The Beastie Boys vs. Bob Marley – Could You Be Intergalactic mash-up…
“What took you so long?” Ace asks, when I catch up with the others.
The underwater cavern could be described as ‘forbidding’ – only it’s more than forbidding. It’s the full Trespassers Will Be Prosecuted notice, Jesus-is-Watching-You sign, and restraining order.
That’s how forbidding it is.
I can already sense my brain-stem drafting out its Diminished Responsibility plea for the condition that this diving-suit will be returned in.
“I slipped,” I explain, knowing that I’m not even in the neighbourhood of the truth, let alone close to it. “And, er – I dropped my harpoon gun…”
An explosion in the water between us causes similar in my trousers, as the weapon being discussed – in this case, Crispin Dry’s harpoon gun – fires at something behind me. I turn to face a giant, yawning, vicelike claw, lined with exoskeletal barbs.
It freezes in its apparently ready stance to snap around my neck, and then abruptly withdraws into a cloud of sand and bubbles.
“Rock Scorpion,” says Crispin, over the radio. “We must keep moving.”
Heading deeper into the tunnel, we climb over a jagged outcrop of white limestone stalagmites. I look upwards, half expecting to see similar stalactites overhead… but the cave is so vast, the ceiling is hidden in darkness, and drifting ocean silt.
“Are you sure the Sea Centipede who dug this tunnel is dead?” Carvery Slaughter asks, voicing something I was wondering about myself.
“Fairly certain,” Crispin replies. “She was not too bothered about us clambering over her teeth just now, so if we survive the journey all the way along the alimentary canal to the other end, I think we can safely assume that ‘dead’ is her current state.”
“Really?” Carvery points his harpoon at the nearest wall, and fires. It goes fairly deep, sending up dark shards of old rotted carcass into the almost stagnant seawater. “Guess so.”
“What’s an alimentary canal?” Ace asks. “Do we have to get on another barge? Because the last one kind of did me enough damage for today.”
“Nah, you don’t need a barge on an alimentary canal,” Carvery tells him. “It’s a misnomer. Not so much like a real canal – more like a flume.”
“What, one you ride on a rubber ring?” says Ace.
“If we spot one on the way, you’re welcome to it,” I mutter under my breath, but forget that they can hear me over the radio.
“I wouldn’t try it, if I were you,” Carvery replies to Ace, ignoring me. “It’s over-rated.”
“I’ll let you ride shotgun,” Ace suggests.
Carvery seems to ponder.
“Not my cup of tea,” he says at last. “And anyway – judging by the size of this mother, it’d be like throwing a couple of Tic-Tacs down a well.”
We continue to pick our way carefully through the darkness, the only illumination being from the lights built into our own diving helmets.
Another giant Rock Scorpion lunges out into our path, and this time I get a better view as it swings for Homer. The segmented carapace is black with yellow underneath, spotted like a leopard, and those giant claws are highlighted with angry red Go-Faster stripes. It reminds me of an old Formula One, John Player Special-sponsored Decepticon Transformer.
Ace’s harpoon flies into its side, and sticks in the join between head armour and thorax. It immediately turns back, scrabbling to try and dislodge the piercing, and forgetting about Homer N. Dry – who minces onward happily.
How can he still walk like that underwater, in that dirty great diving-suit? It must be the added buoyancy… I feel as though as I’m doing a Pingu impression, myself…
“See that light ahead?” Crispin announces, and we all strain to see anything through the murk. “The exit is about another hundred yards or so, and we will find ourselves at the bottom of the subterranean dock, for the Eight a.m. Lounge.”
It sounds hopeful, and we put in a renewed effort. I’m relieved to see Carvery and Ace re-cocking their harpoon guns, just in case.
I wonder about that mysterious creature who rescued me back on the cliff-face, stealing my own harpoon gun in exchange. What would a man with a fishtail want with a harpoon gun? Surely if there were any danger to him underwater, he could just turn his tail into legs and run away up the beach somewhere?
Or maybe they don’t do that in this reality… perhaps Disney made it up…
“Watch it,” Ace’s voice interrupts my thoughts. “I just stepped in something squishy.”
I look down, the beams of my head-lights sparkling off the sand and dirt swirling up from the sediment. The floor has taken on a bobbled appearance under the muck, like a huge puff-patchwork quilt.
“It was one of these blobby things,” Ace continues, kicking his foot into another. It breaks open, like a deflating balloon, and releases inky black liquid and greenish slime into the water. “Maybe the giant centipede had a big peptic ulcer problem.”
“I hope so,” Carvery remarks. “Because otherwise it looks like we’ve taken a wrong turn at the buffet car, and found where they’re hiding the caviare.”
The Empire Strikes Back: Mynock Cave Scene (original) – Enjoy 🙂
More mindless mayhem: The Zombie Adventures of Sarah Bellum
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