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    Steam Crow

    Here’s where you can post your stories for Mission Number 5. If you already posted your story on the old site, please add it back here for others to explore and enjoy.


    Monster Ranger

    This is a tale that was passed down from the first Monster Scout in my family, A. H. Eyre:

    I had joined the monster scouts when Baron rolled through my small town in rural Utah in 1906. He spoke to a small crowd of us in the town square and informed us of what was going on around us. Many of the townsfolk didn’t give him any heed, but I was fascinated. My family had visited the small town of Garden City a few miles north of us and word was that a monster had been seen in the deep blue waters of Bear Lake.

    People spoke that the monster was 30 feet long and was vicious. But hearing Baron speak, I knew this to be wrong. This monster was our friend and had been stuck here on “Irth”. And wanted to get back to Monstru. I had to help him. I asked Baron if I could join and help out our monster friends. He made me a monster scout that night and I set off for Garden City the following morning.

    When I arrived in Garden City I found a nice family that took me in and gave me a room to stay in. Baron had informed me that many wouldn’t believe that monsters were real so I should say that I was here to study the unique wildlife in the water, fish and plankton. The father of the family owned a small boat and told me it was mine whenever I needed it.

    That afternoon I set out on the bluest water I had ever seen and began the task of trying to find the great beast. I didn’t know what I was looking for only that Baron had told me” They need our help, they need us to guide them”. I was determined to help out this monster any way I could.

    The first day I didn’t have any luck in located my soon to be new friend so I decided to ask around the town if anyone had seen anything. Many people laughed and said it was a children’s story and told me I was wasting my time. I asked around for a weeks time and was on the water for hours a day but nothing had been revealed to me. I was beginning to think that maybe they were just stories after all. Then the day I had been waiting for came. I finally met a man named Taylor that told me he had seen something late at night near the cat tails where the fireflies father. This was the best lead I had so I was determined the next night to find him.

    I set out to the area Taylor had mentioned and there was the most beautiful glow I had ever seen. There must have been thousands of fireflies hovering over a small inlet of water surrounded by cat tails. When I approached the inlet, I couldn’t believe what I saw. There he was, the monster. He had a long neck in which was the most gentle face I had ever seen. He had eyes that could make anyone calm. When I approached he started to back away but I told him I knew where he was from and I was here to help be a guide. He looked at me and I could tell he knew I was a friend.

    The next few nights I visited with him, bringing him food and telling him all about our world and that there were many of us who wanted to help. In the blackest of nights, he would take me on his large back and carry me to the middle of the lake and it was beautiful. One night as I was riding him, he came to a small mountain and there was a cave near the show where the lake flowed into. We entered and there I saw them. He had a small family. They were no bigger than dogs. 3 small monsters. I asked where their mother was and he gave me the saddest look I have ever seen. I realized she didn’t make it through the portal from Monstru and he was just trying to protect his children.

    I vowed on that day to protect him and his family and would pass down our secret to my family. As I visited the cave each night I realized that this lake would not be big enough for 4 grown monsters and was worried that their secret would get out and the monsterologists that I had heard about would find the small ones and take them away for horrific studies on them. I looked at the father and said that I was worried for his family and felt that we needed to move the children to different lakes around the state. He looked at me and I could tell he agreed. He then showed me something I will never forget. In the back of the cave was a glowing whirlpool. He helped me on his back and we proceeded into the pool. I was nervous as to what was going on but the moment we entered the middle of the pool I was calm. We then were transported to each of the big lakes in the State, The Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake and Lake Powell. I was astonished. All the waterways in our great state were connected by this pool. His family would. It be split up, they could visit at any time one another. I cried I was so happy for them.

    Over the next few years we helped the children get used to their new lake homes and now every lake has a creature to protect it and make it a little bit of Monstru here on Irth.

    So if you are ever on one of the 4 Great Lakes here in our beautiful state and see a green glow of fireflies, approach them with caution and let rise you find there know you are guide to them and help them out anyway you can.


    Monster Ranger


    RangerScout Prickly Pear here today. Some of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting personally, others that privilege has yet to be mine. But, for those I’ve met, you may see me randomly holding up a roasted peanut…or two…or a handful. For no good reason? Oh no, for the best reason: let me tell you about FiFi, my Baku companion. No, you cannot see him (yes, with a name like FiFi…he’s a “he”). Every once in a while he graces me with his visual presence and he comes up to about my mid-thigh – like a good-sized dog. Although don’t ever let him know I’ve compared him to a dog – he just hates ‘em!


    The story goes that sometime in the fall of 1913, Baron Davis received reports from the Spy Rangers of an unnatural looking bear spotted in the woods – and he also heard that the Plug Uglies and Monsterologists were on the prowl for the very same creature. Further civilian reports came back that it was a bear; no a lion; it’s a tiger – wait – an elephant!!! Well, it certainly sounded like a creature from Monstu…perhaps even a foon. So Baron grabbed his gear and headed out. He spent three days trudging through the Wenatchee National Forest before he spotted fresh tiger tracks. It took another two days to track the creature to its hidey-hole. Still no sign of the Hatters yet, but Baron knew he had to act fast; they couldn’t be far behind. An overwhelming and distinct scent of Beasty in the air filled the opening to the den that Baron investigated. Suddenly, a gray squiggly elephant trunk protruded from the little hole in the Irth. Baron knew they could be dancin’ daisies by now and had to hurry.


    He checked his satchel for any delicious bits and all he could find was a flask of emergency doomshine and a few crusty roasted peanuts. He laid out a trail of peanuts and poured some doomshine into the lid of his whistle tin. And waited. Slowly but surely, the trunk stretched further and further and nabbed the first nut, pulling it back into the darkness. A second later, the odd bear-tiger-elephant monster plunged from the opening, wriggled around for a second, and then quickly snorted up each peanut until they were gone, stopping only to quench his thirst with the tin o‘shine. His li’l oxtail wagging… he nudged up against Baron, burrowed into his thigh, his trunk prodding the depths of the satchel for more nuts.


    Suddenly, voices came from the distance. Loud, obnoxious, and foul. It had to be the Hatters!!! Baron looked at the monster and hissed, “Hide!” through clenched teeth. FiFi shook his mane, wriggled his trunk, *farted* and suddenly became invisible. Astounded, but not too surprised, Baron turned around just in time to see a Plug Ugly break through the brush. “Oh, it’s a Ringe! Whatchoo doin’ out here, you stinkin’ Scarf?!” Baron hid his disgust, sipped on the doomshine flask, kicked a peanut shell by his foot, “Looking for a place to set up some canvas and catch a blink.” The plug looked around, sniffed the air…”Hey,” he says, “what’s that smell?” Baron winks and grins, “Peanuts give me gas…” and pops a nut in his mouth. Mortified, the plug runs back into the brush and the Baron heard him yell to his companions, “Ain’t nothin’ but a nature-lovin’ Ringe.” They continued to stomp through the forest, away from Baron and the invisible FiFi. Baron felt FiFi’s trunk relax from around his calf…and the gentle, intrusive prodding back into the depths of his satchel for more nuts. Baron patted him on his mane, “C’mon, back to Monstervania with you.” Once back at the lodge, Baron introduced his unseen shadow as FiFi..FiFi the Farter. And the rest…well, as they say, is history.


    “Wait a minute”, you say, “If FiFi was discovered by Baron back in 1913, what the heck are you doin’ with him now?” Passed on from generation to generation of Rangers, randomly through the ranks, FiFi has chosen a companion. Who knows why FiFi chose “this Ranger” or “that Ranger”, but for now; he has chosen me. This “little” Baku continues to keep our acquaintance. My delightful little peanut-loving Baku companion. Eater of nightmares…and roasted peanuts.


    I had to forgo the standard-issue neckerchief slide and replace it with a daily reminder to grab myself a bag of roasted peanuts and toss them in my satchel. You’ll see this when we meet. The first few weeks of Baku’s constant companionship, I would forget the nuts…and FiFi’s incessant poking and prodding trunk drove me, well, NUTS!


    The attached photograph (click here) was taken of FiFi between 1915-1916 while he and some Ranger Scouts were in Alaska searching for Adlets. Notice the nuts? He can’t get enough of ‘em. In fact, I have to carry a bag around with me every day in my satchel. Nobody wants an unruly Baku! FiFi apparently hasn’t aged a day. Perhaps roasted peanuts are a Baku’s fountain of youth?


    And one more thing – when you smell something…foul…around me, I promise it wasn’t me. FiFi may be adorable and fluffy and playful, but man he’s got some major digestive issues. And if you’re every lucky – I mean truly lucky – you’ll get to catch a glimpse of him, too.


    Footnote: for those of you who aren’t familiar with a Baku, the Dark Librarians have told me that they were first discovered in Japanese folklore. A spirit, demon, or monster with the trunk and tusks of an elephant, the mane of a lion, the body of a bear, the legs and feet of a tiger, and the tail of an ox. Some Baku have been seen surrounded by lapping flames. (Thankfully our flatulent FiFi doesn’t have any flames – could you imagine the carnage?) When called upon, Baku have been known to devour nightmares. BUT beware – an angered Baku will not only eat nightmares, but dreams, aspirations, and hopes. I repeat: nobody wants an unruly Baku. Send me your roasted peanuts! …please…


    Kevin Gilbert
    Monster Ranger

    (Note: The following text was recovered from four handwritten journal pages passed on to me by a Trolla of my acquaintance a few months ago; while she had been in possession of the pages for a number of years, she was unsure about their exact origin. As always, if any Ranger has knowledge of additional pages from H.E. Palmer’s journals, we at the Black Acre Lodge would be most appreciative for their return.

    K. Gilbert, Dark Librarian)

    … which I must admit was shouted with more bravado than I actually was feeling at the time.

    Dangling there, I watched my cap flip down to the farmlands below and was reminded that I had taken a position in the library at Black Acres precisely because I wasn’t overly fond of being hung by my ankle hundreds of feet in the air while some thug in a suit tried to cram years of ballooning experience into a couple of minutes.

    Above me I could hear Alouicious laughing maniacally, as was his wont, and I could hear his pug-ugly sideman banging at the mechanism that provided hot air to the balloon. Below me the young mothman, terrified and injured from his earlier run in with Aloysius and his crew, flew with great haste.

    I called out to the creature, cooing to it as I had heard his mother do earlier that week when things did not appear so dire. I was banking heavily on him hearing a great deal better than I, and I hoped my crooning call would let him know that while things were not ideal at the present moment, he still had an ally who was actively interested in his safety. Not noticing any reaction on the mothman’s part, I switched to cawing a Montalk lullabye I had been taught during my time in Sarajevo. All the while the balloon continued to steadily ascend.

    A pulsating blue beak of light creased the air in front of me, indicating that Aloysius had finally repaired the damage I had done to his infernal device and that he had begun his hunt again. As my satchel remained on the floor of the balloon’s basket and my apron had been discarded during the fire at the chalet, I found myself with no tools to aid in my escape from the current predicament I was ensconced in. The motto says that a Ranger protects no matter what, though, and even in my dire state I vowed I would allow no further harm to come to that noble creature winging away so desperately beneath me.

    I endeavored to shift my weight front to back (at least front to back relative to my particular position at that moment, which was, of course, upside down and dangling by a single leg many hundreds of feet in the air) until I was soon swinging like one of Madame O’Brien’s pendulums. As Alouicious appeared over the side of the basket with his damned rifle in hand, I heaved myself with all the strength i could muster, hoping to at least absorb the blast with my own body and provide the innocent creature a few more seconds in which to increase the distance between him and the ever-rising balloon.

    Much to my dismay, I overshot my mark, and the azure beam did not strike my person as intended but instead hit the chain that bound my foot to the balloon’s basket. Needless to say I began to plummet, which is when I felt, at the time, that things had truly taken a rather unfortunate turn.

    While pinwheeling towards the earth, I could not help but reflect upon the prophecy first whispered to Angela and myself by the Sphinx of Abydos in 1913: “Beware,” she had begun, “for in five years time…”

    (Here is where the text ends. Much has been written on H.E. Palmer, and as near as I can determine, this journal comes from his time in France, which would place the event in question somewhere between July and September of 1917. To provide some context on this time in Palmer’s various adventures, I’m including a letter he sent to his friend, Angela Carruthers. As near as I can determine, this would have been posted shortly after his experiences with the Mothman.)


    Dear Angela – As you may be aware, the various events that have brought me to this war-torn piece of land near their conclusion. I have, of course, contacted B. and informed him of the passing of dearest little Mezec in August.

    As I told you then, your talents are better served far away from the bitterness and bile with which Europe has become infused in these most recent times, and while I am sure things have been far from peaceful in the Dakotas, I take some comfort in the knowledge that you were far away from the insanity that has surrounded me these last weeks.

    As I write this, I am recuperating from some recent misadventures in the home of L., and he and his wife both send you and Merritt warm regards and belated congratulations on your nuptials last year.

    This brings me to the heart of this correspondence. The misadventure that has laid me up so thoroughly was stirred up by A. (that cad) and his usual group of n’er do wells and hoods. While I left him and what remained of his band of idiots in a precarious place (indeed, if it were anyone else besides A., I would consider the matter done), I cannot help but feel that he will turn up again to vex us. It all ties back to Abydos and the things the four of us found there. Her words still haunt me, and I wonder how many must fall before we are finally free from what was spoken there.

    Please be careful out there in the field, my dearest sister. Once I am able to stand without howling like a skinwalker, I will conclude my business here and head back to the States. Inform Merritt that I made contact with his Smudge friends from Bezonvaux and that they are alive and hard at work with B. attempting to end the Axis threat once and for all.





    Natalie Slaughter
    Monster Ranger

    <center>Tales from the Slaughter House</center>The Slaughter family carries on a naming tradition that’s been in place for as far back as any of us can trace. Our first names are our own, but our middle names — our second names — are inherited from those who came before us. It’s said once that they were once written in a family tome that’s been long since lost in sacred ink, each batch hand crafted to carry on desired skills and traditions. To keep the family power alive.

    My brother and second uncle are both Logans. They’re kind and studious, hyper focused on their detail oriented professions of law and engineering. My uncle works to pass laws that would protect the rights of monsters and make it easier for them to assimilate into our world if they so chose. My brother focuses on buildings and structures, planning for the safety of everyone. His most recent accomplishment resolved the infamous issue of fire sprites setting off building sprinklers by augmenting the sensors.

    My cousin and uncle are both Marks. They’re natural explorers, intent on travel and discovery. My cousin explores by air, once a fighter pilot who now scans the clouds with an olive branch for new beasts curious as to the nature of our world. My uncle digs deep into the earth, looking for clues about monsters long past. He’s focused on discovering all he can about their hidden history.

    My grandmother and I are both Kays. We’re the first in centuries because of a black mark against name — apparently the second Kay in our line did the unthinkable. She enslaved a monster.

    She was immediately shunned by the family, of course, and holed herself up in a house in the country side. Family members would sneak in with parties in the night to try and find the creature, but Ancestor Kay kept them well hidden.

    When she passed they searched again, tearing up floor boards and ripping walls apart. No one found a hint of where the monster might have been kept. They started to wonder if it had just been a rumor. Maybe Ancestor Kay had gone mad and imagined the monster. Maybe she had been innocent after all.

