Martha screamed as more of the dank cave collapsed behind her. The dull
deafening slam of explosions on the surface shuddered through everything.
"Get a fuckin' move on!" Ross Mental yelled. He was running a
few metres in front of Martha, his standard bounty hunter issue hip-mounted
floodlight illuminating the way ahead.
"I be gettin' a fuckin' move on!" She shouted breathlessly above
the sound of destruction.
"I hope there's another way out of this fuckin' cave complex."
Ross Mental said, unaffected by the torturous sprint into the bowels of
the mountain. "Otherwise we'll be entombed for eternity!"
"I be weak!" Martha said, stopping. "I be dyin' now."
She sat down and began to sob.
"Pull your ample self together!" Ross Mental said walking up to
"I be unable to. I be too tired."
The fowl mouthed bounty hunter looked around and listened. The destruction
above seemed more distant now, and the cave walls seemed more secure. "I
guess we could rest here for a while." He said, seating himself next
to Martha. "We must be almost half a fuckin' kilometre into the mountain
side now. That should be safe enough."
"That be good."
There seemed to be more of an echo than before. Ross Mental shone his light
around. A few metres further down, the cave expanded into what looked like
a cavern. The sound of running and dripping water could be heard. He got
to his feet. "Come on, we should keep going." He pointed. "This
Martha reluctant rose onto her stubby legs and followed him, panting heavily.
The sedate walking pace that he had adopted was much easier to keep up with.
They entered the cavern.
"Yo!" Ross Mental said. "Impressive fucker, don't you think?"
The cavern was several hundred metres wide and at least a hundred high.
Massive stalactites and stalagmites covered the floor and ceiling and surrounded
the large, still lake at the giant cave's centre. Copious amounts of water
dribbled down from above.
Ross Mental walked over to the lake's shoreline. Martha followed.
"We'll have to get over to the other side." The bounty hunter
said. "I think I can see another passageway over there."
"It be dangerous!" Martha exclaimed. "It be almost impossible
to walk round over those pointy sharp things."
"For once, I fuckin' agree with you." Ross Mental said. He took
out a small rubber package from a compartment on his utility belt. "We'll
float across!" He pressed a small button on the side of the package
and placed it in the water. Within three seconds, and after some intense
bubbling, a comfortable two seat boat had inflated in front of them.
"Magic!" Martha exclaimed with shock.
"Not magic." Ross Mental explained. "Just a Palace of Amino
super fuckin' advanced and compact pocket water safety device!"
Martha nodded, pretending that she'd understood.
"Climb aboard!" the bounty hunter said.
Martha had seen a boat once before, but it had not looked like this. The
one she had seen was the thickly hulled fishing ship that hog faced Mister
Maggotbox used to sail on one of the lakes near her village. The last time
she had seen it was more than ten years ago. Witnesses claimed that his
entire boat had been swallowed up by a scaly beast of barbarous ferocity
and fierce appearance. Similar claims had been made about other earlier
disappearances. Ever since, stories of strange and vicious creatures travelling
from lake to lake through subterranean waterways had entertained and terrified
Mud-Paq's backwards population.
Nervously, Martha clambered into the bouncy rubber craft and stumbled to
its bow. She gasped and grabbed one of the hand holds as the front of the
boat dipped excessively under her weight. It quickly levelled off as Ross
Mental boarded the stern. Martha sighed with cautious relief and knelt down
on the undulating deck. She tried to put the thought of water monsters out
of her mind.
Ross Mental was fiddling with something on his utility belt. He un-clipped
it. Martha watched as he opened part of it, extended it to a length of about
half a metre, and then connected it to the back of the boat.
"Pocket outboard motor!" The bounty hunter said, noticing the
inquisitive look on Martha’s face. "Those fuckin' Amino engineers
think of everything!"
The little motor whirred to life.
"It's not very powerful." Ross Mental said. "In fact it's
pretty fuckin' weak, but it'll get us across."
The rubber boat began to move slowly away from the shore. Martha looked
over the side. The water was black and unrevealing, keeping secret any secrets
that it secretly held. Images of flesh tearing monstrosities entered her
imagination. She sat back and took a sharp intake of breath.
"What the fuck's wrong with you?" Ross Mental asked.
