Chuck Ronson Reporting
by I.A. Watson
A tie in to his Monster Earth story “Monster of World War II, or Happy Birthday Bobby Fetch”
CHUCK RONSON: I’m here for the National Broadcasting Company reporting live from the tent relief hospital at Pearl Harbor, just twenty-four hours after the devastating Japanese attack led by another giant creature under their control, a monster the experts are now calling Kraakus. It’s impossible to describe the scene here. In fact I’m told we’re not allowed to comment on the magnitude of lost shipping and aircraft or to name specific vessels. Or to detail casualties. We’ve just learned as a nation that we have enemies who will be more than happy to use that information against us. Anyhow, I’m here in one of the big emergency pavilions where the wounded have been brought, and I’m talking to a survivor and eyewitness of this attack, Miss Bethany Morris. Miss Morris, you were right here when it happened?
BETH MORRIS: I was on the base, yes. I’m a secretary – I was a secretary, at the Admin Building at the Naval Yard. It’s just a heap of steaming rubble now, after the acid spray.
CHUCK: You were heading to work, just before eight local time, when the attack began?
BETH: I was heading across the playing field with Lizzie. She works with me… that is, worked. She’s dead now. I saw that huge tentacle lash out and swat her like a fly! She burst! She just… burst. She…
CHUCK: Take your time, Miss Morris.
BETH: Sorry. It was… Anyway, we were just coming over the field, me and Lizzie, yesterday morning. Some G.I.s were playing ball and they whooped at us. At Lizzie anyway. Guys always whooped at Lizzie. She waved back to them. We’d just gotten to the road when there was this awful stench. Like every sewer in the world had backed up all at once, or like fish that have been dead for about two years. It was awful, choking.
CHUCK: What did you do?
BETH: We hurried inside. We thought maybe there’d been a bad tide. We thought it’d be better in the building. Private Mortensen held the door open for us.
CHUCK: I should explain for the benefit of listeners that Miss Morris and I are sitting beside Private Mortensen’s bed. He’s not conscious. His head’s wrapped in bandages.
BETH: Yes. But that was later. Right then I didn’t even think about him. We just hurried past to get away from the smell. Then there was that sound.
CHUCK: Everyone I’ve interviewed has talked about that. No-one can agree what it sounded like.
BETH: It was the noise souls make as they’re dragged to hell. It’s like… needles in your head, needles that hate you. I don’t wonder that folks can’t describe it. I think we all just heard it in our minds and assigned it some noise we could understand. I think… whatever it was made that noise carried thousands of years of pain and cried it out in anger. I think it blames humanity for its torment. Or something. I don’t know.
CHUCK: This was the screech of the creature they’re calling Kraakus, the monster some people are describing as a legendary kraken?
BETH: Yes. I didn’t see it rising in the harbor. Some of the people here did, but most won’t talk about it. Lizzie and I only saw the shadow as something really, really huge blocked the light into the Admin Building lobby. And then there was that scream, that shriek that tore right into you, that shredded your courage, that made you afraid like a tiny animal being hunted in the dark.
CHUCK: What did you do?
BETH: I was on my knees before I ever realized I’d reacted. I wanted to be sick. My head was spinning round. Lizzie was trying to drag me up, to get us away. Then we heard a big tearing sound, metal tearing, and an explosion. That was when it ripped up the first of the battleships.
CHUCK: We can’t say on air what that was, Miss Morris. But you didn’t see that?
BETH: We didn’t see the creature. Not then. We smelled it and we heard it – and we felt it in our bones, in our blood.
CHUCK: The monster’s cry seems to have affected a lot of people. Some of them just curled into catatonic balls.
BETH: I can understand that. But Lizzie dragged me up, pulled me back to the door. “We have to get out,” she kept saying. “We have to get out”. The building was shaking. Another explosion made all the windows blow in. Private Mortensen was there, by the entrance, looking round wildly, holding his rifle up as if he could shoot the building before it fell on us.
CHUCK: Did you get out?
