Well, devoted readers, it had to come sometime...
Some parts are a bit risque for a public forum, but I've decided to post it in its entirety and the mods can decide whether they will censor or modify it
You can find it in its entirety, if that does come to pass, at the sites mentioned previously.
And so, without further ado...
The sun rose and fell upon my studies, and then again it followed the same schedule for days while I studied at the feet of the Druid. I had become lost in the knowledge that the old Druid was sharing with me. It was both dangerous and enthralling work, and I could feel it calling to me. It was something I had been born for, the Druid was right. The magic sang in my blood.
He tried to teach me in such a short time that I think it awakened more in me than he had intended. I knew my target now, and I intended to make it suffer. I had been so sorely deceived for so very long. As much as O’Malvilriain told me his warnings on the use of this magic in a hateful manner, I was filled with the loathsome emotion, and it drove me on.
As O’Malvilriain had said before, I was quickly mastering the art of enchantment. With my own blood, I learned to imbue power into items. When the Druid took his rest, I stayed up later in order to begin implementing my own plan and further my skills without his watchful gaze.
By utilizing my will and my blood to fuel the enchantment, my old Navy pistol had drawn me to it. I cleaned it like I had in my Navy days, rather than leaving it to collect dust and grime as I had in recent days, until its blued steel gleamed. I polished it with droplets of my own blood, and the blued steel shone radiantly.
Each of the six remaining bullets in the cylinder I cared for as well, and each received a part of me in the form of my blood. This would be the instrument of my revenge. This would end the terrible game I’d found myself a part of.
I kept the scrap of parchment safe, for I understood now what my enemy wanted of it. It wanted free from its prison, and this tiny scrap of paper was the key. I knew the longer I stayed with O’Malvilriain, the less danger my friends were in as my true enemy would stop at nothing in their search for me and my friends were incidental. If it could not use my friends to torture me since it could not find me, it would consider that line of thought a wasted of time.
But thoughts of Quick and Jilly worried me, they’d both been so badly injured. And Jones; I knew now the powers of the darkness I had never wanted to look upon before from the Druid’s instruction, and I both feared for his soul and for him being sent after me from beyond death as an agent.
I made other charms as I learned, some to aid in healing and some to ward against demons. I thought I was ready. I may have been wrong, but I thought I was. It wasn’t until O’Malvilriain began to seem a bit on edge that I thought about how long I had been studying with him, and about how I had lost track of that time. I wasn’t even certain what day it was anymore.
“So, Druid, are you impressed with my learning and skills?” I decided to ask him on the day I’d made up my mind to take my leave.
“There is much strength in what you have learned. And I see the things you make while I sleep, Ned. One a dangerous too, fed with too much blood already before your own was added. Weapons are dangerous things to enchant. Be careful with it, because sometimes blood-fed weapons don’t care whose blood it is that they next feast upon.”
“Something will be coming tonight. It knows you are here. My protections, while strong, have worn down under the search for you Ned. I think you should go to the ground, hide, and hunt it. It is time for you to come into your own before this thing finds you and is ready to take what it wants from you.”
I nodded. Time to go.
“Thank you, old man, for your lessons. Oh, Druid?”
He had begun to turn from me, but turned back with a curious look.
“How long have we been here?”
“Three weeks, Ned, only three weeks. Seems like a lifetime though, doesn’t it?” His eyes twinkled, and as he turned and stepped away, he melded into the shadows and was gone.
And I had thought I was the one leaving.
I was on the move for the rest of the day. A collection of dailies caught me up on current events. I had a new suit cut at an expensive tailor. I visited my acquaintance, the epsilon navvie, and picked up some more drugs of a wider variety. I went to a popular hunting and firearms shoppe in Valleys which catered to big game hunters who traipsed about in the Pennine Moors.
I paid a visit to a fetish shop in Ancoats which supported counter-culture dress and, on a whim, bought a matching pair of white slicksuits for both a man of my size and a slender woman of nearly a height to me. I also went to a very cutting-edge and very underground program crafter who provided me the things I would need for the journey into the Etherscope I was certain I would need to take.
