Name: Katie Khan / Wood
Name Of Main Character You Want And Gender: Marley, a small male Chihuahua with black fur and tan paws.
Genre: Horror comedy
Character Description: He doesn't like strangers
Special Info: Marley goes to the Serengeti by accident
Here's the story. I'd say it's less comedy horror and more co ho.
Marley hung his tiny head out of the car window to feel the wind on his face. He loved it. It felt like a thousand hands stroking the little black hairs on his head. He lifted his tan paw to get in on the action.
This was the best time. Not just because he got the wind strokes, but because he was going to the park. He’d never been. Dogs in the street had told him how great the park was. Lots to wee on. Lots to sniff. He looked around, trying to spot the green heaven. He was going to sniff arses until he passed out.
His mum, Lisa, said something, but he had no idea what she was on about. She held him tight and patted his fur so he assumed it was something nice. His dad, Edwin tapped the steering wheel to the song playing in the car, distracting Marley from open window fun. Tit, Marley thought.
They parked, and Lisa stepped out of the car.
“Park!” Marley barked. He sprinted towards the gates. The leash pulled against his neck. His little legs tried to go forward but he found himself going backwards. He turned around and Lisa was coming for him. Oh no, I’ve resisted too much. Not the bag of shame, anything but the bag of shame, he thought.
Marley looked up from the blue handbag and found himself in front of an antiques shop. People laughed as they walked past him in his zip up cell. Another chihuahua walking freely barked mockery. Marley barked his disappointment. Edwin rubbed Marley’s head, and pointed and smiled at the antiques shop. Marley had been tricked for the third week running.
The ageing owner approached, greeting Lisa and Edwin like old friends. He didn’t know why she liked them. They never bought anything. She grabbed Marley’s face and said inaudible nonsense so close to his nose it offended his senses.
Marley growled to say fuckoff. He hated anyone other than his parents touching him. Especially when that anyone smelled of damp ropes and whisky.
They all laughed at Marley, misunderstanding that he was actually angry. The old lady grinned stupidly. He would have weed on the carpet if he needed to go and wasn’t stuck in a handbag with a tube of hand cream leaking on his leg.
Marley lay by the counter, in the bag, watching the green parrot by the till. It stared at Marley and chirped ominously, but Marley couldn’t understand anything it said. He wished it would stop, or at least speak dog.
The room, full of old wood and rusty metal smelled damp and bloody. Marley could feel the dust in the air. He wanted to bark annoyance, mostly to silence the parrot, but he didn’t want any of the air dirt to get in his mouth.
Edwin and Lisa studied a mirror and nodded. Then as Lisa rifled through more non-fun, non-squishy, non-bouncy looking things she picked up a metallic dog bowl. She waved it at Marley. Please feed me, he thought. Lisa looked disappointed at the lack of reaction. She waved it again. Marley saw an image of a bloody faced lion scratch at him. Startled, his ears pricked up and his heart raced. He looked again but it was gone.
Lisa and Edwin put the items down. Phew, Marley thought, no spooky bowl. but the owner handed them back. They shook their heads but she nodded and put them in a bag, gifting them.
The parrot continued chirping as they left, but Marley had shut out the annoying noises. Lisa opened the door to exit.
“That bowl will take you to hell!” the parrot chirped.
Marley, confused, turned back, understanding every word. He saw the old hag smiling.
The door shut. Marley barked and tried to climb out of the bag, but Lisa zipped it tighter. Lisa pointed at the park and Marley forgot his worries in an instant.
“Park!” he barked.
Edwin shook his head and the one flash of the car lights told Marley he was getting back in.
Hope was dashed.
Marley walked into the kitchen to an empty new, metallic bowl. He stared at it from a few feet away, thinking of the parrot’s warning. He slowly approached it and peered over the edge so he could look down at the base.
He relaxed. He must have just been imagining things. He walked into the lounge and looked at his reflection in the terrible new mirror. When he turned away from it two blood red, animal eyes flashed on it.
