Into the Mouth of Darkness is the fifty-first chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on February 20, 2016.
Stopping a gigantic centipede underwater when your powers aren’t working sucks.
That’s what me, my mom, and Sarah were trying to do.
I groaned. “What is with my powers lately?”
The giant centipede came toward us, but Dad ran into it with our sub.
“Doc, see if you can lead it out to open sea,” Mom said. “We have to get into its cave.”
“Mom, I’ve got this one,” I said.
I activated my powers. It came my way, but I could barely control it.
“Just back off,” I said.
It swam to the surface and a broke a guy’s boat in half and knocked him into the water, taking him completely by surprise. We swam to the surface.
“Uh, I think we just bought a boat,” I said.
“We?” Mom said.
The man was really upset and Dad tried to reason with him, but he couldn’t, especially since he couldn’t speak his language.
“Why did I get stuck with public relations duty?” he asked us.
“Because you read Ancient Sumerian even worse than you speak Arabic,” Mom replied.
We had gotten into the cave of the giant centipede.
“Just hurry up with the search, alright?” Dad said.
“I’m going to go help your dad,” Sarah said. “He’s gonna need it.”
“Ok,” I said.
She teleported herself out of the cave.
“Mom, this tablet we’re after . . .”
“It’s called the Epic of Gilgamesh,” she said.
“It’s an ancient Sumerian record of the legendary warrior’s battle with Kur. This is one of the possible resting places. See, there was a regiment Roman troops garicent in this area during the Punic years.”
“Got it. But what I was trying to say is maybe some Vikings took it.”
Right in front of us was a broken ship that looked like the kind Vikings used.
“Nasty,” I said. “I think that Algerian Sea Centipede ate a long boat.”
“Yeah, it’s a hundred-and-fifty-foot predatory Arthur pad,” Mom said. “It’s gotta get its calories from somewhere.”
Then the sea centipede suddenly appeared.
I grabbed the claw, but Mom held it back.
“How ’bout we work on your power control on something smaller?” she said. “I got this one.”
She unsheathed her fire sword and attacked it. She managed to slice it to pieces, after getting herself eaten whole and regurgitated first, but not without some slimy mess. Or a lot.
We went back to the airship after an unsuccessful search with Mom covered in slim.
She groaned. “Why does it always have to be sticky and smelly?”
“Well, yacht shopping wasn’t my idea of a good time either,” Dad said.
Sarah laughed. “Yeah. You’re just lucky that my powers can help me speak and understand any language. But you’re probably going to hate me when I tell you that I could’ve also repaired the boat.”
“Uh, was anyone else eaten and regurgitated by a giant centipede?” Mom said sarcastically. “Then we are not comparing bad days, ok?”
“Sorry, Mom,” I said.
She sighed. “Not your fault, kiddo. Sorry this Kur thing’s thrown us all off our game. Anyway, at least we’re one step closer to finding the Epic of Gilgamesh. If the Vikings were here, that means they could’ve taken the tablet.”
“Well, there’s a 9th century trading sight in Greenland we could try,” Dad suggested. “If you boys are in the mood for snow.”
“Sweet,” I said excitingly. “Snowball fight rematch, Fisk.”
“As long as you don’t use your claw this time,” Sarah said. “I’m pretty sure we don’t want the same thing to happen twice.”
She was right.
“Autopilot set,” Dad said. “Let’s get some rest. Who knows what giant bug your mother’s gonna be eaten by tomorrow.”
“You think your funny?” Mom told him. “Stick with the science, funny guy.”
“Actually, I thought that was good,” Sarah said.
We had left the room, but Komodo didn’t come, so I went back to get him.
“Come on, Komodo,” I said.
I grabbed his tail and pulled him with me. Then we all headed to our rooms and went to sleep.
The next day, Sarah, Komodo, and I put on heavy clothes for the snow.
“Hope you like the taste of snowballs,” I told Fisk.
“Yeah, same to you,” Sarah said.
I let down the plank and we went outside. But we stopped in our tracks when we realized that there was no snow anywhere in sight, but in fact, barren desert.
We were confused.
“Zak, don’t forget your—” Mom said, but faltered when she noticed the desert as well.
“Uh, Mom?” I said. “I think Greenland melted.”
We went back inside the airship and Dad looked at our coordinates.
“Australia?” he said.
“I thought you set a course for Greenland last night,” Mom said.
“Must be something with the nav computer. I guess we’ll have to do this manually.” He went to the controls. “I’ll run a diagnostic.”
He did and it showed that one of our engines was not working.
“I don’t like that diagnostic.”
We went to check it out. There was smoke coming out of it.
“Odd,” Dad said. “How could that have—”
He faltered when we heard a noise from inside.
