March 2015 ebook cover

Terror at the Cave of Murders

By Hagar Scharoun

Hambolt the Fearless had voyaged long and far. In the days previous, he’d trudged through necrotic filth in the Swamps of Horror, battled bloodthirsty Pus Goblins amongst the Hillocks of Dread, and braved the extremely low barometric pressure at the crest of Spider-Death Mountain, which towered imperiously over the Plains of Dismay.

Finally, after solving the Thunder Sphinx’s two hundred and seventy-seven perplexing riddles underneath the Bridge of Agony, Hambolt had reached his destination. Now, he stared bravely into the dank mouth of the Cave of Murders from the back of his gallant steed, Warm Donut.

“Rest thou, Warm Donut,” Hambolt said, and patted the animal’s mottled neck. “Rest thou and eat of the groats of the field. Thy work is done ‘til I return. For alone, I must needs enter yon cavern to slay the foul creature that hath purloined all the maidenfolk of the Kingdom of Spreege.”

Warm Donut made a horsey noise.

Hambolt hopped off, then removed the Sack of Many Things that was tied to his Belt of High Jumping. He dumped the contents into the grass and took stock.

There, glimmering in the light of the setting sun, were the gifts bestowed upon him by Spreege’s Arch-Wizard Curtis Mumblesmoot: a Shield of Preservation; a Sword of Unhealing Wounds; two Fire Axes; some Boots of Tornado Kicking; a Dagger of Throwing and Returning; a Hypno-Tunic; a Laser Mace; a Helm of Clever Ideas; a Cloak of Powerful Slaps; two million exploding Griffin eggs; a Potion of Hippo Smell; the All-Seeing Eyeball of Lola Graham; and some dried peaches for snacking.

Hambolt armed himself with his wondrous sundries, lit his Torch of Never-Go-Out, and with a final wave to Warm Donut, he entered the Cave of Murders.

What little light the torch gave off danced in the moist flowstones along the walls. Stalactites and stalagmites beetled up and down like sharpened toes. Something dripped from the ceiling. Was it milk?

No. It was water.

Just some milky water.

“These environs doth make me apprehensive,” Hambolt said aloud. “However, I hath my duties to fulfill. I be the only salvation these fair ladies doth hath.”

Hambolt looked around. “Maidens!” he screamed. “Where art thou, maidens? Where dost thou be?”

No answer. Just the sound of more milky ceiling drips.

Suddenly, a Terror Monster came roaring out of a cave cavity! It stood over a thousand feet tall on twelve massive, sweaty dog legs. Four hundred slimy tentacle arms writhed in the cave breeze. It blinked its roughly thirty-two thousand reptilian eyes at Hambolt as it puckered its venomous forehead nipples.

The Terror Monster screeched, its maw brimming with jagged fangs the yellowy-orange color of chicken wings. It extended its neck spurs and back spines, and engorged its twenty or so slimy belly sacs. A clammy, pulsing tongue lolled out of its fourth nostril.

“MOOOOO!” screamed the Terror Monster, as it reared back for a biting strike.

“Have at thee, fiendish beast!” yelled Hambolt.

Thinking quickly, Hambolt fed the Terror Monster some poison berries. It died immediately.

“Triumph for Spreege!” yelled Hambolt, and then blew on his Horn of Good Tidings. The sound of victory beckoned the maidens, who were hiding behind a phosphorescing cave formation.

“Could it be that we art saved?” asked a maiden.

“Art we verily saved?” asked another.

“Hast thou savest us?” asked a third maiden.

“Aye and yea!” shouted Hambolt. “Indeed thou art saved, faithfully and for true. Now let us away to Spreege, lovely maidenfolk. We shouldst hie thither anon.” With that, Hambolt opened his Sack of Many Things, and one by one, the maidens climbed inside.

And so they voyaged on the back of Warm Donut, through the Forest of Sweet Dreams, over the Arch of Many Flowers, and into the Gulch of Delights, finally arriving at Spreege to much rejoicing.

For rescuing the maidens, Hambolt was awarded all the gold in the Kingdom.

“Thank thee verily much!” shouted Hambolt the Fearless.

Months later, he married one of the maidens, bought a fortress, and became a powerful Baron forever.

~~~~~

~~~~~

Hagar Scharoun is one heck of a guy, and less of a heck of a writer.

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