The topography of Woodreef was Steinbeckian gold escaping the leisurely gait of the summertime hourglass. Countless rolling hills that disappeared into one another in a crescent moon shape, whose points ended at the shore, surrounding the township as if to guard away the outside world. It would be the last days for the flaxen hue, for winter would claim the landscape, leaving the hills barren like torched Earth. The peacock bloom would return in the springtime glare that men fended off with their hands as they watched Little League games.

The flora offshore was dusted with patches of asteraceae and Queen Ann’s lace. Closer to civilization, stalks of purple fountain grass blew in the heavy breeze. The lavender pussy willows ejected out of the honeydew leaves at the base of the plant that nestled into the dense earth. Juniper emitted its ethereal pheromone, mixing with the perfume of pink coral salt.

Just offshore was Orgden Wood, an evergreen forest where an enclave of mysterious women collectively scream in orgasm, like clockwork, at noon every day during the autumnal harvest season. Rumors scattered that wild nymphs haunted the Wood. Men stayed away at the day’s peak, for curiosity killed that cat early and often. Seventeen curious horn dogs perished in the mysterious forest, trying to discover the secret to the town’s most advertised enigmas. Most horn dogs were mauled by bull elk protecting their common mate, the ivory unikorn.

Goliath Birdeater tarantulas crawled around the wild patches of rangood, organic cannabis that grew wild inside the Ktulu Cave at the heart of the Wood. Those 8-legg-ed bastards ate rangood all day and crawled about the jagged jaws of the cave, stoned off their carapace, watching the jagged wings of vampire bats flutter around carcasses of fresh death.

Birdeater C4- was the first to report the finding of the death back to headquarters at the mouth of the cave, before the tarantula was eaten by an unidentified “Mamatilion.”

In the height of the California Gold Rush in 1850, a gang of prospectors hit it big. In their fit of collective sociopathic greed, the gang cleared out a small Shoshone reservation in an act of swift and brutal genocide. Shortly after, the lead prospector, Hannibal Guillory (you heard me right) established the young village as a seedy port, rich with laudanum dens, bootlegged absinthe bars and a red light district dusted with nefarious brothels. Back then, the urban area was known as “Black Laws.”

The shores produced copious amounts of driftwood that returned to the shore like the grim reaper’s mariposa. The wood that washed ashore by wind and tide was considered a nuisance by the locals. The artist community relished in the lumbered clay, they carved out likenesses of quail, orange trees, and Hannibal himself. The boss loved this so much, he dropped the “Black Laws” name for the more tourist friendly, Woodreef.

But fishing became the industry standard in the township of the almighty Wood Walleye serfperch, jacksmelt, and the freshwater phenomenon, the bluegill were the quintessential gold, silver and bronze, respectively. The flying gurnard became the Holy Grail of the Drink. The apparitional Dactylopteridae was known to fly out of the water, upwards to 100 feet through thin air to escape predators/man.

The fish game soon became a front for the dodgy activity; some of the brew masters in the area came up with a vicious absinthe formula that was bankrolled by Hannibal. The result was “Abby’s Syn,” a rough and tumble outpost where prospectors and cowboys could fuck the fairy all night if the had enough silver tucked away in their sash. Economics is a strange algorithm of karma.

The present-day populous was made-up of the drunken fishers that laid net in the Drink and would drink themselves into oblivion and called this “labor” when it came time to report to Uncle Sam. The ocean is the perfect playground for a drunk driver, too.

The job of the fisher, almost always, was synonymous with absinthe bootlegging. Old Man Pyatt used to “run fairy” as the net hooked bluegills. The lad was in the belly of the rust bucket dubbed, “The Armistice.” The lab was called, “Synthesizer.”
The bootleggers were divided by unions. The unions were controlled by the secret societies, which are secret for a reason.

The town was subdivided between the yuppie tourists that owned half of the estates in Woodreef, homes that were empty three-quarters of the year, for the yuppies “vaycayed” in the ‘Reef during the summer/holiday months.