In short, I scurried about the Great Metropolis like a wild mouse.
By evening, I donned my newly-tailored suit, stopped by a takeaway cart in Chinatown to partake of my dinner and stuffed myself, and found a flower shoppe in the Bury market and headed over to Radcliffe to find the hospital where I had discovered Jilly was still present in. Her condition was poor, but I meant to remedy that. The only problem I was presented with was that she was under police guard. But I had a plan for that as well.
The fire was easy to start, and it would be very easy to put out too, but it would at least draw the attention of most of Jilly’s police guard. And it worked like a charm. There was only one man left on guard. I hoisted my bag and held my flowers; the pretty exterior served more than one purpose for me. As I approached the policeman, I thrust the flowers in his face for him to examine.
The long needle that was hidden in the bouquet slid into his cheek and the potent cocktail of drugs I injected in him caused him to droop in his chair. I pulled him into the room, and stuffed him into the locker where Jilly’s personals were kept. He fit rather nicely.
Moving over to Jilly, I monitored her condition for a moment before adding the contents of the vial I had mixed while under O’Malvilriain’s watchful eye to her IV. Her cheeks began to redden, becoming less livid, and she began to seem more life-like. I had suspected one might not be enough, so I slowly added a second while watching for her reaction.
She stirred, and then sat straight up faster than I’d seen anyone move. Her hand gripped my wrist on the IV, and her face softened when she saw it was me.
“Where have you been you bastard?” she said as her arms went around my neck and she pressed herself into me.
I was a bit surprised by this, and almost knocked over her dinner tray.
“Careful, Jilly. We have to be quiet. I’ve brought some clothes; are you ready to get out of here?”
“What did you do to me?” she said suddenly, looking down to where her wounds had once been.
“Wow,” she said as she stepped up to the full-length mirror on the wall and dropped her hospital gown, “Not even a scar, how did you do this?”
She turned to me. My face reddened and she smiled broadly.
“Come now, Doctor Ned, surely you’ve seen a naked woman before?”
“Yes, well I uh-”
“But never one you wanted so badly, eh?” she said, smiling as she slipped her arms around my neck and stepped in to me.
“And what if I want you too, Magic Doctor?”
Her lips were so close to mine, but I had to resist this powerful temptation…for the time being.
“We’ve got to go find Quick,” I told her, “It ends tonight. I know where and I know how. I have been planning, you see, and-“
She kissed me, pressing her warm naked body into me. Her lips were like ambrosia, and I felt a thrill run through me. My arms slid around her of their own accord, my body closed in on hers. She was moving me backwards, to the bed. I felt my urgency rise. So did she, she giggled into my mouth, drawing a leg up mine and over my hip as she leaned back.
She pulled me with her, atop her, wrapping her legs about my waist, and I felt her hand opening my trousers. In a moment, my burgeoning manhood sprang free and I could feel her warmth, moist and inviting, against my stiffness. I groaned as I thrust forward into her, joining with her. Her hips surged and she cried out into my mouth with our joining.
I moved quickly, wanting her so badly and yet knowing that our situation was dire. She sensed my urgency and matched it with her own need. Our lips broke apart, and I could hear her sucking in breath.
“Oh, sh*t, Ned, oh yes, harder!” she cried out.
I could feel her tense around me, and begin to tremble as I thrust myself harder into her, groaning. Her hips rocked, her mouth became a perfect “O”.
“Ohhh!” she moaned, and then, “Yes, Ned, yes!”
I spent myself violently as her womanhood wrenched around me viciously. We both fell still, and I slowly attempted to roll from her but her arms and legs tightened about me.
“Goddamn, I’ve wanted that for a long time,” she breathed softly, and her eyes were shining. But they didn’t look mad at all, nor did her smile.
“Bathroom, get cleaned up, then we can dress and get the hell out of her, Neddie-love,” she said pushing at me.
I nodded and rose. We cleaned ourselves up quickly, and donned the twin slicksuits. She giggled at them.
“I like…you like?”
