Yay! A children’s story! There are no bad words in this, and it should be suitable for all of the ornery little Calvins in the world (yes, this is a bit of an ode to Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes).
CHAPTER ONE: The Doom Lord
General Megatron heard the gnashing of teeth and froze in the middle of his latest scheme to escape the forced labor prison camp he’d been trapped in for more than six years. The roar of rage echoing through the twists and turns of the cell block’s corridors from below made him shiver. It was a noise that was far too familiar to his ears, one that he’d unfortunately encountered far too many times before. The creature’s heavy, clawed feet scraped and crashed into the floor in a succession of minor earthquakes, punctuated by the enraged bellowing coming from the galaxy’s most feared tyrant: The Doom Lord.
“SPACEMAN!!!” howled the monster as it reached the prison deck of the ship. “I’m coming for you!”
General Megatron, Defender of the Galaxy, Saviour of the Human Race, Hero of the Human Resistance, was frightened almost to the point of fainting. He’d spent the short time it took The Doom Lord to travel from the reactor complex in the lower levels to the cell blocks on the top floor of the prison rooted to the floor. His feet had been immobilized by the lack of communications between his brain and his legs. It was just one of many known supernatural abilities that The Doom Lord possessed. The general almost fainted again at the terrifying thought of the many supernatural abilities that the overlord possessed that he didn’t know about.
General Megatron pinched himself in the leg, knowing it was time for action. Each time he’d tangled with this most vicious of foes had been more terrifying than the last. As the floor shuddered from the Doom Lord’s approach, his military training kicked in and he immediately surveyed his prison cell. He calculated the most likely chance of successful escape and ran to the wall next to the cell door. With a final roar, the monster breached his sparse holding chamber and stomped inside.
The monster’s multifaceted eyes saw the evidence of the prisoner’s escape plan in the middle of the room. General Megatron counted three stomps of the disgusting, scaly, massive foot-claws before making his break.
“Eric!” his father yelled when he saw what his son had been up to. “Why is the there a pile of salt in my shoes?”
The Doom Lord whirled around, his enhanced bionic reflexes and extraordinary hearing ability sensing that something was amiss. It was a trick. The weaselly little mini-human was a tricky opponent, one that required constant attention from at least thirty of his ninety-six eyes. He gnashed his teeth again as he heard the thump of feet on the stairs leading down to the command complex.
General Megatron chanced a look back as his feet flew from the last stair into space before they hit the ground and skidded another five feet thanks to his ultrapolymer anti-traction footwear. He could see freedom just ahead. Finally, he would escape and make his way back to the human sector, once again hailed as a hero, once again given the most dangerous missions the Human Contingent’s Supreme Council dared burden him with.
The general was brought up short by a claw that shot out faster than the human eye could follow, grabbing him by the back of his bland prisoner’s garb. He shouted, feeling the unforgettable touch of the Evil Queen Mother’s scaly, clammy skin against his as she grabbed him by the arm and began to march him back to the stairs. General Megatron took one last look behind him, the sunlight of the outside world streaming through the open spaces between the bars that held him captive.
“I have your prisoner,” the Evil Queen Mother called out to the Doom Lord in her unpleasant, acidic voice. “Would you like to eat his brains?”
The general wasn’t keen on the evil queen’s tone, nor the question itself.
“Hahaha,” boomed the Doom Lord, the entire building shaking from his angry decent to where the struggling prisoner was being held. “Boiled Human Brain Stew. Yum!”
The Doom Lord’s hot, scaly claws grabbed him by the other arm, and for a moment, the fearless general was stricken with panic at the thought the two evil dicatators might pretend he was a wishbone. Instead, the overlord led him on a forced march back up the stairs. He looked back with contempt when the queen laughed in her cruel, heartless voice at his helplessness.
“Scrub the dirt off him,” Mom said, hands on her hips. “I’ll be there in a minute while I clean up the remnants of the graham cracker grenade he lobbed into the kitchen foxhole.” Her poisonous glare might have driven a lesser hero insane with fear, but he’d begun to develop an immunity to it over his years of captivity.
“Great,” Dad said. “When you’re done, you want to watch him while I clean a pound of salt out of my dress shoes?”
The alien overlord brought the general to a halt at the doorway leading into the torture chamber, one of many throughout the prison. He tried a technique straight out of The Human Combat Tactics Manual – Volume #63,312, one that had worked many times before, and against other fearsome enemies besides the two overlords. General Megatron relaxed completely while the two monsters talked or argued or yelled at each other in their strange, guttural tongue, feeling the pressure of the Doom King’s claws lessen for just an instant.
He sprang into action, ducking down and rocketing forward in the same motion, his mind a whirl as it tried to think three steps ahead about where to go.
“SPACEMAN!!!” the newly enraged galactic dictator shrieked as the general slipped his grasp and shot off down the hallway.
General Megatron panicked, arriving at the intersection, his mind unable to make a decision as to where his feet should take him. Too late, he decided on the right corridor, only to feel the pinch of the enemy’s grip on his shoulder.
“I won’t be subject to your chamber of horrors!” he shouted as the fiend dragged him back toward the bathroom. “I am a prisoner of war. I’m guaranteed rights under the Erulian Convention!”
“You’re guaranteed to not get any video games or TV for a week if you don’t get your tail in that bathtub!”
The tone of finality cut through any of the general’s further protests, the rumble of cold, heartless laughter from downstairs a stinging insult as he began to remove his dark blue pajamas. The Doom Lord stood in the doorway, blocking any attempt at escape, six arms crossed, the final two pair of arms holding a whip in one hand, a spiked club in the other. The two mortal enemies scowled at each other for ten full seconds, neither blinking, though it was impossible for the brute in the doorway to blink since none of his ninety-six eyes had eyelids. A crusty, grime-covered claw pointed to the bathtub.
“You’ll be sorry for this,” General Megatron said, his voice barely a whisper. “Payment will come due one day.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m a terrible father. Now get in the tub so I can go clean up whatever it was that you did to my shoes.”
The general curled his lip at the monster one last time before lowering himself into the vat of bubbling alien ectoplasm. The disturbing, slimy yet sticky feeling it left on his skin made him gag, but he could do nothing to relieve himself of the burning, skin-melting sensation that overtook him.
“Silence, human!” the Doom Lord roared, annoyed by the thrashing about of his prisoner. “You will bathe in the water reclaimed from our refuse pits until you no longer smell like a wild animal!”
The king watched the fleshy little creature for a full minute before deciding to investigate the sabotage done to his formal boots that he wore to show off his wealth and power to the lowly subjects of his domain. General Megatron smiled a villain’s smile as soon as the beast turned its back on him. The salt in his oppressor’s shoes was only a simple decoy. He let a small giggle escape, thinking of the monster’s reaction when he found the deadly scorpions in his combat boots.