The Iron Writer Challenge #51
2014 Iron Writer Spring Equinox Challenge #1
A Bug Zapper
A Child’s Wagon
A faded Dragon Slayer Manual
The Dungeon Master
“Who’s your daddy?” Mistress Dementia demanded, hovering over the man hogtied in the belly of the red child’s wagon. She brandished a cruel whip, ready to strike.
“You are, Mistress,” Bob whimpered. He’d been coming to Mistress Dementia for weekly sessions over the past year, but he’d never experienced anything like this. His raven-haired mistress had dyed her hair cranberry red for the holidays, and seemed intent on incorporating the color into all their reindeer games. The little red wagon was just the beginning; the weeping gash in his arm was another unexpected gift.
“That’s Santy Claus to you, ho ho ho!” Mistress Dementia bellowed, bringing the whip down hard upon Bob’s naked ass.
Bob howled like a hound dog.
“You’ve been naughty this year, Bobby,” she continued. “Don’t want to get coal in that stocking do you?”
“No, Santy Claus,” Bob panted.
“That’s right. Now, what do we do with naughty little boys?”
Bob gulped as his mistress pulled a new toy from her box. This one was shaped like a tennis racket, but gave off an electrical crackle as she sliced it through the air. Incinerating a stray gnat, the bug zapper gave off a frightening blue bolt, and Bob prayed for a Christmas miracle to save him from this particular punishment.
“Santy Claus punishes the wicked, mistress,” Bob whispered.
“That’s right! You are a clever boy, Bobby.”
Brandishing the zapper, Mistress Dementia drew closer to Bob’s shivering, naked form. She whipped it back and forth under his nose for effect, thus igniting several more wayward insects with aplomb.
Bob gulped and shut his eyes in anticipation of a new level of pain.
“No one punishes my husband but me!” rang out a third voice.
Bob’s eyes snapped open. “Charlotte?”
His wife strode towards his mistress, and knocked the bug zapper from her hands with a faded oversized paperback. Mistress Dementia looked completely taken aback by this turn of events, taking a step away from the frumpy woman in a babushka and potato sack dress.
“You call this a dungeon?” Charlotte roared. “The Dragon Slayer manual, page 37, has complete details of the standard dungeon, and this barely rates a second-class torture chamber. Come, Bob!”
“Y-y-y-y-yes, dear,” Bob stuttered, but failed to rise from the wagon, due to his hogtied state.
“Who are you to disturb me with a client?” Mistress Dementia demanded.
“You phony,” Charlotte spat. “I am the original Dungeon Master, and my husband will soon rue the day he paid good money to worship at your altar. Only the pure of heart can slay a dragon, and you are nothing but an impostor.”
Mistress Dementia opened her mouth to argue with this lumpy, misshapen peasant, but quickly thought better of it.
“Now untie him, wench!”
Mistress Dementia hopped to it, quickly freeing her former slave from his bonds.
“About my fee…” she began.
Charlotte darted a poison stare, and the disgraced mistress stopped mid-sentence to reframe her thought.
“You’re right. Merry Christmas to you both!”
Sitting listlessly on the veranda of the spaceport, Larissa twirled the glass of wine in her fingertips before she took a sip.
She watched the sun sink below the horizon and marveled at the colours in the sky. It never ceased to amaze her that they had found this planet so close to Earth and that it was so beautiful. Just right for their new colony.
Of course there had been a couple of problems with the place in the beginning.
In the first few years, they’d had to get rid of all the resident dragons to make the place more habitable. It had been an exhilarating time. Larissa missed it.
She placed her glass on the table next to the bowl of dried cranberries that had been imported from Earth.
Her husband came out of their home and sat down next to her.
“What are you thinking about?” He asked as he grabbed a handful of the cranberries and popped them in his mouth.
“Aaah!” Larissa smiled. “The old days – when we rode out to slay the dragons! It was so exciting!”
Darren grinned. “I’m surprised you haven’t thrown away your faded dragon slayer manual by now – those days are long gone!”
“Yeah!” Larissa shrugged. “But I wonder sometimes whether we did the right thing back then? Since the dragons were annihilated, it’s allowed the insects to multiply! Now we’ve a different kind of problem! Our bug zapper is no longer big enough. It needs replacing – the bugs are getting bigger and bigger!”
Darren looked out over the landscape through the gathering dusk, as one of the two moons began to ascend in the sky.
“True,” he agreed. “But, you know, life is much more settled these days – all you have to worry about now are the children. Growing up on another planet has its own unique set of challenges!”
Larissa snorted. “I don’t think worrying about picking up kid’s toys, tripping over a child’s wagon and reconstituting the meal capsules for us to eat have the same level of drama!”
Darren got up and stood behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders. Larissa finished her wine and they both watched in awe as the other larger moon came into view.
At that precise moment, a crash above them shattered the mood.
The spaceport verandah roof collapsed and pieces fell all around them.
A large bug the size of a cow waved its antenna as it stared at them. It looked as if it considered them edible.
“Where did that come from?” Darren gasped. “My God, it’s huge!”
He was about to turn and run when he noticed a dark mass in the sky obliterating the light of the second moon. As the cloud approached, it revealed hundreds of the bugs. The sound of their whirring wings was deafening.
There’s more coming,” he shouted above the noise.
He turned, suddenly aware that Larissa wasn’t next to him any longer.
Larissa was already inside, rummaging around in the bookcase, looking for the manual. Her face was radiant.
Excitement was back on the menu.
Dragonfly No More
As I laid there all snuggled in my bed the vision of the morning remained all pleasant in my head. The tree all decorated in those glorious colors and presents galore. All the kids in the world would dream of this sight but to me as long as one of the presents was a red flyer wagon was all that mattered. Well that and the sight of mom’s turkey with cranberry stuffed dressing and sugar pie. A knock on my door brought me back to reality.
“Michael, are you in bed yet?”
“Great you better be.”
Grandpa slowly entered my room sat next to me with what appeared to be some kind of old faded book under his arm.
“So grand pa what’s it going to be tonight Rudolph, frosty or the Grinch. I always loved those little people.”
“Well Michael tonight it’s a little more different. What I have for you is a tale way back from your great grandfather Hugo. You see his father was well known in China as a great dragon slayer. He slewed them all from the jade dragon of China all the way down to the famous kimono. This book here is some kind of manual of various ways he has beaten the dragons. He passed his skills to his son Hugo. Now Hugo had no interest in slaying dragons figured it being to barbaric. He was more into inventing fascinating gadgets. Now he grew up in the lower east side of Wales. In the community of Gorslas, were the residence had their own fears with dragons. But these where not just any dragons, they were the kind that feasted themselves on other insects. You may find this kind of funny but they believed that dragonflies where the worst type of insect that god had put on this green earth. So they hired your great grandfather Hugo to invent some kind of contraption to rid the town of the dragonflies. At first he tried to come up with a simple solution to avert them from any harm. After years of putting it off his plan seemed to fail as the problem with the dragonflies has escalated beyond all of their wildest dreams. The dragonflies feasted themselves on the bees. No bees meant no honey one of their greatest commodity. So he had no choice to but use his wits to come up with some sort of invention to rid of the dragon flies once and for all. Upon thorough research he invented a bug zapper that not only attracted the flies but once they were attracted to the light they where subsumed to a repellent that would kill them instantly. So you see for that reason outside every window in the neighbourhood now hung the bug zapper with it illuminant blue light. Now off to sleep my little scamp or tomorrow will never come.”