31 Days of Halloween #18

The Goosemother Scroll - Episode 9 Text below.

Pyg and Leap found themselves standing upon the shore of the elephant coast, Pyg watching the ghost ship vanish behind them, Leap shivering as he stared at the carnage before them.

“I wonder if he knew,” said Pyg.

“Who? And, er, what?” asked Leap, who was transfixed by the sight of a rotting zebra.

"Father Longtail about the Ghosts of Men,” answered Pyg. Her voice trembled. “About whatever happened here. Maybe we weren’t expected to come back. Maybe that’s why we were given such a useless excuse for a boat!”

She bent down, picked up a rock and threw it at the sun-dried carcass of a gazelle. The rock hit its target, disturbing a cluster of flies who cursed her as they scattered.

“Oh, no! Don’t say that!” said Leap. “Father Longtail is good and kind! If he said we’d be safe, I believe he really thought so. And-and-and besides! The Rhinoceros King will help us. I heard he has dozens of ships. He’ll get us home! I’m sure of it.”

“I’m not so sure about a king who would allow all this to happen. If he’s even a king anymore,” Pyg grumbled, gesturing to the death all around them. “Suppose he’s tied to a pole like one of these somewhere, too?”

Leap spied something nearer to the trees and cautiously made his way toward it.

“Pyg! Come look at this!” Leap called. Pyg caught up with him and saw a bleached wooden sign posted in the sand. It said: We you see are the dead of traitors. Take heed all who walk upon this soil. If you be treacherous, you will die. Beside this declaration was a brownish-red stamp in the shape of a rhinoceros head.

“See?” said Leap. “Those, um, those, well... they’re just warnings! Maybe it’s not so bad after all!”

Pyg was about to speak when there was a strange sound like leather twisting and turning. A feeling in her very bones told her not to look up, but look she did. And when she did, her blood ran cold.

“Leap?” she whimpered.

All of the wretched traitorous bodies had somehow turned their dead heads toward Leap and Pyg as if looking down at them. Then, very suddenly, they wrenched open their putrid jaws and shrieked. Oh, the horror of that sound! One hundred soulless voices screaming all at once!

Leap grabbed Pyg’s hoof, and together they fled into the trees. But no matter how hard they ran, they could not escape that horrible screeching. They stopped just once for breath, but it was once too long. Scarcely had they paused when they were seized from behind.