Monster Hunters # 2

A Marvelcado Comics Miniseries by Lovely Bones

You can check out Issue #1 here:

Monster Hunters #1: Mayhem at Monster Isle!

Main Cast: Zawadi – Lupita Nyong’O, Elsa Bloodstone – Rose Leslie, Ulysses Bloodstone – Iain Glen, Ophelia Bloodstone – Kate Dickie, Dr. Druid – David Yip, The Hurricane – Santiago Cabrera, Adam – Jurgen Prochnow, Charles Barnabus – Richard Ayoade, Harvey Elder/Mole Man – Seth Green.

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Our heroes descend further into terror as they Enter the Kingdom of Subterranea!

He stood in the cramped and damp underground tunnel, hunched over with his wife and daughter at his side, freakish monsters rapidly approaching them. The portrait of stoicism that was Ulysses Bloodstone had turned frantic, and in his desperation, suddenly plunged his right hand into the luminescent gems on the tunnel’s ceiling, tearing out from the source and casting them towards the blind beasts. They whimpered in pain and crawled backward as the rocks struck them and scattered across the tunnel floor, their tender and pale flesh seemingly burnt in patches where the brightly glowing gems connected. With those creatures distracted for the time being, the leader let out a sigh of relief and exasperatedly barked orders to the rest of the Monster Hunters. “Ophelia, Elsa, stay behind me at all costs, don’t try to use our guns in tight spaces like this. Zawadi, if it comes to that, please keep my family safe. And Ludgate, you’re a sorcerer, for the sake of those pagan gods of yours if nothing else, magic us out of here before those things come back.” 

Ulysses could feel their heavy breathing and hear the scratch of their claws from the shadows, just beyond the reach of the gemstones’ light. He withdrew his machete from his belt, ready to lash out with it at a moment’s notice. The monsters were out of sight for now, but they had not gone far. He might need to do more to force a full retreat, and for his family, this man would do anything. Ophelia gently elbowed him in the ribs and leaned towards him, quietly asking to please calm down and remember not to talk down to her and Elsa. He began to whisper a plea that they talk about this later, but his response was cut off as Dr. Druid called out from the back. The eldest of the group was still panting from exhaustion after the mad dash away from the cave’s mouth, leaning firmly on his cane to remain steady. “That horrid creature’s psychic powers intruded into the deepest recesses of my great wizened mind. The kind of force it needed to inhibit me in the first place, it is enough that my magicks still have yet to recover. They are too weak right now.” 

Soaked in sweat from all the action and jungle heat, exhausted and at his wit’s end, Ulysses simply stood stock still for just a handful of seconds, contemplating their next move. His train of thought was soon interrupted by a squeaking plea from his companion, Professor Harvey Elder. He exclaimed, “Please don’t hurt these creatures any further! We should not just assume these beings are dangerous, these…mole people. They are so humanoid! Are we not all outcasts in one way or another? The victims of misjudgment? We cannot subject them to the same treatment!” The patriarch slammed his left-handed fist against the cavern wall in an impatient furor, hoping to intimidate the monsters that lurked just out of reach and sight. Sure enough, they scampered away for good this time, seemingly more curious than predatory. But could they afford to take that chance?

Ulysses frustratedly exclaimed, “We don’t have time for this, Harvey! The thing we were almost fed to could very well still be coming after us from behind! These eyeless wretches have sharp, filthy claws. We cannot afford to be stuck between them and whatever is back there!” Before Harvey could argue any further, Bloodstone sharply ordered the Hurricane to scout ahead and report back as soon as possible, and that strange man dashed away without hesitation. The leader of the Monster Hunters declared boisterously, “Perhaps we could use more obedience like that around here!” 

* * * *

It had been some hours since the Monster Hunters’ successful escape from the clutches of the Moomba, whatever creature devoured it, and the eyeless monsters in the caves, which they had stuck with calling Mole People from Harvey’s coinage. They were camped out in a grander cavern far deeper in the tunnel system, with at least one party member always standing guard to ward off the Mole People. Elsa and Zawadi sat together at the tunnel entrance, calmly admiring the intricate structuring of this underground world and enjoying whatever private time they could snatch from these desperate hours. While the others attempted to rest, the married couple had been bickering for hours now, Professor Elder and the Wakandan evidently not the only dissatisfied parties. Zawadi had been fighting the urge to speak her mind to her lover all evening, yearning to be as free and angry as she was promised she could be, but just as much desiring not to upset Elsa. At last, she couldn’t help herself. Even with the others at a distance and clearly asleep, she whispered it.

“I am sorry to say this, my dear, but your father, he is not keeping his cool. Always he had kept his mind clear in the face of danger, but now, I fear he might be cracking. Although he has my sympathies, of course, that is clearly still a failure of leadership. Perhaps he could step back for the time being? Allow us, or your mother, or even that crotchety wizard, if he could handle it, to take care of this until we can breathe easy at the manor.”

Elsa inhaled sharply through her nose and moved herself away from Zawadi’s embrace, staring dead into her eyes. “I understand that you are scared right now just like we all are, you don’t have a monopoly on that any more than he does, but don’t you ever speak like that about my father to me again, Zawadi. He is trying his best and I can’t help but want to support him in that. I love all my family, I do, but father was always more involved in my life than anyone else. Teaching me to fight, taking me on my first hunting trip, always encouraging my excitement for being a part of the family business, while all Ophelia could ever seem to do is suggest what else I could do with my life besides being a Monster Hunter, like she doesn’t believe in me, or believe in the work. Maybe both…The point is, please respect me by respecting my father. He means the world to me.”

