Target: Fiskerton is the twenty-fifth chapter of Zak Saturday's Immortal Love Life. It was first published on January 25, 2016.
The training course wasn’t hard for me to do. Fighting Dad, on the other hand, difficult, but not impossible.
He was fighting against me while wearing a helmet and using a spear and I was using the claw. I deflected each of his hits, but he managed to hold me against a tree.
“Weaponless against an enemy you can’t influence with your powers,” he said. “What are you gonna do now?”
I would like to point out first that if I could influence my dad with my powers it would be very weird and yet kind of cool.
“Improvise?” I suggested, answering his question, though it sounded more like a question than an answer.
I got myself free from his hold and I began running away from him.
“Me too,” he said, then hit me in the back with his spear, knocking me into the bushes.
Sarah, Zack, Fiskerton, and Komodo were watching us, and they came over to comfort me.
“It’s ok,” Sarah said. “You’ll beat him next time.”
I wasn’t so sure of that, but I was grateful that she was there for me. Fiskerton even tried to comfort me.
“He’s not done yet, Fiskerton,” Dad said.
That surprised me.
“What?” I asked. “You said five times on the training course and then I was done for the day.”
“It only counts if you beat helmet head,” he said. “You’re still at four.”
“Are you serious? But Fisk spent all afternoon building this huge Fisker-track ramp down by the river. It’s suppose to be . . . not dangerous at all.”
Dad took off his helmet, and he had a serious look on his face.
“Here it comes,” Sarah said.
And she was probably right.
“You know what’s at stake here, Zak,” Dad told me. “Argost has already opened Kur’s tomb. If that leads him to Kur itself, we could be facing an entire army of cryptids under Argost’s control. Your power may be the only thing that can stop Kur. That makes you a target, and I will do anything I have to do to make sure you’re safe.”
Yeah, that’s bound to make me feel bad.
Fiskerton asked me if he could go to his track without me.
“I guess if it’s too important to wait for me, then—”
He didn’t wait until I was finished and ran off. I sighed.
Back inside our house, we all were in a room, watching a news report on TV in Switzerland. Something about a cryptid.
“The tiny Swiss town has been evacuated after these strange jets of flame burst from the lake,” the news reporter was saying. “Officials claim the culprit is a ruptured natural gas deposit, but locals disagree. They say there’s something else down there. Something alive.”
“The Buratsche-al-ilgs?” Dad suggested.
“The story just tripped our news tracker,” Mom said, then walked up to Dad in an odd way. “I thought you’d be interested enough to interrupt combat training.”
I wanted to gag. She was getting all romantic.
“Ok, is this what I have to look forward to when I fall in love?” I asked. “Getting romantic over ruptured gas?”
“I’ve gotta agree with Zak, there,” Sarah said. “Really?”
“The Buratsche-al-ilgs is a Swiss cryptid, Zak,” Mom explained. “It’s suppose to look like a glob of human tissue surrounded by flame shooting eyes.”
“Your mother and I tracked it all through the Alps for our honeymoon,” Dad added.
“So what? It came back?” I asked.
“Well, we never found it,” Mom said. “Got close a few times, but no actual sighting.”
“Wait. You never found it? Then it’s like you never finished your honeymoon. We should drop everything and go looking for it right now while we still know where it is.”
“It’s a good idea, Doc,” Mom agreed. “Aside from the romance. I’m sure that town could use our help.”
“What? And miss the rest of our training?” he asked.
“It’s a sacrifice, but sometimes it hurts to do the right thing,” I said, with a little sarcasm.
He agreed to go. So we all got into our airship and went to that tiny Swiss town.
After a little while, we arrived and the town was deserted.
“Ok, ghost towns, best places ever,” I said.
Fiskerton called out in a loud voice and there was an echo.
“People do live here, boys,” Mom said. “And I’m sure they’d like to come home as soon as it’s safe.”
“That’s where we come in,” Dad said.
