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Bakora, the Tree-Headed Monster

 

Bakora, the Tree-Headed Monster

By James Hold

 

[Copyright 2015 James Roy Hold
Smashwords Edition]

This ebook is the copyrighted property of the author and may not be reproduced, copied and distributed for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy at Smashwords.com where they can discover more work by this author. Thank you for your support.

Miki Saegusa was a recurring character in six Toho movies, beginning with Godzilla vs Biollante and ending with Godzilla vs Destroyer. She possessed psychic powers that she used to help the Japan Self-Defense Force combat the monster. The following Buck Stardust adventure, however, has absolutely nothing to do with Miki Saegusa, or Godzilla, or any other copyrighted properties, and any perceived similarities are purely coincidental… Honest.

 

 

BAKORA, THE TREE-HEADED MONSTER

Or, Some of My Best Friends Are Kajju-ish

 

Chapter One

 

Contrary to what you see in the movies, giant monsters do not limit their attacks to cities in Japan but strike neighboring Pacific Island nations as well. Such was the case during my time in the Philippines when—

“Excuse me.”

“Excuse yerself. Can’t ya see I’m tellin’ a story here?”

“You are Buck Stardust, special agent for the Kabayo Banana Growers association and star of such tales as ‘Paralyzed In Bakersfield’ and ‘Buck Stardust vs the Smug Monster’?”

“Yes,” I nodded, dispensing with the fifth wall. “Ya want an autograph or somethin’?”

“No, sir.” The man shook his head. “Only I gather from the title that you intend to tell a giant monster tale along the lines of those done by Toho movie studios; in which case I must inform you that unauthorized use of characters from said movies is strictly prohibited.” He pulled a restraining order from his briefcase. “In other words, pay up or shut up.”

Well if that don’t beat all. Here I was, set for an adventure featuring the world’s most famous monster, and some Perry Mason wannabe has to go and put the kibosh on it. Oh well…

Instead I took a ferry to Baho Island where the Biollan Research Group was working on turning carabao dung into vanilla bean extract. Japanese scientists were already doing this with cow poop and Biollan felt it could be done cheaper using the Philippine water buffalo. Some dispute had risen with the local workers and my boss at KBG wanted me to smooth things over.

Thinking the lawyer might be of some use, I invited him to tag along.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

Baho Island lies at the north end of the Surigao Strait, about a mile north of the Hibuson group. Blue waters lap calmly at a white sand beach which quickly gives way to dense groves of coconut and banana trees. The island boasts no indigenous population, so if you’re hoping to see hot native chicks in grass skirts and coconut-shell bras then you’re in for a disappointment. A small clearing houses thirty or so workers who pick, pack, and ship fruit to the mainland. On a second clearing, higher up from the village, sits the Biollan Research facility.

Entering the compound, we were greeted by a funny-looking boy in a calf-length skirt. I was momentarily taken aback at this until I realized it was a girl with a boyish haircut. Imagine my surprise then when I recognized her as that psychic girl from the kaiju movies.

“Oo-oo!” I bounced up and down like a star-struck teenybopper. “You’re Mik—”

“Niki,” she cut me off. “My name is Niki.”

“Huh?” I stopped bouncing. “No, no, I’d know those big ears anywhere. You’re Mik—”

Next thing I knew a blast of psychic energy knocked me flatter than Tokyo Tower.

“I said,” she repeated emphatically, “my name is Niki.”

“Right.” I got groggily to my feet. “Niki it is.”

She was a little thing, not much over five feet, and I topped her by maybe six inches. Still I had to admit she had spunk, looking up at me with her hands on her hips and a pout on her face.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “It’s just that—”

She nodded in the direction of the lawyer.

“Oh.” I got it. “Copyrights.” And there I’d thought I might have been off-base with that remark about her big ears. “But whut are ya doin’ in the Philippines? Shouldn’t ya be helpin’ th’ JSDF track down Go—”

The lawyer made a warning noise.

“—sh awful great big monsters,” I finished weakly.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

Next, we met Dr Namane, the man in charge, who showed us around the facility. It comprised three Quonset huts at the bottom of a steep hill overlooking the sea. To one side was an enormous pile of carabao dung. Niki’s role, Dr Namane explained, was to psychically direct the carabao to do their dooty here for ease of collection.

“Sounds like a crap job to me,” I said, half-jokingly. “In fact, you might say it was a dung deal.”

Nobody laughed, Niki in particular looking extremely un-amused.

