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FROM THE BOOK OF MONSTERS

Page 392

YARAMAZ TURKISH CARPETS

Species:    Animal

Habitat:    Ranges. Prefers city or suburban. Nocturnal. 

Designation:    See special cautions in hunting.

The above name is a rough translation. They are also referred to as “mischievous flying carpets” in other texts.

Although they bear resemblance to and share the gift of flight with the flying carpets of the Arabian Nights lore, Turkish flying carpets are not inanimate objects imbued with magic but sentient living creatures.

Although not intelligent as say a monkey or a dog they are still highly cunning. The creatures make their homes in carpet warehouses where they blend in and like to sleep during the day. Come dark, they fly out into the night and into the windows of unsuspecting humans, usually children. Through some sort of sympathetic communication that is not yet understood, the Turkish carpet will coax the child onto itself and take it for a wild ride, usually lasting until dawn. It is believed that the carpet feeds upon the thrills of the rider and that the ride itself is not random but somehow linked to the subconscious desires of the host. In 1992 the obese son of one time Monster Hunter Charles Stuyvesant was believed to have encountered a particularly wild Yaramaz that flew him from his Brooklyn brownstone all the way to Hershey Pennsylvania. There is reason to believe that this particular beast perished in a vat of heated chocolate but the police report makes
no mention of the beast, only the child’s unlawful entry into the factory.

Recent Observations:

In 2009, rumors of strange flying objects in Brooklyn has sparked belief that the so called “Hershey” Yaramaz did not perish at all. So little is known about their mating and reproduction that designating this Yaramaz an offspring as has been postulated is premature.

Cautions:

Stuyvesant’s field notes from 1992 also indicate that the Hershey Yaramaz did not perish in the encounter. Stuyvesant went hunting the creature and tracked it to a carpet showroom on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Stuyvesant thought he had surprised the beast but the carpet salesman who had been on his way out reported seeing the carpet rise into the air and that  Stuyvesant went into some sort of trance. He claimed Stuyvesant rode the carpet out the window and into the night. Stuyvesant gave up monster hunting in 1992. His last contribution to the field was to caution that only those “dead at heart” attempt to hunt Yaramaz as anyone else could easily fall prey to their sympathetic lures.  Stuyvesant  moved upstate and opened a chocolate shop which to this day he operates with his son.

-END-

And at last, on the eighty-first day of their travels, the village came into sight through the trees, incomprehensibly peaceful and familiar and dull. The two surviving members of the quest limped, exhausted, toward the council house.

They didn’t have to announce their arrival: awed children–Second Trout, the flinter’s son; the orphans Birch-Leaf and Birch-Bough; Small Badger; and the others–coalesced around the adventurers with shrieks, clapping their hands excitedly against their thighs. Their families and neighbors left hides curing, grain half-pounded, roofs part-mended. By the time the two reached the council house, the Elders were already hurrying in, and almost the entire village trailed behind them in a raucous parade.

The younger traveler collapsed onto the cool dirt floor, laughing weakly. Two of the unmarried girls brought him water in a gourd.

The older traveler, Broken Tooth Wolf, gripped the center pole for support but remained standing. Under his free arm he held a hide-wrapped bundle somewhat larger than a man’s head.

“Broken Tooth Wolf!” said the Eldest as she creaked into a sitting position on a reed mat. “Where are Red Tailed Hawk and Bullfrog and Turtle Beak?”

“They’re dead, and their bones are scattered and trampled in places we don’t dare to return,” said Broken Tooth Wolf. Another elder opened his mouth to ask a question, but Broken Tooth Wolf spoke quickly. “We don’t have much time. Our journey was not successful. I have only been able to bring back one thing to help us, and you will see that it is not what we hoped for.”

Broken Tooth Wolf loosened the hide wrapping of his package, then threw it to the floor, where the coverings fell away to show what it was. The council house went quiet.

The Eldest looked up at Broken Tooth Wolf in surprise. Broken Tooth Wolf nodded, wearily.

“It is all we have,” said the Eldest. “We will do with it what we can. War chief, kill Broken Tooth Wolf by the black rocks and bring back his head. You others, get to work now. We must be prepared before they find us.”

Broken Tooth Wolf went unresistingly with the war chief. At least his lot would be easier than the others’ would be once time had run out.

