was only the wind, not a horde of angry skeletons or a giant monster with knives for fingers.
She peered cautiously past the pink unicorn curtains and looked at the graveyard barely visible from her window. She saw only the trees sway in the fierce wind and leaves scattering and swirling in the air. She was about to move away from the window, breathing a long sigh of relief, when she saw the dark form creep down the road and into the graveyard. It was the same monster from before, and she saw with horror that it had stopped to look up, looking right into her terrified eyes.
The creature’s eyes glinted and she saw a flash of teeth before the creature turned and disappeared into the graveyard. The little girl slammed the curtains closed and leapt into her bed, feet somehow not touching the floor as she made the ten foot leap. She threw the blankets over herself and held them tightly. “Monsters aren’t real, monsters aren’t real!” she whispered self-assurance until she fell into a troubled, nightmare filled sleep.

Kat let out an exasperated sigh. A sigh so burdened with morose emotion that it lasted almost a full minute, and much to her dismay it was not nearly as satisfying as she needed it to be.
Her boss would be calling her into his office any minute now. She knew it. While getting reprimanded for her misdeeds was by no means a new experience for her, what enraged her this time was that all of the misbehaving and destruction had not been her doing, but she was still sure to get the blame. Worst of all she was certain she was very near to getting her ass booted from the company. Who else would ever hire her?
Kat filled her lungs and tried another sigh, this time ending it with a bit of a groan at the end. It still didn’t suffice, so she felt her lips twist into a deep frown, made deeper by her great furry muzzle. Her canine lips pulling into a frown distorted her face and caused her bottom teeth to stick out at odd angles, and the look, completed, made her entire face look more alarming than unhappy. Had any human seen her making such a face, even the manliest man would need a change of pants.
While Kat was lost in concentration, maintaining her deep and sullen frown, the door to her boss’s office snapped open and an elderly Japanese woman stared vacantly at the grumpy werewolf. Her ancient eyes took in the jutting bottom teeth and bits of drool casually hanging from Kat’s muzzle with no reaction, other than to step back without a sound and gesture for the werewolf to enter.
Kat growled under her breath and stomped into the office, taking in the empty and undecorated walls and unwelcoming atmosphere of the room before turning three times and sitting in the plush office chair facing her boss’s desk.
The ancient old lady sat on the other side of the desk, folded her fingers together, and stared blankly at the werewolf. Kat fidgeted under her gaze.
“It’s not my fault the whole village is dead.” Kat harrumphed.
The old lady only stared.
“I only killed this one guy. Someone else ate all those other people.”
Kat was still only met with blank faced silence.
“Okay, alright.” Kat sighed. “I might have grabbed a snack…”
The old lady maintained her stare.
Kat shrugged, and then sighed. “Well, maybe two snacks…this farmer saw me…and he had some sheep with him…I didn’t want to leave any evidence…so I might have eaten his flock…”
Kat looked up at her boss, who had shifted her attention to some paper work in front of her. She pushed it in front of Kat in a smooth slow motion. Kat swallowed hard. Was this her banishment papers? Where would they send her?
Kat leaned forward and sniffed the paper cautiously. She always sniffed papers before she read them, it tells you where they’ve been. This paper was perfumed with the smell of unfamiliar toxic chemicals and just a dash of rosemary.

The paper read:

//Lady Hua-yang;

The experiment may be coming to an end if we do not obtain the required materials. All attempts have so far failed us. Please send recruits to base station 84 at once. You know which ones I’m looking for.

-General Fliegen.//

Kat looked up from the paper with a confused grimace on her face. “What does this mean, exactly? What is base 84? And what experiment?”
Lady Hua-yang looked down the bridge of her nose at the werewolf. “It means you are going to Moscow.”
“Moscow? You mean you’re letting me go topside after I ate that village?” Kat snapped her mouth shut and grimaced again when she realized she had confessed to her crime. It actually had been her doings. Kat was just being dramatic.
“Yes, Kataleena. You are to accompany two other monsters and leave at once. We will have to ship you in a crate. With you, we can tell the humans that you are just a bear. It is important that you refrain from eating the crate handlers, for you will draw attention.”
“A bear? Won’t they know better?” Kat smirked at the idea.
“Humans are stupid.”
“I have already informed the others. Once you arrive in Moscow you will meet with Vladimir. As a vampire, he at least will look human enough, and he will escort you to the base. Do you understand?”
Kat slowly nodded.
“Then leave.” Lady Hua-yang nodded to the door, and returned to a rather imposing pile of paperwork on her desk. Kat stared for a moment, hoping for more information, but Lady Hua-yang only paused to glare at Kat. Kat huffed and then removed herself from the chair, and subsequently, the room.

Kat was never very good at following orders, so job opportunities were hard to find. In fact she wasn’t quite sure how she got a position in Lady Hua-yangs office, but she considered herself lucky. When she wasn’t stuck below ground in the never ending tunnels of “The Bone City,” an underground monster made metropolis somewhere underneath the State of Maine, she would sneak “topside” and eat potato farmers and fishermen. Occasionally she even scored a party of red necks camping in the woods. Those were her favorite; they always tried to fight back.
Kat had discovered Bone City as a young were-pup, having just left home to make her own life. She was drawn by the name, Bone City, and so had numerous other werewolves. The city was teeming with underground sheep farmers, the staple food of most werewolves. Kat enjoyed eating sheep as much as any other werewolf, and had almost become a sheep farmer herself, but she had other desires.
Kat absolutely loved eating humans. It’s the reason why she sought employment under the infamous Lady Hua-yang, a Kitsune responsible for the death of innumerable humans.
Lady Hua-yang loved killing humans even more than Kat, who preferred snacking on them whenever possible instead of just killing them. Because of this love of killing humans, Lady Hua-yang started a human killing business. It mostly involved sending in monsters such as Kat on missions to kill a few selected humans, but Kat was sure it was building up to something.
Monsters in the 21st century had to be careful about devouring humans, since human technology has made such huge advancements it would be easy for the humans to kill monsters. It doesn’t take an atomic bomb to kill a werewolf, but it’ll do the trick.
For this reason Lady Hua-yang gave careful instruction to which humans could be eaten safely, at what time, and by what monster. It was all a careful game of chess between monsters and humans, and Kat was a rouge pawn that ate the opponents when they weren’t paying attention. Kat should have known it was only a matter of time before Lady Hua-yang exhausted her patience for the werewolf and sent her somewhere far away. She wondered why it had to be as far away as Moscow. She also worried that the humans would taste gamey, or would be harder to eat because they’d be wearing more winter layers. But at least she was being sent topside for this mission.
Kat ambled casually toward the gates that lead to the topside. There she met Blee, a grumpy little goblin who was often harassed by Kat. Blee was usually the only thing standing in between her and a late night snack, thus Blee was forever scarred with bite and claw marks that came from Kat using him as a chew toy before she ran him over for her nightly escapades. The look he gave her was stuffed to the brim with a seething fiery hatred, and Kat swore for a moment she could smell something burning.
“Hiya Blee, how’s my favorite little goblin today?”
Blee muttered something under his breath, soft enough even Kat’s werewolf ears could barely make it out.
“Yeah, whatever Blee. Look, you’ll love to hear this bit. Lady Hua-yang has actually given me permission to go topside for once.”
“How exactly do you expect me to believe that?” Blee snapped.
“Have I ever bothered to lie to you before? Why would I try lying when I can easily put you in my mouth instead?” At this, Kat widely opened her gigantic mouth, exposing altogether too many teeth.
Blee scowled. This was something Kat had done before. “What’s so good about you being sent topside?”
“I’m being sent to Moscow. You won’t see me for a while.” Kat pretended to sniff like she was sad, and couldn’t help but notice that Blee did start to look a little happy, if not also extremely suspicious.
“Are you being sent alone? Perhaps the humans will finally discover you, and you’ll be trapped in a research lab somewhere like what happened to Sam, that stupid ogre.” Blee’s eyes were gleaming with hope now.
Every monster knew that Sam the ogre had died a horrible death. He had been a little fellow, not even old enough to leave his parents. He had somehow got past the gates and was discovered by humans in Mexico. They thought he was “El Chupacabra” and quite a riot happened. He was taken by scientists and dissected. The monster community had quite an uproar, and many had wished to storm the research lab then and there.
It was only the word of Lady Hua-yang and a few other high-ranking monsters that Mexico was not taken over by hordes of monsters that very night.
Monsters had to be patient. There was a plan. They wouldn’t have to hide in the shadows forever.
Kat snapped her great furry jaw in disdain at Blee. “As if the humans could ever catch me.” Blee snorted at this, and Kat ignored him. “Besides, I’m not going alone. I’m supposed to meet two other monsters here. I bet they’re really ferocious and mean. This is a pretty important mission we’re being sent on, Blee. A little goblin like you would never make the cut.” Kat fluffed her fur proudly, but Blee wasn’t listening. His eyes had fogged over while visions of Kat being cut open by humans filled his head.
Noticing the glossed look on his face, Kat became indignant, and was about to raise a mighty paw to his tiny head when she was tapped on the shoulder. She turned, arm still raised and eyebrows cocked, to see a dark green gill-man in a clean white lab coat standing behind her.
“I think you’ll find it best to leave the gate guard unharmed, he is, after all, the one who will let us go topside for our mission.” The creature from the black lagoon said rather cheerily.
Kat harrumphed and lowered her paw. She could easily eat them both and go topside on her own. The gill-man had not been what she was expecting for company.
“Who are you, anyway?” Kat growled.
“I’m Louie, the ecologist, world renowned for my research of Amazonian aquatic life!”
“Ah, how original. A fish that studies fish.” Kat laughed.
“What about YOU, werewolf?” Louie sputtered, taken aback by her obvious lack of respect.
“I’m Kat-” she began, when another voice disrupted her.
“You don’t LOOK like no cat!”
Kat whirled around baring her teeth at the new comer. “It’s just a name. My parents had a sick sense of humor!” She snarled. Then she noticed what she was looking at, and frowned at the new comer. “You’re a kid!” She exclaimed.
The new comer, a 4 foot tall yeti, frowned immensely at the 8 foot tall werewolf. “I ain’t no kid, mutt. I’m a full grown abominable snowman. I just gots dwarfism.”
“Dwarfism!” Louie exclaimed excitedly, and looked the yeti over. “I’ve heard of it in humans, but I’ve never seen a monster with dwarfism before!”
“Well yet used to it. Cause I ain’t getting no bigger.”
Kat could hardly contain her laughter, and was nearly rolling on the floor. “What good is a midget yeti on a dangerous mission?” She hiccupped and wiped tears out of her eyes while the yeti and Louie stared at her, unimpressed.
Blee was widely grinning for once, and poked the werewolf in the shin. “That’s quite the tough crew you’ve got there. I’m sure you’ll make it to Moscow just fine!” He laughed sarcastically. Kat stopped laughing to stare at Blee. He was right, this situation is unacceptable, but what could Kat do?
Blee started dancing merrily in front of the gate, when suddenly Kat leaned over and swallowed him whole. “Mokay.” She grinned, cheeks stuffed with screaming goblin, “Ets geht dis ower wip!”

In another place, not so far away, two middle age adults sat somberly in front of a dying fire. An old wall clock sat ticking the minutes away, and the men sat silent, clutching beer and staring in shock and horror into the distance.
Outside the wind picked up, and the sudden howling made both men jump. They looked at each other in alarm, and held onto their beers as if it was the only thing keeping them alive.
“Scott…” One finally spoke, working the words out of a stiff throat, they came out in a quiet rasp.
Scott, who was the smaller of the two, turned to look at his friend in the nearby chair. “Yeah, Randall?” He forced out, finding words challenging.
Randall felt that words were too difficult too, and tried drinking his beer instead. Unable to swallow, he coughed and sputtered while Scott watched the larger man fight for his life against a sip of beer.
Once Randall had finished coughing, he wearily stood up, beer in one hand, shotgun in the other. “We have to talk about it. That thing we saw.”
Scott shook his head. “Don’t want to talk about it. No way we saw what we did.”
Randall turned, blue eyes shining in the soft firelight. “We saw a monster out there Scott. It ate-“
“What we saw was just a bear, Randall” Scott interrupted, standing up as well and carefully clutching his beer. In his mind he tried to force away the images of a strange beast devouring an entire village.
“Oh, Bullshit Scott. We’ve been hunting bears since we was old enough to hold a gun. We both know a bear when we see one, and that wasn’t no bear.” Randall too, was fighting images of a beast, devouring an entire flock of sheep, one by one it had swallowed them whole.
Scott shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “If it wasn’t a bear then, well, what the hell was it?”
Randall turned away from Scott, staring out the small cabin window into the dark forest surrounding the cabin. The wind picked up, howling across the landscape and scraping trees across the wooden walls. The forest came alive with a sudden trembling eeriness, and both men were for a moment humbled by the appropriate atmosphere.
“What we saw, Scott, was none other than bigfoot.”

Three monsters crouched staring at the rickety wooden crates that would become their transport. “Are they even safe?” Kat asked, sniffing the air around the crates.
“Well, if this is what Lady Hua-yang left for us, I suppose it will have to do.” Louie shrugged, removing his lab coat and placing it in a satchel he had been carrying over his shoulder. He removed a long snouted plastic mask and tail, and began putting them on.
“What are you supposed to be?” The yeti (whose name was Ralf, not that the other two monsters had bothered to ask) jabbed Louie in the leg with his finger.
“Ah, well, I’m a Black Caiman, of course.” Louie gestured to the crocodile nose and tail.
Ralf and Kat stared at him in confusion.
Louie sighed. “It’s a type of crocodile. In the family Crocodylidae.”
“Oh, a croc, I get it. Big aquatic bity things” Kat grinned. “What about you, dwarf yeti?”
“My name is Ralf.” He snapped. “And I look enough like them apes to not need a costume. How are you going to hide your great ugly face, mutt?”
Kat huffed. “They’ll think I’m a bear.”
Louie and Ralf broke out into laughter. “Sure, sure, a real bear. You look all cute and cuddly enough to pass for one!” Ralf laughed, and Kat opened her mouth wide, baring all too many teeth for anyone’s comfort.
“You want to fight, mini Sasquatch?” She snarled, but Louie stood between them, raising his arms.
“That’s enough. We all need to arrive in one piece, and the humans will be here to collect the crates. Kat, I suggest you keep your mouth closed, all those teeth are a give-away, and perhaps you would consider sitting on your tail…it’s too bushy for a bear.”
Kat harrumphed and stomped into her crate, closing the door behind her with a thud. The crate shuddered like it might fall into a thousand pieces, but remained intact. Louie and Ralf followed suit, but closed their doors a little more carefully.
Kat shuffled in a circle three times before sitting with a “thump!” on her tail. The holes in the crate were pretty small, so the monsters were hard to make out in the darkened crates. Perhaps this would work after all.
After half an hour Kat could make out the smell of approaching humans, and she had to restrain herself from bursting out of the crate. The humans were late, and she was hungry. Heck, she was always hungry, and these humans were only here to taunt her. She’d show them…No human taunts Kat the werewolf and gets away without being eaten.
The humans paused when they saw both the condition of the crates, and the glowing eyes that stared at them through the various openings. One human could barely contain a shudder, and all three humans were struck with the mild instinctual fear of the “things that go bump in the night.”
Shrugging, as if to dismiss their sudden fear, one gestured to the others and talked in their weird human gibberish, and they then loaded the crates with a forklift into a medium sized truck, closing the back door in a quick hurried motion just as Kat started gnawing on her crate.
“Kat!” Louie hissed. “You can’t eat these humans! We need them to take us to the ship!”
Kat snapped her teeth at Louie and returned to her gnawing. She has to get out. She has to eat these humans. This was the first time Kat could remember that she was this close to a human without immediately devouring them whole. As determined as she was to get out of her crate, she found the wood surprisingly resistant to her biting.
Ralf watched her, amused. “You ain’t never gunna get through that crate, flea-bag.”
“We’ll see about that!” Kat returned to chewing.
“Lady Hua-yang had a witch make these crates. You’re stuck.” Ralf grinned. He lay back against the wooden wall, making himself comfortable.
Kat eventually, after several hours, gave up her escape attempts. Ralf was right. The wooden crate, no matter how fragile it seemed, was not going to be destroyed.
Meanwhile, in the front of the truck, three men were quietly conversing.
“I don’t like this whole situation, Bill. There was something fishy about the way they were left for us. The crates look like they’re from the civil war era, and the zookeeper wasn’t even there to drop them off. I don’t like it.” Dave, a 45-year-old balding man shook his head, looking at the other two men on either side of him.
The older human, Bill, a scruffy man in his late 50’s frowned over the steering wheel. “Well our boss says he’ll pay us 5 times what the zoo offered. We can always tell them the animals weren’t in the crates when we got there. After all, we didn’t see anyone when we picked them up. What was to stop anyone from taking them?”
“But if we don’t show up to meet the ship in Boston, won’t the zoo be upset?” David asked, trouble creasing his face. He was new to this sort of job.
Jake, a young adult and David’s son, turned nervously as if to look back at their cargo. “Who gives a crap about the zoo. If that gang boss wants these animals then whatever. But the sooner we get rid of them the better. They give me the creeps.” As if to emphasize his point, Kat had chosen that moment to try breaking the crate with brute force. A tremendous banging and growling could be heard.
At the sudden interjection from the back, all three men sat in silence. Bill found the solution pretty simple. He took the next exit and began heading for New York City.
It was late at night when the truck rolled up to the designated street, stopping in front of an old abandon looking warehouse.
The gang leader in question enjoyed pitting both people and animals against each other in a gladiator style melee. The acquirement of a bear, crocodile and ape would fulfill the gang boss’s needs quite nicely. However, none of the humans had any idea what was really in those crates, and none of them stood a chance against the monsters lurking inside.
The truck skidded to a halt, and all three men hopped out. A small cluster of gang members stood waiting outside, and Bill could easily see their skull and cross bone tattoos on various parts of their body. It was the Jolly Roger symbol that identified the notorious street gang “Jolly Bones,” a highly dangerous gang that tormented the streets of New York at night.
The Jolly Bones gang had been around for the last 50 years, and only in recent times, by dirty tactics and a fearless leader, the gang had become the most hated and feared gang in New York. This change in the Jolly Bone’s status was thanks to Aiden Adler, gang leader.
Aiden Adler had come into the leader position in a rather strange circumstance. He happened to be there when the old boss stabbed himself 38 times in the chest. Aiden was second in command at the time, and it happened that anyone who confronted Aiden about the old bosses’ mysterious self-stabbing disappeared or ended up dying in a similar fashion as the old boss, with 38 stab wounds in their chest.
In quiet and dark alleyways where the Jolly Bones felt safe, they sometimes referred to Aiden Adler as “38.”
The Jolly Bones, on seeing the truck stop and the three men get out, stopped their horsing around and walked purposefully toward the back. Inside Louie and Ralf listened to the human’s jibber at each other. The Jolly Bones would bark something angrily, and Bill would stammer something quietly in reply.
“Seems that we’re in New York City.” Ralf grinned. “This’ll be fun”
“What?” Louie perked up, alarmed. “But the boat is in Boston, we went to the wrong place! Have we been stolen?”
Ralf shrugged in reply to Louie’s question. “I guess we’ll play along, and get underground when we can to try to report back to Lady Hua-yang.”
While Ralf and Louie talked, Kat was sound asleep, exhausted from her attempts to break free and eat her captors. The two noted this fact with great relief.
Louie heard the men approach the back of the truck, and lay on his stomach to pose as a Black Caiman. He hissed in mild irritation and nervousness, which was fitting because that’s something that Caiman do.
In short time the three monsters were off the truck and brought into the warehouse. While on the outside it had looked ancient and dingy, on the inside it was lavishly adorned, with one large room dedicated as the arena. Aiden Adler had spared no expense in this, his concrete thrown, his room of power and murder.
This was the place that had made the Jolly Bones infamous and respected. Here the gang leader of the once rival gang the “Mildly Discontents” had been torn apart by a rather large collection of rabies-infected raccoons. His blood has forever stained the unwashed arena floor.
The gang “Bloody Bandages” who once ruled the dark alleys of New York were also forced to battle each other to the death in this arena, and the few who survived were left, wounded, while a pride of starved lions ate the dying men with pleasure.
The monsters were shuffled into a large and unlit room, where the sounds of many animals could be heard around them. Louie and Ralf watched the humans exit the room, before relaxing and observing their surroundings. “Ralf, I meant to mention earlier, but I was surprised to hear you spoke human.” Louie stretched and removed his mask and tail.
Ralf shrugged. “Being the size I am, I’ve been an undercover spy in many occasions. Humans can’t see no difference between myself and an albino ape. They think I’m some kind of weird extra hairy chimp.”
Louie chuckled. “Humans.” His laughed turned sour however as he surveyed the room. It was stuffed full of starving animals, emaciated and sick. Flies circled the dead and dying that lay still, abandoned in their cages as the Jolly Rogers found no more use for them.
Louie and Ralf both starred in angry silence, and a hatred for these types of humans flamed inside them. “Perhaps we can make these humans pay before we go.” Ralf decided. Louie could only nod, visions of all the amazing animals he had studied in the Amazon River floating through his head before they crashed into reality with the creatures lying here, crying in fear and hunger.
While Kat slumbered on, Ralf and Louie planned their escape, and their punishment for the humans. While Lady Hua-yang was in strict control over what humans could be killed without the humans noticing, Ralf and Louie knew they were on a special mission and would have some power to make these kinds of decisions on their own. They knew from their debriefings for the mission that things would be changing in the monster world soon. It was time to let the humans wonder, and maybe feel a little more afraid of the dark.
Ralf and Louie considered using Kat in their plan, but Kat had never been in a city before. There was simply no telling at what point she would stop eating humans. Their records showed that Kat had eaten whole towns in a sitting before. Was a city within her eating limits? Even if it was, an entire city is too many people. The human deaths had to be contained to the building, preferably when it was at its fullest with gang members, and Kat could not be trusted.
Ralf opened his crate quietly. “Good thing the witches only treated Kat’s crate” he chuckled. Kat had a reputation, after all. Louie stayed where he was; Ralf was better off spying on his own. He had to find out when the humans would congregate at the arena.
Ralf listened carefully to the sound of humans milling about. No one was near where the animals were kept; it wasn’t like these idiots felt the need to guard them. Ralf crept down the empty halls, hiding in nearby closets or clinging to the ceiling when he heard a human close by. While he lacked the powerful sense of smell that Kat possessed, it was at least keener than a human’s, and certainly better than an ape’s. He used this sense of smell to lead him to where the office was.
It was tucked away in a back wing of the Warehouse. The office had a back door that lead to an absurdly over-decorated room. Animal skins covered every wall and surface, with mounted carnivore heads and even a few human heads staring emptily from the overly adorn wall.
A disco ball spun sleepily from the ceiling, and a pair of fuzzy bunny slippers could be seen sticking out of the king sized bed.
Ralf stood still in the doorway, taking in the shocking scene and the assault of the visual senses. His eyes looked at each mounted head and animal skin, and after making several circles of the room, fell on the sleeping, snoring form underneath the piles of expensive blankets.
Ralf clenched his fists and thought about mauling him then and there, but that wouldn’t suffice. From what Louie and Ralf had seen so far, this man had to pay far more than receiving a simple mauling. He turned back into the office and looked over the various paperwork. He found just what he was hoping for, a calendar marking off the next big arena battle.
After Ralf had gathered the information he wanted, he started to head for the door when he had an evil thought. Grinning wickedly, Ralf silently opened the door to Aiden’s lavish walk-in closet.
By the time Ralf returned, Kat was awake again and chewing savagely on her crate. “This is disgusting! How can these humans treat these animals this way? I’ll bite their heads off!” Kat roared.
Louie tried to silence her. “Kat, you’ll attract the guards. We have a plan and we can’t let you ruin it!”
“Yeah, mutt. Calm down or we’ll leave you in there forever.” Ralf gave Kat a stern glance as he entered his crate, snapping the door shut behind him.
“Why do you get to leave your crate? I just want to eat these people!” Kat howled.
Louie ignored her and turned to Ralf.
“What did you find?”
“The humans are a gang called Jolly Bones. They’re the top gang in New York right now. Seems we were meant to end up here, ‘cause our timing is perfect. The gang has a few cops and some high ranking politicians they’re gunna throw in the arena tomorrow mornin’. Make a big show of it. If we do nothin’ the government is sure to step in, seein as they’re about to become full on terrorists, but I think we should crash their party tomorrow so they never gets the chance.”
Louie nodded in agreement. “We’ll have to be careful, if they’re broadcasting we can’t be caught on tape.”
Kat had stopped gnawing on her cage to listen intently. “Do I get a part in this?”
Louie shook his head. “We don’t know that you have any kind of self control. We’re in a very large city and we don’t want you to eat the entire population. We need you to stay here.”
“And do what?!” Kat huffed.
“If you’re good, we’ll let you free the animals.” Ralf paused. “Just don’t eat ‘em.”
“They’re all skin and bone anyways.” Kat grumbled.