As for me and the KBG, the doctor wanted us to negotiate with the workers for their bananas, as this was a key ingredient in the vanilla extract process.

“Ah,” I nodded, “banana oil,” and dispatched the lawyer to deal with it.

Dr Namane then handed me a beaker of the stuff. I took a cautious sniff, found it wasn’t too bad, and tried a sip.

“Hey, this ain’t half bad,” I told him, downing a generous mouthful. I had worked up quite a thirst and this seemed just the thing for it.

Dr Namane and Niki stared at me.

“Actually, Mr Stardust,” the doctor began, “we’re making furniture polish.”

“Whut?” I choked, spitting out a giant mouthful; then: “Oops, sorry,” seeing Niki with wet hair plastered about her face.

Hoping to make amends, I complimented them on the vanilla’s pleasing aroma and suggested Biollan market it as a face and body wash.

“Sparingly,” I added. “Ya wouldn’t wanna over do it.”

At which Niki stormed out the door to go change.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

That night a meteor crashed into the jungle. We went out the next morning to investigate, finding it at the edge of a deep gully.

“Better stay back,” I warned, recalling a scene from Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster. “It might be magnetic.”

I held a pickax at arm’s length, ready to see if it would be drawn to the meteor’s side.

“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Niki asked.

“Whut? Droppin’ a pickax?”

“No. Referencing a Toho movie by name. Won’t you get in trouble for that?”

“Nah. Movie titles are public. The lawyer only said I couldn’t use characters.” And so saying, I let go the pickax and watched it fall.

Turns out it wasn’t such a good idea after all. The meteor wasn’t magnetic and so the pickax fell straight down—directly on Niki’s foot.

For a small girl, she sure displayed a lot of energy, hopping about on one foot and howling like a leather glove on a contrabass. Still enough was enough and I had to tell her to knock it off for fear she’d stampede the carabao herds.

Seeing my shoelace was loose, I knelt beside a tree to tie it. Seconds later I felt a whiz overhead followed by a loud thump. Straightening, I saw Niki vibrating like a Chinese gong. Apparently she’d struck the tree with the ax handle hoping to dislodge some coconuts.

“Gosh, Niki,” I placed a finger on the handle to stop the vibrations, “that’s no way to do it. What if one fell on yer foot?”

Then I suggested she go inside, for her face was growing quite red and I didn’t want to risk her getting sunburned.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

Later that day, it occurred to me something was bothering Niki. She’d been quite moody since my arrival, so I decided to do what I could to cheer her up.

Returning to the meteor crash site, I gathered wood from a damaged tree. Then, with borrowed tools, I set about constructing an Adirondack chair. Now admittedly, I’m not a carpenter; and no matter how many times I cut a board it’s always too short. But with perseverance, I produced a reasonable facsimile of the popular fan-back chair.

I was applying the finishing touches to it when Niki happened by.

“Hey,” I called, seeing her favor one foot as she walked, “come take a load off.”

There was caution in her eyes as she hobbled over.

“What’s that?” she asked.

“What does it look like?”

Then, lest she actually reply, I directed her to sit down.

“Gosh,” she sighed, settling into the contour seat and resting her hands on the armrests, “this isn’t bad.”

“Uh-huh,” I replied, “nothin’ beats a good firm seat.”

She shot me a glance.

“On a chair, I mean.”

After a brief silence, she spoke.

“You know, I wanted to kill you—twice—back there.”

“Once would’ve been enough.”

“No, I really mean it… Only I couldn’t.”

Uh-oh, I thought, fearing this was going to turn mushy.

“Well…”

“No-no,” she cut me off. “I really couldn’t. I focused all my psychic energy at you and nothing happened!”

I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to make me feel better or not. True, she’d knocked me down that first day, but since then…

That was when I put two and two together. Back in Godzilla vs Destroyer, the psychic girl in that movie expressed concern that her powers were fading as she got older. So did “Niki” have a similar problem?

I asked and she confirmed.

“So you see,” she said, breaking down in tears, “I’m only pretending to do my job here. Dr Namane is working on a Mechanical Stimulator to boost my ESP, but thus far he’s been unsuccessful.”

“Ah,” I brightened, “an ESPMS.”

My remark fell on deaf ears. Well, actually her ears weren’t deaf. God forbid she’d have ears like that and be deaf on top of it! No, it was just that her mind was elsewhere—as in trying to get out of the chair.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, seeing her struggle.

“I’m stuck!” she cried. “I can’t get up!”

“Don’t be silly,” I told her. “It’s a deep chair. Lemme help ya.”

