“NO!” I screamed. But it was too late. The kraken and the dragon went tumbling into the chasm. I heard a scream and the sound of flesh being consumed by fire. I waited for a second one to fill the airwaves, but nothing happened. That’s when I noticed the rope leading down into the deep gap. I tensed, bracing myself…
And Cuddly Lion climbed out.
I was so happy I hugged him. He took me by surprise and patted me on the back. “Thank you,” he whispered, “for showing me.” Speedy stood back, a flicker of jealousy flashing across his face now and then. But his face turned to shock as the victims began to stir.
His parents were the first to wake. They saw him and cried out, then they all met right around the middle of the lair. They stayed glued for a while, as Nameless woke up. She looked overjoyed as she saw me and shook dust out of her hair. I hugged her. “You found me!” she said. Yeah. I would think that was obvious. [Forget it, Nameless. I didn’t say aaannnnyyyytttthhhhhiiiiinnnnggggg…….] And our parents began to sit up.
My stomach lurched as I saw their bruised and bloodied faces, but I let out a little squeal of happiness when they sat up completely. Nameless hung back with Speedy’s parents and they began to rapidly fall into conversation on random things-mostly cars and motorcycles. Gee, I wonder why?
I hugged my parents and I didn’t let go. And then my expression turned sad again. I thought of everyone we had lost-Bard, SD, Raven…yes, you heard me. Raven. We could’ve had a shot at making him nice again, but he was dead. There was nothing we could do about it.
He was not as dead as I had hoped.
“Children,” said a voice from the chasm. “That gap leads to an ocean, not the core. That sound? A rat I burned for light.” A grinning face appeared. “And now,” he said, holding a flaming rat, “You die.”
“I don’t think so,” said a voice from somewhere behind me.
An arrow shot at his chest. He observed it only for a moment, then fell to the ground. I had a feeling I knew who shot that arrow.
SD ran over and kissed my brother. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I really am. I was a jerk.” B.F simply looked stunned for a second, then mumbled “Apology accepted,” and kissed her back. My parents’ mouths dropped open. “I’ve got a lot to explain,” I whispered to them. “But don’t embarrass him now.” They nodded and smiled a little bit as B.F’s peg leg fell off and he staggered for a short distance before SD caught him. His face burned slightly, but he muttered thanks to her and put his peg leg back on, securely this time.
And I noticed one person not joining in the festivities. CL. I finally got a good look at him. His eyes were permanently shut. He had a pipe jammed in his mouth and he was grinding his teeth around it. He held a smartphone-I couldn’t tell which model-and he, too, had a peg leg, only made of gold. Ropes wrapped around his mouth and torso and a large gap under his mouth ropes. He had jet-black hair combed smoothly, a white shirt with a block P right in the middle, and a tail. He had a small bag at his waist. “Um, CL?” I asked nervously. “Would you want to come with us?” He gasped. “Wi-with you? How? Why?” he stuttered. “Well,” I said, “my parents can adopt you, but, um, can you change back to a kid?” He nodded rapidly and pointed his wand at himself, murmuring things I couldn’t make out. He shrunk, and soon he became not much shorter than me. He couldn’t have been any younger than eleven and a half.
“We’d be happy to adopt you, Cuddly,” said my dad warmly. His face lit up. “Thank you!” he said. Then he turned and hugged me. “I’m glad to be your brother,” he said. I patted him on the back, and everyone began to cheer as we climbed up the ladder.
Once we got out, though, we realized something was wrong. The city was in ruins. Everyone either hid in their houses or ran about the streets, screaming. “What the…” I muttered. But I didn’t have to finish that sentence.
Monsters roamed the streets. They were bizarre assortments of krakens, dragons, zombies, puppets, ghosts…stuff like that.
CL’s face paled. “No!” he squeaked. He studied them, mumbling under his breath, then turned to us.
“This is not good,” he said. I nodded. “I can tell, bro,” I said. He shook his head. “You don’t understand!” he said softly. “These are all the monsters, or anything like that, in any island! Look!” He pointed to a fanged dog tearing down the streets. “Chubacabra, Cryptids Island,” he said. He pointed to a ghost. “Ghost, Ghost Story Island.” Well, duh. He jabbed his thumb at a vampire hissing. “Vampire, Vampire’s Curse Island.” I slapped myself. DUH! But…those were fixed. “I thought you took care of them!” I said to CL. He shrugged. “I did. I dunno, Slip.” Then a lightbulb lit over his head. Well, not really. But one just as well could have. “I know!” he said. “There’s some stuff in there! I can use it to defeat them!” He jumped underneath the square of sidewalk.
And I heard a scream.
I could feel my heart stopping. I peeked into the sidewalk square and saw a huge flame. “CL,” I whispered. “NO!!!” I began to cry into my arms. Raven’s flaming rat must have ignited by accident. And…and now…now CL was gone. Every drop of sadness left me, only to be replaced by pure anger. I started to scream. And that’s when I kinda forget what happened.
It’s scary, but I didn’t know what was happening. Later, B.F told me I tore threw the crowd like a maniac, just about killing every monster I could. He said I was like a path of destruction, then slowly backed away.
I tried to push away the thought of CL’s death, but it kept popping up. We decided to go home. A single tear fell from my eye as I climbed into the new blimp Speedy found, finding his parents were moving next door and he was going to live with them. Even that didn’t cheer me up.
The whole way home, I looked back at the island, waiting for my to-be brother to pop up and make me laugh. He never did.