Sunday 31 May 2009
THE Tired Monster by eggtooth
Twice down and off by spaces,a crazed mathematician named Zeroy built a maze out of sheets of coroplast. The thick white stuff. He spent several months burrowing out the pre-designed grid in a large field. Grooves 6 inches deep and 10mm wide,just right for the plastic stuff to slide into place. He did this by night with dead catfish hanging over his shoulders,so as to keep the Hairy Sneakers at bay. By day, he studied the sun. His special glasses had perfect scratches-scratches that echoed the pattern of his maze. The mathmetician was going to finish the maze tonight and then tomorrow he would be able to let his Pink Fuzzies free to romp in the maze.
The sun was beginnning to appear as he worked late to finish,so he picked up the pace. Excitement coursed through his veins as he made his way over to his company paid for F-150,retrieving the last 4x8 sheet of coroplast. It locked into place and he sighed and planted his fists on his hips. A smile covered his face and he swatted his hands together.
"Answer me" screamed a memory of his wife in a sheet of light. It came over the tree line in the distance with the peeking sun. He fumbled for his glasses and found them on the bridge of his nose soon enough. His wife's voice beckoned again,a guilty nag from a not so distant past. He sat down in the driver's seat of his truck and looked at the Queen Pink Fuzzy he had on a leash in the passenger's seat.It looked back at him and burped.
"I need some more of those chalices for the equinox, Zeroy" said the Queen Pink Fuzzy. She had grown to about twice the size of a basketball,not including the 8 inches of fuzz that covered her entire globular body. She turned and stared ahead,now waiting for him to turn over the engine and go. "Can I have some air conditioning,please? I wasn't really expecting to be here when the sun came up."
Zeroy fumbled for the keys and slumped forward into turning the truck over. He took a long look over his shoulder at the maze and then pulled his door shut.
"I'm going to let your children go in the maze tomorrow,you know?
She was quiet for about a twenty seconds. "Yep. I kinda figured that was what was about time for." The Queen Pink Fuzzy scratched herself with a greenish sponge-like paw.
As they drove,the truck kicked up dust on the dirt road. This was South Georgia and quiet only got even more quiet out here. Maybe a bird would holler to another at this hour,but it was doubtful. Most were in their labs studying Spanish and Italian for the Kaber Toss Festival. Generations ago they were designed to emulate the birds in Disney's Cinderella,long since having evolved from those habits to larger responsibilities. Zeroy heard the work force at Lockheed Martin was now 80% bird. It didn't surprise him.
"I'm gonna need you to break the news to them for me,if you don't mind" Said Zeroy quietly,not turning his head from the road. The Queen only grunted to acknowledge she had heard him. She had a can of Crisco she was licking from. Zeroy grunted back in the exact same manner,only adding an upward lilt to it to turn it into a reiteration of his request,a question that pushed the acknowledgment.
"Im gonna,I'm gonna" She answered with impatience.
Zeroy sat in silence for a moment. "This aint gonna be a problem with Little Zee,is it?" Little Zee had been put in a pen with the pigs for 6 months because of insubordination.A heavy sentence for anyoneor any living creature. That had been many moons ago,and he'd since been tested by other changes and arduous requests.But this one was going to be a doozy. Many of the Pink Fuzzies would probably die several times over adjusting to their new home in the maze. Not that dying was permanent for them,they reginerated. But evidently it was still painful. Each time one came back,it seemed to come back a bit dimmer and great deal more hostile. Curiously,the Queen herself had not yet died and Zeroy feared the day she did. She was a moody Pink Fuzzy as she was. Zeroy feared she might go Evil in one turn. He knew a death turn of hers had to be due. She'd been around a suspiciously long time. He thought maybe she was into magic,but had seen no signs. Usually their hair became coarse and white from use of spells.
The Queen looked up from her Crisco. "You don't have to worry about Little Zee. I have him under wraps. I got him obsessed on Art History and he's medicated so that's all he can think about.other than his main duties,of course."
Zeroy tried to hide that his being suddenly lit up."Was that his copy of the Eggtooth's "Squirrel" I saw out in the barn?" He swelled with pride a bit as he asked the question. Little Zee may have developed a bad side now,but he was still blood. Zeroy had seen the painting and had even stopped and studied it for accuracy. The image was a classic. He had written papers on it back in college. He recalled the copy was coming along well.
"That's just stuff he does to keep himself busy. You should see his own work. He hides it. He works on it when you are out here building the maze."
They pulled into the ranch and turned a sharp perfect right into the parking space. Zeroy adjusted his shades to a darker tint and looked towards the barn. He never paid enough attention to anything concerning attachments,to caring for others. Zeroy told himself from experiences long ago to be mindful of taking others for granted,but he knew he had not changed. Even now the sun beckoned him. Its light carried Her voice and he wanted nothing more than to go to its haven. He glanced into the barn and saw Little Zee himself,his shadow was distinctive. Zee was reading a book and sitting on a large pile of ice. The Queen shuffled off towards the barn and the others,not looking back,knowing that Zeroy would go the other direction.
When she entered the barn,Zee looked up and hissed at her. It was his way of simply indicating a general mood. It was directed towards nobody in particular.
"Did you get me some more hair color today?" The Queen asked. Little Zee cut his eyes to the wooden dresser that two other Pink Fuzzies were sleeping on. They were tiny,the size of softballs. Between them was the aerosol can she needed and she immediately began to coat herself pink.
"Queen..." Said a voice behind her. "I have some strange news."
It was Reporter Fuzzy. He had the black stripe of the Journalistic Division running down his middle. Reporter looked between Queen & Little Zee to make sure he did not interrupt.
"Go ahead." She sighed.
"There have been reports of a Tired Monster in Albany. It was sighted today eating trees by the Tastee Freeze "
The Queen stopped still at the words. Little Zee had heard earlier and watched her reaction over the top of his book. She went back to spraying herself. "Thank you,Reporter." She set down the can and walked over to Little Zee.
"You and I need to talk." She marched towards the exit to the barn,kicking ice cubes a she went.
Little Zee felt his heart jump. It was about time he was given a mission. This was his chance for redemption. Leading a crew,taking long range recon,and perhaps even executing maneuvers. Giving orders. This could reinstate him.
He followed her out into the morning sun,practically jumping up and down. They had no choice but to go after this Tired Monster and he knew it. The tree eater was the one that had killed the Queen's lover last season. Little Zee knew this was what he was,even though it was supposed to be a secret. He knew The Queen would not be able to resist letting him pass through. This Monster was as good as dead. He shuddered and pink hairs shot from his body,his little purple paws stuck nubby spikes out from within his dense hair.
The Queen Pink Fuzzy looked at Little Zee with a flat cold stare.
"Zeroy has finished the Maze,Zee" She simply said it to him,no frills and no emotion.
They stared at each other in silence.
WHAT WILL YOU DO?
If you think you think you should heed the warning of your mother and sister and not risk uncertain sorcery,turn to page 25
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