Sarah fell. . . .
That, in and of itself, was a terrible, stupidly-terrible thing! But to add to the terribleness of the terrible situation, two giant spider-like monsters decided to fall with her.
Their piercing, eager shrieks at the escaping chunk of meat seemed to split the darkness. Their black legs clawed the air, and silver webs spread out behind them, shimmering in the moonlight.
Thoughts ceded to panic, and panic erupted from her. She screamed and screamed for all she was worth, screamed her throat raw, flipping and tumbling, driving to a point that would, no doubt, be her end.
And yet, her lizard brain demanded an answer to a very pressing question, a question that flashed through her brain as a series of words and images and overwhelming emotions:
Did she want to die to the fudging-ugly, scary-as-sin monsters that would delight in tearing her limb from limb? Or . . . die in her fall?
She was going to die. She was going to die. She was going to die! There was no point trying to survive now, no point holding onto worthless hope. Despite everything, every effort, every challenge up until this very point, she had failed.
No. . . .
She was betrayed. It was a seething red emotion, one that demanded retribution. She was betrayed by that spineless bag of feces. She wanted Virgil to die screaming in agony, in fear, in-in . . .
What does it matter anymore?
The only thing worth pursuing now was a quick and painless journey back to the Cycle so she could be reborn.
And so, to answer her brain’s demanding question, she spun her body in the air and slammed her foot into the very freaky face of the closest monster.
Its eyes pinched shut, cutting off its glow and immediately casting its many black limbs into darkness. A -2 materialized into a blurry red streak.
The other monster’s eyes, however, still glowed with an eery yellow. It shrieked and moved closer, then promptly slammed into a jutting spear of stone.
Its body burst into silvery-white light, flashing the abyss as if lightning had struck, revealing dozens of jagged rock formations like crisscrossing stone fangs, the orange wall, the debris of a forest, and much further below, the bottom of it all.
The monster she had kicked did something with its webbing that shot it forward. One of its many swordlike legs sliced across her thigh, cutting straight through the material. A -6 in white and a -3 in red blurred as momentum carried her away from the damage numbers.
Sarah sucked in a sharp breath through clenched teeth. The pain was razor-edged and stung fiercely.
She slammed her foot against another one of the black blades that sliced through the air. The force propelled her downward.
She angled her body, pretending to be a sky-driver. That was something she—not-in-a-hundred-thousand years—would ever, remotely want to experience.
With arms pressed tightly to her sides, legs straight, and toes pointed, she shot through the gloom like an arrow. With any luck—ha! luck—she’d plow into one of those angled stone spears and be gone in a flash of light.
Somehow, she could sense the distance between her and the mean monster grow. And as it grew, her lizard brain frantically yelled, Live! Survive! Grab hold of those rocks that are zipping by at a million miles per hour!
What a dumb brain.
This was the end.
The only remaining question before slamming into the quickly-approaching ground was face first or feet first?
She wanted it to be over. She wanted there to be no pain. She wanted death in the quickest and cleanest possible way. And so, she did not throw her arms out to twist around.
She closed her eyes, took in a breath, and tried her very best to focus on the memories she most wanted to keep, knowing all-too-well that they would be ripped from her.
That knowledge was more painful than anything else. Her memory of her family, even if their faces were blurred, was warm and full of love. Her friends. Her stupid co-workers. Her many, many hours in the library reading.
Her doughnuts. . . .
Sarah—face first and full of grim determination—slammed against the stone ground.
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