© Copyright 2012 - Darkraptor1 - Used by permission
Storycodes: MF+; M/mf+; orca; swallowed; insertion; transported; mc; wrapped; bandages; entrap; majick; cons/nc; X
continues from part five
Part 6: The First Strike
"So, where do we go first?" Quinn asked Xesex as they all walked outside. "You got any ideas?"
"The source of the magic is not far from here," he said. "It is within ten miles. Do you have transportation we can utilize?"
"Yeah," Quinn said, heading towards her garage. "Bought it years ago; never thought I'd use it to help save the world." Going over, she opened the door, revealing a large RV inside, easily large enough to carry all of them.
"Hmm," Xesex said, looking the craft over. "Primitive, but effective." Rapping on the walls, he doubted that it was very strong, but at the moment, it was everything they had, so they would have to make the most of it. "We must move out immediately."
"Well then, get on!" Quinn said, heading for the driver's seat.
As the others got on board, Nia stopped. "I can't leave Jude," she said.
"The lake empties into a river," Quinn told her as she pulled out the chocks from underneath the wheels. "She'd be able to follow us as we drive along." Then, darting into the RV, she pulled out a map. "Xesex, can you pinpoint the location of the magic?"
His large hands taking the small object, Xesex looked it over, trying to triangulate it. "I am not sure," he said. "But it should be here." He tapped a large city on the map.
"Ah, you're in luck," Quinn told Nia. "The river leads to a harbor next to the city. Your whale can go as far as that."
Nia nodded. "I'll meet you all there."
"Wait, you're not coming up with us?"
"I'll ride Jude," Nia said. "She's used to it."
Quinn thought, nodded. "All right."
"If you will be riding your whale," Xesex said, "then I recommend that our group split up. For if I can sense whatever god has entered this realm, he or she will sense me too, and will possibly attempt to attack me en route to the city, regardless of who is with me. If we split our forces, we shall reduce the risk of possible casualties."
Nia thought for a moment. "Jude is used to carrying several people at once," she said. "Some of you can ride with us."
"I'll go," Gromet said. "Always was interested in riding a whale."
From his riding spot on Aalyia's back, Robert said, "We'll go as well."
"I'd prefer to ride in the RV," Vikki said. "That is, Quinn, if you don't mind."
"Not at all."
"I doubt I shall be able to ride your whale companion," Prince Theodore said. "So I shall ride within this RV as well."
"Then it is settled," Xesex said. "Everyone, to your places. We shall meet again at the harbor outside the city."
As Nia, Gromet, Robert, and Aalyia headed down towards the lake, Quinn, Prince Theodore, Xesex, and Vikki squeezed into the RV. It was easy enough for Vikki to get into the passenger seat, but Xesex and Theodore, being larger than humans, had a more difficult time, and almost tore the doors off while getting inside, and even then, it was a very tight fit as they wedged themselves among the appliances.
"All right everyone, hang on," Quinn said, turning the RV on, and sending the giant vehicle onto the road.
At the lake, Nia knelt next to the water. She didn't have to wait long, for Jude quickly swam to the lakeside and partially beached herself. Though curious to see her, Gromet couldn't help but take a step backwards at seeing just how big she really was. Robert and Aalyia did the same, for Jude was the largest killer whale any of them had ever seen, easily at least thirty feet long, and built of solid muscle.
Closing her eyes, Nia put her hand on Judge's snout, and waited.
"Jude understands our situation," she said after a moment. "She's willing to carry us to the city."
Gromet tilted his head. "You can talk to whales?"
"Only her," Nia explained. "We share a telepathic bond that no one else has."
"I never heard of whales being telepathic," Robert said. Even Aalyia, unable to speak, seemed puzzled by the idea.
"Then telepathy isn't common in your world?" Nia asked.
"Nope," Robert said.
"No," Gromet said.
"Well, whatever. Now, everyone in."
Robert was confused. "In?"
"Yes, in. As in, inside Jude."
None of her companions moved.
"You can't be serious," Robert said.
"Yes, I am," Nia said. "Jude can swim much faster without anyone riding on her. Plus, if all of us are in her, she can swim under the surface, and go even faster.
Still, none of them moved.
Rolling her eyes at seeing how far ahead the RV was, and how they were stuck here, Nia said, "Look, I know this sounds strange to you, but Jude's used to doing this sort of thing. She can swallow people whole, and then regurgitate them up later without digesting them. Same for stuffing people into her womb. We've done it for years, with both me, and many other people."
"You stuffed people up her ass?" Robert said.
Thunder cracked overhead.
"Look, there's no time!" Nia said. "Now let's get in there!"