Lisa and Edwin watched the magic box. Something with singing made Edwin sing along. Always with the singing, Marley thought. Less singy singy, more feedy feedy. Marley walked over and looked up at them. He wiggled his ear. Food?
Lisa made noises at him and put her arms out for a cuddle. Fuck you, Marley thought. You ain’t getting shit until my belly is happy.
Marley sat down, making his point. Lisa, rejected, snuggled up to Edwin instead. Marley knew food was but a dream.
Marley returned to the kitchen and tried to open the cupboard to get food but couldn’t get any grip. He went into the hallway and played with a ball to pass the time. He heard a laugh. It wasn’t Lisa or Edwin’s. He looked around, and was sure it came from the bowl.
He knocked the bowl to the side, but it didn’t respond. He hated this damn thing. Why you confusing me? He thought. He scratched the inside of it. It made an annoying, scraping noise, but nothing abnormal. He did it again.
Shouts came from the lounge. What he was doing got a reaction so he did it some more, pleased with himself. I’ll keep doing this until you feed me. I'm a genius.
Nothing. And his paw hurt now.
He noticed the surface of the bowl become transparent. An image of trees and grass blowing formed on the base of it. A fantasy land. The biggest park he’d ever seen. He smiled and moved his face closer. A blood stained lion’s paw shot out of the bowl and swiped at him. Marley jumped back. The paw clawed around but got nothing.
Marley, distressed, barked and ran to Lisa and Edwin. He jumped round but they ignored him. He barked some more. Lisa looked at him out of the corner of her eye, but didn’t engage.
Marley, defeated, went back into the kitchen to check if he’d been seeing things. Has the dust from the crappy antique shop driven me mental, he wondered?
The bowl was gone.
He walked into the corridor. The bowl was at the opposite end, with the ball inside it. He approached it and apprehensively knocked the ball away. He didn’t dare get closer.
“Hello,” a dog barked. “Sorry you got attacked. This bowl links to many worlds, and some are full of nasty beasts.”
Marley didn’t believe it.
A clean dog’s paw rose out of the bowl. “Look. I’m like you. Take my paw, and I will show you a land of fun and freedom. A beautiful green park,” it barked.
Marley wagged his little tail. He looked into the room where Edwin and Lisa paid him no attention. Screw you, he thought. I'm going to go and live in a park. He returned and took the paw of the creature.
“Now, when inside, take the door shaped like a dog. Do not approach any other.”
Marley hopped up and down, impatient, barking excitement. He was sucked head first into the bowl.
In a grassy limbo Marley ran around, excited. I’m going to shiz everywhere, he thought. Several doors formed out of the air. The one shaped like a dog, and one shaped like a dinosaur. In front of another door just shaped like a circle was a bowl of food.
“Food!” he barked. He leapt towards the bowl.
“Hey, where are you going? It’s the door with the dog on it I said,” the voice barked.
Marley got to the food. “Food!” he barked.
Marley turned back to the bowl but it retracted through the door. Marley barked. “Food!” He stepped towards the door.
“No don't, it’s dang--“
Marley jumped through the door. "Food!"
“Idiot,” the dog barked.
Marley was in the middle of nowhere. He looked around and a group of hyenas ate all the food in his bowl. He barked at them and they ran away. All that remained was his metallic, empty bowl. Annoyed, he looked around for something else to eat.
It was baking hot, there was yellowy-green grass everywhere, and he could see nothing but nature on the horizon for miles. He jumped up and down to try to figure our where he was, but that didn’t really do anything.
He looked at the bowl and thought about returning, but he wanted to explore. That dog was obviously some trickster trying to lure him somewhere dangerous, because this place was paradise.
He ran around chasing nothing in particular, just happy to be free. He felt the heat on his fur and rolled around. Is this what the park was like? He thought. The wind, the freedom, the endless fun. He loved it. He weed on six trees and got distracted by everything.