    Her relations lived on their lives riddled with guilt over both possibilities: that she had enslaved a monster no one had been able to find and liberate, or she had lived her life accused of a terrible crime that Ancestor Kay had never actually committed.

    The property stayed in the family name for generations. No one wanted to sell it in case the monster was still there, hidden in a pocket no one had the skill or knowledge to open, but no one wanted to live there either.

    No one until my grandmother, only the third Kay in our line, decided enough was enough.

    Resources were scarce for a single mother and she had children to feed. The family agreed to gift her the home at no cost under the condition that she take care of the land and free any monsters she may find trapped inside.

    And so she did. She tilled the land, planted crops and bought cattle and chickens. Her children played on the rolling hills. Cleaning out the decrepit house took work, years of it, but at last it seemed done. As she moved out the last box she unearthed a door. It was flush with the floor, only a small knob separating it from the rest of the boards. She pulled it up and discovered a small flight of stairs that led down to a basement of sorts, covered in cob webs and parchment so old she was afraid they’d crumble at her touch.

    Towards the back the area opened up. An old woven rug was laid out and around it were wooden blocks, a rocking horse so covered in dust it’s dark decaying mane was nearly white. A toy kitchen made of heavy iron, complete with small dishes and cooking pots. A children’s play area.

    What made this even stranger was the knowledge that the only previous owner of this home never had any children.

    Grandmother Kay walked around the room, trailing fingers idly over the forgotten playthings with a frown. Where on earth had they come from?

    It wasn’t until her hand brushed over the faux stove that she gasped; it was glowing hot, a bright pink in the darkness. The air filled with the scent of burning dust and flesh. Two eyes blinked curiously, warily, out from it’s surface. And that’s when Grandmother Kay understood.

    This was it, the monster Ancestor Kay was said to have enslaved. Trapped in this long forgotten children’s toy, likely an amusement for a family long passed. She’d never known it existed below but had been haunted by the presence, driven mad by the knowledge that it was here somewhere. She’d died never knowing where to find it.

    The wayward fire elemental responded to the kindness in my grandmother’s touch, the inherent goodness he could sense, and was instantly released from it’s prison. It stayed with my grandmother through the remainder of her life, attracting other monsters that kept her company over the years.

    When she passed I was named a Kay, now that the curse of the name had finally been lifted. It’s now said that Kays have the gift of sense, sight and heart. We’re supposedly more sensitive to the presence of monsters that otherwise go unseen, and our hearts are large enough to offer them the care and kindness they deserve.

    I’m not sure if I believe in destiny or naming legends, but I hope I can live up to the Kay legacy.


    Ophelia Bell
    Monster Ranger

    I’d like to share some of my great-grandmother’s Ranger journal entries- she was quite the adventurer in her day.

    From the Ranger Journals of Clarissa Bell, Scare Force.

    19 March, 1914
    Today marks day 5 of my initiation into the Monster Ranger. I’ve received news that my request to join the Scare Force has gone through, and tomorrow I shall be assigned a biplane and a Scare Force squadron. I must admit, I was expecting to be assigned to the Monster Medics, even with my request, but the Monster Rangers have a refreshing lack of… shall we say, gender bias that the army seems to have no shortage of. “Women don’t belong on the battlefield,” indeed.

    20 March, 1914
    Oh, I shall have to see about getting a photograph of my beautiful biplane to attach to this entry- I don’t know if I can describe her with words. She’s dark blue, with lovely burnt orange stripes on the wings and tail, the color of a pumpkin. The face of Marrow Thatch- who is quickly becoming a mascot of sorts for the Rangers- is painted on her tail as well. I’ve named her Lucille. My squadron- called the Gargoyle Squadron (each flight squadron is named after a different monster) has been very kind already, and I’ve only known them for a day. There are four of them- two other human Rangers, Betty and Jackson; and two monsters that I have yet to learn their species. One is somewhat feline, but with bird feet instead of paws and a muzzle more like a dog’s. The other is yeti-like in appearance, though a little more- petite, is the word, and they have webbed paws and a tail like a beaver- possibly an aquatic yeti. I must ask them to write down their names- I only heard them out loud today and I’m still learning some of the spoken languages of Monstru. The yeti is quite adept with machinery- I believe the Ranger term is Clocktalker. They were able to strip a bent propeller from the nose of their plane and replace it with a new one in less than two minutes. Tomorrow we fly reconnaissance to a new possible Monsterologist laboratory- the Signal Rangers have been getting word from all over the monster community that monsters are being kidnapped by the thugs working for the Monsterologists. We are to gather information on the security, location and any possible dangers surrounding entry into the base for the rescue team. Even though this mission is of utter importance, I can’t help but grin with excitement.

    22 March, 1914
    Today I write from within a forest where Gargoyle Squadron is seeking shelter. Our mission was technically a success- we performed several flyovers of the Monsterologist laboratory and discovered that they are employing some of the monsters as… guard dogs, of all things. The poor things are chained up around the perimeter of the facility and several of the awful thugs standing guard to keep them in line. Ranger Gritt (that’s the aquatic yeti, who I’ve learned is referred to as a sea-squatch, so I was not far off!) has informed me they’re referred to as plug uglies by the Ranger community. We were circling back for a third run when several awfully loud planes seemed to come out of nowhere and opened fire on us. They bore the Monsterologist insignia and we were forced to retreat. We managed to lose them in some heavy cloud cover but both Ranger Jackson’s plane and my dear Lucille took damage. Gritt is working furiously to repair them before we’re discovered. In the meantime, the rest of us have been exploring the forest, trying to see if there are any monsters residing here that would be willing to assist us, or that we can help out.

    22 March, 1914- supplemental
    While exploring the forest I came across an orphaned owlbear chub. After some searching, I found what clearly had been the nest, but the mother was nowhere to be found. The nest looked a struggle had taken place, and I strongly believe that the mother has been abducted by the Monsterologists. As a Ranger, I couldn’t leave the chub to fend for itself- while owlbears are indeed ferocious creatures, the younglings have not learned the hunting skills that make the adults so dangerous and rely on their parents for food for several months. I have taken the chub back to camp with me, and for the time being it will return to our Ranger base. If we can safely release it into the wild, whether by finding its mother or a surrogate owlbear roost, then we shall do so, otherwise it can remain on the base- perhaps become a mediator between owlbears and Ranger, considering the underdeveloped relationship that currently exists.

    Also, the chub is quite adorable.

    23 March, 1914
    Ranger Gritt’s repairs went smashingly and we were able to return to base. A Doom Mime platoon was waiting for our return and almost as soon as we delivered our information they were off. Hopefully there won’t be any surprises in store at the Monsterologist base and they’ll get through more easily than we did.

    On a happier note, all the Rangers on base are very fond of the owlbear chub, even Ranger Jeremy, who’s allergic to owlbear fur. We’re trying to come up with names for the chub, in the event that we can’t find a suitable way to release him.

    23 March, 1914- supplemental
    We’ve named him Thatch, both after Marrow Thatch and because the combination of fur and feathers gives his body the appearance of- well, thatch on a roof.

    25 March, 1914
    The Doom Mimes have returned from their mission to the Monsterologist laboratory base. They’ve delivered the good news that they were able to free the monsters that they found there, but it seems most of the Monsterologists hightailed it out of there after our flyovers and the base was largely empty, apart from a few Plug Uglies. The Doom Mimes also reported back that they found no owlbears on the base, so it looks like Thatch will be staying with us for a while longer. The last nest of owlbears recorded was in a forest a hundred miles from here or so, so a troop of rangers is there right now looking to see if there’s still a suitable family for Thatch to join. Even though I know it would be best for the little chub, part of me hopes he gets to stick around for a while. I think he’s taken to me. His favorite food right now is berries- especially wild raspberries. I think soon he’ll start finding prey- he looks to be about that age.

    14 April, 1914
    Thatch is still here. I think we’re still looking for a home for him, but many of the other Rangers have rather taken to having him around. He’s growing so fast- he’s already nearly 25 pounds! I’ve been taking him into the woods and teaching him to hunt so that he doesn’t rely on Rangers for food all through his life, and I was worried at first that he wouldn’t return to base with me, but I’ve long since lost that fear. I think he’s learned his name, too. He’s begun to get a few new feathers in- real adult feathers, not the baby fluff.

    23 April, 1914
    The base is in a tizzy. Baron Davis himself is coming! He’s visiting Ranger bases all over in light of the recent Monsterologist issues. Nasty rumors are being spread about Rangers and monsters. I wonder what Baron will think of Thatch.

    I wonder what Thatch will think of Baron?

    25 April, 1914
    I needn’t have worried about either of them. Baron Davis has what seems like a deeper connection to Monstru and monstrous folk than the average Ranger- unsurprisingly. Thatch practically cuddled Baron upon meeting him- he made a strange cooing noise I’ve never heard him make. If he was a cat, I’d call it purring. Baron was quite pleased that we might have a new ‘liaison to the owlbear community’ as he called it.

    Baron also brought news of the latest Monsterologist escapades across the country and beyond. In Minnesota, they’ve been tracking a bison maximus belonging to a Ranger named Paul. Apparently they’re searching a lake in Scotland as well after the mere rumors of an aquatic monster dwelling there, and in New Jersey there’s a large squad of Plug Uglies ravaging the deep forests looking for a monster that hasn’t been reliably seen for over a hundred years.

    25 April, 1914- supplemental
    Apparently Baron Davis can speak owlbear. I must get my hands on a way to learn the language myself.


    Both my great-grandmother and her son Alfred, my grandfather, were active members of the Ranger community. My grandfather recently gave me Clarissa’s journals after my official enrollment in the Monster Rangers. I hope to share more adventures soon.

    -Ophelia Bell, Scare Force


    Monster Ranger

    So, as I recall, it must be over a decade now that I met Rodney Pettibone. I was in southern Idaho, near Boise on the Snake River. It was a hot summer day and the black flies were thick. To escape the heat we headed into the hills where it was cool and misty.

    This is where we encountered Rodney Pettibone for the first time. He was camped off the side of the rutted, dirt road. Being neighborly, we stopped to chat. He was friendly but aloof and looked quite weathered like sedimentary rock from centuries of exposure.

    We exchanged pleasantries, had a bit of small talk and then, out of nowhere he asks if we have seen any monsters. Surprised, I said, “no”, and asked, “have you?”
    “Of course, I’ve been to Monstru!”, Rodney said excitedly.
    The look on my face must have prompted his clarification. “It’s where the monsters live.”
    “Then how do we see them here?”, I wondered to myself.
    He continued, “yeah, but also they live among us here. The ones that can’t make it back.”

    Not quite sure what to make of all this I asked Pettibone to explain. Was he a crackpot, delusional or some kind of cryptozoologist? It remained to be seen.
    “Well”, he said, “my first encounter was a long time ago when I made my living as a musician. We traveled around playing country music in dance halls, my brother and three other fellas. I played the fiddle.”

    “You understand quantum physics?”, Rodney asked.
    “WHAT?!”, I thought. “Ummm, generally, but I’m no Einstein.”
    “Well, when you travel like we did, the time gets a bit fuzzy. City to city, town to town. It was probably around a year straight of this kind of thing when it happened the first time.”
    “What happened?”, I asked.
    “I saw my first monster”, Pettibone replied.

    “We were in a dance hall, right here in Idaho. We had loaded in our equipment, like we usually did, but they had us wait in the basement for some reason. It was snowing, so we didn’t care, the furnace was in the basement and we were freezing!”

    “I saw him out of the corner of my eye, a furnace goblin. Like us, trying to warm up”, Rodney continued. “suddenly I didn’t see the other fellas in the band, the room looked different. More of the furnace goblin came into the room, they were certainly surprised to see me”, Rodney laughed. “They huddled and spoke in hushed tones to one another. They didn’t know what to make of me.”

    “I blinked hard, and rubbed my eyes to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. I was back in the room with the other fellas in the band”, Pettibone recounted.
    “Are you sure it was real?”, I asked.
    “You betcha”, Rodney continued. “While my ‘time traveling’ or what have ya, isn’t as frequent now, I see the monsters among us.”

    He has to be crazy, monsters, time travel. But he added to his story. “That same night when the band was on a brake, an older woman approached me. She introduced herself as Gladys Abernathy. She was visiting from out of town with a group of friends and wondered if I would like to join them after the dance for coffee.”
    “I’ll check with the other fellas and see if they’re up for it”, Rodney recounted.
    “She said she only needed ME to join them. Needed? I admit, it intruigued me”, Rodney smirked.

    “We joined up at a nearby diner. Gladys, a large man who went by Bob, a slight woman who didn’t introduce herself or say a word and the other fella, Ira. We ordered coffee and Gladys got straight to the point.”
    “We noticed you tonight, at the dance. We are looking for people like us. People who are different. Who see things others can’t”. She paused.
    “What do you mean? See things?”, Rodney was now concerned.
    “You’ve seen things, things you can’t explain”, Gladys leaned closer. “Maybe things you wouldn’t share with your band mates?!”, her brow now raised. “I can tell you’ve seen them?. The “monsters.”

    “I learned monsters are real”, Pettibone said. “And they can be our friends. I see in you, what they saw in me.”


    Monster Ranger

    Sock Monster Report

    Monster Ranger Report: Snaggle

    This study contains a synopsis of ‘Sock Monsters’ to date and is followed by a standard Monster Ranger data report.

    We’ve all heard of a “Sock Monster” and maybe you’ve seen the original 1911 report by Brother Jebodiah Weber of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Jeb’s initial findings were pivotal in curtailing the Sochen Kreeper legend and likely the result of his many long days “alone” in the barn as well as his peculiar love of socks. Although the Ordnung never allowed him to officially join the Monster Rangers, his uncanny abilities to sense and redirect monsters were a testament to Baron Davis himself.

    As a person who wears socks, as people have for hundreds of years, I too have often wondered where an occasional matching sock has gone. But it was not until the last hot season when I decided to follow Jebodiah’s work and start studying Sock Monsters in earnest. A dirty bag of nylon wadding in my hot garage had become the food source for a particularly unfriendly coarse-haired Sock Monster (see Diet in following report). It was probably blown into my garage during a dust storm when the door was left open. Based on it’s size and the amount of nylon fiber missing, the creature had been gorging itself for a while and yet remained dangerously hungry and distraught. As I approached the high-pitched growling sound in the corner of my garage I began to see what I thought was a giant dust bunny sneering at me. I had no idea I was dealing with a creature from Monstru until I got far too close and almost lost my shoe! I have never seen so many teeth in such a small mouth! Thankfully I keep my golf clubs nearby and was able to physically coax the beast out into the open where I could ‘release’ it back into the wild. It was at this point, after I calmed down and reflected on what had happened, when I decided to study these creatures and have since been able to observe and collect information on more than a dozen Sock Monsters.

    Expanding on Brother Jeb’s initial findings that these creatures crave thread and fabric I have since found that they cannot discern the difference between natural fibers and modern synthetics (nylon was introduced in 1938). The consumption of which results in monster behavior that is erratic and decidedly unfriendly. I have since found that with a single administration of cotton, such Monsters can be easily rehabilitated and quickly return to a whimsical yet aloof state.