"I be scared of the water!"
"Things may be lurkin' in there!"
The bounty hunter thought for a moment as he steered the boat around a rocky
outcrop that protruded through the surface of the lake. "You're not
thinking of that stupid fuckin' legend about subterranean beasts are you?"
"There be many people seein' them!"
"They're all fuckin' peasants! What do they know?"
"They be my friends!" Martha shouted, offended.
"I'm sure they are," he said. "But they're stupid fuckers
"Why be they stupid?"
"Well, there may be such creatures in your world's lakes, but subterranean
passageways? Not fuckin' likely! And even if underground waterways existed,
those things are unlikely to be in this cavern. They'll need light and food.
There's neither in here!"
Martha looked at the bounty hunters floodlamp. Then she looked down at her
well padded body. They'll need light and food, she repeated to herself.
The boat continued to make its way slowly across the lake, its little outboard
engine buzzing quietly as it edged the craft through the dark water.
After a few minutes of travelling, Martha felt better. The bounty hunter
be right, she thought. There be no such thing as monsters! I be actin' child-like!
Ross Mental made an announcement. "Another minute and we'll be at the
Martha looked round and saw the shoreline, ragged and lumpy. "I be
relieved when we get there." she said.
"What did I say." the bounty hunter said. "No fuckin' problem!"
Martha smiled at Ross Mental. For the first time in days Martha felt safe
and able to relax. Her left leg was yanked off at its hip socket. The sound
of breaking bones, snapping ligaments, and tearing flesh echoed around the
cavern. Ross Mental and Martha watched as a large, metre wide set of serrated
teeth chomped on the limb, pulverising it into a mushy paste.
Pain signals reached Martha's limited brain. She screamed in agony and looked
down at her wound. Blood squirted rhythmically from several torn arteries
and veins and pooled together on the deck. "Oh Pod-Gee, god of the
rounded ones, please help me!"
Ross Mental drew his blaster. "Fucker!" He shouted, and then fired.
Beams of multi-coloured power engaged the masticating beast, blowing away
several of its teeth. It was not amused and leapt at the boat once more.
Martha howled, gargling vital fluids as the creature’s teeth cut into
her chest and bit hard through her body. Half of her abdomen, as well as
her other leg, were torn away and dragged overboard. Martha's remaining
organs flopped out onto the deck, bleeding profusely.
Ross Mental looked at her. Beneath the half of her rib cage that remained,
he could see her lungs, lacerated and still. Her heart, situated next to
them, was beating rapidly.
The creature, having finished its previous mouthful, was returning for more.
Ross Mental let loose an intense spread of blaster fire, this time destroying
all but one of its teeth. The creature roared, and then leapt at the boat
once more, biting hard. Its one remaining tooth punctured the rubber. Compressed
gas hissed out. Ross Mental fired once more. Several energy blasts thumped
into the beast's single black eye ball. The creature suffered a brief spasm,
and then slumped onto the boat.
"The fucker's dragging us under!" Ross Mental shouted. He crawled
over to Martha. She was still conscious but unable to speak due to her punctured
lungs. A pained expression filled her pale face.
"We've got to swim the rest of the way!" The bounty hunter said.
Water swelled around them as the boat began to sink. Ross Mental grabbed
Martha and threw her overboard. He followed. The boat and the beast disappeared
below the lake's surface. Grabbing the remaining third of Martha, the bounty
hunter headed for the shore. It wasn't far, less than ten metres. With powerful
agility he managed to drag the remains of the little woman onto the rocks.
"Fuckin' made it!"
Martha looked up at Ross Mental, extreme torment screwing up her face.
The bounty hunter decided that he should say something comforting. "Don't
worry, it doesn't look that bad from here!"
A tear rolled down her cheek, and then her pained expression relaxed. Her
eyes seemed to have taken on and empty and distant appearance. Her heart
Ross Mental sat beside her and looked at the shredded mess that was once
her body. After all he had done for her over the last few days, she had
to go and get herself eaten by a water monster. Fuckin' typical! He thought.
The bounty hunter began to search along his utility belt. "You're not
going to die that fuckin' easily!" He said, pulling out a small plastic
device. "I have a cunning plan that should help."
Ross Mental began to put his plan into action.