So I Faced an Owl's Mortal Enemies... (Part 3)

Submitted into Contest #59 in response to: Set your story in a place with extreme weather, but don’t use any weather-related words to describe it.... view prompt

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Fantasy Funny Adventure

Author’s note: This is a part three of my stories “So I Met an Owl in An Elevator…” and “So I followed an Owl to a Suspicious Town…”, so if you want, read those before this to avoid spoilers. If you don’t want to, no problem, have a recap and a wonderful day :)

Recap: Howl and Bell met in a elevator at a hotel where Bell was drugged and chased by a bobcat shape-shifter. Howl is an owl shape-shifter who’s working with Bell to defeat the bobcat shape-shifters after being chased out of Howl’s home town, Burrows Borough. In the last part, they were chased out of town and are going to take on the bobcats themselves since they’re a threat to the owls and Bell. Bell is a human who was dragged into this mess because she was mistaken for the prophesied savior of the owls, Beautrice.

***

“It’s a ginormous mountain filled with rigidity tunnels. At its peak, it's surrounded by large bodies of water vapor that float in the air and block off the view of the ground below. Unfiltered rays from a celestial star reflect on it so remember where your celestial star protection glasses…”

Howl handed me a pair of sunglasses as he kept going on about the Mountain of Meetings—the location of our final plan against the bobcat shape-shifters.

“Sometimes water falls from the sky, or worse, electric sticks will slap the ground.”

“That’s lovingly,” I said. Sometimes, I feel like I should just explain to him the normal human weather. I shrugged. Whatever kept him from trying to involve me in the ‘License Plate’ Game where he butchered the pronunciation of Massachusetts was good enough for me.

Above me, the atmosphere darkened like a giant stood there instead “Are you sure we’re heading the right way?

Underneath my car, the paved road turned to a dirt path. I squinted as I tried to figure out where it led.

“Some dense water vapor is blocking our vision,” Howl gasped.

I gritted my teeth and swerved to avoid a tree. “Howl, can’t you open a portal to the top or something?”

“It takes too much energy to teleport a car. I know what I’m doing…” He held up a paper map to his face. Upside down. “Yup, I definitely know what I’m doing.”

Howl!” I swatted at the map out of frustration, tearing it in half. 

“Hey, my map.”

“Actually, it’s my map because it was bought with my money since you have none at that gas statio—”

I squealed as a deer wandered out in front of my car. Yanking the wheel to the left, I barely avoided it, but failed to stay on the dirt path. My car slid down a steep, bumpy hill as I tried to regain control.

“Where are we supposed to go Howl?”

“I—I know we’re in the right place. The next part is difficult though. It was made for humans to never find. The Mountain of Meetings is a secluded and sacred place where magical creatures of all different sizes can gather in peac—”

“I FOUND IT!” I shifted into high gear as I plowed by a light up neon sign that read ‘Mountain of Meetings: Five Miles’ with a ‘Benny’s: Six Miles’ right below it.

“Benny’s,” I asked. “You think they mean Denny’s? Because you know what would go great with this existential crisis I’m bound to have at some point today? Pancakes.”

Howl slouched back in his seat, crossed his arms, and scrunched his face into a sour expression. “Definitely not. Denny’s lost a lawsuit and is not legally allowed to have contact with any magical creatures or be in any magical places after the Frog-en-Geyser Incident of ‘09.”

“The… the what?”

He dramatically gazed out the window like he was in a sad song’s music video. “Don’t worry about it. It’s not for the faint of heart, anyway.”

Okay???? I guess?

The next thirty minutes, my car spent climbing the rocky, narrow, winding pathway up the Mountain of Meetings. Strangely, the further I got, the more Howl’s weird descriptions of the weather became more accurate.

Large puffs of water vapor spun around us. A few puffs darken as liquid dripped out and into the world below us that I had already forgotten. Some crackled like candy wrappers, smacking their zapping sticks on the ground as they watered and charged the earth. Tunnels carved their way through every open spot on the mountain. A few small ones even grew on the already too-tiny path, but my car was still big enough to drive over them.

