The Ceremony by Austin Cressman
“This is it? This isn’t right!… we need to get out of here!” (Dramatic effect)
I sat under a tree, with my arm around my amazing, giant pet eagle named Jet. I was thinking about my life. I resided in a world that was natural, but yet unnatural at the same time. I lived in a very small town on an island with about 500 people in population. I was 12 and it was July 27th. The age, and date of month when all children like me are losing their minds with excitement. But not me… not me.
I lost my train of thought when Alyssa, my little sister, called to me from the back door of our house.
“Finn!” she practically screamed
“WHAT?” I screamed back, “Why are you yelling!?”
“I called you like, six times!” she responded, with an annoyed tone, “It’s time to get ready!”
“Fine. Jet, stay here okay?”
He nodded his head and smiled with the cutest, toothless grin ever. We had a special connection. Whenever I was in trouble, he would know. He was always there for me.
I slowly stood up. As I started walking, I noticed things that I never really have noticed before. The dewy blades of grass that brushed my bare feet. The beautiful, bright, lavender orchids that Alyssa had planted in her garden. The calm, gentle, breeze that grazed my face and blew my short, dirty, blonde hair. And finally the sparkling, pink, sunrise that just barely pushed above the surface.
I sighed and grinned with my hands on my hips.
“Hurry up!” Alyssa reminded.
My smile disappeared as I started to trudge home. As soon as I came through the back door, My father greeted me with a massive hug.
“There’s my boy!” he said “Come to the living room, you need to get ready! It’s almost time!
“OOOHHHH great!” I heard grandpa Clinton groan in the distance. “Is it really that time again?” he complained “Back in my day we used to fight back!”
“Oh, will you shut up?” My mom retaliated as fast as she could in a hushed voice, “It’s what we have to do.” I overheard her whisper.
“That’s rubbish!” Grandpa Clinton shouted as he slammed his fist on the table.
My mother continued to whisper, and I strained my ears to hear, but she was out of earshot. I walked into the living room and saw my dad with a half frown, looking at the floor.
“Ar… are you okay dad?” I questioned worriedly.
“O…Oh yes son… yes, I’m fine.” he said as he flashed a fake smile.
For some reason that didn’t seem to sell me. I shrugged and went to go talk to Alyssa, who was looking out of the window into the ocean.
“Hey, uh. I was wondering what you thought about ‘The Ceremony’.” I asked
“As far as I know, it’s the biggest honor ever! I’m not allowed to see it happen, but it sounds awesome! You are so lucky that you get to attend it!”
No child was allowed to see “The Ceremony” unless it happened to them, which made me very suspicious. I decided to go see why grandpa was so distraught about it. What did he mean “Fight back?”
“Hey grandpa,” I began.
He grunted in acknowledgement.
“Uh… I wanted to ask you a question.”
He nodded, but didn’t move his gaze from the floor
“What do you mean fight back?”
He then looked up, opened his mouth to speak, but my mother interrupted.
“That’s a story for another time! For right now you need to get ready, there is only a few hours until The Ceremony.”
I couldn’t tell if I should be worried or curious, while I was stuffed into a poofy, snazzy, dark green and blue tuxedo.
“Oh you look so handsome!” My mother praised, “Your eyes match your suit very nicely!”
My phone rang and I went to see who it was.
“Oh hey Finn!” It was my friend Quito. “Are you excited?
“To be completely honest, no, not at all…” I confessed, worried about what his response would be.
“Really? Me neither! I thought I was the only one!”
“Same! Oh, this is good knowing someone else is concerned.”
We continued our conversation in private, and I convinced Quito’s family to come over to my house so we can discuss this further.
It was a good thing that Quito only lived three doors down, because he arrived in two minutes. By then there was only an hour before it was time for The Ceremony. We huddled up in my room and spoke as quiet as we could while still being able to hear each other. We threw some words in there like “aren’t you so excited!” And “this is going to be so awesome!” To throw off our parents, who were “talking” in the kitchen, and obviously only trying to hear our discussion.
“I guess we’ll just have to find out the hard way…” Quito said.
“Yeah I guess so, but just in case, we need to have an escape plan.” I suggested.