    Despite these gains in our understanding of Sock Monsters, the biggest puzzle surrounding Sock Monsters remains: Why do they only eat one sock out of a pair?! To address this conundrum, I have been studying the appeal of socks and the focus of my current work is to discern the importance of sock shape and smell on Sock Monster preference. My current hypothesis is that Sock Monsters hanker for socks over other articles of clothing based on certain odors (and likely flavors) associated with feet, with which Brother Jeb was so endowed. In fact, based on documented remarks by his fellow Amish regarding his ‘holey’ workhosen and ripe smell, such repugnant factors were likely critical to Jeb’s pioneering work and left the ‘odd’ man free from the sewing house to attract and interact with Sock Monsters.

    Monster Ranger Standard Gear Addendum Request: With the discovery that poor diet results in a foul Sock Monster temperament, it is my hope that as Rangers we do the responsible thing and keep spare cotton balls OR SOCKS handy for any potential future need. CAW!

    Sock Monster (Snaggle) Report Data

    Snaggle definition: a tangled or knotted mass. A fibrous monster.

    Rarity: Common-Uncommon

    Appearance: Round fuzzy creatures of varied size and very little substance. Healthy subjects have a thick collection of fine hair-like fibers. Coat color ranges the full visible spectrum and is usually a result of diet. Coat patterns, such as stripes, are common and appear to also be based on diet (contrary to rumors, polka-dotted sock monsters are not ‘more fun’, in fact, the only documented Sock Monster attack was when a grand pink & blue polka dot Snaggle wrestled my pantaloons off; see Incident Report #MR4912). Snaggles have many small teeth and sometimes sound like a working loom while eating. Limbs are ridiculously thin and surprisingly elastic allowing Snaggles to penetrate remote cracks and crevices.
    Note: Snaggles are often confused with Crumbpuffs but there is no known relation.

    Diet: Possibly related to the moths of our world, Snaggles feed on wool, cotton and other natural fibers and such socks appear to be their preferred food source. Modern synthetic fibers, such as Nylon, often result in stomach aches and negatively affect their demeanor and appearance (coarse and erratic fur/hair). Direct attacks/“snuggling” are thought to be extremely rare.

    Locations: Like tumbleweeds, Snaggles are often subject to the whim of the winds and are likely to be found almost everywhere, often on the move based on their lack of weight. Although they will rarely stay in one place, Snaggles will nest (often in laundry rooms and linen closets) while they rear recently sprouted young. At which time many socks and cotton balls are consumed (“go missing”).

    Habitat: Sock Monsters absolutely HATE water and much prefer dry climates. In fact, they have a considerable fear of rain as a thoroughly wetted Snaggle can be rendered immobile. Snaggles are often found lurking in fabric stores and laundry rooms.

    Social attributes: Sock monsters appear to be loners. In the wild, they are often spotted following moths, presumably hoping to be led to food. They rarely form groups (known as a Pack or Bundle). Such gatherings or clusterings are usually weather dependent and are usually only observed after a strong wind.

    Reproduction: Upon reaching full size (approximately 2 feet diameter in northern climates) Snaggles appear to asexually reproduce by releasing Lintspores (the act of which is quite lovely and smells like a Mountain Breeze).

    Alignment: Despite Monsterologist propaganda stating that Sock Monsters are chaotic, evil beasts with only adverse intentions, my observations suggest that Snaggles are truly neutral creatures. They naturally follow all winds and appear to lack any capacity for moral judgement.

    Economic: There are plenty of rumors regarding the promotion and mass distribution of Sock Monsters by Big Sock Business in efforts to increase sock demand. Conversely, Spy Scouts are currently investigating rumors that the Chinese have employed a water-based Sock Monster Defense System run by Monsterologist Contractors in the town of Datang (which produces 8 billion pairs of socks every year).


    Monster Ranger

    The story of our unlikely heroine starts much like any other but ladies and those with weak constitutions beware…. the story delves deep into the realm of Otherwere that few Nodds should dare to see. Now consider yourself forewarn.

    Born Marguertie Hazelwood in 1873 to two kindly souls and devout members of the Religious Society of Friends (now known as the Quakers). Theirs was a quiet and spiritual life in Pennslyvania. Nothing pleased the pair more than their quiet bookish daughter, although her preference for the shortening of her name to “Rita” was a bit of a thorn in their sides.

    Rita much preferred reading under the shade of the beautiful flowering dogwood on her parents property in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania than any of the lessons on scripture or household economics her charitable mother forced upon her. As she matured so did her taste in literature moving from the popular fiction of Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to the darker works of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Oscar Wilde. It was one of his books, the Picture of Dorian Gray, that would seemingly set the tone for the life that young Rita would pursue.

    Her mother and father dismayed at this wicked literature their quiet girl had come to love, and in desperation for her soul they sent her to Bryn Mawr College in 1891. A good education for a young, troubled soul where she would be surrounded by fellow young ladies from the Religious Society of Friends, it was there they hoped she would receive a miracle. But this only allowed Rita to continue studies of her favorite books in a more scientific way. There she met a wonderful professor, Dr. Thomas Hunt Morgan, who sought explanations for certain biological development. Enamored with his research, when she graduated in 1895 she joined him at Stazione Zoologica in Naples, Italy to continue assisting with his work. But there both she and Thomas became familiar with the Entwicklungsmechanik school of experimental biology. They met two German scientists, Hans Driesch and Dr. Anton Volin, during their year working in the research lab.

    Where Thomas had a repulsion to the work that Dr. Volin suggested in his quiet murmurings in the lab, Rita found the same ideas scintillating. Thomas returned to Bryn Mawr and continued his work but Rita stayed on with Dr. Anton Volin. It wouldn’t be until his later invention of the Rotters that she would truly understand the darkness of the arcane studies she had been complicit in.

    Rita moved from Naples, Italy to continue working with Dr. Volin at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (Würzburg University). It did dawn upon her, that his work was not befitting the small lab afforded to him in the Natural Sciences building. But the stares of his colleagues also should have warned her. It was nearly too late for her soul in July of 1900 when she was finally and fearfully approached by a Bloodless. She would not remember his name but she would remember his warnings. He took her to the Obscuria where she showed him the horrors inflicted upon his people, the true work that Dr. Anton Volin had been so manically driven by. She stayed there, documenting the unique Feratu biology and tending to the wounds they had. When she returned from beyond the Veil, four Irth years had passed, and Rita had already been presumed dead much to her relief.

    She quietly made her way back to the United States and took job as a nurse. By now everywhere she went there were shadows lurking just beyond her perception that made her wary. She did not fear the Bloodless after living amongst them so long but rather the inventions of Dr. Volin. Always afraid she might be found, though she was a shadow of the woman she once was. The Bloodless who found her in Würzburg came to her again, knowing she was a shell of her former self, and told her of the new friends of the Monsters known as the Monster Rangers. He suggested this might be a way for her to rebuild the person she was before. Her curiosity was piqued and she had nothing to lose.

    The first Rangers meetings she attended she sat in the back, quietly watching, shuffling her feet, and trying to think of herself as less than the monster she had been in Germany. She overheard some Rangers, though you could hardly call their words whispers as she was sure their messages were meant for her ears, saying that she might have been a Plug Ugly spy. These half-whispered doubts from the other Rangers only made her steel her resolve further. She decided that not only would she become a Monster Ranger that she would make an impact as a protector of the Monster Kind. She knew that they would need defenders soon, having stumbled upon the cruelty of Dr. Volin and the beginnings of the Monsterologists years ago.

    Being a bookish young woman, she devoured news articles and papers about new-flanged Gliders and Flyers and knew this could be the Rangers advantage. She went to the Clocktalkers of the group to see if they could help her build her own Flyer so she could do recon missions for the Rangers and protect the Bloodless and all the other Monsters from the evils of the ever growing Monsterologists. Her first flight in the Clocktalker assembled Flyer was in November of 1906 and with her knowledge of travel beyond the veil, that she acquired from the Bloodless, she was able to safely transport a group of Rangers into the Obscuria and back. Thusly Rita became one of the founding members of the Scare Force branch of the Monster Rangers, and with her medical background, served as the first flight Monster Medic to both Odds and Monsters alike.

    When the great war broke out in 1914 Rita knew she would need to serve in the United States Army and volunteered to serve as flight nurse. She disappeared shortly after the fighting began. Some say the Bloodless who found her in Würzburg came to her desperate for much needed medical attention to badly injured Monsters who were also serving in the war effort but some say she crashed her plane in the Netherlands in route to Germany. Could she still be beyond the veil? Or was she simply a sad causality of war? We may never know, but we Rangers thank Rita for her years of service.


    Samantha Richardson
    Monster Ranger

    “Did I ever tell you that your Mormor used to be a Redhood?”

    I stop mid-fold, straightening. The nurses usually make my mom’s bed, but she’s been complaining that the sheets are too tight, and I’ve never been good at hospital corners, which in this case, was exactly what she wanted.

    I walk around to the side of the bed closest to her and sit. She has that sly half-smile on her face, the one that she reserves for times when dad has done something really stupid, or when she has a story about our family from back home.

    “Your mom was a monster hunter?” I ask. This was such news to me. I had been back to Sweden a few times, and Mormor’s old cottage in the woods had been practically a haven for tomten, and I had heard more stories than I could count of my grandmother trading pastries, cheese and bread with the Svartálfar and troll wives for magical trinkets and potions. “I thought she was a ranger? Didn’t she serve a lingonberry pie to Baron Davis?”

    Mom nods and settles in her lounger. “But Hilda started out on the wrong side of history. It wasn’t really her fault. She was fiery and fierce, and Gustaf the 5th was afraid of monsters. The king had taken in a Black Antler, Hjalmar Hammarskjöld, as an advisor, and a call for monster hunters had gone out through the kingdom.”

    “Your Mormor was a strong girl, and she knew the forests of Örebro as well as any moose or rabbit. As a smith’s daughter, she was good with a hammer, and she carried iron in a way that her sisters carried flowers.”

    “She argued with her father for weeks. He wanted nothing to do with Gustav’s decree. He knew the truth about monsters, but your headstrong Mormor only believed the King’s fears and Hammarskjöld’s lies. Finally, against her father’s wishes, she left to Stockholm. Her uncle, who we later found to be a secret Gray Bank man, was a terrible influence on her, as well. He drove her to Drottningholm palace, personally, and pinned the Wolf’s Skull on her cloak, himself.”

    “She took the Redhood oath, and after a year of training, returned to her home town, with a blade and an iron chain. Her father, however, would not allow her to cross his threshold with those instruments of death. She would be welcome, he said, any time she was willing to lay down her sword.”

    “Her uncle placed her in a cabin outside of town– yes, you’ve been there– and she proceeded to clear Örebro of its monstrous inhabitants. She pulled the krampus from the belfry in the kyrka of St. Nicolai. She chased the poor lake monsters from the Fagertärn, and cleared the Nökken from the ponds and rivers. She turned the trolls from their hills and bridges, and almost killed the Tiveden giant in single combat.”

    “Most of the people of Örebro cheered her efforts, but those with eyes to see could tell that the world around them was becoming greyer, the winters colder, and the wolves closer.”

    “One spring, when Hilda was chasing the rumors of vittra in the deeper sections of the forest, she came across a clearing she hadn’t seen before. A small lake stretched out before her, shimmering in the pale light of the sun.”

    “Your Mormor went to the lake, kneeling to take a drink from the clear waters. The lake surged, and a terrible dragon burst from its depths. The mighty drake reared back, towering over Hilda. ‘I am Järnkäke, and I have heard of you, Redhood,’ he spoke, his outstretched wings blocking the sun. ‘You have caused untold trouble for my kind.’ The monster stepped forward, his claws churning the waters like an ocean storm. “Tell me what drives you to such wicked acts.”

    “Hilda, brave even in the face of a foe that could not be vanquished—“

    “Which reminds me of another stubborn Swede I know,” I interrupt.

    My mother’s frown is more play than anger, but she still motions for me to zip it.

    I zip it.

    “Hilda stood,” mom continues, “unsheathing her sword. ‘I have pledged to rid my home of your kind, beast! You are a blight on the world of men! You will not stay while I stand!’”

    “The dragon smiled. ‘Then you shall not stand, manling!’ He surged forward, snapping jaws and slashing claws raking at Hilda’s shield. The two danced across the field, and within moments Hilda knew she was outmatched. The worm’s hide was proof against her Redhood blade, and he feared no iron. Her shield was torn from her hand, and her sword was snapped to pieces in the dragon’s teeth. A mighty blow from his tail sent her smashing to the ground in defeat. Järnkäke snarled, and turned his head, his terrible teeth gripping Hilda’s neck. She waited for the jaws to snap shut, ending her life, but then a curious thing happened.”

    “The dragon paused, sniffing at your Mormor’s neck. The monster lifted his enormous head and frowned. ‘You belong to the blacksmith,’ he rumbled. ‘Go home to your father and stop hunting us.’ And with that, Järnkäke turned, his wings slapping into the ground with the sound of thunder, and the dragon shot into the sky, and then was gone.”

    “Hilda laid there, battered, bruised and broken, wondering at what had happened. She might have died there at that lakeside, but a group of ljusalfer found her, and brought another manling to help her.”

    “Morfar!” I say, interrupting again. This is a guess, but it feels right.

    Mom smiles. “Yes, your grandfather, one of the first Monster Rangers in Sweden. He nursed her back to health, with the help of the forest spirits. Over that time she came to realize the enormity of the mistakes she had made when it came to the monsters. She swore then to never harm them again, but rather, to believe, study and to protect her monster friends. And so she did, to her dying day.”

    “Wow,” I say. “I never knew.”

    “Well, now you do.” She reaches out for my hand and I take it, gladly. She has gotten so thin it scares me sometimes, but the doctors say she may be home in a month, if everything goes right. She squeezes my hand once, and lets it go. “When you come back tomorrow, I’ll tell you how Alf and Hilda cleared the Whiteglove Services out of Sweden, with the help of the trolls.”

    “I can’t wait,” I say.

    I gather my things, kiss my mother’s forehead, and tell her I love her. She’s already fallen asleep by the time I get to the door. I wave goodbye to the tomten in the room. They are currently brushing my mom’s hair, singing an old Swedish folksong as they do.

    I close the door and head for the elevators, picking up the tune from where they left off.


    B Cole
    Monster Ranger

    The following is a series of letters between the Parr siblings, Monster Rangers of little renown. They likely would have been forgotten if not for Sea Ranger Captain Julia Spencer of the RV Gesner having sought out all the letters and then donating them to the Black Acre Lodge Library upon her death.

    Rowan Parr was a crew member of the RV Gesner while his older sister Rosemary Parr was a Monster Medic who took time off from her Ranger duties to volunteer as a nurse in the war.

    Rowan Parr was reported to be quite close to Captain Spencer. None of the remaining Parr family made any protests to Captain Spencer having the letters from them and donating them without conferring with them.