As if wanting to encourage the others, Jude opened her mouth as wide as it would go, waiting.
Gromet looked at the whale, then to Robert and Aalyia. Shaking his head, he walked over. "I can't believe I'm doing this," he muttered.
Getting down, he slid into Jude's mouth, face first. Jude swallowed slightly, pulling him in. Within seconds, his feet vanished from sight. With Gromet gone, Jude opened again, stretching to accommodate Robert and Aalyia. Those two looked at each other, unsure. But then again, after encountering Anubis in the graveyard of abandoned gods, this wasn't any stranger.
Kneeling, Aalyia waited while Robert reached out and pulled himself into Jude's mouth. There, she swallowed him gently, sucking him into her throat, until his bandaged legs were gone. And then Aalyai got in, wiggling as Jude's muscles worked, and pulled her in.
With the three now safe inside her stomach, Jude rolled over, exposing her tummy. Nia waded in, walking towards Jude's slit.
"I swear, some people just don't know when to take the leap," she muttered, putting her feet inside Jude. Once she had been swallowed up to her leg, Nia waited as Jude's powerful muscles took control, and gently pulled her in, until her head, and then her hair, were sucked in, and vanished from sight.
Her slit clenching into a watertight seal, Jude rolled back onto her tummy, then wiggled back into the water. From there, she turned and followed the water out of the lake, and into the river. Taking a deep breath, making sure to get extra air for her passengers, Jude submerged, her powerful tail muscles propelling her through the dark water.
Further down the road, Quinn was having a difficult time keeping her RV from skidding off the road. Having not driven it for over a year, her skills at piloting such a huge vehicle were rusty. Having to go down the curved and twisting road in a rainstorm didn't help either.
From the passenger seat, Vikki peered out the window, scanning the road. "How long until we reach the city?"
"Maybe an hour," Quinn said. "That is, if this storm doesn't cause the roads to be washed out."
Cramped near the back, Theodore looked around, his legs already starting to get stiff from having to curl up tightly to fit inside. Xesex had the advantage of having a serpant-like body that could coil up, but Theodore had no such advantages, his spider-bulk and multiple legs being a distinct disadvantage when it came to riding in recreational vehicles.
Peering at Xesex, he was annoyed to see that the god seemed to be enjoying the ride. "You ever been in one of these?"
Xesex shook his head. "No, but it is most intriguing, a vehicle designed to resemble a human dwelling." A thought came to him, and he pondered it. "Perhaps, when all this is over, I can attempt to construct one, only with the delights of the flesh in mind." He looked up towards the television mounted in the wall. "And what is this?"
"That's called a television," Theodore said.
"You have them in your universe?"
Reaching up, Xesex managed to turn it on, and by sheer coincidence, came on a news station.
"-Repeat, this is breaking news from channel seven. In addition to these massive storms, we are now receiving reports of what can only be described as massive, half-human, half-spider hybrids that are appearing out of these mysterious vortexes."
Theodore jolted upright, unable to believe what he was hearing. "My people?! Here?!"
"The spider people show no signs of violence, and so far, there have been no reports of confrontations with them. But in addition to them, we are also getting reports of what appear to be billions of black coffins being dumped out of these portals across the earth. All attempts to open them have failed. We'll keep you updated on these bizarre happenings as we continue our live coverage."
"It's happening," Xesex said quietly. "Individuals from all the universes are starting to bleed into each other's realms." Slithering up to the driver's seat, he said, "We must get to the city with all haste."
"I'm going as quickly as I can," Quinn said. "And besides, if we go any faster, we might not make it, you know how bad the gas mileage is on this thing?"
"I do not know what this, 'gas mileage' is, but if we do not make it, then it shall be the least of our problems."
When they reached the border of the city a short time later, Quinn was mortified to see police cars, SWAT vans, and all other manner of law enforcement lying before the bridge leading into the city. But it wasn't the sight of the cars that frightened her; it was the complete lack of police officers, or anyone else.
Carefully maneuvering around the cars, Quinn drove over the bridge, and entered the city. Expecting to see panic and confusion, she was instead greeted with something else entirely, emptiness.
The RV drove through the empty city streets; lights shone brightly in buildings and local shops, but aside from abandoned cars, assorted shopping carts, newspapers, and shopping bags fluttering in the rain, there was no sign anyone had come through in quite a while.
"Where is everyone?" Vikki asked, anxiously looking out the windows. "Is it normally this quiet?"
"No," Quinn said, shaking her head. "I've never seen it this empty."
"Then it is as I have feared," Xesex said. "We may be too late."
