April A2Z Challenge

A to Z Challenge: L – Leviathan

Greetings, mortals! I felt like fishing today, so here I am, with my rod and bait trying to lure in some nice fish. Have you ever tried fishing, and have you ever caught more than you can reel? This story will tell you why that’s a bad idea. Listen well…

The sea was nice and calm.

It was the perfect weather to fish, and as the captain of the largest fishing barge in town, I knew there were a lot of profits to be made today. Having fished in these waters for almost a decade, I knew them like the back of my hand. However, I had never seen the island I was seeing before me.

Normally, I would have been hesitant to approach it, but I could spot fish movements around the island and the men were keen. We sailed towards the island and prepared to cast our nets. Within minutes of casting we got a tug. As we began pulling, we realised it was a big haul. As my men strained their muscles, I felt the barge sway. My sea bones began quaking. Something felt off about the situation. I ordered my men to let go off the net. Although shocked, my men followed my orders.

As we began retreating from the island, we saw it rise a few more meters above sea level. I gulped as realisation dawned upon me. That was no island, and what we were trying to catch were not fish. In all our naivety we were trying to catch ourselves a leviathan limb. Our tugging had roused it from its slumber. I hate to think what would have happened if we had stayed till it had fully awoken.

I never saw it after that day and I am glad I did not…

Well, that captain sure got lucky. And what do you know, so did I. Found myself a nice sea catch. I’m not sharing this with you, mortals. So, until next time…

A to Z Challenge: K – Kukudhi

Greetings, mortals! Dr. Skull is back again with another tale for you. I am not one to lavish tales upon you, and you may call me stingy. But, I am no miser. This story though, does deal with the miserly. Listen well…

It was a dark and stormy night.

A cliched beginning to a tale, but then again, I was no extraordinary person. Just a regular traveller, making his way from one town to another. Caught in the storm, there was no way I could complete my journey. I knew of an abandoned cottage en route, and I decided to spend the night there till the downpour stopped.

I had knew the stories about this cottage. People were warned not to spend the night over here. It was haunted, they said. No one who stayed here left alive. The stories said that a Kukudhi resided here. This man was a miser in life and remained one in the afterlife. Trespassers in the cottage were supposedly murdered by this spirit. I believed the stories, but yet I chose to spend the night there. I was no brave heart but I did not fear the Kukudhi. You see, I could have made my journey in a carriage, or horse. I did not lack the funds.

It’s only that I was a miser, and the Kukudhi could not harm the stingy…

(Word Count: 186)

Imagine that, dear mortals, being miserly actually working as a deterrent to ghosts. But not for me, mind you. You are all the same to me, mortals. Until next time!

A to Z Challenge: J – Jinn

Greetings, mortals! Sorry for not telling you a story yesterday. I was too tired and wished I could take a break. And my wish did come true, I slept through the day. Always be careful about your wishes, mortals, for they may come true. Now listen well to the story…

It was my daily ritual.

I would walk on the beach every morning. I would keep an eye out for any discarded article or trash that might hold any value. On a good day, I would find some scraps I could sell for petty cash. On better days, I would find a ring or jewellery, that fetched me quite a price at the pawn shop. On most days however, I found only seaweed and shelves. This daily ritual of mine, kept me fed. As a homeless, unemployed man, only the beach served as my sustenance.

That day, was different. I found a weathered oil lamp. It was full of dents, and did not look valuable. I rubbed the sand off it to get a better look, and as I continued rubbing, I felt pulses of energy coming from the lamp, and within seconds it became too hot to hold. As I dropped it from my hand, and with a poof, an ethereal form appeared before me.

I fell back in shock. The figure was too bright for me to make out its features. However, I could understand its voice.

“I am the Jinn of this lamp. You have summoned me. Now state your wish, so I may fulfill it.”

I stuttered.

“I can ask for anything?”

The voice continued in its deep voice.

“Yes, any one thing.”

I stood up brushed the sand off.

“I want to be the richest man alive.”

I was not sure, but I think the Jinn laughed.

“Very well. Your wish will be granted.”