The next day found the monsters ready to go, crouched down in animal position. To Ralf and Louie’s relief, Kat was behaving like a bear instead of trying to escape. A few Jolly Bones entered the room, excitement obvious in their faces. Today was a big day for everyone.
One by one the animal crates and cages were wheeled out of the room and placed near the arena. There was a ramp for the animals; so that once the crates were opened they could enter the arena, where bits of meat were currently being spread to entice the starving creatures.
From their position they could see the concrete “throne” where the gang boss sits. Ralf could make out the humans yelling in a backroom, something about “piss” and “all of my clothes.” He was unable to suppress a grin. Kat could hear them too, but didn’t know what they were saying. Louie, meanwhile, was trying not to pace. Pacing was both difficult and uncharacteristic of a black caiman, so he shuffled occasionally and kept looking for the boss.
At the present time only one human stood near the animals, and he was close enough to Ralf’s crate for him to take action. With a “SNAP” the crate door opened and closed and the human was gone without a sound. Kat peered at Ralf’s crate in curiosity, but could not make out what happened to the human.
With the human gone, Louie stepped out of his crate, leaving his tail and mask behind. Kat watched him disappear through the door that lead to the ramp, and with nothing else to do turned her attention to the other animals on the ramp. A sick and hungry black bear pawed at the cage sides begging to be let out, and a chimp screamed in fear and rage from within its cage, pounding paws and baring teeth.
In time Aiden Adler arrived, perfumed with the pungent odor of ammonia. Kat recognized Ralf’s scent and shot him a bewildered glance. Aiden Adler was obviously agitated, having his wardrobe ruined on such an important day. While he was presently borrowing clothing from one of his subordinates, he was still tainted with the smell of Ralf’s late night “gift”.
He stood in front of his plush covered chair and small white tiger carpet, and raised a fist to the full arena of Jolly Bones. The cameras were rolling, the crowd was cheering, and Kat began sharpening her claws on the wooden crate.
“Today!” Aiden shouted, and the crowd cheered thunderously. Aiden seemed to enjoy the effect, and decided to repeat himself, only louder. “TODAY!” He roared, and again the crowd obediently cheered louder.
“Today we show the world who the Jolly Bones are! Today we bring the fear of our names into every home! On every T.V. set, in every history book, the world will know our names!” Aiden would have raised his fist but he realized he already had it up, so he raised his other one to accompany it. He stood there before the passionate crowd; both arms raised high over his head with stars in his eyes.
He pointed dramatically and the police and politicians that were being held prisoner were lead to the arena. They were blindfolded and some were already crippled and injured, an early present from the Jolly Bones gang. They were pushed and heaved unlovingly to the center. Some were then given weapons, some were chained defenseless to the floor, doomed to die.
“I have all the power in the world. I am GOD and the Jolly Bones, my angels of death, will show the world what it is that we do.” Aiden announced. He pointed to the caged animals and addressed his captives, now un-blind folded. “You will fight to the death, or I will release these hungry animals to do the job.”
One police officer, an older man who had been in the force for nearly all of his life and had fought against street gangs for the majority of his career stood up in defiance. “People like you, who only imagine their own greatness, will never rule anything. No one in their right mind will listen to an asshole like you.”
Aiden only smiled. “Kill him first.”
As the Jolly Bones turned to fire their guns at the foolish officer, the lights went out and they were startled by a chaotic blackness. Kat let out a tremendous howl, eerie, cold, and full of dark murderous intent. The humans were immediately met with their natural instinct to fear things that go bump in the night, and broke out into a confused panic.
One by one Louie met and killed the camera men, who only saw pale glowing eyes and a flash of sharp teeth before they succumbed to a bloody death. Ralf meanwhile leaped to the exit and began shredding anyone that attempted to pass.
The soft squishy character of human flesh stands little chance against the bulky muscle and hard sharp claws of the great abominable snowman. Once the main exit was stacked high with a pile of shredded, dying humans, Ralf made his way to the other exits. One by one blocking them solid with the piles of Jolly Bone dead.
Louie released the prisoners in the darkness and led them to the last exit. They followed blindly, gasping in sheer panic and fear, not knowing what or who was leading them to safety. Reaching the last exit, Louie handed them off to Ralf, who let them pass without a word.
Once the officers had made it out, Louie went to let Kat out of her crate.
“I’m going to start setting the exits on fire. You let these animals out and lead them to the back exit. You’ll have to start cleaning up the dead, and eat any remaining survivors.” Kat nodded enthusiastically, drooling uncontrollably. Louie frowned. “Stay within the building. We’re counting on you.” He then stepped back and released the latch, and Kat shot out like a furry rocket.
She snapped at a passing Jolly Bone, who had just realized all the exits were blocked and was crying inconsolably, and she tossed him with a flick of her snout up in the air, opening her jaws wide and swallowing him whole with a satisfied chomp. Louie waited until she remembered her mission, to set the animals free, before he left her alone.
Kat dutifully began freeing the cages animals, leading them to the arena where bits of Jolly Bones were starting to pile up. They ate hungrily, and Kat stood guard until they’d had a decent meal. Then she herded them to the remaining exit, shepherding them into a large loading truck outside where animal rescue services could conveniently pick them up.
The prisoners watched outside in stunned terror while back up arrived. Flashing red and blue lights soon surrounded the warehouse, and flames began to pour out the numerous windows. Shadows flickered and flared, screamed waned and faltered, cut short by an unknown something. As the humans watched the burning building, a monstrous shadow loomed from an upstairs window. Eyes glinted wickedly before sinking back into the thick black smoke. The Jolly Bones reign of terror was over.

Officer Brown sighed into his mug of coffee, weariness radiating off him like a furnace. His eyes showed the tell-tail signs of sleepless nights and too much time at the office, but something extraordinary had happened and this was no time to indulge in sleep. He took a long sip of the coffee, impatiently awaiting the caffeine to do its job and relieve him of his want of sleep.
He stood with Chief Dan, who exhibited the same signs of weariness, and clutched an identical mug of coffee. Both men stared through the one-way mirror into the interrogation room, where witness after witness had been thoroughly questioned. The Jolly Bones were done for, and for a street gang that large to be almost entirely wiped out was unheard of.
Theories already flickered to life and were vanquished with contradicting evidence. They thought it had just been a freak fire, and then thought that maybe a rival gang had caused the carnage. This too was refuted when they found no bodies. Not a limb or shred of flesh had been left.
Only Aiden Adler, the infamous “38” was found within the building. Tied to his concrete throne with broken bones and charcoal flesh, charred to a barely recognizable crisp by the fire. Adler had to be identified by his dental record.
In the darkness, no one had seen what might have actually happened to the Jolly Bones, or who had lead the captives free. There was only one sighting that remained consistent with all witnesses. A shadow in the flames.
Officer Brown and Chief Dan watched the man sitting in the interrogation room, quietly telling the investigating officer what he had seen. “After you got out, did you see anything?” The officer asked.
The witness, pale and tired, nodded slowly. “I saw a great shadow.” He rasped. “It had to have been…ten feet tall,” he gasped as he recalled the image, vivid and real within his mind. He glanced nervously over his shoulder, to make sure the thing he feared was not present, hiding somewhere behind him.
The investigating officer, tired as anyone else, shifted impatiently and cleared his throat. “Continue. What did you see?”
“Officer…you’re never going to believe me… but I think I saw bigfoot.”

Ralf gritted his teeth at the driver’s seat of their stolen jeep wrangler. They had stolen the vehicle to reach the nearest underground monster city, and even though the windows were tinted they still managed to turn a few heads. A Cadillac crashed into a street lamp as the jeep sped by, with Kat hanging her head happily out the window and occasionally snapping at other cars, even though she could hardly eat another bite.
A college kid, walking home from the library after a long night of studying for finals watched what looked like a driverless jeep speed past with what looked like an enormous bear hanging out the window and biting at other cars.
The college student felt for a moment burdened with the weight of the world, head groggy and stuffed with too much useless knowledge, knowledge meant only to get her through the next test before she would let it seep from her brain and melt into the abyss of her subconsciousness. She watched the jeep disappear around the corner and sighed. Hopefully this won’t somehow be on her chemistry test tomorrow.
Ralf, who was driving with his eyes just barely over the steering wheel, pushed a button and the window closed on Kat’s head. She snarled and sat back in the seat. Louie gave street directions as best he could while they swerved down the city streets, and in 15 minutes they had made it outside the city and headed for the historic village of Sleepy Hollow, New York.
It was only about an hour from the city to the little town, and the monsters quickly dumped the vehicle and traveled on foot to the graveyard. The early morning sun was beginning to rise, peeking just over the horizon as the monsters entered the secret passageway, hidden inside a small and unassuming mausoleum covered in ancient lichen.
They came across a gate guard, a small familiar looking goblin. “BLEE!” Kat exclaimed, excited to see her old chew toy. The goblin glared in disdain at the monster trio.
“My name is Gree, not Blee. Who are you and why were you out so late?”
While Kat sniffed at Gree suspiciously, while Ralf stepped up to the goblin. “We’re on special business. We came from Bone City, under Lady Hua-yang’s orders. We need to see whoever’s in charge here.”
Gree scowled as the information sunk in and the impact of Lady Hua-yangs name hit him. He attempted a stiff, welcoming grin that said anything but welcome, before gesturing to let them pass. “Welcome to Monster Hollow.” He squeaked.
Monster Hollow was an ancient monster city teeming with creatures that enjoyed the city life. This was not a place for underground sheep farmers. The dark earthy streets were covered in commuting monsters, creeping and stomping to their place of work. Kat took in the various smells from the food district, hating the full feeling in her gut from all of those Jolly Bones.
Louie had been to this city once before, and was delighted to see familiar streets and buildings after their mishap mission. Best of all, he really liked and admired the city leader here. Her name was Mother, and she was a great werebear that had lived there for hundreds of years. When human technology had become too fearsome she had lead monsters into hiding and built this city.
That was part of what set Lady Hua-yang and Mother apart. Mother strived to make a safe world for her monsters by staying in the shadows and living peacefully. Lady Hua-yang however believed in the death and eradication of all humans instead. The kitsune had spent many years as the demon on kings and emperors shoulders, enticing them to kill their own people for her amusement.
Louie lead them down the crowded streets to the City Hall, an elegantly designed building draped with hanging tree roots from above and decorated with colorful stones and beautiful murals. “This is where the city leader is?” Ralf asked, surprised. “It’s gorgeous.”
They looked at the building in admiration, and Kat noticed that the city of Monster Hollow, while a large and populated city, had a charming quality to it that Bone City lacked. Bone City wasn’t really a city, they just called it that with the hopes that it would still grow, and the bone part was because it was, of course, littered with bones.
Bone fences, bone statues, bone decorations on cold rock houses. Even some of the sheep had bone decorations sticking out of their wool by werewolf farmers who thought they had an eye for style.
Monster Hollow meanwhile had bright colored paintings and stones, sweet wooden houses and tall buildings designed to look like trees, reaching for a hidden sky miles away while trapped below the surface.
After talking to a receptionist at the entrance, they had a short wait before a satyr merrily greeted the monsters and lead them to Mother. “Hiya folks, the name’s Josh. I hear you folks are new to Monster Hollow! Welcome!” Josh grinned foolishly, and lead them through a small hallway that lead to the stairs.
“Oh, I’ve been here before, for a science conference. I’m happy to be back to this charming city!” Louie smiled, as they began ascending the spiral staircase.
“Right! The receptionist told me one of you was Louie, the famous Amazon ecologist! Congratulations on all your hard work!” Josh paused to straighten a large framed painting as they walked past. Kat sniffed it with interest; it was a mosaic style painting of a large open field. Ralf, bringing up the rear, tilted it crooked again as he passed.
Louie was beaming with pride at Josh’s words, and nearly walked into him when Josh suddenly turned around, face tight with seriousness. “I understand that you three are on sometime of mission. I won’t ask you what it is, but there’s been talk.”
“Talk? About us? What kind of talk?” Ralf asked, pushing Kat’s tail out of the way.
“Lots of monsters have noticed that things are changing.” Josh stated. He turned dramatically, leaving Kat, Louie and Ralf to exchange confused glances.
“What’s changing?” Kat frowned.
“Do you mean climate change?” Louie asked, scratching his head thoughtfully.
Josh turned back again to look at the three other monsters. “You haven’t noticed? Talk in the streets…monsters are restless. We’ve been in hiding for a few hundred years now. If any of us go topside for even a breathe of air we run the chance of being seen, and subsequently, hunted.”
Ralf huffed. “Monsters hardly ever get seen by humans. They’re too stupid. Besides, when they DO see somethin’, they think it’s somethin’ else. Like that ogre with the weird glowing-skin condition. Geez, I mean they thought he was somethin’ from outer space! The dumb humans fantasized all these stories about a crashed spaceship and stuff and they even closed the whole area off and named it Area 51”
Kat grinned. “Or that kelpie whose tail the humans saw and thought was some giant ‘Loch Ness monster.’”
“Too be fair, that was a rather large kelpie.” Louie frowned bitterly. “A stupid, ignorant kelpie.”
“Yeah but still, what does this have to do with anything?” Ralf asked Josh.
“The point is monsters don’t want to stay underground forever.” Josh stated and brought them to the top of the stairs. He led them down another hallway in silence, and finally to the doorway of Mother’s office.
Josh looked at each monster in a silent goodbye, and marched back down the hallway.
“He was weird.” Ralf remarked as Josh went out of sight. He then turned and rapped on the door. Instead of an answer the door swung smoothly open, and the three monsters popped their heads in.
Mother sat grandly behind a dark wooden desk. Her giant paws rested together in front of her, and her large black eyes blinked warmly at them. “Come in, my little adventurers.” She smiled.
“Greetings Mother” Louie stepped in first, dipping his head in greeting and taking a moss covered wooden seat. Ralf followed suit, and Kat was the last one in the door. She turned three times then sat down, looking at Mother expectantly.
“Mother, I’m not sure if you have heard the news, but we were sent by Lady Hua-yang to board a ship in Boston, but we have gotten off track from our mission.” Louie began.
Mother’s eyes darkened at Lady Hua-yang’s name, but maintained her calm stance. “I have not been informed of any quests. The receptionist told me that you hailed from Bone City. Where is it that you need to go? Why a ship from Boston?”
“Our assistance has been requested in Moscow, but we do not know what for.” Louie explained apologetically. “We were to receive further orders once we arrived.”
“I see.” Mother replied, leaning back in her chair. “I think I will contact Lady Hua-yang personally, and see what we are to do with you. In the meantime, I hope you will stay in our guest hotel located across the street. Free of charge, as you are my guests.”
“Thank you Mother!” Louie jumped up, Kat grinned and wagged her tail as they left, followed by an agitated Ralf who kept getting hit by the werewolves roaming rear appendage.
At the sight of the grumpy dwarf yeti’s fluffy backside exiting her office door, Mother turned and began dialing Lady Hua-yang on her phone. (Who says monsters can’t have technology too?) Lady Hua-yang picked up after the first ring, seeming to already know whom the caller is.
“Mother, a little bat told me you have some of my monsters.” The kitsune purred.
“I believe that I do.” Mother spoke gruffly, all warmth gone from her now determined face. “I think I know what you’re up to Hua-yang. I need you to understand what a mistake it is.”
Lady Hua-yang only laughed on the other side of the line. “Mother, we can’t live in peace and harmony forever. I’m only giving the humans what they asked for in the first place.”
“War? You think the humans want a war with us monsters? Even if they did, they’d have done it already. Some of them know that we exist, and a few even know where to find us, why haven’t they come after us, if humans are these blood thirsty killers that you make them out to be?”
“The humans ARE planning something.” Lady Hua-yang snapped. “They have over populated themselves and they’re becoming restless. Look at how they treat their animals, look at how they treat each other! We can’t shut our eyes to their violence.”
“Hua-yang, we’ve both lived with these humans for centuries. You saw the rise of the great wall of China, I saw the pilgrims take the homeland of the natives living here. We have lived long lives and are wise, humans are still so young.”
“It’s because we were here first that I feel we must do something. The humans in their arrogance will destroy the world with their atomic bombs and take us with them. They’re destroying a world we never should have given up for them!”
Mother heaved a heavy sigh, her great head resting gently on one paw. “If we do this Hua-yang there is no going back. I will have to do everything in my power to stop you. That will start by keeping your stray monsters here.”
“I can not let you stop me Mother. You will thank me, someday. Someday, when we can again walk free on the surface. Don’t you ever long for the feel of grass under your paws, the smell of pine and a frosty winter morning on your nose? The feel of the sun, or wind, and the taste of cold, pure mountain stream water? The humans have taken that away from us Mother. How can we let them?”
“I can not allow this war to happen Hua-yang. I hope you will understand that I am doing what I think it right.” Mother put the phone down and hung her head in silence.
She did miss the grass beneath her feet, the rain drops on her head, and a great big warm cave where she could look out and see the stars. But she had hope for the humans. She wanted them to appreciate what they had and stop destroying the beautiful world they had up there. But how?
A thought struck her, and Mother pressed a button to page Josh.
“Yes, Mother?” Josh cheerfully replied on the other end.
“Josh, please send up the Mummy. I have a task for her.”