As I passed another moving water vapor puff, it moved closer to my car. A loud, high pitched squealing noise erupted and the car rattled. “What the hell was that? Did that puff of water just scratch my car?”

“Oh yeah, some of them have varying densities of vapor, so be careful with that.”

I followed the signs to the Benny’s because even if it wasn’t Denny’s, I could settle for some bancakes instead. As I parked out front—the only car parked out front, mind you—I told Howl, “No one’s here yet. Let’s get some lunch and go over the plan again.”

His eyes loomed over the Benny's sign. “Okay,” he finally agreed.

So Benny’s didn’t serve bancakes. Or bggs. Or burgers or bacon or baffles or bmelettes or any kind of Denny’s found that started with a b. What they did have was weird potion soup, living toast, and—

“Mouse guts,” Howl cheered as he ordered three platefuls. “What are you getting?”

While my face turned green and my stomach flipped, I pushed the menu away. I never thought those raw veal steaks the owl shape-shifters at Burrows Borough kept shoving in my face would ever seem so appetizing, but here we are. “I’m good, thanks.”

Howl’s mouth morphed into an owl beak and he shoved a forkful of mouse guts in. I gagged. “Your loss,” he said.

I put up a tall menu barrier between Howl’s food and me. “Can we go over the plan, already?”

“Alright.” He slurped down a mouse’s small intestine like spaghetti. “Basically, the bobcat shape-shifters still think you’re the savior from the prophecy. They know you’re a threat, but don’t know why you’re a threat. So, they’re meeting us here and we’re gonna blackmail them by threatening some mysterious powers and get them to back off or admit a truth of some kind. You think you can pull off a fib that convincing?”

I flipped my hair over my shoulder. “Please, I once didn’t have a date to my ex’s wedding so I brought my cousin. Sure, I had to french ‘em, but everyone believed they were my eight-month-long boyfriend so who really won?”

“That’s disgusting,” Howl said as he chomped on his second plate of mouse guts.

***

Cold nitrogen gas mixed with oxygen and carbon dioxide whipped around us as we stood on the peak of the Mountain of Meetings waiting for the bobcat shape-shifters to come. I was dressed as the edgiest, edge bad-girl from Hollywood using the Lost ‘n Found at Benny’s as my prop box. Inside was a leather jacket, a black tank top, booty shorts in a size I haven’t fit in since high school, and fishnet stockings that squeezed out my thighs until they looked like those mesh stress balls. Howl said it was for ‘a much needed dramatic effect’, but its only ‘effect’ was making me feel ridiculous.

Walking in between the shifting vapor puffs, the bobcat shape-shifters arrived in a dense mob. From the looks of it, there were about five of them, all dressed like the biker gang from a 60s’ movie. That made Howl the odd owl out. Ha.

In the gang there was: Too Much Eyeliner Guy, Red Bandana Gal, Can’t Pull Off That Much Denim, Mom Dressed ‘Em, and Helmet. Just. Helmet.

Eyeliner took center stage with a creepy grin on his face. I recognized him from the hotel—he was the guy who drugged me. Mom Dressed ‘Em and Denim were the fake cops too. All the major players were here—plus too much I didn’t really care about.

Wait a minute. There were six pairs of feet. Someone was hiding behind the shifters in red flats. Guess one of them must be too shy or afraid to face me, the (fake) savior. I grinned. Good. That would make this easier.

Howl put on his serious face. “Here’s how this is gonna go. We have the savior. If you don’t agree to leave all the owl shape-shifters alone, she will… cook you with her laser eyes.”

Laser eyes,” I repeated in my lowest voice while flipping peace signs in front of my eyes to show them off.

“Oh?” Eyeliner cracked a smirk. “Is that so? Because I think you’re mistaken.” He snapped his fingers and his lackeys parted like the Red Sea. From behind them, in red flats and a matching red purse, came someone who looked exactly like me. “Since we have the savior.”

Beautrice,” Howl breathed with wide eyes.

“Hello.” Beautrice gave a shy wave. “They kidnapped me and I’m still not sure what’s going on right now.”

“Well,” I placed my hands on my hip, “this isn’t going to end well.”