BETH: Something massive hit the outer wall. A tentacle, I guess. The plasterwork cracked and some of the ceiling came down. The big chandelier smashed to pieces. An alarm bell started ringing. I remember thinking, some part of me was thinking, how pointless it was to ring a bell to warn people that something was wrong. Lizzie kept trying to drag me away. She got me to the door but when the building got hit she let me go and just ran. Ran away, across the road, towards the field. That’s when… when…
CHUCK: That’s when the tentacle hit her.
BETH: Yes. Smeared her, just like that. Like it didn’t matter. Like she didn’t mean anything. All that energy, all that potential, that beautiful, fun-filled, flirty, annoying, brilliant… all gone into a puddle of gore. And then that same tentacle lashed back straight towards me.
CHUCK: Go on.
BETH: That’s when Hank – Private Mortensen – grabbed me. He hauled me back through the door just as the tentacle slammed into the wall. It shattered the stones. The whole place came down around me. I… I don’t remember anything for a while.
CHUCK: Is that when you broke your arm?
BETH: Yes. It didn’t hurt much till they set it again. I didn’t even know it was busted till I woke up and tried to use it.
CHUCK: How long were you out?
BETH: Hank said a couple of hours. We were trapped under the rubble, see? The doorway had formed a kind of archway that protected us from the debris. It was like a little tent, a tiny space under the fallen building. Hank was laid on top of me. We were pinned like that.
CHUCK: Not a good situation.
BETH: Better than being crushed. It was only later on that I realized why Hank was lying on me. He must have thrown his whole body across me to protect me. That was pretty brave.
CHUCK: Was he unconscious then?
BETH: No. He’d gotten his crack on the skull. That concussion, but we were in pitch darkness so he couldn’t tell if it was bad. He was bleeding a lot but head wounds are always like that, aren’t they? I could get my good arm up to touch his injury and I wound by scarf round it the best I could.
CHUCK: So you were trapped under the Admin Building while Kraakus was rampaging across Pearl Harbor.
BETH: That’s probably why we survived. So many others didn’t.
CHUCK: And at last you were rescued?
BETH: No. Not then. It got much worse before that.
CHUCK: Can you tell us about it?
BETH: I… yes, I can. I must. First off was the acid. You heard that Jap monster spat out wads of acid? It just melted folks to goo. Ships and planes too, they tell me. Well it must have sprayed the Admin Building, because some of that stuff tricked down to drip into the space where we were laying. We knew because, even though it was pitch black in our hole, that stuff glowed!
CHUCK: Did it get near you?
BETH: Some did, but it melted right down into the stones beneath us. A few drops fell right on Hank’s back, too, but he didn’t tell me then. He just let it burn him and he sheltered me from it. See those bandages all round his torso? That’s the wounds Hank took when he kept me from being burned.
CHUCK: Is that why you’re sitting here next to him while he sleeps? He saved you from the acid?
BETH: That’s not why. Not really. You see… what came next was worse. We lay there waiting for rescue, or for that monster to come back and finish us. It went quiet for a while. They say it headed inland to rip up the mountains. We just lay there and nursed our wounds and wondered why no-one was coming to help us. Of course, we didn’t know how bad it was outside. There was no-one to help us. And then… it came back.
CHUCK: How did you know the kraken had returned?
BETH: We felt it. I don’t mean the ground trembling, though it did. We knew it was coming before the smell hit us again, before it screamed out that horrid mind-scraping creel. We just knew it was approaching. And it knew where we were.
CHUCK: You mean you thought it knew.
BETH: I mean it knew. We could sense it. I can’t explain it any better than that. It knew where we were and it hated us. It wanted us to die. It wanted to devour us mind, body, and soul.
CHUCK: Did you try and dig out of the rubble?
BETH: We couldn’t move. The lintel was keeping the whole thing from falling on us. If we shifted anything the lot would have come down. So we were trapped, me under Hank, while that thing crawled back to finish us off. It’s cries got louder and louder, worse and worse. I thought I would go mad.
CHUCK: But you didn’t.
BETH: Maybe I did, for a moment. But then… It was Hank. Hank talked to me. He just talked to me, so calm, so kind. He made me listen to him. He just talked and talked, about anything. About when he was a boy in Iowa with his little dog. About his brother and sister. About the movies. About bluebells. Anything to drag me away from hearing that horrible thing heading towards us.