Trying not to think about that, Quinn took care to stay on the outskirts of the city as they headed to the docks. When they arrived, they found it as empty and deserted as the rest of the city, with no sign of a killer whale, or any other animal for that matter. It was as if all wildlife had fled the city and the water, not wanting to be anywhere near it.
Parking the RV, Quinn reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a gun, cocking it. The others saw her, but made no move to stop her, aware of how dangerous it would be outside.
"I'll scout around," she said, opening the door.
Getting out of the RV, Quinn kept the gun close as she went to the closest dock, where she crouched underneath an umbrella perched over a picnic table, wanting to get out of the rain. Her wait was short, for about a minute later, she saw the unmistakable form of a killer whale coming towards the dock. Sure enough, it was Jude, but Quinn was puzzled. There was no one riding on her back, and nobody swam beside her.
Coming up to the dock, Jude opened her jaws; throat muscles contracting. A head appeared, and to Quinn's complete astonishment, Gromet was pushed out, landing on the deck, wet and slimy, looking utterly baffled.
"Gromet?" Quinn said. "Were you-"
"Don't ask," he said, wiping off the goo.
Another figure came out of Jude's throat: the bandaged form of Robert, and once he had been ejected, Aalyia came up after him, their bandages covered in goo and slime, yet the bandages themselves remained dry and tight, unaffected by the water.
Then Jude rolled onto her back, and with a pop, Nia's head appeared out of her slit, steam rising off her wet suit as she was pushed free, plopping in the water. She swam over to the dock and pulled herself out, wiping the suit clean, as if she had just gotten out of the shower.
"What the hell were you all doing inside that whale?" Quinn asked Nia.
"Riding over here," Nia said, annoyed at having to explain Jude's talent again. "Let's just say she and I do this a lot."
"Your universe must be really weird."
"I'm getting that a lot lately," Nia said. "Now, let's go."
"I know the way," Xesex said. "Everyone, follow me, and stay close."
As the others started after him, Nia knelt next to Jude. "Stay here," she said. "Just in case we need to make a quick getaway."
Jude splashed the water with her tail, then quickly submerged, and vanished from sight.
As Nia caught up with the others, Xesex peered into the city, then closed his eyes. Quinn had the distinct feeling that he was reaching out into the spiritual spectrum, as if to get a feel for what they were going up against. She wanted to know the same, for if the city, which was home to at least eighty thousand people, was completely empty, she wanted to know why.
"Everyone, remain close to me," Xesex said. "The presence we are looking for is very close. I cannot determine exactly where it is, but it could attack us at any time."
Theodore drew an arrow and notched it upon his bow. "I am ready."
Xesex nodded, slightly more trusting of the giant spider man then the others. "Stay quiet, and stay out of sight."
Then, his warning complete, Xesex started into the streets, making for the alleys. Quinn and the others followed, going as quietly as they could.
For close to an hour, they went through the alleys, back streets, and abandoned buildings of the city, doing everything they could to stay out of sight. Yet, it seemed almost unnecessary, for no one was in sight, though Quinn would occasionally spot a discarded bandage lying in the streets, or several at one time, a sign of some struggle that was long over.
Reaching the center of the city, Xesex stopped, reached out with his hand. The central plaza of the city was deserted as well, the giant television screens mounted on nearby buildings flickering with static.
"The presence of the god is very strong here," he said. "He or she came through not long ago, probably looking for victims."
"Which way did they go?" Quinn asked.
"South," Xesex answered. "We must go that way."
He had only gone a few feet when the giant TV screens flickered, then flashed, replaced with the image of a television studio; and a large, golden throne, upon which sat a bald man wearing ornate robes that resembled royalty from long ago. Two cranes were perched on his shoulders, and in his hand was a great and mighty staff.
"Greetings, inhabitants of this world," the man said, his english accent thick and almost unintelligible. "Perhaps by now you have no doubt noticed this storm that rages across your planet. It is not a freak of nature, but an act of my design."
"Who is that guy?" Robert asked, as spell-struck as anyone else.
"My name is Targonamey," the man said. "And as of this moment, this world is no longer yours to inhabit. It is now under my control, and I am its ruler and keeper. You no doubt wonder why I would make such a claim; it is a logical answer, one that can only be answered by the revelation that your world is not what it appears to be. It is, in actuality, a lie."
"A lie?" Vikki said, looking to Xesex. "Is he referring to all your different universes?"
But Xesex waved for her to be quiet. He was focused on what Targonamey was saying, and wanted to hear his words.
"Your world, and everything around you, is an illusion. And what's more, this illusion has been abandoned. Thus, as the only truly aware of the real nature of our existence, I claim my ownership over it. You will abandon all your gods, for I am now your only ruler, and your only king. Those who do not submit to my rule, will find themselves harshly punished."
