-7 1/2-

By Federico Fellini.

A sweeping scimitar swung towards Grignr's head in a shadowed blur

Whoa! That last part was a flashback! Somebody's been watching "Reservoir Dogs" too many times!

of motion. With Axe raised over his head, Grignr prepared to parry the blow, while gaping wideeyed in open mouthed perplexity. Suddenly a sharp snap resounded behind the frothing shaman. The scimitar, halfway through its fatal sweep, dropped from a quivering nerveless hand, clattering harmlessly to the stoneage.

Ah, so there's a time portal there! That's how they're going to escape!

Cutting his screech short with a bubbling, red mouthed gurgle, the lacerated acolyte staggered under the pressure of the released spring-board. After a moment of hopeless struggling, the shaman buckled, sprawling face down in a widening pool of bllod and entrails, his regal purple robe blending enhancingly with the swirling streams of crimson.

Let's not jump to conclusions.

"Mrifk! I thought I had killed the last of those dogs;" muttered Grignr in a half apathetic state.

He just didn't care enough to be completely apathetic.

"Nay Grignr. You doubtless grew careless while giving vent to your lusts.

(falsetto) "Or maybe you're just not very bright."

But let us not tarry any long lest we over tax the fates. The paths leading to freedom will soon be barred. The wretch's crys must certainly have attracted unwanted attention," the wench mused.

"By what direction shall we pursue our flight?"

Isn't that something you do when you're running really late at the airport?

"Up that stair and down the corridor a short distance is the concealed enterance to a tunnel seldom used by others than the prince, and known to few others save the palace's royalty. It is used mainly by the prince when he wishes to take leave of the palace in secret. It is not always in the Prince's best interests to leave his chateau in public view.

That's why he makes sure to put a big dropcloth over it every time he goes anywhere, so no one'll know it's there.

Even while under heavy guard he is often assaulted by hurtling stones and rotting fruits. The commoners have little love for him." lectured the nerelady!

"It is amazing that they would ever have left a pig like him become their ruler. I should imagine that his people would rise up and crucify him like the dog he is."

Crucifixion, of course, being the #1 cause of death in dogs worldwide.

"Alas, Grignr, it is not as simple as all that. His soldiers are well paid by him. So long as he keeps their wages up they will carry out his damned wished. The crude impliments of the commonfolk would never stand up under an onslaught of forged blades and protective armor; they would be going to their own slaughter," stated Carthena to a confused, but angered Grignr

"I don't understand what you're saying, but I'm pretty sure it pisses me off."

as they topped the stairway.

"Yet how can they bear to live under such oppression? I would sooner die beneath the sword than live under such a dog's command."

Yes boys and girls, it's the Subtle Political Subtext. Move over, "1984"!

added Grignr as the pair stalked down the hall in the direction opposite that in which Grignr had come.

"But all men are not of the same mold that you are born of,

Hey, his mother wasn't that ugly.

they choose to live as they are so as to save their filthy necks from the chopping block."

Or they wash their necks occasionally.

Returned Carthena in a disgusted tone as she cast an appiesed glance towards the stalwart figure at her side whose left arm was wound dextrously about her slim waist; his slowly waning torch casting their images in intermingling wisps as it dangled from his left hand.

Presently Carthena came upon the panel, concealed amonst the other granite slabs and discernable only by the burned out cresset above it. "As I push the cresset aside push the panel inwards."

"These damn Japanese instruction booklets..."

Catrhena motioned to the panel she was refering to and twisted the cresset in a counterclockwise motion. Grignr braced his right shoulder against the walling, concentrating the force of his bulk against it. The slab gradually swung inward with a slight grating sound.

It reminded him of Pavement's last album.

Carthena stooped beneath Grignr's corded arms and crawled upon all fours into the passage beyond. Grignr followed after easing the slab back into place.

Winding before the pair was a dark musty tunnel, exhibiting tangled spider webs from it ceiling to wall and an oozing, sickly slime running lazily upon its floor. Hanging from the chipped wall upon GrignR's right side was a half mouldered corpse, its grey flacking arms held in place by rusted iron manacles. Carthena flinched back into Grignr's arms at sight of the leering set in an ugly distorted grimmace; staring horribly at her from hollow gaping sockets.

"This alcove must also be used by Agaphim as a torture chamber. I wonder how many

"... roads must a man walk down?"

of his enemies have disappeared into these haunts never to be heard from again," pondered the hulking brute.

"Let us flee before we are also caught within Agaphim's ghastly clutches. The exit from this tunnel cannot be very far from here!" Said Carthena with a slight sob to her voice, as she sagged in Grignr's encompasing embrace.

"Aye; It will be best to be finished with this corridor as soon as it is possible. But why do you flinch from the sight of death so? Mrift!

Oh, dear God. It actually bothers me that "Mrifk" has been misspelled. I need help!

You have seen much death this day without exhibiting such emotions." Exclaimed Grignr as he led her trembling form along the dingy confines.