The harvest period in the autumn was the peace the natives lavished in, a time when the aging hippy community came out of the woodworks and celebrated like pagans with rituals that were delivered down and augmented through the generations. They had more balls than their blue-blooded counterparts, who practiced their creepy shit behind the closed doors of mansions.

The local economy has always been fish driven, whether it be for fine dining or organic décor, like the golden koi that Soledad Almonde became know for. A business front for his rangood operation.

Squid Row, the town’s main drag, ran parallel to the 101, California’s Pacific Coast Highway. The kids would cruise the Row on the weekends, playing their disinfected grunge anthems in their vintage muscle cars, on the hunt for teenage pussy while the Republicans bit their bloody tongues.

High as kites. That’s how one would describe the juvenile lot of the ‘Reef. The puppets of their vicarious older selves (i.e. the adults). They were products to be sold. Meat to exploit. And when these machines of their parental units rebelled, he/she was given Rx and all was forgiven (e.g. forgotten).

During the autumn, Orgden becomes quite the tourist trap for a usually slow season. The tourists are allowed in after the “Nymphs at Noon.” Men steal rangood and birdeaters, and ask questions about the “Nymphgasms.” Men have been banned from the tours since 1993 because of such douche bag questioning.

Another money maker during the pagan upheaval was the Battleaxe festival, a state-wide competition that pits all of the best high school-age bands against one another in a heavy metal battle royale where only one band will rise from the ruin and sign a two album death sentence to Anathema Albums.

The Steinbeckian gold spun like the day is long, that perfect vision of paradise lost, or the closest thing to. The rain had stopped. Clouds pulled back to reveal the sun falling away in the west, a redness remained and lingered like blood, spilling celestial guts into the ocean mother. The algal bloom of red tide separated into the coral, just past the break. The oceanographic anomaly that was El Niño has afforded strange occurrences. The phytoplankton in the crown of coral, just off the shore of Woodreef’s majestic beaches, boiled like tea and gave the appearance a murder scene that involved only the Gods.

A cross-dimensional rift opened in the ocean. Orchid lightning flashed through the mix of bloom and salt water. A sordid beastie darted out of the sea floor like a torpedo. It came upon a school of Nassau groupers and opened its gruesome oral, catching a few bites of unsuspecting grouper like a porn star at a sweet 16 birthday party. A plum fog swelled out of its mouth, then sucked back in between its jagged piranha teeth.

The beastie, who henceforth shall be called “Thursday,” simply because it was; jetting across the frigid Pacific, to the shores of Woodreef. The plate-glass water reflected the harvest lunar of virginal autumn gold.

Thursday’s furry body swam in a perfect frog-stroke, creating astral wakes in the waters behind it. It popped out of the darkening surface, air warming the beastie’s pelt and wolfish facial features. Thursday swung its rat tail below its body to stay afloat. The end of its tail had the enlarged wing of a Xerces Blue sewn into it, a natural rudder. Beads of black oil descended its spiraling, ram-like horns. It found footing in the part of the shore where the white waves broke, swells rising; pounding its webbed toes into the fat black sands of the beach the local surfers simply called “the Pointe.”

It toiled against the undertow of the dense rocks eventually dropping to all fours in a silverback posture, walking slowly through the debaucherus maze of post-apocalyptic assholes partying down.

Intergalactic pioneers wearing makeshift costumes of cardboard and electric tape, most of who has been rolling on liquid ecstasy since breakfast, danced to the electro-beat. Elaborate disguises peppered the beach. A two-man centaur, a dozen Raoul Dukes, nudists with paint-by-number costumes. Thursday moved through the crowd that parted like the Dead Sea in front of it. One of the Dukes cried out, “Eek Gads, man. That is one serious creature. Looks like the wolf-man had sex with Mrs. Black Lagoon and the offspring was undeniably more mammal that fish.”

A man on stilts clothed as a heavy metal demon approached the beastie and enquired,

“Wow brother, that’s a sweet costume—did you make that yourself?”

Thursday’s internal computer translated his words and it spoke in response, “Fuck off, weirdo.”

“Fuck you, freak. Why don’t you go home and jack-off to pictures of Chewbacca. Yer lucky I’m on these stilts, or I’d be feeding you my fist.”

