(This is it. The end of Sydney’s Emporium. Right now I’m working of a few targets, but for now I’m editing.)
“Fuck you Nancy.” The alien whispered as he threw a log at Tabore’s face.
Maverick was starting to stir, the Alien felt it. The boy had sent his mind out into the neither and connected to somebody from his past. The Alien cared nothing about this, but it could feel that Maverick’s anger was was forcing him back. Soon Maverick would return and be at the mercy of Tabore.
Knowing that its time was limited, the Alien lunged for Tabore’s hind leg and scampered up the cat’s leg like it was a tree.
Tabore attempted to barrel roll, but the Alien buried his hand into the Kali’s maimed coat, causing the cat to howl in pain and attempt to squash the Alien into the mud.
The Alien felt the tremendous weight of the cat pushing him downwards, his body snapped and was scrapped against the mud and debris, but the Alien still refused to let go. He climbed, ignoring everything, his goal was the stolen object.
While Tabore was upright, the Alien didn’t wait for the next attack, he ran on all fours, his finger claws burring themselves deep into Tabore’s flesh as he climbed up onto the Kali’s scared head.
Tabore shook and attempted to snatch the Alien off but the creature within Maverick had already reached its goal.
There was the sound of meat and skin being torn followed by a burst of hot blood as the alien ripped the Kali’s door-sized ear free of Tabore’s head, bypassing the need to search for earring.
The roar that left Tabore caused ripples across the marshland; the Kali barely noticed that he began to shrink.
Having jumped onto the ground, the Alien searched through Tabore’s ear flesh which was also beginning to shrink down to normal size. He found the earring, it was covered in mud and it was surprising that it shined at all.
There was the pounding on the back of the Alien’s mind cage that could be interpreted as pain, that was if the Alien registered something as insignificant as pain. Sensing that time was short and that Tabore was likely not going to wait around for his body to normalise and once again be bound to the restricting laws of this universe, the Alien came to a decision.
He put on the earring.
Beyond being able to think about what had just happened, Tabore launched himself on the Alien, and not bothering to think ate the cursed whelp whole.
Sliding down Tabore’s esophagus, the magma hot fury followed Maverick from the dream world. He rode the hate like a surfboard, allowing the wave of aggression out of his coma and into a world of smiley darkness and bad breath.
The stench of stomach acid, the claustrophobia, the feeling of impending doom, none of it was suffocating the raw emotional stress that Maverick was feeling.
Outside, Tabore let out a victorious cry. None of T’Chull’s other spawn had put up half a fight like the one this one had. Tabore was wounded, his ear gone, and he was bleeding from multiple holes in his skin, and he felt alive.
The howl of triumph was cut short, however, as Tabore begun to shrunk to the size of an elephant. He felt the whelp inside him punch his precious stomach.
This had happened a few times before. Tabore would get worked up, eat something that had been easy to feed one and then shirk while his meal grew inside of him. All he needed to do was think of his brother and the pain would go away, too bad he was no longer wearing the earring.
Tabore didn’t have time to scream as Maverick exploded out from the Kali’s stomach. Tabore was torn apart like a chocolate cake.
His arms reaching for the heavens, his body covered in Tabore’s guts and stomach juices, as twelve stories high, Maverick let out a scream, “Fuck you, Nancy.”
Most of Tabore’s ruined body hit the ground, the Kali’s eyes wide in shock and horror, his body twitched and spasmed as it continued to shrink.
Maverick scanned the area, ready to take a swing at his old girlfriend. After about four minutes of adrenaline fuelled flight or fight, muscles tense for combat, red haze delirium; Maverick’s senses slowly returned.
The anger abating, Maverick’ breath became ragged. He was still pissed off, but with nothing to focus to exact his vengeance on, Maverick slowly began to relax.
Panting, he looked around at the barren landscape, for some reason everything looked small. He felt strong, but at the same time his legs wobbled from the stress of holding him upright. He expected at any moment to be tackled by a flying lion, but after another minute of nothing happening, Maverick checked his map.
It his surprise, he was right on the yellow dot. Maverick scanned the area, expecting at any moment for Hulk-Cat and eventually found the vicious Kali, or what was left of him. But that wasn’t all, in Maverick’s hand was what looked like a piece of yellow sting, only it wasn’t a piece of string.
Maverick watched in awe as the object in his hand grew. Transforming from a piece of string into a floppy pinkie ring. What was this thing?
Item type: Jewellery
When worn by a sentient creature of the material plane the necklace causes the wearer to be more believable and enhances their natural acting ability.
Maverick’s mind tried to sort through events which lead him to be as tall as giraffe, standing on the corpse of what looked like the aftermath of a hamster in a blender, and holding what appeared to be Nancy’s necklace.
Eventually, Maverick figured it out and after squeezing the earring out like a zit, he held both the earring and the necklace in his hands.
“I’ve done it.” Maverick said, not believing it. He had found all the treasures, kicked a lion’s arse, and survived. And it looked like he pinched Nancy’s necklace, Nightmare on Elm Street style.
His expression darkened as his thoughts shifted to Sydney. The mutant octopus who had screwed him over, big time.
Maverick turned his attention to his armband. Driver had taught him the basics of the device during their brief chat. The thing was about as simple to work as a supermarket self-serve cash register.