“What is it?” I asked.
“There’s something in there.”
“I sense a creature in there,” Sarah said.
Sure enough, a creature came out and jumped onto Dad’s face. Dad struggled to get it off of him and it eventually did. Then more of the little creatures appeared.
“Aww, they’re so cute,” Sarah said.
They jumped onto of the railing, one of them saluted to us, and they hopped away.
“Uh, what just happened?” I asked.
Mom looked at her Cryptipedia. “Yep. That’s what I thought. Bunyips. Mischievous, but harmless. Well, except for the fact they have a taste for electronics.”
“Good thing Pikachu isn’t here,” Sarah said.
She made a little electricity ball and threw it to one of the bunyips. It ate it happily.
“They probably infested the ship by now,” Dad said. “We have to keep all the important tech away from them.”
“I’ll go lock up,” Mom said.
And off she went.
“And I’ll work on the engine,” Dad said. “I need my tools, though.”
One of the bunyips came back and handed him his wrench.
“Thanks,” he said without seeing who gave it to him.
“Uh, Dad?” I said.
He looked and noticed the cryptid. It dropped the wrench on his foot and ran off.
She, Fisk, Komodo, and I decided to leave Dad alone and went off exploring. We came across a run-down farm and looked inside one of the barns. The bunyips were also playing around there with a wheel barrel.
“So, interesting little guys, huh?” I said. “Mom did say I should test my powers on something a little smaller.”
One of them was watching us from behind something. I grabbed my video phone and held it up to it.
“Here, boy,” I said. “Nice juicy technology.”
It inched forward.
“That’s it. Here, fella.”
It jumped on me and I dropped the video phone. The bunyip then ran off and hid.
“Nice try,” I said. “But I don’t need to see you to sense you anymore.”
I activated my powers, but then they all started freaking out.
“They’re terrified of something. Something here. Close.”
Sarah looked at me with a sad look on her face, possibly pity. But before I could ask her what was wrong, the bunyips ran out of the barn.
“Follow them,” I said. “Let’s see what’s going on.”
They ran into a mine, but I stopped myself before going in.
“Hey, you know who loves pitch black creepy mines?” I said. “Mom and Dad. Maybe we should get them.”
“Scardy cat,” Sarah said. “Seriously, Zak? I mean, come on. Out of all the stuff you do without your parents, you won’t do this?”
Then a sound came from inside the mine. We went to get my parents and then headed inside the mine.
“Let’s get some light here,” Dad said.
He powered up his glove and a light glowed from it. He held it in front of us and we noticed a lot of bunyips sitting on crates.
“Ok, that’s creepy,” Dad said.
A bunyip climbed up his back, which surprised him, then it took his glove.
“Hey!” Dad said.
It ran off with his glove, wearing it on its head like a hat.
“Get back here!”
He chased after it, and Komodo did too.
“So, if we ever wanna see your father again, we’ll need some lower tech lights from the airship,” Mom said.
“On it,” I said. “Come on, Fisk, Sarah.”
We headed back to the airship.
When we got there, a bunyip ran past us. We followed it into the kitchen where there were a lot more of them playing with all the electronics and the food. One dropped a box on another riding a mixer like a unicycle. It laughed, but then another threw a box at it and knocked it away.
Then another opened a bag of flour and dumped it on top of a fan on the ceiling that was on and directly above our heads. We were completely covered.
“My hair,” Sarah whinnied, trying to dust it off.
“Don’t think they’re cute or funny anymore now, do ya?” I asked.
“Oh, shut up.”
We went into another room, dusting ourselves off along the way, and I noticed the door was open.
“Huh,” I said. “I wonder how the bunyips unlocked the door.”
“Zak,” Sarah said, sounding serious.
I looked in front of us and was startled at who I saw.
“Greetings and bienvenue, young Kur,” Argost said.
Fiskerton looked like he was about to attack him, but I held him back.
“What are you doing here, Argost?” I asked. “You’re suppose to talk to me through Weird World.”
“And miss out on all the quality face time? After all the trouble I put into bringing you here.”
“Wait. You brought us here?”
“Well, the bunyips did most of the work. I knew when I dropped them into your airship that those precautious little savages would find their way home.”
“Why am I here?” I asked.
“To find the monster in the mines, naturally,” Argost replied. “You wish to learn about your Kur nature. That creature will be your best lesson yet.”
“Ok. I’ll find your monster. But if my parents see you, there’s gonna be a fight, and you know which side I’m gonna be on.”
“See how I tingle with anticipation.”
“Zak, did you find anything?” I heard my mom calling.
“Quick, you have to get out of here,” I said.
