Rupert had faced some odd cases before but this was looking to be one of his oddest. For Rupert, being more of a warrior, than a thinker, tended to prefer the less complicated cases. Because of his respect for the Sage, Rupert didn’t comment when he was told what he was supposed to do. He kept his reluctance for this job to himself. To make matters worse he was going to take a place to Aberdeen. Oh yes and he was none to keen on Aberdeen either.

Grumpy was the state of affairs.

As the plane took off for the fairly short flight, Rupert held a message from the Sage. The message included a rather odd email from one of the Sage’s many keen amateurs.


I am sorry to send you off to Scotland alone and at such notice. Your Scottishness and knowledge of the country does make you a prime candidate for this one. And after your good job in Tenby, I think your combination of instinct and toughness is perfect.

I must warn you that this might prove to be an odd one. What little I have heard just sounds not right, not right at all. However, I am sure we can provide you with whatever info you need.

If what we suspect is going on there is actually happening, you will have to do whatever it takes to stop it.

I apologise in advance if this is a wild fish chase. Unless we really need you, you are welcome to spend some time in Scotland after this is all over.

Be careful and be safe.

Yours in the battle,


Rupert read the reports from their source. Trying not to snicker at some of the things going on winter evening in Aberdeen. Rupert had seen a great deal in his day, some horrific and terrifying things, and some just plain daft. This little adventure might prove to one or t’other.

He sipped his drink and pondered his movements, checking the details of his small hotel. His things had been shipped overnight to his hotel. Saved embarrassing incidents and his humping stuff around in small airports.

Back in Wales, Claire and the Sage spent some time snickering and guffawing at what they were reading. It was rare that they both sat in front of the computer doing research together but their research on “plushies” was most odd.

“I can’t believe there is so much on this lot on-line. It does not even seem as if they actually mind that others know what they are up to in the evenings?’

Claire responded, “did you know that there are different types of plushie fans? Some more extreme than others?” She paused, “of course, like any such movement they seem to be keen to criticise each other.”

Eden sat at the entrance to the Sage’s office with a look of complete derision on her face as only a Belgian could manage. No doubt she was a might bit worried about Rupert leaving her as well. She was in her crossed paws and head on paws combination; eyes firmly on the Sage.

Fun and intriguing though it was, Claire and the Sage really didn’t get much information on their specific area of interest in Scotland. It seems that, unlike their American cousins, the Scottish plushie community was not as au fait with the internet, or possibly just more discrete. They found a contact person and general location listed on an info site but no more information than they had given to Rupert.

The fact this particular grouping of them were not as public as the others worried the Sage. This was especially the case because there were no other ones that specialised in devotees with aquatic interests. It was also well known that there was cultist activity on the north coast of Scotland. There have been a few cases of people being done for indecent acts with aquatic animals. The details on these cases varied from rather explicit to the extremely vague.

“I don’t know whether its my age but does any of this make you feel a bit queezy?”

“Yes, I think it does me too as well…” Obviously choosing her words, “I am rather less than prudish about how people get their kicks, but this stuff does give me pause for thought.”

“It is possible that I am so uptight about this because of the fact that I have spent much of my life battling things that live in the sea…I don’t know.” He looked pensive. “Obviously, something some high cost psychologist could tell me about, if I let him.”

“Well, that is if the person does not go all Freudian on you…”

“Yes. But hasn’t that line of blinkered thinking that everything is related to parents gone a bit out of fashion?”

“I have no idea really…but it would be interesting to hear what a Freudian had to say about people who shag fish.”


Claire got up and went to get some tea, while the Sage did a quick search of his emails to see if anyone had sent him any other information about similar activities.

He was able to find a report on increased sightings of possible Deep Ones on the coast of Scotland. The denizens of Innsmouth were also acting up again on the other side of the pond.

“Actually, that seems to be a current state of affairs on the Massachusetts coast…I wonder if they ever actually went away really…”

The Sage was currently researching a paper on how the Deep Ones seem to go back to their old haunts time after time, rarely if ever trying to spread their bases of operation. Unlike evil geniuses in the movies and former Nazis the Deep Ones and other nasties rarely seemed to use the coast of South America for their activities. Interesting.

As he continued to do his research and sip his tea, the Sage wondered how Rupert would get on in Aberdeen. As per normal, he wondered whether or not he should have gone along.