Once Louie, Ralf and Kat made it to the hotel, they were shown to their rooms. “Oh, good!” Ralf exclaimed, relieved. “We’re in separate rooms!”
Louie waved to the others “I’m off to explore the town for the night!”
“What if we get orders while you’re gone?” Kat asked.
“I realize we are off track on our mission, but after yesterday’s fiasco I could use a short break from work.”
“That’s not a bad idea.” Ralf said. “I could use a good stiff drink.”
They both glanced at Kat. Her eyes were fogged over with thoughts of harassing Gree, and seeing what kind of humans she could eat on the surface. But she was also feeling very tired from her meal, and all of that killing she had done yesterday. “Maybe a short run” Kat said thoughtfully, “But I think a good sleep is in order.”
The trio left their rooms and went off in different directions. Ralf went straight to the bar, while Louie headed to the old science building to see if he could find old friends. Kat began wandering aimlessly toward the food district.
Ralf found a quiet looking bar down one of the back alleyways. There were only a few people inside, and a quiet jazzy song was playing in the background. Ralf hopped up on a bar stool, and the dark skinned gorgon bartender sized the tiny yeti up and down.
“Where are your parents, kiddo?” She asked, leaning over the bar with her hair snakes hissing.
Ralf ignored the question, speaking instead in a gruff, non-kid voice; “Give me whisky.”
The gorgon’s eyebrows rose, and she smirked, turning to pour him the drink. “Rough day?” she asked sweetly, sliding the glass over to him.
Ralf grunted in reply. He tilted his head back and downed the drink like a shot. He slid the glass back to her in a motion for her to refill it. She did.
“A guy like you must attract a lot of attention.” She said quietly to Ralf as he downed another drink.
“Eh?” Ralf replied, wondering what she was getting at. Instead of answering, the gorgon glanced to a table in the back of the bar where a man was sitting all alone. Ralf turned to look, and saw a moody looking vampire staring intently at him. Ralf felt his fur fluff in agitation, and he noticed the vampire didn’t look away when Ralf stared back at him.
Ralf realized he didn’t actually mind. Perhaps a bar brawl was in order. He missed those. He slammed his empty glass on the bar, and hopped down from the barstool. Baring his mouth open wide, he displayed his sharp rows of yeti teeth at the stranger. “Got a problem, gramps?” (Most vampires are very old, so calling one gramps was a safe bet).
The vampire hissed quietly at the yeti. “I do, midget.”
Ralf lost his cool when the vampire called him a midget. He flipped the vampire’s table over and rushed in with claws out. The vampire leapt over the table and Ralf and tried to bite him from behind. “Pervy vampires, always trying to make out with people’s necks!” Ralf yelled and tried to bite the vampire’s leg.
The vampire kicked him and he went sailing through the glass window. Ralf happily jumped back up into the fray, which now included an angry gorgon screaming, “stop destroying my bar!” and a gargoyle that just enjoyed getting into bar fights.
A few hours later found all four monsters gaily laughing and drinking shots together. “I’m sorry I ripped out some of your fur.” The vampire drunkenly caressed Ralf’s head, which had a few small bald patches now.
“S’alright” Ralf hiccupped, and patted the gargoyle on the shoulder. “That was a good hit.” He then pointed at the hole in the wall that the gargoyle had made. The Gargoyle sniggered. The gorgon draped her arms over them, with her snake hair hissing into their ears. “You boys are gunna have to pay for all this.”
In another part of town, Kat had found her way to the gate, and was harassing Gree. “So why do all goblins look the same?” Kat asked, poking the grunting grumpy goblin in the gut.
“We DON’T all look the same!” Gree shouted, enraged and turning a shade of purple.
“Oh, but you do.”
Gree was about to disagree again when Kat decided to head toward the surface. “What do you think you’re doing?” Gree snapped, prodding Kat with his spear.
Kat snapped at the spear and broke it like a toothpick. “I’m going topside!” She grinned.
“It’s daylight! The humans will see you, you stupid ignorant werewolf!” To emphasize Gree’s anger, he hit her with of his tiny hands.
Kat scoffed. “It’s fine. I’ll just poke my head out and come right back.”
“I think you should stay down here.” Another voice interjected, and Kat turned to see Mother walking toward them. Gree squeaked and groveled.
“Aw, come on.” Kat whined.
“Come with me, Kat.” Mother asked, only it was not a question. Kat followed without a choice, but made sure to snap her teeth at Gree before she left. Gree stuck his tongue out.
Mother lead them away from the city and toward the quiet monster built tunnels and pretend forests. “There is no doubt that monsters long to return to the surface.” The bear looked at Kat, who was sulking behind her. “Kat, what is the real reason you want to eat humans? Most monsters no longer hunger for humans, but are happy with the life we live here. Why eat humans?”
Kat looked up from her sulking to stare at the bear. “They’re yummy.”
Mother frowned at Kat and Kat huffed. “I witnessed an awful thing when I was just a pup.” Kat sighed, looking at the dirt columns that had been decorated as trees. Mother sat down and waited for Kat to continue.
“I wasn’t supposed to be away from my parents, but some other pups had told me about a surface where humans and animals lived. I wanted to see it so badly that one early morning I snuck past the gate guard to see it for myself. It was amazing. It was so bright for a while I couldn’t see, and when I did there were so many amazing things to look at. There were these huge trees and bright green grass. I chased rabbits and squirrels for a few hours before I went back home again. I love it so much that I visited when my parents went to sleep every day for weeks.”
“Then one day I went topside and I saw a family of wolves. I could sort of understand them, but they had a weird accent. They looked like they had been running for miles, and the pups were being carried by the exhausted parents. The mother fell down, and she couldn’t get up again. The father wouldn’t leave her though, and he just kept trying to hide the cubs in a nearby bush when the humans came…”
Kat had to stop, and Mother looked on in understanding. “What happened Kat?”
“The humans killed all of them. Even the pups. I could never look at a human the same way after that. Whenever I see them, I just have to eat them.” Kat hung her head in silence, the terrible images floating in her head.
Mother stood and put a paw on Kat’s shoulder. “Not all humans are evil, Kat. If we hunt all humans the way some humans hunt all animals then we are no better than they are.”
Kat frowned. “But it’s easier to just eat them”
“Yes Kat, but if we kill all humans, even the good ones, then we are just as evil as those humans who killed that family. You have changed nothing.”
“Yeah, but, how can you tell which ones are good? They all seem so evil.”
“You can’t tell just by looking at them, or smelling them.” Mother replied. “Monster Hallow was built to we could live in peace, and so could the humans. There are enough good humans out there that they are worth protecting. Even if some would disagree.” Mother finished darkly, thinking of Lady Hua-yang. Mother stood up, to leave Kat with her thoughts. “I hope you learn some self control, Kat. You may meet some good humans out there, and it would be a shame for you to eat them.”
Kat sat and watched Mother leave, confusion flooding her furry brow. “Not eat every human I meet? What kind of life is that?” Kat thought for a minute. “This self control thing sounds boring.”
While Kat was sitting in the monster built forest, contemplating “To eat, or not to eat” Louie was happily talking with some fellow scientists at a science convention in the middle of town.
“So I ended up accidently discovering a brand new species, all because of that confused vodka covered crocodile!” The other scientists chuckled as Louie told his silly tails of drunken adventures on the Amazon.
“So you think your scientific misadventures are amusing, Louie?” A snooty voice gurgled from the back of the group. The other monsters turned to see Murmur, the extravagantly dressed kelpie.
Louie hissed in realization. It was his arch nemesis, Scottish field biologist Murmur the kelpie. Murmur always found a reason to pick fights with Louie at every science convention and debate he had ever been to. That, and Murmur was clearly an ass. “Ah, Murmur. Good to see you out of the Loch Ness. Are you done scaring the poor folks of Scotland for a while?”
Murmur laughed, tilting his head back and throwing his pure white mane as he did so. “So I may have been spotted by a few ignorant humans. They think I’m some kind of plesiosaur. Ha! Humans.”
“Being spotted by humans is no laughing matter, Murmur.” Louie shot back.
“You’re one to talk. Weren’t you the inspiration for some ‘Creature from the Black Lagoon’ movie?” Murmur pushed at Louie with a hoof. “I loved you in that scene where you stole that human woman right off the boat!”
“That was my father that they based it on. He was drunk one night and wandered into a human tribe village.” Louie pushed the hoof away angrily.
“Oh, sorry. I thought it might have been your mother in the film!” Murmur laughed. This received a few chuckles from the other monsters.
“What does that even mean?” Louie snapped. “What are you doing here, Murmur? It must have taken something big to get you to leave your mud pool.”
“This is an international science conference, Louie. Or had you not noticed that unlike you, there are actual scientists here. Who even let you in?”
Louie turned dark green at the kelpie’s unjust suggestion that he was not a scientist. “For your information, Murmur, the ‘great Loch Ness monster’” Louie shouted sarcastically, “I am renowned for my intimate knowledge of Amazonian wildlife ecology, and the discovery of many flora and fauna that had previously been unknown! How DARE you accuse me of not being a real scientist you ugly, clumsy, stupid horse!”
Murmur leaned back in surprise as Louie stormed out of the building, seething with rage at that big, dumb, jerk kelpie. Louie might have taken him on in a fight, but was uncertain if he could defeat Murmur. When Louie reached the hotel, he was met by a trashed Ralf lying in the doorway. Louie stared at the white pile of fur, and poked him with his webbed green foot. “You alright?” Louie asked. Ralf groaned and then giggled in reply.
Louie was about to lift Ralf up when Kat rounded the corner to their rooms, sniffling loudly. “What happened to you?” Louie asked.
“Mother told me I have to have self control and I DON’T WANT TO!” Kat then ripped a large portrait off the wall and ate it. She then sat down and began crying again.
Feeling lost, Louie looked from Kat to Ralf, and felt the rage at Murmur he’d felt seep out of him in a deflated sigh. Giving up on helping his assigned comrades, Louie turned to open the door to his room. He was exhausted, grumpy, and was therefor not expecting the pale and tragic looking vampire waiting for him on the other side of the door.
Louie stopped, frozen in confusion and indignation at the intrusion to his room, when the vampire looked at them each in turn, and decided to sit on the floor with Kat and cry with her.
Louie stared at the fully grown vampire, dressed in classic Dracula style attire complete with cape, but with a hairdo that suggested he had seen far too many new age teen drama vampire flicks.
“I..uh…what! Who are you?!” Louie struggled for words.
“I-“ *sniff* “I am Vladimir.” The vampire sniffled, while Kat, surprised, stared at him in wonder. “Not that it matters.” Vladimir finished.
“What are you doing here? Why are you crying?” Louie demanded, throwing his hands in the air.
Vladimir immediately stopped sobbing. “I thought that’s what we were doing. I only wanted to fit in. I’ve never fit in before, I thought I’d try it.”
“Vladimir? Aren’t you the vampire we were supposed to meet in Moscow? Why are you here?” Kat asked.
“Lady Hua-yang said there was trouble. Mother doesn’t want you to leave Monster Hollow, so I’ve been sent to sneak you out.”
“Really?” Louie scratched his head. “Hm. I suppose that makes sense. She was surprisingly accommodating, and it shouldn’t have taken long for her to reach Lady Hua-yang to give us new orders.”
“How do we know we can trust you?” Kat growled.
Vladimir stood up and faced away from them dramatically, his arm raised up over his face like Dracula. “You CAN’T!”
“…Riiight” Kat and Louie said in unison, eyebrows raised in confusion.
“Anyways, come on friends! We must go now!” Vladimir was suddenly enthusiastic, and lifted up Ralf while running down the hall.
“What?” Louie gaped, watching the vampire run down the hall with the drunken yeti slung over his shoulder.
Kat brushed herself off and yawned widely. “We’d better follow them.”
“Why?” Louie asked, surprised.
“They might have food.”