I pushed him into a closet and closed the door.
Mom entered the room. “Oh, there you are. Did you see the torches that Malory gave us? I could’ve sworn they were in here.”
“Uh, torches?” I said. “Nope. Didn’t see any.” My heart was beating really fast. “Fisk? Sarah?”
They shook their heads.
Mom came to the closet that I was blocking her from.
“Uh, they’re not in there,” I said. “Nothing’s in there. I hear it’s seven years bad luck if you open a closet indoors.”
Sarah face palmed herself and shook her head. “You’re really pushing it.”
I glared at her.
“What?” Mom asked me.
She put her hand on the knob.
“Mom, wait,” I panicked.
She opened the closet. I looked in it. Argost somehow wasn’t in there, but what we were looking for was.
“Well, would you look at that,” I said in a little bit of a high voice. “There’s torches in there.”
He’s good, Sarah told me telepathically. You’re so damn lucky. For now.
I know, I replied, also through telepathy. And what do you mean by ‘For now’?
She didn’t answer.
Mom made me carry all the torches back to the mine by myself. Fiskerton stifled a laugh, but Sarah insisted on helping me carry them.
We were walking by a tower when Argost suddenly fell out of it.
“Madam?” he told Mom, who was standing right in front of him.
“Argost?” she asked.
I became nervous.
Mom unsheathed her fire sword, then kicked him, knocking him into a tractor and up on it. He jumped off it. Then a bunyip got on to it and drove it around crazily. Mom was too distracted by it that she didn’t see Argost charging at her and he tackled her.
“Zak, what are you doing?” she asked.
The one time she wants me to help fight him.
“Huh? Right,” I said, then put down the torches and grabbed the claw. “Fisk, yo-yo me.”
He grabbed the cable of the claw and swung me at Argost. I knocked him right into the wooden leg of a water tower. It broke and the water fell over, luckily, not over toward us. One of the bunyips rolled a surfboard over Argost.
Mom ran toward him.
“Alas, our time is cut short,” he said. “And if the seven claws of the goolon do their job properly, you will be too.”
He threw some metal spikes at Mom, but she hit them all away with her fire sword. Then he ran away.
“Come on,” Mom said.
We ran after him. He ran into the mine. But before we could follow in, a lot of debris suddenly fell and boulders blocked the entrance.
“Doc!” Mom called.
“Komodo’s also in there,” Sarah said, sounding offended for him.
We ran over to the pile of boulders and began digging them out of it. Eventually, Dad’s hand broke through.
“Hold on,” I said. “We’re gonna get you out.”
Then we heard a sound from down the mine and Argost laughing.
“Zak, Fisk, Sarah, keep digging,” Mom said. “We can’t let Argost reach whatever cryptid’s down here.”
And she ran off.
“Fisk, keep digging,” I said. “I think Argost is trying to lead me to the monster.”
I grabbed Sarah’s hand and ran off ourselves. We caught up with Mom and she noticed us.
“Why do I even bother telling you things anymore?” she complained.
“I’m wondering that myself,” Sarah said.
Then the room began to shake. Argost suddenly appeared, ridding those mine things on tracks, which we were standing on.
We jumped out of the way just in time before he hit us. Then we noticed another mine thing on a different track right next to the other.
I looked at Mom.
“You know, we really shouldn’t,” she said. “We don’t know what shape the track is in or even where it goes.”
“Yeah, but when’s the next time we’re gonna be chasing a super villain in a silver mine?” I asked.
Sarah and I climbed in to it. Mom pushed it to get it moving and then jumped in herself. We were moving somewhat slowly, but eventually picked up speed.
“That’s my boy,” Mom said.
We caught up to Argost.
“We draw ever closer to our monster,” he said. “Can you feel it, little Kurling?”
“Don’t ever speak to my son, you freak,” Mom said, unsheathing her fire sword.
“Oh, tisk tisk. Name calling is so unbecoming. And to think I was able to tell you to hang on to something.”
We didn’t know what he meant until we looked ahead and suddenly dropped down a hill on our side of the tracks. We desperately held on. Then the track went back up and we were right next to Argost again.
Mom slashed her sword at him, but he dodged easily. Then, I guess, her sword hit the ceiling of the mine and it got knocked out of her hand, but I grabbed it just before she could lose it. Then Argost grabbed her and pulled her over his way. I slingshot the claw at him, hitting his head, and he let go of her. But before the claw could fully retract, he grabbed onto it and pulled me toward him.
“Zak!” Mom said
She grabbed me and pulled back.
Sarah threw a fire ball at Argost and he let me go. Then he disappeared.
“Where is he?” Mom asked.
“I can’t tell,” I said. “It sounds like there’s another cart above us, but it could just be our echo.”