Thursday continued forward through the procession of fucked up fuck-ups, on into Orgden Wood, the haunted grove that echoed a chorus of female screaming, amidst the collective pine and eucalyptus trees. Red tails flowed in breeze there, darkening the wood with their wing-ed canopies. It has been said that unikorns live there and find nourishment in rangood, wild cannabis that school children steal in their dreams. The Northern Lights grow there, near the cave of the Ktulu, where Sunny the Sun Bear lived with his family, the unelected king of Orgden Wood.

Thursday was looking for adequate shelter to sleep in before the night's storm would hit. It shuffled through the looming sequoias as the cool night breeze wafted through the heavy needles of the branches, carrying the musk of pine, trying to throw off Thursday’s expert olfactories. Thursday picked up on the heavy scent of warm salt water in a cavernous opening, just near the rocky mass where Manor Guillory sat.

Thursday found itself at the jagged-tooth stalagmite mouth of the cave. It looked down into a dark pool of water and then dipped its paw into the liquid, quenching its thirst. A dark soul reflected back at it, in the ripples of the black water, semi-circles like impact tremors. Thursday peered sullenly, it seemed, into its opaque reflection.

The image magically shifted to that of Utopia, gazing into his own dark night of a soul in a mirror on the floor, caked with krell and beer bottle ejaculate. Still huff drunk, Utopia sank the bottom grill of teeth into upper lip flesh, growling like a lunatic lycanthrope. He rubbed his hand over his 5 o'clock shadow, rough sounds of whiskers in his ears. He grunted softly like a caged ape, belting into an all out howl. Utopia reached for the hardware bag, then huffed his eyes shut. Thursday’s ears perked up.

Thursday tried to touch the holographic visual, the picture distorting like satellite rain fade. Thursday pulled back quickly when it felt the moisture of the dark pool instead of the curious creature it watched. The holographic water settled again, Utopia in full sight. Thursday’s mouth and eyes widened and a purple glow unleashed inside his skull, pouring the light out of eyeholes and mouth and into the clay of the cave’s main tear in the earth. Pregnant moths fluttered away to another warm place. The bones of the dead shivered.

A loud buzzing sound shattered the quiet, the beastie’s glowing skull settled and dimmed. It reached within its fur and pulled out a strange device. The device was a silver box, no bigger than a pack of cigarettes. It lit up a symphony of vermillion lights and projected the image of an elder version of its beastly ilk, shrouded in a carrot-coloured robe. The robed beastie began to speak in an indistinct language with a very low, monotone pitch. Thursday nodded in response, with the occasional grunt of compliance with what the robbed one instructed.

“Kay-Lac-Tah!” the robbed one said, signing off transmission.

“Kay-Lac-Tah!” Thursday responded.

From behind, two furry figures marched out of the darkness of the cave. Their thin eyes glowed silver, their furry behinds tossing about in time with the rhythm of their grunts. Thursday crouched down into an offensive posturing. A ticklish growl grew with in the back of its throat.

Sunny was the official mascot of the Woodreef High School Sun Bears. He and his mate, Urka, were transplants from the Oakland Zoo three years prior, courtesy of the Guillory estate.

Sun Bears, mainly native to South America, adapt to coastal climates quite nicely it seemed; for Sunny and Urka were even comfortable enough to bear two cubs in their first year at their new home at the Pointe—Red and Isis, twin cubs who portiond penchants for mischief. Both bred in zoos, Sunny and Urka knew nothing of their natural habitat, so much so that they adjusted to human beings as one of their own. Utopia and his godfather Sol, the organizer of impromptu Manor orgies, would feed the bears oysters during midnight acid trips.

Often times, Sol and Sunny would share case of the High Life then drunkenly argue over the basics of Sol’s plan to irrigate the Northern Lights naturally with a hot spring. Sunny, the constant pessimist he was, would often protest, saying that a natural spring is too unpredictable and the plants would eventually shrivel from dehydration. A drunken wrestling match usually ensued, always leaving both uninjured, nonetheless making sober phone calls of guilt the next day.