Everything around me vanished in an instant all the sand was replaced by piles of gold, and jewels. I was indeed the richest man now. But beyond the glimmer of gold, I could see only walls all around me.

The Jinn had completed his contract, fulfilled my wish and earned his freedom, trapping me inside the lamp in his stead…

I’m still waiting for the next person to find the lamp…

(Word Count: 330)

Well, my lovelies, this is what wishes can get you into. Now, on your way, mortals! Dr. Skull has a lot of sleep catching to do…

A to Z Challenge: I – Ipotane

Greetings, mortals! We have reached I already. How time flies, just like the horses fly through the battlefield. Let me tell you a story about some unique ‘horses’. Listen well now…

I gave a slight bow, as our king joined us on the ramparts.

He gave a nod at satisfaction at the archers stationed at their posts, my soldiers. He walked up to me.
“Well, General. Let’s have it. What does your intel tell you?”
I looked to the plains that lay in front of our fortress.
“Sire, the enemy lord is a horse master, I hear. He has thrice the number of horses we have.”
The king grunted.
“And how many foot soldiers? Artillery?”
I sighed.
“None, sire. They only have horses.
“That does give us the advantage in this battle. No four legged creature can scale these walls. Let them come. We’ll slaughter them like all the others who came before them.”
I pointed to the clouds of dust approaching.
“Here they come, sire. Men draw your bows and wait for my command.”
The king smiled at the incoming wave of enemies. He was brimming with confidence. I waited for the enemy horses to reach arrow range. However, as they got closer I rubbed my eyes in disbelief. There were no men riding the horses. In fact, there were no horses. The enemies were creatures with the face and legs of horses, but the body and arms of men. I felt my men wavering, leaving their posts and retreating into the courtyard of the fortress. Our king stood paralyzed in shock, until an enemy arrow swiftly hit him in the eye.
It was a slaughter. The horse-men conquered our fortress with blazing speed and deathly effectiveness. They skewered my soldiers and hewed through them like butter. Blood and corpses littered the fortress. The air was filled with blood-curling neighs and horrendous sounds of woe.

We had no choice but to surrender and submit to the rule of the Ipotane…

(Word Count: 300)

Oh the horrors of war have their own dread. Facing an unknown enemy can be fearful even for the toughest warriors. How do you face your fears, dear mortals?

Until next time, keep riding…

A to Z Challenge: H – Hyakki Yagyo

Greetings, mortals! I had almost decided not to tell you a story today, because there was a carnival parade passing by my house. I thought joining them would be fun, but then I realised a living skeleton would not really add to their mirth. Oh well, I guess I shall tell you the story of a parade that would have no problem in including me. Listen well…

I peeked out of my window with my binoculars.

I had always wanted to see the town on this night every year. I had heard the other kids say that on this night, there was not one person walking on the streets. Everyone stayed home and shut their doors and windows. That is exactly what my parents had done every year. But this year, they had gone to visit a relative and had tasked granny with keeping an eye on me. Poor granny had fallen asleep and had forgotten completely about the doors and windows. I had locked them all, save the one in my room. The window overlooked our lawn, and since we lived in the higher part of town, I could get a good view of the city.

With my binoculars, I scouted the city. Indeed, I could not see even one person on the street. As I was looking around, I spotted illuminated globes appearing out of the air. They were lighting up the path for what followed, a parade of people in the most grotesque getups I had ever seen. They looked like demons and ghosts straight out of a story book. Some of them even looked like they were using special effects to project fire on their face, blood dripping from their eyes and other such effects. As they began walking closer, I noticed something peculiar. Some of those costumes looked familiar. I remembered them from my dreams. The lady with a snake-like neck, the red-haired oni, the flaming old man, I had seen them all.

The parade got much closer now, as I continued observing them, my heart beating rapidly in my chest. By the time they reached the street adjoining my house, I was pretty sure that those were not costumes. They were real demons and ghosts, and they were all staring at me. Then they began chanting in unison.

We bow to you our new Nurarihyon. Come down and lead us, help us finish our parade….

