This would probably be the last gate/portal/whatever Angel ever conjured. Of course, no one knew it at the time, they would have likely gone somewhere momentus if they had. Instead, what popped just about every lightbulb in the garage, what finally fried whatever part of Angel allowed her to pull points in space together like rubber, was moving a big, beige van from Toronto to Burbank, California.
And it got stuck. The van, containing Ratty, Sapper and Emily sat waiting in a digital facsimile of subspace, rocking gently back and forth as though being brought across the gap by ferry. Angel assured everyone that this was normal, that they would land somewhere in the range of Burbank, Oakland, and the ocean some time within the next three hours.
Once the world had started forming around them, there would be time to correct.
“So wait, if we’re just going to be teleporting for four hours, why don’t we just get a plane ticket?” Ratty asked, leaning cautiously out of the van door and staring around at the tar-like ropes of wire that surrounded them.
“Yes Ratty.” Angel turned, the extra power relieved from her teleportation subsystem bolstering her lifelike movement. “Let’s - four people with very little money - get same day plane tickets to California, on New Years Eve, on a time limit. Then, we will get a hotel room in Burbank California, on New Years Eve, with - again - no money.”
Ratty glared, incredulous at the robot for a moment. “Alright, asshole.” She flipped Angel off. “Whatever, then I’m gonna nap or some shit. fuck you, eat shit.” She stuck her tongue out as she ducked into the back of the van. “Sap, Em, I love you.” She said, staring pointedly at Angel as she did so.
“I love you also, Ratty.” Angel said, turning back to the wheel and staring - blank - out the inky blackness of the front window.
And then it was just Sapper and Emily. They watched as - like stars - flecks of passing townships and cities shot past. Little pieces of people's lives, the occasional muffled conversation.
The ghost slipped through the door when she had grown tired of the windows, hovering above the rushing current below and staring up, letting the weightlessness of their body hold them like the soft curve of a grassy hill under the false sky.
“Sorry for freaking out the other day.” She turned as Sapphomet sat down on the stairs, doing their best to see past the lip of the van up at the same sky.
“It was justified. You saved lives.” The little goat smiled up at their friend.
“Yeah… I feel like, whatever that was kinda like… unblocked my mental sinuses, and now if I push at the edge of a memory it just kinda, like it’s less invisible wall and more fog-of-war, y’know?” Emily explained.
“What kind of memories?” Sapphomet prodded, dropping down another step and cautiously poking their hooves into the current below. Emily stared, now more into the back of her own head than the sky above.
“I had a girlfriend in highschool. I was out, and popular, and I used to fix teacher’s cars.” She started, just following a train of thought until it dropped off. No matter, it would come back if it was important. There was a comfort to being able to remember at one's leisure, not fighting for every scrap of biography.
“What else… what else… There was this burrito place I used to go to like, once a week. The owners name was Rick Black, he had six kids in college at once, he used to make this-- FUCK IT’S IN MY CAR. THE GLOVE BOX!!!” Emily’s arms shot up in the air, startling Sapphomet and sending her spinning. “I have a like, recipe book/diary thing! I didn’t open it ‘cus the thing was stuck but if I- I-” she worked herself up with excitement, fumbling over her words as they came up too fast to say.
“That’s fantastic! Ratty has our kitchen fully decked out, you can-” Sapphomet paused as the rabbit stopped spinning. They let out a soft ‘ah’ as they realized Emily hadn’t really gotten her closure. She had only heard second hand about what happened after the containment breach, probably hadn’t spoken to Ratty since.
“What's uh... can you fill me in on her deal?” Emily asked, doing her best to phrase it as neutrally as possible.
“You…” Sapphomet sighed. “You met Ratty at a very weird time in her life, to say the least. She was trying very hard to kill herself, and I think- I mean, I actually don’t know why. Not yet. We’re doing therapy together to try and figure that out.”
Emily nodded, chewing her next question. “So was I like… am I…”
“Like a fling?” Sapphomet asked, receiving a cautious nod from Emily. “No, Emily. Ratty has had more than her fair share of flings, and if she didn’t care about you she would have just cut you off. She was a bad wife for a moment there, I can’t imagine how garbage of a girlfriend she must’ve been, but you’re definitely not a fling.”
