Thursday, June 21, 2007

Storybook Love, Chapter 5

Elseworld (inspired by The Princess Bride and the Edgar Rice Burroughs Barsoom books)
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: These characters belong to the CW and DC Comics, not to me.
Read Chapter 1 here.
Read the previous chapter here.

From the journals of Chloe Sullivan:

There are creatures lurking in the forest around Smallcroft which bear no resemblance to anything ever seen before in this world. Perhaps these monsters are lost villagers, men and women changed beyond recognition, altered into something unimaginably horrible. Or perhaps they were born monsters. No one knows for sure.

What is certain is that these creatures are terribly dangerous, and that they seek to destroy the unwary, and to feast upon the flesh of those who wander into their domain. Many travelers claim they cannot be defeated, that no man can stand against them.

And yet every creature has a weakness, if one can but find it...

Chloe stared at the lizard. Each tooth was sharper than the most finely honed dagger, and its claws were equally as sharp. She realized they'd discovered Graham's "friend," the creature who'd left human bones scattered all over the floor of the hut.

Graham had intended her to be the lizard's next meal. And considering the beast stood between them and the door, its mouth gaping open, its long tail lashing dangerously, it looked very much as if that might be the case.

Clark was still on his knees in front of her, doubled over and groaning. The lizard lowered its head, and suddenly she realized Clark might become the monster's next meal. The thought galvanized her into action.

Clark clearly wasn't in any condition to save her. But that was all right, because he'd already saved her once.

It was her turn to save him.

The knife. Where was the knife? She looked around wildly, and saw that it had been flung halfway across the room when Clark had grabbed Graham and thrown him aside. It was but a few yards away, yet she knew it was much too distant. She'd never be able to retrieve it before the lizard got Clark.

The lizard moved forward, its vicious claws clicking on the bones on the floor, and Clark whimpered and cringed. She had no idea what was causing him so much pain, but it seemed to have something to do with the lizard. What, she couldn't imagine.

She looked at the lizard, seeing its bright green scales glimmering in the fading light from the candle on the floor. It stared back, its beady black eyes glinting.

And then it opened its mouth wider, and bent toward Clark.

Chloe reacted instinctively to protect the man she'd always loved. There was but one weapon within her reach. She spun, grabbed the chair she'd been tied to, and lunged forward. She swung the stout oaken chair up in the air, then slammed it down over the lizard's head, as hard as she could.

The lizard staggered, and a terrifying sound came out of its mouth, a mixture of hissing and roaring that was unlike anything she'd ever heard. The chair shattered to pieces against the glittering green scales, leaving her holding a single, splintered piece of wood-- the remnants of one of the legs. It was good, solid oak, fairly long, and made a reasonably stout club.

She grasped it in both hands and smashed it over the lizard's skull, so hard that it broke in two. This time the lizard had the sense to move away from her, scuttling backward toward the door.

The knife, she thought again, and dashed quickly across the room to retrieve it. She picked it up, but realized with dismay that it was not a terribly impressive weapon. Doubtless it would have been enough to kill her, but she feared its blade would not pass through the lizard's plated hide.

Graham still lay senseless on the clutter of bones that served as a carpet, and she hesitated, wondering how he had protected himself against this monster he had called friend. Could a wordless, mindless, savage creature such as this truly be his friend? Or did he simply have some method of protection against it?

Her eye fell on the candle, which he'd placed onto the table. Its flame was still burning brightly, and she remembered the way he'd held it, and kept it close to him.

The candle. The candle was Graham's protection.

She hoped.

The lizard started toward Clark again, lashing its tail and hissing, and Chloe grasped the candleholder in her free hand and leapt between the creature and Clark, holding the candle out, while clutching the knife in her right hand, ready to use it if she must. She still doubted it could pierce the creature's armor, but if she could stab it right into the small black eye...

The lizard hesitated, studying the candle suspiciously, and her heart lifted. She'd guessed right.

"Go," she told it imperiously, taking a step forward and holding the candle aloft. "Leave us alone."

The creature paused a moment longer, its tail lashing nervously, clearly afraid of the flame. At last it turned and skittered across the hut.

To her immense horror, it lowered its head and began tearing savagely at Graham's flesh. Its first bite tore the man's throat out. Chloe turned her head away, gagging.

As it moved away from them, Clark staggered to his feet. "Chloe," he muttered, sounding dazed, as if he'd had a fever. "Chloe, you could have been killed."

"I'm all right. But... oh, my God, Clark. The other man..."

Clark looked across the hut, and flinched at the sight of the monster's teeth ripping into the fallen man's flesh. "It's too late to save him, Chlo." He swallowed hard, sounding as if he was forcing back nausea, too. "Come along," he said roughly. "And bring the candle."

He put a protective arm around her, and together they fled the hut.

Read Chapter 6 here.


Anonymous said...

Glad you updated this


jordan said...

Love the story so far. Can't wait for more!

Justine said...

Oh man, I for some reason never read this story until now and its sooo good!!!! The red Beetle made me stop and laugh xD Can't wait for the next chapter!!

SelfAppointedCritic said...

Great update Elly! I just, love, love, LOVE, how Chloe ended up saving them both. Also enjoying Clark's "awakening" as he slowly begins to see Chloe in a new way. Nice pacing. The lizard dining was a bit gory but I suppose it has to eat too. But better Graham than a Chlark entree!

Looking forward to more and thanks for sharing your work with us!

Anonymous said...

I am loving this story, I love all of your others too you are a brilliant writer and I can't wait to read more of this. I love the idea and enjoy it very much.
Great job!

blackheart_me said...

Well Chloe is clever as always. Yay she saves the day ^_^