(Word Count: 334)

I hope that kid enjoyed leading the parade. Readers, would you enjoy being a part of such a parade, or at least witness it? Until, next time mortals….

A to Z Challenge: G – Gremlins

Greetings, mortals. Have you ever wondered about aeroplanes? What about aeroplanes? Why they crash ofcourse. Discounting drunk pilots, unattentive air hostesses, crazy passengers, weird weather and terrorists, there are ofcourse the little buggers in the sky. No, not birds. Today’s tale is about these buggers….

My crew’s morale was not holding too well.

I don’t blame them. Doing daily bombing runs under heavy fire would take a toll on anyone’s nerves. I watched as my co-pilot Lieutenant Delaney muttered under his breath, probably praying to the lord. If I was a God-fearing man, I would have joined in. However, I chose to keep more faith in the men rather than the man. Today’s target was a weapon’s factory. Intel had informed that the Anti-aircraft guns had been taken care of by the commandos. So, the only opposition today was coming from enemy aircrafts.

My bomber’s escort planes had not failed us till now. I continued showing my faith in them, until I watched them explode in flames, courtesy enemy bullets. We were now flying defenceless in the air, our anti-air guns too slow to keep up with the enemy ace squadron. I looked at Delaney and smiled.

“We are sitting ducks out here. Hopefully, all that praying to God helps us now.”

Delaney shook his head and pointed outside.

“No sir. I was not praying to the lord. I was seeking the grace of the gremlins. Look.”

I looked outside to see an enemy aircraft coming right at us. Delaney stopped me from open firing at the aircraft. I could see plumes of smoke coming out from it. As it came closer, I saw what was causing the smoke. A bunch of tiny creatures had stuck on to the plane. The rest of my crew reported other enemy aircrafts going down in similar fashion.

Now, I am still not a God-fearing man, but I make sure to keep an eye out for Gremlins every time I am in the air…

Well, you kids make sure to keep your weather eyes out for these nasty little buggers. Who knows? You might find them on the next flight you take.

Until next time, high-flyers….

A to Z Challenge: F – Fear Gortach

Greetings, mortals! You caught me catching a snack. Just some bone meal…hehehe. Well, I don’t eat much. But, in today’s story I will tell you about someone that does. Hungry would be an understatement…

The cemetary keeper had reported incidents of grave robbing.

As deputy sheriff, I was tasked with keeping an eye out for the robber. Now, camping out next to the graveyard is not a task I fancied, but it was my duty as a lawman to put a stop to all crimes. I waited by the edge of the cemetary, hiding behind some rocks. I kept my eyes peeled for any trespasser. A few minutes past the midnight mark and halfway through my can of beans, I noticed a pale figure approaching the graveyard. I unholstered my six-chamber colt, and snuck into the graveyard.

As I got closer to the figure, I realised that it was a man unlike any I had seen. He was stark naked, and his bones stuck out visibly. He looked famished. No, he looked emaciated. As he began digging a grave, I called out to him with all the courage I could muster.

“You there! Stop!”

The pale man stopped and turned towards me. Even in the moonlight, I could make out that his teeth were razor sharp, and his eyes lacked any sign of life. I willed my hands to stop shivering.

“Grave robbing is an offence under the marshal law. You are under arrest.”

The pale man calmly responded.

“Sir, I mean you no harm. But, I am hungry. So hungry. I only eat that which is already dead. That is the only way I can stop myself from consuming those that still live. If you walk back now, and leave me be, I promise to continue staying away from living men. My kind are not known for showing such consideration, mind you.”

His kind. The fact that I could occassionaly see through his body, confirmed my suspicions. I holstered my pistol and backed away from the man.

I never wanted to cross paths with Fear Gortach, a phantom of hunger, again…

(Word Count: 318)

Did the deputy sheriff really neglect his duty? Or did he just make the smart choice. I think he just wanted to get back to his can of beans. Just as I will get back my bone meal now. Adios, mortals. Until next time!