I could only nod as she spun a tight circle in front of me; the slicksuit did wonders for her tight, slim and athletic body.
“Good, now let’s make like a tree and get the f*ck
out of here!”
I chuckled at her, and we fled the hospital. It was easily done, and we made haste. I knew quite well where to find Quick, and we set out with haste to do so to the Great Docklands, where I had met before the first time. He’d killed then, and I was certainly hoping he was ready to do more before this night was through.
Saunders’ was as squalid and rough as when I had first walked into it several weeks ago. Several drunks were engaged in a brawl over their favored prostitutes, who were egging them on to greater heights of violence. The bouncers were moving edgily over to the brawl, eyeing the participants warily.
Out of the corner of my eye, I spied Lucy. She would be the one to speak with, so I moved over towards her. She eyed me in my white slicksuit judiciously.
“Well, luv, what kind of mess are you lookin’ ta get yourself into? I have a nice mess, meself!” she said cheerily as I approached.
“I am sure you do but-“ Jilly started, but I interrupted.
“It’s me, Doctor Halloran, Lucy. Have you seen Quick of late?”
“You can take the haunt out of the ghost, but you can’t take the ghost out of the haunt, Doctor. Nice getup! You two be needin’ some companionship later?”
“No thank you,” Jilly replied icily.
“Just Quick, then, eh? Though I could think of better to spend my evenin’ with.: Lucy replied, nonplussed by Jilly’s rebuke.
She rushed off and in only a few moments she was walking back with the Gamma in tow. Something was different about him, though I couldn’t tell what until he sat down with us. His new cybernaughtic hand clacked on the wood of the table.
“I know what’s been going on, Quick. I have a proposition for you.”
Quick nodded then, considering.
“Let’s go on ta somewere we can talk, laddybuck. I’m gonna need guns, ain’t I?”
“Yes Quick, lots of guns.”
He grinned, rose from the table and lead Jilly and I to the back of Saunders’. We found a very private room, and I settled in to tell them both of what I had discovered, and what I was planning. We talked for several hours, and I could see that the sun was going down.
“I hate tha ‘Scope…d’ye think this really be necessary?” Quick asked as I concluded.
“Trust me, my friend, if I didn’t think this was the best way do go about it I wouldn’t ask you to do this,” I replied.
“I like the ‘Scope; you can be whatever you want to there,” Jilly said to Quick, “you can be a regular giant of a gunslinger there if you like.”
“I have the programs for everything we will need from a top-notch crafter, and I know where our target will be and how we can get in. I need to score some tabs; I am meeting with one of D.A.’s friends tonight, before it all goes down, to pick them up. And then we move in on the target and end this,” I told them.
Both nodded with grim-faced determination. Tonight was the night to bring down a demon. And end all of the troubles we had been submerged in. We moved from Saunders’ then, to secure our tabs and set my plan in motion.
Jade Cho was apparently a very close friend of D.A.’s, and had agreed to help me because of her sense of grief at his loss and need for avenging his death. She was a very pretty Chinese woman with dragon tattoos on her shapely legs and arms. I wondered how many other women would be feeling so with D.A. gone; he’d been quite a ladies’ man. She sobbed silently as we left with our tabs.
The Silver Drake Pleasure Dome in New London was the place to be to find our target. The tabs I carried were small wafers of paper with a stylized silver dragon head painted on them with tiny and exacting detail. I had checked out a room at one of Castlefield’s most extravagant hotels, The Parker Regency Building, after discovering that the one we were seeking had established residence there just recently.
The three of us strode in like we owned the place after our visit to Chinatown and Jade Cho. Parker Security eyed us nervously; clad as we were, I am sure we were quite intimidating. I flashed my wad of cash at the desk to secure room service, and dropped some pounds on the security guard to have some boys help us with our luggage. He moved off immediately to find some, as the cash I had handed him was a rather sizeable amount.
And why not pass out so much money, I had thought to myself? Revenge for years of lies and manipulation was well worth financially breaking myself, well worth any cost at all. We went up to our room moments later, followed by three young men. Arriving at the room, I gave each boy an amount of money that made their eyes wide. My wad of cash was growing thinner, but I smiled to myself thinking of how much closer I was to my goals.