"---The man hanging from the wall was Doyanta. He had committed the folly of showing affections for me in front of Agaphim --- he never meant any harm by his actions!" At this Carthena broke into a slow steady whimpering, chokking her voice with gasping sobs. "There was never anything between us

"--except a thin layer of latex--"

yet Agaphim did this to him! The beast! May the demons of Hell's deepest haunts claw away at his wretched flesh for this merciless act!" she prayed.

"I detect that you felt more for this fellow than you wish to let on...

When I think of deep psychological insight, I think of three names: Freud; Deanna Troi; Grignr.

but enough of this, We can talk of such matters after we are once more free to do so." With this Grignr lifted the grieved female to her feet and strode onward down the corridor, supporting the bulk of her weight with his surging left arm.

Presently a dim light was perceptibly filtering into the tunnel, casting a dim reddish hue upon the moldy wall of the passage's grim confines. Carthena had ceased her whimpering and partially regained her composure. "The tunnel's end must be nearing. Rays of sunlight are beginning to seep into ..."

Grignr clameed his right hand over Carthena's mouth and with a slight struggle pulled her

... upper right molar and all of her incisors.

over to the shadows at the right hand wall of the path, while at the same time thrusting this torch beneath an overhanging stone to smother its flickering rays. "Be silent;

(falsetto) "But I wasn't saying anyth-"

I can hear footfalls approaching through the tunnel;" growled Grignr in a hushed tone.

"All that you hear are the horses corraled at the far end of the tunnel. That is a further sign that we are nearing our goal." She stated!

Damn did she state!

"All that you hear is less than I hear! I heard footsteps coming towards us. Silence yourself that we may find out whom we are being brought into contact with. I doubt that any would have thought as yet of searching this passage for us. The advantage of surprize will be upon our side." Grignr warned.

That's right, warn her that you have the advantage.

Carthena cast her eyes downward and ceased any further pursuit towards conversation, an irritating habit in which she had gained an amazing proficiency.

He tells her to be silent and then gets stroppy when she shuts up? There's just no pleasing some people...

Two figures came into the pairs view, from around a turn in the tunnel. They were clothed in rich luxuriant silks and rambling o on in conversation while ignorant of their crouching foes waiting in an ambush ahead.

"...That barbarian dog is cringing beneath the weight of the lash at this moment sire. He shall cause no more disturbance."

"Aye, and so it is with any who dare to cross the path of Sargon's chosen one." said the 2nd man.

Meanwhile, the Third Man was in Vienna.

"But the peasants are showing signs of growing unrest. They complain that they cannot feet their families while burdened with your taxes."

"And they cannot tax their families while burdened with your feet."

"I shall teach those sluts


the meaning of humility! Order an immediate increase upon their taxes. They dare to question my sovereign authority, Ha-a, they shall soon learn what true oppression can be. I will... "

A shodowed bulk leapt from behind a jutting promontory as it brought down a double edged axe with the spped of a striking thought. One of the nobles sagged lifeless to the ground, skull split to the teeth.

Grignr gasped as he observed the bisected face set in its leering death agonies. It was Agafnd!

Okay, now was Agafnd the prince, or the advisor, or the prince's longtime companion, or what? (rustle of pages) Ah yes, Agafnd was the guy who "found a sword blade permeating the length of his ribs" back in Chapter 2. Nice recovery Ag - shame about the brain surgery.

The dead mans comrade having recovered from his shock drew a jewel encrusted dagger from beneath the folds of his

... g-string?


That's a relief. At least someone around here is dressed.

and lunged toward the barbarians back. Grignr spun at the sound from behind and smashed down his crimsoned axe once more. His antagonist lunged howling to a stream of stagnent green water, grasping a spouting stump that had once been a wrist.

"It's just a flesh wound."

Grignr raised his axe over his head and prepaired to finish the incomplete job, but was detered half way through his lunge by a frenzied screech from behind.

Carthena leapt to the head of the writhing figure, plunging a smoldering torch into the agonized face. The howls increased in their horrid intensity, stifled by the sizzling of roasting flesh,

Human - the other white meat.

then died down until the man was reduced to a blubbering mass of squirming, insensate flesh.

Grignr advance to Carthena's side wincing slightly from the putrid aroma of

... Grignr.

charred flesh that rose in a puff of thick white smog throughout the chamber. Carthena reeled slightly, staring dasedly downward at her gruesome handywork.

Has Carthena ever considered taking some industrial arts classes?

"I had to do it ... it was Agaphim ... I had to, " she exclaimed!

It's the dramatic revelation at the climax of the story! Now who was Agaphim again?

"Sargon should be more carful of his right hand men." Added Grignr, a smug grin upon his lips. "But to hell with Sargon for now, the stench is becoming bothersome to me."

(falsetto) "Maybe you should try a different deodorant?"

With that Grignr grasped Carthena around the waist leading her around the bend in the cave and into the open.

