Cassie: Part 13

The shark monster wasn’t alone. Frog-things stood all around it, but the closest four of them held poles with hooks on the far end. Shark prods?

Rod muttered something hard to understand, but it ended with “—it.”

“I’ll take the shark,” he said, and put Sam and I down near the wreck of an SUV. Most of its front had been bitten off. I could see the tooth marks in the metal.

The missing chunk of engine and hood lay in front of it, but no mangled people.

I liked to imagine that the driver had escaped—somehow.

I’m an optimist like that.

Sam pulled her staff out of her pocket. “I’m taking out the frogmen. Don’t stand in front of me.”

I pulled my staff out, clicked on the button, and it grew from six inches to six feet. Nick told me how it worked once, but Nick’s told me a lot of things that I don’t care about.

Another push of the button electrified the ends of the staff, and I was prepared. No way were the frog-things going to take any attack from Sam lying down. They’d mob us, and I’d have to keep them off her.

I got into a ready stance, sweeping the roadway with my eyes to watch for attackers. The only light came from the stopped cars, but there were a lot of them, and they had their brights on.

As a few broke off from the larger group, and began to walk toward us, Sam said a few words. Arcs of blue-white energy gathered around the top of the staff.

A small bolt of lightning (I almost didn’t see it) jumped from my staff to hers, and I could feel the hair on my body standing up (not that there was much of it).

A blinding flash of lightning spread out from her staff, spreading into smaller bolts and hitting the crowd. The frog-things’ howls of pain mixed with the loudest thunderclap I’d ever heard.

More than half the group fell to the ground, legs and arms spasming.

Sam didn’t need a bodyguard. I decided to do something useful—going on the offense.

Rod and the shark monster were wrestling like creatures out of that Godzilla marathon Marcus made us watch. One of them would have needed laser eyes for an exact match, but troll breath was close enough to “Atomic Breath” for me.

It wouldn’t have hurt if Rod had some kind of weirdo “space samurai” armor either. The medieval clothes he wore made him look like he’d wandered in from the wrong story.

Rod pushed the creature’s mouth away as it snapped at his head—on its hind legs, it stood taller than he did. He punched it in the stomach with his free hand, and it landed on its back.

Rolling back to its feet, it turned back toward him more quickly than I’d have thought possible.

I wouldn’t have done it normally, but since the electricity was out, I put my staff away, and ripped the streetlamp out of its concrete mounting alongside the highway.

It wasn’t easy. Streetlamps are big. Once I had it on the ground, I grabbed it three-quarters of the way up, where it was a little more comfortable. Still, I felt grateful it was a fake Victorian streetlamp instead of a modern look where the light hung over the road.

I looked up from the lamp pole as Sam shouted, “Troll’s down!”

While I’d been occupied, the shark had knocked Rod down, and bit deeply into his forearm. He hit its head as I watched, but it didn’t let go. He shouted from the pain as it bit harder.

Oh, hell no.

I started running, aiming the lamp at the shark.

It didn’t let go of Rod’s arm even though he had grabbed its upper jaw and tried to pry it away.

The lamp hit just behind the shark’s head. What was left of the glass shattered as the lamp pierced its skin, causing it to jerk and let go. I kept on pushing until I felt the lamp come out the other side.

Rod pushed it off himself, grabbed the pole and threw it, shark monster and all, over the side of the highway. It dropped three stories and hit with thump, ending with the sound of uncontrolled thrashing.

I almost felt sorry for the poor dumb animal—except for the part where it attacked real people. So screw that.

Right then in my ideal world, the frog-things would have been so intimidated by how we dealt with the shark monster, and how Sam could zap them into extra-crispiness (the air smelled of grilled chicken) that they’d leave.

Instead they poured out of the rows of cars, dark figures silhouetted by hi-beams running straight for us.

That’s what optimism gets you.

23 thoughts on “Cassie: Part 13”

  1. Another great read 🙂

    Found two mistakes though.


