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Mistress Morphine Music Video :icondannyrichardwriter:dannyrichardwriter 17 0
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The Tatzelwurm :icondannyrichardwriter:dannyrichardwriter 3 0
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Desert Siege New Cryptozoology Short Story :icondannyrichardwriter:dannyrichardwriter 1 0
Saturday Night Seance Creature Design by dannyrichardwriter Saturday Night Seance Creature Design :icondannyrichardwriter:dannyrichardwriter 10 1 Angie Griffin as Mistress Morphine!! by dannyrichardwriter Angie Griffin as Mistress Morphine!! :icondannyrichardwriter:dannyrichardwriter 46 1 We are now on Patreon - please support!! by dannyrichardwriter We are now on Patreon - please support!! :icondannyrichardwriter:dannyrichardwriter 11 0
Literature
Monstrous Episode Six - The Wendigo
~ Chapter One ~
“You should not have come.”
Graeme Baird was inclined to agree. The weather, bitterly cold compared to his native Scotland, was beginning to show its teeth. Even though the family had done its best to make the ancient clapboard house cozy, the wind and snow snuck into the home through cracks, continually dusting the wooden floor with white glitter.
“Hush, Grandmother.” The man turned to Graeme. “Please don’t listen to her. She’s never recovered from that night.”
The woman lurked in a corner of the room, tucked into an old recliner like a spider in its web. Her face was crossed with a million lifelines; it was impossible to determine her age. In the dim light, her eyes shone as she glared at him, waiting to see if he heeded her warning.
“She saw it as well?” Graeme was shocked. He’d never before heard of anyone surviving an encounter with this creature, let alone an elderly woman.
Knute inclined his head.
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Literature
From Distant Euroa - New Monstrous Cryptozoology
From Distant Euroa
by Alan Baxter
Kylie Baird wiped sweat from her brow as she stepped into the coolness of the Silver Hotel. Cool compared to the blistering heat and pounding sun outside, anyway. A bit of shade and a couple of struggling ceiling fans weren’t much, but they made a difference.
“Schooner of New, thanks, Bazza,” she said with a smile, but Barry was already pouring it. He knew her order.
“You’re grubbier than usual, Kylie.”
“Been a bastard long day. Three idiot cows got caught up in fencing near Johnson’s south paddock. Had hell’s own job getting them out.”
“You’ve earned this then.” He passed the beer across the bar.
Kylie swallowed half without a breath and sighed. “That’s the good stuff.”
“Is it?”
She laughed. “Well, nah, it’s like piss. But it’s beer.”
She turned to lean back against the bar and spotted a group of three men sitting in one
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Literature
Monstrous Episode Three - The Demon's Cave
The Demon's Cave
By Keith McArdle
Dan adjusted the leather skull cap. The hearing cups nestled more securely around his ears and the roar of the plane's engines immediately faded to a dull rumble. He reached into a pocket, fingers clamping onto a piece of paper. He dragged it clear and unfolded the note. The words were written by a neat hand, the letters beautiful, clean strokes of ink.
Mr. Dan Atwood, I am told you can help. I would like to add a Quinkin to my collection. If you accept the three gold guineas on offer, you will fly to a small airstrip 25 miles north of Melbourne and God willing capture one of these creatures. All expenses paid. Muribilli, a warrior and tracker from the Woi Wurrung people will meet you at the airstrip. He comes highly recommended. You won't succeed without him. Godspeed.
Graeme Baird
He folded the letter and slid it away, buttoning the pocket closed. He stretched his legs, staring at his pack and weapon secured on a seat opposite. The Browning .303 bolt
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Speed Read Summary of Adrenaline Shots Series by dannyrichardwriter
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The Tatzelwurm

By Eileen Mueller


“Here we are, lad. The Schutzengarten, the best hotel in Ebnat-Kappel.” George Smith put his bags down and smoothed his freshly-starched tunic, then strode up the steps to the hotel.

Eddie tried to fix the crumpled fabric of his safari tunic, but his never looked quite as good as George’s. Had that comely maiden in the bar in Watwill laundered George’s tunic free of charge? Eddie sighed. George had such a way with the ladies.

Schutzengarten was a typical Swiss establishment, neat and tidy with cheery red geraniums in its window boxes. Actually, they looked more like pelargoniums, probably pelargonium hortorum. Shouldering George’s bags as well as his own, Eddie trudged up the stairs to the entrance. It was only fair that George had more luggage, he told himself for the umpteenth time, after all, he was the expedition leader.

George was at the front counter laughing with the hotelier. He clapped Eddie on the shoulder, upsetting the luggage. “There you go, boy. Easy with those bags, just help the man with them, there’s a good chap.”

Eddie followed the hotelier’s son up the carpeted staircase. It was worth some donkey work to be part of the world’s biggest scientific discovery. He might be a fine scientist with an excellent reputation at Baird’s menagerie, but it was George who knew how hunt—and how to prime a taproom so their tricky questions would get answers.

They’d journeyed across half of Switzerland tracking rumours of the tatzelwurm. Between giggles and fluttering lashes, George’s girl in Watwill had assured him the villagers here in Ebnat-Kappel knew the whereabouts of the Swiss Alpine dragon.

By the time Eddie came down to the taproom, George was already sharing a table with the locals, and winking at the barmaid to bring them another round. Eddie slipped into a seat as unobtrusively as he could.