A ball of feral red

The sun?
Let's not jump to conclusions. (The sun was pretty house-trained last time I looked.)

was rising through the mists of the eastern horizon,

Why... yes, the sun does rise in the east! There must have been some painstaking research done here to get all these little details right.

disipating the slinking shadows of the night. A coral stood before the pair, enclosing two grazing mares.

Oddly, the mares didn't seem to notice that they were underwater and trapped in a reef.

Grignr reached into a weighted down leather pouch dangling at his side

Eww! Eww! Not the consummation scene! Oh no, hang on, the consummation scene was five seconds after the characters met, wasn't it...?

and drew forth the scintillant red emerald

That's three! That's three!

he had obtained from the bloated idol. Raising it toward the sun he said, "We shall do well with bauble, eh!"

It's Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Carthena gaped at the gem gasping in a terrified manner "The eye of Argon, Oh! Kalla!" At this the gem gave off a blinding glow, then dribbled

... between a pair of defenders and took it to the hoop for two!

through Grignr's fingers in a slimy red ooze.

"I should've known it wasn't a real emerald! There was always something about that emerald that just didn't seem right to me..."

Grignr stepped back, pushing

... drugs. "C'mon, you'll like it. The first one's free!"

Carthena behind him. The droplets of slime slowly converged into a pulsating jelly-like mass. A single opening transfixed the blob, forminf into a leechlike maw.

Then the hideous transgressor of nature flowed towards Grignr, a trail of greenish slime

Greenish slime? That settles it - our would-be-Hemingway must be red/green colourblind! Oh, now I'm so ashamed for having taken the piss out of him. (But hey, not being colourblind will be a good defence if you're ever accused of having written "The Eye of Argon"...)

lingering behind it. The single gap puckered repeatedly

(falsetto) "Come on, kiss your Aunt Ethel!"

emitting a ghastly sucking sound.

Like this story!

Grignr spread his legs

Isn't Carthena supposed to be the one to do that?

into a battle stance, steeling his quivering thews

My thews'd be quivering too, if I knew what thews were.

for a battle royal with a thing he knew not how to fight. Carthena wound her arms about her protectors neck, mumbling, "Kill it! Kill!"

"Yes! Grignr want to kill! Grignr like kill! But Grignr not know how to kill!"

While her entire body trembled.

The thing was almost upon Grignr when he buried his axe

"Maybe it'll grow into an axe tree and I'll have enough weaponry to beat this thing!"

into the gristly maw.

Yes, it was full of razor-sharp cartilage.

It passed through the blob and clanged upon the ground. Grignr drew his axe back with a film of yellow-green slime clinging to the blade. The thing was seemingly unaffected. Then it started to slooze up

Don't you just hate it when your underwear starts to slooze up on you?

his leg. The hairs upon his nape stoode on end from the slimey feel of the things buly, bulk.

Okay, we're getting downright Joycean here.

The Nautous sucking sound became louder, and Grignr felt the blood being drawn from his body. With each hiss of hideous pucker the thing increased in size.

I'm still not so sure this isn't going to end in a consummation scene.

Grignr shook his foot about madly

He did the Hokey Cokey and he turned himself around. That's what it's all about!

in an attempt to dislodge the blob, but it clung like a leech, still feeding upon his rapidly draining life fluid.

Let's not jump to - aw, the heck with it. Yes. He means blood.

He grasped with his hands trying to rip it off, but only found his hands entangled in a sickly glue- like substance. The slimey thing continued its puckering ; now having grown the size of Grignr's leg from its vampiric feast.

Grignr began to reel

... in a twelve-pounder, but it was too strong and it got away. You should have seen it, it was this big!

and stagger under the blob, his chalk white face and faltering muscles attesting to the gigantic loss of blood. Carthena slipped from Grignr in a death-like faint,

Then Romeo showed up and stabbed himself.

a morrow chilling scream upon her red rubish


lips. In final desperation Grignr grasped the smoldering torch upon the ground and plunged it into the reeking maw of the travestry. A shudder passed through the thing.

Yeah! Go Grignr!

Grignr felt the blackness closing upon his eyes, but held on with the last ebb of his rapidly waning vitality.

Come on, Grignr! Go! Go!

He could feel its grip lessoning as a hideous gurgling sound erupted from the writhing maw.

ALL RIGHT, GRIGNR! You can do it, buddy!

The jelly like mass began to bubble like a vat of boiling tar as quavers passed up and down its entire form.

Yes? AND???



It's over... all that time I wanted it to be over... page after page when I would've chewed my own leg off to end the story... and he can't even tack on a lousy concluding sentence? Mr. Fyodor Dostoevsky 1970 can't finish with ONE LOUSY CONCLUDING SENTENCE???

... sob... sob...
I no longer have any will to live.

This annotated edition of "The Eye of Argon", the latest addition to the Modern Classics Library, was brought to you from a text by ADAM CADRE.
Subsequently revised and modified by MARCUS OGDEN.

No lawsuits please.

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