But despite my efforts I could lift her either.

“Darn, who’d think a skinny thing like you could weigh so much?”

“It’s not me, you dummy. I’m stuck to the wood. What did you put on this thing?”

“Just some furniture polish from th’ lab.”

“What!” She kicked her legs and squirmed. “That stuff’s not ready! What moron gave you permission to use it?”

“Well,” I looked away, “I didn’t exactly ask.”

There followed another of those contrabass roars as, with a mighty effort, Niki ripped herself from the chair. Rrrrrriiiiiiiippp also went the fabric of her skirt as a significant portion remained stuck to the chair.

Feeling a breeze at her backside, she covered herself best as she could and dashed inside.

“I could try sandin’ it,” I called after her.

The door opened and several heavy objects were hurled in my direction.

“Th’ chair, I mean.”

 

 

Chapter Six

 

Okay, by now you restless readers are saying, “Okay, Buck, it’s all well and good to show sympathetic concern for some boney jug-eared girl on the skids, but when are we going to get to the monster part?”

Well, here we go.

That evening at dinner, Dr Namane informed us that he was picking up strange readings from the meteor crash site. It was all very scientific and I couldn’t follow any of it. I did however glimpse as Niki got up that her leg was slightly red, as if she’d left some skin back on the Adirondack chair. She caught me staring and I looked away, thankful she no longer possessed her psychic abilities.

Only she never exactly said she’d lost them, did she? Just that they were fading.

Meaning they still worked occasionally.

Like now…as she levitated a serving tray and smashed it over my head.

Excusing myself with a headache, I went outside where it had begun to rain. The jungle shadows lengthened as night fell and a strange eeriness permeated the dark. Then, in the act of lighting a cigarette, I stopped short. “Whut th’ heck am I doin’?” I asked myself. “I don’t smoke.” And in the dying light of my match I caught sight of two red eyes.

They were coming my way, wobbling from side to side, as though from a tentative, unsteady gait.

Which struck me as odd, since the gate was on the other side of the enclosure.

Then I heard an odd clacking noise.

And my corns began to hurt.

Finally I saw it!

It was the Adirondack chair, moving of its own volition, coming my way.

No, really! There it was—my Adirondack chair—built from the meteor-flattened trees—now up and about, the contour seat acting as torso while the armrests and front supports formed the upper limbs.

Wow, I thought, admiring my handiwork as it swayed, mantis-like, before me. I’d seen plenty of rocking chairs, but this was the first time one ever got up and walked. And to think I was the guy behind it!

Or in front of it actually, since it was coming straight at me.

Then it dawned on me that the Adirondack’s attitude was far from charitable, and I looked around to see if there was a lion and a whip handy for me to fight it off.

The chair aimed a clubbing blow at my head. I ducked and ran into the jungle, the wood-beast lumbering after me.

The clearest path was the one made by the meteor. I followed it, skirting the crater, and continued to the other side of the island. Glancing back, I saw the chair halt before the meteor. There was a flash of light and some heat, after which I lost sight of it in the dense growth.

Breaking out of the jungle, I at last reached the beach, the gentle waves of the Philippine Sea giving sharp contrast to the turmoil inland.

I sank to the ground, exhausted from my run.

“I must be dreaming,” I cried above the rain. “Somebody pinch me.”

At which point a sea crab crept up behind me and complied.

 

 

Chapter Seven

 

“Gosh, Buck,” said Dr Namane, when I returned to the compound. “We thought it had gotten you.”

“Yes,” Niki nodded. “Such a frightful scream. What happened?”

“Oh, that.” I rubbed my backside. “It was nothin’.”

In my absence, the chair had destroyed part of the compound—including the one and only radio. Not that anyone was in a mood for music at the moment.

“I don’t get it Doc.” I peeked out the window as the chair, now larger than before, trashed one of the Quonset huts. “Whut on earth could cause—”

“I doubt anything earthly caused this,” Dr Namane interrupted. “Before proceeding, however, I feel we should assign a name to our monster as that is the customary thing to do in all kaiju circumstances.”

“Why not call it Natalie?” I suggested.

“Natalie?” Dr Namane stared at me. “What kind of a name is that?”

“Ya know,” I answered. “Like in Natalie Wood.”

Unfortunately, the lawyer, who unbeknownst to us had returned to the compound, stuck his head in and told us we couldn’t do that.

“Fine,” I grumbled. “But it’s my monster so I get to name it!”

I was admittedly ticked off at the situation. I mean, other people get giant radioactive reptiles and all I got was a stupid overgrown chair. And not a very well-constructed one at that.

