Friday, October 16, 2015

Day Nine-Twenty-Four: Eat up

The second Nothing fell after five minutes of sustained, furious fighting, and the third went down shortly thereafter.

Eve proved the most effective at eliminating her enemies, surprising no one. Immediately after dashing past Kierkegaard and launching herself at her first target she managed to crack the shell of the first Nothing within half a minute, dodging harpoons the whole time, her feet and her arms driving deeper and deeper cracks into its superstructure, each with the power of a dozen cannonballs. She had dozen of cuts and scratches from near-misses by the time the last Nothing’s shell finally cracked open, but they weren’t near enough to stop her.

The Nothing’s innards didn’t stand a chance. It clanked to a halt. Then, open to further battering from the inside, it slowly began to tilt… slowly… slowly… and then quickly fell over when Eve apparently destroyed the axle holding the right leg to the sphere. Body and leg separated, and the whole thing smashed into the ground.

Emerging as a mess of blood, oil, and rapidly-dissolving Nothing liquids, Eve calmly moved on to the next.

The third Nothing was not quite so thoroughly mashed by Cedric, but he did the best job he could with only supernatural legs at his disposal. Charging forward with supporting fire from the Sky Bitch to cover his approach and Antonio on one side to deftly push him out of the way of incoming harpoons, Cedric brought his feet to bear on the nearest Nothing, kicking at its lower leg so viciously that the metal bent almost immediately. Harpoons screamed at him, but Antonio continually pushed him out of the way, displaying a level of swiftness almost Logan-like in its fluidity. The Nothing’s leg crumpled, and as the metal got weaker and weaker the whole thing collapsed under its own weight. It continued to fire harpoons, but more impotently than before.

And Kierkegaard had fear in his eyes. It was slight, and tinged with bloodthirsty excitement, but there was still fear. That was enough to press Dragomir into finally attacking his target.

Doing his best to ignore the wails of Plato as Kierkegaard flicked him away with a hideous bellow, Dragomir leaped through a hailstorm of confused harpoons, over the penguin’s stump of a hand, and up onto the hull of the Nothing with the largest crack in its side. 

“I’m not a fuckin’ superhuman like the rest of you,” he’d explained. “Just a bit weird. Give me that one so I can feel like I did something.”

Cedric had sniffed disdain at that. “What, you think you haven’t done shit? You’ve been busy for four-and-a-half-years, nitwit. You could sit the rest out and still be the hero.”

“Yeah, well, I’m still dibsing that Nothing. Stop trying to compliment me.”

“I’m not.” Cedric’s broken grin had looked almost handsome. But not quite. “Just sayin’ that you’ve had too much spotlight. Fine, take the easy one. I’ll go for something hard and make you look like a sissy.”

Dragomir didn’t much feel like a sissy as he clambered into the guts of the Nothing. Though he had to confess that his stealthy approach was a far cry from Cedric and Antonio, constantly exposed to danger on the outside. 

The Nothing’s guts resembled the insides of the Sky Bitch or the Matriarch’s engine rooms, though taken to a ridiculous degree. The space was a dense, dark, noisy labyrinth of grinding gears and sloshing liquids, and from the light of the outside world Dragomir caught faint glimpses of some of the enormous cogs that made the thing go. It was an impressive, if intimidating, sight.

“I WILL FUCK YOU UP,” Kierkegaard bellowed outside, his rage tinged with pain and bewilderment. “I’M GONNA EAT YOUR ENTRAILS LIKE FUCKIN’ SAUSAGE LINKS, YOU GOODY-GOODY PRICK!”

Eugh, no time to waste, Dragomir thought warily. He cast a quick eye over his shoulder as he held his hands out to the gears, peering through the jagged rupture in the Nothing’s side. He couldn’t see Plato, but he could see Kierkegaard stepping free of the Nothings to chase after something. Portals blazed brightly along the ground. Guess that plan didn’t work. He can use his stupid portals without his hands anyway. Oh well.

Forcing concentration, Dragomir closed his eyes. His body shuddered as he summoned the Catastrophe, focusing its chaotic cavalcade of sparks into the most controlled funnel he could manage. They whirled to life, at first weak, then, after several seconds of agonizing pain, erupting into a conical burst that disintegrated every scrap of metal they touched. Untouched cogs ground to a halt, and pieces of the Nothing’s ancient innards, no longer supported by their kin, began to rain down and wreak further havoc.

Dragomir only managed to keep the Catastrophe going for a few seconds before he forced himself to shut it down. Through the horrifying haze of pain, wheezing, and green Non blood seeping out of his nose, ears, and the corners of his eyes, he wished that the stupid thing would just form a sword like it used to. This sparkly bullshit was getting out of hand.

Staggering backward with a gasp, his vision trebling, Dragomir watched the Nothing fall apart from within as he fell out of its guts. The great beast moaned, dribbling loose cogs from the hole in its side, and Dragomir’s last lucid sight for several minutes was a harpoon dissolving mere inches from his face. It was enough to make him smile as he blacked out.


Dragomir thought about that. “It’s you again, isn’t it? Get out of my dreams already.”

“I can’t. You keep pullin’ me there.”

Dragomir felt wind whistling along his skin, but he saw only white. Well, that and a scruffy man with a bandaged face. “Dunno why. You suck. Stop giving me nightmares. I haven’t slept properly in ages.”

“Years,” the man affirmed. “Years. There’s a reason for that.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah. Guilt.”

“Guilt. I don’t have shit to be guilty ‘bout.”

“Part of you does,” the man replied confidently. “A big enough part that you keep coming back here, even when you should be focused on landing properly. But I think your body can handle that on its own. You have other concerns.”

“Like what?”

“Like giving it back.” The man held out his hand.

Dragomir flinched away. “N… no. It’s mine.”

The man smiled. “Then… I guess I’ll just have to take it all. It’s the only way.”

The man opened his mouth, displaying two rows of surprisingly white teeth. Dragomir felt a vacuuming force on his chest, his stomach, his arms and legs and head, and as the vacuum grew stronger he seemed to shrink, dwarfed by the man’s enormous maw. Dragomir struggled to get away, but there was too much pain and too much force, and he was pulled off of his feet and past those two rows of perfect teeth. They closed over his scream.

“I know this is a really strange time to bring this up,” the man said, “but when this is over, you’d better stop avoidin’ me. We have shit to do, Dragomir the Farsighted. Or… we’re gonna.”

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