“That would be great!…. If we knew where we’re going!” He said jokingly.
Quito was right, we would just have to risk it, there is no way we would be able to run now, we didn’t even know what was ahead of us. It could be something like our parents say, or it could be… I have no idea.
“Time to go kids!” Quito’s mother exclaimed.
We nodded and started to walk to the door. I looked at Quito, we had the same eyes. We used to joke that our eyes got mixed up at birth, since we both had one blue and one green eye. We were true friends. Ever since we were two months old, we were together. Went to the same school, same class, and believe it or not, we were born on the same day! We were practically twins. Except for the fact that we had different parents.
We were silent the whole ride. We had no idea where we were going; we went about 10 minutes away from our town. As the car started to slow, we peeked out the window all we could see was a field of cut grass, and the ocean…
We were told to get out of the car and go on the grass to wait. Then one by one, different families showed up. Around 50 adults were there, but only four kids… We waited for around ten minutes and no one else showed up. We walked up to the edge of the water and all the spectators backed up.
Suddenly, four huge podiums shot up from the surface, about ten feet above us, then simultaneously, stairs leading up to each podium also appeared. I was scared out of my wits; I looked back but I couldn’t see my parents. We all started walking up the stairs, which seemed endless, and the confining suit didn’t help. Once I reached the top, I stood in the middle of the platform and looked to the side, I saw Quito. He looked as terrified as I did, and I realized something…both of the other kids had the same eyes as we did! I didn’t know what to do. I started to sweat.
I could feel tension rising until all I could hear was my heartbeat. It pounded so hard I felt like it would rip out of my chest. Then I heard rumbling and the stairs submerged back into the water. My trance was broken when I heard chanting from the crowd.
“Mog (two foot pounds) Mog (two foot pounds) come! (Two foot pounds) Come!
I turned around slowly, and saw everyone, and searched in vain for my parents. Then I saw them. My dad wasn’t saying anything– he was just staring at the ground, but my mom was chanting; I could tell, but I could just barely see a shine running down her cheek. She was crying.
“This is it? This definitely isn’t right!… we need to get out of here Quito!”
I looked over to him, he was looking back at me. I could see the look of utter horror in his eyes and face. I glanced into the water, I could see bubbles popping up to the surface. I have never been more terrified in my life than in this very moment.
I looked back and I could see my dad holding his hands above his eyes. Slowly, I saw a ginormous black shadow engulf me. I didn’t want to turn around but I forced myself to. At a snail’s pace, I rotated and before me stood the most hideous beast I have ever seen in my life. It wasn’t a natural type of beast with two legs and two arms and one head. No, it was dark purple and it had a roundish bumpy perimeter with somewhere close to 30 eyes, all glaring down at us. It had one huge mouth with pincers like a spider, and at least ten arms with suckey things at the ends, sorta like elephants trunks mixed with octopus tentacles, and purple lights blasting from its eyes.
“AAAAHHHHHH!” I heard one of the other kids scream in terror.
I could see the eyes looking over each one of us. I must have been in shock because I couldn’t feel anything. I looked over at Quito. He had fainted. I heard a loud sucking sound when I saw a pair of feet dangling out of Mog Cathora’s tentacle then I saw it put its slimy purple tentacles in its mouth.
I gasped, then looked everywhere, looking for an escape. But there was nothing.
Out of nowhere, I heard a loud “Squah!”
“Hey! Jet! Over here!!!” Like I said, he was amazing.
I saw him look down and start to dive bomb. I set my feet and just as he was about to reach me, I jumped. He missed me and I flopped onto his back. Jet staggered, but kept his balance. As he slowly lifted up, I told him to turn to Quito’s direction, he did as he was told and grabbed Quito with his talons.
As we ascended into the sky, I heard a observer scream. “NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!” We narrowly escaped the monster when he launched one of his long purple tentacles at us.
“Quito wake up!!” I screamed when we were out of reach. There was no time. But I couldn’t leave him! There was another sucking noise and a scream as the other boy got devoured. I gathered all the courage and strength I had, reached down and grabbed Quito by the ankle and heaved him up. He was 100 lbs, but he felt like 2 pounds when I pulled him up, I guess it was the adrenaline.