“Cool.” Emily nodded, going back to her stargazing. “Cool…”
“You can… go talk to her… if you want?” Sapphomet poked.
“I might do that later.”
Emily took a moment to push out on another memory that’d been troubling her: her mother. There wasn’t a lot there. Iffy around trans stuff, pushy, kind of selfish. Sr. wasn’t the kind of person Jr. was going to reconnect with, and that was fine, but it also left her feeling - well, to be frank - incredibly lonely. She had to secure the few people she did have in her life.
“Do you hate me Sap?” She asked.
“No, Emily. I don’t hate you. I really like you, actually. You’re smart, funny, creative, I’m still dying to write something with you. I would say you’re one of my closer friends.” Sapphomet’s eyes conveyed a genuine happiness to answer that question, something few people ever did. “Secondary to all of that, you also make Ratty happy, so… y’know… that’s cool.”
“Yeah.” Emily took a deep breath, held it for a moment, then let it out. She of course pantomimed these things, and didn’t actually breathe, but because you’re an attentive reader, you understood what I was trying to say. “What do you want to write about?”
“I don’t know yet. Something cool.” The goat slid off the bottom stair tentatively, satisfied as their hoof found solid ground below the river. It ran dry around their ancles, a gentle push towards the front of the van. They watched the ghosts shimmering reflection as it intermingled with their own, then - in a moment of instinct - looked up and told Emily: “I love you.”
“I love you too, Sapper.” The ghost smiled.
“I don’t think people tell their friends that they love them enough, and so I’m going to start doing that.” They nodded as if to lock in their resolve.
“Fuck yes. I can absolutely get behind that.” The ghost touched down in the stream, now relatively sure it was safe, shocked as her glow seemed to infect the world around her. Every fluid cable she touched lit up a bright blue, sending power through the rest of the system.
“Oh, wow.” Sapper mused, running their claws through the stream. They spent the next moments quietly listening to the music of their environment, watching the stream react to different paranormal phenomena, to their presence, to unknowable forces as parts of their destination seemed to thread themselves onto the wires like beads.
“Does Ratty ever tell you stories about what we were like before you met us?” They asked, watching the stars whiz by.
“Mm. That’s in character. She tries to avoid dwelling on the past.”
“I would like to hear about that kind of thing, though.” Emily prodded. The goat smiled, scraping the rotting walls of their mind, watching memories curl off like rings of dried mud. What a weird metaphor. Wasn’t that fun? Sapper cupped a few amber grounds of tobacco in the hollow of their claw as they simultaneously prepared a paper cone and rummaged through the memories.
“Give me a theme.” They said, pinching, rolling and lighting in one smooth motion. “Any theme, and I can tell you about a Rapper adventure.”
“Yeah like, Ratty and Sapper.”
They spent the rest of that hour telling stories. Each with their own warm and weightless hue of memory. Each somehow conveying the feeling directly opposite to having a stake through ones chest.
“Hey. Hey, Ratty.” Emily nudged the possum with the tips of her fingers, toeing the line between waking her up and not startling her. She turned over, blinking as her eyes faced the full force glow of her girlfriend. “Sorry.” Emily said reflexively.
“It’s chill.” The possum yawned. “What’s up?”
“Can we talk?” As if waking someone up out of the blue after they stormed off faux-angry wasn’t tense enough.
“Yeah, for sure.” Ratty’s smile put a small dent in the atmosphere. Emily nodded, rocking on the balls of her feet with her hands in her jeans’ pockets.
“So…” She started, “Haha… uh… this whole thing sure is wild.” C’mon Jr., you can for sure do better than that.
“Yeah, for sure.” Okay, actually Ratty seemed to be posting up airballs too so if that's the way its gotta be then, fine. Ratty sat, equally awkward, trying to hide how tightly her shoulders were bunched.
“How long do you think we’ve actually known each other at this point.” Emily asked.
“I really couldn’t tell you.” Ratty rolled to one side to make room for Emily. “Does this feel like a ten year long friendship?”
“No.” Emily stared down at the empty spot. “I mean no offence, but like, for sure not.”
“Yeah, no I agree. Six months tops.”
“Okay.” She dropped onto the thin mattress, a weak crackle rising up from the wood beneath. “I mean like, a pretty decent six months, but…” She loosened her core, lying back across the foam and watching Ratty’s eyes lull slowly open and closed.
