Oliver D. Bernuetz's Stories
Tales from Grandpa - Chapter 3 (Into the Belly of the Eel)
---Grandpa, would you wake up damn it!
May all the gods damn me to hell if I ever get myself into another situation like the one we found ourselves in Corflu that Sacred Time. There we was sworn to serve this crazed madman named Barran Monsterslayer on his leaky boat on one trip. Good thing we didn't know what the trip was going to involve or we might have killed ourselves on dry land.
Nobody was too happy about helping this nutter but we didn't have much choice in the matter. This nut wouldn't explain what we was goin' to be doing but he insisted that we learn how to handle a small boat so that's what we did for the next four weeks. Up at dawn, eat fish, row all morning, eat fish again, and then row all afternoon, eat fish AGAIN and then collapse into our hammocks (a horrible baglike thing sailors have come up with to sleep in-I fell out every damn night). Hallelujah the Babeester Gor hated every minute of it. She hated fish, she hated boats and she HATED water most of all. I don't even think she bathed much come to think of it. She tried to learn as little about boats as possible and dreaded every day.
We spent four weeks rowing back and forth in a small boat near Corflu while Barran's shipwright (the burke who builds and repairs ships) made some repairs to the Churner. Even though we was a bunch of ignorant landlubbers we still thought it was kind of strange to see that they'd cut the mast off at waist level. Not that we spent a lot of time worrying about what they was doing to the boat, err ship since there was too many weird things going on in Corflu. First of all it rained all the damn time. We soon found out that this was not normal even for Corflu. Sometimes the rain tasted salty and the Lunar commander was worried about the water supply. The Lunars tasted every bit they let into the cisterns.
Other weird stuff happened like something you'd be drinking would suddenly taste like salt water. Other times you'd see weird stuff out of the corner of your eyes like fish swimming around in the air like they was in water or some merman peeking at you. And the damned dreams. Almost everyone (except me) had this nightmare where'd they'd dream they was drowning and would wake up just before they drowned. The Babeester Gor was so rattled by this that only her oath to Barran kept her on the water. She kept muttering to herself about not wanting her corpse to rot underwater. Oh yeah, I almost forgot people kept smelling stuff like rotting fish and things long dead and soggy when none of those things was about. Then there was these giant tentacles and spirirt attacks. It was all pretty weird stuff and everyone left in Corflu (a lot of folks bugged out as soon as the weird stuff began) was as jumpy as a jackrabbit in a pack of sleepin' plains wolves.
The whole business was bad enough but it was made even worst by the spooky things that kept happening. First of all it never stopped raining. Then people started seeing things out of the corners of their eyes. Fish, mermen, monsters, you name it. Then water started tasting like salt. This freaked the Lunars out and they started runnin' around panicing about their water supply. It didn't freak them out as much as the giant ghost tentacles. Damn things slithered about ruining food and tryin' to squish folks. Finally there was the last straw-we saw this huge monster in the water around Corflu! Damn thing was big enough to circle the entire island! We sure wished we had some choice about what we was up to but we didn't.
When Sacred Time rolled around this damn critter rises up out of the water before dawn. Fuckin' Lunars running around freakin' out and blowin' on them damn bugles. What a racket. The Watchdog attacks the critter. What a joke. Damn things whips around, grabs the Watchdog and chucks it off into the swamp. This causes even more of an uproar. Then what happens but Barran Monsterslayer stumps up and announces that he wuz gonna slay this critter to prove his worth to Magasta. Ye can believe yer boots that we weren't none too crazy about this but I asks ya again, what choice did we have?
We and our supplies get into Barran's sawed-off boat. We start rowing the damn thing toward this giant fish. Closer and closer we gets. I asks Barran, "What are we gonna do to the outside of that thing." He turns to me and smiles, "Oh, we're not doing nuthin' to its outside." Before you can say "Bugger me for a Storm Bull" the damn fish whips around, opens its mouth and swallows us whole, boat and all. Damn me if I didn't soil meself then and there.
It'd have been dark inside except for them everburning torches. We clambers out on deck from below (where we'd hidden ourselves while we was being swallored) and gets attacked by this big lizard critters. I lets fly with one of me javelins and hits one right in the eye. The rest of 'em weren't much more difficult to kill. Once we finished off the critters we uses this funny hooked oars to pull the boat into the next stomach.
There we fights this giant critter that looks like the head from a walktapus. It had some sort of underwater ally but we fought it off too. In the next stomach we fights off these wraiths that tried to suck our brains out. Unfortunately for them our brains were too much for them. Lou's special spirit magic helped too of course. As we floats along we hears this giant thump, thump like some kind of giant drum. Barran tells us this is the critters heart which he means to touch with one of the torches to kill it.
In the last stomach we expects the worst because this is where the heart is and sure enough this giant sea lizard rises out of the water and wraps itself around our boat. Barran screams "Hold it off!" while he prepares hisself to chop a hole through this things side to get at the heart. Well I'm telling you that critter was big and scary looking and I was sure we were in over our heads. (Geddit, in over our heads?) Anyway, we sucks in our breaths, casts our magic and jumps this thing. I'm telling you kids never underestimate the power of luck. That lucky, err lucky warrior Hallelujah Harnsdottir just lets that damn thing have it with a mighty blow of her pole axe that nearly cuts that damn thing in two. Never seen such a thing before. Kind of an anti-climax if you know what I mean.
Well Barran manages to cut through the inside hide of this critter and yells, "Hold on to something solid", just before he touches the torch to the heart. I grabs something solid, Hallelujah I think, Barran torches the critter and all hell breaks loose. The damn thing starts writhin' and buckin' and we get tossed about. The water rushes around and the boat is tossed and turned like mad. We hears a rushing noise and eventually everything goes black...
---And that's all for that story.
Last updated October 07, 2016
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