And I was right.

Immediately, the bobcat shape-shifters transformed into the bobcat equivalent of werewolves and lunged at Howl and me. I ducked into a nearby tunnel while Howl sprouted wings and took to the skies. As I tumbled down the tunnel, my fishnet stockings split open until they were loose ropes. At least one good thing came from this.

Once I reached the bottom—about ten feet from the surface—I dusted myself off. Nothing appeared to be broken, but there was no way I was going to climb back up. Switching on my phone’s flashlight, I continued further into the cave.

The tunnel went back up at a sixty degree slant until I was able to peek my head out of its exit. I was right behind two bobcat shape-shifters and the real savior while the other three jumped up trying to snag Howl. Every now and then, he would swoop down to scratch their eyes. Other than that, the fight wasn’t going well and could be considered down right pathetic for powerful magical creatures.

Still, it managed to capture the attention of those in front of me. I threw a pebble at the savior. She spun around, opened her mouth to say something, but I held my finger to my lips. Bobcats probably have good hearing or something—I don’t really know, they don’t exactly require to know zoology in high school. I thought koala bears and black bears were weird cousins until my senior year in college.

I gestured for her to come closer. Once she was in grabbing distance, I dragged her inside to where the bobcats couldn’t see or hear us. “What’s going on?” She demanded.

“Howl the magical owl-guy and I are here to bluff out the magical bobcat shape-shifters by pretending I’m the magical savior from a magical owl shape-shifter’s prophecy—when you’re the savior, but we look alike—on a magical mountain…” I bent over and rested on my hands on my knees. “Oh lordy…”

“What is it? Are you okay? Are you out of breath?”

“No… I’m just having an existential life crisis about my choices that lead to this.” I took a deep breath, clapped my hands, and stood. “Alright. I’m better now. Let’s make a new plan. I’m Bell by the way.”

Bewilderment spread across Beautrice’s face. “You’re good???? Are you sure?”

“As sure as the magical prophecy that led to all this. Alright, so since you’re the savior, what’s your plan to save us?”

“I—I don’t really have one. I wasn’t expecting any of this.”

With a sigh, I said, “Okay. Well, what do you do? What are you good at?”

“I’m a dog trainer.”

“Oh and you’ve trained all the bobcats to behave. Brillant!” I popped out of the tunnel and pointed to the nearest bobcat shape-shifter. “Hey you. Sit.”

Red Bandana swung around and hissed at me. I dived back into the hole.

“You really thought that could work, huh?” Beautrice asked.

“I’m ashamed to say so, but yes.”

She uncomfortably shouldered her purse. “What are we going to do?”

“Your purse,” I exclaimed. “There might be something in there that can help us. Dump it out.”

She spilled the purse’s poor guts out onto the tunnel’s dirty ground. We swooshed our hands around in it, looking for anything useful. Around us, a light water vapor drifted in, making it even harder to see or work. Guess some of them had floated to our level now. “Ugh. Old receipts. Ruined lipstick. Half of an old burger…” I knocked it against the rock and the rock cracked. “Half of a really old burger.”

She flushed red. “Sorry.”

I shrugged and threw it behind me. “That’s nothing. I once had an old burrito in my purse that had four different kinds of mold on it. A scientist guy even asked me to send it into a lab for experiments. Discovered a new kind of mold on it and named it after me.” I picked up a huge choker with wires and a dog tag. “What kind of choker is this?” I was about to snap it around my neck when Beautric stopped me.

“That’s not a choker, it’s an electric dog collar. One of my clients wants to use one for their dog because he keeps misbehaving.” She frowned. “I hate when dog owners try to resort to violence to get their pets to behave. All they need is love and positive reinforcement.”

I lowered it. “Wow, that sucks—oh my god I have an idea… now how I execute it…”

***

I don’t think Beautrice had ever ridden water vapor before. I say this because we’re on top of a denser water vapor puff—like the one that scratched my car—and we’re above the bobcat shape-shifters where they can’t see us, but Beautrice was repeatedly saying, “I’ve never done this before. Are you sure it’s safe?”