Our target’s room was only two rooms down the hall. I would obtain the layout of the Parker Regency in our ‘Scope hunt, and then we would be set in the knowledge of exactly how our next steps would fall into place. Everything was falling together perfectly. We took our bags and put them in the sitting room after shooing the boys away.
“So, let’s get down,” I said, looking to Jilly as I stole one of her American euphemisms and smiled at her.
“Kick some arse, fin’ly…” Quick replied, and I shared a smile with him.
I pulled my Scope point out, and readied the private space in New London’s Wall that I had hired out to store all of the programs I had bought earlier. My Etherscope gloves flashed in motion, repeated in the Scope, as I made us ready. Meanwhile, Quick prepared our guns for use in Prime Reality. Jilly stared in wonderment as he pulled from one bag a bandolier belt of knives.
“For me?” she said, grabbing it up with a wicked grin.
“Of course, my dear,” I replied with a smile.
She leaned in to kiss me, hard, her tongue finding mine. Quick coughed.
“No time fer that shite, comon now, we gots ta get busy,” Quick said sharply.
I broke the kiss slowly, and the promise in Jilly’s eyes of more to come was like a fire in my veins. I pulled out the plastic bag containing our tabs.
“Let’s do this thing,” I said, smiling at my two companions.
I passed them their tabs, and placed my own beneath my tongue. We relaxed, and the world began to melt away from all around us. The white walls of the Regency became bright yellow, the private space in New London’s wall bleeding in over Prime Reality. After a few moments, we found ourselves in Etherspace.
Moving swiftly, the three of us readied ourselves and then made our way outside New London’s wall and into the industrial zone outside of it. The great towering monolith that was the Parker Regency Building’s presence in Etherspace, and covered all of Parker Regency’s locations in Great Britain and the Empire, loomed over us. I pulled out the keycard I’d had forged for our entry here.
The keycard, as promised, provided for full access to the construct. Although numerous employees shot us questioning glances, as we were certainly unfamiliar avatars, our presence brought no alarum. I found my way to the archives department and within moments was attempting to access the floorplans of the building. Once again, up until this point, there was no resistance. But I was stopped in my tracks as I picked up the bulky file that represented the floorplan details and a shock ran through my avatar.
A great golem of grinding gears began to rise from the floor as the file fell from my hands and scattered about the floor.
“Unauthorized access, intruder alert,” it spoke in a dry monotone, and rasied its arms.
“Destroy it! I will work on shutting off the alarm!” I shouted over the clicking and whirring of the arms as the transformed.
A pair of huge-bored gatling guns had formed on the golem’s arms, and it began to fire as I ducked low and slid across the smooth tiled floor of the archives room. Jilly ducked and weaved as bullets chewed up the tile around her. Quick ducked around behind the construct and pulled free the twin giant pepperboxes I had made for him by the program crafter; the guns roared, and scraps of metal began to fly from the construct’s back as Quick’s bullets tore into it.
I moved to gather the file, and pushed my hand into it. I had to manipulate the file structure to shut off the alert before it called too much attention to us. My manipulations were not as fine as D.A.’s might have been, but they were effective. So effective, the construct began to wheel upon me with its thundering gatling arms.
I tried to roll away as it fired upon me, but several bullets punched into me and I flopped onto my side. Jilly screamed my name, and tumbled deftly towards me, but several shots caught her in the back as she did so. She cried out as she fell across me.
The pain in her eyes was evident.
“It’s not real, Jilly. Just get out, just go back to yourself. We will take care of this, go back and keep a watch in case they know we came here,” I kissed her forehead, and she nodded at me while grimacing in pain.
Her avatar melted away over me as she relinquished herself from the ‘Scope. Meanwhile, Quick had leapt upon the construct’s back and was firing his pepperboxes into the heart of it through the holes he’d already made. More of the gatling’s bullets ripped into me, and I fought to retain my conscious hold over my avatar. A final blast from somewhere deep inside the construct sounded, and it fell apart in a great jumble of gears, tossing Quick violently to one side.