Since the chat with his two aides, the Sage no longer felt he had to justify his action or inaction to them, however he still needed to do so to himself. It was most difficult when he sent Claire into harm’s way. Not only was there a bit of chivalry involved, but he felt concerned for her physical and mental inexperience. It was the Sage’s supreme desire that she not end up a blithering wreck while in his service. And health insurance for occult investigators was not really available. The Sage sat back and listened to Nox Arcana’s Necronomicon CD, still hoping that what he thought was going on… wasn’t.

Rupert walked into the “Plushie Club” trying to look as gormless as possible. With Rupert, there were two looks “scary as hell” or “completely gormless,” nothing in between. He had read the material closely and so knew his stuff. It made him a wee bit queezy.

“Hello. May I help you?”

“Uh yes, I hope I have the right place…I got this address from a web-site for er…”

“We are a private club. We do not advertise anywhere but off-line.”

“So am I in the right place, then?”

“Depends on what that is, doesn’t it?’ said the slightly officious American man.

“This bloke looks like a mouse without a costume,” Rupert said to himself.

“Well…what exactly are you looking for Mr…?”

Rupert searching for a good answer, growled to himself, “Damnit, I have to bloody say it! I can’t believe even the plushie mob have bloody bureaucrats.”

“Well, I can’t tell you if you have found it, if I don’t know what you are looking for!”

“Sorry, mate. Where I come from it isn’t easy to admit this sort of thing. It’s not like America where it’s anything goes…” He paused and decided to have some fun with his character. “I come from a wee town in mid-Lothian that only legalised pubs a few years back.”

The American looked shocked, obviously none too knowledgable about the power of religion in some parts of Scotland.

“Saying I like to do this sort of thing would get me banished for the county, not to mention beaten senseless by angry jocks.”

The American suddenly went all pale. “Ugh, sorry, I didn’t realise things were still that way in parts of this country. I am sorry…can’t be too careful…you know…” He then launched into a typical bureaucrats non mea culpa rant.

“So, you goin’ to let me in or what?”

“Mmm, I see you didn’t bring a costume…so that might be a problem…”

“I don’t have one really. Ah, just something I made up to wear at home.”

“We do have some spare ones left by people who are no longer regulars. Might be one in your size” He paused. “Do you have any preferences?”

“Ugh,” Rupert said to himself. “Got to be careful here…”

“Our supply of extra costumes is rather limited. We can get you a good one ordered quickly btw. I have a friend in the US who does them very cheaply.”

“Well…, as it’s my first time and I am a wee bit bigger than normal I can’t be picky then, can I?”

“Ah yes, that’s true…” Suddenly the man behind the desk came over all leering. “We have a nice bear costume that would fit perfectly…”

“Oh bloody hell…don’t tell me there are poof plushies as well!” he screamed at himself. And to the interested person, he said calmly, “Yes, that will be fine.”

“There is usually a trial fee, but I think I will waive it for you…”

“Favours! Oh god no…” He followed the mousy man down some stairs towards a room with a series of pegs on it. It looked like a school’s sports changing area, but instead of uniforms there were a myriad of costumes hung on the pegs.

“We tend to specialise in fish here….but we have some who prefer land based creatures, like yourself. Or at least, they do, at first.” He paused and pointed to room with a basin, a toilet and a shower. “You can change in here…you might want to keep your undies on, don’t know if the suit has been cleaned recently.”

By now Rupert was feeling a wee bit queasy…even a mite scared, an unexpected feeling for him. His mood did not improve when he found that both the front and back of his costume included large flaps at the lower level.

The mousy American looked disappointed when the future bear closed the door to change.

“I will be out here to guide you to the ‘play-pen.’”

“Oh god…what the hell am I doing here? I have to freaking find out what is going on and get out of here…” He finished dressing up as a bear and made sure both flaps were tightly closed. It fit relatively well, something he was made aware of as soon as he opened the door. His guide smiled and notted at the new bear approvingly.

Silently Rupert followed the man down a hall and another staircase. His view was limited by the eye slots but he tried to peer into the open doors along the stairs and corridor beyone. He had a modicum of success. His concentration was interrupted as they came to a well lit room and the American announcing in a loud voice that “Scot bear” had come to play with them.

