The Waterwood Box, 83

Catch up!

Chapter 19
King Altern Unfolds

The Lady King Altern, a brick-red color, undulated out from under the flat shelf of rock. She was a colossal squid, longer than a semi-truck, capable of sinking an ocean liner, and she slowly rose to her full length. On either side of her pointed, shell-like head, Altern had eyes as large as swimming pools. Sinewy, stringy tentacles seemed to trail out to infinity behind her. If ever there was a true, sea monster – she was it. Altern’s mouth, a giant beak, wholly alien on an Ocean creature, clicked open and close, open and close so slowly. The clicking, muffled in the water, sounded like two flat rocks smashing together. Altern swam alongside Adam until she had him lined up in front of one of her gigantic eyes. Adam trembled in the water. Each crack of Altern’s beak reverberated inside of Adam and worked its way back out through his trembles. Altern floated there, staring at Adam.

Adam finally spoke. “I’m here for the Drain of the World.”

Altern did not reply but continued to snap her beak in that unnerving rhythm.

Adam spoke again. “I’m here for the–”

One of Altern’s tentacles whipped out and snaked itself tightly around Adam’s bottom half. Altern whisked Adam from his upright position and dangled him, upside down, right in front of her cracking beak. Closer and closer. Adam was going to be Altern’s food! Then the beak stopped moving. Inside the beak, Adam saw a large tongue working. Altern’s voice came out in a raspy, but surprisingly soft whisper, “Who…are you?”

“I’m here for the Drain of the World. Show it to me.”

Altern repeated, “Who are you? Who are you to address Us with such demands? We take orders from no Tiskaloons just as no Tiskaloons take orders from Us.”

Adam stood firm. “I’m not Tiskaloon. I’m human. My name is Adam Might.”

Altern’s beak snapped shut. The sound startled Adam and he jumped inside of Altern’s tight grip. Slowly, the beak opened and Altern whispered into Adam’s ears, “So, you’re the human, the screamer, the instigator. Now it all makes sense. Your disguise fooled well my admiral. Your disguise fooled Us and it’s been so very, very long since We were fooled. Are you quite sure you’re only in disguise?” The tentacle loosened around Adam as another slithered around to tug at his suit. “We are sorry for being so rude. We are King Altern.”

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The Waterwood Box, 83

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