Sea Hawk Hilaetos circles high below the clouds meaning to take the soaked squirrel for himself, but then he shrieks in hungry despair as to signify this most monumental of events, a meeting of three kings. The first of the last great battles to be fought in the Mighty Mother Monksville has begun.
Merksus watches the squirrel disappear beneath the water, leaving nothing but bubbles in its place. His eyes grow wider than the great shine and he’s suddenly up on all fours, his jaw dangling for an entirely different reason than it was as the ground squirrel swam towards him. A mighty guttural roar escapes the black bear’s maw, a roar powerful enough to throw the waters of Monksville into a churn, a churn which rocks The Giant’s boat to the point that he must stop his rowing and take to the sole in order to keep from falling overboard.
The bear roars again, then again, then one more time, and then he leaps into the drink and disappears beneath the surface of the water between the two isles. That damn snaggletooth muskellunge will not take Merksus’s meal, the black king of the landwalkers shall not allow it. Not today.
Leonidas, sensing the vibrations from the black bear’s heavy splash, immediately peers towards the surface. He sees Merksus struggling to gain his bearings. Their eyes lock and their gaze holds them both steadily in place for a moment, the black bear floating high and silhouetted by the great shine, the muskellunge floating low and hidden amongst the murky depths. The moment ends; the Earth resumes spinning; Merksus snaps out of his trance.
Swinging paw after paw through the water, the black bear swiftly advances towards the stalled muskellunge. Leonidas has only one option – fleeing back to his home in Muskellunge Cove would be foolish, would be asking for a sudden death in the middle of the night. No, he must retreat to the hidey hole and he must retreat to it quickly, before the swimming bear gets any closer.
Deep in the water between Monksville’s two islands sits a massive boulder-esque thing with edges smoother than any other rock. For a long many cycles this smooth rock was unblemished, a perfect dome some may say, but late this last spring, something happened. Some say two beings inhabited The Dome, some even gave them names, but only one thing is for certain: something happened to them, something which caused a hole to be blown in The Dome’s outer shell, allowing the Reservoir to flood in. The hole is blocked by two large black masses, but they are not fixed in place; quite the contrary, actually, as Leonidas has moved them many times before. With the black bear closing in, the muskellunge wedges his nose between the two masses and begins to flail about, much like he saw his father do on that fateful day Leonidas was crowned as the child king of Monksville. The two black masses drift slightly apart, revealing a gap just barely wide enough for the muskellunge to swim through, and swim through he does. Leonidas has never been able stay inside The Dome for long – the more of this blackened, stagnant water he breathes the more intense the burn in his gills becomes – but he will not be hiding down here forever. Merksus is a landwalker through and through, he must surface for air eventually, and when he inevitably does, Leonidas shall make his swift escape back to his cove.
So too does Merksus know he must surface, and soon at that, for his lungs burn in an entirely different fashion than the gills of the muskellunge, but he’s swam all the way down here, he must at least try. The water is murky, dense, cloudy, impossible to properly see through, but he can see well enough. Merksus knows as he approaches the broken Dome that the muskellunge is hiding inside, he knows when he’s found the hole blown into the thick glass by a bullet which shall never be made in a future which shall never again come to pass, and above all else, he knows he has enough strength left in him to widen that jagged hole. It won’t be wide enough for him to slip through now, but the water’s surface is not that far up. He can breech, fill his lungs, and return to finish the job with ease, and so he shall, but first Merksus must show the muskellunge that the black king of the landwalkers is not to be trifled with.
Bellowing a fearsome roar into the murky depths, a roar powerful enough to bring a wild sway to the petrified trees protruding from both The Sticks and South Cove, Merksus draws back and clobbers the cracked outer shell of The Dome with his mighty right paw, decorating it with a spiderweb and raining glass down on the head of the muskellunge with its belly so full of squirrel.
The single strike proves enough to widen the gap far beyond what Merksus needs, but I would be lying if I were to say he does not expect that. Not many know the true strength of a starved and enraged black bear, but Merksus knows it well, for he is the one to doll out the punishment. What Merksus doesn’t expect, however, is the black mass which floats up towards the surface, locking its eyes, its dreadful, rotted, dead eyes with him as it floats cold from what was once its aquatic mausoleum; nor does he expect the putrid miasma spewing from the gash in the second dead mass’s side as it catches a ragged shard of glass – a shard broken in the shape of a crescent moon – on its way to the surface, taking the Reservoir’s healthy green murk and flushing it deep with a brownish black spew, a spew which reeks of foulest death even underneath the water.
In a terrified flurry of movement Merksus scrambles for the lake’s surface. Leonidas, wasting no time, flees the shattered Dome and jets his way to the Wanaque Riverbed to regroup and flush the rancid water from his burning, stinging gills.
This has been the thirteenth subchapter of the last chapter of the book The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
The Monksville Chronicles
- A novel about storytelling
- Book stats:
– 276 pages
– 72,749 words
– The Here and Now | I
– The Sandbox | 0.5
– Revision Date: July 20, 2021
- Click here for the free PDF, buy links, etc
I’ve written a few other books, too. Even fixed the link. Click here to see the list.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. From this day on, we move forever forward~