She grabbed his hand and they continued walking. Fiskerton seemed confused.
“Don’t ask,” I told him. “Trust me.”
“I think it’s cute.” Raylee said.
“You would think that’s cute,” Sarah said.
She looked at me. I think that I may be letting my parents romance with each other ruin my romance with Sarah. I don’t know why, but I just find it kind of awkward with her right now.
We followed my parents down to the lake. We looked out onto it, but didn’t see anything.
“If there’s nothing here, I don’t have to go back to training, do I?” I asked.
Just as I said that, a cryptid arose from the middle of the lake. It looked . . . ugly.
“Wow,” Mom said. “That is a lot less romantic in person.”
“Yeah,” Dad agreed.
It shot fire at us from its eyes. We moved to dodge it.
“Fan out!” Dad called. “Divide the attention of those eyes.”
We did that and, well, the rest is probably obvious. We could hardly dodge any of its fire attacks. Mom blocked one using her fire sword.
“It’s keeping pace,” she said. “Zak, try your powers.”
I tried them. Once they activated, I sensed something wrong immediately. It shot fire at me from one of its eyes and barely dodged it.
“Zak, pay attention,” Dad told me.
“I am,” I said. “It’s just . . . that thing’s not a cryptid.”
“Are you sure?” Mom asked. “Maybe it’s just too strong for your powers.”
“No. It’s just . . . nothing.”
“He’s right,” Sarah agreed. “I can’t feel anything to it with my aura.”
The fake cryptid shot fire at me again. Dad pulled me next to him and used his power glove to stop the fire from touching us.
“It’s . . . something,” he said.
Komodo somehow managed to get on top of it and bite its skin. Zon did the same thing with her talons and it fell into the water next to the shore. The weird thing was, there were pieces of it all around it, but it wasn’t pieces of its skin.
“Mechanical?” Mom asked, surprised.
“Why would anyone build a fake cryptid?” Dad asked.
“Because half of fishing is using dried bait,” a voice replied from behind us.
We turned around and saw Van Rook along with Piecemeal, which surprised me and the rest of us.
“Now for the other half,” Van Rook said. He pulled out a sword from behind his back and they advanced on us. “Beautiful town, Drew. This could’ve been our honeymoon.”
“Hmm, thanks for the perspective,” Mom replied sarcastically. “Suddenly a giant stomach with a hundred eyes doesn’t seem quite so disgusting.”
I wanted to gag once I realized what they were talking about.
“Whoa, Mom,” I said. “You almost married Van Rook?”
“No, n-no!” she said, looking embarrassed. “I didn’t almost— We dated a few times in college. I-I didn’t know he was— We are not talking about this right now.”
Raylee couldn’t seem to help but laugh.
“Well, can we talk about why Van Rook and Piecemeal are working together?” I asked. “Is that not weird to anybody else?”
“It is to me,” Zack said.
“It’s Argost,” Dad said. “He’s the only one who would’ve brought these two maniacs together.”
“Of course, that’s the easy part,” Van Rook said. “The question that must be driving you nuts is why.”
He blasted some grenades at us and Piecemeal charged. Dad grabbed him and threw him back, letting the grenades hit him instead of us. Mom shot fire from her fire sword and I slingshot the claw at Van Rook, but he dodged them using his jet pack and took flight.
We started running away from them, but it wasn’t easy. Van Rook shot grenades at us, and we barely missed any of them. Mom shot another fire ball at him, but he dodged it again.
“We can take these guys, Dad,” I said. “Why don’t we just stay and fight?”
“Until we know what Argost’s move is, all I care about is keeping you safe,” he replied.
A moment later, I noticed that Fiskerton had managed to jump on to Van Rook and knock him to the ground.
“Fisk!” I called.
“Zak, wait!” Mom called, but I didn’t listen.
Fiskerton and Van Rook stood a few feet from each other. Van Rook grabbed out his multivolo and started swinging it, planning to tie up Fisk in it.