A wizened Swiss farmer, complete with barn perfume, scowled at Eddie, sizing him up.
Eddie smiled, trying not to wrinkle his nose. Smile to put them at ease, his grandfather, Graeme Baird, always said. Too big a smile will make them suspicious. The farmer turned back to his beer, listening to George Smith’s tales of hunting a chupacabra in South America.

A shame the chupacabra had died en-route to Scotland. At least George had disposed of its body. Decent of him, really.

The singsong cadence of Swiss-German rose and fell around them. During the First World War, Eddie and Grandfather had ventured across the Continent to save some rare species. He’d picked up a bit of German, which he’d later consolidated during his studies at the University of Edinburgh. Despite the Swiss dialect, he could understand quite a lot.
George stretched his arm across the back of his chair, accidentally bumping a brunette in her twenties. “My apologies, m’dear!” George smiled, flashing his teeth.

She blushed, glancing at the bicep straining George’s sleeve.

Eddie sighed. He’d never had that effect on young ladies. If only he had half George’s charm.

After their evening meal, even more villagers crowded into the bar. Obviously, rumours of George’s hunting exploits had spread. For the price of a few rounds of beer, he was winning the locals’ trust.

At the end of yet another cryptid hunting story, when George had everyone’s attention, he shot a few mild questions into the crowd. “I hear Switzerland has its own share of rare, almost-legendary creatures. Any tales to share?”
Silence. Eyes shifted. Faces shuttered. The brunette busied herself, looking in her purse.

“No. No creatures like that, here,” The wizened farmer ventured. “And I’d know, I’ve lived long enough.” He stood, making his way past the bar towards the back door.
Something was afoot.

Eddie discreetly followed, going into the Gents. As he dallied in the WC, the back door to the hotel clunked shut. Feet crunched in gravel then the old farmer’s voice rose through the open window.

“Get word to the Speer,” the wizened farmer said. “Those British are hunting the wurm.”

***

The Speer rose above them, the alp’s snow-striped granite towering above flower-speckled alpine meadows. Cowbells donged, their tones drifting down on the spring breeze as cows wandered in alpine pastures. From this angle, the Speer was an unusual alp, not a soaring triangular peak, but a giant wedge-shaped slab with an almost vertical drop on one side.
It had taken a few days to find a villager willing to transport them and their belongings up the alp. Luckily, Eddie had stumbled upon an old battered poster, advertising a summer home-stay on the Speer. Faced with that and George’s gold coin, a young man had grudgingly agreed to bring them up to the alp in his cart. George rode up front.

The lad pulled the reins, and the horses stopped in front of a quaint alpine hut with a wooden-shingled roof that had seen better days. The aged walls were angled inward, the house narrower at the bottom than at the roof to prevent snow building up against the sides of the building in winter.

Eddie hopped out of the tray, flicking stray bits of hay off his tunic and trousers. By Darwin’s hat, it was warm up here!

“My word, she’s a pretty young thing,” George muttered, preening his moustache.
Eddie glanced up to see a young woman exiting the alpine hut with her parents. Flaxen wisps escaped her braid. Her lake-blue eyes fixed on George. Of course.
Not that George should be looking at her—why, she was younger than Eddie, about eighteen.

“Come on, boy, grab our bags!” George strode forward and introduced himself.

“Gruezi wohl. Welcome to our home.” Back stiff, the girl gave a rusty curtsy and gestured to her parents. “I am Gabi. My parents are Franz and Vreni.”

Her parents nodded, faces wary.

“This is my colleague, Eddie. We’re here to do some hiking so Eddie can recover from a recent illness. It would be lovely if you could show us around the alp.” George flicked his hand up toward the Speer, then bowed.

The girl blushed as pink as the geraniums in her mother’s window box.

Suddenly Eddie wished he hadn’t agreed to play the part of a convalescent. He very much wanted to be in full health around this shy girl.

The mother, Vreni, raised an eyebrow at the huge nets that Eddie was pulling from the cart.

“Ah,” muttered George, “we thought we might catch a few butterflies while we’re here.”

***

Eddie hadn’t slept well. His dreams had been plagued with George scooping up all the eligible women in Scotland and taking off on a hunting trip to search for cryptids without him. Even worse, in his nightmare, George had gone public with his findings and revealed grandfather’s secret cryptid menagerie, telling everyone about the rare and wonderful creatures Graeme Baird was protecting.

Eddie shuddered. Thank goodness George Smith was trustworthy.

Oh well, he was awake now. Mother nature was up, too—there was the pink tinge of dawn against the shabby print curtains, and the dull clang of cowbells outside.
Eddie rose and pulled on his trousers, stockings and boots. Nothing like an early morning walk. Perhaps he’d find a tatzelwurm trail—whatever that looked like. By all accounts, the animal was a snake-cat hybrid, with only two front legs. Apparently it slithered along the ground. Did it really breathe poisonous gas? Was its blood really acidic? And could it fly? If he could capture one, they’d find out. Eddie’s heart beat faster at the prospect of such an amazing creature.

If he could find one.

He picked up his rucksack with his field equipment and slipped out the bedroom door, stepping on the sides of the stairs so they didn’t creak and wake anyone.

The air was brisk, so Eddie cracked on at a good pace, heading past the barn and over a rise through the upper pasture. He kept an eye out for unusual trails, but the only things he found, apart from a fox’s paw prints, were the dull impressions of cow hooves. Braunveih, typical Swiss cows, were a hardy breed but hardy worth taking to a menagerie for rare creatures! No, he needed to find that wurm.

