The Horrendous Creature That Lurks in the Shadows of the Forest

horrendouscreature

Sometimes when it’s a sunny day,
I tend to get the need,
To go outside into the woods,
With a book to read,

Yes, I love to go out and sit under,
The shade of an oak tree,
And then immerse myself,
In the pages of fantasy,

But once when I was reading,
Something emerged from the wood,
It announced itself with a vicious roar,
And I said, ‘That’s not good.’

Out came a grisly monster,
Standing as tall as a man,
But had claws and tentacles,
And a mouth filled with fangs,

I froze with fear when it approached,
And it said, ‘I’ve been looking for you,
I see that you like reading,
Well, I’ve written a book too!’

Coming soon to bookstores: My Life as a Horrendous Creature That Lurks in the Shadows of the Forest by Glorgg Slimeson, author of Best Ways to Devour a Soul and 101 Easy-to-Make Christmas Decorations.

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The Garden of Live Flowers

‘O Tiger-lily,’ said Alice, addressing herself to one that was waving gracefully about in the wind, ‘I wish you could talk!’

‘We can talk,’ said the Tiger-lily: ‘when there’s anybody worth talking to.’

-Alice Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll


I had green fingers. My front garden had rows of roses, and there were even more varieties of flowers to be found in the back. Every room in my house had at least one vase or pot; my dining table always sported a vase full of daffodils and my front door was framed by two potted plants. So many plants, yet I was always looking for more.

You know how they say talking to plants helps them grow? I always made sure to talk to my plants as I watered them and fed them, each and every one. Every item of news I heard I told the plants. Anything that happened to me at work or outside I told the plants. Every secret I had, the plants kept. Though I lived alone, I was never lonely. It always seemed like I was coming home to a gigantic family, one that truly understood me.

Every week I had a look around the home and garden shops, looking for more friends, looking to extend my family. Most of the time, however, those trips proved fruitless, as none of the plants really spoke to me. I was more likely to pick up a plant at the market or at a summer fair – suppose they had more of a personal touch.

My local church had a summer fair every year, and every year, I attended as soon as it started. There were always stalls selling old books, stalls for old toys, stalls for homemade apple pies and a stall for plants. The last fair I went to, however, had a strange tinge in the atmosphere I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The same stalls were there, yet there hovered something invisible that made my stomach sink.

There was still a toy stall. Still books and pies. Still a plant stall, and I found myself drawn to a certain potted rose. It called to me with unheard words, beckoned to me with an invisible finger, and it was only 50p as well. As soon as I grabbed the rose and paid the man, I left the church and made my way back home, planning to plant it in the front as soon as I could.

Then I heard, ‘Nice place you got here.’

The rose I had bought, it had suddenly gained a mouth, with teeth and a tongue framed by petals, with two eyeballs atop stalks, making it look a hybrid between a rose and a cartoon snail.

I shuddered as I looked at the rose, almost dropping it to the floor.

‘Hey, what’s wrong?’ it asked, its tiny eyes widening, ‘I thought you liked talking to plants. Come, come.’

It leapt out of the pot, taking its soil with it. It dragged its soil around, clenching its teeth as it did so.

‘Are you okay?’ I asked the rose.

‘Sure,’ said the rose, ‘Just my soil’s a little hard. It has to be, so I can be awake.’

It dragged itself to the other roses. All it did was touch the ground with an eyeball and the soil froze. All of the roses in the bed sprung the alien eyeballs, and yawned, revealing they now sported tongues and teeth. Each of them greeted me with an enthusiastic ‘Hello!’

‘You’ll love it here,’ said an old rose to the new rose, ‘We’re treated really well, and we have such fascinating conversations!’

I probably should have screamed at the sight of these living plants, but instead I could only laugh with glee. This was something I had been wishing for, praying for, and not only had I finally received it, the plants had nothing to say about me but compliments. All of them raised what counted for arms, cheering me for feeding them and speaking to them when no-one else would.

‘That rose came from me.’

I turned around and saw a man looking over me. A man with a face like a shrivelled vegetable…well, it wasn’t really a face, for there were no facial features other than a pair of bulging eyes. His gigantic top hat seemed to be a way of diverting attention from it.

‘I know how you feel,’ he said calmly, ‘so many people these days are revolting, so who wouldn’t turn to plantlife?’ He pointed at his head. ‘I’ve faced so many horrid people in my time, but then I gained the power to find and make true friends! Sadly, it came with a price…’ He rubbed where his mouth should have been. ‘…but it was more than worth it.

