Corporal Kit Thunder of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
The Monster on the Tundra!

A 4-Part Eerie Adventure of the North

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Episode 4: Monsters From Beyond!

Previously: In the 1930s, R.C.M.P. Cpl. Kit Thunder investigates a gruesome murder on the tundra, encountering a spiritualist society in an abandoned village. Attacked by a tentacled monster, he is captured by the spiritualists who are under the psychic control of a demon in the guise of Carl Mothers, using them to open a passage to another dimension. To open the passage requires the human sacrifice of the lovely lady reporter, Brenda Glickman. With the spiritualists chanting, the passageway opens...

Overhead the sky was a swirling maelstrom of light and colour. Then it split asunder with a cacophonous thunder like a fog bank parting, and a great tall ship sailed out of the very sky.

To the albino Mountie, Kit Thunder, it was a vessel unlike any he had ever seen or heard of before, and in a chilling moment, he noted the glimmering sheen of its hull. The ship was the colour of blood.

"You're too late, lawman!" cackled Brody.

A chill swept over him, and he turned as if a voice inside had warned him. Slithering across the snow was the grotesque, lobster-clawed and tentacled form of the being Brody had called Shoggantolthet, a Dark Prince, but whom Kit knew in a somewhat different guise as Carl Mothers.

He was momentarily numb with indecision. Then he looked up and just made out grotesquely malformed simian creatures scampering about the vessel flying overhead. He was grateful he could not see them clearly.

Suddenly one of the unholy things hurled one end of what looked like a great vine downward, like casting a mooring line. The vine spasmed, twitched, like a thing alive, then it coiled around Brenda, and the creature above began hauling her up into the air. Brenda screamed.

Shaken from his momentary paralysis, Kit flung up his Enfield service revolver, aimed, and squeezed off a shot.

The creature high above twitched, then tumbled from its perch. Yet as it fell past the keel of the flying ship, it simply exploded into shards, as though a statue shattered upon the floor.

Then Kit leaped onto Brenda and clawed at the living vine. It curled and clenched about her, tightening twice as hard for every part he managed to loosen.

"Kit," whispered Brenda, her eyes wide, her lips pale, "I'm trying to be brave, but I'm really scared."

"Hold on," he said affecting confidence.

From his boot the Mountie pulled out his Bowie knife and hacked at the vine. From somewhere overhead, he heard a shrill scream and repressed a shudder. Viscous gell spurted from the cuts he inflicted, coating his hands with slime. He hacked again and again...

Suddenly a great weight landed on his shoulders, knocking him into Brenda and almost wrenching her from his grip. Brody Tate wrapped one arm around the Mountie's neck and grabbed his head with the other, trying to twist his neck.

"No, you don't," hissed the spiritualist.

His head being twisted back, Kit diligently kept at the vine. Suddenly, it parted and Brenda slumped at his feet. Then he rammed his elbow back into Brody's soft mid-section. The man grunted, and his grip loosened. Kit twisted free, then turned and slugged him again. Kit was still holding one end of the vine. He could feel it clutching at him, trying to ensnare him. Clearly the thing wouldn't stop until it had claimed someone -- either Brenda, or him, or...

"You want to see other worlds, Brody? Here's your ticket!" He looped the vine around Brody's shoulders.

The vine did the rest.

It coiled tight. Brody's eyes went wide. "No!" he screamed. Suddenly his feet left the ground as another creature, replacing the first, began hauling upward. "Oh, God! Noooo!" Kicking and squirming, he rose higher and higher, being hauled aboard the Blood Ship.

"Whu-what ha-happened--?"

Kit turned. Jesse Sears was clutching his head and looking like he was going to throw up. Mrs. Carrington stumbled, almost falling except for being caught by Moira Bidgood, who looked pretty unsteady herself. Clearly, with Brody's concentraton shot, his control over his companions had vanished, as well.

"NOOOOO!" hissed a disturbingly familiar, sibilant voice.

Kit cut at Brenda's ropes, but spared a glance at the creature he had known as Carl Mothers. It seemed not to be looking at him. He looked up, and instantly understood its distress.

The Blood Ship was falling apart, like a ship caught long-side in a bad storm.

One mast snapped. A simian creature plunged over the side and fractured like cheap pottery on moving past the ship's mystical influence. Then Kit remembered that the whole point of the exercise was that the spiritualists needed to hold open the inter-dimensional portals with their mummery. Now Brody Tate's hypnotic spell was broken, the spiritualists were no longer chanting, and the Blood Ship was turning about, hoping to return from whence it had come before it was crushed by the cosmic forces that had been unleashed.