Sensing an intruder, Sunny the Sun Bear hunkered down into a defensive position, snarling as the monster inched closer. Thursday showed its claws to Sunny, as if to say, "Bring it, fucker." Thursday defined itself as something other than a local, a scent not to be trusted. There was an absence of movement for a good 5 Mississippi, as the animals sized each other up, making threatening noises. Sunny made the first move, charging his skull into Thursday's abdominal, knocking it to the ground. Thursday was surprised at the animal's tenacity.

Sunny wasted no time with a deluge of claws to Thursday's torso. It was then that Thursday realized how much smaller the animal was than itself. By Thursday's estimation, it was up the bear two or three stone. But the strength of the bear matched his foe. Sunny dug claws into the beastie, afraid to let it up. Soon, Sunny realized he was scrapping with a bush of rangood. Thursday disappeared.

The bear looked around, running in delirious circles, sensing the foe wasn't far away. The glow came from behind. The bear saw the beastie. The bear charged again.

Sunny leapt out of the darkness and into the light of the grape-glow emitting from the monster’s piranha hole. The bear froze in space, levitating in celestial hypnotism. Thursday leapt forth and head-butted Sunny’s cranium, sending the bear flying. Sunny’s head hit a pile of ocean-smooth rocks and with all of the bear’s weight behind him, his spine snapped instantly. Sunny the Woodreef football mascot was little more than a pile of fur, gyrating with death pulses.

Urka fled into the supposed sanctuary of the cave. She charged around the cave like a confused spelunker through the dark, looking for her cubs. She found them in the cave’s matinee.

Thursday was on her scent like a shaved pussy on prom night. He huffed and puffed though the cave like a hound in heat. He ergo’d the call to the western underwater flow and headed “inland.” He caught the scent of her right away and entered the matinee.

Two young cubbies were awakened by their mother forced into a reluctant crouch to face the beastie. Mother leapt in the same manner as Sunny with the same result of suspended animation, followed by the head-butt deathblow. Bear blood lubed stalagmites.

The shadow of a new enemy covered the frightened cubbies. A new howl echoed in the caverns, “Ruuuuuueee the Dayyyyyy."

Later, Utopia awoke in the soup of his own sweat. 2:00am in digital blood on the clock radio, playing "Bittersweet Symphony.” He got up to drain the vein and brush out the taste of paint mixed with a bloody tongue, the byproduct of his sordid dreamscapes.

He fell back on the California King, almost lucid enough to care. He stared at the ceiling, watching the moonlight dance between branches of pine behind lipstick red curtains. A lavender glow illuminated in the room, strangely coming from Tupac's terrarium, where Utopia’s Goliath Birdeater tarantula crawled about and ate bugs.
Utopia trolled out of the bed to investigate the mysterious happenings. Inside, the eyes and mouth of the decorative wooden skull strobed with the same zinfandel glow. Utopia pulled the skull out and studied it like Yorick's bone-face forgotten. He fingered the mouth, catching a hold of one of Tupac's eight furry legs. The urticating hairs pricked his thumb like flimsy wires. He watched the blood rise out of his thumb like a red balloon.

“I do bleed,”

He pulled the tarantula free of the hallowed skull. Tupac was as heavy as a rock, rigor mortis settling in; body warm to the touch with stiff, lifeless legs tucked into its torso, the very source of the glow on the hourglass shape of the arachnid's back. This oddity perplexed Utopia as he stared into the center of the tarantula's carapace, into the vortex of the glow, a burgundy diamond pulsated. His gaze shifted out the picture window to Ktulu Cave, past the branches of the mixed woods of pine and palm. The cave told the story of purple, electric murder. This frightened Utopia, for a bit. He confused himself a heretic who lost his way. Once composure composed itself, Utopia thought he killed the tarantula and had a hard time composing itself otherwise.

The same glow persisted in perfect time with that of the glow coming from Tupac’s lifeless shell. Utopia felt his heartbeat in his bones. With eyes readjusting to his reflection in the terrarium's surface, flaming sconce illuminating his cherubic face. His eyes rolled back into his skull, then asked his reflection in inquiry, “Friend or Foe?”