While looking down at her glass, swirling the offensive ‘wine’ carefully and trying to remember whether this was number 4 or 5, Eloise heard footsteps and muttering approaching down the alley beside the Pièce de Résistance. Before the source of the distraction entered the cafe, she identified it as her neighbour, Hally the Cabbit.
“Hello Neighbour!” came the predicted intrusion.
Eloise nodded and then returned to considering her counting conundrum.
“I’m off to trap a new pet. Care to come along for an adventure?” Hally burbled.
Asking what breed of pet, Eloise had trouble sorting out whether she was appalled or delighted that Hally actually said ‘Kraken.’ “Surely you mean Sea Kraken,” she quizzed in shock.
“No! Air kraken. They’re all over. It shouldn’t be hard to catch a baby one,” Hally suggested.
Trying to work out a way to be rid of her next-door pest once and for all, El was unable to resist the urge to join the likely doomed expedition. Wondering to herself how she might manage all this safely, particularly in this state, she found herself convincing Hally that for their own protection they had best prepare by imbibing large quantities of alcohol, as it was rumoured to diminish the air kraken’s taste for humans.
Soon the two were staggering about gibbering nonsense about hunting safety and making their way to the airfield to embark on Hally’s airship; ill-advised at the best of times, of which this was certainly the contrary.
Hally was wondering aloud what she might feed her new pet. Eloise bit her tongue while thinking she knew just what to feed it, or rather who.
Arriving at the field, there was staggering, cursing, stumbling and confused noise. At length the ship was somehow moving, and the two scrambled aboard out of instinct, muted though it was with the effects of something that had earlier passed for liquor.
Before either of them knew what was going on, the pair found themselves in flight, struggling to organize a sensible course toward something utterly senseless.
Rocking wildly and constantly turning into the wind as Hally struggled with the controls, Eloise began to wonder if she would be able to get the cabbit to land so they could reconsider the ‘wisdom’ of the mission; or to at least postpone until they had each had a few drinks fewer.
The Cabbit’s tail flapping in her face making useful conversation out of the question, El found herself trying to work out where they were; a task just as impossible.
Finally she was able to catch the hollering, “Look! There’s a mother! Let’s get her!”
Pressing inexorably forward, rather allowing the craft to accidentally approach the beast than controlling it in any fashion whatever, Hally was screaming joyfully, mercifully free of any intellectual appreciation for the increasing certainty of the pair’s imminent, drunken demise. Eloise herself began to accept that there would be no ridding herself of this cabbit, but almost certainly even worse a shared expiration.
As they drew nearer the monster, its sheer size became horrifyingly apparent. Her hope of miraculous survival slipping into the realm of ridiculous fantasy, Eloise felt the craft turn abruptly as the kraken wrestled with it, struggling to grip the ship with the suckers under its tentacles.
The world, the future, her life—all things in her consciousness were compressing into a single word which she finally released with all her might directly into the back of Hally’s head: “IDIOT!!” Panic, terror, desperation all paled against her rage. She had no time to be devastated by the tragedy, only focused venting of pure fury.
In what she was certain would be her last earthly act, Eloise finally kicked Hally’s tail out of her way as hard as she might, to at last have some relief from that blasted thing flapping in her face as the gondola swung upwards and into the gaping chasm before them.
In an instant the ship had been swung violently sideways and its two occupants deposited into the huge maw. All of reality faded as they were enveloped in blackness…