I crawled to him, file clutched to my chest, my avatar leaking out great runnels of its Ether essence. Quick lay upon the broken tile around his body, a twisted shape, pieces of the construct buried in his avatar. He was fighting to stay here, much like I was.
“Ya got it, laddybuck? Gah, it almost feels like I am really dying…”
“No Quick, it isn’t real…keep fighting…or let go and go back to help Jilly get ready. I have what we need, and it will only be a few more moments. I just…uhnnn…just have to hang on.”
“I’ll stay here, an’ watch over ya,” he replied as he weakly began to lift his pepperboxes to cover the doorway.
I nodded, and then settled painfully to a position in which I could scan through the files. My avatar’s body began to shake with the effort it took me to keep myself in the Scope and hold it together. Quick began to pull himself upright, and then the door into the archival shot open.
A gunshot rang out, and Quick slumped back against the wall of the room. I could see bits of what appeared to be bone and grey matter mixed in with the blood that painted the wall behind him as he slid down the wall. I turned my head, and saw the thing that I had come here to destroy.
In the visions and waking dreams that had come to me while pursuing my enchanting skills with O’Malvilriain, I had seen her for what she truly was; a demon from the farthest reaches of the depths of Etherspace, masquerading as human. A demon seeking full entrance into the realm of Prime Reality, to subjugate it to her dark will. She was fiercely beautiful and the darkness oozing off of her stabbed into my heart painfully.
“Ned, so glad to see you,” she said to me.
“Hello… Dtharsa…” I grunted, not willing to call her by the name of the woman I had once known any longer.
“Don’t call me that, Neddy dear, its me, its your sweet Moira.”
“No…Moira’s gone…she’s been gone for a long time, hasn’t she? I saw a grave, saw her name on it…she died when she first came here….I never even really knew Moira Hampstead, did I? It’s always been you. You’ve lead me along by the nose this whole time we’ve known one another…since the day we met,” I replied, anger and betrayal shining brightly in my eyes.
“I love the way you loved me, sweetheart,” she smiled, “and I love the way your emotions were so very strong. They fed me well, along with the hundreds of other men who loved me. I think you were my favorite, Neddy, really. Kiss me, so I can set you free. You really don’t want this anymore, do you? This tired, useless life? I can give you a new one.”
She let her gown slip down the length of her body, showing me all of her in her exquisite beauty. I shuddered, knowing that deep inside I still wanted her. Her smile showed me that she knew this. She moved closer, kneeling beside me, moving me onto my back and then straddling me. Despite my knowledge that she was no earthly creature and her beauty was inhuman, I was still quite aroused.
Her hand reached down to the Scope leathers that I wore, opening my trousers.
“Let me take you in, Neddy. I will love you like no woman ever has. Be my husband, give me children. I will love you,” she intoned, the sound of her voice intoxicating.
She gripped my manhood, stroking, readying me to join with her. I stared up into her eyes, unable to move.
Her gaze held mine, like some magnetic field. I felt her warmth move slowly down to begin enveloping me and I gasped, wanting it. But she screamed then, her face becoming a hideous fanged mask of evil as she immediately leapt from me.
The charm I held which prevented demonic possession worked. She was trying to join our souls together, to take mine for her own. She had probably planned this for a long time, I thought bitterly. My hands weakly fumbled with my trousers, shamefully adjusting my betraying member within them. I struggled to rise to my feet.
“I killed him, you know. I killed him slowly. He was stronger than you, you can’t defeat me, I will have what I wish for.”
“Perhaps he was stronger, but I have other reasons driving me,” I knew she was talking about my mentor, O’Malvilriain. I felt sadness well up.
I tried to let myself go from the Etherscope; this was her domain, and she was stronger here. But nothing happened. Dtharsa began to laugh.
“I can keep you here for as long as I like Neddy. I will play with you for a long time, baby. I will make you hurt so sweetly…”
“No,” I replied adamantly, smiling with tight lips as I pulled up the program I had the crafter make most carefully, “No you won’t.”