He hauled Brenda to her feet. "Get them out of here," he hissed. "Now. Get to my dogs -- throw off all the supplies to lighten the load so they can carry you all, and start them running."

"What about you?"

"I think I'm going to be busy with a certain Dark Prince," he said grimly.

"Mountie!!!" screamed the thing that had been Carl Mothers as the other-worldly ship faded into the explosions of lights scarring the winter sky.

Kit pulled his Enfield, vaguely aware of the sounds of the others' footfalls as they fled.

"I told you it didn't have to come to this," hissed the creature. "I told you that you could've lived through it. All I needed was the girl. Why? Why demand my vengeance?" it demanded as it undulated toward him.

"Maintien le droit," Kit said calmly, a steely fire returning to his pink eyes. A firmness returned to his spine. After all was said and done, he knew why he was here.

"I don't understand," growled the monster.

"I didn't think you would," he said. "It means, Maintain the Right. It's a code I swore to live and die by when I put on this uniform."

"Then die by it!" roared the thing as it hurtled forward.

Kit fired rapidly into the thing. Then, as it came on like a wild bull moose, he leaped aside, his powerful leg muscles sending him into the air, just as a claw made to snap him in two. He hit the snow, rolled, and started running, twisting to fire off a couple more shots.

Overhead, the Northern Lights were fading, and the sky was gradually adopting the normal dusky palour he had not seen for days. The mystical convergence the others had mentioned was clearly coming to an end.

As was he, he realized. The creature was gaining on him steadily -- a creature that had torn apart three experienced hunters and their pack of huskies. Still, he ran because there was nothing else to do.

He emptied the last of his bullets over his shoulder, then he threw all his concentration into making his legs go as fast as they could. But as soon as he hit the deep snow, he knew that would not be very fast at all.

Perhaps, because of this singularity of focus, he failed to hear the sound of yapping huskies until they pulled up beside him. He glanced over to see his dog team, with Brenda holding on for dear life.

"Get on!" she yelled.

Barely breaking stride, he leaped onto the back of the runners even as she threw herself forward onto the sled itself, getting out of his way. "I thought I told you--" he demanded.

"We got a little ways out -- then the damn dogs started turning, heading back. I couldn't control 'em. The others jumped out, but I figured if the dogs were going to try and rescue you, I might as well lend a hand."

He grinned ruefully at the tail of the lead huskie, Kevin, then the humour drained from his face as he focused on the danger.

"Go, boy, go!" he shouted, the icy wind already whipping his face. "Faster! Faster!" He dared not even spare a glance over his shoulder.

Suddenly he heard a strangled, inarticulate scream -- a roar of fury and frustration and of despair.

The Mountie craned his head to look back. The sky was now dark, the weird celestial lights of the last few days had completely vanished, and with it, the mystical convergence.

The thing that was Carl Mothers had said something to him about a curse, about "physical shackles". Kit had not known what the being meant. Now he did.

The monstrosity lurching after them was rising up, its soft, glistening skin turning rough, its supple muscles hardening, as the millennia old curse it had been under once again took hold. Kit stared in shock as, in moments, where a strange creature out of nightmare had been, there now lurched a clumsy, heavy, stone edifice known as an inukshuk, the kind found throughout the north.

The thing made one final leap to get him -- but that was too much. Its renewed form of piled stones was never meant for movement, and it fell apart, heavy rocks tumbling forward, spewing up plumes of snow as it scattered, until it lay spread across the tundra, the snow settling again after a moment on the still rocks.

Kit reined in his team, and jumped from the sled, staring at the stone remains. He dragged the back of his arm across his brow. In moments, Brenda had joined him.

They were silent for a long time, breathing hard, mists of exhalation swirling about their heads. Then she said, quietly, "Wow."

"And you know what's really scary?"

She stared at him, as if he'd lost his mind. "Any minute of the last day?"

He grinned and shook his head. "You can find stone figures like that -- like that had been -- all over the north. I wonder what the others turn into when the stars are in alignment."

She looked at him, then at the scattered stones. She hooked her arm with his, and said, "Soldier, I just don't want to know."

"Let's get the others. It's a long way back to my post."

The End.

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The Monster on the Tundra! is copyright 2000 by D.K. Latta. It may not be copied without permission of the author except for purposes of reviews. (Though you can print it out to read it, natch.)