“No! What are you doing!!” I heard an observer holler at me.
I was lucky the monster took so long to digest because he only noticed us as we were almost above him. Mog Cathora attempted to whip us again with his slimy tentacle, but Jet was smart enough to lift his legs and avoid the attack.
“Wooohooo!” I hollered.
I tried frantically to wake Quito up, and when he finally opened his eyes, he immediately screamed.
“Quito! Quito! We escaped!” I exclaimed.
He looked around at the air and clouds around him, and then he screamed again. He started to defuse as I told him what happened.
“WOW! You did all that! That’s awesome!”
I told Jet to go far away and keep flying until he found land. We had been flying for around 12 hours and had not found land. We were starving and very thirsty. But I have to say, the view was quite beautiful. I always wondered what clouds felt like, maybe cotton candy. No, it felt awesome still, like a quiet white gust. We then descended back down to check for land again. Once more, nothing, but I noticed 4 black dots in the distance in front of us.
I nudged Quito and pointed to the figures. He nodded and then his eyes widened as he glanced in the direction.
“Don’t. Move. a. Muscle.” Quito said, obviously terrified.
I told Jet to fly under them, or it, whatever it was. Jet slowly dipped downwards and glided beneath the strange… things. We barely avoided them unnoticed.
“What were those things?” I asked Quito.
“I once read a book about strange creatures. And one of them was a giant man-eating pterodactyl type creature that hung out around these parts.”
Right after that, we saw a humongous cloud, big enough for it to be suspicious, so we decided to investigate. We tried to go right through the middle, but Jet hit his beak on something hard.
“Squah!” Yelped Jet
“What?” Quito said confused, “This doesn’t make sense!”
We then started to go around and over top of the cloud and we were amazed at what we saw.
A whole entire community. Not like bunches of buildings or anything, but floating platforms all over the place, mini shops, and weirdly dressed people. We had to land; Jet couldn’t hold us both up forever, and even then, we would die eventually from thirst or starvation.
We landed safely on the what-looked-to-be a landing platform. We were instantly greeted by two people. One older looking man with a big stick and a grass-ish skirt. The other was younger girl with a grass-ish dress that seemed to be about my age with long brown hair and green eyes.
“Why hey there kids!” The man said “My name is Timon! And this here is Hazel, Welcome to Cloud Town!”
“Uh hey, um…” I stuttered, I was honestly just confused.
“Oh! You landlings must be really confused.” said the man. “We can walk around these clouds with our cloud shoes! Um, I don’t really know what they are made of… But they work! Same with these platforms; they are made out of the same stuff y’know.”
“Please.” Quito said, “Please, we haven’t food or water all day. Do you have any to spare? We will leave right after if need be.”
“Oh yes, yes! So sorry for keeping you waiting…right over here.” Timon said and pointed in a direction.
“What about Jet? I asked.
“Oh, the bird keeper will take care of him, no worries.”
I started to walk, but as soon as I stepped off the platform, I went right through the cloud!
“Gotcha!” I heard Hazel say as she barely grasped my wrist.
“Th… Thank you.” I mumbled, embarrassed, and scared.
She nodded and smiled.
“Yeah,” Timon re-thought, “We should probably get you guys some cloud shoes.”
We walked up some cloud wood stairs up to a makeshift cubby shop.
“Hello good friend!” Timon greeted the seemingly irritated chubby woman running it. “How’s your day?”
The woman looked up and sighed.
“How many do you want.” She half grunted.
“Uh, two please.” Timon said sheepishly.
She turned around, picked up two pairs of shoes and gruffly handed them to him.
“Thank you!” Hazel said.
The woman nodded.
“That will be 20 sheckles please.” She said blandly.
“Oh yes, um.. Right here.” Timon reached down in his pocket and grabbed out 10 coin shaped rocks. We put on the shoes that looked kinda ugly and edgy, but were surprisingly comfortable.
“Now we are off!” Timon said relieved.
But just then, when we started going back down the stairs, Timon tripped and hit the side of the shop, and the whole sheet roof fell on top of the lady!