Eddie hiked on, mopping his brow with his spotted kerchief. Soon, the alp’s drop off towered above him. There was no way up on this side, but there was a goat track leading around the alp.

He clung to the rocky face as he edged along the narrow trail. Thank the devil he wasn’t carrying George’s net or trap.

The other side of the alp was worse, plunging to the valley far below. A deep river of snow melt gushed through an impassable fissure, heading deep underground. Eddie was about to turn back when he spotted a man higher up. By Jove, that was a steep climb. The man was scaling the sheer face, holding onto a rope which was intermittently anchored to the rock.

He watched transfixed. If that man fell and plunged to his death…

As the man moved, a long blonde plait tumbled off his shoulder.

Eddie inhaled sharply. It was the girl, Gabi. He hadn’t recognised her in climbing breeches. What was she doing up there on the alp alone?

He gasped again as she let go of the rope and inched along the mountainside. He had to calm down. She’d grown up here.

Something flew out of a crevice in the mountain face—something with a dark sinuous snakelike body.

Eddie restrained himself from crying out in shock. The tatzelwurm! He pulled out his binoculars.

The creature landed on the ledge and slithered along to Gabi. It nuzzled its head, rather like a cat’s, against her calves, then slid back to its cave, using its front paws to pull itself along. She followed it inside.

Darwin’s bones! She’d tamed it. What an extraordinary bond. Such a bizarre creature—but no more bizarre than the dodo or the New Zealand taniwha at the menagerie. Eddie’s mind spun with the scientific ramifications of his discovery.

He’d better get back before Gabi noticed him.

Edging away from the treacherous fissure of icy water, Eddie scrambled back around the alp, and then raced across the pastures. He had to tell George where the creature’s lair was. He’d need his help to catch it.

***

Eddie arrived, panting, back at the hut, but there was no chance to talk to George alone.

Gabi’s mother, Vreni, hustled him into breakfast, asking in broken English, “Where was you go?” as she served him up ham, cheese and freshly-baked bread with a strong cup of coffee.

He waved a hand eastwards away from the Speer, and muttered, “Just a little stroll,” as he gulped his coffee. Gah, not as good as a British cuppa tea, but it helped ease his nerves.

“Good for the boy to have walk,” said George as Gabi arrived. “He’s interested in butterflies, you know. Should take the net with you next time, chap.” He thumped Eddie on the back, nearly making him spit coffee.

Sitting, Gabi shot Eddie a keen look.

Had she seen him on the Speer? He gave her a polite smile.

Vreni bustled around the table, babbling in Swiss-German to Gabi, who translated. “There is a chilbi here tomorrow, an alp fest. Would you mind to help us prepare?” She quirked an eyebrow at Eddie. “Of course, if you need to rest…?”

“I can manage,” said Eddie, adding in a cough for good measure.

A horse and cart arrived soon after, then another and another.

Soon, Eddie’s muscles ached from lifting beer barrels, and manhandling rounds of cheese so heavy that he and George had to lift them together. They unloaded a bunch of folding wooden chairs and spent the afternoon setting up chairs and trestle tables in the meadow.

The whole time, Eddie kept trying to get George on his own, but George was hanging around Gabi—who gazed up at George through her long blonde lashes.

She was acting like a besotted cat—hardly the adventurous girl he’d seen climbing the
Speer and snuggling a dangerous tatzelwurm!

As dusk was falling, they were setting up the last trestle when a horse galloped up the trail and into the meadow.

A man in a grey uniform and cap swung down off the horse calling, “Is there anywhere, here, a Mister George Smith?” He waved an envelope. “I have urgent telegram.”

“That’s me,” George replied, taking the envelope and ripping it open. His brow furrowed as he read it. “Can you take a reply?” he barked.

Eddie peered over George’s shoulder.

Excellent proposition STOP 100 percent agreed. STOP George Smith

George sent the messenger on his way with a silver coin of large denomination. “Make sure it goes tonight,” he called.

“Yes, Sir.” The messenger headed back down the alp.

“You’re looking very smug,” Eddie said.

“It’s wonderful when business goes well.”

“So you heard from grandfather? What did he want? Perhaps we need to talk inside.” Eddie gestured at the hut, away from prying ears.

“Ah, George,” said Gabi, “A special moth often comes to the top pasture at night. Would you like to see it?”

“I can come too,” Eddie said.

“George patted him on the shoulder. “Sorry, old boy, you know the doctor says the night air isn’t good for your chest.”

Eddie stood gaping, hands in fists as they strolled away.

Hours later, George stumbled up to the bedroom, dropped his clothes on the floor and stretched out on the bed. Soon he was snoring, but Eddie couldn’t sleep.

Why the telegram? Had there been a change in plans? Had his grandfather, Graeme Baird, decided against them catching the tatzelwurm? Surely not, when they were so close. He had to know what was going on.

Eddie crept out of bed and rummaged in George’s trouser pockets to find out what grandfather wanted. He smoothed the crinkled paper, and lit the lamp so he could read.
George Smith STOP We are interested in the Swiss tatzelwurm STOP Will pay £10,000 for the carcass STOP Deliver to London immediately STOP Please confirm plans STOP Newton & Sons
Taxidermists.

Taxidermists!

Horrors! George wanted to kill the beast, not protect it. And £10,000 was twice what Grandfather was paying him.

A sickening thought hit him.