Kat raced down the empty streets of the now sleeping city, followed by a slower and now angry gill-man, Louie. “Kat! Slow the hell down!” Louie huffed, and Kat paused to look back over her shoulder.
“But we’re looooosing them!” Kat howled, tilting her head back, full of excitement for chasing something.
“They went to the main gate! Where else could they have gone?” Louie growled.
“Right!” Kat grinned and was off again.
Louie sighed and stopped to catch his breath. “Mangy mutt.”
Kat raced ahead, paws flying and tongue wagging out of her mouth as she careened after Vladimir and Ralf. She was making good time, and she could just see them disappearing into the gate that lead topside, when a figure moved into Kat’s way and sent her sprawling 20 feet face first down the path.
Kat hopped up, distracted by what had knocked her over. “Hey! You did that on purpose!” She snapped at the shrouded figure that still had its foot out stretched from tripping her.
“I couldn’t help but notice you were in a hurry!” It said.
“So you tripped me?”
“Well, I had to give you something.” The figure offered a vivid orange drink to Kat, who sat down and stared at it.
“You’re not a witch, are you?” Kat asked, thinking darkly of the crate that had stopped her from eating all those humans.
“No, no!” The figure laughed, and removed her cloak. “I forgot this was hiding my face. I’m a mummy!”
Kat looked her up and down and saw that she was covered in ancient yellowed dressings, and wore a Anubis hat on her head. Seeing Anubis, the jackal god, Kat immediately felt inclined to believe her. She took the orange drink, smelling it deeply. “What is it?”
“An elixir.” The mummy shrugged. “It’ll give you super powers.”
Kat grinned and downed the drink. “Thanks!” She grinned, and dropping the bottle she chased after Vladimir and Ralf.
The mummy watched with a small grin. “I guess she doesn’t know mummies like to curse things.”
Kat caught up to Vladimir and Ralf not long after the gate. They had gotten hung up arguing with Gree, who insisted they shouldn’t be allowed topside. Vladimir was lugging Ralf on his shoulder, while dragging Gree, who was attached by his teeth to Vladimir’s leg.
“Let me help!” Kat grinned and grabbed Gree, shoved him into her mouth and then spit him out like a cannon ball into a nearby river.
Gree squeaked angrily with his fists raised as he disappeared downstream still waving obscenities. Kat happily watched him go.
“Thanks!” Vladimir heaved a grateful sigh. “That little guy was persistent!”
Kat shrugged happily at his thanks, and Louie, panting, finally caught up with them. They had spent the whole day hanging about town, so now the sun was just setting.
“How are we going to get around? Even though it’s night now, the humans will see us once the sun comes back up, we can’t exactly hide out here.” Louie questioned.
Vladimir suddenly dropped Ralf with a heavy “thump” on the ground, and he posed dramatically again. “There is…a way.”
Kat and Louie stared at him critically.
“We take my boat!” He pointed at an old, rust covered fishing boat with a medium sized cabin in the middle.
Kat and Louie stared open mouthed. “Are you…sure?”
“Yes!” Vladimir was suddenly excited, and grabbed the still unconscious Ralf. He leapt onto the boat, which groaned and rocked in reply, but mysteriously did not fall to pieces. Kat wearily shrugged and followed, with Louie the last one to board.
Vladimir plopped Ralf into the cabin on a large pile of old rags. Louie and Kat were also exhausted from the misadventures of the last 24 hours, so they too crept into the cabin and fell soundly asleep.
Vladimir drove the little boat on through the night, stopping a few hours before dawn to park the boat and wake the monsters up. However, Vladimir was not expecting what lay in the cabin. While Ralf and Louie were there, sleeping peacefully, Kat was nowhere to be seen but instead a naked, brunette human lay cuddled up with the monsters.
Vladimir screamed, which woke the others with a start. Ralf saw the human and also let out a wild, alarmed shout. He back stepped into the cabin wall, knocking over Louie who was also panicked and gasping in confusion. The human, intensely confused and not sure what everyone was screaming about, sat hunched over in a werewolf life pose in the middle of the chaos.
A light bulb came on, and Louie leaned forward. “Kat?”
Kat, now a human, no longer understood monster, and tilted her head in astonishment at Louie. Was he going mad? Why was he speaking in tongues? “What’s wrong with you Louie?” Kat asked in human, and Louie was more confused than before.
“Kat, you speak human now?” Ralf asked Kat in human.
“No, what are you walking about?” Kat snarled.
“Try scratching your head.” Ralf suggested, knowing she would attempt this maneuver with her back leg. Kat tried and failed, and then looked at her furless self in horror.
“AHHHHHHHH!” Kat jumped up and screamed. She looked at her tiny, human hands, and her dainty human feet. She had no tail, she circled a few times to make sure but found nothing there. She shoved her hands in her mouth and found teeth, but not the sharp daggers she was accustomed to. Kat sat down and wailed in wolfish misery.
“This must be Mother’s doing.” Louie said, astounded. “She really didn’t want us on this mission.”
Ralf held some clothing from the pile toward Kat. “You’d better put these on, mutt. What happened? Who did this to you?”
Kat looked at the plaid shirt and torn old pants. Werewolves don’t normally wear clothing, but sometimes for Halloween they might dress up in human clothes and wear masks for fun. “A mummy gave me a potion on the way out. She said it’d give me super powers.” Kat shrugged the clothing on and remained on the floor, moping.
Louie, Vladimir and Ralf left the cabin to give Kat some time alone. “What are we going to do?”
“This changes things.” Vladimir sighed. “We need to get to the Witch Queen in order to change Kat back. We need her in werewolf form, she’s important to the mission.”
“We were never told the whole part of the mission.” Ralf frowned. “What is the rest of the story? Why do they need us at base 84?”
“You are no longer needed there. General Fliegan was alerted by Lady Hua-yang that Mother was going to make it impossible for you to leave the country. He’s sending us to another base, and fortunately the Witch Queen is more or less on the way.”
“Where is that?” Ralf demanded, crossing his arms.
“We’re being sent to Base 51, in Nevada.”
“And, where is the Witch Queen?” Louie inquired.
“In the foothills of the Southern Rocky Mountains, near Boulder Colorado.”
Ralf and Louie sighed. “We can’t get there by boat.”
“That’s why we stopped here. I have a buddy who sells cars. It’s a short walk, but we got to leave now, the sun will be up soon.”
After much coaxing and lots of complaining from Kat, the sulking human, they dragged her off the ship and they had a half hour walk over a beach, through a patch of forest, and through a small town before they got to a pleasant looking old farm surrounded in used and new cars.
Vladimir led them to the back door where they were hidden from the rising sun, now sleepily poking over the horizon.
Instead of knocking on the door, Vladimir tapped a garden gnome decoration in the shoulder gently. To the others surprise, the little gnome yawned and stretched, turned to Vladimir, and she grinned widely. “Vladimir!”
“Hello Emily!” Vladimir grinned and hugged the little gnome. “How’s work?”
“Oh not bad. Sometimes humans buy cars, but mostly we get our business from passing monsters. There’s been a lot more on the surface lately. Weird, huh?” Emily stopped when she saw the crew. “Is that…a human?!” She asked alarmed, pointing at Kat.
“Uh, no, that’s Kat the werewolf. Apparently a mummy gave her an orange drink that turned her into a human. We need to head west to see the Witch Queen to get her changed back.” Louie explained.
Kat was frowning because she couldn’t understand what they were saying.
“Wow, that bites.” Emily looked at Kat sympathetically. “So you need a car then?”
“Yeah.” Vladimir nodded, and Emily gestured for the group to follow her in.
“Welcome to my shop!” She sang. It was a charming dark purple office room where people would come in to purchase or rent a car. Emily didn’t care which. A vase of bright pink flowers adorned a mahogany desk while a cow shaped wall clock ticked away minutes in an otherwise silent room.
“How do humans rent from you?” Louie asked, knowing a human wouldn’t accept dwarfism as an explanation for her tiny size.
“I have a human come in and handle the other humans. His names Wendall, and well, we have an agreement.”
“An agreement?” Louie asked.
“Yeah. He’s afraid of me. He think’s I’m some kind of ghost possessing his garden gnome. Either way Wendall doesn’t dare tell anyone about me.” At that statement Emily’s eyes twinkled red and she giggled evilly. Even Ralf was unnerved.
Emily led them back out to the car lot after grabbing some keys. She lead them to a large green van that looked like it had somehow escaped from the 60’s. The back had no windows, and when Emily told Vladimir to open it, they saw the inside was decorated with two couches and a small disco ball.
“Ugh.” Ralf made a face. “This looks like a raping van.”
Emily kicked him in the shin. “Don’t bad talk the car I’m letting you borrow.”
“Alright, sheesh.” Ralf huffed. Kat tried sniffing the van but was disappointed by her weak human sense of smell.
Louie clamored in. “This will work great, thanks!”
“Don’t mention it. Just bring it back, and as payment, bring back something interesting for me!” Emily smiled broadly at them.
“We can do that!” Vladimir thanked her, and while Ralf and Louie sat hidden in the back, Vladimir took Kat to the front to sit in the passenger seat. “I may teach you how to drive this thing, so we can split the driving. Our destination is about 24 hours from here.” He explained to her in human.
“Where are we going? Isn’t Moscow further away then that?”
“Plans have changed. We’re going to see the Witch Queen.” Seeing Kats horrified face, he reassured her. “She’s the only one who can cure you, and unlike Mother she’s on our side. That mummy was working for Mother. You have to be more careful!”
“But it looked so delicious! Besides, I didn’t know that mummies were JERKS” Kat grumped.
Vladimir laughed. “Yeah, they can be.”
“Vladimir.” Kat asked, turning to the vampire.
“Yes Kat?”
“I noticed that sometimes you act really dramatic, but other times totally normal. Is there a reason for that?”
“Yeah.” Ralf added from the back. “I noticed that too.”
“Well, it turns out that vampire females are really into human vampire movies. So every now and then, I practice acting like the vampires from those movies, so I can score a date.”
“Dude, vampire chicks are really into that? Lame.” Kat frowned and stuck her tongue out.
They road on mostly in silence, occasionally talking about monster related things and where they came from.
Ralf was born in Mongolia, but raised in a small city in Mexico. The runt of the litter, he had made a great undercover spy, and was taught several human languages at a young age. Ralf had been on missions all over the world, posing as an exotic ape. He had met many high-ranking humans and spied on many government officials all for the Monster government.
Louie meanwhile had been born and raised in South America, living, thinking and breathing Amazon ecology and science. His parents had also been ecologists, and he knew all he knew from them. Louie only left his beloved river for science conferences and debates.
Vladimir had grown up in base 84 in Moscow. He didn’t do a lot of traveling since in recent times that was difficult for monsters to do, but in his younger days he had done a lot of exploring, from picking fights with angry Vikings to playing tricks on the ancient Egyptians. So having been cooped up in the last few hundred years had made him restless, but monsters had to be careful. They couldn’t start a war with the humans before they were ready, and that’s what this mission was all about.
“We’re going to war with the humans?” Kat asked, awe in her eyes and voice.
“Yes, but we waited a few hundred years too long. They have weapons that will defeat us before we can do any real damage, and monsters are currently too spread out and too few to be any real threat.”
“I bet I could eat a whole city of humans!” Kat grinned, then sighed at her human hands. “But right now I’m a gross squishy human.”
Vladimir patted her on the back. “Only for now.”
Ralf leaned over from the back of the van. “So what’s our secret weapon going to be?”
Vladimir grinned. “We plan on reducing their numbers with biological warfare. We’re just trying to cook up the right disease. Have you heard of the bird and swine flu episodes?”
“Yeah.” Ralf nodded.
“Those were tests. We wanted to see how the humans would react, and we have been basing our plan of attack on that. We are close to the biological attack that we want, but a few ingredients are missing. The rest is confidential, but that’s why they need you three specifically.”
“What can a yeti with dwarfism, a gill-man scientist and a human garbage disposal werewolf do to help create a disease?” Ralf asked.
Vladimir shrugged. “That’s not information I was cleared to know.”
Ralf sat back down and relayed the new information to Louie, while Kat stared at the world that sped by the window. Humans were getting out of bed, sleepily walking their dogs or drinking coffee on their way to work. They were everywhere, Kat saw. A plague of fleshy pink creatures that walked and ran and drove all over the surface of the world.
Some looked up at the van that loudly rattled by, staring back at Kat who looked at them in wonder. They were on a mission to destroy these humans. Perhaps only most humans, maybe even all of them. The world Kat saw now was too full of them. But what would become of the world with them gone? Kat would never again see the look of horror on their faces just before she swallowed them whole. Never again hear their desperate screams as she tore through a small camp and ate everything in sight.
Mother’s words echoed through her head. If they destroyed all humans, even the good ones, they were no better than the humans who had killed those wolves. Without mercy or hesitation. Those humans had felt nothing at all when they killed the little pups. Could she do the same?

A few hours later Kat’s stomach started growling. She blushed. “Can we stop for food?” Vladimir chuckled and nodded, and they pulled into the next Walmart.
“What do you two want for food?” Vladimir asked Louie and Ralf.
“Meat.” Ralf informed him. “I could go for a few steaks right now.”
“I’d enjoy some fish.” Louie requested.
“Alright.” Vladimir nodded. “Comin with?” He asked Kat.
“To a place of HUMANS?!” Kat shouted. “But I can’t eat them in this form!”
Ralf sighed from the back. “You better not try to eat them, wolf-brain. You’ll get thrown out and we won’t get dinner.”
Kat snapped her teeth at him, growling.
Vladimir frowned. “Don’t do that either.” He then hopped out of the car and waited for Kat to follow. She struggled to find the door handle. Vladimir sighed and walked to her side, opening the door for her.
In the next car over, a little yorkie began barking and growling at them. Kat returned the growling while Vladimir dragged her away by the neck of her shirt.
Even though some monsters look human enough to not draw attention to themselves, it’s still rare for monsters to go topside and interact in the human world. Being a spy Ralf had the most experience in the human world, while Vladimir had little.
The reasons why most monsters don’t go topside is because certain differences might make them noticeable and no one wants to draw attention to themselves. Monsters often didn’t understand human space bubbles, and would either stand far too close, or over correct this behavior by standing far too far away. Monsters also tended to unintentionally creep people out or scare them away.
There was also the issue that if monsters that looked human could go topside, monsters that did not fit this description would whine about “it not being fair” and such nonsense. To make things simpler, monster city leaders often told all monsters to “shut up and stay underground.”
As soon as they entered the store, Vladimir set to work filling the cart with needed supplies and food. He kept one firm hand on Kat’s wrist. Not finding the fish section, Vladimir flagged down a miserable looking employee. “Where can I find fish?” He asked pleasantly while standing all too close to the unsuspecting employee. The employee looked as though it was a burden to help him, and decided that being rude was a great solution to ease her unhappiness.
“Can’t you read?” She snapped, pointing at the Seafood section near the back as she stepped back from Vladimir’s closeness.
Enraged by her bad attitude and general close vicinity, Kat decided to reach over and latch on to the employees pointing hand with her teeth. Vladimir sighed, knowing this result was inevitable but he had been counting on it, after all.
While Kat attempted to eat the now screaming human, or at least separate her finger from her hand as a prize, Vladimir zipped down the aisle to get a handful of fish. He turned back to Kat, who now had a large circle of angry, frightened humans surrounding her. He slipped past and outside with the full cart, tossed the food in the back and hopped in the drivers seat to go rescue Kat.
Kat meanwhile was snarling and biting at any human who tried to reach her. She had dropped the rotten employee to the ground and was now standing on her while she screamed. The front-end manager, a lazy, sad excuse for a person of management position, waved his hands and hollered at Kat. He knew he wasn’t really helping the situation, but it was all he could think of to do.
Security meanwhile tried to sneak up on Kat, but when they saw her snarling, drooling face and bulging eyes, they backed off, deciding that this was above their pay grade.
Kat could hear sirens approaching in the distance, and started edging toward the door. The human circle followed her, but not too close. Seeing their aversion to getting near her, Kat whirled around and charged for the door. She ran over the unhappy door greeter, who finally decided that today was a good day to find a new job, and jumped out the door where she was nearly run over by the van.
Vladimir signaled for her to get in, and they took off, flying out of the parking lot and giving a few slow moving Walmart shoppers a good scare on the way.
“That was FUN!” Kat panted, wide-eyed and happy.
“Thanks for the distraction. I didn’t have any money to pay for dinner.” Vladimir laughed.
“I was wondering why you would bring her in.” Ralf said, mouth stuffed full of steak. He handed some meat to Kat, who ate it happily.
“This is harder to eat with these stupid human teeth” Kat whined.
“Relax. It’ll last longer, since it’s harder to eat.” Ralf shrugged.
The monsters happily ate their stolen food, while Vladimir stopped on a quiet empty street to change the plates on the van. If it didn’t work, they could always eat any offending officer who dared pull them over.
They were somewhere in Missouri now, and after 12 hours of driving Vladimir needed a break.
He attempted to show Kat how to drive, but after several near death experiences he relented and decided to let Ralf drive. It was getting dark out again, the autumn sun setting early in the day, so no human should notice the seemingly driverless van as it ambled down the highway. Ralf revved the engine and they were off, sailing down a tar river toward their mountainous destination.

General Fliegan paced the musty halls of the conference center. Today was a big day, and many notable monster heads were there. There was Pharaoh Thutmose in his elegant mummy drab, decorated with gold scarabs and silver ankhs. Gévaudan the werewolf king was there, accompanied by his wolf queen Lyra. The demon Agreas was also in attendance, riding his crocodile with a hawk sitting on his hand. Lastly Lady Hua-yang, who funded much of his research, would be watching this evenings proceedings from her favorite chair.
All of these high-ranking, notable monsters were gathered to see what he and his men had done. Years of research, hard work and many, many set backs lead to what was here today. What they had today changes everything.
General Fliegan let his mind drift back, touching memories from when the experiment had first began.
He had been sitting in an office chair, nervously wringing his four hands as he awaited Lady Hua-yang’s presence. His many eyes darted about the room restlessly, and occasionally he flapped his great wings to remind himself that as a fly mutant he could fly away at any time.
Lady Hua-yang entered, still in her human form. It was rare for anyone to see her in her fox form, but he had heard it was beautiful and terrifying. Her human form was a young and gorgeous Chinese woman, but her eyes betrayed the kitsune within. They were dark and knowing, a stark contrast to the soft young face.
“Doctor Fliegan, as you know I have a special task for you. This is a task that I believe only you can accomplish, and you will do well to not disappoint me.” Her eyes grew dark with threat, and Fliegan gulped.
“I will do everything I can, of course. I will not fail you.” Fliegan answered timidly.
Lady Hua-yang nodded. “You may have noticed that monsters are trapped. We are stuck hiding in shadows while humans destroy our beloved lands. We are too few and lack the right weapons to properly fight the humans, so I believe that it is time for biological warfare.”
“Like introducing another plague?” Fliegan asked, perking up at the idea.
“Similar. Are you familiar with human cinema?”
“A little” Fliegan shrugged. “My studies usually keep me too occupied to see what nonsense the humans are coming up with. Their horror flicks are usually a hoot to watch.” Fliegan chuckled then stopped short at Lady Hua-yang’s solemn face.
“The humans don’t realize that they’re on to something. They have imagined a monster that we can make real. A true biological weapon that can spread before the humans know what hit them.”
“Do you mean zombies?” Fliegan asked, eyes alight.
“Yes. I want you to make this happen. I will research the best points to introduce our zombies to the humans, so that they can not isolate the infected and stop the spread. I need you to create a virus that will change the humans, make them immune to pain, and if possible, unrelenting even with their heads removed. Humans will think that this is the logical way to kill a zombie. We’ll make it so that this is not so. Understood?”
Fliegan nodded. “I will need subjects to test. I will begin work immediately.”
“You will have an unlimited supply.” Lady Hua-yang stood up and marched toward the door. “Remember, do not disappoint me.” The door swung shut behind her and Fliegan thought about the materials he needed to get started. He would also have to do a few test runs on the human population that was topside to see how they reacted.
General Fliegan soon had a steady income of human test subjects in the lab. They were put in small cages or in isolated chambers, and Fliegan and his subordinates injected monster made virus after monster made virus into the humans to examine what would happen to them.
Many simply died, of shock or mild result of the viruses. None of them came back to life. After months of trial and error, Fliegan tried using viruses mixed with monster D.N.A. on the subjects. It was more promising, and one human who was injected with a vampire D.N.A. and virus mixture even died and returned to life shortly after, before inexplicably exploding and showering blood and human remains everywhere. It was a messy breakthrough, but a breakthrough nonetheless.
Fliegan then started using monster combos with the virus, once using some of his own D.N.A. and a sample of mummy, and the human subjects returned from the dead, but only for 24 hours in which they attempted to mate with anything they could get their hands on.
Not having enough kinds of monsters in Base 84, Fliegan would occasionally write to Lady Hua-yang in the request she send recruits. He would then use their D.N.A. samples to further his experiments.
Fliegan would also hunt through monster black markets, where he found bits of monsters for sale from an unknown source. The source didn’t really matter to Fliegan. It was through some of his findings in the black market that Fliegan found what he believed to be the right combination. Yeti, gill-man, werewolf, and vampire. He discovered that the yeti made it tough and immune to cold, gill-man made it comfortable in water, werewolf made it fierce and hungry, and the vampire brought it back to life.
Fliegan also made the discovery that a monster’s personality sometimes came through to the infected human. He used D.N.A. once from a subordinate manticore that enjoyed ballet, and he found that the infected humans would sometimes dance about their tiny cages.
This information inspired Lady Hua-yang to send Kat, because of her insatiable desire to eat humans. Kat had no clue how important she was to the cause, and how very important it was that Kat never learned such a thing as self-control.
General Fliegan brought himself back to the present. The leaders were waiting, and it was time to give them what they wanted. He marched down the hall, squaring his corner in a sharp professional turn and opened the door to the very large conference room.
As he thought, all of the leaders were already seated and waiting. They stopped their chatter to an almost immediate silence, and General Fliegan self-consciously listened to the sound of his own footsteps as they clicked and echoed across the room. He stopped at the podium, nervously shuffling papers that ruffled all too loudly. If a crinkling paper could scream, this was the sound.
Clearing his throat was even worse, but necessary. He winced at the loud sharp sound that emitted from his own throat, and looked up to see the many eyes set steadily on him. They noted unblinkingly his every move and hesitant sound like a predator fixated on its prey.
“You all know why you are here.” Fliegan breathed, relived to find he could still talk despite the tension in his throat and face. “I have been working on the weapon that we believe will put us on even ground with the humans. After years of plotting and planning, it may be very soon that we will be able to return to the surface, and reclaim the world that was once ours.”
Fliegan paused and pressed a button, which raised two platforms, one on either side of him. “To my left is the human already inflicted with the ‘zombie’ virus,” he gestured at the snarling unkept human that was chewing on the cage, “and to my right is an uninfected human.” He gestured to a terrified looking human who was looking at them wildly.
“The infected has no sense of pain.” Fliegan demonstrated by throwing a knife at the zombie. The knife hit it in the arm and stayed, and the zombie did not react.
“The infection is spread through body fluids.” He pointed at the drool coming off the infected’s mouth. He turned to the right, to the other cage. “Watch what happens when the infected comes in contact with an uninfected human.” Fliegan moved the cages together, and pressed a button that opened the infected’s cage, allowing him access to the other human.
The uninfected human screamed and thrashed as the infected bit and tore into it. General Fliegan noticed the other monsters sit forward in their seats. Lady Hua-yangs eyes were glowing with satisfaction.
The infected finally backed off when the other human stopped struggling and lay limp. “The infected tend to only show interest in live, uninfected humans.” Fliegan explained.
“Will the other come back to life?” Pharaoh Thutmose questioned, wiping a bit of blood off him that had been sprayed during the struggle.
“In a few minutes, yes. They don’t have to die to become infected. In fact the infection spreads quicker when they still have blood pumping. The infection then kills them and then reanimated them.”
“How long can they live in the reanimated state?” Asked the demon Agreas.
“Sadly, only for a few days, but that’s enough time for them to spread the disease to many, many humans.”
“What about head shots? Human cinema is all about zombie movies right now, and some humans even feel that they are prepared for a zombie outbreak. Will killing our zombies be as easy as simply removing their heads?” Asked the werewolf queen, Lyra.
To answer this, Fliegan turned and hit a button on the cage. This released a sharp metal wire that sprang across and severed the zombies head clean off. The creature fell, loosing its balance, but slowly stood back up, pawing blindly through the cage bars for another victim.
“Will it attack monsters? Are we immune?” a concerned goblin prince questioned from the back.
“We are immune to the virus, but some monsters might get flu-like symptoms if exposed to the infected. The zombies are unthinking and stupid, so yes, they may attack monsters as well, but we are under no real threat.”
“Then how do we kill them if they become too many?” Lady Hua-yang asked.
“We give them an anti virus. It’s airborne, and will either return the humans to a near death state or they will die completely. In case you are wondering why the initial virus is not also airborne, it is because it was decided that the best revenge that we can have for all of the persecuting and monster hunting the humans have done to us is through death. Not a simple easy death when all of the humans suddenly become sick and die shortly after. It is a death after the glimmer of hope of survival. The pain of seeing loved ones turned in to savage beasts. Lastly, for those that do survive, they will live alone and in hiding for the rest of their miserable lives.”
The audience seemed to appreciate this speech, and stood up to applaud. Amidst the caterwauling and cheers, the once dead human began to move, reanimated to an undead state. Unthinking, unafraid. It watched the monsters cheer and grin, and couldn’t help but gin stupidly and clap its hands too, not understanding why.

Meanwhile, in a different part of the world, United States Army First Sergeant Forest Green frowned deeply at the paperwork in front of him. He turned the page over, hoping it was only one sided, then sighed deeply when he saw not only was it doubled sided, but there were more papers underneath awaiting his attention.
He stood up to look out the window. He’d been looking at these damn papers for hours now, and every time he neared an end his assistant regretfully added to his pile.
Reports were coming in all across the country of strange and unusual sightings. El Chupacabras eating poor farmer’s goats in the western states, wendigo sightings in the Rocky Mountains, yeti sightings in Alaska, and one little girl from Maine even wrote about a werewolf cavorting in the small town graveyard.
First Sergeant Green didn’t like monsters, but had been assigned to the task of sorting through reports partly because he had a lot of experience with monsters, but mostly because he had pissed off his commanding officer by decorating the officer’s office with pink unicorns and purple elephants as a joke. What First Sergeant Green didn’t know was that his commanding officer had once been savagely attacked by a rather unfriendly unicorn in his youth and had been terrified of them ever since. His commanding officer was also a little bit insane, but that’s besides the point.
First Sergeant Green wasn’t entitled to all of the information, but judging from the sudden increase in monster sightings, they were clearly up to something, and the United States Army would have to do something about it. Monsters don’t just come out of hiding for no reason. This must be war.