On the reedy banks of the River Floyd, the Fellowship of the Little Girl came across a middle-aged man in a rumpled blue suit arguing with a large sinuous dragon. The man was the first human Anya had seen in the Land of Grey Dusk, and so she led her party over to the squabblers.

“But it’s not so far,” the man was saying. “Why are you being so stubborn?”

“On account of this,” the dragon hissed and lightly poked at the man’s paunchy stomach. “You have gotten heavy, Jackie, too big for me. You’ll likely break my back were I to take you to Harmony.”

“John, not Jackie,” said the man, “and this is water weight.”

“Hello,” said Anya. The arguing duo stopped and turned to look at her. The eyes of both the man and the dragon were identical, a blazing green.

“Yes?” said the dragon.

“Hi, my name is Anya,” said Anya.

“John,” said the man, “and Feng here is too lazy to give me a ride to the Land of He.”

“Huh?”

“No, not ‘Huh,’ ‘He,’” said Feng the dragon. “Your pronunciation is atrocious. ‘He’ is Chinese for Harmony, the land that is my home. Jackie used to visit me when he was much younger, and play, and bring me gifts, but then he grew up and had no more time for his dragon.”

“Can you blame me?” said the man. “It happens to everyone. I’m here now, aren’t I?”

“Yes. Here, grown up, and much too fat.”

Before the man could launch another retort, Anya said, “Friend Dragon, you look to be strong enough to carry John wherever he needs to go, but you still feel hurt and abandoned. John, you want to reconnect with your lost friend, but your pride is getting in the way of true intimacy. It seems to me that if you both admit to your feelings, you could stop arguing and both be happy.”

“Hmm,” said Feng the dragon. “She’s right, you know.”

“Yeah, I suppose.” John kicked at the reeds. “I’m sorry I left you all those years ago.”

“And I’m sorry I called you fat.” The dragon lowered itself to the ground. “You ready to go?”

John smiled and climbed aboard. As the dragon was about to depart, Anya said, “Wait!”

“Yes?”

“Can you give me a ride too? I’m trying to reach home.”

“Oh no, my dear girl, I don’t travel to the world above anymore. You will need to consult the Green Empress for passage back to that place.”

Feng the dragon squatted down and then launched itself into the air, twisting and twirling and ribboning through the skies, its passenger whooping and yawping all the while, both man and dragon now reunited in joy.

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Previously:
01: Mini Buddha Jump Over the Wall
02: The World, Under
03: Androcles Again
04: Look Into My Eyes, You’re Under
05: Shiftless, Hopeless
06: Cricetinae’s Paroxysm

This story did not appear on Friday, June 26th. In a sense, it never appeared.

For me I bet it was about the same as it was for you … I went to bed on Thursday, but woke up on Saturday. It wasn’t a Rip Van Winkle kind of thing: Friday was just missing. Specifically, someone had taken it.

This wasn’t the kind of problem we usually dealt with at the Department of Time Misallocation. It was a relaxed job, usually, punctuated with coffee breaks and donuts. Every day we’d get a few cases of stolen moments, someone would lose an evening to drinking, and every fall there was always a flood of hapless dorks who didn’t remember what they had done with the hour of Daylight Savings Time they had saved in spring. It was never anything serious. Time isn’t really lost, after all: it’s just used. A little cognitive restructuring generally takes care of everything.

But this was different, because in that week there was no Friday. Someone had diverted the entire day, so paychecks had been missed, schedules had been ruptured, and millions of senior citizens were stuck with an extra day’s worth of prescription pills they didn’t know what to do with. It was a horrible theft, a breathtaking theft, an inexplicable and uninvestigatable impossibility. We spent months on it, actually, and between the feverish work pace and the lack of donuts, most of us lost between two and eight pounds. That was all the good that ever came out of it, though. When we closed the case for good a year after the fact, we’d gotten no closer than we’d been that mind-slapping Saturday morning.

If that had been all, if it had been one crazy incident, we could have put it behind us–but we know it will happen again. We don’t know when, or who, or how, but someone’s shown the way, and now everyone’s thinking about it: what they would do with it, an entire day to themselves, stolen and available for use at any time? It was like hiding a djinni in a backpack, like folding a summer meadow into the closet in the spare room. It was a little like eating the sun. What could you do with a stolen, unblemished day? Or more to the point: what couldn’t you?

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