Thursday, 28 June 2012

Christmas Tales Part 1

 Unfortunately today I'm going through some personal stuff so I'm not going to be able to present a new blog today so here in it's place is a short story. Last Christmas due to the fact that I am caring, creative and cheap in equal measure I wrote a series of short stories starring my friends. What follows is one of them. I will eventually upload all of these. This particular story is about my friend who blogs here.

Hayley Stanbrook: Dinosaur Hunter

Hayley Stanbrook, adventurer, dinosaur hunter and notorious cupcake thief, was standing in the hall way of her newly built town house, the last one had been damaged beyond all repair after what most of the folk in Ole London Town called 'The Mammoth Incident'. Above her Milly the maid and Hermen Gestault the butler, whom she'd won from Lord West in a game of snap, were directing a team of men to position a mounted triceratops skull above the fire place.
“Left a bit” Hayley said exasperatedly, what should have been the simple operation of rehanging the trophies of her various previous engagements had been turned into an elaborate palaver by Hermen's insistence on hiring a team of winsome cockney urchins rather than the burly professionals she would've preferred. “I've got to meet the Prime Minister for cake and medals at three” She said glancing at her pocket watch, it's single hand was slowly moving away from 'Early' towards 'Late'. It wouldn't do at all to miss such a prestigious event especially when she was also hoping to win a pardon for her last spate of cupcake thefts. “Look it'll have to do where it is!” She shouted as the head swung further to the left than she wanted.
“Sorry Miss.” Hermen replied with a hefty sigh, he'd been hoping that the urchins would be cheaper and better and knew his failure would result in him having to wear the bunny costume his mistress use in the place of the corporal punishment preferred by the more conventional members of high society. “I'll get the costume”
“You'd bloody well better.” Said Hayley turning and striding towards the study to collect her blunderbuss. The PM did rather dislike her bringing it to official meetings but had softened to the idea ever since she'd saved his life from a trained assassin raptor sent on orders of the German Chancellor. The German's had learnt a costly lesson about dinosaur attacks on her turf that day and shortly afterwards had stopped parachuting dinosaurs into the capital entirely. Thinking about it brought a smirk to Hayley's face, that little escapade had increased her total count of deceased lizards to the highest the London Esteemed Dinosaur Forum had ever seen, earning her portrait pride of place in the clubs main lounge. Even Old Lord Pogo whom she'd replaced had the good grace to compliment her on the kill. As she was lost in thought she heard the sound of footsteps and steam behind her. She turned to see Little Jimmy Steam-Legs, the most famed urchin courier in all the empire sliding to a halt in the middle of the room. He was casting his eyes around agape at the surroundings as boiling water dribbled from his eight mechanical octopus legs.
“Cor blimey, Miss, they ain't 'alf done a lovely job in 'ere and no mistake.” Jimmy exclaimed. He was right of course but then Hayley had paid top dollar to have the ancestral home returned to it's pre-mammoth glory.
“Is there a reason for this visit Jimmy, or were you just stopping by to comment on the décor?” Hayley enquired with a raised eyebrow.
“Lord Barnaby's pet Tyrannosaur is on the loose in Hyde Park. It's causing a terrible scene if it pleases ya' miss.” Jimmy exclaimed. Hayley had told the blasted fool time and again that he couldn't keep such a beast as a pet but he'd assured her he'd trained it to only eat marmalade on toast. She felt like a fool for believing him. Hayley grabbed her blunderbuss from the mantel and ran out the door without stopping to grab her hat and overcoat.
“Jimmy,” she turned her head to the side to see that the Jimmy's freakish mechanical legs were easily keeping pace with her, “Get to the Zoo and tell them Lady Stanbrook needs her cat.” Jimmy replied with a nod and took the the next side road, his odd collection of limbs kicking up a trail of dust behind him as he became a blur of steam and urchin charm.