The scene looked as if a young girl’s stuffed toy collection had been magically transformed to life sized. Well that is, if the girl liked fish and other denizens of the sea. There were a few “land creatures” along the sides patting themselves and grooming each other, but most of the room was a mock swimming area where costumed figures crawled around each other and on the floor.

Once Rupert entered the room, the door closed and he was left to find his place. He headed for a wall where there was another man in land mammal costume, a vaguely moose-like figure who appeared to be staring into the middle of the room.

The moose spoke; “Greetings, I am Mitch the Moose…” He laughed nervously behind his moose snout.

Rupert reacted calmly, at least in appearance, “My name is Brian Bear.” He laid on his Scottish brogue.

“Ah so you’re local then…”

“Yes,” Rupert had no idea what to say, preferring to look into the writhing mass in the middle of the floor….trying to figure out what was going on. He thought he saw brief flashes of something he would rather not contemplate.

“You’re standing in the lurker corner,” mumbled the moose, “This is where non-participants have to stand.” Now, sounding a bit hurt and whispering, “That lot don’t seem to like us land-animals. Won’t let us in on any of the fun.’

“What sort of fun?” Rupert whispered as best he could.

“Well PS, of course?” He continued, “They all seem to be into ambs here.”

Rupert suddenly understood what his new friend meant and felt rather odd about it.

Mitch whispered, “I am one of the few who has not been ‘converted’ to being into amb…They call themselves fishies.’ He paused, “Most of them don’t associate with none fishies.” He sounded a bit bitter.

“So what do they do?”

“Well, most of them have private parties…” He got really close to Rupert’s ear “Most of them get together in another room that’s for fishies only.”

“Oh…” His talkative friend was now being noticed by the mass in the middle of the room. Several sets of eyes glared at him.

Mitch the moose didn’t notice and continued to chat, even raising his voice in his enthusiasm to impart his greater knowledge to the newcomer, “Most of the people who become fishies, I never seem to see again…Its like they are too good for us now!…Its like I am a second class plushie!”

“Mitch mate, think you might want to calm down a wee bit. The fishies are staring at you and don’t seem too pleased.”

When Rupert turned back to glance at the mass of moving bodies, he saw something that made him need to leave…immediately.

“Mitch, you might want to come with me…right now, “ he whispered. “Something tells me you’re not welcome here anymore.”

Mitch the Moose was fortunately, not too “normal” in size and Rupert could propel him away quickly. Mitch the moose was completely bemused as he was dragged up the stairs into the changing room, told to grab his clothes, ended up just ask quickly in the street moving quickly away.

Rupert felt like an idiot running down the street in Aberdeen in a bear costume, dragging a goofy looking moose behind him. Occasionally, he looked back to make sure they were not pursued…not letting the fact it was still light dull his instincts, resisting the impulse to understand what he had just seen.

Late afternoon his hotel was not full. Rupert was able to make his way to his room, moose in tow, in good time and without any obvious stares or interference.

Once secure in his room, he calmly turned to his completely clueless companion. “Ok Mitch, or whatever your name is, listen to me and listen well”


Rupert raised himself up, now out of his costume to all his might. “You need to get the bloody hell out of Aberdeen now. Get into your clothes and go away for a few days. If you don’t have enough dosh, I can give you some….understand!”

“Uh, yes…” Mitch quickly changed into his street clothes, in a panic almost tearing his costume.

“I can’t tell you why…but just do it.” Rupert handed Mitch £100 just for good measure. “Can you make it to station alright?”

“Yes…I think so…”

“Leave you costume here…and get yourself another fucking hobby! That one is way too dangerous…”


“Ok, now go…Get moving…You have no time to spare!” And with that, Mitch the Moose was propelled out of Rupert’s room. In very short order, Rupert could see him running along the street below toward Aberdeen’s main station.

Rupert went off to bathroom and looked at his pale face in the mirror. He used some water to clean off his face as if to wash away his fear and loathing for what he had seen, not to mention the smell of the bear costume!

As he walked back to the bed and bundled the furry suits into the office, he grabbed his phone and dialled.

“Sage we’ve got a major problem here mate…” He paused. “The fishies were actually in costumes!”

One Response to “Fishies”

  1. Nickolaus Pacione Wrote:

    If anything it should be this one to be part of the anthology. This one is damned good — I will send you my ghost story I want to contribute to this one.

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