‘That rose can bring every flower in your home to life, and you’ll always have a fine partner for conversation, several cheerful and faithful friends, and all you have to do is shake my hand.’

I shook his hand without hesitation.

Straight after that, every flower, everything in every vase and pot, came to life, all of them dragging themselves towards me, thanking me. We had long conversations, sang songs, told stories and jokes, and savoured the rain.

They’re still alive. I still talk to them. Life would be perfect if it weren’t for these thorns growing from my arms.

The Jigsaw Puzzle

Once there was a boy who bought a jigsaw puzzle, one of a happy dog skipping down a field. Despite the jovial picture, the puzzle was said to be one of the most difficult ever made, and it was said that once it was complete, something magical would happen.

The boy indeed found the puzzle was difficult, but determined to see what magical thing would happen once the puzzle was complete, he persevered. Months he spent on that puzzle, the first two months with several pieces in the wrong place. ‘At first you don’t succeed’ and ‘Remember that something magical will happen’ repeated throughout his brain as he attempted to put the pieces in the right place, and though at times he considered giving up, he forced himself to complete the puzzle.

He did complete it. Something magical did happen.

Two legs sprung from the bottom side of the puzzle, an arm sprung from the right side and another arm sprung from the left. A face formed in the middle, making it look like the dog depicted had eyes and a mouth growing out of its belly. The completed puzzle sprung to its feet and struck a pose before it admired itself in the mirror.

It was proud. Proud of its picture, proud of its difficulty. It named itself after what it thought the dog, the chubby, bouncing dog, in its picture was named.

‘Wow,’ said the boy to the puzzle, ‘I brought you to life!’

‘Yes, you did,’ said the puzzle with a smirk, ‘but it wasn’t exactly a speedy process, was it? Months you spent on me. Months!’

‘Hey!’

‘I am truly challenging, aren’t I? The greatest, most difficult puzzle there is! Everyone should know about me!’

Instantly, the puzzle ran out of the boy’s house, with the boy following it. The puzzle climbed the largest wall it could find and then sat atop it, calling one and all to come look at it.

‘Look! Behold the greatest puzzle of them all! A true challenge!’ It gestured towards the boy, standing below it. ‘He may have completed me, but do you know how long it took?’

The novelty of bringing a jigsaw puzzle wore off, and now the boy could now feel nothing but irritation towards the puzzle and its arrogance. He climbed the wall himself, snarling and…

Well, you know how the poem never mentions Humpty Dumpty is an egg?

The Nightmare Man

nightmareman

Do you hate having bad dreams,
Like that one nightmare,
When you’re caught in public,
In your underwear?

Do you hate scary dreams,
Filled with fear and gloom?
If you do, let me in,
Let me enter your bedroom.

Summon me, the Nightmare Man,
I’ll work when you’re asleep,
I’ll make sure not to wake you up,
I’ll make not a peep,

I’ll open up your head, I will,
But I won’t cause any pain,
I’ll pluck every nightmare,
Straight out of your brain,

But there is a price to pay,
I don’t do this for free,
I’ll then release your nightmares,
For an audience to see,

An audience of demons,
Who will watch and dance and laugh,
As I play your nightmares,
All for their behalf,

For there is something about me,
That I think you should know,
I work for The Ringmonster,
And I help give him a show.

A Duck, a Snake and Valentine’s Day

This is a special Valentine’s Day story set in the same world as my book The Adventures of a Duck  and features the eponymous duck and her snake boyfriend.


anneandharry

Anne the duck and Harry the snake were girlfriend and boyfriend and happy to be so, yet neither of them spoke or thought about Valentine’s Day until the Friday before. It was when they went down to the pub for a drink and saw a poster for a Valentine’s Day dance that Harry said, ‘Oh right, Valentine’s is coming up. Think we should go to that dance?’ Anne suggested they only use it as a “last resort” because while she liked the pub, she didn’t really see it as a particularly romantic place.

So the next day, after they bought cards and gifts, Anne and Harry got together to discuss what to do for Valentine’s. ‘Were you thinking of a nice candlelit dinner in some fancy restaurant somewhere?’ Harry asked with a smile.

‘Not really,’ laughed Anne, ‘I knew I said the pub wasn’t really Valentines-y…’

‘Well, how about a boat ride then? I know of this thing that does tours down the river.’