No, but I don’t tell her that. Fake confidence is what got me through high school. And college. And the majority of my adult life.

I peered off the edge of the puff to the fight belong. By now, the bobcat shape-shifters that were guarding Beautrice realized she was gone and ran around looking for her. Mom Dressed ‘Em, Eyeliner, and Helmet fought Howl 3v1. Howl was losing—badly. We didn’t have a lot of time and with the speed of the puff, we only had one shot at this. Woah, additional pressure. That’s fun.

“Beautrice, are you ready?” I called out from the other side of the puff.

Kneeling on the edge, gripping it with one hand, she gave me a weak thumbs up. Good enough. I waited, watching the scene.

Howl swooped down and pecked at Mom Dressed ‘Em’s eyes. Before he could reverse and get high enough away from them, Eyeliner grabbed his talons and yanked him back. Not yet.

Howl burst back into a half-owl, half-human form, but still struggled in his grip. Not yet.

The water vapor puff was now directly over them. “Now.”

Beautrice dipped her head over the puff’s edge and shouted, “You forgot about me!”

Surprised, Eyeliner’s grip on Howl loosened enough for him to escape. Taking advantage of Beautrice’s distraction, I swung out from the puff, holding on only my bended knees. My left hand latched onto the back of Eyeliner’s neck. Alarmed, he twisted around just in time to see me snap the electric dog collar on his neck. I released him and ordered, “Sit.”

When he didn’t, I pressed the collar’s button and turned him into a flailing mess of magic and electricity. He collapsed onto a pile on the ground. “Good boy.”

The four other bobcat shape-shifters noticed their leader defeated and rushed over. “Wait,” I said as I held up the button. “If you attack me, you’ll only make things worse for him.”

They froze. Beautrice and I jumped off the puff before it went over the mountain’s edge. Howl stumbled over to us. “Here’s how this is gonna go. I’m going to give the collar’s button to Howl and the rest of the owl shape-shifters. As long as all the bobcat shape-shifters leave them alone, your boss won’t have to worry about being electrocuted. But if you don’t…” I held up the controller with my thumb hovering over the button. Their bodies tensed at the sight of it.

“I know the game you’re playing, wench,” Mom Dressed ‘Em spat. “We’ll get you once the collar’s battery dies.”

“Ah, but this is a magical collar—” Actually it’s solar powered, but they won’t notice the difference. “—So it will never run out of power.”

They exchanged unsure glances.

“Still not convinced?” I teased. “Do you need another demonstration?’

No,” they shouted in sync.

“We understand,” Red Bandana said. “We’ll leave you alone.”

Slowly, they collected their knocked out leader and headed back down the mountain.

“We did it,” Howl cheered. “Let’s go to Benny’s to celebrate.”

“What’s Benny’s?” Beautrice asked. “It sounds fun.”

“Trust me,” I said. “It’s not. And since I’m paying…” I held up my credit card. “We’re going to Denny’s.”

Howl gawked. “But the food there is so gross.”

“Awe, is it?” I said, thinking of the mouse guts. I shivered “Too bad.”

September 17, 2020 22:11

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6 comments

Bianka Nova
08:06 Sep 18, 2020

Haha, brilliant ending. Although I do see more potential for these adventures to continue 😁 Great work on the prompt. You could've chosen a different one, but apparently decided to go the hard way. Well done! 👍 Some quick fix suggestions: I’m bound to have some point day - I’m bound to have at some point today? extensional life crisis - was it intentional or should it be existential? maybe it was even harder to see or work - making it even harder to? Kneeling on the edge, gripping the edge - gripping it?

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Lily Kingston
11:30 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you for pointing out my mistakes and the positive feedback :)

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Avery G.
22:21 Sep 17, 2020

Dang, this was good! It was well written, and super creative. Great job!

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Lily Kingston
03:03 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much!!

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Avery G.
03:47 Sep 18, 2020

You're welcome!

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Leo Ivanovich
00:52 Jun 01, 2022

I like this one a lot. Sarcastic humor is my favorite. Have you ever read Howl's Moving Castle? The name reminded me of it. If you haven't read it you should, it's one of my favorite books.

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