The Ugly Kids: To Hell in a Handbasket, p.1Renee Adams
The Ugly Kids: To Hell in a Handbasket
By Renee Adams
Published by Renée Adams
Copyright 2011 Renée Adams
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To the people who constantly urge me to keep writing and who make it worth it by reading my little flights of fancy.
Lily scowled as she tapped some fish flakes into the tank of little neons.
“No,” she said firmly. “Last time, they tried to eat me!”
“But Lily! Lily has to go! The party is Lily’s presentation!”
Lily almost dumped the entire can of flakes into the tank, but caught herself just in time.
“Presentation as what, exactly?!” she demanded.
Gohber hesitated and fidgeted with the red yo-yo he had taken to carrying around with him, looking up at Lily with wide green eyes that were unnaturally bright. He was very small and skinny with knobby joints, and his rubbery face seemed to be able to stretch in completely abnormal ways. A mop of unruly black hair covered his head, and his clothing was far too large for him. Gohber would have looked like some kind of Dungeons and Dragons geek if it hadn’t been for his tanned skin.
“Father says Lily will be eaten if we don’t go,” he finally said.
Lily let out a growl of frustration and closed the top of the tank a bit harder than she had intended to. The little neons swam in frightened circles or dove back toward the gravel-covered bottom.
“There’s something you’re not telling me, Gohber,” Lily said, crossing her thick arms. “What is it?”
Gohber hesitated, then slowly reached into his enormous shirt. Today Gohber was sporting bright daisies and tulips (at least Lily had gotten him to stop wearing those awful Justin Bieber shirts). He withdrew a colorful rolled up paper with a broken wax seal and reluctantly handed it to Lily.
Lily unfurled it and scanned the spidery script. It looked like it had been written on the back of a soup can label. The wax smelled faintly of old cheese.
“Dearest Gohber,” Lily read, “Get your ugly rear back home by tomorrow at six a.m. before I send Dug to kick it back. Oh, and bring Dinner with you. We have to formally present Dinner to the rest of the Goblins if you want to court her. Otherwise, we’ll assume she’s no longer courting you, and we’ll eat her--”
There were some scribbles at this point where it looked like the pen had been fought over, then the writing continued in a smoother script.
“Please ignore your father, Gohber. Of course we wouldn’t eat an honorary Goblin. However, if you and Lily do not arrive on time, we will assume you are no longer courting, and your brothers may pursue Lily if they wish. They are very jealous of you, dear.
“We look forward to seeing you. Please dress formally!”
Lily finished reading the soup label and shook her head to herself in disbelief. She couldn’t hold back a groan.
“Lily won’t go?” Gohber asked, a troubled expression on his rubbery, pointed face.
“I have no choice. Tog sits right behind me in class. If they think we’re not dating, it’ll be awful. Worse than awful!”
Lily flopped her enormous bulk backward onto the living room couch and sighed, looking back down at the message. There wasn’t much choice. If she didn’t go, all nine of Gohber’s Goblin brothers would start vying for her. That thought was far worse than anything else she could imagine.
Wincing, she envisioned nine enormous, fat, warty Goblins dressed in almost comically oversized or undersized clothing in a circle around her, all flexing muscles or belching as loudly and disgustingly as they could while they insisted that Lily should be dating a real Goblin.
“We have to be there on time,” Lily insisted, a cold sweat breaking out on her forehead.
Tomorrow was Saturday. She looked down at the label. “Six a.m.?” she asked. “Isn’t that early?”
Gohber shook his head. “A.m. is p.m. for Goblins. A.m. means ‘ante-murder.’ P.m. means ‘post-murder.’”
Lily groaned. “Do I want to know why?”
Gohber grinned, happy to explain. “Goblins are awake more at night. The sun hurts our eyes if it’s too bright.”
“That explains why you all wear sunglasses to class,” Lily said dryly.
Gohber nodded enthusiastically, nearly giving himself whiplash. “In ancient days, Goblin tradition was to kill prisoners at what Lily calls midnight. Duels were at midnight too.”
Lily sighed. “So ante-murder is before midnight. Post-murder is after midnight. Got it. Six in the evening then.”
Gohber grinned again, climbing onto the couch next to Lily.
“Can I kiss Lily now?” he whined.
Lily winced again. “I told you, Gohber, I’m saving myself for marriage. Kisses too,” she said quickly.
She was just hoping that he didn’t get any bright ideas about marriage any time within the next, oh, eternity.
Gohber slumped down in his seat, disappointed, but perked up again as a thought occurred to him.
“Lily kisses her father!”
“On the cheek!” Lily protested.
“So kiss me on the cheek!” Gohber’s clever grin nearly crossed over his eyes.
Lily just groaned and pushed a throw pillow over her face. “Not now, Gohber!”
There was a long moment of silence, then a sigh. She felt Gohber get up.
A moment later, she heard a soft creak.
“And don’t you dare eat my blue faced angel fish! It was a birthday present from Dad!” she snapped.
The aquarium cover creaked shut again.