Still…

“Okay,” I said after some thought; “in Tagalog an outdoor chair is sa labas nag bakoran. So we’ll call it Bakora.”

I looked around for their approval.

Dr Namane glanced at the lawyer. “You’re sure we can’t call it Natalie?”

The lawyer shook his head.

“Okay,” Dr Namane sighed. “Bakora it is.”

With the creature christened, Niki and I recounted our experience with the chair. Niki’s tone went from anger to humiliation describing how it had torn her dress.

“Ah,” Dr Namane brightened, “that explains the funny looking boy I saw streaking past the laboratory. Anyway,” he continued, “I believe unknown gasses from the meteor seeped into the trees which were damaged by its impact. This, along with the experimental vanilla extract formula, acted on the DNA cells Niki left behind to give the chair its ambulatory life.”

“Actually,” I clarified, “th’ skin cells came from Niki’s leg. Her behind looked all right to me when she ran off.”

“Thank you, Buck.” Dr Namane looked ceiling-ward, although what he saw there I have no idea.

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

Over the next several days, an unrelenting rain drenched the island, causing Bakora to swell to immense proportions and to sprout foliage on its head. Thankfully, the muddy soil slowed Bakora’s movements and it could conduct its rampages only when the storm let up. Still this occurred often enough for it to demolish most of the Biollan compound, as well as lay waste to the workers village. The continued confinement chaffed the composure of the crack crew challenged with containing the creature.

Seeing as I had nothing to contribute in the science department, I pitched a tent near the edge of the compound, there to act as lookout should Bakora approach.

Dr Namane believed Bakora possessed poor eyesight, relying more on a primitive detection system involving odor and touch, similar to that of other carnivorous plants. If this was so, then we had the advantage of the heavy rain saturating the air with ozone greatly diminishing its abilities as a scent-tree.

 

 

Chapter Nine

 

That evening we gathered for a conference. Arriving early, I found Niki and Dr Namane going over some charts.

“So you see,” Dr Namane was telling her, “I’ve taken your measurements several times and they continue to come out flat.”

“Heck, Doc,” I said, taking a seat, “I could’ve told ya that just by lookin’ at her.”

Niki reddened. “He was referring to the Stimulator; the device to enhance my ESP.”

“Oh. Right.” I sank a bit lower in my chair. “I knew that.”

The others arrived and we got down to business.

Number one on our agenda was to make sure the native workers didn’t desert us. To this end, Dr Namane sent the lawyer to their village. Although our short-wave radio had been destroyed, we did have a low-power walkie-talkie by which we could communicate inland.

DR NAMANE: “Calling village lawyer. Come in please.”

LAWYER: “Lawyer here. The natives are anxious to leave. I’ve tried bribing them with treats, but it isn’t working.”

DR NAMANE: “Then treat them again. It’s imperative they don’t abandon us.”

LAWYER: “Say again? You’re breaking up.”

BUCK: “He said if one treat doesn’t work, then re-treat ‘em!”

VILLAGER IN BACKGROUND: “You heard the guy! He said retreat!”

(Sound of screaming and confusion as the natives am-scray for the each-bay.)

LAWYER: “Uh…”

Click.

 

 

Chapter Ten

 

“Well,” I said after a pause, “I guess it’s just us now.”

The doctor sighed. “It would appear that way.”

“Anyway, if ya ask me, I think we oughta—”

“We ought to,” Niki cut me off, “see what the others have come up with.”

“I agree with Niki,” Dr Namane agreed with Niki. “Let’s see what our colleagues Nubo, Nahara, and Nakashima suggest.”

Apparently, Namane, Nubo, Nahara, and Nakashima formed an inner circle of which I was not a member; so I held my peace as Mr Nubo unrolled a blueprint.

“My idea,” he said, “is to plant explosive charges on the icy mountaintop, here.” He pointed to a spot. “We then have Niki use her ESP to coax Bakora into the valley. Once he enters, we seal the entrance with a firewall and detonate the charges, producing an avalanche that buries him under tons of ice. As you can see, I have calculated it to the last centimeter. It’s a brilliant plan and sure to work.”

“There’s only one problem,” I objected. “If ya heard Doc earlier, he said Niki’s measurements are flat.”

“Heck,” Nubo snorted, “any idiot can see that.”

Seems the Doc hadn’t let the others in on Niki’s failing powers. I started to clarify this when a red-faced Niki said, “You’re also overlooking the fact that this is a tropical island… hence there are no icy mountainsides.”