A to Z Challenge: E – Ebu Gogo

Greetings mortal! I had such a long day, cleaning all my bones and polishing them. Speaking of length, I’m sure you have heard of little people. The kind who plot in Westeros or fight evil hordes in Middle-Earth. However, today I’m going to tell you a story of a more primitive variety of them…

Little Kembang had run deep inside the forest.

In the thrill of the game, he had wandered far away from his brothers and sisters. He found himself in a part of the forest he did not recognize. Kembang was a brave ten year old, but he knew that wasn’t going to keep wild animals from eating him up. He called out to his siblings, but he got no response. As he continued wandering, he felt something prick his neck, a dart. He fell to the ground, unconscious.

When Kembang awoke, he found himself sitting next to a fire inside a cave. Lying beside the fire were various vegetables, roots and spices. Around him sat little hairy people who vaguely resembled humans. They stood as tall as Kembang but seemed like adults of their kind. One of them prodded Kembang lightly with his stick and pointed towards the fire.

“Tell how cook.”

Kembang blinked.

The hairy creature snarled at the little boy, baring his sharp yellow teeth.

“Teach cook food.”

Kembang realized what was happening. These creatures were Ebu Gogo, whose stories had been narrated by the elders of his village. In those stories, children always escaped by tricking the creatures. Kembang decided to do the same. He picked up a fruit of the chilly plant, ready to toss it into the fire. This fruit released a strong essence that could incapacitate the uninitiated. Luckily, it was a delicacy in Kembang’s village and he had grown up feasting on it.

Just as the little boy was about to toss the fruit into the flames, his hand was stopped by an Ebu Gogo. Just as the stories had been passed on to Kembang by his elders, so had the stories been told to the Ebu Gogo by their ancestors. They now knew how to spot a trickster, and they knew how to deal with one.

Little Kembang was never found again…

(Word Count: 319)

Like I always say, never underestimate someone because they are short. I do wonder what they did with the little boy. What do you think?

Until next time then, mortals…

A to Z Challenge: D – Draugr

Greetings mortals! In today’s tale, I, Dr. Skull will introduce you to my norse cousins. They aren’t as eloquent as yours truly, but they are damn fun. Now, listen well to my tale, mortals….

Josie was having a gala time.

She could still not believe that her new company was paying her to go on exploration trips. This was her first trip and she was already exploring a Scandinavian cave. This was so much better than sitting at a desk and doing paperwork all day.

Josie had been in such a jolly mood, that she did not pay attention to how deep she had gone inside the cave. She had almost forgotten that her job required her to take notes of anything peculiar or interesting.

She shone her torch on the walls and noticed curious inscriptions. She tried her best to copy them down. As she continued copying, her nose picked up a horrendous stench. It smelt like decayed flesh. She moved the torch around trying to find the source and stopped abruptly when the light fell upon a rotting corpse. Before Josie could react, the walking corpse let out a blood-curling growl. The inscriptions around her began glowing and she heard shuffling footsteps from behind her.

She was trapped. Stuck between rock and an angry legion of Draugrs…

(Word Count: 185)

You know, I did happen to meet Josie a few years after the incident took place. I must say her bones were in top-notch condition and she smelt better than those other Draugrs from Scandinavia, so fresh.

Oh well, until next time my still-alive mortals…

A to Z Challenge: Cthulu

Greetings mortal! We meet again. Back for another story, eh? Good…! Tell me..do you believe in Gods? Let me tell you a story of a God you probably don’t believe in…

It’s all hopeless.
I just can’t do it. What can be done if one needs to fight a monster nobody else believes, exists? What is one to do if the said monster is in fact, a God. Not a benevolent God, but a God that only wants to feast on the souls of humans. It wants to show us despair and fear like we have never experienced before. This God won’t stop until it has driven all men to utter madness.
What can I do? I see no solution and all this worrying is driving me insane. Oh Lord!
That’s exactly what it wants, I am walking into its trap…

(Word Count: 110)

So, now do you believe it? Maybe this God is why you feel so depressed through the day. Don’t worry..you have my stories to keep your mind occupied. Until next time!