The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Eight)
"Okay, mind explaining to me why I had to make a fool of myself just so you could test some human boy?" Delilah demanded, putting both hands to her hips as she scowled at the cat. She turned to the cat the instant the door closed behind Jay as he was ordered to head to the library alone. "Instead of calling me over to discuss something that I already figured out in the first couple of minutes of meeting Jay and April, you could have just told me you wanted to meet Jay. What's your interest in him anyway?"
"Oh, Delilah," Cait Sith said, shaking her head. "You might be a good detective, but you've still got a lot to learn. I'm interested in seeing how this boy will grow up."
"What?" Delilah said. "Does he have some kind of special destiny or something? Like, is he fated to go save the world from the apocalypse?"
"No need to get snarky," Cait Sith said. "And no, there's nothing like that in his future, as far as I know. But there is something about him that will have an affect on the world of monsters and the world of humans."
"And what is that?"
"That . . . is a secret. Figure it out, yourself, Detective."
"Hmph!" Delilah sniffed. "I already have a theory, anyway. Chances are I'm right, but I'll wait and see a bit longer just to be sure."
"Spoken like a true detective," said the cat.
I didn't see why I had to make my way to the library by myself, but Cait Sith was really insistent on it. Well, it wasn't like I had anything else to do today, so I thought that I may as well take the opportunity to take in the sights of the town on my way to the library.
Just as I thought, the town was really old-fashioned. It was as if I had stepped back in time before there cars were invented. Most of the roads had mainly people of all sorts walking or riding their bikes. There were even a few vampires wandering about with black parasols over their heads to protect them from the sun's unforgiving rays.
"Turn left and walk straight for a quarter of a mile," my phone quipped. Earlier, Cait Sith had me show her my phone. She took out her own phone and sent something over to mine. That something turned out to be a new map app, except unlike the one I already had, this one had a map of the town of monsters.
I followed the phone's instructions and eventually made it to the library. Along the way, I saw more monsters, and monster children. There were definitely a whole lot of different kinds of monsters in this town. I also saw a couple of humans too, who looked like they lived around here. That was probably why none of the people ever made a fuss about me while I was walking around town earlier. I wondered about that earlier. Now I knew why.
The library was well, the library. It wasn't that big a building, or very impressive looking. You'd mistake it for one of the numerous, narrow two-story houses that lined the street. I certainly nearly did. I actually passed by it a while back. The phone told me that I was at my destination, but I thought that maybe it went haywire. It wouldn't have been the first time. If I hadn't asked a nearby frog man who came out of a tailor's shop doing some stretches, I probably would have never found it.
I stared at the faded sign above the door and display windows that read "Library". It was still a bit hard for me to believe that a place like this was a library. Given the setting of the town, I figured that it'd look a bit more impressive than that, or at least look like the main state library. To be honest, I was hoping it'd be one of those big, grand libraries you'd see in a fantasy themed video game. You know, those huge castle-like buildings, with shelves full of books as far as the eye could see. And there'd be some kind of huge, magical crystal or machine thingy at the center of the lobby that glowed. But seeing the library outside in person made me think that there was no way that'd be. What a let down.
"Well," I said to myself, "I may as well get this over with."
I turned the door's brass handle and pushed the door as I walked in. And inside were shelves full of books as far as the eye could see, stretching what seemed like miles left, right, up, and forward. Stairs from the entrance led down into the main lobby, which had a circular front desk squatting at the base of a giant magical machine thingy (sort of like a metal skeleton of a globe) with a huge glowing crystal floating above its center.
In such awe, I let the brown paper-wrapped package slip through my fingers. The heavy book landed on the marble flooring with a great big bang.
A huge snort echoed from above.
"Huh? What?" a loud voice cried out. "Who goes there?"
That shout sent a jolt down my spine. I spun around in circles looking for the source of the voice, but whoever it was was either hiding or too far away to see.
"You better be quiet!" the voice shouted. "This is a library! Whoever made that loud noise better cut it out!"
I could only stand still, paralyzed by fear. It wasn't until a long time after the voice faded that I began to calm down. Careful not to make any loud noises again, I bent down and gingerly picked up the book. I walked as fast as I could to the main counter, taking each step with the heel of my shoes first, and rolling the soles of my feet onto the floor to muffle any sound my walking could make.
As I walked toward the counter, I nearly dropped the book again. With my mouth opened in silent screams, I waved my hands wildly around the book in trying to catch it. I managed to bounce it up a few times before properly capturing it in my hands. After breathing a sigh of relief, I continued forward.
The counter was just that: an ordinary table that ringed around an office space where librarians stamped books, accessed one of the numerous computers there, and direct visitors to the right place. Papers were stacked neatly beside each computer station, pressed down by brass weights that resembled pieces of a chess set that, from my impression, looked like they were bat themed. The center station that I walked straight to had the King piece sitting on the paper stack. There was also a slot where books are returned.