Zawadi bowed her head and took Elsa’s hands in hers, squeezing tightly as she apologized for her behavior and promised to keep this in mind for the future. Elsa nodded and smiled sweetly for a moment before pulling her hands away. Zawadi nodded and stepped back to give her space, while offering reassurances that she is a great huntress and that her mother must be proud of her, simply trying to remind her that there is more to life than their traditions. Her words were cut off by a loud crack followed by Ulysses swearing in a tongue foreign to both. The arguments occurring in their background had been gradually escalated into shouting matches, and the two women rushed in with hopes to intervene. They saw Harvey standing out of breath below Ulysses, with both hands clenched around his walking stick and a pulsating welt of pain left on the patriarch’s face.

The grizzled hunter sank into a dark fury as the last ounce of his patience drained from his body. Even Elsa looked deathly frightened at the look upon his face. Along with everyone else, she was even more visibly disturbed by the fact that he and Harvey clearly weren’t paying attention to the sound of many many claws skittering on the stone floor of the back tunnel that she and Zawadi had been guarding. As Zawadi and the others scrambled to pack up their things, Elsa pleaded with her father that this issue could be continued at a later and better time, but her words were waved off. 

Her father bellowed into the professor’s red face. “You have been a dead weight for the entire time I’ve known you, Harvey. You are just as pathetic and useless as all of your colleagues ever said you were, you have not spent hundreds of hours of your waking life living and breathing monster, you have not made the hard choices I’ve had to in my fight for conservation and survival, and with all this in mind you simply do not get to have an opinion on this!”

Ulysses smashed his meaty fist into Harvey’s face, shattering the man’s spectacles. Zawadi cried out in shock as Ophelia calmly held her back. Fallen back against the rock wall, hunched over in aching pain, Harvey squealed, “The glass, it’s all in my eyes! Bloodstone, please!” As the massive tide of mole people surged into the cavern towards the group, Ulysses turned back towards the group with fire in his eyes. He growled, “Don’t look back.” Together, with every ounce of adrenaline surging through their veins, the group ran through a tunnel deeper into this bizarre world they had stumbled upon. Only Zawadi hesitated, watching out of the corner of her eye as Harvey attempted to follow in vain, before wincing and looking away from her friend, running ahead into the dark unknown. 

* * * *

They no longer made stops. The Monster Hunters moved relentlessly forward with aching pain in their limbs and a twinge of guilt in their hearts. In all their hours of passage they remained uncomfortably silent, until the Hurricane made a cocky, miscalculated wisecrack about taking a vote the next time they kick someone out. Zawadi shot him a dirty look, and he looked at the floor like a naughty child caught redhanded. He admitted to never being comfortable with silences and not having the social experience to have been a good judge of the situation. With the oppressive silence hanging over them broken, and the usually stoic speedster making conversation, Dr. Druid attempted to inquire further about him and his life. The Hurricane dodged his questions as effortlessly as he did the tunnels’ many obstacles, but he did give a name: Adam Clayton. Druid irritatedly accepted this as the most he could expect to get under dire straits, but assured him that this would not be their last talk.

At that moment, the group became reinvigorated despite everything bearing over their recent time together, as they saw the stars of the isle’s night sky staring back at them! The room they had entered stretched long and its walls stood high, but the open air was enough to keep them marching forward, and beginning to scale their way up towards freedom from Subterranea. It consumed much time and energy, but at last they were all back on the surface. And in that moment of triumph, out from the same tunnel they entered through, strode Harvey Elder, clad in a makeshift tunic and a bandage wrapped across his eyes, walking stick in hand and a pack of mole people following close behind.

“There is no true escape from the fortress of the Mole! You may be able to walk away today, but the Mole Man smells your fear, Ulysses. We are always lurking beneath the feet of the powerful, and when the time is right we will strike and take back the world that is rightfully ours! You dare dismiss the Mole People as monsters, just as I have been dismissed time and again, but in the end it was them that showed me kindness, and all of you humans that failed, even you, Zawadi. Just like all of them, you stood by that tyrant and abandoned me in the dark, believing you had left me for dead, but you all were foolish, for the dark is my home and someday soon, it will be my weapon. Begone!”

The Monster Hunters turned away from their former comrade and walked through the jungle, as Harvey’s words rattled around inside Zawadi’s skull, chilling her to the bone. When they reached their shores, they found the latest disturbing surprise in a long chain: the seaplane was nowhere to be found! Ulysses was furious at this loss, but neither he nor any of the others could be deterred, so close had they been to leaving this troublesome island. Without their requests needing to be made, Dr. Druid instinctively drew a large circle and elaborate symbols within it on the sands of Monster Isle’s shore. As everyone stood together, the Druid chanted, raised his hands toward the sky, and then there was a massive, bright flash of light, consuming them all.

The Monster Hunters returned to Bloodstone Manor with a plan to rest for as long as needed and do their best to forget their worst memories from Monster Isle. Adam and Charles Barnabus greeted the party with immense concern in their eyes and voices, only for it to be swept away with a surge of great relief. Behind closed doors, Zawadi and Elsa at last embraced once more, grateful to be home where they could try to forget all that transpired on Monster Isle. When the team held their next meeting soon after the return, Barnabus directed them to a series of recent news reports he had made note of while they were away, for them to pursue when joy and energy had wholly returned to them. These reports described a recent spike in sightings of a creature known among Native Americans…as Bigfoot.

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Will our heroes be Hunters or Hunted, as they face…Creatures on the Prowl!

Chapter 3 is coming to this page very soon!