This is a short story that I wrote for fun.
|From Wikimedia Commons|
As I stood in the hills overlooking the city, I watched the buildings crumble under the feet of the rainbow monsters. I couldn't help but reflect on my life choices that had lead me to this moment as well as many others like it. I looked over at Jim as he took the first puff of his second cigarette.
Oh wait, I’m sorry, I forgot that he likes to be called Jas now, don’t remember why exactly, something to do with… Well, you don’t care about that. You, like most people, are focusing on the least interesting part of the story - the rainbow monsters.
At least that’s the least interesting part of the story for me. I’m still really weirded out as to why he wants to be called Jas; isn't that a girl’s name?
There were three of them though, the rainbow monsters. They were basically huge, translucent, multicolored arches, easily several hundred feet tall. Two huge, circular eyeballs sat on either side of an even larger mouth like some kind of a Mr. Potato Head rip-off. The mouth was, of course, populated with sharp teeth, the kind that you would see in a child’s monster drawing - large, triangular, and bright white. The rainbows walked by moving one end of their arch at a time, crushing whatever buildings that they came down on. The city would have been completely decimated within the hour if we hadn't been there.
I sighed a deep breath and then coughed uncontrollably.
“Damn it Jim!” I swatted the cigarette from his lips. “You know I’m allergic. I said just one.”
“It’s Jas, not Jim!” he started. “You know if you wanted me to call you Benny or something I would have no problem with that.”
“Ben is my name; its fine and you’re an idiot,” I said. “Those things are going to kill you,” I indicated the cigarette in his hand, “and nobody researches lung cancer. You know that right? Nobody donates to lung cancer because everyone blames …” my voice was cut off by the roar of the nearest rainbow monster but I continued. “Of course, a large portion of people who get lung cancer have never smoked a cigarette.”
Jim stared at me with a blank expression.
“I don’t want to be one of those people,” I finished.
“What people?” Jim asked.
“The people who get lung cancer from second hand smoke,” I said, getting frustrated.
“I thought you didn’t want me to smoke because you’re allergic.” Jim puffed yet another cigarette that he’d apparently lit during my rant.
Behind me, I heard something explode, probably a gas tank or something electrical.
I swatted the third cigarette to the ground and stepped on it.
“Do you realize how much those cost now?” Jim shouted.
I glared at him for an additional moment before returning my attention to the city being destroyed nearby.
“Besides,” Jim continued, “do you really think that cancer is what’s going to do you in at this point? If it isn’t one of these things it’ll be something even weirder.”
“Just stop,” I said. “Go get one of your e-cigs from the car. And while you’re there get the Bank Book.”
Jim unleaned himself from a tree and walked over to the tan 1999 Toyota Camry that my mother gave me last year. I lifted a pair of compact binoculars to my eyes and examined one of the rainbow monsters. I was looking for its token (the focus of the power that made these things). I hesitate to use the word magic because that’s not entirely accurate. Sure magic is there but it’s not the whole story, some of it has to do with dreams, some of it has to do with desire, and some of it with emotions. In this particular case it had to do with toys that were given out with a fast food kid’s meal.
Jim handed me the Bank Book from amidst his e-cigarette’s vapor cloud. It wasn’t really a bank book, that’s just what I liked to call it. I hated using the word spell book a lot like the word magic. See doesn’t that sound stupid, spell book. I figured that it was a bank of spells so, to me at least, it made sense.
It doesn’t matter what sort of strangeness is going on, if you tell someone that you need your spell book they will look you dead in the eyes and judge you, like you’re a basement ensnared Dungeons and Dragons reject.
I handed the binoculars to Jim.
“It’s like we thought,” I said. “It’s those pink plastic things from that restaurant.” Jim looked through the binoculars and nodded his understanding. Opening the book I searched for the right…um…incantation (I don’t know if that sounds any better than spell).
Another building crumbled under the weight of a massive rainbow foot.
“Maybe this will convince them to pay us faster when we tell them something’s going on,” Jim said, puffing his vapor.
“It didn’t last time,” I said, “Here it is.” Having found the page with the incantation, I recited the words. My hand was outstretched towards one of the toys floating in the nearest rainbow monster.
Bullets and projectiles can’t damage them, with this type of thing you have to grab the token from the heart of the creature with your bare hands. It’s not an uncommon thing in our profession.
Once I’d finished reciting, I handed Jim the book and he walked back to the car. Then I began to grow. It wasn’t long before all three rainbow monsters noticed me. I was kind of hard to miss. I think that I stopped growing at about three hundred feet tall, one hundred feet taller than the rainbows. For a second, I’d thought that I’d over done it a bit. I hadn’t had a great breakfast and was feeling a little faint due to my low sugar. Luckily I was able to pull myself together as the monsters were already heading towards me.
I didn’t want to give them time to gang up, so I approached the nearest one while trying to only step on roads. Well, roads and that one restaurant with that waiter. What a jerk!
That’s what I was thinking as a ray of multi-colored lights slammed into my chest knocking me flat onto my back. Hopefully that warehouse I crushed was mostly empty.
I tried to stand up but the monster struck me with a translucent red line it used as an arm. I stumbled, crushing more buildings and cars but I didn’t fall down. I turned and sprang at the monster, reaching for the tiny plastic toy hanging at its center. My hand passed harmlessly through it and I nearly fell over again. The toy was so small and my hand was so large it was difficult to grab. Another red arm slapped my face and I fell back onto the hills from where I’d started. Jim stood there eating a sandwich. He gave me an enthusiastic smile with a thumbs up.
Pushing myself up, off of the hill I grasped for the toy again. I could barely feel it on my hand but I knew I’d won as the rainbow monster began to disappear. Defeating the other two rainbows was relatively simple, now that I had a better understanding of the way they fought and what they could do. When all of the monsters were gone I surveyed the damage. At least half of the city had been spared so it hadn’t been a total waste. I shrank back down to a normal size.
“Not our best day, huh?” Jim said as we drove home. He was right of course, although I thought he was being a tad pessimistic. There had been a lot of mayhem but as an optimist I always try to put a positive spin on things; that’s probably why Jim and I work so well together.
“It was better than Cleveland,” I said reassuringly. Jim shrugged in agreement.
“Wanna stop at that burger place they got out here?”
“Yes!” I said. “Yes I do.” And I cranked up the stereo as the song Respect, by Aretha Franklin came on.
Author of the photo: Gentry George, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service