The Missing Unicorn in the Land of the Zombie Fairies—Part Four
By: David K. Montoya

DEDICATED TO MY GIRLS, ZOIE & LILY

Kén Tauros groaned as he, the sisters and their new friend Prince Theophrastus von Hohenheim of Paracelsus crossed into Swamp World. It was not that they were now in a dimension that smelled like sewage or even that the heat caused the centaur's body to itch.

But it was that the young Gnome Prince ceased to stop talking. From the moment they left the dungeon in the Kingdom of Fudge he started his chatter, and hours later continued with the same conviction he had in the very beginning. Although, no one was completely sure exactly what was his topic of conversation.

"Mother told me once that Swamp World was created when the Haggar Gods farted, but that didn't make much sense to me because, you know, wouldn't they have to eat something to fart? I mean flatulence was caused by the gas trapped inside the body from rotten food…well, that's what mother's wizard doctor told me and the class a few weeks back when we visited the creation center to learn how we were made…into, well, from nothing into something.

"Because we are all something, made of matter. Because my teacher said that matter was the building block of life, but that didn't make sense because my blocks always fell down. Did I tell you the time we had a royal contest to build the biggest castle, I used glue to hold my blocks together but mother said that was cheating and that sinse I was a good boy I wasn't allowed to cheat because cheating was for bad people…well, that's what mother said because Paracelsus wasn't allow to have bad people because we are a dimension of just and kind Gnomes that’s what Old Lawman said in a speech the other day. That's because we have a sun that gives us light, well that's what mo—"

It was Olivia who interrupted Theo (as she called him) as she cried out, "Will you please SHUT UP! Please! Or I will find a Swamp Dragon and feed you to it mySELF!"

Olivia huffed and puffed in frustration.

Emma giggled at her sister and said, "Now, now, Livi, no one is going to feed anyone to a Swamp Dragon. But perhaps it is a good idea to rest your voice for a while Theo. You have been enlightening us for several hours now."

"Oh. Mother said I talk too much, that's because once—"

"Oh, Swamp Dragon, here Swamp Dragon I have a delicious little Gnome for you to snack on," Olivia called out with wild eyes and a face tinted red from frustration.

"Yikes," Theo said and hugged Emma in fear that Olivia was going to feed him to the first Swamp Dragon they happened across first.

For the first time in many hours the four traveled down the road that led through Swamp World in silence. Now that Olivia was no longer aggravated with Theo the Gnome, she realized exactly how bad that place smelled.

"Em, it is really stinky, here," Olivia said while she fanned her hand in front of her face. "How much longer do we have in this dimension?"

"Yoon once talked about Swamp World, and how small it was," Emma comforted her younger sister. "So, we will be in another place before nightfall."

"It is so stinky, here, I've lost my appetite," Kén Tauros told the others. "I don't like this place much."

Well, this place don't much like you!

Kén Tauros stopped and looked back at his passengers, who appeared confused as well.

"Who said that?" Kén Tauros asked.

I did pony boy.

"W–who?" Kén asked.

Me.

"Me who? Show yourself!" Kén demanded.

Look down.

The four looked at the brick road in unison and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Emma had her fill of the games and said to the disembodied voice, "Enough with this silliness, show yourself or we will continue on our way."

Such big words for such a little, girl.

"Have it your way," Emma said with a shrug. "All right Kén, let's go."

HA! HA! HA! You think you can walk away from me little girl?

"Of course, I can," Emma said with her brow furrowed and shoulders straight. "We are on a journey and have no time for silliness."

Tell me little girl, how do you walk away from something when that something is everything.

"That makes no sense," Olivia questioned.

Emma's face shifted in thought, until she said to her sister, "I agree, Livi, it doesn't make sense."

Finally, like a cork under pressure Theo popped up where he sat and said, "Oh! Oh! Are you a Haggar God? Because Mother said that just because you cannot see them does not mean they do not exist. My teacher said once that he saw a Haggar God, but no one believed him. But maybe you are one and don't know it. I read once that this sort of things are more common that most peop—"

I am no Haggar God, you annoying little creature! The Voice interrupted.

"Enough! Onward Kén," Emma ordered in her best tough girl voice. Kén walked up the brick path with Emma, Olivia and Theo on his back, but the mysterious voice continued to speak, and it sounded as he was right there with the others.

I am everything, you cannot outrun me or walk away from me for I am SWAMP WORLD!

Kén stopped where he stood and looked back at the two sisters.

"You are the entire dimension," Emma figured out.

Correct little girl. I AM everything in this, as you call it, dimension.

The land beneath them rumbled and a set of human looking arms surfaced from the ground and tried to grab the four. But, before they reached Kén, the sisters and Theo, Emma screamed out to her centaur friend, "RUN!"

Kén took off in a gallop, every few yards another set of arms materialized and swooped at the four, but with no luck as the centaur was too fast.

Run. Run as fast as you like. The voice chuckled. That makes it all more enjoyable! If I wanted, I would open up and swallow you whole.

"So Haggar Gods do eat! I always knew that they had to, I mean we have to eat to live, but then again, the chocolate bunny in the Kingdom of Fudge didn't eat. I am so confused! Is the Haggar God going to eat us or is he just toying with us? Mother once said that it was called a game of cat and mouse."

"Wait! What did you just say," Olivia asked.

"Mother once said that it was called a game of cat and mouse because of how the person that chased the other person was like a cat who would give chase to a small mouse. You have mice on Earth right, I wanted to go to that realm, but Mother said that you humans are too dangerous, but you seem all right to me," Theo rambled.

"Em. I think it's playing tag–you're–it with us," Olivia said as she turned away from Theo to speak with her older sibling, although the Gnome prince continued to talk and talk.

You think this is a GAME Child? Let us see if you think so after I swallow you alive!

The ground shook violently, and the brick path ripped open and before Kén could stop, he, Emma, Olivia and Theo the Prince Gnome fell into the large black pit.

To be continued…

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