    Dear Rosemary,

    I don’t know how you’re convincing these birds to deliver our letters. You’re the best sister anyone could have, and I love you, but you scare me. Or I think you’re managing it by scaring the birds. They always seem very frazzled when they get to the boat. At least the weather’s getting warmer down here. I’m sure they appreciate that.

    Our current mission is still to update the census records. Some of the fellas have been using their free time to make up some graphs as we go and they’re getting jumpy because of it. I personally don’t think there’s anything to worry about. Not for at least another decade when we have more data to compare. Three years of record keeping isn’t enough, not for the panic they’re whipping up. See, there’s no drastic decline. There’s a decline, but it’s seeming like a handful for each monster that we’re tracking or that send us reports themselves. It’s nothing to worry about right now. We have other things they should be putting their minds to right now.

    One of the new Signal Rangers broke the sonar while trying to “make it better.” Julia just about strangled the kid because we won’t have a proper Clocktalker onboard until next month. None of us stopped him because we assumed he was double branched—up until he cracked it.

    The Grayson twins, our Clocktalkers, were drafted. It all happened very quickly. It seems like the war has been [scratched out] Never mind.

    Are you really going through with volunteering as a nurse? A soldier isn’t like a dog or a kelpie, Romy. You sure you’re up for it?



    Dear Rowan,

    Don’t spoil the birds. They know their job and they will do it well if you leave them be.

    Have you been using the teas I’ve been sending? I’ll have a new blend for you to try, soon.

    And since when have you been on a first name basis with Captain Spencer? Does she let you call her Julia? You’ve only called her Captain or written out her full name like a knob so far. You must keep me updated on these matters!

    Your sister,
    Rosemary Parr


    Dear Rosemary,

    Julia and I have been talking about how to diplomatically approach different monster groups lately. Rather, she’s been asking all the senior crewmembers for their advice, one on one. She’s insisted on a first name basis with all of us. It’s not special treatment. Don’t read too much into it. I’m embarrassed enough that you know of my regard for my Captain.

    I have been using the teas, but they’ve been average? No different than when we were last together, but that’s not a bad thing. I know how bad I’d be without them. The recipes you provide with them help a lot when I run out. It’s not hard to get replacement ingredients. I’d love to try a new blend if it’s not too much trouble with all your new duties.

    Speaking of, are you doing alright over there?

    Have you developed a bedside manner for all the soldiers you’re fixing up? I admit it’s a pretty funny image to picture, you being nice to strangers who have got to be commenting on the feathers you’re always tying into your hair.



    Dear Rowan,

    It’s colder here than I’m used to.

    I may not have thought this through very well, little brother. I’m [scratched out]

    Attached are new tea blends that may better help with your leg. I promise the bag of flowers is supposed to glow in the dark. Put them in your sock while you sleep. Once they lose their glow you can toss them.

    Let me know if they help.

    Your sister,
    Rosemary Parr


    Dear Rosemary,

    The flowers and teas have been amazing. I left my cane in my cabin the other day and didn’t need to go back for it at all. I’m not sure who on board was more surprised about it.

    I’m thinking about asking Julia to have dinner with me in private. Do you think that would be alright? I can’t exactly ask her to go to a dance with me, even if we were on land, but… dinner is fine, right?

    The flowers and the teas have made putting weight on my clubfoot easier than I think it’s ever been. I feel… more confident? I know that no one is bothered by it, not after all this time, but it’s still hard some days. It was always less about what others thought and more about what I thought, if that makes sense?

    I can’t thank you enough for the flowers and teas, sis.



    Dear Rosemary,

    Are you alright? Haven’t gotten any response from you since you sent the flowers.

    I really hope this letter gets to you. None of your birds came back. Did they finally run away? The rest of the crew swear this’ll get to you in decent time. Seems weird to be using normal post though.

    Attached are some photographs of a lusca we met with a few days ago and a recent photo of the crew.

    We were concerned about why a lusca would be so far from the Caribbean, but it turns out he’s just a very adventurous soul. He was already on his way back to warmer waters when he met up with us. I think you would have got on with him well. You guys both have that same dry wit and confident drive.



    Dear Rosemary,

    The problem with going too deep is that you can’t tell what’s fauna and what’s flora. The depths have a way of twisting things, infecting your perception so that everything blends together into one horde of horror. A good number of the monsters are nice, polite even. It’s the mundane creatures that end up being problematic. We’ll think it’s a monster and try talking to them, and then it’ll turn out to have as much sentience as a flobberworm and try to kill us on instinct. It’s worse than the monsters that just haven’t been around nice manlings ever. We can talk them down from attacking in defense or ease their fear, but they don’t ever immediately trust us.

    I hope this changes in the future, that there’ll be peace and trust between everyone and everything.

    I hope I get to see that future, but more than that I hope you’re alive.

    I suppose that’s a very selfish thing to say.

    You’re probably already dead.

    I love you and I miss you.

    Your little brother,
    Rowan Parr

    Monster Medic Rosemary Parr was assumed dead after a bomb obliterated the makeshift hospital she was reported to be stationed at. Many bodies were buried before identities could be determined, but witness reports assure her body was among those placed in a mass grave.

    Sea Ranger Rowan Parr aboard the RV Gesner was killed during a dive. A mundane Greenland Shark nicked his suit, avoiding his flesh, but tearing his suit enough that he drowned before help could be rendered.


    Francisco Reyes Jr.
    Monster Ranger

    Little Oogies Yummies

    This is a small story of why some adults take a small share of sweets from their little ones evening candy haul on Weenhollow (AKA a Candy Tax)
    Little Oogie was not like the other Goblins, While others liked their “Frog Toe Gumbo” and their “Moldy Toadstool Sandwiches”, Oogie craved something less salty and less bitter.
    “I am tired of this icky food!” Shouted Oogie looking down at her “Stinkbug Casserole”.This Shocked the other goblins. No one had ever complained about Mama Goop’s cooking.
    “Oogie sit down and eat your food!” Shouted Mama Goop.
    “It is what we are all eating, I will not be have complaints at the dinner table and if you continue on I will send you out side to wash your fathers socks.”
    “And they are extra slimy too” added Papa Muck.
    Oogie looked down at her dinner with a grumpy frown. “Not sure what is worse at this point” She growled as it wiggled and moved around her in bowl.
    “That does it, Go outside and wring out your fathers socks” Shouted Mama Goop pointing towards the door. “And you better not spill any either!”
    Little Oogie stormed outside to the backyard. A large pile of slimy green socks sat in the middle of the yard next to a large bucket labeled “Slime Bucket”.
    “No way am I going to squeeze the slime out of those again…” Oogie whispered thru her grimace.
    “I’m leaving before Mama notices” she muttered as she began to sneak away.
    So off Oogie went into the woods as she loved doing on cool October nights. She always liked going for long walk at night, it was peaceful and smelled of of dirt. As she continued down her usual trail Oogie spotted something. It was a soft glowing light moving around in the distance.
    “ That’s an odd glow…” thought Oogie, “ Wonder what it could be?” she wondered as she began to make her way towards it. As she came closer she began to hear two small voices.
    “Are you sure this is the right way?” Asked a small voice.
    “Of course I’m sure!” the second voice said confidently. Oogie slowly snuck in for a closer look thru the bushes.
    “Manlings?!?” Gasped Oogie, she had never seen Manlings up close before. Especially such oddly dressed ones. The smaller one had a white sheet over its head with two small holes cut into it.
    “That one sorta looks like Papa Mucks undies when he hangs them up to dry” Oogie thought fighting back the urge to giggle. The taller one wore a burlap sack over its body with straw sticking out of it.
    “That one looks like Papa Mucks short after the worm harvest!” she thought as she tried even harder to fight back the urge to laugh. But it was no use, the thought of Papa Mucks Undies and Short out for a midnight stroll was too much and she burst out laughing.
    “What was that?!?” asked the smaller one nervously.
    “Who’s there?!” shouted the taller one shaking his flashlight at the bushes where Oogie was hiding. Oogie sat in silence wondering what to do if she is found. Mama Goop always said to stay away from the Manlings.
    “Probably some stupid kid trying to scare us…” said the taller one looking around.
    “Maybe we should turn back…” said the smaller manling tightly hanging on to the others arm.
    “I’m not scared of whatever stupid thing laughed at us!” shouted the taller manling. This gave Oogie and idea, maybe she should scare these two little manlings and get another good laugh out of it.
    “Bet it would be easy too” thought Oogie . Little Oogie took a deep breath and jumped out of the bushes and gave her biggest best roar she could.
    The small manlings screamed so loud that they almost sounded like a pair Banshees as they ran away. Oogie dropped to the floor laughing so hard it made her tummy hurt.
    “Not scared huh?” she said as she got up off the floor. As she began to walk away she noticed something that the small manlings had dropped.
    “What’s that?” she said making her way to it. As she picked it she got a wondrous smell from it.
    “What is this amazing smell?!” as she looked at what she had picked up she noticed it was a small bag filled with small shiny wrapped items.
    “They smell delicious” she said softly as she began to unwrap one. She began to examine the hard colorful item and gave it a sniff or two. She then decided to give it a taste and put one in her mouth.
    “This is so amazingly delicious and yummy!!!” she shouted with glee as she began to do a little happy dance. She quickly began to unwrap the rest and eat them as fast as she could. But soon she was out.
    “I must find more and save them for later!” she thought and off she went in the direction in which the small manlings ran. Soon she came up to a small village in the woods.
    “Manling Huts!” thought Oogie hiding behind one of the tall trees. As she began to look around she saw a small group of funny dressed manlings walking up to one of the houses.
    “Trick-Or-Treat” they all shouted at the same time. Shortly after the door began to open and out came a large manling holding a large bowl filled with sweets.
    “So many yummies!” Oogie gasped in awe.
    “Here you go!” said the large manling dropping big handfuls of sweets in to each of their bags.
    “So that’s how they are getting them!” she thought.
    “That’s so easy, I bet I could do it.” she said as the small manlings began to walk away. As soon as they had left she began to run up to the house and got her self ready to try.
    “Ok, Now all I have to do is knock on the door and say the words. Easy!” She said to herself and she got ready. Nervously Oogie knocked on the door and shouted the magic words.
    “TRICK-OR-TREAT!” She said loudly. She eagerly waited with her hands out and big grin waiting for the sweets that would soon be hers. But as the door opened what she got was not sweet but a loud scream and a door slamming in her face.
    “Well that was rude” said Oogie with a grumpy frown.
    “Wonder what I did wrong?” she sighed feeling a bit down. She began to look around at the other small manling to see what she forgot.
    “I forgot the bag!” she said running off to find a bag. She looked around for a bit and found one by the bin that oddly smelled like Papa Muck.
    “Now I’m ready!” she said.
    “Let’s try this again..” Oogie said making her way to the next house. She took a deep breath, knocked on the door and shouted…
    This time for sure she would get the sweets, she waited with a big smile and bag out.
    “AAAAAHHH!!” “SLAM!”
    Again nothing. This made Oogie very upset.
    “Why won’t they give me some of their yummies?” she said tossing her little bag on the floor. She stomped away with a grumpy face. She began to look around and notice three small manling carrying big bags full of sweets.
    “If they won’t give me any yummies, then I will just have to take them!” She grumbled and began to follow them. As she followed closely the came up to a house but this time they did not knock. They simply began to open the door.
    “Oh No If they go inside I won’t be able to take their yummies!” Oogie whispered to her self. Thinking quickly, Oogie grabbed a clump of mud from the ground and tossed it at the bushes next to the manlings in hopes to distract them.
    “What was that?” they wondered walking over to the bushes leaving the door open.
    “Now is my chance!” thought Oogie as she quickly scurried inside. As soon as she got inside she decided to hide behind a big coat hanging for a coat rack by the door.
    “Must have been a bug or something” said one of the small manlings as they began to enter the home.
    “Mom! Dad! “ we’re home!” Shouted the three manlings.
    “Ok boys, no go wash up cause supper is ready” called out the Mama manlings from somewhere further in the house.
    “Yes Mama!” they all responded as they placed their bags of sweets on the floor.
    “Perfect!” Oogie thought. As soon as they had all ran out of sight Oogie leaped out and ran to the bags of sweets.
    “So many yummies!” she exclaimed as she began to look through them. But in her excitement she failed to notice the very large manling standing right behind her. With a simple swoop the manling grabbed Oogie from her little tuft and lifted her up. Oogie just gave out a soft little…
    “What do we have here?” said the Papa manling.
    “Seems to be a tiny Goblin” he continued. Scared little Oogie did the only thing she could think of and began to try to be as big and scary as possible. So she puffed up her little chest and began to growl and roar.
    “ROOOOAAARR!!!” but it was no use, little Oogie was too small and squeaky.
    “Now now little one, I mean you no harm.” Said the Papa manling. The softness of his voice surprised little Oogie. Up to now all the manlings had only screamed and slammed doors in her face and yet he seemed to be as calm as could be.
    “You’re not afraid of me?” asked Oogie in a soft hushed tone.
    “Hahaha…” he laughed in a deep belly laugh.
    “ You are not the first of your kind that I have met, I have met many monsters and creatures like your self through out the years”
    “Like me?!?” Little Oogie asked with wide eyes.
    “Many I call friends in fact, But what may I ask are you doing with my boys bags of sweets and so far from home too?” asked the papa with one eyebrow raised.
    “Well you see…” Oogie said nervously.
    “I have been trying to get some of those yummies but every time I tried getting some how the small manlings did, the rude manlings would scream and slam doors in my face.” little Oogie said as her eyes began to get teary.
    “So you decided if no one was going to give them to you , you would just take them?” Asked the Papa Manling.
    “Yes..” whimpered little Oogie letting out a few tears.
    “ Now now little one, no need for tears. But stealing is not something you should be doing. It could get you in lots of trouble someday.” He said as he began to put her down.
    “But seeing as you can’t just go up and ask for some like the other children I will make a deal with you.” he said as he grabbed a small Jack-O-Lantern from his desk.
    “From here on I will ask the children to leave you a small share of their sweets for you, but in return you must promise me that you will no longer try to steal any sweets, Deal?” Said the Papa Manling stretching out her pinky towards her.
    “You mean it?!?” Little Oogie gasped covering her mouth.
    “I do , but you must promise. So what will it be,Deal?” he asked kneeling down at her level.
    “Deal!!!” Shouted Oogie shaking his pinky in agreement.
    So with that the Papa manling walked over to the bags of sweets and took on big handful of sweets from each bag and placed them in the Jack-O-Lantern.
    “Here you go, now like I said from now on every Weenhollow we shall leave you a share of the evenings sweets in a bag with your name on it on the window sill for you to come get” He said as he handed her the sweets filled Jack-O-Lantern.
    “But how will I know when to come get them?” asked little Oogie. The Papa manling thought for a moment and looked around.
    “I know, I will light a small Jack-O-Lantern like the one I just gave you to let you know when they are ready for you.” He said softly. Oogie carefully put her sweets down on the floor and ran over to the Papa manling and gave him a big hug.
    “Thank you so much!” she said squeezing tighter and as far as her little arms could go.
    “You are very welcome little one, Now run on home before the neighbors see you. They are not as nice as me.” And with that Oogie left with her sweets and the biggest widest smile she has ever had.
    “I can’t wait till next years yummies, Now to make sure these last me till then!” She said running home as fast as she could.
    So from that day on Adults would take a small share of the evenings sweets and place them in a bag with Oogies name written on it. They then would place it on the window sill next to a small glowing Jack-O-Lantern to signal Oogie that her sweets were waiting for her to come get.