“Oh no.” he said. “Run!” he told us, as the woman got up and charged at him. We went down the stairs, and onto the platform again. It was silent for a while as we observed the cat and mouse game between grumpy cloud shoe lady and our new friend Timon. After about a minute of muffled laughter, Hazel spoke up.
“Okay, well I guess I’m in charge now! The mess hall is this way!
We walked along for about ten minutes when we saw a small building. We then followed Hazel inside and into a room with long tables.
“This is where you will eat.” Hazel informed. “Sit.”
We sat down at the tables, and two lanky male smelly cooks, walked up to the three of us and gave us each a large glass cup. They then dragged a big tube type machine over to us. We watched as they attached the end of the tube onto the top of Quito’s glass. I saw a ball shape moving closer and closer to the end when,
“ZWUM SPLAT” I heard as I saw a white chunky fluid mixture flop out of the tube and into the cup.
“What is that?” Quito questioned disgustedly.
“It’s Cluff!” Hazel said, “Pretty much the only meal we have here besides on special occasions when we have bird. It’s just a mixture of sugar, protein, cloud water and a few other nutritious ingredients. And it’s delicious! Try it!”
I took a small sip of mine. And she was right! It was the best thing I have ever tasted! The sweetness drizzled down my throat and into my stomach. If amazing had a taste, this would be better. I ate more and more until I couldn’t have anything else.
“So, I guess we’ll just leave now.” Quito said as he started to the door.
“I…. If you want us to he means” I said as I blushed.
“Of course you can stay!”
“I’m sure you guys are tired, You guys can room with me! I have room.”
“Yes please.” Quito and I said in unison.
We started walking towards her “Cloud house” when she piped up again.
“I never really caught your names?”
“Oh yeah, sorry. I’m Finn, and this is Quito.” I introduced.
“Nice to meet you Finn and Quito!”
As we arrived at her house, he walked through the door, we sighted a huge room with spiral staircases on both sides of the room.
“This way!” Hazel said as she lead us up the right staircase and into the upstairs living room. “You two will sleep here.” As she gestured to a guest room with two king sized beds.
She handed us Cloud Town clothes for us to wear, and we got settled in our new rooms. Well, if we had anything to settle.
“So what brought you two here?” Hazel asked.
“It’s a long story” Said Quito.
We talked for what seemed to be an hour about how we got into Cloud Town.
“Woah. That’s exciting.” Hazel said.
We went back downstairs and into the kitchenette and had some more Cluff until we were stuffed right back up again.
“Is it okay if I go check on Jet?” I asked Hazel.
“Oh, go ahead. I’m sure he is fine.”
“Yeah, but I just want to see how he is taking this place.”
I started walking towards where we landed, but I got lost. I eventually went to the nearest house to ask for directions. Surprisingly, the door swung open as I tried to knock.
“Hello? Anyone home? I’m lost and I’m looking for directions to the landing platform!…”
The building was dark and gloomy, filled with bookshelves that strangely had little books inside them. Like an idiot, I ventured inside the creepy house.
“Hello? Anyone here?”
I heard a whooshing sound around the corner of the dusty old bookshelf to my left. Quickly, I turned to face that direction.
“He…Hello?” I said once more.
I stood still in the quiet for another second.
“Why hello there!…”
“Aaaaaaah!!!!!” I screamed as a scruffy breath chilled down my back. I didn’t dare to turn around.
“Shhhhhh, it’s okay, I won’t hurt youuuu….” The creepy voice gruffed. It grabbed my shoulder and turned me around to face it. An almost toothless, crooked smile greeted me.
“Greetings, my name is Vladmear. Come Come, I have something to show you.” Vladmear croaked, as he started to walk away and through a door. My first instinct was to run far, far away, and never come back. But I remembered that a lot of stories, something like this happens, then something good happens when the character follows. This isn’t a fairy tale! I thought to myself. But I continued on anyway.
I ventured through the door and into another sketchy library room, which again, had a door, except this one had a light shining under it.
“Well, here goes nothing.”
I stepped up to the door, gathered all of my courage and pulled the doo… nope… push door. (Insert face palm here_______)
I stepped up to the door, gathered all of my courage and pushed the door open.