CHUCK: Sounds like he did a good job.
BETH: Yes. You know, I hardly remembered him from before. He asked me out once, at a mixer dance. I wouldn’t give him the time of day. He was only a private, and Lizzie and me, we kept getting asked by the officers. I just brushed him off, I guess. But here he was, laid on top of me, telling me everything that came into his head, just to keep me sane. Hank Mortensen, saving my life again.
CHUCK: I should say for the folks listening, you’re holding his hand.
BETH: That creature, that Kraakus, he was getting closer. And the nearer he got the worse it was. There was something about it, something that tore up all the parts of a mind that allowed common sense, or hope, or rational thought. I was a rat caught in a trap. Hank must have felt the same way, but he kept on talking to me, trying to hold me together. I knew that if I once slipped I’d be lost, mad, destroyed. As it got nearer it was harder and harder to hold on.
CHUCK: Do you need a moment, Miss Morris?
BETH: No. I want to tell this. I need to. It was… I couldn’t hear Hank any more. I couldn’t feel his weight pressing down on me. I could only feel the monster invading my mind, like tentacles coiling around my thoughts, squeezing. I wanted to scream, but I couldn’t even breathe. And then…
BETH: You know there was another monster? A second one, from out of the mountain? Something ancient and buried, that was woken up by Kraakus’ attack?
CHUCK: That would be the dragon-like entity the locals are identifying with the legendary Kalamainu’u from island myth. The one that flew out to engage the Japs and Kraakus.
BETH: That one yes. Did they tell you that she sings?
CHUCK: Sings? Like a bird?
BETH: Like an angel. That Kraakus screams in your mind, but the other one, she – I know it was she, I could tell – she sang. It was like my mother holding me as a baby. Or like… like a sister hugging me. It was like love.
CHUCK: This was the time when Kalamainu’u appeared to do battle with the kraken?
BETH: I guess so. We couldn’t see anything, Hank and I, but we sure felt it. We knew those two ancient powers were clashing against each other. We had no doubt who we should be rooting for.
CHUCK: There are other reports of people who were traumatized by Kraakus’ cries recovering when the dragon came.
BETH: She was like… like cool mountain air and cleaning fire. And though we could tell she was so old, she felt so young. Younger than me. Fresh and passionate and new. Everything that Kraakus wasn’t. Her song just burned through me and Hank, searing away those tentacles, setting us free.
CHUCK: The two monsters met out over the ocean, some distance from here.
BETH: And we were in a little hole under a whole lot of rubble. It didn’t matter. The kraken-thing had dragged us into it, somehow, and the dragon-girl lifted us out. But we were there. We were there when they met. And at the end, I think we helped.
CHUCK: That’s an odd thing to claim, Miss Morris.
BETH: I know. But listen. We knew they were out there. We knew they were fighting. Fear and love kept lashing through us. Hank squeezed my hand and said, “Let’s just hope that love is stronger.” But it didn’t feel that way. It didn’t feel like that was how it was going to end. But then… well…
CHUCK: Miss Morris?
BETH: Then Hank Mortensen kissed me. Or I kissed him. I don’t know. We kissed. We fell in love. Right then, right there, with the monsters in our heads fighting it out. We fell in love and we’ll be together for the rest of our lives! You wanted to know why I’m sitting here looking over Hank while he recovers? It’s because this man is going to be my husband, for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, all the days of our lives! So there!
CHUCK: Congratulations, then. That was some first date!
BETH: And when we kissed, when we fell in love, Kalamainu’u knew. She knew! It strengthened her, somehow. It spurred her on. I swear it, we helped her. And she won.
CHUCK: Reports are that both monsters were lost.
BETH: But Kalamainu’u won. Love triumphed over hate and fear. Now every day Hank and I will try and do justice to what that creature did for us, gave to us. She might be gone, but she will never be forgotten. Never!
CHUCK: Well there you have it, folks. One more tale of horror and disaster, with a remarkable twist. One happy ending in a day that sure needed them. Miss Morris, I’m certain the whole nation is with me in wishing you and Private Mortensen every happiness for the future. And now, over to Brock Murphy for the weather…