    Nicole aka,NES
    Monster Ranger

    Crisis Call

    “Calling all Monster Rangers, Call all Monster Rangers! THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE! SPY RANGER OPUIS HAS BEEN kidnapped”

    We don’t normally get these type of messages from Monstru.” Head Ranger Baron called to his secretary. ‘Have you hear the Monstrous radio broadcast? This is strange. Usually they just play music and some random gibberish.”

    Head Master Ranger Baron continued to listen. THe same report over and over.
    “HELGA!. Get Me Head Doom MIme Frank I need to send him into Obscuria NOW!.

    The Shadows Failed

    “The shadows failed me”. He sat on the edge of the cot looking at the stone walls slick and shiny with moisture.THey have been my friend they have kept me safe and away from the eye of the President. Bestion and Chadworth have been my eyes and ears and they have helped keep me in me in my shadows. What happened? HOw did i get here, how did they capture me and Why? I have never had a problem in all my times in Obscuria. I’ve never cause any problems.

    “Is anyone out there! “ Opuis yelled.

    Just the soft annoying sound of water dripping on the cold hard stones.

    “Come ON! At least someone can tell me why I’m here or what I’ve done!” he hollered in frustration.

    Doom Mime Ranger

    “Doom Mime Ranger Frank at your service” announced a strapping young lad that looked no more than 25 years old. Standing in front of Head Ranger Baron was a strong looking man he did not recognized.

    “Are you sure” he asked looking at the young man.

    “Of course I am. You don’t think I don’t know who I am you old coot? How dare you question me! We’ve been on more adventures together.” as Frank continued to ramble on about the adventure they had as young rangers he slowly began to transform into a skinny, crooked, 150 year old man.

    “Well Hell Frank. If you would show up looking like yourself and not some 20 something looking like he just walked off of some fashion magazine I wouldn’t have to question you, damn Doom Mimes.” Baron shook his head.

    “Now listen, there has been some crazy radio chatter coming in from Obscuria’s capital Monstru” as Baron turned up the radio.

    “Calling all Monster Rangers, Call all Monster Rangers! THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE! SPY RANGER OPUIS HAS BEEN kidnapped”

    “What do you know about this?” Baron looked quizzical at his old friend.

    “I don’t know much.” Frank said rubbing the stubble on his chin with a raised a grey, wild eyebrow arching over his washed out pale blue eyes. “I’ve heard some rumors, talk about a spy scout being the new ruler of Monstrous but there is always talk like this. Everyone in Monstrous is looking for a new leader Dictator Lincolnstein has always had opposition.
    Obscuria has become a dangerous and dark place, not like when we were young rangers.” Baron shook his head, “We’ll there is no one I trust more to take the lead on this, but your not getting any younger, are you up for this?”

    For a moment Frank looked at his friend thinking of all the adventures they had in Monstru and other parts of Obscuria and the monsters they befriended.

    Obscuria was is not the same beautiful land it once was, Long before Dictator Lincolnstein came to power. The land where Monsters lived in peace and happiness. No wars, no pollution. Nothing like it was now, every monster now stuck on an never ending roadway. Living out of their vehicles always on the lookout for a small piece of land that was reminiscent of times long gone.

    The two old rangers sat talking about the large stone castles and the deep crimson drapery that hung in almost every window of every castle. The tree lined paths that lead to every majestic castle.

    “Wait! We have no time for this.” Baron snapped out of his memory, “back to business, you need to get your team together.”

    Frank smiled and shook his head, “First I need to scout out this situation. I will go into Monstrous and do some investigating. Once I have found out the nature of this radio call and then I will send a message back to you of who I need and I will meet them at the portal.”

    Well, only a Doom Mime can do this job. Obviously, you have the skill as you showed up here looking like every young woman’s dream. I know you can change into any character you wish, you should have been a Shapeshifter.” Baron, laughing to himself

    Frank growled back, those Shapeshifters are nothing but flee baring Werewolves.

    “Now Now don’t get all worked up, just because you’ve gotten bitten once or twice by one, not that you didn’t deserve it. You need to stay away from those Women shapeshifter, there the ones you get yourself into trouble with. ANd you might need a few of them on this mission.” Baron gawfed. “Now get going! You can’t stand around any longer we have a Ranger in peril.”

    A Prison?

    He laid on his cot staring at the stone ceiling wondering why it was dry and the walls looked wet. After hours of yelling and no one answering he thought best to start reserving his strength and start forming a plan.

    Opius knew he was still in Obscuria but where in Obscuria was still a mystery. Even though he was guessing it had been about 24 hours he wasn’t hungry. “Thank the monsters I had that big fest at Clown Bites. “ he thought

    From the look the dungeon should have been damp and cold but surprisingly it was rather warm and dry. He could he water dripping and what look to be little stream of water on the glossy rocks, but when he touched them there were little canals the clean fresh water ran through. Even the mattress on the cot was downy soft, with a warm blanket and pillow. Now that Opius was coming out of the shock of being kidnapped and his adrenaline had stopped coursing through his body he could take in his surroundings. The more h e looked around the more he realized this wasn’t just a dungeness prison but a rather luxurious prison at that. The water that ran down the wall was drinkable, searching the room more I found a closet and dresser built into the walls with fresh clothes for him. Leaning back against a wall released a spring door that popped open again his back, stepping away from the door it opened to a well light bathroom. Confusion ran through him.

    He walked to the locked wooden door and started yelling “Who are you? WHy am I here?” Still no answer. He sat down on his soft cot with his head in his hands trying to figure out why he was there.

    Into Monstru Obscuria

    He radioed to Baron “Let everyone know on the Monstru headquarters I’m coming through as a werewolf. And I don’t need any smart ass remarks from you.”

    Baron laughed “Going in as something that gives you the most trouble. Watch out for the ladies.”

    “I SAID NO SMART ASS COMMENTS!” as he made his transformation. Frank stepped through the mirror in the library in Montana into the Library at the Monster Ranger safe camp in one of the Headquarters in Obscuria As he walked into the room he felt a tug on his werewolf tail. The portal had closed on the tip of his tail. Yanking hard the tail released but a chunk of fur was sticking out from the glass.
    “Damn tails!”

    Laying on a table was a legal size manila envelope with Monstu money, Crow Bucks, a picture of Opius, and a list of contacts. The first name on the list was DJ Mc Sniggler, the Monstru radio station’s DJ that had been broadcasting the same message over and over. “I better talk to him first before all of Monstru starts tearing down the station.


    What did we do! What did we do?” the three Royal Huntsman ran in circles in a panic, the two giant horns on each Huntsman that almost outweighed each of their heads knocking into each other and knocking against the stone walls.

    Why did you grab Opius? He’s going to kill us, not to mention if any of the other monster rangers find out.” cried Glebus, the biggest Huntsman, towering over 15 feet tall and about as wide, his glowing red horns reached another five feet with a good foot circumference at the base. Black slits for eyes and a large bulbous lower lip that hid the top lip and two fangs, one broken down to a numb and one razor sharp protruding from his blubbering lip.

    Flebby the smallest of the three but more pleasing the manling eyes, which isn’t saying much, really he was just a little better groomed than most the other Huntsman, “I’m not worried about the rangers, I’m worried about one Doom Mine ranger.”

    The two continued to run in circle while Glorbon sat down and grumbling. Flebby and Glebus stopped and looked him in the eye, with terror on their faces and drool dripping in big gooey globs from their lower lip. “What is wrong with you?” they yelled.

    I just don’t get why I’m on this mission? Glorbon growled. “I don’t know if I’m suppose to keep you two goons in check, If I’m being punished. Or Im suppose to make sure the job gets done right. And at this point the mission has gone to Hades in a handbasket, you two have lost your minds which mean no matter what I’m going to be punished by her Highness.”

    Flebby and Glebus looked at each other and then at Glorbon. “Well since you’re her favorite you can be the one to tell her?”

    “I’m not telling her anything. We’re going to fix this mess first.”

    DJ Mc Sniggler

    It was too late! This DJ Mc Sniggler had put half of Monstru on the warpath. The only pleasure all the monsters had was listening to all sorts of soothing music while driving on the endless roads and he had done nothing but repeat. Calling all Monster Rangers, Call all Monster Rangers! THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE! SPY RANGER OPUIS HAS BEEN kidnapped” over and over. Monsters were banging on the door demanding him to be fired or his death.

    It was time to switch from a werewolf to the most miniscule monster Frank could think of, better yet a snake. Since the introduction of snakes into Obscuria there has been a mad panic. Frank stepped behind the build and put his snake mask on which immediately turned him into one. As he slithered back around the corner Monsters began to just and scream and run away with flailing arms and tails. Frank laughed to himself that all the monsters in Obscuria were scared of a little legless creature that couldn’t talk, and venom and no effect on them. “Go figure these crazy creatures,” as he slide through the crack in the door. Now, he needed to change back into something less inconspicuous. He popped off the snake mask and put the werewolf mask back on. Hopefully this would get him up to DJ Mc Sniggler broadcast studio without a problem.

    As Frank made his way to the elevator he noticed a couple other werewolves, one with a stack of papers, “Monster and their refusal to advance in technology, no wonder trees are so desolate here.” Frank thought shaking his head. Another with a giant coffee cup that read “Party Animal”

    “Ok, so far so good” Frank thought as he got in the elevator. He rose up with a crowd of other monsters all busy with their work and small conversations. “I wish McSniggler would shut up. Who cares about one Monster Ranger” one grumbled to another.

    Frank’s fur started to rise but the elevator doors opened onto the 13th floor just in time. He stepped out here a gasp and whispers behind him “I hope McSniggler stays in his studio.”
    “Don’t worry Mc Sniggler is to worried about his stupid broadcast.” another said.

    Frank started to turn and growl but the doors shut before he could say anything he would regret. He looked for the sign directing him to the radio studio, but he didn’t need it he could hear the crackling voice coming down the hall.

    “It’s amazing he hasn’t lost his voice.” Frank said to himself as he walked to the door and knocked.

    The on air sign above the door went off and Frank heard in a crackling voice “Come in” and the light flash back on. Frank opened the door to see the backside of a tiny wiry looking creature no more than three feet tall with a large melon shaped head and two 3 foot long antennas that were going all over the place. Over what must have been his ears was large headphones that covered the entire sides of the creature’s head. As Frank shut the door the little creature turned around and started screaming “Werewolf! Werewolf! HELP ME! HELP ME!”

    Frank stood motionless watching the little bug of creature waving his 4 arms and jump around the studio, off the chair, all over the control panel making lights flash on and off , including the on air sign. Frank waited for the chaos to end but it didn’t, he slowly reached up and removed the werewolf mask and transformed” into his craggy old Monster Ranger self. Finally the DJ came to a dead stop, looking at the old man and adjusted his headphones and gently sat back down, pushed the “on air” button so the light was off. He quietly folded his twelve fingers together and rested them under his flat chin “what can I do for you Monster Ranger?” as if his entire chaotic episode didn’t just happen.

    Frank stood with his mouth hanging open dumbfounded by the entire situation. “What do you mean what can you do for me? You have been running at the mouth for two days about a Monster Ranger missing and here I am and you ask what you can do for me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”

    “Ok ok this is what I know three days ago Opius was taken by the Huntsmen, servants to the Crow Queen. There has been rumors of prophecy that a Monster Ranger will over take Lincolnstein and become Obscuria’s new ruler and pull the country out of its recession. If the Crow Queen has truly come back is no one knows why. But the Monster Ranger missing, a lot more questions than answers have started to come up.

    “I knew the rumor about the Monster Ranger, there has been a lot of chatter about that,’ Frank agreed. “The Crow Queen coming back? That may not be good news for anyone Monster or Manling. We need to find out where the Huntsmen might have take Opius.”

    Mc Sniggler turned on the “on air” light and turned to his microphone that was bigger than his melon head and slowly began speaking a strange language that Frank had never heard. By the time Mr Sniggler had turned off the ‘on air” sign the phone had started ringing.

    “What did you say?” Frank cackled.

    “you’ve seen it written, you probably even used. It’s the secret code that Monster Ranger use all the time. You’ve just never heard it spoken. All the phones ringing is going to give us some direction as to where the Huntsmen might have taken Opius, they aren’t exactly the stealthies creatures in Monstru. SO start answering the phones.”

    One phone call after another the two answered the phone calls collecting possible clues and sightings of the Huntsmen.

    Back to Headquarters

    Ok Mc Sniggler is there any way to can just radio Headquarters on the other side? I need to get a message back to Baron.”

    “Oh sure not a problem.” Mc Sniggler push a couple buttons and turned a couple dials and all the lights went dark except for two labeled ASU. “Calling Baron, come in Baron. I have a message from Frank.” over and over he repeated the call giving a two minute break every five minutes. Frank was getting ready to strangle McSniggler when Baron finally chimed in.

    “How you making out with the werewolf ladies Frank? Baron chuckled.

    Listen it’s no time for Joke you old coot. You need to get some Rangers here and fast! Opius has been kidnapped by the Crow Queen’s Royal Huntsman. You know this isn’t good!”

    “Go on I’m listening.” Baron got serious.

    “I need the following Rangers: Deep Sea, Scare Force, Monster Medic, Psychic, SKull and Signal. That should do it for now. I’ll let you know if I need more but this will help with our leads. And I need them two days ago. Got all that?”

    “I’ve had all the head rangers on standby they are coming through the portal as we speak. Good luck, I hope this is really the Crow QUeen coming back. Be careful Frank.”

    “She’s nothing I can’t handle don’t worry. Keep a close ear. Mc Sniggler here will help get messages back.” Frank informed Baron.

    “Over and out.”

    Mc Sniggler turned all his dial back and push his button and the control panel came back to life.
    “What do you mean I’ll be getting messages back? I did my job!”” Mc Sniggler squeaked out.

    “Oh I think you’ll be helping, you don’t want that werewolf to come back.” Frank smiled turning towards the door and putting the mask back on.

    The Past

    As Frank started his trek back to the Ranger Safe camp he started to think about the Crow QUeen. It had been a long time since they first met.

    “Can it really be 125 years?”

    No one told him that once he enter Obscuria he wouldn’t age while he was there, but once back on the Manling side you aged but didn’t die. One of the side effects. He was just a young Ranger with Baron. Baron had talked him into the mad mess after introducing him to Morrow on his Baron’s family farm. If that wasn’t the beginning to the strangest life he has lead nothing else compared.

    Baron and he had come into Monstru when it was a beautiful city, old brickstone building, giant stone castles, trees and villages made up the city. Horse drawn carriages and trains. It was a time of gothic romance in Monstru.

    The two men befriended many monsters and lived amongst them and studied them. Learned ways to heal them, learned their monster technology, and explored all of Obscuria with their new friends. Baron and Frank had always been warned about the Crow Queen the ruled all of Obscuria and the fact she hated manlings.