I peeked around the corner and saw the old man sitting in a small stone room, in a rocking chair with a book, next to a fireplace. He noticed me.
“Come, sit!” He said cheerfully as he pointed to a 3 legged stool in front of him.
I cautiously inched forward, looking in all directions for hidden traps or something like that.
“No need to fear!” Said the man, “I have a story to tell.”
I cautiously sat down and rested my elbows on my knees with my hands clamped together under my chin.
“This is the tale of “Under Born” Vladmear continued. “Beneath the surface where all was silent, a fear arose and broke. That fear did not stop, the definitely did not, until the mercy of people was told. The fear prospered and got all it could take, while the rest attempted to rebel. Soon they all gave way, and all hope was lost. but to their dismay, the fear backed alas.They gave it more, to calm its anger, it was adored and took none else and then the ‘peace’ of people returned.”
Abruptly, Vladmear threw something at the ground and he vanished in smoke.
“Wait! No! Come back! What does this mean?”
But he had disappeared. Left me sitting in the dark, confused, and a little scared. Now I had to find my way out of this place.
“Okay, so I went through this door, walked through this room into this door…”
Have you ever had that feeling, when you are in your basement with the lights off and you feel like there is an evil presence behind you, then you start running up the stairs? Well, that’s what I felt like. I started sprinting, and finally exited the strange mansion.
“Finn! Finn!” I heard Hazel yell. “There you are! Quito and I have been looking for you for hours!”
“Hours?” I said, confused “I was only in there for like 15 minutes?”
I told them what had happened, how I got lost, how I stumbled upon the house, and how I met Vladmear.
“Woah…” Quito and Hazel said in unison. “That really happened?”
“Yes, but that wasn’t the weirdest part, he told me a prophecy sort of poem…”
I recited the poem as best I could so they could help me decipher it.
“Okay, so the fear is obviously Mog Cathora…” Hazel said. “I’ve always been suspicious about that ‘feast’ thing they do down in your town as well, so when you told me about it I knew for sure that something was up.”
Quito piped in “yeah, that makes sense because Mog comes from the sea, hence ‘below the surface’.”
“Back at home, my Grandpa said something about ‘fighting back’ or something like that.” I said.
“Hm… While the people attempted to rebel!” Hazel decoded.
“And then they gave up… but…hm… But then Mog Cathora made some sort of deal with them! exclaimed Quito.
We all thought for a long moment, this was very important information.
“To give it more! I mean, the people started giving offerings to Mog! Like what they did to you guys!” Hazel unpuzzled.
“It all makes sense!” Quito said. “So let’s get this all straight, Mog Cathora was born in the ocean and then when it got older, it started to terrorize our town, the people back then tried to fight back but Mog was to strong, Then Mog Cathora made a deal that if they would give them offerings once a month , he wouldn’t destroy everything! That’s why our parents wanted us to…” His eyes watered up.
“Let’s not worry about that part right now.” I said as I put my hand on his shoulder. “Let’s go check on Jet.”
When we arrived at the zoo/animal care centre, we saw all sorts of natural animals, Lipio’s, Garp’s, and even a couple trulf’s! Anyway, we kept walking until we got to the eagle place.
“There you are Jet!” I would have said it said in a cheesy voice that people talk to their pets in, but I consider Jet as more of a friend than a pet.
“How are you doing?”
Jet smiled another toothless grin with his eyes closed, and his tongue sticking barely over the side of his beak. This was the kind of smile he gave when he was really happy.
“Thank you Mr.” I said to the man that took care of him. “You did good!”
Then I gave him some of those coin shaped stones that Hazel gave to me for emergencies.
Hazel walked over to another bird surprisingly bigger than Jet, who was gold and red, with an extra feather on the top of its head, and I saw her talk to it too.
“Is that your eagle?” I asked
“Yep! This is Blaze! I got her when I was four.”
“It seems that they have been getting along together well.” The zookeeper said.
We both laughed.
“I’m sorry Hazel, but I think it is time for us to depart, we have to go back and figure out a way to kill Mog… I guess this is goodbye.” I said shyly.
