Note: To read The Wishing Map from the beginning, click here.
The Wishing Map
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Long Night (continued)
Previously: Just when Gina appeared to have accidently stabbed her brother, her broadsword disappeared.
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She started to look at her hands, but at that moment the Beast plunged its gargantuan neck toward them. It surrounded them with its huge foreclaws and encircled them from behind with its thirty foot tail. Boiling saliva oozed from between its teeth, smoke billowed from its nostrils. Its leathery lips curled in a predatorial sneer.
Zack had no weapon, and Gina apparently no longer did either. Within seconds they would be roasted alive or sucked into an abyss of teeth, or both. Where’s the broadsword? And what am I holding? Gina was about to look down when she heard a human voice over the Beast’s growl. Just as the creature thrust its head forward, something blurred in front of her.
It was B’frona. He’d scrambled over the Beast’s foreleg, tossing a ten foot pike ahead of him. Now, just as the monster jerked its massive jaws down toward Zack and Gina, B’frona picked up the pike, ran under the creature, and braced the circular end of it against the ground. The Beast’s own violent momentum caused the pole to skewer its lower jaw, tongue, and upper palette together. Its scream shattered the air like distortion at a rock concert.
Zack and B’frona covered their ears, but Gina used the moment to finally look down at the object in her hand: it was the letter opener! The broadsword had been the Revealer in disguise all along! There’s a reason it changed when it did, Gina thought. It wasn’t just to save Zack. The tiny bejeweled Object seemed harmless (its blunt edge hadn’t even slightly injured her brother), but it was made of amarrildin… She suddenly realized what she had to do. She ran toward the dragon’s flailing maw.
“Forget it! It can’t be killed!” Zack pointed at the Beast’s wounded leg: the severed artery was slithering shut, the leaden scales sliding back into place.
“The pike will not hold,” B’frona added. “We must go now!”
“Gina, come on!”
“No! I have to kill it!”
The Beast rended the air with its skewered jaws. Gina didn’t know how long she had; probably not long enough. Still, she had to try. She grabbed hold of one of the Beast’s nostrils and attempted to swing her foot up onto its lower jaw. The monster’s head jerked up and to the right. She crashed down hard onto the puss-drenched turf. She got up and tried again. This time a blast of steam from its nostril badly scalded her hand. Again she was hurled to the earth. All of a sudden she felt herself rising. She looked down:
Zack and B’frona each had one of her feet in their hands. With a final all-out effort, they managed to shove her up on top of the Beast’s massive muzzle. Her thick Frengan cloak was burned through in half a dozen spots; other parts were aflame with globs of acid spittle. Gina rubbed out the fire by sliding back-and-forth on the creature’s igneous skin, then began slowly creeping…
…toward its huge dead eyes.
Thoughts: Have you ever risked your life to avert a future that would not be worth living?
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