There was another way to leave the Etherscope; another way when will alone might not suffice. I raised the Navy revolver to my mouth, inserted it, and blew my own brains out.
I came to groggily lying on the floor at Quick’s feet, twitching and groaning, trying to move. The shock to my system from my avatar “dying” so suddenly left me severely disoriented. But I had planned for this.
“Go!” I croaked to Quick.
His hand came down, holding a small mirror with lines of white powder cut into fine lines over its surface. A small tube lay atop it as well. I took up the tube in a shaking hand, and snorted in the line closest to me. As the fire slowly spread through my nerve endings, quelling the shock and awakening me, I snorted two more lines into each nostril. I reached over the edge of the sitting room couch and hauled myself up onto my knees.
“You get the plans?”
“No. She came for me too quickly.”
“Fucking bitch,” Jilly spat.
She grabbed up a pair of autoguns and strode towards the door.
“We go now, and we just kick in the goddamned door and start shooting. That’s what I say.”
“Wait, Jilly!” I shouted to catch her attention before she exited.
“No, we can’t wait any longer, that thing has been feeding on human emotion and souls for too long! It’s got to go!”
I desperately reached for my Navy revolver, and pulled five speedloaders into one of the pockets of my utility belt. Quick was already grabbing up his holsters of pepperbox pistols. He’d gotten more…I thought I counted a dozen of them at least as he carefully and lovingly strapped them on. This was it.
All I had gotten of the room itself before I had been interrupted was the layout of the sitting room itself. I informed my companions of how it was laid out and the best way to make an entry as we approached the hotel room’s door.
We stopped short of the door as six figures rounded the corner. Taking the lead was Harvey Tallhorn of MI-6.
“Well, well, Ned Halloran. I suspected this is where I would find you.”
“Tallhorn,” I said softly,” Not exactly expecting you. How did you find this place?”
“No time for that now, just know that we are here to help. And remember, I’m with British Intelligence,” he smiled.
I gave him the rundown of the sitting room. The five heavily-armored agents behind him listened cosely.
“Are you sure your men are ready for this? There could be occult forces at work, you know.”
One of the men, in answer, unbuttoned his coat to show me the body armor on his chest, covered with occult symbols. I knew them for wards against demons. I nodded.
Tallhorn nodded with a tight and grim smile, and two of the men moved to the door with a large heavy iron rod in their hands, some sort of entry device I supposed. The reared it back, and then slammed it into the door just below the door handle. The door sprung open with a violent crash. It was pitch dark inside. The two men stepped back, and two others moved into the room.
I looked to Quick, who held two pistols at the ready; I then looked to Jilly, who clutched three knives in each hand. Tallhorn had a small snub-nosed autopistol in his grip. I tightened my hand around my Navy revolver, and stepped in behind the men.
It was pitch dark, but I could see red images in the darkness. I quickly realized the red lighting was from the scopes upon the autoguns of the two soldiers before me. Something shifted in that light, to the left of one of the men, and a shape moved towards him in the darkness. Someone threw a lightstick in, and as it flared up, chaos ensued.
There were at least a dozen of them, razor claws ripping at the armored flesh of the soldiers before me. The revolver in my hand bucked and roared. The two men’s autoguns chattered. These were the same creatures that had nearly killed Quick, Jilly and I in the zepcar that night. They moved faster though, and seemed stronger.
I knew it was because of their proximity to their foul master. She was close. I could feel her. I stepped back from the crowding things as they began to rip through the two men before me. The roar of a pair of pepperbox pistols beside me caught my attention, as did the creature being fired upon as it spilled obscene gore from its belly which was ripped open by Quick’s shots.
A fleeting image of a tall, slender figure moving from the back of the sitting room towards the bedroom was all I needed to goad me on. I placed a bullet neatly into the grasping mouth of one of the creatures moving for me, watched its mouth erupt with ichor as the enchanted bullet burrowed deep in its innards, and kicked it aside to follow Dtharsa’s flight.