“Are you really going to make it this easy?” he asked.
I didn’t know what he meant, but I didn’t care right then. I slingshot the claw at his hand and knocked the multivolo out of it. Zon flew down out of the sky, grabbed Van Rook with her talons, lifted him into the air, and dropped him onto the roof of the building next to us.
“Alright, that’s one down,” I said, helping Fiskerton up. “Come on. Let’s go help Mom and Dad with—”
We were suddenly blasted with fire. Once I regained my footing, I noticed where it came from.
“The fake cryptid,” I said. “It’s still working.”
It started blasted fire at me from its many eyes. Fisk pulled me aside before one could hit me. Then he picked me up and started running away from it. Van Rook stopped us in our path.
“Sorry,” he said. “Nobody leaves the party until Argost gets his goody bag.”
I still had no idea what he meant.
Mom stuck her fire sword in the ground, causing a kind of fire shield to emerge from around her and expand out, knocking Van Rook away. He landed on the ground, and his grenades shot out. They hit the fake cryptid and knocked it to the ground.
“Mom! Dad!” I called.
“Just get to the airship,” Dad said. “We’ll hold them off and catch up.”
“But this doesn’t make sense. I know why Argost would be after me, but Piecemeal? He eats cryptids.”
“I don’t care about cryptids right now.”
The fake cryptid shot fire at us again and we took cover.
“Fiskerton,” Dad called. “I’m trusting you to protect Zak. Whatever it takes, you have to get him to safety.”
“I don’t need a babysit—” I began, but was interrupted when Fisk grabbed me and jumped away.
Piecemeal then appeared right where we were standing a moment ago.
“Whoa,” I said.
“Run!” Dad said.
“Sarah, Zack, you should probably go with them,” Raylee said. “We’ll see you later.”
I wanted to argue, but I knew it was pointless. So Fiskerton took me away and Sarah and Zack went with us while the others stayed and fight. Fiskerton carried me from roof to roof and I was fighting for him to let me go.
“Hey, let me—,” I tried. “Just listen to me.”
He put me down on the roof.
“We have to go back and help them.”
Fisk shook his head.
“I know what they said, but I don’t have to be protected all the time.”
Fiskerton did some kind of mocking charade and bowed to me.
“What? You think I like being treated like this?” I asked. “Some secret weapon everyone has to keep safe?”
He crossed his arms.
“Then maybe you should try it for once. See what it feels like to have Mom and Dad thinking everybody’s coming after you.”
“We know what you’re saying, Zak,” Sarah said.
“Yeah,” Zack agreed. “I mean, we’ve never felt like that before because our mom doesn’t treat us like we can’t take care of ourselves, but we’ve seen it before and we don’t like it, and neither does our mom.”
“But you have to also understand that your parents care about you. It’s their job to keep you safe, and they’ll do whatever they can to make sure that happens.”
“Yeah, I’ve already heard that,” I said.
Then Piecemeal appeared on the ground below and ripped apart the gutters on the house we were on top of, causing the tiles to slip off. We began running up the roof to keep from falling, but couldn’t. Fiskerton grabbed me and threw me up in the air. I didn’t know how that would’ve helped.
The good news: someone caught me before I could land on the concrete. The bad news: that someone was Van Rook. He flew off with him holding on to me. He took me away to a train near the town and threw me into it, and I hit my head on the floor. Then the train moved.
I rubbed my head and stood up. I noticed Van Rook sitting in a chair with his arms crossed.
“What are you doing?” I asked him.
“Waiting for the rest,” he replied.
Then the roof of the train opened up and Fiskerton, Sarah, and Zack jumped down into the room. But then Piecemeal broke in through the side.
“And now it’s a complete set,” Van Rook said, standing up from his chair. “With a few extra pieces. Keep them here while I deal with this, and keep your slobbering mouth to yourself.”
He turned on his jet pack and flew out of the hole in the roof.
“No promises,” Piecemeal said, turning on us.
