Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Long Night (continued)
Previously: Gina’s Questing Beast assumed a form she could not kill: her own.
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“Let go of her, you freak!” Zack shouted. “You can’t have her!” More kicking and squishy punches…a loud stomp followed by a horrid, wheezy shriek…more lashing, followed by a muddy slipping sound, a hard sack-of-potatoes grunt, and a strangled, “Ow, crap! Ow! No! You stupid piece of…“ Zack’s voice gurgled to silence. All that remained was a torturous wheeze, like air rushing out of a hole in a tire.
“Zack? What’s wrong?” With every shred of will, Gina forced herself to look away from Divine Gina. What she saw made no sense. There on the turf was Zack—with Divine Gina’s foot on his neck. Why would she put her foot on his neck? And why did her foot look like the twisted talons of some grotesque vulture? Its jagged yellow claws had pierced his flesh, causing blood to pool around them. His eyes were protruding from angry red sockets, darting back and forth in an effort to track the movements of its tentacles. Any second now they would suck out his eyes. Other appendages encircled his thrashing arms and mid-section. Like the clawed feet, they seemed to emanate from Divine Gina, but that didn’t make any sense.
Gina felt she should do something… But everything is so dreamlike. This can’t really be happening, can it? What should I do? I know, I’ll ask Divine Gina! She glanced up: Divine Gina suddenly looked a lot less divine. Why are there hairy hoses sticking out of her face? Divine Gina’s mouth began to protrude and fill with jagged broken teeth covered with bits of rotting flesh; the smell pierced Gina’s skin, torturing her senses. Then Divine Gina began to shrivel and shrink, her flesh turning the mauve-grey of a cancerous liver.
“Jeeeeeeenuhhh,” a voice choked.
“Zack?” It was as if a wall had collapsed. This was no dream. That really was Zack on the ground before her, entangled in tentacles, and the Beast really was about to vacuum his eyes out and plunge its cuisine-art snout into his stomach. In less than a second he would be dead.
“No!” Gina raised the broadsword over her head and brought it down in a blur of full-bodied force. The Beast saw the flash and disentangled itself from its prey, but not in time to avoid a series of succulent shlunks as the blade hacked through one, two, three, four, five of its tentacles! It screeched like a banshee and jerked violently away.
“Zack?” Gina dropped to her knees. “No, no, no, no, Zacky, don’t be dead, don’t be dead! Oh, God, oh, God, oh, God! Please!” She caressed the four bloody slits in his neck. “Please, spoo, get up!”
Zack’s eyes slid open. “Crud, that hurt like a mother!”
“Oh, Zack! I know, I know! I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
“Well, jeez, why didn’t you—look out!”
“What?” Gina jumped to her feet and whirled around, ready to execute an up-cutting manchette, but the creature wasn’t attacking, it was simply staring at them, its soulless eyes unable to understand what it was observing.
Then Gina looked at the patch between its eyes.
Thoughts: Love is the ultimate antidote for self-delusion.
To read The Wishing Map 128 click here!