“Room for one more?” Argost said, jumping into our cart from out of no where.
He pushed us aside and broke our break lever.
“And, once more, a sure.”
He jumped back into his cart passing by ours.
We looked ahead of us and our track had about a ten foot gap in it.
“It’s a good angle,” Mom said. “We’ll make it.”
I wasn’t so sure of that.
I wrapped my arm around Sarah. “Grab my mom.”
“But Zak, she—”
I slingshot the claw onto the ceiling.
Sarah grabbed my mom and the three of us were pulled out of the cart. We watched our cart go over the gap and back onto the track across.
“You just never listen to me,” Mom told me.
We were still watching the cart when it suddenly crashed.
“Ok, fine,” Mom conceded. “That’s one for you.”
“Now, come on. Whatever cryptid is down here, we can’t let Argost find it first.”
We ran down a path going parallel to the tracks.
“Why is it so hot?” I asked.
“Maybe the creature has some sort of incubation near by,” Mom said.
“Or maybe because we’re near a volcano,” Sarah said.
“I’ve already found the beast, Saturdays,” we heard Argost say, his coming from somewhere around us. “And it is glorious.”
“That sounded close,” Mom said.
“It’s everything I dreamed it would be. Even to the very core.”
We ran down a tunnel.
“I can’t wait to take it outside and play,” Argost continued.
Then he appeared.
He charged at Mom, but she kicked him away. Then she picked up a shovel lying on the ground, for reasons I don’t know because she still had her fire sword, and walked toward him.
“You’ll never unlock the secrets without me,” Argost told me.
I knew he was right.
“I’ll take my chances,” Mom told him.
I hated this, but I had to stop her.
I looked around. There was a slipknot rope held down by a sand bag.
“Zak, don’t,” Sarah said.
I knew I should’ve listened to her, but I didn’t.
I moved behind Mom. When she was distracted with Argost, I slipped the rope onto her foot, then cut it from the sand bag with the claw. The rope retracted and lifted Mom into the air.
“It’s ok, Mom,” I said. “I’ve got him.”
Sarah and I ran after him.
“Zak, wait,” Mom called, but we didn’t stop.
Once we caught up with Argost, I activated my powers.
“No more games, Argost,” I said. “Take me to the monster now.”
The bunyips were behind him and they looked scared. I sensed around, but couldn’t feel any other cryptid’s presence.
“Yes, power of junior Kur,” Argost said. “Reach out. The monster is close.”
“There’s nothing there,” I said. “I feel nothing but the bunyips fear.”
“Very good. There’s no one here but you, your girlfriend, me, and our little friends.”
“But the breathing . . .”
“Merely the fire gasping for precious oxygen. This mountain rests on a bed of cold that’s been ablaze for a hundred years.”
“Then what are they sacred of?”
“My dear boy, you’ve lied to your parents, betrayed your own mother, and you’re about to let the villain walk out of here so Mommy and Daddy don’t learn the truth about our business relationship. I brought you here to discover a monster, and so you have.”
I walked up to the bunyips and they coward away from me.
“You planned this,” I said.
“There’s a reason there are no happy heroic tales of Kur,” Argost said. “Congratulations on completing another lesson.”
I didn’t know if I should be glad I completed it or not. Then a rope dropped next to me.
“Zak, are you alright?” Mom called down. “Can you see Argost?”
“He’s . . .” I hesitated. “He’s gone, Mom.”
I grabbed onto the rope with one hand and Sarah with the other. Mom pulled us up and we left the mine along with the rest of our family.
We went back to the airship.
Dad fixed the engine and revved it on.
“Now that’s the sound of success,” he said. “Alright. Let’s run a diagnostic before we get airborne.”
Up on the screen, something popped up.
“Odd. It says our computer data banks were recently accessed. Zak, do you know anything about this?”
“Oh, uh, yeah,” I said. “I was trying to load up a video game. Sorry.”
“Just be careful with that main frame, son. There’s a lot of valuable information on there.”
I have a feeling that that’s what Argost was looking for was valuable information to use against me. Like I’m trying to get to use against him.
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “Sure thing, Dad.”
I left the room and Fiskerton and Sarah followed.
What Argost said earlier about me deceiving my parents, which was true, really effected me badly.
“I have got to stop listening to that freak,” I said.
“I agree,” Sarah said. “So what are you going to do?”
“I’m going to stop watching his show. I hate doing what I’m doing to my parents, and I want it to stop.”
Sarah kissed me. “I’m glad, because I hate it too.”
I half smiled.
That was the last time I am ever listening to Argost.
I really liked some of the funny moments between Zak and Drew in this episode.
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