Had George killed the chupacabra, too? If so, he’d been paid by grandfather and the taxidermists. What a scheming, low-down lily-livered swine George Smith was. Travelling the world, seducing young women and killing off wondrous creatures, all on Graeme Baird’s coin.

Eddie wanted to punch George’s nose right there, but there’d be a ruckus and Eddie was likely to find himself shipped off, unable to do anything to help the family or their creature.

He had to warn Gabi. No, it was the middle of the night. He couldn’t go up to her room...
To hang with propriety, the creature was in danger!

Slipping out the door, he tiptoed up the ladder to the attic room, where Gabi slept. Eddie tapped gently on the door, and then opened it. Gabi was sitting in bed, holding her quilt to her shoulders, looking wary.

When Eddie entered, she sighed, letting her covers fall, revealing a white nightdress embroidered with edelweiss. “Oh, it’s you, not George.”

Was she relieved? Perhaps she didn’t like Smith as much as she appeared to.

“I’ve seen the tatzelwurm.” Eddie said frankly.

She grimaced. “I know. You want to hunt her, don’t you?”

A female tatzelwurm? Even better. If only he could find a pair. “No, I want to give her a new home. A place to live where we can keep her safe.”

Gabi’s face grew fierce. “She belongs here. On the Speer. This is her home.”

Eddie sighed. “That telegram that came for George? Someone has offered him £10,000 to kill your tatzelwurm, so they can stuff it and mount it.”
Gabi’s eyes flew wide and her hand shot to her mouth. “George will kill Tatzi? No!”

“Please,” pleaded Eddie, “let me bring her back to Scotland.”

“No!” Gabi whispered fiercely. “I will guard her with my life.”

“You may well have to,” Eddie muttered, shaking his head. “You like George, don’t you?” he blurted.

“Meine Gute! That arrogant swine?! Of course not.” She laughed. “I only showed him the moths to prevent you from telling him about Tatzi.”

“Did he, ah…” Eddie flicked the corner of the rug with his toe. “Did he kiss you?”

“He tried, but I wouldn’t let him.” Her face broke out in a triumphant smile, and Eddie sighed in relief.

***

It was all hands on deck at the chilbi. The locals swilled beer and ate sausages and thick slabs of bread spread with melted cheese. Eddie slaved over the hot flame, turning the huge cheese rounds and scraping the gooey smelly cheese onto bread slabs. After a lot of good-natured ribbing from the locals, he was assigned to the beer barrel instead, pouring endless glasses of ale.

A man brought out an accordion, playing folk tunes. During the choruses, the locals broke into yodelling that had Eddie grinning. During a lively number, he found his foot tapping.
“Franz!” A burly red-faced farmer bellowed, striding through the meadow towards the festivities.

“You’re late, Emil,” Franz replied. “Come and have a beer.”

“Found my prize calf with its belly ripped out!” Emil glared, the veins standing out in his forehead. “Belly ripped open and eaten.”

The accordion stopped. The laugher died. Everyone froze, staring at Franz and Emil.
Emil puffed out his cheeks. “Who’s going to pay for my prize stock?” His eyes lit on Gabi. “That fine daughter of yours might be enough to offset the cost of my calf. You don’t own much else of worth.”

Eddie’s fists balled.

Gabi paled. “I’m sure it was a wolf,” she said, eyes shooting meaningfully to George. “We lost two calves last month to wolves.”

“Wolf!” The farmer spat a stream of tobacco on the grass and lurched over to Gabi. “Then maybe I’ll have to do some hunting.” His eyes roved over her bodice.

Eddie wanted to punch him.

There was an awkward silence. A few men guffawed uneasily.

“Saw a wolf yesterday,” Eddie piped up in German. “Over there, on my walk along the ridge. A grey one.”

Gabi clutched the skirts of her tract—her traditional Swiss dress—knuckles white.
Franz came over. “Have a beer, Emil. It must have been a shock seeing your calf like that. Tomorrow we’ll help you hunt wolves.”

Emil’s eyes darted around the crowd. He slumped heavily on a chair. “Give me a beer, then. Later, we’ll hunt.” His eyes darted to Gabi and he leered.

Eddie poured him a beer, wishing he could throw it in his face. Then he was swept off his feet as more men called out for drinks. Eddie’s gut churned, not helped by the rich stench of melting cheese. Just imagining George or Emil with their paws on Gabi made his heart pound.

He pulled beer after beer, until it was dusk and the barrel was empty. He strode behind the barn to roll a fresh barrel out. What was that? Rolled in a bundle, tucked behind the barrel, was Gabi’s tracht.

She must’ve gone up the alp to warn her Tatzi.

Eddie gazed up at the pasture. Hold on, who was following her?

George was racing up the trail to the top meadow.

With no time to lose, Eddie ran after George. By the time he got across the top meadow, George was already edging his way along the goat track around the alp. As he disappeared from view, Eddie spurted forward. He had to stop George from killing the creature. But how?

***

Clutching the mountain face with his hands, Eddie scrambled along the goat track. His feet dislodged stones and sent them skittering down the mountainside. He gulped and pressed on, sweat-clad hands slippery on the rock, stones digging into his palms.

There was a scream.

Gabi, no! What was—

He rounded the corner.

George was gripping Gabi’s hair, forcing her head backwards. With his other hand, he ripped her blouse free from her shoulder. “You bloody tease,” he bellowed. “I’ll have you.”

Eddie scrambled across the rocks.

Gabi spat in George’s face.