Kat woke up to the sight of mountains in the distance. Tall, tree covered peaks rose from a flat horizon to meet snow-capped rock that rose even higher behind them. Vladimir was back at the wheel, yawning widely, and as they drove the mountains grew closer and taller.
They traveled through the bustling town of Boulder, and Vladimir waited impatiently for cyclists who acted like they owned the road to get out of the way. “Isn’t it a bit cold to be out pedaling your ass around town?” Vladimir harrumphed to Kat, who wasn’t listening. She was too busy thinking about ‘meals on wheels.’
The drove out of town and through the winding mountain roads, and finally came to a stop down a mostly unused dirt road. “We have to be careful, the humans are more active here.” Vladimir hopped out of the car and around to the back. “Kat and I will be the lookouts. The entrance we’re looking for is a large clustered together patch of trees with a moss covered boulder in the middle.”
Louie and Ralf cautiously stepped out, wary of any traveling humans. On not seeing, hearing or smelling any, they went off trail to find the gate to the witch city, Bell. Louie quickly found the circle of trees, and was headed to the large rock when he was stopped unexpectedly by a short, weird looking, green hag.
What Louie, Ralf, Vladimir and Kat didn’t know what the entrance to the city now had a posted guard named Bella. While she was short and rather uncomfortable to look at, she also owned a sharp set of teeth, and defended her city by leaping out of the bushes and sinking her teeth into Louie’s leg.
Surprised and astonished by the strange little woman attached painfully to his leg, Louie screamed and tried to jump away, kicking his leg desperately and falling backwards onto the ground. Bella nimbly climbed toward his head, and at seeing her face Louie heroically fainted.
Ralf grabbed Bella roughly by the back of the neck, but he was hardly taller than she was so he ended up pushing her away from Louie. She landed with her own surprised scream, and sat there hissing and yelling at Ralf. At the screaming and thrashing, Vladimir and Kat came racing around the corner and stared dumbfounded at the little green skinned witch who was yelling obscenities at Ralf.
“What’s going on here?” Vladimir managed, and Bella turned to him, leaping with her mouth wide open, another attack inimate. Vladimir slapped her away, and Kat attempted to sit on the witch, but couldn’t hold her down in her human form.
“Give us back the jars, you thieves!” Bella yelled crossly. “You are my prisoners now! You have to come with me to the witch queen Hecate; she’ll know what to do with you!”
“What jars?” Kat asked. “Did they have yummy bones in them?” Bella ignored Kat’s question.
“Well, that’s where we wanted to go anyways. Take us there, witch.” Vladimir ordered.
“Yes. Yesss, as my prisonersss” Bella grinned and danced a little before leading them to the entrance. Louie, awake again, climbed groggily after them into the dark hole that lead into the city of Bell.
Bell was a witch city, so it was completely full of magic. Twinkling stars of light hung from the city ‘sky’ and water spouts danced and played and generally disobeyed all rules of physics. The streets were decorated with glowing flowers and tall trees of nearly every species. Shops consisted of wand and broom shops, cauldron shops, alchemy and herb shops, and Ralf swore he saw a restaurant named “Tasty tots.”
What our monsters were soon to find out was that the city of Bell was at war, with the merfolk people from the city Blub. They resided in a nearby underground lake, and being a mischievous bunch had decided to raid the city of Bell and steal jars of eyeballs from the potion vault. Hecate had had enough of these troublesome tricksters, and decided to declare war. This is why the city of Bell now had a guard, the terrifying Bella.
Bella took them into the towering amethyst castle of Hecate the witch queen, and they soon found themselves bowing before her majestic purple throne. The queen herself was not green skinned and ugly like Bella, but had dark skin and piercing golden eyes. She was beautiful and exotic looking, and stood out among the hordes of lesser beauties standing at attention in the throne room. “What brings you here, monsters? Don’t you know the city of Bell is at war?”
Ralf tore his eyes away from the other witches, frumpy and odd-looking creatures that stared back at him intently. “We didn’t know, who is Bell at war with?”
“With the foolish city Blub, were the merfolk live.”
“What have they done to upset you?” Louie asked, shooting a concerned glance at Bella, who was gnashing her teeth at them.
“They have stolen from us. Have you come to steal from us too?” Hecate glared down at them then growled “And WHY do you have a human with you?!” Louie raised his hands in protest.
“We are here because this foolish werewolf drank a potion given to her by a mummy. She’s been turned into a human and we were hoping you could help us.”
Hecate turned to look at Kat, who was staring vacantly into space and thinking about chasing humans through the woods. Hecate could indeed sense that this human had a wolfish nature. She pondered the usefulness of a werewolf in her planned attack on Blub, then cast it away. “Why should I help? I’m busy planning a war.”
As Hecate said this, Kat spotted a witch with a bone necklace. Excited and hungry again, Kat leapt at the witch and tackled her over. Hecate stood up, outraged, and Ralf, Vladimir and Louie cried in unison “KAT! NO!”
Kat looked at them in confusion, with the bone necklace hanging out of her mouth. Hecate, instead of ordering her guards on them, sat back on her throne. “Why didn’t you say it was Kat?” She asked simply.
Louie, Ralf and Vladimir looked at Hecate in surprise. “Is she famous?”
“Not exactly. But Lady Hua-yang is a friend of mine. She told me to keep an eye out for you. I’ll help you, but you must also help me.”
“What do you want us to do?”
“I want you to send the city of Blub a message. Trash their city, and then I’ll turn Kat back into herself.”
Back on the surface, Vladimir explained the situation to Kat. “We need to terrorize the merfolk of Blub before the witch queen will turn you back to normal.
“Oh!” Kat exclaimed. “That sounds fun!”
“What are merfolk like, anyways? Have any of you met one?” Vladimir asked. They all shook their heads.
“Merfolk are normally pretty private.” Louie shrugged. “Oh! She didn’t say where Blub is! Does anyone know?”
“This way.” Bella marched up from behind them, causing all of them to jump in surprise.
“You’re coming with us?” Louie asked, upset.
“Yep. Queen Hecate didn’t trust you alone, and Bella thinks green man is kind of cute.” She batted her eyes at Louie, who pointed at the teeth marks in his scaly leg.
“You won’t find me so cute when I kick your stupid head off.” Louie grumbled.
Bella lead them through the forest, up winding rocky trails and over snow dusted paths, chatting happily the entire time. “So this human came to me and asked me to place a curse on his ex wife. I enjoy making a good curse every now and then, so I made him pay me a large sum of money and gave his ex wife the most terrible curse I could think of.”
“What is that?” Vladimir asked, genuinely curious.
“I made her beautiful.”
“Beautiful?!” Ralf cried. “How’s that a curse?”
Bella smiled. “She became breathtakingly beautiful. So gorgeous that people would stop to take pictures of her, and this is where the curse kicks in.” Bella danced; a weird little jig where she bounced from one stubby foot to the other and twirled around, proud of her evil deed. “She was so pretty, but my curse made her the most unphotogenic person in the world!” Bella cackled and the other monsters looked unsurely at each other. “Her picture was so terrifying it actually made people scream in terror, and they would have nightmares for years after! Hee hee hee!”
Vladimir shrugged. That was a pretty mean curse, humans loved taking photos of themselves, after all. This woman must be terrified of cameras now.
Ralf laughed. “Imagine how her driver’s license photo must look!” The monsters shared a chuckle.
Bella lead them down another mountain pass, where they had to hide in some bushes while some joggers ran by. Snow crunched under their feet and their human voices echoed in the small valley. They were talking about the upcoming football game tonight. “The other team doesn’t stand a chance against our Broncos!” One cheered, and the other woop-wooped as they jogged out of sight.
Bella rolled her eyes. “Silly human games.” Ralf meanwhile had to hold his tongue. He was a Patriots fan.
Climbing out onto the other side of the valley, Bella used her magic to move a large rock, which exposed the entrance to Blub. Louie watched her move the rock back into place behind them with interest. “How does your magic work, Bella?”
Bella grinned foolishly at his attention. “Why, a witch is born with magic, but we can only control it as long as we have the right energy.”
“What’s the right energy?” Louie asked, and his question echoed off the tunnel walls.
“It depends on each witch. Witches are different from vampires, who all feed off of human energy. We each have our ‘fix’ the thing we become addicted to and require in order to perform magic.”
“Vampires feed off human energy?” Ralf cut in, glancing at Vladimir. “I thought you guys didn’t suck no blood anymore.”
Vladimir shrugged. “We never did. Most human vampire myths are wrong. We turn into mist though, and on rainy days we go to the surface and feed off human energy, making them tired.”
“What will you feed off of if there’s no more humans?” Ralf asked.
“Animals, monsters, it doesn’t matter. Humans are just the food of choice.”
Ralf glared. “You better not feed off of me.”
Vladimir was about to respond when they heard something scratching on the rock up ahead. “Quick! Hide!” He whispered and they ducked into a dark corner or the tunnel. A lone merman dragged himself up the tunnel, grumbling to himself.
“Stupid mergaurd, sending me to guard the stupid entrance. The witches won’t attack, they melt in water. I saw it in a movie.” He laboriously dragged himself along the rocky tunnel, his useless tail flopping around and slowing him down. “What’s the big deal anyways, we only stole their tasty eyeballs. Witches can’t keep all the yummy snacks to themselves.”
“Oh, can’t we?” Bella asked, grinning widely at the merman. He looked at her in surprise, and then screamed bloody murder. Louie, Ralf, Kat, and Vladimir left their hiding place to stare at the merman in concern. He didn’t run, he didn’t move, he just sat there screaming.
“Should we make him stop? Is he calling for help?” Louie asked, when Kat decided to take action. She clubbed him on the head with a rock. The merman fell over, unconscious. Or maybe dead. It’s not important. Kat was anxious to get to the town trashing, and leapt over the merman.
The others followed, and they jogged down the tunnel only to pause as the tunnel suddenly became submerged in water. Bella stopped still before the rest of the group, and her eyes glazed over while looking at the water before them. She seemed suddenly miles and miles away, lost in some sort of memory from long ago.
“What’s a matter witch? Think you’ll melt like fish-man says?” Ralf chuckled, and Bella snapped back to the present, lowering the hands she had subconsciously raised towards Kat’s throat.
“Funny.” She grumbled.
“I’ll check it out, and let you know if there’s a way for you to get in.” Louie informed them, and then sank gracefully into the black water.
“What a hunk” Bella sighed with hearts in her eyes, while the other monsters politely groaned in disgust at her affection.
Below the surface of the water, Louie could make out the softly glowing city beneath him, and kelp farms surrounding the outskirts. He followed the shadows down to deeper depths, looking for a way in, a way for them to cause some trouble.
Poking around the kelp bed, Louie grit his teeth together when he saw Murmur the Kelpie swimming with a group of merfolk out of what Louie gathered was probably the city hall. He could faintly hear them talking from where he hid, so Louie snuck closer to listen in, hidden in the tall kelp.
“We have a lot to do if a war is to happen, Murmur. If what you’re saying is true, then we don’t have much time to prepare.” A mermaid with golden hair and a long silver trident spoke to Murmur.
Murmur nodded. “It’s true, Ava, you must believe me. Mother has sent me to rally troops, we don’t know what Lady Hua-yang’s plan is, but we strongly believe that she will attack soon.”
“And how will we fight the Kitsune’s army?” Ava asked.
“With our own secret weapon, Ava. We’re working with the humans, they’re on our side.”
“I understand that it is in the human’s interest to stop a war against monsters, but how do we know they won’t turn on us next?
Murmur grinned. “Let’s just say we have them where we want them. They wouldn’t dare turn on Mother.”
Having heard enough, Louie snuck back through the kelp and to the tunnel where the others were waiting.
“How did it go?” Ralf asked, helping Louie out of the water.
“The city of Blub is considering going to war against Lady Hua-yang. Murmur, this awful kelpie I unfortunately know is working for Mother, he’s rallying monster cities to oppose us. Worst of all, it seems they’re allied with humans. If they use human bombs against us, this could be very problematic.”
“Sure, but if we have the city of Bell on our side, won’t a witches magic prove more fatal than human weaponry?” Vladimir looked at Bella, hopeful but still uncertain what her powers could do.
“That depends.” Ralf also looked at Bella, who was staring openly at Louie. “Is the city of Bell on our side? Do they have any interest in reclaiming the surface for monsters?”
Bella continued to look at Louie, who was growing uncomfortable under her steady stare, while answering Ralf’s question. “If we trash the city of Blub, and perhaps steal some of their stuff for the witch queen, she may decide to join us. An enemy of Blub may very well be our friend.” At saying ‘friend’ Bella stepped closer to Louie, who took a safe two-steps back.
“We haven’t really seen what kind of power a witch has, to be honest.” Louie remarked, eyeing Bella. “What IS the extend of a witches power?”
Bella realized the opportunity to show off, and wasn’t about to waste it. “We’ve got a city to trash, right?” The others nodded, fixated on her. “Watch this.” Bella grinned and then took a few large gulps from the steaming liquid she had brought with her, effectively downing the drink.
Then she did a funny sort of dance, wiggled her nose and ears, and raising her arms there was a loud “BANG! POP! WOW!” and Louie watched in wonder as four large sea creatures stood in the place of Kat, Vladimir, Ralf and Bella.
“We only have fifteen minutes.” Came Bella’s voice from a ten-foot tall piranha that was wiggling toward the water.
“Oh! I understand monster again!” Kat’s voice came happily from a gigantic shark that was thrashing about the tunnel.
“Cut the crap and get in the water, Kat.” Ralf’s voice came from a twenty-foot long water dragon, that pushed the happy shark and piranha into the water.
They were followed by Vladimir, who had been turned into a half fish half man mutant. He shrugged at Louie and dove in behind them, leaving Louie to follow the strange crew.
In the city of Blub, the merfolk were merrily going about their lives when suddenly three large dark forms came careening through the water towards them. Kat began chomping and eating merfolk like there was no tomorrow, instantly transforming the calm city into a thick red cloud of chaotic panic and screaming.
“Kat!” Ralf hollered at the delighted shark. “Stop bloodying up the water! You’re making it hard to see!”
Ralf’s cries fell on deaf ears (sharks don’t have ears. Just inner ears), as Kat continued crashing into buildings and tearing up merfolk. She came across a mergaurd, with the mergaurd leader valiantly standing his ground, trying to protect a merkindergarten behind him. Kat avoided his waving trident, hitting him with her tail as she simply swam past him, ramming in and devouring the rest of the guard like a pin-eating bowling ball.
While Kat was devouring merfolk in a way that would almost suggest she had a personal vandeta against them, but really she just loved eating things she normally shouldn’t; Ralf used his dragon body to topple down buildings and chase around merfolk. He knocked over the top of the city hall building, and then while chasing a group of mermaids (hubba hubba) his tail got caught on a merman’s trident, and he spun, yowling in surprise, into the city church.
Blub citizens screamed in surprise as a dragon came barreling through their building of supposed safety, and poured out of the building en masse into Bella’s waiting jaws. If Kat’s shark eating habits weren’t messy enough, Bella’s were worse. Soon there were limbs and tridents scattered everywhere.
Vladimir, in his odd half-fish half-man form meanwhile lurked on the bottom and went about stealing things. He wasn’t really sure what the merfolk considered valuable, but found a vault full of random human things like forks and frying pans. Vladimir wondered if this was where the human inspiration for the little mermaid came from.
Finding a chest, he loaded it up with this and that. When the chest was full, he started for the door. Their time was almost up, and he didn’t want to get caught underwater. He was stopped at the door however by a large mermaid wearing a crown on her head. “My precious treasure!” She wailed, and went to attack Vladimir, but was stopped short by Louie, who came out of the kelp bed in a flurry of claws.
“Thanks!” Vladimir bubbled, and Louie snatched the mermaid’s crown before they headed for the surface.
Once there, Vladimir guarded their findings, and Louie went to get the others before they transformed back. Ralf came back on his own, followed by Bella, but Kat was having too much fun.
Louie spotted her closing in on a bunch of little merfolk, perhaps only children. They were screaming in terror while Kat chased them through the water. Just as she had them cornered, in a “Poof!” She suddenly transformed back into her human form. The little merfolk grinned, now they could attack!
They turned and chased the slow moving Kat, chomping their teeth and hissing for vengeance, when Louie intercepted and swiftly dragged the now drowning human out of the water. On the surface Kat sputtered and whined, and Louie looked down into the foaming red water. “We got to get out of here, they’re sure to follow us once they realize we left.”
The others nodded and they raced for the exit. They turned to look at Bella to move it, but she looked into her now empty mug and cried; “My coffee! It’s GOOOONNNNEEE!”
“That was coffee? Coffee is your fix?” Louie asked.
“Never mind we have to move this!” Vladimir shouted, hearing the sounds of commotion down the tunnel echo toward them. The monsters all pushed, and in a great feat of strength, they managed to push the rock out of the way.
They shuffled down the valley, slowed down by the weight of the chest. “What’s in here, anyways?” Ralf asked, stopping to look inside. It was full of forks and old boots. Ralf looked incredulously at Vladimir, who shrugged sheepishly.
“Let’s just keep the crown, and leave these here.” Louie suggested, waving the stolen crown. That seemed like a great idea, so they dumped the chest and continued without it.
They had lost the weight just in time, because Murmur came galloping down the hillside at them. Murmur however was drastically slowed down by his half fish body, and didn’t make it very far before he whinnied angrily at them. “I’ll tell Mother about this! Your attack will never work! We will defeeeaaaaat yoooooouu!” Murmur shouted as he lost the monsters from sight.
He sighed. Mother was going to be pissed, and he wondered if the monsters heard what he had been talking about to queen Ava. He noticed the pile of boots and forks underhoof. “Princess Muriel’s treasure? Those BASTARDS!!”

It was a gorgeous, beautiful day for November, and while there was snow on the ground, the lone hiker didn’t mind one bit. Chris Grovo was from the city, and because of his stress filled job and bad marriage, he decided to run away from home and find himself in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
He breathed in the cool mountain air and let it out again in a puff of vapor. The warm sun beat on his back and his boots crunched in the layer of snow. “I could really find my inner peace in a place like this” Chris said aloud, feeling years of tension and deadlines lift from his body and float away.
The only sounds were that of chirping birds and the occasional rustling of aspen and ponderosa pine trees, blown by a soft, gentle wind. No squawking of a nagging wife, no deafening screams of spoiled, demanding little children. No unrelenting barking from two untrained, terribly behaved poodles. Just the calm and pleasant sounds of nature to fill his head.
This was of course broken, as you may have expected, by our monster heroes as they tore down the valley side with Murmur in pursuit. Chris fell back in surprise at the sudden oral intrusion, for all he could make out were strange hisses and grunts and an angry whinnying from the half horse THING behind them.
Chris stared in wonder at the strange collection of monsters. A pint sized yeti, a weird lizard man, a grotesque green woman, what appeared to be a very pale human man, and a gorgeous brunette wearing absolutely nothing at all. Kat’s clothes had been lost during the shark transformation, but Kat had failed to notice, as, for some reason, did everyone else during the commotion. Vladimir had not lost his clothing because the half fish half man thing he had been turned into was his size, and Bella was in control of the magic doing so of course she kept herself clothed. Not that these details really matter, but I’m sure you were wondering.
From his viewpoint, now on his back peeking over his boots, Chris saw the monsters squabble at each other, drop a chest full of boots and forks, and then continue running into the forest with one of them wearing a glittering golden crown. The horse thing stopped and whinnied some more, looked at the chest in anger, and then began dragging the chest with its teeth back up the hill where it had come from.
Chris lay in the snow for several hours. Every time he considered getting up, the scene played through his mind again and Chris decided to stay where he was. It was only a few hours before sunset, when some other hikers came across him, did Chris wearily stand on his feet, and explained to the concerned hikers that the wilderness was just not the place for him. Chris returned to the city somehow feeling better about the life he had tried to run away from.