    Whenever there was a warning that she or her Royal Huntsmen were out the monsters would hate Frank and Baron. This lead to the first Secret Ranger Station. This is where the two friends would hide out and learn all they could about the monster world and developed another portal. Monster had their own way of getting in and out of the manling world, Tiger Cargo. Marrow the giant pumpkin headed scarecrow had helped them with the first portal, but it took years to find a new spot for a portal. They had already been living years going back and forth between worlds. Recruiting new Rangers and building new hideouts and building new two more portals. They avoided the Crow Queen for years. If they even hear a rumor that she might be on their path they would destroy a portal.

    Which was a good thing they found it when they did, as the Crow Queen had found out about the Secret Ranger Station and had come to destroy the manlings.

    Monster Rangers always would keep two portals open. They tried only to use one portal and keep the other secret, and there were times they even used the Tiger Cargo, but that was always a gamble. Tiger Cargo was Monstu’s transport system to move goods, and sometimes monsters and rangers between the Monster world and the manling world. Some drivers were loyal to the Queen, only Frank would be able to go with a driver, loyal to the queen, as he was a Doom Mime Ranger and had developed many different monster mask that helped him transform from one creature to another. Baron would have to wait until Frank had given the “all clear” before moving through the portals. If the driver was loyal to monsters then they both could go together but it was always a gamble. If Baron tried to gain passage on Tiger Cargo and there was a drive loyal to the queen Baron would be captured and thrown into a prison, and then what happens is unknown. In the past once a Monster Ranger is captured they were never heard from again.

    This is how thing ran from the time the Manlings enter Obscuria for the first time. Until the day the Crow Queen saw Frank. At first the monsters friends of Frank tried to keep him safe and hide him away before she could capture him. The Queen was to quick, she swooped in and grabbed him as the monsters were pushing him in the Tiger cargo truck. She flew him to her hideout. Once the initial shock of the Crow Queen capturing him he realized he wasn’t there to be tortured. She had sat him down gently on a black velvet couch and sat and stared at him.

    “What do you want with me” he grumbled, everyone that knew Frank knew he always grumbled.

    “You are of great interest to me. Would you like something to eat?

    “Well, at long as it ain’t birdseed. And unless you’re planning to kill me can you send word that I’m ok to my friends so they won’t panic, which I’m sure they are.” Frank gawfed at the thought of his friends running around in a mass panic.

    “Yes, we will take care of both your request.” she smiled back at him.

    It took awhile before the message was relayed and all of Frank’s monster friends searched for him he sat with the Crow Queen. The two spent weeks talking. Everyone waited to see if it was one of the Queen’s wicked traps. No other manling had ever returned from Crow Queen lair.

    As Frank and the Queen talked the last thing he expected was to fall in love. What he didn’t realize at first that she already had.

    If there could be two different creatures that could have falling in love throughout history they were nothing compared to Frank and the Crow Queen.

    Truth be Told

    They walked down the narrow stone stairway to the prison trying to figure out whether they should tell the Queen or tell Opius about their mistake. The Queen might hurt them, so they decided Opius would be be the best to tell first. They stood outside his large wooden door and yelled in thru the little opening with cute little bars crossing over square hole.

    “Hey! Opius guess what?” Flebby yelled

    “Go AWAY?”

    “No, really guess what? You’re gonna laugh.” Flebby gave a weak giggle. “So we grabbed the wrong guy. Ain’t that funny?”


    “WELL, we didn’t mean to. THings just go a bit confusing, but the good thing is the Ranger we were suppose to capture is on his way, well if he can find his way. So everything is good. Frank shows up, we toss him in the dungeon, we let you go. It’s all good.” Glebus explained.

    “So does the Queen know about your big mess up?’

    “Well we wanted you to know first. Just so there is no hard feelings. Is there anything we can get you?” Flebby yelled.

    “Yeah, get me out of here.” Opius yelled.

    “You don’t have to be be so upset, it was a mistake, we will try and send out a few clues to get good ol’ Frank here.” Flebby yelled back, “you’re gonna be out of here in no time, just sit back relax and think of this as a vacation.”

    Glorbon leaned against the opposite wall of the door and growled. “See even Glorbon agrees.”
    Flebby smiled.

    “I’m going to go tell the QUeen.” growling, Glorbon turned to leave the dungeon.

    “Wait, wait” Flebby and Glebus chased after him, “can’t we talk about this.”

    Getting there

    Frank walked into the giant canvas tent of the Monster Ranger Secured Site and immediately removed the Werewolf mask. “Why do Werewolves smell like dog breath. Surely they brush their teeth.” as he transformed back to his manling form, tossing the mask on a chair. He sat down in a soft high back chair and pulled himself up to a large ornate mahogany table and spread out his notes and the picture he had gathered. .

    As with everything with the monster rangers location the tent was a cloak of concealment. THe large canvas tent looked like some monster was camping in the forest, or possibly Big Foot’s home. What it didn’t reveal that, for Frank’s needs, it was a giant room with mahogany panelled walls with a luxurious bed, with soft white bedding, an office area with all the necessities that a ranger would need, telephones, computers, and expansive library of monsters and the history of Obscuria, maps and an index of Monster Rangers that might have retired to Monstru or other cities within Obscuria. The carpet was soft and plush as Frank kicked off his shoes. He let out a large sigh, releasing the tension that allowed him to think about everything that needed to be done to get the mission started.

    Suddenly through the back wall a tall extremely thin man stepped into the room.

    “Deep Sea Ranger Octavius ready for duty”. Announced a tall thin man in is mid 30’s. HIs arms and legs were so long and rubbery look he could almost pass for an octopus.

    The wall almost seem to open into a watery looking circle, and then another man stepped in, “Scare Force Ranger Robins ready for duty” Announced a broad chested man in his 20’s, his arms were long and muscular with a thin tiny waist and legs, almost like a bird.

    “Monster Medi McVee ready for duty.” reported a stout little bald man that looked to be well over 100 years old with a big black beard, that more than made up for his bald head, with stub of a cigar sticking out of the area that his mouth was hiding. “ Geeze, Frank i just got back to the states. THis better be good.”

    Frank glared over and McVee. “Oh it’s good. We are meeting up with an old friend,”

    “Skull Ranger Sheila on duty.’ sliding into the room was a tall thin woman with red hair rolled up in large, tight curls piled high on her head. “Frank, darling. It’s been years. You look as old as dirt.” she drawled.

    “Well Shelia you look thinner than a skeleton. Do you eat or have you given up on food?” Frank snapped back.

    Opius is fine” reported the next Ranger to enter as she stepped through the waves in the wall, into the room “Psychic Ranger Dangle ready to see into the unknown.” A little woman no more than five feet tall, with a hourglass figure, “I can’t tell where he is, but I can see he’s angry at something.”

    Frank shaking his head, “Sometimes I wonder why we need psychic if you can only tell me information that is not useful.’

    I’ll give you something useful if you keep that attitude up ya old fart. My foot in your butt.” Dangle snapped back.

    The last to enter the room was another tall man, rather young looking, strong arms and shoulders, legs sturdy like to think tree trunks. I’m Signal Ranger Jack. “ummm, I’m not sure what I’m doing here? Baron pushed me through a mirror. Umm Where am I?”

    “Great nothing like sending me a greenie when we are dealing with a Crazy Crow woman.” Frank snarled. “You’re now in Obscuria, the monster world. We are sitting in a forest in one of the MOnster Ranger secure outpost.”

    “I’ve ne-nev-never” crossed over into Obscuria before.” stuttered Jack

    “We were all greenies at one point Frank, you need to give him a chance.” Sheila reassured Frank as she came over to look over the notes and pictures. “SO, these are the places we need to look. Why has she resurfaced? What are you up to Frank?”

    “Nothing!!” He growled, “I haven’t had contact with her in over 100 years and you know it. I don’t know what she is up to but I”ve heard the rumors that she is looking for a manling to take over Obscuria. I thought it was just rumours but now it seem to be true”

    “I thought she died. She hasn’t been seen in 100 years,” McVee gripped “that old crow should be dead she caused enough trouble.”

    “Watch your tongue, there are still the possibility of spies everywhere” Frank arched his left eyebrow high and squinted at each ranger as if questioning their loyalty, as he placed a crooked figure over his thin, dry lips.

    “Knock that off Frank, you know we are all loyal and would never even think of joining the old bat.” Dangle scolded, with her hands on her hips. “Besides, you know I can read the levels of loyalty amongst the rangers.

    “Yes, the only thing that seems to be useful right now.” Frank replied

    Jack started to back away from all the old Rangers, he obviously didn’t belong here, these people had been around for over a hundred of years. He knew it was possibly but he thought Baron was the only one this old thanks to Marrow. He wondered why Baron would send him on a mission like this, he was still so new.

    “Get back here Signal Ranger.” Frank bellowed. “Enough chit chat about the old days and old crows, we need to get busy. Our sources say there are five possible locations the Queen could be hiding. The first place Brassware, Octavius that’s your territory. Second, Ular, secret city number 6, Robin the only way we are going to get a look there is by air. Sheila you’re going to be looking into The black umbrella Goblin market. I know you have connections there, I’m hoping you can get some intel there. McVee the only place for you would the Night Terror Chasm, you’re the only thing scarier than any monster nightmare.” Frank cackled and McVee grunted “ I’ll give you Night Terrors Frank, just wait till we’re done.”

    Frank continued to cackle” Ok, Dangle I need you stationed at New Regia, this puts you close in the center of three major Danger Zones, and you’ll be able to reach in to those with your mind. I’ll be covering the other two.”

    “And what about greenie Jack” Sheila drawled out.

    Frank looked over at Jack and wondered if this young buck was ready to take on the Monsterologist, the hunters of monsters. “Well, that’s the trick, Jacky Boy you need to get into the Monsterologist headquarters and see if you hear anything about the Crow Queen and this take over. I know this is something the Spy Rangers would do, but Baron sent you. He must see something in you, what I have no idea.”

    “HAHAHAHAHAHA.” Dangle chuckle, “Send a greenie into Monsterologist Headquarters, they don’t just hunt monsters, they hunt Rangers.

    Jack swallowed a large lump that formed in throat.

    Octavius, although old was still young compared to the the rest of the group spoke up, “They don’t know who he is, it’s obvious. He is still so new they won’t have records on him. “

    “What” McVee questioned looking at Octavius.

    “The Monsterologist don’t know who Jack is, they know all of us. We all know they have files on each and everyone of us, and unless Frank has come up with a new mask they know all your different disguise. They only reason they don’t mess with you when you’re in disguise as they are all scared of you.”

    Dangle looked over at Jack, “He’s right, they don’t know you. All we need to do is dress you up a bit and give you a quick lesson in how to be a Monster hunter.”

    Jack looked nervously at the veteran Monster Rangers, all shaking their heads in agreement. The look in their eyes gave him strength. “Ok, tell me what to do.”


    Glorbon carried flebby up the stair wrapped in his left arm like he would carry a log, and using his head as a battering ram as he butted Flebbys head into Glebus’s back, pushing the giant forward. Glebus didn’t want to go but he was just too much a soft hearted monster to protest. Flebby was small so it was easy for Glorbon to carry him, but he kicked and screamed and attempted to fight off Glorbon, but nothing seem to irritate the giant grumpy monster enough to release him.

    The three monsters arrived at the Queen’s giant golden door. “Knock” Glorbon commanded Glebus.

    “No, don’t make me,” Glebus cried

    “You big baby,KNOCK”

    Raising a giant fist, BOOM BOOM BOOM!

    “Come in “. Come in a sweet little voice. And the door swung open. The three monsters entered the room and walked up to a large chaise lounge with a beautiful lady laying across it, her long legs stretched out under silky black feathers that laid out like a feather blanket covering her knees. The longer feathers fell from her shoulders covering her arms and torso, on her head rested a large black crown. “ How is My prisoner doing, is he comfortable?”

    Flebby, still stuck under Glorbon’s thick arm yelled “ oh the prisoner is comfortable alright, treated just like a king, but it’s the wrong guy.” Glebus slapped a handover Flebby’s mouth.

    “Come again, did I hear correctly, the wrong “guy” as Fleb so eloquently put it.” The Queen’s smile stretched across her face scaring the three monsters.

    “Yes my queen you heard right,” Glorbon squeeze flebby making his eyes bludgeon from the sockets. “We have captured Opius, he is a worthy Ranger my Queen. We can use him as bait to lure Ranger Frank .”

    “Well I see who has the brains. Yes you have a decent plan. But how did this happen?” SHe questioned with a grimace.

    Glebus was first to answer in a rush of words, “Opius was in disguise, as a spy ranger they wear different disguises too, what we didn’t know about Opius is that he has the same ability as Frank, he is also a shapeshifter. We detected a Manling in disguise, we did not know until he was in the dungeon and we took the mask off .”

    “Oh you three are useless, you could have captured any shapeshifter. You must have been purchasing items off the radio stations again aren’t you. A manling detector? Really? It will detect any manling yes whether they are a shapeshifter, spy, doom mime or just walking down the street.” The Queen paused after her scolding. “You will use Opius as bait, but you better have a foolproof plan to make it work. And since you three are fools you better run your plan by me.”


    Jack was ready dressed in tan pants, white shirt and suspenders, a holster to hold a taser gun, more for his own protection more than anything, and the signature top hat made of patches of metal and canvas. He had been given a couple days to start growing out a beard, everyone hoped it would fill in more as of now he had a scruffy moustache and little goatee, but had some serious lamb chops growing on the sides of his cheeks. He was trained on how to act like a monster hating Monsterologist. He had been given access to all the books the monster rangers had documented and collected throughout the years about the Monsterologist and even a few books they had acquired through secret missions into the Monsterologist Headquarters.

    “It’s time darling.” drawled Sheila. “You’re ready. You definitely look the part. Dangle will get you to the front doors, we have a psychic outpost close to their headquarters.

    “Am I really going to just walk up to the door and say “HI I’m here to join the Monsterologist.”

    “Actually you are.They really aren’t the smartest group of men and women. They are more scared of Monsters that is why they hunt them, and they think the are worth money.”

    “Won’t they recognize Dangle?” Jack questioned

    “Oh no darling. She had the ability to cloak herself from their minds and eyes. Our psychics really have some amazing abilities.”

    “Then why can’t she go in?” Jack asked hopeful.

    “She is the only one that can see into the Danger Zones to make sure it is safe for any Ranger to enter. Also although she is able to do this and to cloke people’s minds it’s takes a lot of mental strength and she has been known to faint when it gets to be too much.” Sheila explained.

    Jack dropped his hopeful smile and and let out a heavy sigh “well i guess we better find Dangle and get going.” he dropped his shoulders and followed Sheila.

    “Greenie! Walk like a man and not a hurt puppy. The Monsterologist are dumb but they will not tolerate weakness.” She commanded. Sheila lead Jack through the Monster Ranger building back on the human side. The tall walls were lined with gold ornate framed portrait after portrait if current and former Rangers.


    Sheila dropped Jack off outside Dangle makeshift office after knocking on the door. “SHe will let you in when she is ready for you. Stay here.”

    After a couple minutes the door opened and Jack stepped inside and a soft sweet voice creeped out from the darkness, “You’re still unsure of yourself greenin. YOu need to show and think confidence. YOu need to think only to Kill Monsters.”