“I’m not gonna fall asleep,” she said.
“I didn’t expect you to.” Emily ribbed.
“No, watch.” Ratty rolled over, propped herself up against the side of the van, and - for good measure - shook whatever sleep was left out of her head. She tossed her legs over Emily’s lap for a little extra comfy, then snapped her eyes open, fully awake.
“So what uh- what are we?” Emily asked the version of the question that was least likely to have a painful answer.
“I dunno Em, what are we?” Ratty had a way of talking that seemed confrontational, but was more curious than anything. Her gaze was the same, if a little hopeful. Emily held it for as long as she could, trying to read the perfect answer out of her friend’s eyes. When nothing came, she stared up at the ceiling, a broken push-lamp she had never seen before, and chewed the question in her mind.
What were they?
“Remember when you called me your girlfriend?” Emily asked. Ratty nodded. “Like at the burger place, I mean. It would be cool to have you do that when you’re not angry and trying to prove a point.”
Ratty nodded, breaking her gaze to stare down at her feet and just ponder. “I really kind of did some weird shit to you, huh?”
“A little bit.” Em nodded, letting her head slump back and staring at the beige ceiling. “Things have been kind of weird. I guess like, I don’t really blame you. I just think like - my relationship with the healthy version of Ratty would be a pretty kick-ass one.”
“Yeah.” Ratty nodded. “I don’t want to turn this into a pity party but… it’s been a rough one. For both of us, I think.”
“Oh yeah.” Emily sat up, only now noticing how close Ratty had pulled herself in. Ratty wrapped her tail around Emily, helping the rabbit stay upright. When all was settled, only a few inches of air remained between their faces. “It’s- It’s gonna start getting better though. We’re gonna take a break from all of this, I think. Once we stop the world from ending-” she turned to face Emily. “It’s fuckin’ vacation time.”
“What comes after this?”
“Oh I dunno. Like afterlife wise I barely even knew when I was inside of it but-”
“No, I mean like… we kill Ellen Degeneres. Cool. Job Done. For one, I expected this to take like, a lot longer. So I guess like… what’s life after revenge?
“Oh! Yeah, I still don’t know. I haven’t really gotten revenge yet. I will say that uh- for Sapper at least it seems kind of comfortable? I guess the thing about AngelCorp is that- I mean especially after we kick their ass here, they’re the kind of arch nemesis that you can really put down and pick up. They’re like, bigger than Apple at this point, so it’s not like I’m ever really going to stop them, I kind of just get the opportunity to stop some of their more dastardly schemes.”
Dastardly schemes. What a fucking dork. Such a fucking dork that it made what Emily was about to do all the more unlikely, but fuck it. People don’t always make sense. She sat forward abruptly and set a gentle kiss on Ratty’s lips. The possum sat stunned for a moment as a shivering blush rose on her cheeks.
“I’m- uh- more used to being the forward one.”
“Shut the fuck up, nerd.” Emily bumped the possum. “That was an advance on healthy Rattily.”
“Yeah, like Emily and Ratty as a gay thing.”
“Oh, rock on. Cool.” Ratty nodded down at her feet, then - in an effort to never be outdone - kissed Emily, shifting her weight so the spectre could feel her warmth.
“Couldn’t let that one hang, huh?” Emily giggled.
“Nope.” Ratty grinned, bumping their foreheads together. Ratty was pretty cool, all things considered.
Emily asked to use the bed once the pair had had enough of each other. Ratty sat in the front, looking through Twitter on her phone while Emily, now as easy as putting her head underwater, slipped into the ghost zone. She still felt the soft foam cradling her head as she wandered through the forest, as though confronting it so often had given her permission to give up on her fear of purgatory.
It was feeling more and more like looking through a pair of goggles into another world. She talked to Alf, about plans, about nothing. It was so nice just to talk about nothing. It was going to be nice to actually do nothing, too. Guilt free nothing. It had been too long since guilt free nothing.
It was hard to remember a period of guilt-free nothing, even with access to her memories.
“When is Emily coming out?” Sapper asked as they folded out the van’s kitchen table. They helped Angel into the adjacent seat and watched a layout of the new Ellen stage flicker onto the surface. Plan time.