Back to our ‘heroes,’ they had stopped near the entrance to Bell when Bella dropped the important information on them. “I need my magic to get into the city. No one can enter without the use of magic!”
“So what do we do?” Louie asked.
“You need to go into the human town, and get me coffee!” Bella shrieked, suddenly enraged. The others stepped back. “Sorry dears, I get grumpy when I go without.” Bella apologized, smiling sweetly but her eyes were still glowing red.
“Right then…Kat and I will go get some. DO you have any human money?” Vladimir asked, looking about the group.
Bella held her hand out, with a few Loonies and Toonies in it. “This.”
Ralf looked it over. “Yeah. I dunno if your Canadian money will do us any good here.” He took it from her and put it in Vladimir’s hand. “Better take it just in case though.”
Vladimir nodded, and turned to Kat. “Let’s go, we have to go steal some coffee so Bella can get us back into the city.”
Kat nodded, and they went together down the forested trail that lead to town.
Ralf stared after them in concern. “I hope Kat finds some clothes first.”

It took a few hours for Kat and Vladimir to make it into town, and luckily it was around 2am so the streets were deserted. As luck would have it, Vladimir spotted a woman walking down the street to her car with what appeared to be a cup of coffee. “Wait here.” He told Kat, by this point realizing she was without clothing and therefore a distraction.
Kat nodded, but as soon as Vladimir rounded a corner she spun around, heading directly for a store that had caught her eye on the way there. Kat looked in through the glass window at all of the fur coats and placed a hand on the cold glass that separated her from them.
She tried hitting the glass, but all it did was hurt her weak human hand. She looked around in desperation, and found a decent sized rock. Thinking of how well the rock had worked on the merman’s head, she snatched the rock, pulled her arm back and then hit the glass with all her human might.
The rock went easily through the window, with Kat falling along with it having lost her balance. She crashed into the bits of broken glass and hopped around yelping. Once the sudden shock of pain subsided, she heard the buzzing sound of a store burglar alarm, so she rushed to the fur coats and selected the fluffiest furriest ones. Along with the long and fluffy fur coat, she added a mad bomber hat made with real rabbit fur. Kat then happily left the store to retreat to where Vladimir had left her.
Vladimir meanwhile was rolling about in pain. He had followed the woman in what was unknown to him, the creepiest possible fashion. He had stalked behind her at about five feet distance, and the woman, having had enough, turned and hit him full on the face with bear mace.
Why did she have bear mace? Because she was an educated outdoor loving woman who did a lot of camping in bear country, and was always prepared. She’d never had to use it on a bear before, but she was more than happy to use it now, on this creepy pervert who was following her around at 2am.
While the spray didn’t terribly hurt Vladimir, it still stung and surprised him a great deal, and unable to pass up a chance at being dramatic he decided to roll about the ground crying. His acting was so good that the woman almost felt bad for her counterattack.
Kat meanwhile wandered back onto the scene only to see Vladimir crying on the ground while a woman stood thoughtfully over him. Deciding she was the attacker, Kat roared and charged the surprised woman. The woman was especially surprised and confused to see the mostly naked woman covered in blood and glass and wearing only a fur coat and hat charging at her while snarling and drooling angrily.
The woman was educated enough to know this was not a good situation, and took off sprinting down the road screaming.
Kat watched her go in satisfaction; while Vladimir sat up, noticing the fallen container of liquid, now empty with its contents spilled on the ground. He sniffed it, and noticed that it was just hot cocoa anyways. He then noticed that she had also dropped her wallet, which he lifted up in victory.
“Now what?” Kat asked.
Vladimir looked up at her and his mouth hung dumbly open. “Uh, Kat, why are you bleeding? And where did those clothes come from?”
Kat pointed back down the street, where around the corner they could hear the sound of approaching sirens. Vladimir sighed. “Let’s get out of here.” He stood up and they slunk down a few more streets. They passed some hobos who whistled and winked at Kat, and Vladimir suggested she button up her coat. She did so, and luckily it covered her from shoulders to knee.
Turning another corner Vladimir contemplated breaking into a coffee shop, but he knew that neither of them knew how to make coffee. “Where are we going to find a coffee shop this late?” Vladimir agonized, throwing his hands up and whining.
“You find a Tim Horton’s,” said a dumpster.
Kat and Vladimir turned to look in the dumpster in wonder. “Eh?”
Ralf poked his head out of the dumpster. “I SAID you find a Tim Horton’s. They stay open 24 hours.”
“How did you find us?” Kat asked.
Ralf sighed, and Louie poked his head out of the dumpster. “Believe us, you weren’t that hard to follow.”
They heard Bella giggle from within the dumpster. “You caused a lot of screaming!”
“Alright I get it. Wait here, I’ll get the coffee.” Vladimir sighed, having noticed the Tim Horton’s that Ralf was silently pointing at. Kat followed and Vladimir gave her a cautious look. “Don’t try to eat anyone here.”
Kat mad a sad face and hung her head but followed him in. She could at least try not to eat anyone, but she could make no promises.
Once in the Tim Horton’s, Vladimir walked up to the sleepy looking cashier and loudly demanded a coffee. As he did, he slammed the Canadian money and the stolen wallet down on the counter.
The sleepy cashier started awake at Vladimir’s “COFFEE, YOU FOOL!” and stared blankly at the Canadian coins and the Twilight adorned wallet. The cashier then looked at the pale dark eyed vampire and fluffy fur covered werewolf who was staring at him like he might suddenly turn into a leg of ham.
“What kind of coffee?” The cashier managed, weirded out by Kat who was drooling a little and had started to lean over the counter toward him. Vladimir pushed her back.
“The largest, blackest coffee that you have.” Vladimir responded. He too was standing too close to the counter, and the cashier felt that his bubble was becoming too invaded.
The cashier attempted a smile, failed somewhere between a frown and a smirk, then stepped as far back as he could from his odd customers and began making the coffee. “It’ll be a few minutes, I just need to make a fresh pot.”
While the cashier hurried to the back to get something, Vladimir’s attention was drawn to the window where he could hear a strange noise. He froze when he saw it, and Kat turned to look too, following his cringing gaze to the window. There they watched Bella’s squished face, pressed purposefully against the glass, as her tongue slid grotesquely out of her mouth to slowly lick the windowpane. “Coooooffffeeeeee” She groaned, her breath fogging up the glass for a second before her tongue wiped the fog away.
Vladimir and Kat turned away from the mortifying scene to wait for the cashier to return with the coffee. He shuffled quickly from the back to the machine and started it, then glanced at Kat and Vladimir, who were staring at him so intently he actually squeaked in fear before retreating to the back again. He decided he would talk to his boss tomorrow; he’s had it with night shifts.
Unable to resist any longer, Bella entered the store and leapt over the counter. The cashier was hiding in back, and was too terrified to go back out to collect their money. Bella took advantage of his lack of appearance to pour her own extra large mug that she always carried with her, full to the brim with coffee. She immediately downed some and danced merrily about the counter top.
At this point, a police officer stuck on the graveyard shift entered the store, tired after having dealt with a screaming woman who claimed she was attacked by a male stalker and a lunatic woman in a fur coat, and all he wanted was some coffee and a few donuts. What he saw was the green and ugly Bella dancing on the counter and holding the enormous pot of coffee. At seeing the officer, Bella playfully waggled her butt at him, and the officer turned and left the store without a word. He instead went directly to the only liqueur store open at that odd hour and picked up a bottle of Jack Daniels.
“Well, that went well.” Ralf said from the doorway. “Lets get outta here, before we find trouble.”
The others followed him and together they marched back up the mountain. Bella let them in at the gate and they traveled immediately to see the queen Hecate.
Hecate was delighted to hear Bella’s report of their sabotaging of Blub, and equally decided to have the princess’s crown. “They won’t harass us any time soon.” Hecate smiled. She then turned to Kat, and after Hecate downed a glass of red wine she removed the curse that had turned Kat human.
Kat was so delighted she began racing joyously about the throne room, nearly toppling over witches in a flurry of furry legs. She stopped running only to make sure her tail had returned, before running in joyous circles again.
Ralf ignored the werewolf’s prancing to direct his attention instead to the queen. “Queen Hecate, we have found that the city of Blub was being recruited by Mother to stop the monster uprising.”
“Monster uprising?” Hecate inquired, recalling Lady Hua-yang once mentioning some sort of war to her.
Louie nodded. “We are preparing for a war, under Lady Hua-yangs orders, monsters are going to war against humans to reclaim the surface.”
Hecate leaned back in her throne, staring at the glittering ceiling in deep thought. Returning to the surface would be wonderful. However, monsters needed to keep some humans around, they were not completely without use. Knowing Lady Hua-yang, she was out to kill them all. If this party of monsters had something to do with the plan of attack, perhaps she should prepare to save a few thousand humans from the bloodthirsty kitsune.
Hecate enjoyed terrorizing humans, it was a part of what made her happy and the thought of them being gone, completely gone, was a terrible thought. No more would she be one of the terrors of the night. She’d just be the queen of a magical nation.
Suddenly another thought came to her mind. Humans weren’t the only things capable of fear. The words “magical nation” struck a chord in her heart. If humans were gone, and they reclaimed the surface, there would be a lot of land up for grabs. Perhaps she could rule an entire country rather than just the city. Hecate smiled.
“I will help the uprising. If what you said is true, than we need to get you out of this city before you come trapped here. The city of Blub will surely notify Mother what has happened, and they will undoubtedly realize you are here. Mother may already have troops on the way to extract you from our city. I promise, she won’t stand a chance against this great city. However, I still suggest that you leave.”
“We shall leave at once. We had orders to go to anther base, as it is. Thank you, Queen Hecate.” Louie bowed, and the others did the same.
As Louie, Vladimir, Ralf and Kat turned to leave, queen Hecate signaled Bella. “Go with them.” She told her, “and give the werewolf this if you find yourself in trouble.” Queen Hecate gave Bella a cherry red drink, which Bella took and placed in a satchel that she carried. Bella then happily raced after Louie and the others.

First Sergeant Green stood staring at the desk while his commanding officer Command Sergeant Major Frederic Wilkins paced about the room. “Somehow the monsters who are planning this up-rise know that we are working with the monster named Mother to stop them. The operation could be in trouble, and it seems to me that things are progressing too quickly.”
First Sergeant Green fidgeted in his seat. “What can we do, Sir? I read about the attack in the monster city in Colorado. It’s not like we can nuke the state of Colorado, Sir.”
“We can send our boys in though.”
“How can we explain that to the public?”
“If we create enough damage, we can tell the public it was a terrorist attack.”
First Sergeant Green nodded. “Understood, Sir. Will you be going in as well?”
Command Sergeant Major Wilkins let out a short, bitter laugh. “Of course not, Green. They might have unicorns there.”

The group traveled back down through the winter paths to where they had left their car. Relieved to see it was fine, Vladimir reminded himself he had to bring back some kind of present for Emily when they returned the van.
Vladimir was the only one who looked human enough to sit up front, so he drove up front by himself while the other monsters crammed themselves into the back. Vladimir had just made it down the mountain when he discovered the road had been blocked off by a row of tanks.
The monsters stared dumbfounded at the obvious human attack, and stared at each other in wonder. “Is this for us?” Ralf asked, peering out the front window.
They could see humans with guns and grenades slowly approaching the van, once of them holding up a megaphone to talk to the van. “Monsters, come out with your hands…err…whatever it is you have…up. We don’t want any trouble, we just want to speak with you.”
Ralf climbed to the front seat and hollered out the front window, “If you don’t want any trouble why are you pointing all of those weapons at us?”
The human with the megaphone shrugged, and waved for the others to lower their weapons. The others didn’t listen. The human tried to plead but the others were intently watching the van, battling their instincts to run from the creatures of the night, completely unwilling to leave themselves unprotected.
Bella crept up to Kat. “I know you don’t trust potions, but you’ll have to trust me on this one. We need you to drink this so you can distract the humans and we can get away.”
Kat frowned intently at the red bottle, noting that it was a least a different color. She sniffed it, and it smelled different as well. “I don’t know. I just got done being stuck as a human. If this turns me into a little bunny or something I’m going to be really mad.”
Outside the humans were rolling closer, guns pointed and ready to fire. One human with an itchy finger fired early, but luckily missed the van. Ralf turned back to the others. “Kat, you’d better drink it. We don’t stand no chance against all of those weapons”
“It will help you eat more humans.” Bella thought to add, and Kat swiped the bottle from her hands, swallowing it whole, bottle and all.
“Let’s go!” Bella shouted, opening the van doors and pushing Kat out. She tumbled out in surprise, and looked at the shocked and terrified humans that now surrounded the van. Most had never seen a real werewolf before, just the Lon Chaney Jr. knockoff from the old black and white horror movies. Real werewolves look nothing like that.
Kat looked at the terrified faces, opened her jaws wide, and roared in delight. She towered over them at 9 feet, no, ten feet, wait, could it be that Kat was growing taller?
At the sound of her roar, some men started shooting at her while some dropped their weapons and fled in complete panic, and Kat charged with an open mouth toward the men with weapons. Someone threw a grenade, but Kat tossed it away into the forest. It exploded, and caused a forest fire.
Within minutes Kat was now a Godzilla sized horror that stomped on the tanks and easily removed handfuls of humans at a time with a scoop of her mouth.
Below her, Vladimir started the van up again and they zipped through the resulting mayhem into town, and headed for the highway.
Kat stomped after them, pausing to destroy parts of town as she passed. She stomped on the Tim Horton’s store, and recognized the night cashier racing out of the building. Looks like he had changed to the day shift after all.
She crashed into several whole food markets, and ate the retreating humans with a slurp of her tongue. An angry cyclist tried to yell at Kat for not giving him right of way of the road, and Kat responded by eating him and the several other cyclists he was with. As a result of this, Kat got a bike stuck in her teeth, so she broke off a telephone pole to use as a toothpick.
While Kat turned to devour another shop full of humans, military jets came screaming overhead and began circling Kat, barraging her with missile fire. Kat leapt of the ground and took a gigantic bite out of one jet, which went up in flames and crashed into the town below.
The other jet attempted to pull up and away, and Kat swatted this one out of the sky with a clawed slap, and the plane spiraled down to meet the same fiery death as the first. Kat picked up the flaming jet with her mouth, and held it triumphantly there as her prize.
Kat stood victoriously in the middle of the town, a town now smoking from an approaching forest fire and the explosions from the fallen jets. Buildings toppled over, roads destroyed, people in a complete confused panic. One man thought that the city had broken out into a spontaneous marathon, and was cheering loudly when he reached the end of the road and thought that he had won the race. His cheering was short lived when he noticed the reason why everyone was running in the first place. Kat happily swallowed him whole.
Kat took a moment to drink the scene of chaos in, before chasing after her comrades. She followed their scent through the city and she started to become her normal size again. Not long after she was eight feet tall again she caught up to the other monsters that had pulled over to wait for her. Kat leapt in the back, and they continued racing toward their destination, base 51.
“Looks like the war started early. We have to get to Base 51 NOW.” Ralf said what they all knew.
“Thanks for the distraction, Kat.” Louie patted her on the shoulder.
“Any time! I really enjoyed it!” Kat grinned happily, and began pulling at her singed fur.
“We still have company” Vladimir frowned, seeing the police cars and helicopters swarming his rear view mirror.
“I can handle this.” Bella winked and then took a long swig of her coffee. She then opened the back doors and waved her hands at the pursuing police. The police seemed to forget what they were chasing and all slowed down and stopped.
“What were we doing again?” One asked his partner. “I dunno but I’m hungry.” The other shrugged. “Let’s go get some Wendy’s.”
Bella watched them amble away in satisfaction before closing the door.
“We should probably lose this vehicle. And way we can snag a plane?” Ralf asked.
“Can you fly a plane?” Vladimir asked, “Because that’s out of my training.”
“Yeah I can. But we have to be sneaky, we don’t want anyone after us for stealing a plane.” Ralf scratched his head.
“What about a hot air balloon?” Kat asked, staring out the window.
“What? Well, maybe.” Ralf considered.
Kat pointed out the window at a field where a few people were setting up hot air balloons.
“How do we get to them?” Louie asked.
“I got this!” Kat leaped out of the moving car and sprinted toward the small group of humans. Before any of them could get away, Kat gobbled them up.
Vladimir stopped the car and looked to see if there had been any witnesses. There was no human in sight. He shrugged, ditched the van, and they all squeezed onto the largest hot air balloon that they could find.
They floated up into the sky with no one to stop them. The monsters jeered and grinned, hanging over the edge with glee as the world began to move away and grow beneath them.
They floated for several hours, hanging in clouds and headed in the general direction that they needed to go. It was hard to feel in any kind of rush when you’re in a hot air balloon. It wasn’t ideal, but they hoped that Lady Hua-yang had a back up plan for in case monsters broke out and attacked before their secret weapon was ready.

Meanwhile, back at the human army base:
First Sergeant Green ran frantically about the room, answering phone calls and saluting incoming officers who wore grim and slightly panicked expressions. “Damn it Green, we’ve got to cover this whole thing up!” Barked an angry Command Sergeant Major Wilkins, whose face had turned permanently red from all of the yelling he’d done the last half hour.
First Sergeant Green placed the phone down where another higher up had been yelling about him for the same thing. Green swore they both said the same thing at once. “How can we convince the people in Boulder that they didn’t see a giant werewolf destroying the city?”
“I don’t know! But we have to cover it up! Isn’t that what the government DOES?!” Command Sergeant Major Wilkins hollered, bits of spit flying out of his mouth and landing unwantedly on the unhappy First Sergeant Green.
“It’s war we want, isn’t it? Why not let the citizens know what they saw, won’t that help get their support for our attack?” First Sergeant Green asked, ignoring the phone that had begun to ring again.
“No, it would cause too much controversy that would set us back for months. It’s not like 50 years ago when monsters were something to be feared. People these days have this crazy notion that vampires are great dating material.”
First Sergeant Green found himself nodding. This was true. Thanks to the vampire craze, vampires and even werewolves were romanticized and attractive now. He shuddered at this thought, especially after seeing the footage of the giant werewolf, the terror of Boulder, eating hundreds of people whole. That seemed more like an ex-wife or mother-in-law than dating material.
A thought occurred to First Sergeant Green, a crazy wild idea that he tentatively voiced. “Pot is legal in Boulder.”
Command Sergeant Major Wilkins turned to look First Sergeant Green in confusion. “Now is hardly the time for that, Green.”
“No, I mean, Sir, what if we tell the public it was some kind of controlled hallucinogenic? The terrorists have a chemical, that when added to, well, pot, can make people hallucinate whatever they want them to?”
Command Sergeant Major Wilkins stared at First Sergeant Green thoughtfully. “It’s a long shot, but most of our cover ups aren’t very good. I think that will work, Green. Well done.”
First Sergeant Green felt his chest swell with pride at his good idea. “I’ll spread the news then, Sir.” He picked up the nagging telephone.
Command Sergeant Major Wilkins turned squarely away and let his thoughts drift to the werewolf that had caused all of the chaos today. She would have to be taken care of. Even Mother had warned them that she might be a problem, but now it seemed that the werewolf would have to be eliminated at all costs.

That night Command Sergeant Major Wilkins sent out a few calls and requests, and the next day he met with his “slayer team.” This was a loose term, because in fact the group he had in front of him was anything but coldblooded killers, but it was all the higher ups would allow him.
They were yeti hunters and supposed vampire slayers, people who already believed in monsters but were totally untrained in the art of killing a beast like Kat. They had come to the meeting at the promise of a large reward for Kat’s head. Just for showing up they were given two grand, and the reward would be even higher for the beasts head.
Command Sergeant Major Wilkins explained the danger, and showed them the footage of Kat eating most of Boulder. “She’s not normally this size, we believe she had the aid of a witch for this maneuver.”
The men gulped at the image, but held their hunting and assault rifles closer to them, seeking some sort of self assurance from their weaponry the way a child seeks comfort from a teddy bear.
“I hope you’re up for the challenge men, and ladies.” Command Sergeant Major Wilkins added when he saw a few tough looking women in the back of the group. They nodded coldly and left the room, clutching their guns with determination.