    “How am I to do this?’ Jack questioned.

    “Repeat in your mind Kill monsters, Kill Monsters, Kill monsters. If this is the only thing you think there is nothing else to see in you mind. Now step back outside, shut the door and prepare your mind. When you’re ready knock.” Dangle instructed

    Jack did as he was told. He stood in the hall for a while repeating the phrase over and over in his mind. When he felt there was nothing else he could think of he knock. Seconds ticked into minutes and the door finally swung open. “Enter”. The room looked different, a giant bright library lit in a golden light, monster heads hung on the walls. He felt bile starting to creep up his esophagus, but he kept thinking Kill Monsters.

    “Very good, although I could see you getting sick to your stomach I still felt and saw you wanted to kill monsters. It’s time for you to get to the Monsterologist Headquarters. The room slowly faded back into a little dark office filled with dark wood and hundreds of mystical items that Jack started to wonder how they worked.

    “Come on greenie, let’s go. Once we get Opius back I’ll teach you how to use some of these items. You may be in the wrong branch of the Monster Rangers.” Dangle said smiling to herself.

    They walked down the street as if nothing was out of the normal. Jack almost forgot he was in Obscuria, it looked like any other American city. The sun shined, the little curvy woman chatted about some wonderful restaurants that she loved to go to in Mostru and that when all was said and done they would celebrate at The Borscht Barn. As they walked a grey monolithic building started to loom in front of them. Really it looked like any other government building, large Roman columns, a large glass double door but not a many windows.

    “They think they can hide what is going on inside but we know better, don’t we Greenie.” Dangle elbowed Jack. There was something running through his mind as he already knew what was going on behind the columns and windowless walls.

    “ok , off with you. Just remember to keep thinking Kill monsters and you’ll be fine. You can answer all their questions about who you’re and where you’re from. Being truthful about all that will keep them believing as long as you think Kill monsters. I’ll see you soon” she said pushing him up the giant stairs.

    Jack got to the door and looked back, Dangle was waving at him though she looked at if she was fading away, within seconds she was gone. He took a deep breath, and started to repeat Kill monsters, as he stepped through the door.

    On the Road

    Now that Frank had received confirmation that everyone was on their mission he had McSniggler rely the message to Monster Ranger Headquarter.

    “Now can I go?” McSniggler pleaded.

    Frank sighed,”No,I need you to stay here you are my one connections to all other Rangers and Monster Headquarters.

    “What if I Leave once you leave?” McSniggler said with a hopeful whisper.

    “Well we are a long way from your broadcast station. And unless you have connection to a ride I don’t think you’ll be going anywhere. There are a lot of werewolves in this area.”

    “W-w-w-w-werewolves “ McSniggler stuttered

    “Yes plenty of werewolves, Now please just stay here.” exasperated Frank, “ you are safe here. I really don’t want to see you get hurt.” Frank wasn’t scared of werewolves for McSniggler, Frank was worried about what Crow Queen might do to the Dj if she new he was helping manlings, especially Frank.

    Frank collected his monster handbook, worn journal (one of many he has used over the years) and old, copper compass with spots of green, it didn’t read N, E, S, W instead it had G, T, M, H, B and DC. I worked for the five territories and the one great chasm that divided Obscuria. If you were in the dead center of any territory it would spin until you started moving in the direction of a new territory or the surrounding bogs.

    This little copper compass could do more, not only did it give the directions in Obscuria it also could tell when a Monsterologist was near by spinning in the opposite direction, it had also been trained to hide its arrow and open and shut itself when a one of the Royal Huntsman was near to give as a warning. Not many of these little monsters existed. The Queen had actually given Frank this many moons ago as a token of her honesty and trust. Trust and honesty that she gave falsely and used to take advantage of Frank and his love.

    Frank shook those memories from his mind not wanting to dig the past and yelled “Hey McSniggler use that secret code stuff and call for a ride From Beastio A Wand and Chadworth on the Steam Crow. I need a ride and I know i can trust them.

    Frank could hear McSniggler in the other room making the call, and then the phone ring. “ They are on their way Mr. Frank.”

    Frank threw everything in his scout bag and headed out the door. As he stepped off the curb as the Steam Crow pulled up and Chadworth yelled “Hey Frank old boy, Long time, you look worse than a skidbrook”

    Frank just growled and climbed in the giant food van with three smoke stacks on the back end with a head of crow, almost half the size of the van , on top. Any reasonable person would think the head looks like hot air balloon. The front window wrapped around the front of the van almost to the sally port, leaving just enough room for a door to get in and out of. Frank dropped his belonging on to the couch and announced he needed to be taken to Vaxo, the closest city to the southern most danger Zones.

    “What do you think we are?” bellowed Beastio, a tiny red devil looking creature with horns as big as his body, “We aren’t your taxi service.”

    “Well for this trip you are. I need a rig to get me to those danger zones and this hurky rig will keep me out of the eyes of the Crow Queen.”

    “Now now now, you do not call this fine piece of machinery hurky, especially if you’re going to be nothing by a Lolly.” Chadwick replied extremely insulted. ‘If you want a ride you better get your jackwagon butt in the Cookhole and get busy.”

    Frank rolled his eyes at the little robot with the fishbowl head and a skull rolling around inside, and rolled his eyes. “Listen fishbowl. I don’t mind helping out but you don’t need to be a cock-sprocket. We have a long journey and I need to be there fast. Just keep an eye out for the Crowbots and Royal Huntsman.”

    Frank got up and headed for the Cookhole to make some dinner, shaking his head and thinking of the long road ahead.

    The Plan Forms

    The Queen paced her large purple and red throne room. Her silky black wings ruffled as she moved. Her mind was spinning with thoughts: the wrong prisoner, Frank back in Obscuria, Frank the only man she loved and then…….”only if”. She whispered.

    “Flebby, Glebus, Glorbon” she screamed.

    The three huntsmen came scrambling into the room. “Yes your majesty” they breath heavily.
    You sang for us?”

    “You;ve had plenty of time. What is your plan!’

    “Well ummmmm you see we are still working on it.”

    “I want a plan or I will find Huntsmen, and toss you three into the night terror chasm.” she growled.

    “No, please your most glorious monstrous queen. Not the chasm.”Glebus cried

    “Oh you Jackhole, get up off the floor.” Glorbon kicked him. “I have a plan your highness. we are going to let some vital information slip into one of the broadcast coming out. Either the Rangers will hear the broadcast or one of the monster loyal to rangers will get the information to them. We know that six rangers are on the mission to save Opius, and one is Frank.”

    “The plan sounds reasonable, there better be a Monster Ranger in Unkh in the next two days or you will be joining Flebby and Glebus in the chasm.”

    Glebus began to cry again, “What do you mean join us?”

    The doors swung open to the throne room and two enormous Huntsmen, the size of small mountains and looking rocky and craggily, enter the room, picked up a stunned Flebby by his horns and the other picked up a slobbery, crying Glebus and tucked him under his arm like a football and carried them out of the room. “Toss them into the the Night Terror Chasm, maybe that will turn them into real monsters.” the Queen commanded. “And you Glorbon better get busy.”

    The Chasm

    The two giants made a quick walk to the Chasm one carrying Flebby like a football, the other dragging Glebus on the ground by one giant foot. The monster mountains dangled Flebby and Glebus over the chasm, holding them by their ankles. “It’s been great working with Glebus.” Flebby yelled over the screams of terror rising from the chasm.

    “ I love you! Flebby, youre, youre the bestest friend a monster could have.” Glebus still sobbing uncontrollably. “I don’t want to die.”

    One of the mountains shook with laughter, “you’re not going to die,you’re just going to have to live in your greatest nightmare.”

    The other mountain counted “one, two, three” and they both dropped Flebby and Glebus into the pitch black crevice in the ground. The two monsters could be heard screaming as the fell for minutes on end.

    Finally, what seem like they would never hit bottom, they landed on a soft patch of grass.

    “AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.” Flebby continued to scream.

    “ it-it-it’s ok, we landed” Glebus crying but trying to comfort Flebby by holding him in his lap and petting his small head.

    “I don’t want to be in the Night terror Chasm.” Flebby sobbed.

    “Me either. I’m scared of my Night Terrors. The thought of those cute little fluffy dogs with those big brown eyes licking my face, ewwwwww nooooooo! “ Glebus howled.

    “ a-an-and those chubby little babies and their giggles, Oh and the drool.” Flebby cried crawling up into Glebus’s lap and cuddling closer to him. Glebus wrapped his big hard arms around Flebby and they set and sobbed together as each other’s terror came crawling closer and closer.

    Miles into the Chasm McVee was talking with a Krampus about any information he might have about the kidnapping when he heard the most horrid wailing sound, it almost made a banshee’s scream sound musical.

    “What in the name of all monsters, what is that horrific noise?” McVee question the little Krampus.

    “Me know not what that is. Me not hear sound ever like that. Bleeding me ears” the creature placed his hands over his ears to stop the pain.

    “ Well I guess I know where this little mission is taking me. Thanks for your help. I’ll make sure that you are given your request for your information. I’ll meet you for a drink of _________, next time I’m in the Chasm. See you later Krampy.

    “Drink next time we will. Fun you have McVee” The Krampus giggled and scampered off in the opposite direction.

    McVee started trekking off in the direction of the noise. When the walls of the chasm get closer the noise started to fade and give McVee a little relief, when he would come out of he narrows the howling increased and hurt his ears. “I wonder if I’m going to find this noise before I go deaf.” as he watched monster after monster run past him in the opposite direction. He was just about to turn around because he could not stand the pain, then he came around a corner and saw the larger and tiny huntsmen cuddle up together crying.

    “What in the name of all that is holy are you two babies wailing about.” Mcvee shouted to get them to stop. “Stop Stop stop, you’re killing everyone !”

    They sniffed, and whimpered. “Wh-wha-what did you say?” Flebby asked

    “Blimey you need to stop your wailing, you’re killing and scaring every monster in the chasm. “

    “There are other monsters down here?” slobbered Glebus

    “Of course you oaf. What else do you think is in the NIght Terror Chasm?” Nightmares”

    “Well yea” both Huntsmen replied

    “No, it’s only the best place for food and drinks in all of Monstru, but it is kept on the downlow as we don’t want the riff raff and other Huntsmen coming down here. That would ruin all the fun.” McVee laughed, “so my question is why is a couple of the Crow Queen’s Huntsman wailing in the Night Terror Chasm. They are strictly forbidden from coming down here.”

    Wiping the slime from his nose Flebby explained how they had failed the Queen and Gorbus had not and she had them thrown into the Chasm to live out their days with there own terrors of puppies and babies.

    McVee gawfed at the thought of these to scary monsters being frightened of puppies and babies and dug in his monster medic beg for some candy. Usually he has a good solid stock but for some reason he only had some old, hard grandma ribbon candy. “Well it’s not much but it will help until I can get something better. Come on you two, let’s get you cleaned up and something to eat.”

    “Eat?” ask Glebus.

    Yeah, come on you big galoot.” McVee pulled Flebby off of Glebus’s lap and pulled the giant Huntsman up off his butt and pushed them up the path of the chasm till he came to a side opening that looked as if it would be a small hallway off the main path. Once they entered the dark path and took a couple step a giant room opened up to a restaurant, tables and chairs with monsters of all sorts sitting eating delicious smelling food.

    “What is that lovely smell?” Flebby drooled.

    “THat my little huntsman is some of the most delicious food known to manling kind, a cheeseburger and fries.”

    “What?” Glebus excitedly drooled, “How is manling food being served here? It’s forbidden.” the drool running over his big fat bottom lip.

    “Like I said, the chasm is famous for it food and drink. Most the food is black market. Many monster rangers loved Obscuria so much that once the retired the decided to move to Obscuria, but the being a manling in Obscuria is not always the best place for former Rangers to hangout, and forget about starting a business.”McVee continue to explain. “So since all the monsters are scared of the Night Terror Chasm. What better place for manlings to set up their businesses.

    The Monster Medic and two huntsmen at down and McVee ordered three larger cheeseburgers loaded with everything, fries and chocolate shakes. “Now my friends, you are definitely on the outs with the queen. I’ve never seen any Huntsmen down here in all my years. But then I thought she had died.”

    “No no no, she has been in hiding ever since the manling Frank left her, her heart was broken, she is just trying to get him back.” Glebus still trying to control his sobs.

    “What do you mean she is trying to get Frank back?” McVee questioned, “Frank did not leave her she sent him away. He was trying to stop one of her plans to capture manlings and wanted Frank to help her, he did not want anything to do with her plan.”

    McVee wanted to ask more questions but it was still too early and the food had just arrived. The sparkle in the huntsmen’s eye told him he was on the right path to getting the information he needed.

    The Goblin Market

    After leaving Jack with Dangle, Sheila headed to the Black Umbrella Goblin market. She was on of the the few Ranger that ever dared to enter, and the only reason was that she helped set up the Goblin Market. When the Crow Queen ruled over Obscuria she had such a tight reign over the monsters there was very little commerce, all monsters were forced to serve her and she would decide who would live, die, which goods were good and bad, The Good she kept and the bad she would throw out to all the monsters. WHen Sheila entered Monstru for the first time she was shocked to find out how monsters lived and she began a bartering system on the outskirts of of Monstru to help all monsters. Shelia had become the most wanted villain in Monstru, but most monsters did not want to turn her in, and the ones that did want to capture her could never find her. She had to many monsters on her side to help hide her in plain sight so she could walk amongst the monsters and never be detected.

    “Hellllloooo my dear friend Mr. Gloob.” Sheila drawled out, “How are you.”

    “As I live and almost breath” chuckled a little grey goblin with a strangely body and long white eyebrows the fell into to his floor length beard. He eyes were almost squinted shut but Shelia could see the sparkle in his eyes, “Sheila how are you, it’s been much too long.” His high pitched voice wheezed.

    The little goblin climb up the table in his stall of goods to get a better look at the Skull Ranger. “You are still as difficult as ever to detect. You always had the gift of of deguise with death and decay, but your voice was always a dead give away.” He chuckled, shaking his entire little body.

    “Oh you’re too kind my little friend. Sheila’s voice dropped low and into a whisper” although I wish this was for shopping or socializing I’m actually here on Ranger business, have you heard anything about the Crow Queen?”

    The goblin jumped and shiriked in in shock, “Great Ghost Hunters! No I haven’t heard anything about the Crow Queen! Although ,” he immediately dropped his voice to whisper, “she is thought to be dead, but there are rumors she is just in hiding.”

    In a hushed tone Sheila replied, “can you lead me to where you have heard these rumors?”

    “Why yes, of course, my friend. Meet me here at the end of the day we will go and have dinner, I will gather a couple friends.” he winked at her.

    “It is so good to see you again, I will see you at closing.” Sheila announced in her normal tone.

    She turned to walk down the crowded market, taking in all the chatter listening for anything that might catch her ear. If she might hear anything to cause question she would stop and look at the items being sold and turn her spy ear up to listen closer. As she was listening at the collection of eyeball at a Qui-qui tent she overheard to Court Nobles discussing the return of the queen.