***
Hayley leapt from the roof of the Hanson Cab as it pulled to a halt outside the parkland, She'd have like to have gotten closer but the gallimimus were spooked and besides the cab would make little headway through the throng of people fleeing the area. She tried to push through the crowd at first but made little headway, she gave a frustrated 'hurrumph' before shooting her gun into the sky, it made a noise like thunder and the crowd parted like the red sea. The gun was of her own design and no sooner had she fired than the small clockwork monkey concealed in the butt of the weapon scampered up the barrel and started reloading it with fresh shot. She'd gotten the idea for it from the man she was courting whom was said by others to have the looks, brains and dexterity of a monkey and was a dab hand at basic weapon maintenance.
After a few moments she found herself standing alongside the frail frame of Lord Barnaby, who was clutching a small dinosaur whistle in one hand and the tattered remains of a small leather leash in the other. He had the decency to look ashamed of himself as she glowered at him.
“I'm terribly sorry to trouble you Miss.” He said shuffling his feet like a naughty schoolboy. “Clementine's never normally like this, I'm afraid I let her wander to close to the Marmalade Toasty Stand. She ate the thing in one bite, Mr Owagnu with it.” Hayley shook her head.
“Well this is very bad I'm afraid my Lordship. First if all Mr Owagnu made the best Marmalade Toasties in all of England and I was exceptionally partial to them myself. Secondly I will have to kill the beast now it's tasted human blood.”
“But why?” his Lordship asked plaintively
“Have you ever tasted human blood? That shits delicious.” She shook her head and strode towards the vast lumbering beast. When she got close to the beast she let off another shot and caught the beast in the back, it had little effect but got the beasts attention, it swung it's vast head towards her, unintentionally pelting her with oranges from the tattered remains of food stand which was still attached to it's face. Hayley held up a finger for a moment and the beast halted while she cackled at it's ridiculous predicament. After she had regained her composure she looked back to see the creature giving her an impatient stare and tapping it's foot. “OK, I'm done.”
“GRAAAAAAARRRR!” Said the T-Rex in reply... although some people later said it was more of a “RAWRRRRR!” It didn't matter to Hayley, as by this point the monkey had repacked her weapon and she was fired a hefty load of shot into it's mouth. It was a perfect shot and would've signalled the end of the beast if most of the shot hadn't been entrapped in the vast amount of marmalade that the beast had in it's maw. Before Hayley had time to react the beast had turned and swiped at her with it's tail.
The impact knocked the wind out of her, but she managed to keep the blunderbuss gripped in her hands, and the clockwork monkey managed to keep a firm grip on the blunderbuss. Instead of impacting on the hard grassy earth she found herself hanging from the jaw of a great Sabre-tooth Cat.
“Milo!” She exclaimed slinging her arms around her favourite pet, and London Zoo's most famous resident. Within seconds she had clambered on to his back and was taking aim once more at the great destructive lizard. Milo pounced towards the beast in a series of tremendous bounds that would have shaken off a rider without her experience and prodigious thigh strength. She gently pulled on his fur and he leapt to the right just as the huge orangey jaw snapped shut behind them. As he landed she pulled his head to the left and in one epic leap he was claw deep in the lizard's tail. Hayley hung on for dear life as the tail snapped back and forth but Milo slowly clawed his way up the great colossus. A T-Rex is a fearsome beast from the front but once on it's back there is little it can do due to it's tiny arms, which are great for humorous dance routines but sadly for little else.
Once they were high enough Hayley hopped down from her mounts back and pressed the blunderbuss to the back of her foes head. A second later the park was silent save for the echoes of the thunderous shot. The creature slowly slumped forward and Hayley slid into a mess of brains and marmalade which made her vow that she'd only eat smooth marmalade from that day forth.

***

What with all the fuss it had slipped Hayley's mind that she was supposed to be meeting the Prime Minister, but she needn't have worried as he'd heard about the trouble and hurried down to the park himself. He'd awarded her an extra medal there and then. Lord Barnaby had been inconsolable but had agreed to sell the remains of his favourite pet to the Royal Society and give the proceeds to Mrs Owagnu whom, Hayley was delighted to hear, knew the secret of her husbands marvellous toasties and promised her a free supply for life.
The pictures of Hayley shaking hands with the PM in front of the slain beast had made the front page of the Metro, a clipping which Hermen had framed and hung on the wall beneath the triceratops head. She was glad he'd chosen that page and the not the page about the cake shop on the other side of the park thought Hayley as she munched on a cupcake with a sly smirk.

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