The next evening, Lily was wearing the only formal dress she owned, a bright green gown that her father affectionately referred to as her “cucumber dress.” Her normally stringy hair that fell into her face was neatly brushed and pulled back into a sloppy twist. Her feet had been squished into black heeled shoes that hurt when she walked, and a tiny little black purse was over her arm.
She was waiting nervously on the couch, biting her nails while Gohber paced and bounced his red yo-yo. He was dressed in an ancient and oversized suit, complete with tails and lace neck ruffles. A top hat was perched upon his head, and Lily couldn’t help thinking that with a monocle, he would have made a very ugly Monopoly Guy.
“Dug said he would take us early!” Gohber was saying as he did some kind of complex trick with the yo-yo. “Where is Dug?!”
The clock only read 4:53. They still had time, Lily realized. She guessed Gohber was nervous. Not that Lily herself wasn’t worried about dinner with Gohber’s family. She just saw no point in pacing.
Lily sighed and slumped more deeply into the couch, glad they had managed to get her father out of the house for the evening. Gohber had convinced some of his Imp friends to wreak havoc at her father’s place of work, and his office had called him into work that Saturday because of it. He would have to give the police a statement, and he would probably be there most of the night patching things together again and making sure no data had been stolen or corrupted after the “vandalism.”
Lily wasn’t quite sure what an Imp was, but she had an inkling that she never wanted to invite one over. Goblins and Trolls were enough trouble!
There was a sudden crash at the front of the house, and Lily was up almost immediately. She huffed her way to the door and yanked it open before Dug could slam ag
“Dug!” she shouted. “You’re supposed to knock! Gently!”
The corpse-gray, hideous creature in front of her blinked down at Lily in confusion.
Dug was around eight feet tall, one of the few people Lily actually had to crane her neck up to look at. If intelligence was what qualified someone as a “person,” then Dug was probably at the lower end of the spectrum. Small, dark, dimwitted eyes went unfocused as Dug tried to puzzle out what Lily had said. His bear-like snout quivered and flicked this way and that, probably scenting a dog or two that would make a good snack. Drool dribbled down his chin. The seaweed and rags he clothed himself in stunk, but not half as badly as Dug himself did.
“Hit soft,” Gohber explained, having come up behind Lily.
“Oh. We go?”
“Yes,” Gohber said, nodding so fast that he looked like a bobble-head toy. “We go.”
Dug lifted them both up and tucked them under his arms as if they were no more than small bags of potatoes, which was saying something in Lily’s case. She was six feet, three inches tall and weighed three hundred and fifteen pounds. She had been five pounds heavier when she had first met Gohber, but the constant stress of their “relationship” was starting to take its toll.
Lily gagged at the smell of Dug’s armpit as he reached into his loincloth and pulled out a bone. She could have sworn she saw something move in the hair under his arm.
He snapped the bone in two, and the world spun dizzyingly around Lily.
A moment later, she was unceremoniously dropped to the ground. Lily gagged on the stench of rotting food, waste, and chemicals and tried not to give in to motion sickness.
They were back in the familiar little clearing amidst rotting piles of junk in Gohber’s family garbage dump. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for a dump, Lily supposed. Mountains of garbage, rotted food, puddles of strange chemicals, horrible smells...
Well, until you looked at the one mountain of trash that vaguely resembled a castle with a metal door leading in through the front of it. There was even a tattered banner or two hanging limply from its garbage ramparts in the still air.
Lily slowly picked herself off the ground, grunting with the effort. Her beautiful green dress was now stained with something brown and foul-smelling. She scowled.
Gohber was already out of a puddle of mystery fluid and up on his oversized feet, “walking the dog” with his red yo-yo.
“Thanks, Dug!” he said cheerfully, as if his hands and knees were not covered with some kind of acrid-smelling liquid.
The Troll grinned, displaying pointed teeth. There was a small, pink child’s shoe stuck between two of them. Lily decided she didn’t want to ask. Last time she had seen Dug, it had been a belt buckle.
Still beaming with his hideous shoe-smile, Dug waved at the two of them and stomped off into the garbage piles. There was a crash followed by the shriek of some poor creature, and Lily winced. Apparently Dug had gotten hungry.
Before Lily could think much about it though, Gohber grabbed her hand and began dragging her toward the garbage castle.
Lily just sighed, trying her best to brush the grime off her dress.
She was so busy looking down and doing this that she didn’t notice Gohber had stopped short. She barreled into him, and Gohber went down hard in the foul dirt a second time.
Gravelly laughter broke out ahead of them.
“Sorry,” Lily muttered, picking up Gohber and placing him gently on his feet again.
She glanced upward and saw Tog standing in front of the enormous metal door, blocking it. He was in his own formal wear: a stained brown suit jacket, torn tie, and patched brown pants with shiny, black galoshes. To Lily’s disgust, he wasn’t wearing a shirt, and his warty gut spilled over the top of his pants. His huge mouth was split in a wide grin, and his
The Ugly Kids: To Hell in a Handbasket by Renee Adams / Fantasy have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on20 votes