He backhanded her, making her head snap back. She groaned and stumbled. He dragged her up, pulling her body against his. “You’re ready now, aren’t you? Nothing like slapping some sense into a girl.”

So George’s charm was only a means to an end.

Eddie hefted a rock. “Freeze, George!” he bellowed.

George didn’t even turn. “Decided to grow some balls now, have you, boy? Well let me show you how you use them.” He fumbled with his trousers.

Eddie threw the rock.

And missed.

A roar split the sky. A dark shape dived off the mountainside. George spun, shoving Gabi.
She fell backwards, landing near the fissure of churning snow melt, and rolled away from the edge.

“Duck, Eddie!” she cried.

Eddie hit the ground.

The tatzelwurm flew over him and straight at George, claws out. It belched a cloud of black gas over his face.

George screamed in agony. His skin blistered and rippled. One of his eyes slid down his cheek and his chin dripped molten flesh onto his shirt. He stumbled back. Arms windmilling, he teetered at the edge of the fissure, and then fell into the deep crevasse.
Eddie rushed over. There was a flash of George’s arm and then a churning mass of roaring white water.

Gabi crawled towards Eddie, the tatzelwurm’s tail around her arm and its head nestled against her neck. “He’s gone,” she said, voice flat. “Dead. The churn goes deep underground. No one will ever find him.”
God, George’s face. Eddie leaned over the edge and vomited his cheese and beer into the water below.

Shakily, Eddie got to his feet and held out a hand. “You all right?” he asked, keeping his voice soothing, his movements unhurried. Who knew if after killing a calf and George, the wurm would want him as a chaser?
Gabi’s Tatzi settled in her lap, hissing at Eddie. Gabi stroked her sleek scales, crooning. “It’s all right, Tatzi, alles esch guet.” Gradually the creature calmed and nestled against her belly.

Bellows came from the upper pasture.

Gabi stiffened. “Oh, no, they’re coming. It’s Emil on his dragon hunt. Quick, come with me. You’ll have to climb.” She scooped the tatzelwurm up and threw it into the air. Its wings unfurled and it flew up the rock.

Gabi held out the rope. “Quick! Place your hands and feet where I do.”

Eddie climbed behind her, not daring to look down. Barking his shins and scraping his hands on sharp rocks, he made his way to the top of the alp. The tatzelwurm landed on Gabi’s shoulder.

“Give me your hand,” Gabi said.

Eddie placed his hand in Gabi’s. Tatzi slithered down her arm, climbing up Eddie’s.
Why, the odd slithering motion tickled. Tatzi wrapped her tail around his bicep. Eddie froze, remembering how George’s face had melted. But the tatzelwurm only sniffed his face, then leapt back onto Gabi’s shoulder.
Eddie stared at it. Those gleaming dark scales, the huge cat-like eyes, and tufted ears…what a wondrous creature.

“Look,” Gabi pointed down though the dusk at a procession of torches making its way across the meadow and around the alp.

In the dark, a wolf howled, making the hairs on Eddie’s neck rise. “It was a wolf that killed that calf, wasn’t it?”

She nodded. “But they’ll never believe me. They’re out for Tatzi’s blood. If we’re quick, we’ll elude them. I know a short cut down.”

“Down?”

“Yes, right past Tatzi’s mate’s cave, so we can collect him too,” she said.
Two tatzelwurms?! Eddie grinned. It was more than he’d ever dared hope.
Gabi continued, “We’ll come out behind Emil’s hunting party and sneak back to the house for your things.” She smiled. “I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland.”

“Grand idea,” Eddie said.

He took Gabi by the hand and they ran along the ridge, towards the low end of the wedge-shaped Speer, the glorious tatzelwurm flying beside them.
The Tatzelwurm
 New Monstrous Cryptozoology Tale by Eileen Mueller. To read other stories from Monstrous for free check out tapas.io/series/Monstrous---Cr…- and subscribe so that you can be kept up to date.


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Desert Siege by Keith McArdle

North Africa - 1941

Corporal Chris Erikson stood on the rear tray of a Patrol Chevrolet 30. A vehicle designed specifically for desert work. He kept the buttstock of the Lewis Machine gun firmly wedged against his shoulder, index finger touching the trigger, staring down the metal sights. The New Zealand soldier scanned his arcs in slow, smooth movements from left to right, watching for threats. He'd volunteered for the Long Range Desert Group three months before and had since been involved in nine skirmishes with scouting elements of the German Afrika Korps. On more than a few occasions, his patrol vehicle had helped insert soldiers of a new unit raised under the Special Operations Executive of the British Army deep into enemy territory. The new force had been dubbed with the title the

Special Air Service, but Chris had never known them yet to have been inserted by air. Those soldiers didn't speak much. But they were good at their job, on one raid destroying a squadron of German aircraft parked beside a makeshift runway.

Driven by Jonno, the Patrol Chevrolet growled across the desert at a sedate pace, to hinder the amount of dust kicked up behind them. A dust cloud could be spotted for miles in every direction. Jonno wore leather gloves, to protect his hands from the hot steering wheel. Mike, the patrol commander, sat beside the driver, clutching an M1919 thirty cal medium machine gun mounted on a swivel in front of him.

Chris glanced over his shoulder to ensure the second vehicle followed. The other Patrol Chevvy, also crewed by three New Zealanders, shimmered from heat rising off the red-hot sand, but the T1 was there nonetheless.