The hot air balloon was drifting lazily through the sky on a beautiful sunny day. They weren’t making a lot of time, but as long as they remained undetected they could at least make a getaway.
Louie was counting the cows below, black and brown spots that stood still and ate in the large pastures provided to them. As he looked over the horizon however, he noticed the greying sky and an ominous quiet from the North. “Uh oh guys, I think we have trouble.”
“What is it?” Vladimir asked, squinting at the grey clouds that were moving toward them.
Bella hopped up on her tippy toes and just barely had her nose over the side, her eyes straining to see. “It’s Harpies!” Bella gasped.
“Harpies?” Kat asked, she’d never seen one before. “Are they some sort of flying monster?”
“Yeah. If they’re coming for us they must have been recruited by Mother.” Vladimir sighed. “We might die.”
The others ignored this statement. “Why would harpies want to stop the uprising?” Kat tilted her head, wondering if she could eat a harpy.
“Harpies are extraordinarily jealous creatures. No doubt they heard the witches were for the uprising, and so the harpies opposed it just to be spiteful.” Vladimir explained.
“Why would anyone be jealous of a witch?” Ralf asked, and then saw Bella’s scowling face. “Er, no offense…”
“Because WITCHES have MAGIC!” Bella yelled, taunting the approaching harpies. She then lifted herself onto the top of the basket and waggled her butt in an extremely insulting fashion at the harpies.
“Bella, do you have any magic left?” Louie asked, worried as the cloud was approaching with a sudden jolt of speed.
Bella looked in her empty mug, and then fell dramatically onto the floor of the basket with a loud “Plop!” while throwing a straight up tantrum. “MY COFFEE! HOW CAN I GO ON IN THIS WORLD?! WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!” She proceeded to lie on her back and kick her feet and flail her arms, crying inconsolably.
The others stared at her with mildly concerned or annoyed expressions before turning back to the approaching harpies. The harpies had kicked up quite a storm, and they were almost visible now, scantily clad women with enormous feathery wings and great long talons on their feet.
“Maybe they taste like chicken.” Kat said aloud, licking her chops.
“Kat, how are you going to eat one?” Louie asked, when a sudden wind hit the balloon, sending it spiraling up, up, up and then suddenly it dove alarmingly downward.
“Hold on!” Vladimir hollered, but Kat saw her chance as a particularly mean looking harpy latched her talons onto the basket. Kat dove for her leg, which knocked the harpy off the basket and they both disappeared into the thick cloud of dust and cloud that the harpies had created.
“Kat!” Louie cried, dismayed, when he saw Ralf stand up and heave himself over the side of the basket.
“We can’t lose her, Lady Hua-yang said she’s important to the mission. I’ll go make sure she doesn’t get lost!” Ralf then hopped off the side and he too, disappeared.
The hot air balloon was now spinning wildly up again, no doubt being driven far off track, and Bella realized her chance to be alone with Louie. She kicked Vladimir in the back of the leg, and he lost his balance and went head first off the balloon.
“NOOOOOO!” Louie cried and tried to jump off after him, but found Bella attached to his leg, holding him in. The hot air balloon drifted up again, back into the clouds, and the harpies raised the intensity of their shrieking and storming.
The wind picked up and Louie clung to the basket for dear life. He felt like his eyes would never feel wet again, that they would wither up and fall out from the harsh wind that beat on every available inch of them.
Seeing the look of dismay and concern on Louie’s face, Bella decided she had one tactic left, one that happily did not require magic but was sure to work. She climbed the rocking basket side and stood at the top, for a moment watching the harpies close in, their faces victories and talons glinting toward them.
Then Bella turned away from them and farted. This was not just any fart, but a witches fart, and this particular fart of desperation and somehow, love, was so intense and disgusting it could have gone down in history books as a legend, the most deadly fart that had ever, or will ever exist.
The fart smelled worse than an old folks home, worse than a wet dog, stinkier than a fridge full of rotten eggs and old fish, more potent than a wet corpse lying on the concrete on a hot summers day, and some how even more disgusting than an elevator stuffed full of overweight unshowered men and woman with chronic halitosis who had just spent an hour sweating in the sauna and had tacos for lunch. This was not a fart that smelt of lavender and daisies. This fart ladies and gentlemen, was the mother of all farts.
The Harpies didn’t know what happened, and died on impact once the smell reached their nostrils and their brain attempted to register the extreme atrocity of the odor. Louie and Bella watched their faces twist in surprise and then disgusted horror before they simply fell downwards, very, very dead, leaving Louie terribly, miserably alone with Bella, the queen of farts.

Emily sat in the corner of her human’s office while Wendall tried with great difficulty to ignore her. He was mad she had rented out the van that he had planned on selling. He tried to yell at her, but her only response was to sit in a corner and visibly glare at him, not moving or batting an eye even when he had customers enter the office to buy a car.
Today was an especially slow day, because the terrorist attack on Boulder Colorado was all over the news. They had even blocked the town off to quarantine the citizens. Something big had happened, and the government was saying as little as possible. Wendall wasn’t even sure what country these terrorists were from, and he wondered whom they would be at war with now.
When the room got too quiet and when there were no customers around, Emily would giggle evilly from her corner, which unnerved Wendall to no end. After several hours of the silent treatment, Wendall sighed into his palms, rubbing his forehead as he did so. “Ok, you win. I’m sorry I yelled at you.”
“Good.” Emily replied. “Now make me some coffee.”
Wendall sighed again, stood up and shuffled to the door where he flipped the sign to “closed.” He hadn’t had any customers for the last several hours. He flipped off the radio and left the office to go to the kitchen where the coffee machine was located.
When Wendall left the room, Emily hopped down from her corner and checked her own radio station for monster news. To a human it sounded like static, but a monster’s ears could pick up the muffled monster speak beneath the static. Emily listened to the news about the giant werewolf who had destroyed a town, and how it seemed that war with the humans was imminent.
Emily suspected that the werewolf in question was in the party she had rented the van to, and she began to ponder her chances of getting it back. Perhaps it was time to go on an adventure, but she was painfully aware she would never reach the steering wheel or the pedals for that matter.
Her thoughts were answered by a knocking on the door. Emily turned to see the Anubis head in her doorway and she grinned broadly. “Nichole!”
Nichole and Emily had been roommates in monster college in underground Vermont a few years back, and had been close friends ever since. Nichole was a trickster and spent a lot of time traveling in order to play pranks on as many strangers as possible, and as you might have guessed it was her doing that turned Kat human.
“What are you doing here?” Emily asked.
“Just passing through, mostly. I wanted to find out what was happening out west so I thought I’d see if you wanted to join me on a road trip?”
“Perfect timing!” Emily cheered. “I think that group of monsters I rented a van to is responsible for the destruction in Boulder. I was thinking of chasing them down and remanding compensation.”
Nichole smiled wildly beneath her Anubis mask, not that Emily could see. “I can set them on fire for you!”
As Nichole said this, Wendall came back into the room with Emily’s coffee. He froze when he saw Nichole, and visibly shaking, he placed the coffee on the table. “For you…” He said, eyes still on Nichole, and he backed out of the room.
“Thanks!” Nichole went for the coffee but Emily beat her to it.
“Ok, fine. Tell him to make me one.” Nichole pouted, and Emily hopped out of the room, cradling her coffee.
“Only because YOU’RE driving” Emily said over her shoulder.

Kat hit the ground still attached to the harpy. The harpy shrieked and kicked, but lay flat and still when Ralf suddenly landed on her head. He shook the sand out of her fur and stood up to look at the desert that surrounded them. “Ugh.” He sighed.
Kat sat up and dropped the leg from her mouth. Harpies didn’t taste very good. “Where are we?”
Vladimir hit the ground some distance away, sending up a cloud of sand. He decided to lie there for a while, even though he wasn’t hurt.
“We’re in the desert, not sure what State. I think them harpies wanted to drive us way off course.” Ralf looked around. “Let’s start walking, I have an idea of where we might be, and if I’m right we might find the monsters that live here.”
“Ooh!” Kat piped up. “What kind of monsters?”
“I think we’re in troll country.”
“Troll country? I’ve never met a troll before. Haven’t they died out?” Kat asked.
“Not sure. But you’re right, there used to be a lot of stories about trolls, they had a large population in Europe in the dark ages. Trolls were the most voracious human eating machines that ever walked the earth. Except for maybe you.” Ralf glanced at Kat, who was transfixed on Ralf, imagining the human devouring creatures.
“They had to be anyways, as a Norse monster they were eating Vikings, who knew how to put up a fight. But they disappeared. All of a sudden no more human eating, no more sitting under bridges or raiding villages. No one knows what happened. Rumors are they moved to the North American desert before they vanished, but there’s been no proof. No one’s seen a troll in the last four to five hundred years.”
“So all of those human stories and myths about trolls from the dark ages?” Kat asked, eyes glinting with respect.
“All true.” Ralf confirmed, pulling Vladimir out of the sand and dragging the stubborn vampire by the leg as they walked. “Vladimir, get up damn it.”
“We failed the mission.” Vladimir groaned. “We’ll never be war heroes. I’ll never get a date.”
“Not with that attitude you won’t.” Ralf harrumphed and dropped Vladimir’s leg, kicking him in the side and hoping for a better result.
Vladimir stood up sadly, and trudged through the desert sand, muttering to himself about failing and being dateless on a Friday night. Ralf and Kat decided to ignore the vampire.
They trudged for hours under the hot sun, toward a tall rocky shadow that loomed and grew toward them on the horizon. When they finally reached its shadow, which had been moving further from them by the setting sun, they fell in a hot exhausted pile. Ralf and Kat were suffering the worst due to their thick and heavy fur coats. Vladimir watched the others pant miserably before getting up to go look for water.
He circled the rocky hill and after several minute’s investigation found a small cave in the boulders. He felt a cold breeze and smelt something wet, so Vladimir hollered for Ralf and Kat. They got up laboriously to see what Vladimir wanted.
When they felt the cold breeze that practically dove into the cave, pushing Vladimir rudely out of the way. The cave was wide and deep, and traveled into the rock for about 50 meters.
Kat sniffed around and found some strange looking rocks in the corner. “What are these?” She asked, holding it up. It was dark but too lightweight to be a rock, and did she imagine it squirming?
“Those are turnips!” Ralf took one, surprised. “What are they doing in a cave?”
Vladimir looked at the turnips curiously. “Perhaps they wanted to get away from the sun too?”
“But turnips need the sun to grow, don’t they?” Kat asked, sniffing the plant.
Ralf shrugged, and went to take a bite out of the one in his hand, when something surprising happened. It screamed.
Ralf dropped the turnip and started at it in wonder. Kat had stopped sniffing the other turnips to stare at the screaming one, and Vladimir cautiously picked it up. “It’s alive?”
“What about the others?” Kat asked, looking at the fairly large pile of turnips. They remained still, but there was something about their stillness that somehow seemed unnatural. Ralf, Kat and Vladimir couldn’t help but feel like they were being watched.
They stared at the pile of turnips, and the screaming turnip stopped, leaving the cave in a heavy silence. “We should take some with us.” Kat decided.
“Why?” Ralf asked, placing the now silent turnip on the pile with the others.
“There’s something very un-turnip like about these. I want to ask Bella what they are.” She also wondered if they were safe to eat. Kat didn’t like vegetables, but if the vegetable screams, does that mean it is no longer a vegetable?
“That’s not a bad idea.” Vladimir agreed. “Lets rest here for a bit and move on once the sun has set, it will be a lot easier to travel without the heat.”
They wrapped several of the creepy turnips up in a bag that Vladimir had been carrying under his cape, and waited decided to nap until the sun set. They hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep in the last several days.
“Ralf, can you tell me a story about the trolls?” Kat asked after tossing and turning about the cave.
Ralf sighed. “Yeah, sure.” He leaned back against the rock and thought about his favorite troll story, one his mother had told him when he was a little yeti.
“In a tiny village deep in the forest, a small village lived in fear of the trolls. Even though they owned the farm land and the bridges that surrounded their town, the trolls felt that they, too, owned the land and would argue and fight with the humans.”
“The humans in the village thought however that trolls were not very smart, and perhaps one of the cleverest humans might be able to trick and kill the trolls that lived in their forest.”
“So a man with three sons sent his eldest son, whom was the bravest, into the woods to defeat the trolls. The oldest son brought with him some cheese, and when he saw the trolls he thought he could scare them away. He held up the cheese and squeezed it until water came out. He then shouted at the trolls ‘Leave us trolls, for you have made me angry! If you don’t leave my village alone, then I will squeeze you like I have squeezed the water out of this white stone!’”
“Did the trolls know it was just cheese?” Kat asked, snapping her head up in alarm.
“Trolls only pretend to be stupid. They shuddered and shook and pretended be afraid. ‘Oh please, don’t hurt us! Don’t squeeze us strong human! Because of your obvious strength, we will prepare you a feast. Come and eat with us.’
“The oldest son, thinking he had won and fooled the trolls, came greedily to the trolls home, where they indeed had a great meal waiting. The oldest son looked at the piles of bread rolls, the fruits and vegetables that adorn the table, and could barely contain his watering tongue. ‘What about the main course?’ he asked. ‘That would be you.’ The trolls said, and gobbled him up.
Kat sighed happily from her corner. “Good.”
“When the oldest son did not return, the father grew concerned, and sent his middle child to go and trick the trolls. His middle son was also brave and heroically went into the forest carrying with him a nail, a wooden stick and a candle. He had heard of the story of a man once captured by trolls who threw him in a cage to fatten him up for dinner. He would then stall for time while eating the delicious food by offering the trolls the nail, then the wooden stick, and finally the candle instead when they requested his finger to see if he had grown fat enough. The hero in that story finally tricks the troll’s daughter into letting him sharpen the knife meant to kill him, and he kills her instead and then tricks the troll into eating his own daughter by dressing in her clothes and cooking her as the main course in his place.”
“The trolls of course know this story, and when the middle son comes willing with them to their house for a feast, they decide to play along. They throw him in a cage to fatten him, and a trolls daughter demands once a week to see his little finger. First the middle son offered the nail, and the troll loudly reported that he was still too hard and not meaty enough.
“The next time he offered the wooden stick, which she pretended to think was his finger, and again reported that he was too chewy and was not fat enough yet.
“Finally on the third day he offered the wax candle, and she told her father troll that the human was fat enough to eat now. The father troll told her to kill the human, and to broil one half of the human and roast the other half. He would then invite the other trolls to a great feast, and he hid in the next room.
“The middle child thought that here was his moment. He asked the daughter troll to let him sharpen the knife, for he wanted his death to be quick, and she neared the cage, as if to let him.”
“No! It’s a trap!” Kat cried, worry in her voice.
“Relax.” Ralf frowned at the interruption, but secretly enjoyed how enthusiastic Kat was about the story.
“The troll’s daughter moved toward the cage, letting the middle son think that he had tricked her, but quick as a flash she slit his throat and threw him into the pot.”
“Phew!” Kat breathed.
“Now, the trolls knew that the man had three sons. So instead of simply eating the second son they saved him. When the middle son did not return, the father became depressed. Clearly, his sons were not witty and clever enough to trick the trolls, and he would never see them again.”
“The youngest son was also brave and clever, and volunteered to go after his brothers. The father told him that he would never manage, but the son set out anyways, and he took with him his pet white bear as company.
“When the youngest son came across the trolls in the woods, he told them that they had better give him his brothers back. The trolls pretended to be afraid of the bear, calling it “Kitty” and fleeing if the bear got too close.
“The brought the youngest to their home, and served him a great meal. The youngest admired the rolls and the piles of fruits and vegetables. ‘What about the main course?’ He asked, and the trolls cried ‘oh, silly us! How could we forget!’ They then brought out the middle brother, all roasted up with an apple in his mouth.
“The youngest son screamed in horror, and the trolls laughed and shouted after him ‘AND DON’T EVER THINK ABOUT COMING INTO OUR FORESTS AGAIN!”
“Wow.” Kat sighed. “Good story.”
Ralf grunted in reply, and thought he saw the turnips move and twitch during the telling of the story. He must have imagined it. He snuggled into the rock as best he could and closed his eyes, taking a much-needed nap before the sun set.

Louie and Bella had finally stopped flying, and found themselves stuck in a rather large red wood tree. Louie looked down at the height with a grimace, peering through broken branches and vibrant green leaves that blocked most of his view and held them for the moment captive, while Bella peered down in curiosity. “The harpies brought us to California.”
“So it would appear.” Louie sighed.
Gill-men were not really equipped for climbing, so their climb down, which included Bella insistently sitting on his “heroic” shoulders, was mostly a tumble as gravity took hold of Louie and Bella and sent them logically downwards at an uncomfortable speed.
They hit the soft ground with a muffled thump and a groan. Louie stood up first to look around them, taking note of the enormous trees, dressed in a bright green moss. Soft reddish ground was covered in bright and tall ferns, and dotted with various green vegetation.
“Wow” Louie sighed, this time not a sigh of frustration but one of awe.
Bella stood up to drink in the sight as well, when she was suddenly struck with the memory of her lost life substance. She stared at the empty mug and wailed, the sound resonating and echoing at the suddenly silent forest. Birds perched in trees tilted their heads at the unusual sound and pondered its threat potential, before returning to their own chattering of ‘who should mate who’ and ‘this is my tree not yours, so suck it, bitches.’ You know, normal bird stuff.
Louie frowned at the witch. “Bella, we don’t have anyone who looks human with us. We’re both GREEN for crying out loud! How are we going to get you coffee?”
“I can help.” A voice came from behind Louie, but when he whirled around no one was there.
“Who?” Louie asked again, having to raise his voice as Bella wailed louder.
“ME!” Came the voice again, and suddenly a pinecone hit Louie in the head.
“Ow!” Louie growled, but couldn’t tell who or what was throwing things at him.
At Louie’s injury, however minor, Bella suddenly leapt up and started gnashing her teeth in rage. “DON’T TOUCH MY LOUIE!” She then lunged in the air at the voice and tried to throttle the invisible being, which laughed and appeared floating over her head.
Louie stared at the pale outline of the poltergeist that was giggling and taunting Bella with its spectral tail. Bella tried to bite it, bouncing surprisingly high off the ground with her stubby little legs, but the poltergeist was always out of reach.
“Why would you want to help us? And who are you?” Louie crossed his arms.
“I’ll help because stealing coffee sounds fun!” Grinned the ghost. “My name is Danny, Danny the poltergeist!”
Bella stopped trying to attack at the mention of coffee. “Cooooffffeeeee” She breathed.
The ghost didn’t wait for Louie’s response, but instead raced through the forest, presumably toward town. “Quick! Follow it!” Louie yelled and grabbed Bella as he sprinted after the specter.