He ran around in a circle for no reason, but a rumbling in the distance disturbed him. A huge brown blur formed on the horizon. Marley wasn’t sure whether to run towards it or away from it. So he did what he normally does when he’s confused and went to have a sniff.
The blur formed into wildebeests, and he was caught in the middle of thousands migrating. Terrified, he curled up and hoped he wouldn’t get stepped on. He licked his paw to distract himself. The sound pulsed through his skull, and he was too scared to open his eyes.
After a moment he realised he wasn’t in danger. He stood and watched, amazed, as they walked past him. He sniffed arse after arse, after arse. Who needs parents when you have the wild and an endless stream of arses to smell? Marley thought.
He must have smelled hundreds of arses before he spotted what looked like food in the distance. A massive pile of meat. Like someone had got seven million packets of his favourite lamb chunks and squeezed them all there.
Finally, he thought, as he ran towards it. His excitement faded as the smell got worse the nearer he got. Flies had already got to his meal. It looked less like lamb and more like a giant, skinned cat.
Marley’s stomach turned. He needed food and he needed it soon. He turned away from the skinned cat and saw red eyes in the distant shadows of a rocky structure. Marley, defiant, barked at the eyes, wanting to identify them. He took a step forward but then five more pairs appeared. Terrified, Marley ran. He thought it must be his aggression rapidly shifting to cowardice that is why he wasn’t allowed near parks and other animals.
He ran for an hour, barking for help, but nobody understood. He tried to bark an explanation at a giraffe. It smiled and ate some leaves. He tried a rhino, but it rolled around, confused. He finally tried an elephant, but she whipped Marley with her trunk. He didn’t like these large animals. They were all unhelpful and stupid. It was time to go home. The park was mean and the food was crap.
Marley got back to where the bowl was, but it was gone. Worried and thirsty, he walked towards a river.
“What’s wrong, little fella?” a voice asked.
Marley looked around. Was it a dog? Finally. All he saw was a hippo, laying down.
“You understand me?” Marley asked.
“I speak all languages, apart from human and zombie lion, pal.”
“Yes. The lions here have all become zombies and are killing everyone.”
“Oh… There’s no problem then,” Marley said.
“Zombies never win. The world is good, and good always wins.”
“My parents watch zombie films on their magic box, and the zombies always lose.”
The hippo rolled over. “Doesn’t mean they can’t hurt you, friend.” Cuts covered his body. “I only escaped them because they saw wildebeests and chased them.” The hippo rolled back. “It’s worse at night. More of them come out to hunt.”
Marley shook. The thought of a zombie lion biting his little body terrified him.
“The only way to survive in the Serengeti is to be clever, little fella.”
Marley had no idea where the Serengeti was, but assumed that's where he was. He had to find a way home.
He returned to where he entered this world and sniffed around where his bowl should have been. No tracks, and no distinctive scent. There were so many smells it was hard to detect anything. He tried extra hard and inhaled until he could hardly breathe. He picked up a faint hint of metal. He followed his nose.
As he walked away red eyes opened on the ground and the earth rose slowly. The silhouette of a lion’s head watched Marley.
As the sun went down Marley climbed a hill, hoping that being up high would give him more chance of spotting his bowl and surviving. Animals are lazy so prefer to hunt on lower ground, he told himself to feel more comfortable. He closed his eyes for a moment, trembling, I wish mum and dad were here. Even if they do make my belly sad. He rested his chin on a rock. I want a cuddle. The tiredness took him.
When Marley awoke he had forgotten where he was, mostly because he had been moved. Dark rocks surrounded him, and red eyes stared at him. Marley popped up and barked. I’ll batter you. A skeletal lion with fire in its eyes emerged from the shadows and roared back. Maybe I won’t batter you, Marley thought.
Lumps of sinewy, muscly meat hung off the zombie lion’s bones. Blood covered its teeth and mouth. Its claws scratched the rocks. Two more, smaller, zombie lions emerged.