Jilly was beside me, knives flashing and a creature fell away. I darted to the bedroom door, a claw nearly swiping my head off as I ducked beneath it. Quick ended the creature with a shot to its chest, flinging it back from me.
The door was locked. I fired my last shot into the door lock, and flipped the cylinder open to reload; I nodded to Quick, and he kicked the door open. Jilly tumbled in before us, and I snapped my revolver’s cylinder shut. And there on the bed was Moira.
Jilly dropped to her knees immediately as Dtharsa shot her a hate-filled glance. Quick attempted to vault towards her with his pepperboxes leveled, but seemed unable to move. And I was transfixed by the perfection of Moira’s nude form. She was extraordinary…beautiful…and I could feel her love in her eyes as she smiled upon me.
I moved towards her, my hands betraying me as they moved to the charm around my neck and began to remove it. I dropped it to the floor, oblivious.
“Come to me my love. Give me what I want…what I need…love me…make me with your beautiful child…”
I nodded in agreement, my desires stirring me.
I pulled off my waistcoat and placed it on the bed beside her as her eyes commanded. Her hands came up to me, unbuttoned my shirt.
“Take me,” she commanded.
My eyes saw her hand going down to my waistcoat, into the pocket, and drawing out the scrap of ancient paper. My mind didn’t register it though.
It was the jealousy of another woman that saved me. Jilly leapt upon Moira, screaming at her, pounding her fist into the inhumanly perfect features of the other woman. Something gave then, and Moira…no, Dtharsa…began to shift her…no, its…form.
Jilly was thrown bodily to one side by a large tentacular limb, thudding hard first into the wall and then the floor. Another such limb curled around my waist, and began to strip my trousers free. I heard Quick’s cry of surprise and anguish as his pepperboxes fired. Twisting my head, I saw him moving woodenly, like an automaton.
He had emptied his guns into Jilly’s back at an alien controlling thought which had taken over his brain, even as he was still fully aware of what he was doing. Even more horrifying was the trembling of his hands as he reloaded, showing me the struggle he was making but could not win. Tears began to run down his whiskered cheeks as he raised both of the pepperbox pistols and placed one at each temple.
He started a scream, but it was cut off as his fingers twitched. The Gamma’s head was vaporized by the bullets of his own guns.
I focused myself then, trying even harder to fight the influence over my mind. A bullet whizzed by my head, and struck Dtharsa full in the face. While the bullet merely sank into its flesh, it provided me with a moment of distraction as the thing which held me focused its full attention on the soldier behind me. I felt a spray of blood across my naked back as whatever horrid force this creature could exert ended the soldier.
Reaching down to the bed, I picked up my Navy revolver. The thing faced me again, its repulsiveness now obvious. I pushed the revolver up against its rubbery, glistening gristled head and fired. The bullet tore through it, and into the wall behind it. The demon leaped on the bed, sualling, its tentacles loosening and dropping me to the floor.
As it squealed its agony, I emptied the other five rounds that I had lovingly enchanted into it. Their enchantment was designed to sever the bonds with Prime Reality that the creature had forged, and they did their job very well. Its form leaked copious amounts of ichor, and chunks of its flesh began to fall away with wet sounds onto the floor.
“You think you have won, Neddy? I have taken everything you love! I even killed your mother, Neddy! She cried when I told her what I was going to do to you! She cried tears of blood, Neddy! Ooohhh! Ahhh!” the creature scquelched with mushy tones as its physical integrity was destroyed.
I put one bullet into the chamber of my Navy revolver, and lifted my hand to my mouth. The Scope tab there tasted sweet as I placed it under my tongue. Sweet as revenge. I smiled at Dtharsa then.
“You may have done just that monster, but this time, it’s your turn to suffer. And I am going to watch as you die.”
I cam to a time later, to Tallhorn standing over me. Medics were treating the soldiers, looking over Jilly, shaking their heads at the carnage. There were several British Naval and police officers in the room. I looked into the cylinder of the Navy revolver, to see if the last bullet was really gone, and it was. I rose shakily to my feet.
“Now it’s over, Moira,” I whispered.