Then there was the newcomer and the reason for the mission. A civilian nonetheless. He'd never worked with civilians before and if he was being honest, the man was a bloody liability. Clenching his teeth, he shifted his footing and looked down at the man sat in the middle of the rear seat just in front of his boots. The bald man, who simply introduced himself as Foxtrot was dressed in a business suit, clutching a briefcase. Chris had laughed at him when Foxtrot had said he'd be going out on the patrol wearing his suit.

He smirked, shook his head and returned his attention to the Lewis Gun and their immediate surrounds, watching for the telltale sign of vehicles or troops in the distance. Foxtrot rarely spoke. All Chris knew was that he'd been hired by a Scottish man by the name of Graeme Baird to track down and capture an African Cyclops. Chris's laughter had boomed around the briefing room prior to their departure.
“This is World War Two, not some mythological storybook!” he'd chuckled.
But he'd soon been silenced by the stern glare of Mike, allowing Foxtrot to finish speaking.

“The SOE know nothing about this mission,” Mike had explained. “They don't know about the money we'll be getting paid by Foxtrot, either.” The older soldier had winked. That had piqued Chris's interest. This one scouting mission might make him a very rich man.

A voice snapped him from his thoughts and he glanced down. Mike stared up at him.

“I said, you see anything?”

“Nothing yet.”

Mike nodded, turned away and clamped a hand back onto the M1919.

As if they were going to find a Cyclops. He snorted, shifting his attention to the desert's open expanse to the right of their vehicle. Occasionally he browsed the sky, watchful for the dark dots of aircraft. Out here, in such a small group, they'd be easy pickings for the Luftwaffe, and a Royal Air Force fighter pilot could be forgiven for firing upon them.

Nothing, no vehicles, or soldiers and a complete lack of bloody Cyclopes. He chuckled to himself. They'd be getting paid whether they found the mythological creature or not. If what Mike had told him was true, when this was all over, he'd be able to afford to buy a house on a small parcel of land back home. Chris wiped sweat from his brow with a sleeve and tugged his wide-brimmed hat down more securely. He leaned down and tapped Foxtrot on the shoulder. The well-dressed gentleman looked up at him.

“Remember to keep sipping on your water.”

Foxtrot smiled, nodded and then returned his attention to the desert immediately before them.

“Dunno why I bother,” Chris whispered, taking a few gulps from a canister attached to his belt.

Screwing the lid back on, he reattached the metal container in place. Swinging the Lewis Gun to cover the left side, the cold spear of dread skewered his guts. He noticed a dust cloud, the light brown haze still faint.

“Dust nine o'clock.”

He watched the area. No vehicles were yet visible and at that distance, it was difficult to know in which direction the vehicles were travelling, their number, or whether they were a friend or otherwise.
Mike stood up on his seat, brought binoculars to his eyes with one hand and clutched the other on the gun mount to which Chris's gun was attached.

“See anything, boss?”

Mike ignored him.

“Is it a Cyclops?” Foxtrot asked.

Chris rolled his eyes. Mike ignored the suited man as well.

Dropping the binoculars, Mike allowed the cord around his neck to arrest their fall. He sat down, swung the M1919 to point left and shot a glance over his shoulder at Chris. “Keep an eye on 'em.”

Foxtrot leaned forward. “So is it a Cyclops or not?”

“Vehicles,” was Mike's reply. “Can't tell if they're enemy or not from this distance. You armed?”

Foxtrot patted the briefcase. “Sure am.”

“You might need to help out if they turn out to be enemy vehicles.”
Chris watched the dust cloud through the open sights of the Lewis Gun. The haze had taken on a darker hue and appeared thicker, suggesting whatever was causing it was closing the distance. He looked over his shoulder at the Chevvy following and noticed both guns were also swung to the nine o'clock position.

“Good,” he muttered.

Ensuring he wasn't becoming too focused on the approaching threat, Chris raked his gaze across the right horizon at intervals. That side remained clear.
At the base of the distant brown blotch staining the sky, dark dots appeared.

“I got vehicles,” said Chris.

Mike clambered to his feet, snatched the binoculars up and stared through them.

“Afrika Korps scouts.” He dropped the binoculars.
Chris turned to the vehicle following them and gave a thumbs down, indicating the approaching group were enemy.

The vehicles manoeuvred down into dead ground, the enemy disappearing from view. They came to a halt, engines idling in quiet growls. Their first tactic was to try and evade the Germans. The New Zealanders were outnumbered and likely outgunned. Better to avoid a contact with the enemy than fail their mission.

Chris kicked the back of the seat at his feet. “Foxtrot!”

The man dressed like a waiter at an upper-class restaurant turned and looked up at him.

“If we end up in a stoush and I'm knocked, get up here.”
Foxtrot's brow creased.

He rolled his eyes. “If I'm shot, stand up and get on the bloody gun!” he tapped the Lewis Gun.

Foxtrot's eyes bulged. His Adam's Apple rose and fell. Then he nodded.

Chris flicked off the safety catch.

A deep grumble competed with the vehicle's engine. The dust came closer. Mike leapt clear, sprinted up the slight rise and dived to his guts. He lay peering over the lip then slid back on his stomach, stood and ran to them.

“They're still advancing on our position. I think they saw us.” He looked at the driver. “You know what to do, Jonno.” Then turned to Chris. “Suppressing fire, we're gonna flank 'em.”

He nodded and Mike looked beyond him at the vehicle behind them. He made some hand signals and sat down, clamping the M1919, readying it to fire. Chris kicked the seat. Foxtrot lurched. “It's on. Remember what I said.”