The forest was silent except for the steady crunching of boots through the snow. A small party walked in silence, certain that they were close to their quarry, they had been closing in for days now, and with the sun beginning to set over the hill, they were met with a sense of urgency. No one wanted to be caught out after dark, defenseless, the hunter becoming the hunted.
Mary, the only female in this group shivered as the stretching shadows seemed to swallow her, wrapping around her with cold intangible claws. “We’re not going to find it tonight.” Mary’s voice cracked as it left her throat, and the 3 men with her paused only to grace her with a sideways glance.
“There’s another track here, and it’s fresh, Mary. If we wait until tomorrow the beast will be gone.” Hal crouched down to point out the giant footprints in the snow.
“Are you sure they’re the werewolf tracks?” Mary asked, hopeful for any excuse to go back to their warm cars. To emphasize this, she shivered again and let her teeth chatter without resisting them.
Ben also felt his teeth chattering, but he clenched his jaw and hid the weakness. They were too damn close to the werewolf, they couldn’t give up.
Ben walked ahead of the others, silently urging them onwards, pulling them forward with his thoughts. They followed Ben in silence, ears straining to hear anything over the sound of their own footsteps and heavy breathing.
Mary jumped when she heard a branch stop, and the group stopped to stare into the forest. They saw no movement, and stood for a long uncertain while before they heard another snap.
“Something big” Hal breathed.
They all raised their rifles and moved forward, step by cautious step, until they rounded the corner, and saw a great mound of dark brown fur and two piercing eyes.
Mary screamed bloody murder and squeezed the trigger, lost her balance in the kick and fell into Hal. Hal screamed when Mary hit him, and he too fired. Ben and the other hunter, Joe, didn’t want to be left out also took frantic aim at the beast and fired.
The creature lumbered at them, unfazed by the onslaught of bullets, and the hunters began screaming and shouting in fear, just as a thought came to Hal, who had been a cryptozoologist and had hunted Sasquatch all of his life, that this wasn’t the werewolf they were looking for.
Hal knew what Bigfoot looked like, even if he’d never seen one or gotten any proof that they existed before. People had told him his entire life that he was crazy. But who was crazy now?
Here he was, face to face with the beast, his chance to get evidence for the first time in his life and finally prove to his mother that he wasn’t crazy, when the beast wrapped his hands around Hal and easily lifted him up of the ground.
They made eye contact, and Hal looked into its eyes, hoping for a way to save himself and somehow become friends with it. A vision of them prancing through a field of flowers flashed through his eyes, and abruptly ended when Hal found himself flying through the air. He sailed and for a precious moment he wasn’t falling but flying, until he hit the rocks below and his life ended as his head opened and blood decorated the gray and snowy stone. Big foot turned for the others, and threw them one after another over his head and down the rocky hill behind it.
The creature turned to make sure they wouldn’t be getting back up anytime soon, and then the famous Bigfoot stomped back into the forest.

Tim had had a rough week. After working the night shift in Boulder and dealing with unbearably odd customers, one of which he was still having nightmares about, and seeing the giant werewolf terrorist or whatever that was destroy his home town, he moved to California to live with his cousins for a bit while he got his life back in order.
His cousin had gotten him a job at a small coffee shop on the edge of town that Tim thankfully accepted. He hated being broke and relying on others. His cousin owned the store, and was sitting in a chair talking to Tim while the store was dead.
Suddenly the doors flew open and banged against the wall, but no one was there. A freshly made pot of coffee started to float out the door when Tim grabbed it, looking at his cousin Fred in confusion. “What the hell? That’s not funny Fred! How are you doing this?”
Fred stood up to look at the floating pot, but found that his shoelaces had been tied together and he fell flat on his face. Tim looked on in fear, realizing something crazy might actually be going on. Tim let go of the floating coffee pot, which spun and then slapped him in the face.
Enraged, Tim went to grab it again when it rose over his head. Plastic forks and straws began flying all over the room, and Tim ran screaming toward the doors, which had started opening and closing in a super scary fashion.
Tim thought better of the doors, and with Fred now shoeless behind him they leapt out the window and ran off screaming for someone to call the ghost busters.
Danny giggled at the sight, and then floated the coffee pot out of the store and into the woods. Danny barely made it into Bella’s vicinity before he heard “CCCCOOOOOOFFFEEEEEEEE!!!!! MINE MINE MINE GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!” and she came sailing through the air at him and dive-bombed the coffee. A few precious drops slipped out of the pot and fell dangerously close to the ground before Bella slurped them up with a flick of her tongue.
“Are you part frog?” Danny asked, and was about to shake the pot to see her do it again, when Bella pulled the pot safely to her and growled at the ghost.
Louie caught up to them, panting. “Thanks, Danny. We owe you.”
Danny grinned mischievously at this. “Don’t mention it.”
Louie stood there awkwardly, waiting for Danny to ask some sort of favor, and hoping he didn’t want to go along with them. They had to get back to either base 51 or locate the others as fast as they could, and Danny seemed like he might be distracting.
Danny said nothing, but stared back. Danny kept this stare as he faded in front of them, and Louie wondered if he had left. “Is he gone?”
“Unlikely.” Bella shrugged, hugging her coffee pot and sniffing it deeply. She looked like she was about to snort the coffee up her nose. “Let’s go” she then marched resolutely through the woods, toward their destination.
Louie followed, and couldn’t shrug off the feeling of being watched.

Nichole pointed at the helicopter, and Emily nodded. That’d do the trick. The troublesome pair had snuck onto a rich guy’s house, and were currently sitting on the roof, sizing up the helicopter.
“How do we get rid of the owner, so he doesn’t snitch?” Emily asked.
“Already have it covered.” Nichole pointed down and Emily saw a horse frantically running about the driveway.
“He ate the pie I left at the doorstep.”
“You turned him into a horse?”
“Well, technically the pie did.”
Emily decided this plan was perfect, and hopped into the copilot’s seat. “Let’s go!”
Nichole waved her hand to tell her to be patient, and poured something on the roof.
“Gasoline?” Emily raised her eyebrows. Nichole hadn’t changed.
“It’s boring when I don’t leave amidst an explosion.” Nichole shrugged, and once they were off the ground she dropped the fire, setting the building on fire.
The horse below became even more upset, neighing and racing about the house. “Poor guy.” Emily noted. She dropped a carrot out of the helicopter, which landed square on his head.
The helicopter flew up and away, just as something explosive caught fire and the building was loudly destroyed.
A few hours flight landed them in Boulder, and Nichole dropped them off in the mountains, where Bell City was alleged to be. There they found Lady Hua-yang, and if they didn’t know better, they would think she was waiting there for them.
“Nichole and Emily, you’re just the monsters I wanted to see.”
“Eh? How did you know we were coming?” Nichole asked, hopping out of the helicopter and sizing up the old lady.
Lady Hua-yang ignored her question, much to Nichole’s irritation. “You’re the mummy who turned Kat human. Mother told you to do it, didn’t she?” The kitsune’s eyes bore dangerously into Nichole’s, who shifted uncomfortably.
“Yeah, so?”
“You almost jeopardized our mission. You don’t want humans to have the surface forever, do you?”
Nichole scowled and kicked a scrub. “No.”
“I believe you can make it up to me. I need that werewolf to be found, as well as the rest of my team. They are important to the mission.” Lady hua-yang noticed the resentment on both of their faces (these were not monsters who enjoyed being told what to do) and decided to encourage them instead.
“I need someone to cause some chaos for Mother’s army. I’ll give you whatever you need, and you can cause as much damage as you wish.”
This was what they wanted to hear. Together, Nichole and Emily grinned and rubbed their hands together, imagining evil deeds.
“We need all explosives as you can give us.” Nichole grinned.
“And some wine.” Emily added.

After Nichole and Emily took off again, chopper full off explosives and wine, Lady Hua-yang and the witch queen Hecate watched them disappear over the horizon in silence.
“You’ve sent them after Kat?”
Hecate nodded in response to Lady Hua-yang’s question. “The war has already started, hasn’t it?”
This time it was lady Hua-yang’s turn to nod. “I gave them permission to blow up some human army bases on the way. After what happened in Boulder, it’s too late to stop now. Even Mother will have to acknowledge this and join us.”
Hecate laughed. “Mother is stubborn. So aren’t her allies. I doubt they will aid us. We have to count on ourselves.” Hecate turned to go back to the city of Bell. “They’re in the desert where I banished Ginny Greenteeth to.”
Lady Hua-yang raised a brow but didn’t turn to look at her. “What does that mean?”
“If we can get Bella there as well, perhaps she can undo all of the damage that Ginny did there. Perhaps, they’ll find the trolls, and we shall have powerful allies indeed.”
“How can we get Bella there if you said she was lost somewhere else?”
“I have already used my magic to send them there. If you will excuse me, I need a drink. Now. Before I tear someone’s head off and eat it raw.” Witch queen Hecate then stomped back to the city of Bell.
Lady Hua-yang shook her head. Witches got very grumpy when they didn’t have a constant supply of their “fix.”

General Fliegan watched the crowd of zombies with immense concern. He had shown the monster leaders what he could do, what they were capable of, but yet the zombies were not without flaw and this troubled him. If the war failed, he was certain he would go down in monster history as a giant jackass.
The zombies ate uninfected people, sure. But only when they felt like it. They often lacked motivation and would rather draw pictures of cats on the floor with blood from whoever still had some left.
He watched one now, it was drawing a picture of a cat playing a keyboard with its still bleeding hand. He was freshly dead. The zombies seemed to treat the freshly dead like “the cool new kid in town” and they circled around the zombie artist to moan and wheeze about the archaic picture.
General Fliegan beat his hand against the glass in anger. The zombies paused to look at him, and Fliegan pointed at the uninfected human who was standing in the room with them, looking completely baffled and uncertain as to whether he was in some sort of danger or not. The zombies cast him a look then went back to drawing. Drawing was the cool thing to do.
General Fliegan huffed and turned away. Lady Hua-yang would kill him if she knew there was any kind of holdup. Thanks to the fiasco in Boulder they needed to operate now, time was severely of the essence. He needed D.N.A. from a cold-blooded human devouring monster. He needed Kat. She was the only one who met all of the priorities and unfortunately, from the news he received during his last radio check in, it seems that she has gotten herself lost.
Fliegan picked up his suitcase, and told his unpaid intern Stan to mind the lab. He was going to the United States.
Stan acknowledged his request with a grunt, not looking up from his magazine “Succubus gone wild.” General Fliegan then whistled for his pet Chompers the unicorn.
Chompers trotted out from his fluffy unicorn den and waved his powder blue mane. Chompers was all blue with a glittery sparkles in his fur and a twinkle in his eyes. Stan rolled his eyes at the sight of the prancing unicorn over the top of the magazine.
“I don’t know why you think Chompers is such a killer. That thing practically shoots puppies and rainbows out of its eyes.” Stan sighed.
Fliegan smiled. “Chompers is full of surprises.” But even Fliegan couldn’t deny the silly look on Chompers face or the way the horse had to prance everywhere and couldn’t walk normally. Fliegan had gotten Chompers from one of the four horsemen, and had been assured of the horse’s coldblooded appetite. Fliegan hoped he hadn’t been fooled.

Kat, Ralf, and Vladimir marched through the desert just after the sun set. At first they were still burdened with heat, but because the air was dry and could not hold on to the warmth of the sun for long, it was soon cold which suited the monsters just fine.
They had worked out that they had fallen into Mexico, and realized that getting back to the United States was going to be tricky. For one, there was this giant fence in the way that was often guarded, and reason number two was that the local monsters were extremely odd.
Odd in fact doesn’t even begin to describe the weirdness and social awkwardness of the Mexican City chupacabras. Unlike what humans think, they only live in a very small part of Mexico, near the United States border, and they never, ever leave.
All chupacabras that have been sighted anywhere else are wrong. One such case was a supposed Chupacabra body found in New England, which of course turned out to be a dead, hairless dog. It was one hell of an ugly dog, but a dog just the same.
While chupacabras never go on adventures (perhaps they are the hobbits of the monster world?) they DO however sick the blood out of goats, like the weird little vampire dog things that they are.
Since they are such odd creatures, they are often avoided by other monsters, and the only time they are included in any kind of conversation is so that they can be made fun of.
With this information in mind, Vladimir, Kat and Ralf found themselves reluctant to seek the aid of the chupacabras, but with war at hand and time of the essence, so on and so forth, they monsters had to make a tough call. If they didn’t seek the aid of the chupacabras, they’d never get past the border. Ralf was also hoping to connect somehow with Lady Hua-yang.
They were just about to knock on the door to the dreaded chupacabra city, Cabra Sangrienta, when there was a loud popping noise and Bella and Louie suddenly fell out of the sky and landed on top of them.
“Oof!” Ralf cried, struggling under Louie’s sudden weight.
“Ack!” Vladimir squirmed as Bella landed directly on him headfirst.
“Hey!” Kat cried when she felt something hit her on her nose but could see nothing. She wrinkled her snout and wondered why it was so cold.
“What are you guys doing here?!” Ralf cried, rolling a disoriented Louie off of him.
“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Bella screamed, then realized her coffee pot was still in her hands. “Oh. Never mind, I thought we had a dilemma. Where the heck are we?”
Louie shook sand out of his gills and looked at Bella. “Next time you transport us somewhere, would it kill you to give a warning first?”
“I didn’t transport us, I’d need a heck of a lot of coffee to pull off that kind of magic!” Bella shook sand out of her pants and the others grimaced.
“Then who did?” Louie asked, confused. “Can a poltergeist do that?”
“Poltergeist?” Kat asked, sniffing around them in a circle.
“Yeah, we ran into a weird poltergeist who helped us steal some coffee.” Louie gestured to the pot that Bella was clutching.
“Poltergeists can’t use magic.” Bella stated. “It had to be the witch queen. She’s probably going to need to drink a lot of booze now to make up for all of that magic use, because transport magic is very powerful!”
“So the witch queen is gunna get smashed, huh? While we’re out fighting a war in the desert?” Ralf asked.
Bella shrugged. “It’s good to be queen.”
Meanwhile Kat seemed to find the hidden poltergeist via smell, and bite the empty air testily.
“Ow!” the ghost yelped and slapped the werewolf.
“Found you!” Kat said gleefully.
“Danny? How did you get here?” Louie asked, upset.
Danny shrugged even though no one saw. “The nice witch lady must have sent me with you! We’re at waaaar, you say?”
“Yes, we’re at war. The monsters are going to have an uprising, that may have already started, and they need our help to fight.” Louie barked at the ghost while looking in the wrong direction.
“Sounds fun. Do we get to destroy stuff? And steal people’s left shoes?”
“Left shoes?” Kat asked. “What’s the point?”
Danny sighed. “Humans can’t go to war with only one shoe on. Duh.”
“So you’re going to steal EVERYBODY’S left shoe?” Louie asked, crossing his arms and smirking.
“Yeah! Who says I can’t!”
“ME! That’s a stupid plan!”
“Don’t call my plan stupid! You’re just jealous that I have a plan and you don’t! What are YOU gunna do, you overgrown aquatic lizard?!”
“I’m going to follow orders and fight in a way that makes sense, not some nonsensical childish war tactic of stealing everybody’s lousy left shoe! It will NEVER work!”
“Oh, we’ll see about that. Later dummies.” Danny left with determination, while Louie was still yelling in the wrong direction.
“And you’re stupid!” Louie hollered while the other monsters stared at him. It took Louie a few moments to realize this, and as he did so he realized his companions weren’t the only ones staring at him.
So were a handful of chupacabras who were standing wide-eyed in the doorway to the city.
“Oh, fish sticks.” Louie cursed.

“They’ve given us the signal to go.”
“What, we’re going to bomb the whole city? What next, the entire country, continent, why don’t we just blow up EVERYTHING IN SIGHT, god-damnit this is insane.”
“We’ve been given our orders Green. The war has started.”
“What about that damn giant bear? Didn’t we have allies? Weren’t they supposed to stop all of this?”
“They failed. Obviously. We have to attack now, and may God help us.”
“There will be so many of our own dead. God isn’t helping us. Tell me something Sir, if there are all of these monsters…demons and everything else…doesn’t that mean there’s a Satan? Doesn’t that mean that there’s a God out there, somewhere? Where the Hell is he?! You’d think he’d be on our side!”
“There is no God, no Satan, just monsters, and us. Who knows how we got here, if evolution is real or what. For all I know we were all put here by some giant crazy space mantis named Phazod. None of this religious stuff matters anyways, it’s just nice to think that maybe there’s a God who will get us out of this. I’m about ready to pray to whatever god I have to.”
“How are people even going to handle the news? That there really are monsters out there? That there really IS a giant creature living in the Loch Ness?”
“People aren’t afraid of monsters like they used to be. We think there have been some monsters…vampires in particular that have put monsters in a more attractive light so humans would be less likely to want to fight them.”
“That explains all the lovey dovey vampire stuff on t.v. God, my kids watch that crap. At least they didn’t romanticize zombies. Lots of people would be excited to fight against those. People have made action plans, they’re more prepared.”
“Yeah, but zombies aren’t real. Rumors are that monster scientists are trying to change this. Let’s hope that’s not a fact.”
“Yeah. God, zombies. I made a zombie preparedness kit, I even have my basement all stocked up and zombie proofed. But I never thought there was so much as a sliver of a chance of coming across one. Imagine a real zombie apocalypse.”
“It’s not going to be as fun as people might think, if it happens. Come on, we’ve got work to do.”

Hecate sat drunken on her throne; drunk with dark intent, drunk with power, but mostly drunk with gratuitous amounts of whisky. This was cause for concern among her subjects because whisky had a habit of turning her into a gigantic bitch.
They either sat or stood around her throne awaiting orders, fidgeting nervously at every belch and drunken sigh that Hecate uttered. She was totally trashed, and it wouldn’t be long before the queen unleashed her random fits of rage on the undeserving subjects.
A young witch named Ali approached the throne room solemn faced and determined. “Queen Hecate, we have word that the humans are aiming their weapons at our city. They plan to attack us first because of the giant werewolf occurrence in the human city Boulder.”
Queen Hecate downed the whisky in her cup and then tossed it on the ground where it shattered. She looked up the daring witch with blood shot eyes, seeing only the blurry blue of her clothing and her neatly pinned hat perched perfectly on her head. “The humans can’t touch the city of Bell. We have MAGIC for crying out loud!”
Hecate stood and belched again, relieved at the sudden ease in tension in her chest, and wobbled dangerously toward Ali, trying her best to maintain an evil glare and threatening pose. The mighty queen failed when she tripped on her own shoes and fell face first on the floor. She lay there amount, spread-eagle and devoid of grace, before lifting her head up and pulling herself back to her feet.
Ali and the other witches said nothing, knowing to laugh at their queen meant certain death or horrible banishment. They all knew the story of Ginny Greenteeth, the English witch who upset the queen and was banished to the desert as punishment. This was a terrible punishment because Ginny was well known for her love of water, and many humans died by her hands as she drowned them to death in her favorite watering holes.
Ali maintained a stoic and stern faced pose that she had learned from watching the human television show Star Trek. She admired Mr. Spock.
“Sisters.” Queen Hecate announced, regaining herself from her fall, “it is time for war.”
The other witches obediently cheered.
“We will attack the humans before they can attack us. We will…” the queen paused as she tried to think of a plan of attack. Her brows scrunched together in thought and her mouth moved as though it wished to continue but no words came out.
“We will…kill them…with…uh…I need a nap.” The queen turned around and left the room, and the other witches watched in silence.
Ali sighed, and waited for her to leave. “We will just have to attack first, ladies. I think we have a safe bet at terrorizing the humans at their central military hub.”
“What would that be?” asked another witch, with orange colored skin and a long pointy nose.
“We start with the White House.” Ali grinned, then couldn’t help but add; “it’s the logical thing to do.”
Ali paused to think while she pet the great black cat that sat on her shoulders. She knew there was more to this than just the monster uprising. She and half the witches hear heard queen Hecate talk drunkenly to the cat about her plans. Today they reclaim the surface, tomorrow it’s the world, baby. Ali liked this plan, witches ought to have control of the world. But she was aware that queen Hecate, though a great witch, was not a great strategist and so when the queen was incapacitated she had better make some plans and set them into action. Ali could always tell the sobered queen they had been following her orders, let the queen take the credit as long as they won the war.

Meanwhile, unknown to the witches, a jet loaded with a bomb was already headed their way. Luckily for them, Emily and Nichole were in the right place to intercept it. They would have been farther away from Boulder County by this point, but Nichole had taken them joyriding over the mountain tops, flying low and scaring the living daylights out of human passerby.
After they had made a few passes across the mountains and scared some skiers and hikers, they turned back to their mission when they spotted the jet careening by.
“Is that a fighter plane?” Emily asked.
“Aye. Looks like they’re headed toward Bell.”
“Wanna blow it up?”
“Do you even have to ask?”
Emily chuckled evilly and leaned out the door, shooting her little machine gun at the passing jet. The jet disagreed to being shot at, and turned around to aim its own rounds at the helicopter. Nichole leaned out the door with a bazooka, and managed to get a great shot in before the jet could fire back.
The jet sailed down and exploded sending shrapnel and flames in every direction. Emily suddenly frowned when she saw where it had landed. “Wasn’t that the monster city Blub?”
Nichole shrugged. “Who cares about merfolk?”


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