He smiled. "But I'm sure you've already received a taste of that."
With a flicker, the televisions went dead.
"That guy has some serious issues," Robert said. Even Aalyia seemed to agree, nodding along with him.
"What madness did he speak of?" Theodore asked Xesex. "This world is an illusion?"
"Don't tell me this is like, 'The Matrix,' or something," Quinn said. "And that we're all just lying in pods somewhere."
Xesex shook his head. "He is referring to the fact that our universes are coming together. But it is not his right to rule any of them."
"He shall not," Theodore growled, his hands going tighter around his bow. "My universe shall not fall before his words."
"He may yet have some power we are not aware of," Xesex cautioned Theodore. "But if we keep to our present course, we will find the answers we seek."
There was a muffled scream from two streets over.
"Those may be your answers, god," Theodore said, pulling an arrow back as he scurried towards the sound.
"No!" Xesex said, quickly slithering after him. "Theodore, stop!"
Quinn and the others followed, running after the two as they went into an alleyway. But both Xesex and Theodore had stopped, and as Quinn came up, she saw why.
In the street before her, several people were being overwhelmed by mummies, similar to the one they had encountered while coming to the city. And like that one, these mummies were shooting out bandages at the men and women trying to flee, mummifying them where they stood.
Quinn watched in horror as several men fell, the bandages dragging them back towards the wrappers. A few fired back, trying to kill their attackers, but they too, were overwhelmed by the sheer number of bandages that attacked them, and then they vanished, helplessly mummified.
Theodore raised his bow, aiming at the closest wrapper, but Xesex grabbed his bow, lowering it.
"What are you-"
"These humans are not acting of their own free will," Xesex whispered, not wanting to attract attention. "We cannot kill them."
"This may be a window of opportunity for us," Xesex continued, trying to calm his companions down. "Let us follow them, and see where these other humans are being taken. They may lead us to the source of this problem."
Theodore wavered, finger still tuant on the bow. But he lowered it at last, silently agreeing to the god's plan, even if he didn't agree with it.
"No, please!" a woman screamed, falling to the ground. Her body was almost completely wrapped up, with only her head remaining, and even then, bandages were already moving to claim it. "Please, don't! Plemmmpphhhhhhh!" Her words became inaudible as her head was wrapped and sealed, turning her into a mummy, who squirmed even as more bandages wrapped around her, and around her unfortunate companions, who were now sharing the same fate.
When all the fleeing people had been wrapped and sealed, the wrappers leaned down and picked them up, effortlessly hurling the prisoners over their shoulders, ignoring the wiggling, squirming, and muffled screams of those imprisoned within the wrappings. Then they started down the road, paying no heed to what had just been done.
"Follow," Xesex said. "But stay quiet, and stay out of sight."
Coming out from behind the garbage cans, Quinn ducked down, followed the wrappers, making sure to stay close to cars and trucks, wanting to stay hidden as much as possible. The others followed, and though Gromet, Vikki, Robert and Aalyia easily hid, Theodore and Xesex had a harder time, due to their size. Theodore solved his problem by scurrying up the sides of a nearby building, taking the high route.
As they went on, the streets began to clear of cars and rubble, making it more difficult to hide from sight. Yet, the wrappers moved like robots, sticking to their exact programming and never deviating from it, and never looking back.
As the wrappers turned a corner and Quinn followed, she stopped, caught completely by surprise at what she saw before her.
Before them, where there had once been city hall, along with several skyscrapers composing the financial district, was now a single, towering monolith composed of several different buildings hastily mashed together, resembling some dark, twisted Egyptian temple of old. There was a massive drawbridge at its base, and it was there that the wrappers were now heading, still ignoring their squirming, mewing prisoners.
"What is that?!" Gromet whispered to Xesex.
"I do not know," the god replied, as awestruck as his human companions. "But whatever it is, the god is inside. I can sense them. We must enter."
"Wait, go inside that?" Vikki said. "But that's too dangerous! We have no idea what's in there."
"You all knew the risks," Xesex pointed out. "If you do not wish to enter, then that is your choice."
Quinn and the others hesitated, unsure of what to say. But Quinn then thought of that Targonamey man, and the thought of him enslaving the planet gave her strength.
"Oh what the heck," she said. "We've come this far already."
Her words seemed to fortify the others, for they nodded as well.
"Very well," Xesex said. "We will enter. But we must do so with caution. Where we are going, there will be no way out if we make a mistake."
As Quinn watched, the wrappers crossed the bridge, then vanished into the bowels of the building, the drawbridge rising, before slamming shut and locking itself. And as she looked at the tower, she couldn't but feel as if, somehow, it was looking back.