The Ballad of the Hamster (Part Two)

Day 83. 140,047 words.


He decided to name the skeleton Barry. Barry was pretty neat. He scuttled around in delight when Hamster II instructed him to kill stuff, and after he’d scuttled around for a while, he found something to kill. It was a spiky sort of hedgehog thing, and Barry victimised it mercilessly, sniggering while he did so.

Eventually, the hedgehog thing died. Hamster II realised Barry wasn’t very strong, and he was pretty frail – but it sure beat poking his enemies with that crappy stick of his.

The pair wandered around on the Blood Moor for half a day, killing hedgehogs and a few more zombies. There were even a few other creatures around, like giant apes, which were even more fun.

After being attacked by a few of those, Barry broke to pieces with a final chuckle. Hamster II walked over to the massive body of one of the ape-things, and waved his wand randomly over it. There was a fleshy explosion, and another skeleton popped out of the wreckage with a bony smirk. It was a normal human skeleton, despite coming from a creature that was clearly not at all human. Hamster II didn’t mind – it was just another sign of what a sucky world he was wandering around in.

He named the new skeleton Barry, after its predecessor.

Shortly before sunset, they came to a wall, with a gap in it. The gap was being guarded by one of those insufferable Rogues from the camp. She introduced herself as Flavie.

“What a stupid name,” Hamster II commented, and walked past her.

“Turn back!” she cried urgently. ”It’s too dangerous out there! Go and finish Akara’s quest before moving on!”

“Why does everybody want me to do this stupid quest? Why doesn’t Akara do it herself?”

“You’re the hero.”

“Shut up. Barry, kill her.”

Barry just scampered up and down, and sniggered uncertainly. “What’cha want me to do, boss? Who we gonna kill, huh? Who we gonna kill, c’mon, where we gonna go? Huh?”

Hamster II rolled his eyes. “I can’t believe they’ve sent me out to do this. Why m – ” he stopped himself in time. “It’s pretty damn stupid of them. I mean, honestly.”

Flavie shrugged and looked out over the wilderness alertly. When Hamster II stepped past her a second time, she cried out again. “Turn back! Turn back!”

“What if I don’t want to?”

Flavie pointed out to a small group of weirdly-dressed women roaming back and forth in the grass. They looked sort of like Rogues, with bows and arrows and leather, but they had green skin.

“You can’t deal with them yet,” Flavie pointed out.

“Balls,” Hamster II said, grabbed Barry by a rib, and gave him a shake. “Barry – go and kill them, will you?”

“Sure! Sure boss, heh heh heh heh,” Barry hurried out into the grassland next to the Blood Moor.

He swung his sword at one of the green-skinned women, and the rest turned, drew, and made a pincushion of him. Barry immediately fell to pieces. The green-skinned women turned and pointed at Flavie, and began to run across the grass towards them, shouting.

Hamster II nodded, and wandered away. In the distance behind him, he heard the twang of bowstrings, and Flavie shouted, “Gnyar!”

He went back to where he’d left a pile of hedgehog bodies, and waved his wand over them again. One of them exploded, and Barry stepped out, grinning as only a skeleton can.

“Hi boss, hi captain, hi chief, tiger, champ, buddy,” Barry chortled gleefully. ”Who we gonna kill, huh?”

Hamster II looked for a moment at the ruins of the tiny little body Barry the full-sized human skeleton had stepped from, and inwardly gave up. It was just obscenely stupid.

“Just follow me,” he said, and without waiting for Barry to chucklingly oblige, set out towards something he’d spied in the distance. It looked like flags.

It was dark by the time they reached what was indeed a bunch of flags and banners stuck in the ground, and Barry had killed a couple more hedgehogs and was looking a little battered. Hamster II looked at the bright flags, which were decorated with arrows pointing to a hole in the ground, and with words that merrily proclaimed, DEN OF EVIL!

“This might be it,” he said sardonically.

“Shall we go in, boss? Shall we, huh? Shall we go in, kill some guys? Shall we? Shall we?”

Instead of answering, Hamster II waved his wand over the body of another hedgehog. The hedgehog corpse exploded, Barry simultaneously collapsed in a heap, and Barry stepped out of the corpse, all shiny and fresh and new. He immediately took up where he left off, sniggering and asking if they could go down and kill some guys.

“Yeah, why not?” Hamster II replied, and stepped into the Den of Evil.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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