“Actually, I was thinking, could I come with you?” I could help you guys out! And Blaze can come with!” Hazel countered.
“Yeah! That would be great!”
“Yes, but we should get some sleep first.” said Quito.
We journeyed back to Hazel’s house and went to bed. The next morning we went to the shop that got us cloud shoes, and the woman made two storing saddles, so we could bring more stuff on our eagles backs. Then we loaded ourselves with Cluff and supplies to help us along our journey.
“Alright, let’s go.” Quito said as we climbed on to Jet. The ride was mostly smooth as we glided through the misty morning air. We had our discussions about our lives and some fun stories about ourselves, until Jet and Blaze starting descending slowly.
I looked over at Hazel, she was looking up, her eyes wide. I looked up quickly to see what she was staring about and saw three triangular shaped things circling above us. Before I had time to yell, they came dive bombing head first into us and drilled Jet and Blaze right in the neck.
“NO! JET!” I Screamed as loud as I could.
Free falling. Going very fast into the ocean. I’ve heard that if you were going fast enough, water would feel like concrete. Was this it?
When I woke up, I was in the middle of a night jungle. With leaves blanketing me and a fire a few yards away from me.
“Oh good, Quito come here, he’s awake.” I heard a familiar voice say.
“W… Where am I?” I stammered.
“We don’t really know,” Quito informed “After the attack, Blaze miraculously gathered his strength to catch us and bring us to land.”
I glanced around to find her. She was sitting down with her wing staggered and off the ground.
“Where is Jet?!” I half asked, half demanded.
“Oh, he’s right over there. He flew, or should I say limped back here.” Quito said as he pointed up to a tree where Jet was standing on a branch, glaring at the beautiful starry night sky. I climbed up to meet with him; and when I reached him, I saw a huge gash on the left side of his neck.
“Are you going to be okay?” I asked as he turned his head in my direction. He nodded and smiled lightly.
“Why don’t you come down so we can recap.”
We went back down the tree and talked around the camp fire. Hazel said she saw the beasts, they had a triangular shaped head with a scaly body and huge talons. We talked and talked until we drifted off to sleep. The next morning I woke up noticing that Hazel wasn’t there. I looked around and didn’t see Blaze either until I looked up, she was hovering above the trees turning around in various directions.
“Hazel!” I said, cupping my mouth and trying to get her attention.
She swiftly lowered herself to the ground and stood in front of me.
“It looks like we just need to head around south south east to get to our destination.” Hazel informed.
“Wow, thanks Compass.” I exaggerated, truly impressed.
She smiled and blushed.
“In that case, we need to get out of here as fast as we can.” I said.
We woke Quito, ate breakfast, packed up, and continued on our journey once more. Back in the air, I liked it up here. It was calming. Surprisingly, it was only an hour until we found our hometown. It didn’t look destroyed like I thought it would be, since I escaped. It looked exactly the same as when I left it. We decided to go around the island to the abandoned armoury that I guessed was a part of the battle with Mog Cathora long ago.
We snooped inside and actually found some supplies; we found pulse guns that shot laser beams with cartridges that seemed to be ammunition, other melee weapons like swords.
“Woah, Look at this!” I said as I unsheathed a shiny glowing sword.
I turned it around in different ways, admiring it. It was surprisingly light but when I put my finger onto the blade, I cut myself and started to bleed.
I glanced over at Quito, who was looking at different guns. I thought Hazel would be looking over some medical stuff, but she was reading a book.
“What’s that?” I asked
“Oh, I’m just reading up on some soldiers’ journal. Apparently they used giant eagles in the war!” Hazel said excitedly. “They couldn’t have just let them go out bare!”
I searched around for something that Jet or Blaze could have.
“Look over here!” Quito said as he pointed to some weirdly shaped armor.
Eagle Armor. Yep, it looked as awesome as it sounded. I geared up Jet, he had blue and silver colours. And Blaze had red and silver. It was amazing. (Pan to the awesome battle picture of all of us standing heroically with our weapons and armor.)
“We need a battle plan, we almost have no idea what we are up against.” Said Quito. “All we know is that Mog is big and strong. Weaknesses? Strengths?”