“Well,” Nubo humphed, “I said my plan was brilliant. I didn’t say it was perfect.”

 

 

Chapter Eleven

 

Mr Nahara went next. He proposed erecting a barricade of high-tension electrical power wires around the compound. As for Niki, she could just stand in the open and go “Yoo-hoo” to attract Bakora’s attention.

I liked it.

Only then Dr Namane pointed out that we had no high-tension wires.

Oh well.

 

 

Chapter Twelve

 

A distant crashing sound told us Bakora was again on the prowl. This was accompanied by shouts of native workers herding their carabaos beach-ward through the rain. Dr Namane gave a prayerful look in Mr Nakashima’s direction.

“Well…” Nakashima checked to make sure the lawyer was still out, “as I recall from viewing certain movies, it was a common practice to have a second monster combat the first, with the hope that they would destroy each other.”

This was all good and well, only we didn’t have another monster available.

“True,” Nakashima conceded. “However, if we could breed an oversized termite…”

This seemed a workable plan and Dr Namane asked how long it would take to develop this super termite.

“Oh,” Nakashima calculated, “ten or fifteen years at least.”

Dr Namane’s face fell.

“Of course, I’d need some materials from the mainland.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Nubo, rising. “Maybe I can find an ice maker.”

Nahara got up as well, saying he would fetch some high-tension wire. Whereon all of them raced out the door, shouting to the natives, “Hey, wait for us!”

 

 

Chapter Thirteen

 

That left me, Niki, the lawyer (who hadn’t returned), and Dr Namane. Oh, and some dark, brooding guy with an eye patch.

“Dr Sapizawa,” Dr Namane pleaded, “please tell us you have an idea for defeating Bakora.”

Sapizawa looked at us with his good eye. “Actually, I do. In fact, I am positive it will work. Only…” he hesitated, “it could prove to be a terrible weapon of destruction should it fall into the wrong hands.”

“Look Doc,” I threw in, “this is hardly th’ time to worry about some guy named Hans stealin’ yer patent.”

Sapizawa rose as if to leave—I dunno, wuz it somethin’ I said?—but Dr Namane stepped in and asked him to describe his invention.

“Well,” Sapizawa held out his hands, “it’s about this big and, uh, this wide—”

“I mean tell us what it does.”

“Oh, that. Well, what I’ve invented is a method to destroy all the sap in any wooden object.”

“You mean you’ve invented… a Sap Destroyer?”

The man with the eye patch nodded and took us to his lab for a demonstration. There he released the Sap Destroyer into a tank filled with Bonsai trees. The tank bubbled and clouded… There was a flash of light… Niki screamed and buried her face… And the rest of us looked away in disgust as Dr Sapizawa vanished from sight—leaving behind an empty lab coat and a gooey spot on the floor.

“Well,” I pointed out the obvious, “he did say it was a sap destroyer.”

It was a tragic end to a great man.

But, looking to the bright side, at least he wouldn’t have to worry about those Germans stealing it.

 

 

Chapter Fourteen

 

Dr Namane looked at me. “Okay, Buck, we have no choice but to hear your plan for dealing with Bakora.”

“Well,” I raised a finger for emphasis, “it’s a bit wild, but—”

“Because frankly,” Doc broke in, “all I could come up with was this ridiculous idea of arming ourselves and the native workers with axes and attacking Bakora en mass, reducing it to a pile of toothpicks. Oh, but only a moron would suggest anything so ridiculous. Anyway, sorry to interrupt. Go ahead and tell us your plan.”

“Uh…” My voice faded as I slowly lowered my finger. “It was nothin’.”

Besides, it wouldn’t have worked anyway now that everybody had fled.

 

 

Chapter Fifteen

 

Bidding them all good night, I stepped out into the rain and sought the solitude of my damp and dripping tent. Once inside, I pulled off my saturated clothes and changed into dry ones. Rain pelted the canvas roof with loud tap-tap-tap sounds. Over this, I heard the soft squishy tread of tiny feet. Then the flap of my tent was thrust aside—and there stood Niki.

“Niki!” I cried. “You’re drenched!”

She entered, shivering as her wet things clung flatly to her body.

“You must think I’m foolish.” Her voice quivered as her eyes blinked away raindrops mixed with tears. “I know I’m supposed to be brave, but—”

I didn’t say anything. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say.

“You don’t suppose I could stay here for a while—at least until the rain stops.”

“Oh, right,” I answered. “I’ll, uh, fix ya some tea.”