He jumped on top of Fiskerton. Sarah and Zack grabbed onto him and threw him back outside from where he came in.
“Nice,” I said.
“Thanks,” they both said in unison.
“Come on. Let’s stop this train.”
I ran to the end of it and was confused but what I saw. Or didn’t see.
“Uh, guys,” I said. “Why doesn’t this engine have any controls?”
“Maybe it’s those kind of trains that move automatically?” Zack suggested.
Sarah stared at him. “What? Do those kind of trains exist?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe?”
She rolled her eyes, then looked at me. “Any ideas?”
I thought for a moment.
“The break wire.” I turned toward Fiskerton. “Rip up some of the floor.”
He did as I told him. There were a lot of wires.
Fisk asked me which one.
“I don’t know which one’s the break wire,” I said. “I assumed they’d be labeled or something.”
“But they’re not,” Zack said.
Then Piecemeal appeared behind the wiring.
“Argost doesn’t control me,” he said.
Sarah saved us by kicking him back out the side.
“He better stay out there this time if he knows what’s good for him,” she said.
“Thank you, my dear,” a voice said behind us. “I thought I would have to shock him with my neural parasite, but you saved me the trouble.”
We turned around and saw Argost talking to us through a TV screen.
“Quit playing games, Argost,” I told him. “You want me, come get me.”
“As much as it temps me to throw away weeks of planning to respond to a schoolyard taunt, here’s my counter offer,” he said. “This train is moments away from a very painful dead end. I would be thrilled to stop it if the Fiskerton Phantom surrenders to me in the next car.”
Suddenly, the door in front of us opened. Fiskerton seemed to be considering it.
“I promise the boy will be safe,” Argost assured him. “He’s the important one, right?”
“Don’t listen to him, Fisk,” I said. “It’s a trick. We’re brothers. We’ll get out of this together.”
“He’s right,” Sarah agreed.
“Is anyone receiving?” someone asked. “Come in! Is anyone receiving? Come in!”
We turned back to the screen and my dad suddenly appeared on it. At least, I thought it was him, but I wasn’t sure. Fisk called to him.
“Fiskerton, is Zak ok?” he asked.
Can he not see me?
Fiskerton looked like he had made up his mind.
“Fisk, wait. Listen,” I tried, but he made a bolt for the door. “No!”
It closed automatically when he passed and I couldn’t open it. The TV screen went blank.
Sarah placed a hand on my shoulder. “Move.”
She and Zack summoned fire to their hands and blasted the door, then kicked it, and it opened. They did the same thing to the other door that I saw Fisk go behind
We ran into the room, but it was empty. Then we looked out the window to the other door and saw Fiskerton having a tight hold onto Argost and Munya with Munya using his web and keeping them with the train.
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes. He managed to get them to stop the train just before it hit the dead end.
“Alright, Fisk,” I cheered. “You did it! Now come on. Let’s go before those two—”
“Zak,” Sarah said, sounding worried.
I looked back out the window and saw Fisk lying on the ground. Munya picked him up, then he and Argost went down a tunnel.
“No!” I screamed. “Fisk, I’m sorry. I take it back. I don’t want you to be the target. Fisk, I’m coming.”
They disappeared out of sight.
I grabbed the claw and began pounding on the door with it. Sarah and Zack helped me. It took us about two minutes because of the web, but we were too late.
When we got out, headlights started coming our way and I noticed the other part of the train. It stopped a few feet away from us and our parents exited out of it.
“Zak, oh, you’re alright,” Mom said.
“We did it, Zak,” Dad said. “We beat Argost. You’re safe.”
They both gave me a hug.
“Wait,” Dad said, looking at us. “Where’s Fiskerton?”
“He did what you told him to, Dad,” I said, tears streaking down my face. “He protected me.”
Sarah gave me a comforting hug.
I just couldn’t believe my brother was gone.
Aww. How sad for Zak. Nothing really different in this one, and I don't think anything else will be different in the next one either.
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