On the night before his execution, Whartleburg heard loud knocking from within the prison walls.
“My liege, is that you?” came a voice from inside the wall.
“Who are you?” said Whartleburg.
The chains suddenly came loose from the wall. A long snout poked out briefly.
“I’m called Whevelbor. My army is ready to get you out.”
* * *
The wall behind Whartleburg was silently removed as if by unseen hands. Thousands of tiny weevils with the stomach for stone and mortar ate the bricks loose and special beetles were removing the bricks.
“I sincerely hope this will do, my liege,” said Whevelbor.
“It will do,” said Whartleburg, “But I’m not your king.”
“Please, my liege,” said Whevelbor, “Do not tell the ones removing the walls. They believe you are their king from of old.”
Whartleburg stepped through the new exit.
Footsteps were approaching. The new exit was just now closing back to the way it was, minus the mortar. The cell door opened and in walked the guard and two of his henchmen.
“It’s dawn, Whartleburg!” said the guard, “Time to go meet the butcher. What in the—!”
The guard’s henchmen drew their guns.
Whartleburg was not there. In his place cowered a smaller Enzectozoid with a long snout, bulbous eyes, and a fat body.
“You’re not Whartleburg,” said the guard.
“No I am not, my liege,” said the Enzectozoid.
The guard smiled, mistaking “my liege” as submission.
“Well we can still make do with you, can’t we?”
“I’m called Whevelbor. And I’m not as cowardly as I appear, my liege.”
“There’s three of us and only one of you. We’re armed and you’re not. We’ll take you and sell you off piece by piece before you die.”
“My armies have already surrounded your castle,” said Whevelbor, “Your so called ‘butcher’ has been driven away. And your investors have suddenly lost all interest in the Enzectozoid meat trade. I am ready to receive your full surrender now, my liege.”
The guard said to his thugs, “Take him. Preferably alive.”
They moved in with heavy clubs. Whevelbor whimpered.
“No, my liege. Don’t hurt me. Oh look. There’s a coin on the floor here.”
” Oh my, what violent tendencies you have, my liege! Why’d you hit your fellow henchman? He needs medical attention right away. You should be more careful.”
The remaining thug, now incensed, spun in the air to crush Whevelbor. Within a split second, Whevelbor heard a slight high pitched noise from within the walls. His antennae twitched.
A small path of bricks shot out of the wall to the left, taking out the henchman. Then the bricks went back into the wall.
The guard saw his two henchmen get defeated by a cowering idiot. He couldn’t just go in himself. He needed henchmen to do that. He could always get more henchmen. The prison was full of them. Then he heard noise. Faint at first, then it got louder. Fighting. He heard his men and fellow guards fighting, and losing.
“I already told you, my liege,” said Wheverbor. “You and your prison are surrounded and will fall. I cannot promise you life. If you hurry, you can go report to His Arachness.”
Whartleburg ran to the exit of the prison. When he made it outside, it was like being in a dust storm. But instead of sand, it was winged beetles. Every type of carnivorous, poisonous, horned, flesh-eating, jawed, mandibled, beetle now flew in a swirling vortex of angry energy.
Whartleburg’s life was spared by them. Whevelbor had trained in the Enzectozoid Boring Wing Shield School of martial arts. He therefore could communicate and control all the insects that bore holes, from beetles to weevils.
But the armies were only told to look for Whartleburg. Upon seeing him, they made sure to avoid him but destroyed everything else. He had to escape the chaos and there seemed to be no end. How massive was this vortex?
Then in the midst of the chaos, a portal opened. June, this is not a good time! But then out walked a curious lady. She wasn’t June. She was an Ezectozoid like him.
But unlike him, who had to train to stay in shape, she was instinctively built for hunting; a natural born killer. In the Enzectozoid mindset, she was a stunner; beautiful and deadly.
“Um, hi there. I’m Victoria,” said she. “June said I’d find you here. Could you help me?”
“Who are you supposed to be?” asked Whartleburg. But he knew already; His instinct told him so.
“I’m June’s sister,” said Victoria.
Whartleburg didn’t know how to handle the revelation.
Excerpt from “Enzectozoid Chronicles: The Legacy of Whartleburg the Whalloper” from the curiously long book of short stories, I am lettuce, who are you?
The next chapter is continued with “Pro Wrestlers Write Science Fiction”
The previous chapter is “Metamorphosis”