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Common Causes of Ulcers

Waking in the belly of the monster, Eloise and Hally took stock, and a few potshots at each other.

“By all accounts, this is your fault,” mumbled Hally.

Eloise stared at her through the haze of the stench surrounding them, before finally hissing: “Thanks for refreshing my memory. For some reason I didn’t remember it being me who wanted a pet kraken. It must have been all the pointless trauma shaking all the logic loose.”

Hally shrugged, “I wasn’t the one who thought drinking was a good idea. Miss ‘Booze makes us safe.’”

Eloise chuckled through the swirling bite of her hangover. “It hardly stopped you. Nothing could have stopped you from guzzling all my gin.” Pausing to massage her temples and slowly look around, she finally added ominously, “Drinking kept you safe from me. After all, the size of this thing would make it resistant to any deterrent, I should expect.”

The mood deteriorated and ‘conversation’ devolved until the two eventually resigned to speaking as little as possible. Over the next few days, they gathered what they could of the bizarre, seemingly random  articles the monster seemed to consume. Gradually beginning to speak enough to agree to veto one after another of each other’s plans as suicidal, the two started to cooperate in piecing together a tally of the useful bits they could muster out of the odd collection of items in there with them.

Two things to which they could easily agree was the need to work together if there was any hope to get out of this thing, and that neither had any intention of giving up the effort to do just that.

One morning they were both astonished to find that the beast had eaten a large heap of dynamite.

Gathering what they could of the intact pieces, they carefully assembled a sizable, precisely arranged charge against what they estimated to be the thinnest, least sinuous section of the side of the chamber they were trapped in. Eloise fashioned a simple plunger with a simple wound coil to touch off the primer charge that Hally put together, and the two ran lengths of wire a safe distance out away from the stack of explosives.

To prepare for their attempt, Eloise wound the plunger several times to build up a small electric charge, hoping it would be enough to set off the primer. This accomplished, they began to try to scratch the side of the beast to stimulate its hunger in an effort to make it dive for food. If it dove close to the surface, they might be able to survive their egress. Exiting this thing at the altitude at which they had first encountered it seemed quite a futile exercise.


After some effort to stimulate the beast and some odd noises from all around them, they were both abruptly flung into the air as the organism dove directly toward the ground; spiralling, twisting, tumbling suspended as the much heavier monster sped toward the Earth.


They both felt their ears pop from the rapid descent and finally the dull thump as they found themselves flattened against the bottom of the creature’s belly. As the plunger tucked into Eloise’s belt collapsed under her weight, with a sickeningly dulled concussion the side of their prison blew out in all directions as the charge they had built went off. The beast groaned and then writhed for a moment as the two shook burnt bits of flesh off themselves and protected their eyes from the intrusion of the welcome sun through the swirling smoke into their acrid, dying cavern.

By the time they had managed to help each other scramble out of the beast’s belly, a crowd had assembled to marvel at the size of the creature. Scrambling up onto the quay and trying to shake off the stink of their ordeal, they struggled to hear what people were saying as the effects of the blast on their hearing decayed.


Eloise was silent as the crowd struggled to come to terms with Hally’s disappointment that she had been unable to trap the beast as a pet. Heads shook and many asserted that she must still be disoriented from the ordeal.

Miss Psaltery soon arrived to start making measurements and preparing for the beast to be disassembled and moved to nearby cold storage. She seemed both delighted and overwhelmed at the scale of the task.

As she sent an urchin to summon the butcher, onlookers helped the Eloise and Hally away to seek medical inspections and above all to spend at least a few days soaking and scrubbing in the baths.

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