‘Yeah, that would be nice,’ said Anne, before she described the river cruise she had with her parents when she was younger. ‘Oh,’ she added as a thought occurred to her, ‘but we’ve left it too late. They’ll probably be packed.’

‘Oh yeah,’ Harry replied, ‘I bet all the other ideas I have will be packed too.’

So the next hour or so was spent throwing around ideas, with both of them giving consideration to the pub, until Anne said, ‘You know, I don’t mind spending Valentine’s Day chilling out together watching horror films.’

‘That’s what we do every weekend though,’ replied Harry.

‘Yeah, but it’s something we like doing together, and Valentine’s is supposed to be about celebrating being together.’

‘I suppose,’ said Harry, ‘and I did recently get Attack of the Slimy Tentacle Creature recently.’

‘Oh,’ laughed Anne, ‘I’ve heard about that. Supposed to be dreadful.’

‘That’s why I bought it.’

So it was settled. Valentine’s Day for Anne and Harry would not be a candlelit dinner for two in a fancy restaurant but lounging around Harry’s bedroom with a few cans of Guinness and the Slimy Tentacle Creature.

However, when Anne went over to Harry’s home, he greeted her wearing a big bow tie and that fake moustache he wore on Halloween, holding a heart-shaped box of chocolates. ‘Welcome to the House of Love, mon cherie!’ Anne laughed and handed over the card she bought for Harry and his present – a t-shirt with Frankenstein’s Monster on it.

Harry took off his bowtie and slipped on the t-shirt before starting the DVD. Though he had prepared a huge bowl of popcorn, Anne planned to chomp down on her chocolates while watching the movie. Both of them laughed the minute the DVD started, as the terrible “Slimy Tentacle Creature” was shown in all its paper mache glory on the menu. Anne was certain the creature’s tentacles were all sticks of liquorice.

When Harry pressed “Play”, however, the creature looked a little more state-of-the-art. No paper-mache exterior, instead water rolled off shimmering sickly-green skin as the creature rose from the sea. Its tentacles wobbled as it emerged, rising towards the sky as if the creature were celebrating its own arrival. It had watery yellow eyes, which seemed to stare at Anne and Harry.

slimytentaclecreature

A tentacle burst out of the screen.

Anne and Harry shrieked, knocking over both popcorn and chocolates. Before Anne could grab Harry, who seemed to be frozen in fear, the tentacle wrapped around him, dragging him into the television. ‘No!’ screamed Anne as she leapt onto the tentacle, poking, pinching biting, doing whatever she could in hopes the creature’s grip would loosen.

The Slimy Tentacle Creature roared, spitting salty water over Anne’s face. Its tentacle quickly snapped back into the screen, bringing Harry with it and knocking Anne to the ground. Anne rose and darted for the TV, only for another tentacle to arise, looming over Anne as if ready to flatten her any moment.

Before Anne could react, before she could fight back, the tentacle wrapped around her, compressing her body and she couldn’t even scream…

‘Oh, hi, Anne!’

Next thing Anne knew, she was sat at a table, facing Harry, who had regained his bowtie. Between them was a single tealight and two menus.

Anne looked around. The Slimy Tentacle Creature. No, not “the”, several. Wet, flabby, rippling creatures, all sat at tables, stuffing what looked like thick vomit into their mouths. Anne almost vomited herself, but then she came face to face with the Slimy Tentacle Creature, the one who had brought her here.

‘You know,’ said the creature, ‘I’m mighty honoured you two chose to watch my movie as a Valentine’s Day treat. To thank you, I’d like you to have a free meal at my restaurant!’

‘You have a restaurant?’ asked Anne, arching an eyebrow.

‘Well, yeah,’ said the Slimy Tentacle Creature, ‘that’s what happens at the end.’

‘You dragged us in here before we could watch it,’ said Harry, ‘Oh, and spoilers!’

‘Calm down, Harry,’ replied Anne, ‘Let’s just take up his offer.’

‘Have you seen the menu though?’

Anne took one look at the menu and felt like throwing up again. ‘Well, a free meal’s a free meal.’

 

The Thing in the Shower

Today I had a shower,
To get myself clean,
There I heard a growl,
That sounded quite mean,

Then from the water,
Splattered all over the floor,
I heard the sounds of slaughter,
Then out came a claw,

There rose a beast,
With fangs and a long nose,
It then began to feast,
Upon all my toes,

‘Why?’ I asked the thing,
It said, ‘You drove me mad,
Because the way you sing,
It’s oh so very bad!’