You had to hold two buttons while thinking of the person you want to bother.
Driver’s voice was broadcasted, not through the armband by a speaker, but was actually telepathically sent into Maverick’s head, “Yeah, yeah. I got the manual.”
“I’m done.” Maverick said and it felt so good to say it that he had to say it again, pronouncing each syllable, “I. Am. Done.”
From the safety of a fallen log, Scratch-Ear watched as the odd looking Kali entered the dimensional crossing snail. The kitten had come here looking for his tribe, but there was no Damu-Sarmi to return to.
T’Chull and Tabore had been thorough in their extermination in destroying Scratch-Ear’s people. T’Chull had burnt down their home, turning it into a swamp; and Tabore had hunted their kind for his own amusement.
If any Damu-Sarmi lived on they were like Burned-One, scattered and alone.
With no road to take, Scratch-Ear moved to Tabore; the corpse was still warm. When he looked up, Maverick and Driver were gone.
The young hunter’s existence, no matter how long or short would be doomed to be a lonely one. For now he was king of this wasteland, the master of the hunted realm where the bones of his people lay.
A sharp stab of hunger drew Scratch-Ear’s down to Tabore’s head. Scratch-Ear promised himself that If anyone asked, he killed the arsehole.
Maverick was in Sydney’s sitting room. On the surface it looked like something a little old lady would be comfortable with. Canvas couches, tiny little tables; it looked innocent.
That was until you noticed that the carpet may look like shag but the hairs had poisonous spines, the seeming innocuous lamp radiated high levels of exotic radiation, the and the walls were breathing.
And sitting down, eating a porcelain teacup, was Maverick’s boss.
“You had me murdered,” Maverick said. There was no point in hiding his feelings, this was Sydney’s realm. If Sydney didn’t have the ability to read Maverick’s mind he had an item that did so.
“Does that bother you?” Sydney asked. His swarming tentacles engulfed the cup and there came the sound of crunching. He wasn’t frightened of Maverick, to him Maverick was little more than a letter in a long boring text message.
It bothered Maverick alright. Maverick wanted to tear the bastard’s tentacles off and beat him to death with them.
“I have to say, your predecessors were better at hiding their thoughts.” Sydney said.
Did you kill them to? Maverick asked in his head.
“Some.” Sydney answered.
“How long have I been dead?”
“Nine years, seven months, twenty days, eight hours, one minute, forty-two seconds. That’s how long you have been in cold storage.”
Makes me a lot easier to control. Nothing to go back to, nothing to fight for. “Why? Why me?” Maverick called out, wanting to explode.
“Because you were made for this.” Sydney looked to Maverick, “You want to know why you? You couriers, your all the same.”
A blink and suddenly they were back in the storeroom that Maverick had woken up in. There sat his create and there was the user manual laying within the packing material.
“I will give you a hint as to why you are here. If a normal human was to stand where you are and look at this shell,” Sydney gestured to himself, “they would be a drooling mess on the floor.”
Maverick frowned, “So, you stole my life away because I can stand to be next to you? You murdered me, you son of a bitch. My mother… My world thinks I’m a rapist. That I physically and emotionally tortured a celebrity.”
Sydney’s tentacles squirmed, “I hardly think somebody who only won two golden globes and a grammy can be called a celebrity. Though her biography did sell remarkably well.”
“Oh God,” Maverick put his face in his hands. He felt Nancy’s necklace around his neck.
Sydney spoke before Maverick had a chance to think about it how he got the item, “If you like, think of it as a bonus. I would imagine somebody of your talents could find a better use for it than a sub-par actress.”
Two hundred years? Maverick had barely lasted a week. Right now he was wearing the equivalent of the Jedi mind wipe, but how long could he keep it up before he seriously died.
“And what if I say no?” Maverick asked feeling like he already knew the answer.
“Then I put you back in your body.”
“But I’m dead.”
“No, you’re cremated, but don’t worry, I am very creative.” Sydney’s eyes glowed like a pair of high beams.
But it wasn’t the light that caused the hairs on Maverick’s neck to stand on in. He was catching a glimpse into Sydney’s true form. It was like looking into the heart of madness, a colposcope of horror, beauty, wonder, and a feeling of utter loss.
It was like he was back at home after his dad had bet him senseless. It wasn’t just pain, it was a sense of betrayal, of emotional distress. Maverick felt like he was swimming in the middle of space, the void tearing the air from his lungs, that eyes were trying to escape his head.
Just as he withered on the brink of no return, when he thought that his mind would break, something inside him latched a black and cold tentacle around his body. It was almost as alien as the void itself and the two forces competed for Maverick’s ego. The tentacle won, this time.
Maverick dropped to the floor, wet tears fell from his furry cheeks, he wanted to crawl into a ball and beg, plead, to do anything never to feel that again.
The necklace around his neck grew hot and Maverick didn’t so much feel resolve but he knew how he should act.
Feeling like utter crap and that his frontal lob had just been pissed on, Maverick stood. He couldn’t stare Sydney in the eye, he wasn’t that brave and doubted he would ever be again. Sydney had scared him, his very soul had gone under a mid-life crisis and Maverick had not yet healed from the experience.
Sydney seemed to be intrigued, “You have won your body, Maverick Archibald Kenning. Be proud of your accomplishments. For now rest. Soon I shall call on you again.”