The rumble overcame the rattle of the engine. Mike nodded at the driver and they accelerated forward. Casting a glance over his shoulder, Chris watched their sister vehicle reversing fast, tyres struggling for traction, skidding in the sand

They sped up the rise and the German scout vehicles appeared over the lip. Four of them, one behind the other. Chris stared down the metal sights and lined up the first vehicle. He aimed at the insignia of the Iron Cross painted on the door and squeezed the trigger. The Lewis Gun spoke in a loud staccato and the buttstock juddered against his shoulder.

He fired in continuous, short bursts, trace rounds flicking through the air, giving him an indication of where his bullets were falling. Mike's M1919 bellowed a moment later.

They hit rough ground and his face slammed into the Lewis Gun, the weapon falling silent.

Ignoring the pain that exploded through his cheek, he realigned the weapon, squeezed the trigger and watched the passenger of the closest scout vehicle slump in his seat. A streak of light flashed beside his face, followed by a whizz, crack and hiss near his head told Chris the enemy gunners had their bearings and were returning fire.

A dull juddering noise echoed from the opposite side of the small enemy convoy. The second Patrol Chevrolet streaked down the far side of the German scout vehicles, a cloud of dust chasing them. They laced the enemy's far side with bullets. The vehicle found more rough ground and Chris's feet left the floor. His chest hit the buttstock of the Lewis Gun and air exploded from his mouth. He drew in a gasping breath and concentrated on bringing his weapon to bear, ignoring the agony in his ribs.

He stared down the sight of the Lewis Gun at the German soldier driving and squeezed the trigger. The gun spoke in a long, loud burst and the driver slid sideways, his head resting on the shoulder of his dead comrade. The enemy scout vehicle slowed and drifted aimlessly into the desert, although to his credit, the gunner of the vehicle, continued to place well-aimed shots down upon Chris.

Clamping a hand onto the gun mount, he regained his balance. The driver made a sharp left turn, their sister vehicle, turning towards them, screamed past at close range and then both Chevvies came about to give chase to the slowing German scout patrol. He brought the Lewis Gun around to realign on the vehicle he'd disabled, aimed at the gunner and fired. After the second burst, the weapon fell silent with a dull clunk.
Out of ammo!

“Magazine!” he roared. Chris detached the empty magazine, dropped it behind him and stooped for a fresh one. Clipping the pan magazine into place on top of the Lewis Gun, he slammed an open palm onto it ensuring it was locked in and cocked the weapon. “Back in!” squeezing the trigger, the first burst ended the enemy gunner. He concentrated his weapon on the German patrol swinging around to face them.

Staring down the weapon's iron sights at the oncoming threat and ignoring the constant jarring of his jaw against the wooden buttstock with every bump and dip of the desert, he opened fire. Mike yelled something, but Chris ignored him. A streak of bullets snapped past Chris's face and dull, metallic thuds thundered across the vehicle's bonnet, leaving a series of jagged holes. Movement caught his eye and he glanced down. Mike was reloading his weapon. Chris returned his attention to the Lewis Gun. He squeezed the trigger. A trace round struck the desert just in front of the German vehicles and ricocheted high into the sky. The following rounds were on target and another enemy vehicle swerved away, colliding with a dead tree. The gunner sailed through the air and somersaulted across the sand, coming to rest in a messy heap, arms and legs pointing at impossible angles.

Mike's gun opened up again. The desert exploded in a fountain of sand around the leading German scout car and the vehicle became airborne, landed on its side and skidding to a halt upon the scorching sand. There was a blur of brown within the dust cloud and the only remaining enemy scout car flipped into the air and landed on its roof. Chris squatted, clutched a hand to the gun mount and held on for dear life. The Patrol Chevrolet screamed to a halt. He waited for forward movement to cease, then leapt to his feet, anger warming him. He was prepared to shout at the driver, but Jonno was screaming and pointing toward their front.

“What the hell's that?” his comrade yelled.

He followed Jonno's finger and his focus came to rest upon a twenty-foot brown humanoid figure standing over the closest German vehicle. It presented the Long Range Desert Group with its back. Steam was escaping from the engine compartment of the scout car with a soft hiss. A thick cloth covered the beast's hips and it carried a club in one hand that appeared to be more a tree trunk.

“It's an African Cyclops,” Foxtrot leaned forward in his seat, his once pristine suit now marred with the dark hue of the merciless desert dust. “By Jove,” he breathed. “We found one!”

Chris aimed the Lewis Gun at the broad back. “What are we doin', boss?”

Mike held up a hand. “Hold fire for now.”

“Don't fire, for God's sake!” Foxtrot hissed, lifting the briefcase onto his lap.
He chuckled. “Worried we'll scare it away?”

Foxtrot glanced up at him. “You won't scare it. The thing will bloody attack and kill us all!”

Chris removed his index finger from the trigger and placed it outside the trigger guard.
The beast turned at the sound of their voices and raised its head a little. It looked to be sniffing the air. One huge, yellow eye at the centre of its forehead bored into Chris.
The Cyclops's ears hanging each side of the skull looked more like those of an elephant. Large, sharp fangs protruded from the maw, overlapping both the upper and lower lips.
Foxtrot climbed from the vehicle, knelt in the shade of the vehicle and opened his briefcase.

“Whatever you're going to do,” Chris said, his eyes never leaving the giant in the near distance. “Do it now.”