    “but Nick’s told me a lot of things that I’ve don’t care about.”

    Should be “I don’t care about” or possible “I’ve not cared about”.


    “One of them would needed laser eyes for an exact match”

    Missing the word “have” I believe.

  2. firstly Troll vs Land Shark coming to a theatre near you. Secondly Merry Christmas to all of my legionnaire pals!

  3. @ Captain Mystic:
    Don’t you mean ‘Coming soon to SyFy’?

    @ Jim
    Typo report: “where the light huge out over the road.” Pretty sure you mean hung. Or possibly hangs. I was always a little fuzzy on the distinction.

  4. It kinda makes you wonder why there aren’t more shark-like superhumans out there. Or supers based on underwater creatures anyway. Tiger Shark (Marvel) and King Shark (DC) seem to be about it. Most of the time, they want water supers to be faily human. Atlanteans exist in both worlds, along with human-looking rulers such as Namor the Sub-Mariner and Aquaman. It is time we end this discrimination against inhuman underwater supers! They must rise up and break through the glass ceili-…glass bottom boat!

    I’d think no one would want to turn a corner and find themselves face-to-face with Anglerfish Man. I hear he killed Mothman, ya know (someone will get that). Octopus Man and his sidekick, Squid Kid, wouldn’t have to be villains though. They’d have a very disturbing legitimate career in Japan. So, maybe not such a bad thing that those creatures got left out of the comic books.

    Speaking of Mothman, there are enough cryptos out there to have two warring superteams. Mothman, Bigfoot, Nessie, the Pope Lick Monster, and Chupacabra (the Wolverine of the group) versus the Beast of Bray Road, the Skunk Ape (Florida’s crypto in the house, yo!), the South Carolina Lizard Man That Bites Cars, the Dover Demon, and the Jersey Devil.

    That’s not even half the ones people claim are in the United States. Every state wants its own little monstrosity/tourist attraction.

  5. Actually, Spiderman fought a squid guy once, who had tentacles and squirted ink. Squiddy tried to grab Spidey with the tentacles, Spidey just grabbed hold and pulled, and Squiddy went flying, spraying ink.

    Heheheh. For real.


  6. Huh. With all those pop culture references, I would’ve thought somebody would point out that it’s a pity Cassie doesn’t have her inflatable shark repellent (from the Batman TV series). Maybe it’s in her utility belt.

  7. Eli: Yeah, sharks biting arms aren’t really something anyone wants to imagine.

    Gavin: Thanks. For me at least those lines were as much or more about how Cassie sees herself and Nick as they were about being funny. Ideally, they’re what makes them funny.

    kntwriter: Thanks. I fixed that now. Funny how much I need copyediting. I read through the post a few times before posting (and after) and still didn’t see that.

  8. Thought I’d best get it in now;


    I hope you all have a fantastic one, full of fun, laughter, drink (for those old enough), good food and best of all; great company.

    I look forward to reading more of your stories in 2012, Jim!

  9. Silas: I’d intended to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone in my last comment, but somehow forgot.

    Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks for reading.

    Oooh… Additional thought that seems relevant: I was thinking just the other day that I hadn’t done a “special Christmas episode” ever for this series. And then I realized I had. The story that Ray first appeared in started in December or so and ended in March (I think), but it was set during Christmas.

    If that’s the sort of thing that comes out when I do a Christmas story (point-blank gunshots to the head), I think the world will thank me for not trying again soon.

  10. I think one of the best things about this series is that the humour is based on character traits and consistency, rather than funny one-liners and quips. Nick is funny because he’ll study science in the middle of a fight, Cassie is funny because she’s impatient with Nick and wants to keep fighting, and Haley is funny because she can’t figure out why she finds that cute about Nick.

    All of that is rooted in who they are as people and the way they narrate, and none of it is making jokes or pranks. It’s great. Also one of the benefits of seeing chapters from other characters, they get funnier but so do the scenes they’re in during Nick’s usual narration — because you can now almost hear them thinking this way while events happen.

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