Friday, May 10, 2013

Curse of the Undead King: Chapter Two

The dwelling was empty, and, by the carefree demeanor of the rodents who had taken up occupancy, had been so for some time. Mrrda moved about cautiously, aware of the possibility that this may be a trap. Mice scurried into the corners of the tree shack, but spiders seemed drawn to the skeleton's dark presence. The arachnids climbed over his toes, hiding in the crevices between the bones.

"Where are you, fool?" Mrrda hissed into the darkness.

There was little in the way of personal belonging. Rotting fruit peels, some furs for warmth and comfort, knives and spears made of stone. Little more. Little, but something. A pressed sheet of tree bark was pinned to a clear surface of the room by a heavy rock. Beside it was a finely sharpened twig and a purple fruit which the Undead King remembered to be bitter. The fruit bled down its side and onto the table. A matching shade was found on the tip of the twig and in bizarre shapes scribbled over the bark.

"This is..."

Mrrda brought the bark up so that he could see it in the night. It was nothing more than the alphabet. His alphabet. The king thought back, remembering consulting with his brother and relatives. Together they devised a language which the Ancient Ones could not read, which looked to their oppressors as nothing more than careless scribbles. To Mrrda's people they were liberation.

Whoever had written this alphabet certainly was careless. Most of the signs were wrong in some way. Mrrda toyed with the idea that the symbols had simply changed over time, but the other side of the bark said otherwise. There it was again, that alphabet, but this time each character slightly more deformed than before. The individual who had written this was not skilled with language. Not written language, in any case.

Mrrda tossed the sheet to the ground, ripping it to pieces with a stomp of his foot. Impatience made him growl as he glared into the night. His prey was not at home, and there was little to indicate it would return.

The stomping of his feet made something tickle and twitch within, and when he glared downward he saw a dozen tiny spiders burst out from his bones and scuttle away over the floor.

"Stop!" the king commanded, and at once the arachnids obeyed. He reached down with spindly fingers and plucked one up by its twisted legs. "Where has Brrda gone? Take me to him and I will not crush you."

The spider fiddled with its limbs, spinning itself atop Mrrda's fingers. It raised a leg and stabbed toward the doorway, whereby the moon light shone into Brrda's chambers. The other spiders crawled single file into the moonbeam and around the corner. Mrrda was soon to follow.


Mrrda followed the spiders through the jungle, cutting his way through leaves and shrubs with irritated grumbles and grunts. Not long before sunrise they came to the clearing where Mrrda's temple rested in ruin. The man who'd awoken the Undead King had returned, his flying machine parked close to the crumbling temples. The spiders climbed up the side of the machine where they came to a stop, dangling in its corners.

From behind there came a gasp. At once Mrrda was upon the terrified Tycoon.

"Where is Brrda?" the irate king demanded, waving his saber menacingly. "Where have you hidden him?"

Tycoon brought up his hands. Speaking shakily, he said: "I—I don't know what you'r—re talking about."

"Don't fool with me, mortal." Mrrda lunged with the saber, stopping just short of the fat man's bubbling neck. "Where is Brrda?"

There was a crash like thunder throughout the jungle. Bones sprayed every which way. Their dust settled over the grass and leaves. Tycoon rushed to the chopper where his henchman waited with a smoking rifle. They were off without a second glance.

Mrrda's skull sat in the grass, surrounded all over by a fine, white powder. It looked as though winter had come to the Secret Lands. Green blades flossed the king's teeth as the sockets of his eyes stared up into the sky. For the first time since they had been awoken these bones were silent. For the first time since they had awoken, those sockets saw only darkness.

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