The maw opened wide, long, lolling tongue appeared and the Cyclops roared, the deep, powerful rumble vibrating the ground. “Bloody hell!” he shouted, but his voice was drowned out by the deafening bellow.

A machine gun from the sister vehicle opened up, trace rounds and bullets kicking up puffs of dust around the creature.

“Hold your fire!” Mike yelled.

The beast focused upon the second Chevvy, shrieked again and charged. It covered the distance between it and the vehicle in short order.

Mike opened fire. “Covering fire!”

He placed his finger back on the trigger and squeezed. The Lewis Gun spoke and a trace round hit the Cyclops dead between the shoulders, but it ricocheted from the tough skin and lay smouldering upon the desert.

“Bullets aren't going to harm it,” squealed Foxtrot. “You'll just anger it even more!”
The Cyclops swerved away from its intended target and came barging across the sand straight towards Chris's vehicle.

“Oh dear,” Chris muttered, lined the behemoth up and fired a burst straight at the chest of the Cyclops. It didn't even slow it down.

A loud noise rose above the machine guns, which gave the beast pause.

“Hold fire!” Mike roared.

The God-awful sound was coming from the desert floor near their vehicle. Chris shifted to peak over the edge of the Chevvy and saw Foxtrot squatting upon the sand, a gramophone before him. The screeching issued from the device. The Cyclops, head tilted in interest, approached. Its aggression long forgotten.

Foxtrot delved deeper into the briefcase and pulled his hands free. One clutching the small metal buttstock of a rifle, the other the body of the weapon. Reaching back into the depths, he retrieved the barrel, which he slotted into place with a click.
The Cyclops, towering over the Chevvy and blotting out the sun, carried with it a pungent, foul odour, which drifted over the soldiers. It grunted and growled to itself, the eye, big as a man's head stared at the gramophone.

It dropped to one knee, dropped the club and holding out one massive, elongated finger pushed the device. The gramophone tipped backwards and the Cyclops scuttled away a couple of paces. The noise wavered for a second but continued to play the grating, high-pitched noise. To Chris, the cacophony was reminiscent of some kind of animal issuing a challenge.

With slow, deliberate movements, Foxtrot placed a dart into the breach of the rifle and pushed the bolt forward locking it into place. The Cyclops stood, bellowed and charged at the gramophone. Foxtrot pulled the rifle into his shoulder and fired a shot. The dart penetrated the thick skin of the beast's neck.

The giant slapped the gramophone into the air, then scrabbled at its neck. It pulled the puny dart free, held it up for inspection and stumbled on weak legs. It dropped the dart and fell to its knees. The gramophone slammed onto the desert and went silent.
Chris rubbed his ears. “What the hell was that noise?”

Foxtrot walked to the damaged device and dismantled it. “The call of a European Cyclops.
The two species are mortal enemies. I was hoping to distract it.” He shrugged. “And it worked.”

The Cyclops fell into a prone position and apart from the rhythmic movement of its chest, lay still and silent.

“So, what now?”

Foxtrot gestured at the creature. “Drag this thing aboard the vehicle and get it back to Mr. Baird.”

“What's he want with it?”

“He's building an army of creatures from all over the world.”

Chris jumped down from the Chevvy and stretched his legs. “Really? Bloody hell!”

Foxtrot smiled. “Quite.”

Soldiers from the sister vehicle approached and stood around the downed Cyclops in stunned silence.

Foxtrot squatted beside the beast and patted the mighty shoulder. “Well, I guess I'd better update the old record collection."
Desert Siege New Cryptozoology Short Story
A new story for a New Year by the brilliant Keith McArdle. What lurks out there in the Desert sands... If you like the story feel free to subscribe to the full anthology and read the other stories for FREE at tapas.io/episode/1283827
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Hey Guys

Do you have any questions about the Adrenaline Shots comic?

Fire Away! Best question will receive a prize!

Cheers

Danny

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dannyrichardwriter

Artist
United Kingdom

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Thot-Shop Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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customwaifus Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2018   Digital Artist
Thank you for the watch and helping my profile grow! I really appreciate it!
I hope you'll continue enjoy and support my art! <3
Banner -Jinx/NightElf/Morrigan (Free to Use) by customwaifus
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Mollymawk28 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
I just read your 'Saturday Night Seance' comic. It's pretty good, I'm interested in seeing where it goes. The only problem I see is that it feels like there are pages missing from the story. Like What happened after Cathrine showed up at the party? Or when did David play darts with the ghost? These scenes could have added some character establishment, like Cathrine being currious, or David being eased into the paranormal by the ghost. I'm not saying it's a bad comic, I'm just saying there's room for improvement
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dannyrichardwriter Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018
Hey thanks so much for taking the time to read "Saturday Night Séance". Really pleased that you like what you've seen so far. And thanks for the comments, I'm always open to feedback, maybe I'll do some extras later filling in those scenes! Keep reading, you ain't seen nothing yet!!
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:iconmollymawk28:
Mollymawk28 Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2018  Hobbyist Artist
I plan too ^_^
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wanderingstreet Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the watch :)
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RedBlackStripe Featured By Owner Jul 14, 2018
cheers for the watch!
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lordtrigonstar Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2018
Thank you for adding me as your friend. =D
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Himaritae Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2018
Thanks for the watch! Hug 
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OrnCobreNegro Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018
Thank you very much for the "watching" :)

Your gallery and your work I liked it a lot

I congratulate you :)
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