She shot me an oddly provocative look. “I should get out of these wet things,” she suggested.

“Right,” I hesitated, the tent starting to feel awful crowded. “There’s a robe you can use.”

I turned my back and busied myself making tea. I could hear her moving behind me and finally sitting down on my cot.

“Okay,” she purred, “you can turn around now.”

Instead of the robe, she had changed into one of my shirts. While it was long on her, it nonetheless offered a revealing glimpse of slender white leg. She began talking…rambling actually…something about if she had to die she wanted to die as a woman and not a girl. It didn’t make much sense and with the storm outside and my concentrating on the tea I probably missed a thing or two. In any event, she had only fastened a couple of buttons, leaving an open V at the top of the shirt, and when I bent to hand her the cup of tea I saw—

Well, to be honest, I’m not exactly sure. I mean, they sort of looked like boobs, only they were way smaller.

“What’s the matter,” she leapt to her feet, spreading the shirt with both hands. “Doesn’t the sight of a woman turn you on?”

(Thankfully she had not removed her underoos, sparing us an R rating.)

“Now just a minute,” I bristled. “I like women as much as the next guy.” The problem was she looked too much like a guy, what with her skinny legs, flat chest and all. Otherwise I might have been on her like a duck on a junebug.

I was spared the delicate task of explaining this when Dr Namane staggered into the tent. He was horribly bruised, battered, and bleeding, and it must have taken all his strength to drag himself here. Uttering a startled cry, Niki cradled his head in her arms.

“Wow,” Doc gasped, at the sight of her open shirt. “They’re like boobs, only smaller.”

She let him crash to the floor.

“Are all men obsessed with breast size?”

“Sorry,” he apologized. “I just dropped by to tell you I finished the ESP Stimulator. Only…then…Bakora…showed…up…and…”

Dr Namane was dead.

It was a real bummer.

“I know,” Niki sobbed. “Such a great man.”

“Not that,” I complained. “I mean he went and kicked the bucket before telling us where the Stimulator is!”

The doctor un-died long enough to suggest, “Try looking in my lab, you idiot,” then died again.

 

 

Chapter Sixteen

 

We made our way to Dr Namane’s laboratory, Niki still wearing my shirt.

“Shouldn’t you put on some trousers? I asked.

“No,” she pouted angrily. “I’m the designated hottie in this story and this is all the cheesecake you’re going to get. Besides, there are a lot of nerdy geek types who think I’m adorable. Didn’t you read ‘Another Saturday Night’?”

And that was that.

Arriving without incident, we turned Doc’s lab upside-down looking for the ESP Mechanical Stimulator. Actually, Bakora had already turned the place upside-down and we just poked through the rubble.

“Could this be it?” I held up what looked like a motorcycle helmet.

Niki rolled her eyes. “Somehow I doubt Dr Namane would have painted ‘Yamaha’ on the side of it.” She bent to retrieve a pair of headphones. “Here we go.”

“Uh, those have ‘Hitachi’ on them.”

“True, but you’ll notice the cord attaches to that amplifier over there.”

I followed her finger to a six-foot tall cabinet with the letters ‘ESPMS’ stenciled on it.

“You mean that thing the size of a ‘Dr Pepper’ machine?” I asked, working in an American product placement.

 

 

Chapter Seventeen

 

Niki donned the headphones and I crawled over the wreckage to switch the machine on. (It was battery powered, in case you’re wondering.) She placed a hand on either side of the headphones and wavy lines sprang from her temples, lifting the debris that blocked the aisle.

Dr Namane’s machine worked!

Niki smiled in triumph, levitating objects here and there as she basked in her restored power. Then, almost as an afterthought, she stared down at her chest as if directing her power there. Several minutes passed as she concentrated.

Then, as nothing happened, she shrugged, saying, “Oh well, it was worth a shot.”

 

 

Chapter Eighteen

 

Exuding confidence, Niki strutted to the door, ordering me to follow.

“Right!” I smacked a fist in my palm. “Let’s go kill that thing!”

Niki stopped so abruptly that I bumped into her.

“What?” She spun about to face me. “What do you mean ‘kill it’? Don’t you think Dr Namane would want us to study it?”

“Yeah, well unless he plans on comin’ back from th’ dead a second time—”

I never got to finish as Bakora’s mantis-like arm splintered the roof of the Quonset hut, knocking us in opposite directions. Niki sat up and put her hands to her head, only to find the headphones had come off.