After dropping the brown package into the slot, I turned around to leave, but then stopped. I had heard a scream. It was so faint that it could have been my imagination. But I was sure that it wasn't, because I heard it again. Someone was pleading for their life. I looked up, straining my ears to pinpoint the source, only to end up drawing my attention to the huge floating crystal where a globe would normally be within that metal skeleton.
I slowly walked around the librarian's counter and approached the crystal. At the base of the machine, there was a bronze plaque that read: "The Memory Gem. Linked with the heart of the universe, the Memory Gem can access the memories of worlds. Because of this, in the past, it was called the Ultimate Book of Knowledge. Many now refer to it as the Ultimate Data Bank. This lesser gem can allow users to watch or experience the history of this world. But top secrets and private information can't, of course, be accessed. So, if you're a spy or a criminal, it's useless to you."
As I read the plaque, I absentmindedly brushed my finger along the surface of the machine. That's when the floor became an endless void of nothing at my feet, and I fell.
The fall was short, but a pain to my behind.
"Ow!" I cried out. "What's this? Grass? How did I get outside? And where am I?"
As I looked around the forest trying to get my bearings, I heard a low, growl behind me. I turned around and saw a werewolf carrying a savage stone and stick club, and a wood shield, towering over me. He had a savage grin on his face.
I'll be honest. That werewolf scared me. Seeing the werewolf carrying terrible weapon like that (a really bloody weapon, I might add) made me think that this wolf was going to kill me. I scuttled backwards away from the beast, but he came charging at me so fast, he was upon me in the blink of an eye. I closed my eyes, waiting for him to come at me, but nothing happened. Opening one eye, I saw only a cluster of trees ahead. The werewolf had ran past me.
Relieved, I couldn't help but laugh. Then I turned around, and my relief turned to horror as I watched the werewolf run straight towards a girl who was maybe a little older than me.
"Watch out!" I cried. "Run away!"
But she didn't run away. Instead, she ran toward the werewolf. To my utter astonishment, she and the werewolf embraced one another, laughing. They danced around a bit before the werewolf set her down.
"How goes the hunt?" the girl asked.
"How do you think?" the werewolf replied with a toothy grin. He jabbed his thumb to the huge sack on his back. "Enough deer and boar to feed the entire village for days! The others will be here soon."
"Good!" the girl said, clapping her hands together. "I can't wait to get my knives and start chopping them up into tiny pieces for the meals."
"Yeah, I still find it disturbing, creepy and weird how you like to chop stuff up," the werewolf said while nodding. "And I'm a lycan."
The girl flashed him a toothy grin and shrugged. The wolf man, no, make that wolf teen, smiled back. But then, looking up, that smile vanished, and his face contorted into an expression of horror.
"The village!" he cried out.
I looked up at where the werewolf was looking and saw smoke billowing to the sky. Beneath the smoke was an orange-ish glow. Putting two and two together, I felt dread fill me from belly to chest.
A frog man suddenly burst in, breathing heavily from a panicked running.
"Humans!" he cried. "Humans have attached the village! They bear the arms of the Crown!"
The werewolf dropped his sack of meat and ran toward where the smoke and fiery glow came from. At his tail was the girl, followed by the frog man.
I stared as they disappeared into the copse of trees. Then everything around me shifted, and, although I didn't move, I ended up in the center of what were obviously the ruins of a village.
"Curses!" snapped a goblin grinding his teeth on a pipe. "Why? Why did they do this? This village doesn't even have a connection to that savage kingdom of Fae and monsters! Is it because this village itself, is a village of monsters?"
"Those soldiers of the human kingdom called us spawns of evil!" sobbed a tusked giant of a man with bulging muscles. "How could they accuse us of such a thing when we have done nothing but live in peace? How could they judge us like that after this evil they have done?"
All around me, the monsters cried, raged, and ranted as they took in this scene of ruin. I could hear them start spouting words of hate, calling for revenge. Thinking that it would be a good idea for me to skip out, I tiptoed back before turning around to run for it. As I did, I saw the girl from earlier and her werewolf friend stand with looks of grief on their faces.
"Hey!" I cried out. "We better to get out of here. It looks like they're about to snap."
The girl said nothing. It was as if she couldn't hear or see me. When I reached out for her hand, my own just phased right through hers.
"What in the-?" I cried out, baffled.
"You can't do anything. This is just a memory after all. An unchangeable record of the past."
I turned around and was met with a pair of big, reptilian eyes.
"Ah!" I yelled out, leaping back.
Towering before me was a giant snake, a huge snake about as thick as a tree trunk, and looked long enough to wrap himself around twenty of me. And he was wearing what looked like a shirt and a bow tie.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Seven)
Jay has a meeting with a cat.