As Marley backed away he noticed his metallic bowl, full of ripped flesh. He had to get to it. He ran through the bigger, leader lion’s legs and got to the bowl but was pawed back into the middle. He tried again, managing to head butt the bones out of the way and scratch the bowl enough to see the portal, but he was easily swept back again.
One of the lions pinned Marley down. His little legs couldn’t get free as the sharp claw drew blood from his back. He pushed with all of his strength, which was a very tiny amount.
A hippo slammed into the side of the lion. Knocking it away. The lions backed off as Marley’s hippo friend and four others formed a barrier between him and the lions.
“See, I told you the little guy was right!” Marley’s friend said.
Marley got to his feet.
“Zombies always lose. According to the height restricted dog a magic box thingy says so. So we have the way life works on our side. They can hurt us, but they can't kill us. To victory!”
One swipe of the leader lion’s claw and the hippo’s head came off. Marley saw the lion’s sword-like claw retract. A collective groan from the hippos.
“Run little liar dog,” another hippo said.
Marley ran as far and as fast as he could. He could hear the sounds of meat being cut and roars of savagery from the zombie lions as they caught the hippos.
Marley, exhausted, sat under a tree and cried.
He was hungry, tired, and missed home comforts, even if they annoyed him. He walked to where he first met his hippo friend, just to get his scent one last time. He remembered what he said, “The only way to survive in the Serengeti is to be clever.” He had no idea what that meant. He walked to the water’s edge, looking for an answer in his reflection, but his face morphed into a zombie lion’s. He hopped back, terrified. Marley lay down and wept.
Marley decided to be brave. He went back to their lair and watched the zombie lions eat one of the hippos. He saw the severed head of his friend. One of the eyes had fallen out and blood ran down his mouth. One of the lions sniffed the air. It looked in Marley’s direction, but he hid behind some rocks. He knew what it meant to be clever. There was no way he could fight these creatures. He needed help.
Marley weed on some rocks and ran around to watch the spot. He observed as the leader lion walked over and leapt onto the rocks. Marley was amazed at how high it leapt, and knew he’d be dead if they saw him. It called its other skeletal friends over.
Marley snuck down towards the bowl and stopped to look at his dead friend’s head. He scratched at the bowl but the noise alerted all the lions. As they turned he hid behind his friend’s severed head.
They closed in, so Marley got inside the cavity formed in his friend’s head. The smell made him dizzy. He looked out through one of the eye sockets. The lions looked confused and argued among themselves.
He couldn’t stay here long. He felt faint and vomited. The vomit squeezing through the eye socket unnerved the lions. They stared closely and studied the liquid. Marley used the distraction to sneak away.
He climbed up high and used his little legs and head to push a rock down. It crushed the bony paw of one of a smaller zombie lion. It looked up and saw nothing. It tried to climb up but the injury stopped it. Annoyed, the leader lion swiped at it, breaking some of the bones on its cheek.
The third lion sided with its smaller colleague. Marley climbed down and found the leader’s meal. He moved it and hid.
The leader leapt on the other lion, extended a claw and cut through its bony legs. The leader left it there to suffer as the other lion looked on. When the leader returned to his meal he noticed it had moved. He looked at his frightened subordinates and swiped the other. A brawl broke out among the three of them.
Marley ran to the bowl and scratched it, seeing his home and Edwin and Lisa. He couldn’t wait to be neglected by them again.
The leader spotted Marley and ran at him, but he made it through the portal.
The leader's paw swiped around but couldn't reach Marley. He extended his claw but Marley was out of reach.
He barked, excited by victory.
“Back are we?” the dog voice barked.
“Sorry,” Marley said. “I was hungry.”
“Ok, well maybe you should go home.“
Marley walked towards his door, but a scraping sound got his attention. A bowl of food was in front of the other door again.
"Food!" Marley barked.
Marley leapt towards the food again.
"Seriously, you can't be that dumb."
The bowl retracted through the door. Marley looked back at the dog shaped door.
"Food!" he barked. He followed the food.
Pained barking could be heard. Marley's severed head rolled onto the grassy ground.