I could see Bakora’s leafy head through the hole in the roof, its knothole eyes following Niki as she crab-walked to avoid the piston blows of its forearms. She managed to get beneath a metal cabinet tipped lean-to style against the wall. Bakora pounded the metal but it held, wedged in place. Niki was safe for now, although it wasn’t doing her hearing any good.

Crossing the litter-strewn floor, I found the headphones and clamped them on my head.

Nothing happened.

I tried again, concentrating hard as I could.

All I got was a headache.

Then something touched my shoulder and I started.

Which is to say I started to yell, cuss, scream and otherwise chastise Niki for sneaking up behind me. Somehow she had circled the hut and come to my side without Bakora seeing her.

“Oh shut up,” she told me. “What the hell were you trying to do?”

“Well, I thought if th’ Stimulator worked for you…”

She snatched the things from my head, then, as though addressing an unseen audience, held her fingers an inch apart and said, “Buck Stardust has a brain about this size.”

 

 

Chapter Nineteen

 

Bakora abandoned the metal cabinet and began sweeping the floor with its forearm.

Niki donned the headphones with a snooty humph, only nothing happened.

Instead of the wavy lines, a couple of cartoon question marks appeared over her head.

Then I noticed the connecting cord had popped loose from the earpiece; probably when she snatched them from me.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” Niki scolded. “Put it in.”

Dark was the building as Bakora’s pounding arm inched nearer.

“Hurry, Buck, hurry! Put it in!”

“I’m tryin’! I’m tryin’!”

“Good grief! It’s right here! Let me help you.”

“No no, I can manage. Just hold still, would ya?”

A flashlight shone in our faces and there was the lawyer.

“Okay, you lovebirds. Kaiju audiences aren’t ready for that sort of thing yet.”

 

 

Chapter Twenty

 

Bakora’s arm came closer.

Niki screamed.

I snatched a broken beam and shoved it through the hole, poking Bakora in the eye. The monster withdrew its arm and I grabbed Niki to run for the door.

“The amplifier!” she cried. “We can’t leave it behind.”

I went over and hoisted it. The stupid thing weighed a ton. Apparently, Dr Namane never heard of miniaturized circuits. Staggering under its weight, I followed Niki and the lawyer into the rain. We raced up the hill, coming to a low barrier fence where the cliff overlooked the sea. Niki and the lawyer hopped the fence. I tried to follow only vaulting fences while lugging heavy ESP amplifiers isn’t as easy as it looks. The damp amp slipped from my hands and Niki yelled out as it rolled toward the cliff.

Of course, it could be the reason she yelled was because she was holding onto the cord and the Stimulator was dragging her along with it.

Down, down, down she went; a tangle of flashing legs as she stubbornly clung to the amplifier cord. I picked myself up and dove after her, trying desperately to grab a foot, an arm, a leg, anything to keep her from going over. It felt like eternity, rocks scraping my stomach as I crawled, slipped, and stumbled for the edge. I threw myself flat and with a desperate lunge managed to snag her ankle as she disappeared over the cliff.

Grimacing with pain, I peeked over the edge at the sea below.

“Well,” said Niki, dangling upside-down by one ankle, “are you just going to stare at my undies or do you want to pull me up?”

“It’d be a lot easier,” I told her, planting my feet and grunting, “if ya’d let go of that amplifier cord.”

Like I said, the stupid thing weighed a ton.

I yanked once more. The cord popped out of the amp’s input jack and the snapback caused Niki to arc over my head and land behind me, bruised but safe.

Tears flowed down her cheeks as I helped her up.

“There, there; th’ important thing is yer safe.”

The tears vanished as she reached up and slapped me in the face.

“You stupid, clumsy oaf! I ask you to do one simple thing, carry the ESP Stimulator to safety, and instead you go and toss it over the cliff!”

“Toss it over? It was all I could do to—I mean you try carrying something the size of a ‘Pepsi’ machine…”

“I thought it was the size of a ‘Dr Pepper’ machine.”

“True, but I just remembered they sponsor kaiju movies as well.”

 

 

Chapter Twenty-One

 

Together we stared down from the cliff. The ESPMS was hopelessly smashed, a forlorn flotilla of floating fragments in the foamy Philippine froth.

Niki, not being in an alliterative mood, muttered a single word starting with F.

“Ya know,” I observed, “this wouldn’t a-happened if ya’d teleported th’ thing yerself instead of makin’ me carry it;” which for some reason prompted her to take another swing at me. I avoided the blow, and her momentum nearly carried her back over the cliff.