“Oh!” Hazel yelled. “The journal said that they couldn’t find a way to attack it because none of their weapons did anything at the time; but then someone tried going into his mouth to see what was in there… It’s kind of hard to understand, but I think the monster got weaker a while after he did that. But the guy never returned.”
Quito started to make a chart.
“Weaknesses: insides. Strengths: skin, tentacles… and everything else.”
“Well, it’s what we got, at least we aren’t going in there completely blind.” I encouraged.
We had to wait out a couple days for the next Ceremony to commence, since that is the only time Mog Cathora breaks the surface. We camped out in an abandoned farm about a 10 minute walk from the ocean where the sacrifice was held. We trained hard, and long. My primary weapon would be the glowing sword; it felt like it belonged to me. Quito’s primary was two laser pistols that burned four holes in the barn. Now Hazel wasn’t really all that hyped up about the cool weapons like we were, she likes the original bow and arrow that was hidden away in a box at the armoury.
“I had one of these back when I was little! I gotta admit, I’m not half bad.” Hazel boasted as she pulled back, shot, and nailed one of the hay dummies we made right between the eyes. The next day should be when we were supposed to go. Sadly, we had to wait for Mog to get the kids around his mouth so when he opened it, I could fly into it.
“No, I have to go in alone.” I said. “I care too much about you two, I’m bringing Jet, and that’s it.” No one spoke for a while after I said that.
I saw the children look up at the pedestals that jutted out of the water, followed by the stairs. As I looked, I remembered when it happened to me not that long ago. I know what they feel.
“Mog. (two foot pounds) Mog. (two foot pounds) come. (two foot pounds) come! The audience chanted.
This was the worst part about it all. Not Mog, not the scariness of it all. Seeing your family that you love so much, summon the monster to kill you. Then, we saw Mog Cathora. In all his ugliness, burst out from under the surface. We heard the cries of the children and barely resisted to go out right then and there to help them. We had to wait for the perfect timing.
I mounted Jet and readied my sword that I called Oranmir, based on my favorite fairy tale when I was a child. His tentacle went up… and just before he opened his mouth… I was off like the wind, flying straight for his mouth.
Why am I doing this? I don’t even know what to expect when I get in there. I thought, but it was too late now. We went high above his mouth and with Jet’s wings tucked to his sides, we dove right into his chew hole. Once we entered, I slid down his wet disgusting tongue and fell into this room looking space, dead skeletal bodies all around, and a glowing circular shaped thing at the top middle of the room.
Without questioning, I figured that I needed to get to that glowing thing. The stench of death is the worst thing you would smell in your entire life. We flew up and as I started to yell a battle cry, we charged straight at the glowing thing.
“AAAAHHHHHH!” I yelled.
When I hit it, Mog shook and I fell off of Jet and smacked onto the fleshy ground. I hesitated to get back up onto Jet because I realized I couldn’t move my right wrist. Probably sprained. But I had to get up. I grabbed my sword with my left hand, slowly got on to Jet and charged once more.
Again I fell.
“Ungh” I stammered as the organal chamber shook even more than before. I got up for the last time and charged a last time.
My life flashed before my eyes as I fell once again. Now the Mog was shaking violently. This time, I was sure I broke something, so Jet came to me and picked me up as I picked up Orinmir; but this time, Jet threw me out his mouth and dived straight at the glowing core.
Then everything exploded into a bright light, and I splashed into the water.
I blacked out.
I woke up minutes later on land. I immediately sat up.
“Where *cough* where is Jet?!” I demanded.
I looked at Quito and Hazel who pulled me out of the water simultaneously. They both looked down solemnly.
“I’m so sorry…” Hazel said. “He didn’t make it out in time.”
I started to tear up just before I started to bawl.
“He… sacrificed himself. To save me and save everyone.
While everyone in town celebrated the death of Mog Cathora; Quito, Hazel, Blaze and I had a burial ceremony for Jet, a friend… It’s funny saying that now. Ceremony.
Original artwork concept by Austin Cressman. Original artwork by Will Gonzlaez, “Will No Name” of Venezuela.
BOOK 2 coming out on May 12, 2017