The Cremarg is the most fierce monster of Fairy. Even the dragons fear it. Chapter Forty-One of "Things that go bump in the Night," is now posted. www.johnpirillo.com
"Things that go bump in the Night"
by John Pirillo
The crossing of the arch was not as frightening as Conan had thought at first. In fact it was not frightening at all, but absolutely terrifying. At one point as he was crossing he made the mistake of looking down.
"Don't look down." Challenger urged him from his side.
"Too late." Conan whimpered, the hairs standing up on the back of his neck.
He almost stumbled and fell, if not for the hardy grasp of Challenger, who brought him back to more stable rock and steadied him. "It takes some getting used to, but you will."
"Easy for you to say."
"Not at all. I'm just as scared, I just funnel the terror into useful movement, making sure my feet are as firmly on the rock as possible and cover the gap as quickly as possible."
Lord Graystone had been watching from behind. He was their last resort if anything went wrong. He had his faithful rope tied to his other hip, opposite his knife, in case someone needed catching. He had absolutlely no fair of the precipice, nor the fall below as he had traveled these regions extensively in many parts of the world of Fairie as well as Earth. The only thing to fear was fear itself, as a great man in Britain had once said.
Watson kept his eyes steady on the goal of the other side, noticing that they were well over halfway there and the suns were still casting a weak light upon the rocky surface. He steadied himself when a foot caught a rock the wrong angle, and braced for the rest of the travel across. Holmes watched him as he also crossed. He had no fear of heights either, even though he had almost died on them not so long ago.
"This stinks to high heaven." Watson muttered, moping at the sweat on his brows.
Holmes noted that the rock was becoming lighter in appearance. "I think we should separate from this point. No more than two men every fifteen yards."
"Rubbish." Watson uttered. "It's perfectly solid."
A piece of the arch broke away beneath his next step and tumbled into the depths of the misty crevice below.
Watson turned slowly around. "Everyone drop back so that at least fifteen yards are between each of us."
Holmes hid his smile as he went ahead of Watson.
Lord Graystone smiled and nodded his head. He knew that experience was always the better teacher when it came to danger. If one were lucky enough to survive it, the next time would be a safer travel, if not any the less dangerous.
One thing he had learned growing up with the apes was that Nature was kind, but also uncaring if one was a fool. He felt the good rock beneath his toes, sensing which was coarser, which finer, and which porous. He made his path across delicately, like a giant panther in stealth mode as it stalked its prey.
Professor Langston glanced over at Larry Talbot. "It'll be a full moon tonight."
"No problem." Larry said with a smile.
"Aren't you afraid you might turn. Attack us?"
Larry shook his head. "I'm not that hungry."
Professor Langston looked away, trying to work out what he had just been told.
Harry fell back beside Lord Graystone. "You can feel it too, can't you?"
"Yes. But don't let the others know. They have enough fear to carve through at the moment."
Harry nodded, but began rifling through his magic bag. "Doesn't hurt to be prepared though."
Lord Graystone placed his right hand on his blade. "And I."
They followed the others as they crossed, both warily watching not the other end, but to the sides.
Their vigilance paid off. For not several seconds later the cry of a beast that most men would think were something out of a nightmare broke the silence of the march as a creature the size of a dragon rose from the depths on wings that looked like fire wreathed in lightning.
"It's a Cremarg!" Professor Challenger shouted, reaching for the rifle on his back and slinging it around to take aim at the rising creature.
Lord Graystone raised a hand. "Hold!" He commanded.
The Cremarg rose until it was level with them and Lord Graystone fearlessly stalked towards it, raising a hand in the universal sign of peace. The Cremarg craned its multiple necks and eyes straining to focus on him. The creatures are notorisoulsy near sighted and hunt more by sound and smell than sight.
"Pe-too. Tey-too." Lord Graystone intoned repeatedly as he approached.
The Cremarg kept flapping its wings, it great heads focused upon the Jungle Lord as he approached. Its flaming body cast a hideous burning heat about it, causing the other members of the party to fall back on both sides of the arch to escape its deadly temperatures.
Lord Graystone continued into the heat as if readying to climb into a comfortable sauna and relax.
"Pe-too. Tey-too." He repeated again, stopping near the largest of the heads. The thinker. Each head had a major function. The large head was the intellect. The right head the reflexes. The left head the heart and muscles of the creature.
Lord Graystone slowly, inch by inch lowered his upraised hand until it barely touched the tip of the great beast's nose. Its fetid breath was almost too much to bear, even for one as trained as he was in enduring the scents and fragrances of the jungle.
"Pe-too. Tey-to." He said in a softer voice, gently rubbing the creatures nose, then gliding his fingers up to its eyebrow and gently kneading that.
The Cremarg's eyes all seemed to relax and its fierce stare to soften.
"Remarkable." Challenger muttered to Conan. "I wouldn't have believed this if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes."
"It has rather large teeth." Was Conan's only comment.
Then something shot from the cavern on the opposite side and struck the neck of the beast. It screamed in anger and pain and snatched at Lord Graystone with its heavily toothed mouth. Death lunged at the speed of a savage cobra for the Jungle Lord.