    “But how do you know she has returned?”

    “It is all rumors, but a Monster Ranger has gone missing.”

    “OH, did she come and take Frank back.” the one laughed

    Dropping their voices low, “I hear that she is back and looking to take over Monstru and Obscuria. “

    As Sheila leaned in to listen she noticed one of the Tiger Cargo vans backing into a building behind the market tents. She kept watching, as it was strange to see a a van in the middle of the day, they usually only brought delivers in the morning and in the evenings. It was what was established when she had helped establish the Goblin market 100’s of years ago. The van came to stop just at the edge of the building, then shook back and forth as if someone was moving cargo around. After a few short minutes the Tiger cargo van drove off. Sheila knew that cargo could not be unloaded that fast, even the witches took some time moving boxes of goods. Which only meant one thing, the cargo was some sort of being, monster, human or monsterologist she was unsure of.

    “Oh” one of nobles whispered, “Lookie there, the first shipment has arrived. It looks as if the Queen’s plan is starting to formulate.” he said with a wink.

    Sheila knew this couldn’t be good, she pulled her black hooded cloak tight around her skeleton outfit and moved towards the building the cargo van had just left from. As she moved closer she could see movement in the windows. The Royal Huntsmen might be mean, scary and brutish, but smart they were not. She could see them moving around in front of windows, “Ha ha ha, so much for stealth” she thought to herself.

    Now that she knew what the cargo was, she needed to get ahold of Frank and let him know to get the Goblin market. She turned on her heels to get to the nearest broadcast station.

    Change of Plans

    “Frank! Get your butt off the couch and get up here.” yelled Chadworth the little fishbowl robot.

    “Listen you trash bin, I just got done cleaning up from first breakfast and brunch, you can’t be hungry already and I’m not going to cook.” Frank hollered walking up to the front of the STeam Crow rig.

    “No, no, no” the little red devil, spoke, motioning for Frank to quiet down.”Just listen, it’s McSniggler.”

    “Time for A Noodle my cronies, Always be on the lookout for a Lollydoll out on the road, The Super cute Lollydolls are at the Goblin Market. Or so I’ve been told. So get there in a splash.” McSniggler was gabbering.

    “He’s been going on about Detours and cute hitchhiker hanging out in the Goblin Market for the past 10 minutes” Chadworth sighed.

    “I would love to pick up a lollydoll” Beastio said dreamily.

    “Well get what Beastio old Rube. We’re heading to the Goblin Market, somethings going on there. And maybe we’ll find you a cute little devil of hitchhiker too.”

    “Now wait a minute”Chadworth shouted from his throne. “ we were suppose to be heading Vaxo, no further. I’m not driving you all over Obscuria.”

    “Well yes you are” Frank reminded him, “ unless you are happy with the idea of The Crow Queen taking over.”

    “Well, nooooo.” Chadwick whispered.

    “Oh but it could be a Gimmick. What if McSniggler is setting us up? Oh that would be so much fun, I love a good Gimmick.” Beastio said bouncing in his seat.

    “On Ferals, you two JIbbers, listen! McSniggler is sending us a coded message. Sheila must have found something out in The Goblin Market. So take whatever Noodle you have to take to get us there fast.” Frank commanded, Feed some more jollies to the furnace goblins and get the Jackwagon moving.”

    Chadwick puffed up his metal chest and slammed on the breaks, “not until you apologize for calling the Steam Crow a Jackwagon.”

    “Are you kidding me?” Frank slapped his hand to his forehead. “Ok ok This is a fine piece of machinery Chadworth. Thank you for being so kind as to let me ride in this magnificent rig.”

    “Thank wasn’t so hard now was it.” Chadwick threw a handful of JolliBean down the shoot to the furnace goblins and they took off almost too fast. “Be careful down there. We don’t want to attract any Heralds.”

    Dinner and more

    Sheila arrived back at Mr. Gloob tent just as he was putting his goods away. Sheila put her arm out and he climbed up on her forearm and dropped the front of the tents openings shut. “Now off to dinner my fine friend.”

    He scurried up to her shoulder and sat down. “I must be more than quiet” he whispered. “I did notice you were paying close attention to the unexpected Tiger Cargo.”

    “Yes, that was quite unusual for the middle of the day. And a cargo full of Royal Huntsmen.” she whispered back.

    “Yes, they are looking for Frank.”

    “Frank!” Sheila said a little too loud, and started to look around hoping no one hear her. She continued to move quickly to a large purple tent with gold trim. They walked into and through the tent to the kitchen.

    “To the fridge.” Mr. Gloob whispered.

    Sheila walked to the giant metal fridge and open the door, walked in and the door shut behind them. “Hurry!”Mr. Gloob warned “ I believe we might have been followed to the back corner. “ She raced to the back corner, “move the third box of wiggleniggles” Sheila moved the box and a door opened. She quickly stepped through and the door slide shut just as they heard the fridge door open.

    Sheila saw the stairs and started moving down them as fast as she could with the little goblin on her shoulder. They could hear the fridge door handle wiggle but it was now locked. They continued to race down the stairs deeper deeper. “Do these stairs ever end?” Sheila asked breathing heavily.

    “Yes, we have a ways to go still. There is another way but a lady like you would not like to go that way.” Mr.Gloob explained.

    Where are we going?

    We are heading to the the Night Terror Chasm.”

    WHAT! I don’t really want to go there, besides we have a Ranger stationed in the chasm, so you see I don’t really need to go there.” She pleaded.

    “It is not what you think my friend, you will find yourself more at home then you think, besides we need to meet up with McVee. I received a message before you arrived in the market. We will combine our information, and you really do need to be there. Keep walking please.”

    Sheila knew she had no choice, even though this little monster on her shoulder was her friend she also knew that he could compel her to keep walking against her will with just a whisper in her ear.

    After an hour the stair finally came to an end. The wall had changed from steel to dirty then gravel then boulders, then raw rock, dirt and roots, turning and spiral as Sheila came to the end of the stairs she could see a long narrow hallway carved into the Obscuria ground with a thin shaft of light at the opening. As they walked towards the opening Shelia could see that the light was not sunlight but coming from rod iron caged gaslights that hung from the walls, the gas line running from one light to the next one just 5 feet away. As she stepped out into the chasm she was shocked to see what looked to be now bigger than an alleyway full of businesses with monsters of all sorts and sizes walking around and even surprised to see a few Monster Rangers she had known but had retired.

    My goodness what is all this” she asked Mr. Gloob.

    “This is the real black market but it was developed by former Monster Rangers. Mr. Gloob explained how the former Rangers had developed the entire chasm hundreds of years ago. So they could have a place to live and retire. They continued to walk up the chasm, Sheila gawking in amazement at all the stores selling human and monster items.

    “But want about Lincolnstein and the Crow Queen? Why haven’t they shut this down?”

    Mr Gloob giggled to himself, “The monsters and manlings you see are the ones that know about this black market. And believe me, no one wants to let this little secret out, some have even moved here. Most of the monsters that come here may be here to buy something for “a friend’ all the other monster of Obscuria believe this is where their night terrors actually live.

    “Oh my that is just silly, terrors only live in your mind not in some deep dark chasm.” Sheila laughed.

    “Oh but not in Obscuria, my dear friend Night Terrors are a very real and tangible thing. Here monsters terrors live and walk among us. They are not just in our minds. That is one benefit you manlings have your terrors only exist there. And since you are a monster Ranger the one thing that haunts most human’s does not affect you because you live and walk amongst the monster world. I do wonder if monsters cross who over to the human world level their terrors behind as they walk amongst their terrors on the other side.” Mr Gloob explained, “oh here we are.” he gestured towards a crack in the steep rocky wall.

    Shelia stopped and looked at the dark crack wondering what he meant.

    “If you will please enter I believe we should find your good friend McVee.” Mr. Gloob directed.

    Shelia slid into the opening and walked through the dark hall into the wide open space of the restaurant. There she saw McVee sitting with the two Royal Huntsman. Storming up to she growled with clenched teeth “What are you doing with these goons?…………


    Monster Ranger

    Marrow Thatch was keeping watch over Baron Davis’ farm from a corner near the forest. To all observers he just looked like an enormous scarecrow with a crow nesting on his shoulder. Baron knew differently. He had been awakened to the reality of who and what Marrow was during his imaginate8 where he had discovered the scarecrow was actually a giant Steam Crow who could move about and talk on his own. The stroke of lightning that had awakened Baron’s insight had also animated the Steam Crow.
    The Gloomin, the giant crow on Marrow’s shoulder had also been struck by the lightning and now had comprehension beyond that of a normal crow. Over the past 4 days since the Imagine8, Baron had seen the Gloomin shift shapes. It could become as small as a songbird and as large as a man. When it was as large as a man it had black robes that resembled crow wings. Marrow and the Gloomin had a habit of watching over the monsters on the farm by standing at rest but ever at the ready.
    Today Baron Davis was pre-occupied with a vampiric new plant that had started to grow in between his pumpkins. Baron swore under his breath softly looking down at the damage the new plants were causing. His biggest pumpkins had tendrils wrapped around them with spikey ends stabbing into them. Some of the pumpkins looked as though they had been deflated. He was worried because the pumpkins were a big seller at the market during the autumn season and money was tight.
    Unseen behind him Marrow’s eyes flashed open. Even during the daylight the glowing orange light of them flashed like charged lightning. The Gloomin peeked it’s head from underneath one wing and looked around. It’s gaze fixed on the forest behind them.
    Baron was still focused on his pumpkins so he did not see the Steam Crow rouse from his perch and move towards the forest. Marrow walked between the trees. He was certain he had heard the cries for help of some monsters in this direction. The Gloomin’s piercing eyes penetrated the shadows from the trees around them. He launched off of Marrow’s shoulder to get a bird’s eye view from above. The Gloomin got a look at what was ahead of Marrow. Some Monsterologists were lurking in the shadows two ridges over and they had some Plug Uglies with them. The Plug Uglies were crying out as though they were monsters who were trapped by the Monsterologists. Marrow was walking right into a trap.
    The Gloomin could not get Marrow’s attention. He was too focused on saving the monsters he could hear in the distance. The Gloomin wheeled around to find Baron Davis and hoped he could make it to Marrow on time.
    Baron was scratching his head as he looked down at his pumpkin patch. The new weeds were proving difficult to dislodge and did more damage when removed forcefully. Perhaps he could dig up the rest of the pumpkins now and save what he could. He stood up and dusted his hands off on his faded jeans as he walked towards the cart he had brought out in the field with him today. He grabbed the shovel from the bed of the cart and turned back towards the pumpkin patch. As he looked up he saw the Gloomin flying through the sky in the shape of a crow. The Gloomin was coming fast. Baron paused seeing the speed of the creature. The Gloomin landed on his shoulder sending a mild shock through his body. It set his teeth on edge. Apparently the lightning strike from 4 days ago still had a charge in the Gloomin’s body.
    The Gloomin spoke to him telepathically. He could see Marrow lumbering slowly up the steep hill through the forest at the back of his fields. He could see from an aerial view the trees rushing by up the hill. He then was able to see a clearing at the top where there were 5 Monsterologists and 3 Plug Uglies waiting in ambush for the Steam Crow. Baron gasped. They had to do something. He charged across the field and into the forest. He only hoped he would be fast enough to stop Marrow before he was ambushed. He had absently brought the shovel with him and realized he could use it as a weapon if he had to fight.
    The Gloomin had been hanging on his shoulder as he charged across the field and his claws dug deep into Baron’s shoulder. After he had reached the trees the Gloomin launched off his shoulder and flew ahead above the trees. Baron entered the forest and had to slow down to avoid tripping on roots and falling back down the hill. He cursed softly under his breath as he picked his way through the underbrush. He only feared he would be too late. “Marrow? Where are you?” He had lost sight of the Gloomin shortly after he entered the trees.
    Baron became winded and he had to stop to catch his breath. When he did he heard faint voices up ahead. It sounded like he was getting close to the Monsterologists. He moved forward again and soon saw the top of the hill. He was still hidden by the trees at this point and he could see Marrow was surrounded by the Monsterologists and the Plug Uglies. They were weaving in and out around the Steam Crow, poking in his direction when they felt they could get close enough.
    Baron ducked behind a large rock as he saw one of the Plug Uglies turn his way and sniff at the air. He only hoped he hadn’t been seen. The Plug Ugly looked all around the area where Baron was hiding but didn’t appear to see him. It turned back towards Marrow and joined in the taunting again. Baron could see that the Monsterologists had brought a net and they were trying to untangle it to catch Marrow. Baron had to think fast. He could not let Marrow be captured.
    Baron looked up and saw the Gloomin circling above in the shape of an enormous raven. The Plug Uglies were distracted by the shadow circling over them. Baron saw that all of the Plug Uglies were gazing upwards and the Monsterologists were distracted by the tangles in the net. He decided to take action at that moment. He darted out from behind the rock and rushed towards the group brandishing his shovel.
    When he was within a few feet of the attackers he let out a blood curdling shout and raised his shovel above his head. Everyone turned to look at him in surprise. Marrow’s eyes glowed orange in the setting sunlight. It seemed as though this was the moment the Gloomin had been waiting for as he plunged downwards. Baron’s shovel was aimed at the head of one of the Plug Uglies and it connected knocking it down on the ground. The Gloomin lit on the head of one of the Monsterologists. Baron winced in sympathy as the Monsterologist stiffened. A moment later Marrow reached out and touched the Monsterologist and something strange happened. It seemed that the combined touch of Marrow and the Gloomin had turned the Monsterologist into a stone statue.
    Baron knocked out a second Plug Ugly with his shovel. Marrow and the Gloomin worked together to turn the other Monsterologists into stone. The Gloomin soared over and landed on the third Plug Ugly and it turned to ash. Baron sat down on the ground to catch his breath now that the threat was over. He watched as the Gloomin turned the other Plug Uglies to ash. When the Gloomin was done he shape shifted to a human sized form. He helped Baron to his feet. Once again Baron received the mild electric shock. He had to remember not to let the Gloomin touch him until the electricity had passed out of his body.
    Baron looked at the stone statues around the clearing. He casually bumped one of them with his shovel. The statue fell over and broke into dozens of pieces. “Oops” Baron uttered looking completely insincere. He looked over at Marrow and the Gloomin. “Oops” Marrow repeated. Baron continued around the circle knocking over the statues. There was something satisfying about seeing them topple over and break.
    When Baron was finished knocking over all of the statues he turned around to see the Gloomin had again returned to crow size and was perched on Marrow’s shoulder. As he walked back to the farm beside the Steam Crow, Baron knew that if some Monsterologists had found his farm then others would soon follow. He must do something to protect the monsters that Marrow was teaching him about. He was musing about how he could enlist others to help him with this mission. He could not do it alone.
    In a flash of insight he decided he must recruit others to their cause. He would reach out to neighboring towns and ask for help. It was the only thing he could do. He planned to talk with Marrow tomorrow about his idea. First he wanted to get home and have dinner and get a good night’s sleep. He was certain his wife had made another great meal. As he returned home under the light of the moon he saw Marrow return to his post by the side of his field near the forest, ever keeping watch. He walked towards his home.

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