Throwing her over my shoulder, I carried her, kicking and screaming, away from the cliff side. Then, weary of her whining hysterics, I told her to shut up. Which she did. Not because I told her to, but because the leafy head of Bakora had topped the hill and was coming toward us. Niki froze in fear, rooted to the spot, and refused to budge.

Then the totally unexpected happened.

The lawyer stepped forward.

“Okay, Niki,” he said harshly, “this charade has gone on long enough. It’s time for you to do your thing.”

“Whut?” I said. “Are ya kiddin’? Th’ girl doesn’t have any powers.”

“Nonsense.” The lawyer got in Niki’s face. “There’s nothing wrong with you other than you’ve been moping over being stuck here cultivating carabao crap. The power is in you. Just like it was when you…uh, I mean, when that other girl used telekinesis to save herself in Godzilla vs Space Godzilla. Granted, it had nothing to do with the plot and was just something they threw in to kill time, but nevertheless…”

“Wait a minute,” I interrupted. “Yer sayin’ this thing’s all in her head?” Then, realizing how stupid that sounded, I added: “But whut about th’ ESP Stimulator? How come it worked for her?”

“That was just a box of rocks,” the lawyer snorted. “A trick to get her to use her power. The doctor and I discussed it earlier and we—”

“Yer sayin’ ya let me break my back carryin’ a ton of rocks, all th’ while knowin’—”

With Bakora but yards away, the lawyer nodded. “Dr Namane knew she needed some sort of shock to free the mental block that was…” He halted, staring. “That was…”

During this time, the oversized shirt has slipped down and fallen off Niki’s shoulder.

“My god,” said the lawyer, “they really are small, aren’t they?”

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Two

 

Well, if the lawyer was looking to shock Niki into action, that did it.

Just as a certain monster’s dorsal fins are known to light up prior to firing off a blast of atomic heat breath, so too did Niki’s ears turn a similar shade of blue-white as she turned and unleashed a mighty psychic wallop…

…straight at the lawyer; a force that lifted him from the ground, spun him in a circle, and sent him soaring over the opposite side of the hill.

“Good grief,” I hollered. “Save it for th’ monster!”

The tree-headed Bakora hovered above us, its good knothole eye glowing with hatred.

Niki placed her hands on her forehead and the wavy finger-like lines once again shot out. They slammed into Bakora, and, like a giant hand, pushed him toward the cliff. Bakora fought back, leaning forward and resisting. With a final agonized cry, Niki emptied her mind of all its pent-up energy. It struck the monster with an audible slap as the tiny girl collapsed, unconscious, to the muddy ground.

Ah, but Bakora had not gone over! The monster teetered at the cliff’s edge, flailing its arms to retain balance. I considered throwing a flying body tackle against its side; only, thankfully, I spied the lawyer’s briefcase lying on the ground. Seizing it by the handle, I did my best discus toss, hurling the case at the monster’s fan-shaped torso. Luck was with me. It struck the creature square on, and sent it plunging into the sea.

It was with a feeling of regret that I contemplated the waters which swallowed the creature. I was, after all, somewhat responsible for its existence. Perhaps they were right in saying Bakora should not be destroyed, but studied. Who knew what deep-rooted issues he might have had, or if he was simply pining for attention. Maybe he was just bored and that’s what caused him to go out on a limb. But then, what did I know? I’m neither a biologist nor a psychologist and for all I knew I was barking up the wrong tree.

 

 

Chapter Twenty-Three

 

I went to check on Niki. Save for a big headache, she was okay. Whether she would use her ESP again was a question for another day. For now, she felt justified and happy. Plus she had fanned the imaginations of legions of nerdy geek types who dreamed of seeing her in her underwear.

As for the lawyer…

Well, you remember that dung heap I mentioned back in Chapter Three? It turns out he landed on it. He wasn’t hurt or anything, the dung having softened due to the rain. It did though ruin his clothing, and it really chafed his copyright lawyer hide having to wear a Biollan t-shirt all the way back to the mainland.

 

 

 

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James Hold

Thank you for reading my book.

Connect with me online:
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JamesHold

 


Bakora, the Tree-Headed Monster

"Contrary to what you see in the movies, giant monsters do not limit their attacks to cities in Japan but strike neighboring Pacific Island nations as well. Such was the case during my time in the Philippines when—"

  • ISBN: 9781310033490
  • Author: James Hold
  • Published: 2015-09-13 18:20:10
  • Words: 6677
Bakora, the Tree-Headed Monster Bakora, the Tree-Headed Monster