“Dunno. We still have time to catch her up.” Ratty took a fistful of whiteboard markers and handed one to Sapper before making a few long green strokes under the hologram. “So-”
“Wait, Ratty. Do you mind if I take point on this one?” Sapper asked, putting a claw down on Ratty’s wrist. “It’s just that… most of your plans- the final step is ‘Ratty gets horribly injured’ and... we are just not going to be doing that anymore.”
Ratty stared for a moment, then nodded.
“Yeah, by all means go ahead.” Ratty smiled as Sapper nodded confidently, smearing the green dry-erase inc into their fur and starting again, this time with a plan where nobody but the bad guys died.
The hustle and bustle of a half-hour before showtime. In the live television industry, it was easy to get thirty seconds confused with thirty minutes and vice versa. Of course, not for Ellen. The god had a perfect, top down view of everything, manufacturing maximum anguish with minimum effort. That was what made it fun.
Fun too were what she called ‘almost-surprises’. There was no true surprise in her life, but if she were mortal, a visit from her favorite undeads would have been one. Emily, precious Emily, too focused on her own greif to take up her true mantle, and Sapper… who… well… not much could be said of.
Someone… missing, though.
“Where’s your other friend, Emily? The possum, I think she was, right?” It was so fun to ask questions she didn’t know the answer to. A rush of adrenaline, almost.
“Ratty’s not coming.” The little demon stepped forward. Right... the de facto leader. That wasn’t going to change, no use fighting it.
“Well okay!” The god gave a cold smile. “Weird to cripple yourself for the ‘big bad’, and y’know- I really hate to cheat, but I know my head seems to come right off in a few minutes so- I mean...” she spun on her heels. “Surely she must be SOMEWHERE :)”
Fuck, I mean she would have said ‘colon closed bracket’ uhh but… I missed that one. MB.
Her audience is more than a little uncomfortable at this point. Most people that go in for a live taping of The Ellen DeGeneres Show end up coming back obsessively or in therapy, but this… well… this was shaping up to be a very special episode :).
Ellen stood from her expensive little host seat, probably better maintained and more per-month than the homes of most of her fans, and handed todays production schedule off to her doting personal assistant: another rabbit, funnily enough.
“Could you push back my meeting with Eden, it doesn’t really need to be too long.” She said, creating a moment of privacy between the pair. It was the kind of politeness to make one feel isolated. Ellen’s assistant nodded tursely and took the excuse to power-walk out of the god’s aura of influence. “I really thought it would be nice- I mean it doesn’t matter but Eden is coming down to watch the show today, show me some of the fruits of our labour. It’s uh- sorry, they’re really getting up there. How old was it when- nevermind. You know what, I’m sorry. You’re right. Let’s get this ov-”
Shut the fuck up! Time for Ratty! Like a combination dark-knight lumberjack she dropped from the ceiling, slamming the blade of her axe first into, and then through Ellen’s neck. Odd - everyone in attendance thought in exact unison - how similarly a head and a bowling ball sounded when dropped.
And then silence.
I mean, how do you react to that? If you’re an audience member, presumably your favorite talk-show host just got beheaded in front of you. You were deathly uncomfortable up until this point, but you figured it was just pre-show jitters… now… I mean what the fuck do you think?
If you’re a stagehand, you have to be crossing your fingers. I mean that was a brutal chop, and Ellen has talked about Emily before… Maybe her friends are the ones to finally kill the tyrant that has monopolized your work-week grief… and if they aren’t…
If you’re one of the three people in on the operation even, after enough silence you’re starting to wonder if that actually worked. You’re starting to do the math on how much planning went to waste, you start to ask your wife: “Is that-”
And of course that’s not it. The head laughed hard enough to roll itself back over. Enough to glare through tears at Sapper, now gripping a sharpened shard of subspace in their claw. And Emily… poor, scared Emily.
“I bet this was your plan, wasn’t it, Sapper? That was really clever. I don’t mean to be patronizing, but you were always really smart, honey. You should have been leading the charge this whole time, honestly. And I totally get it too! You’re dead…” the god’s old body flung an arm towards Sapper, a cruel mockery of a point. “And you’re dead too.” The arm flung at Emily, “and- actually I can’t- could someone turn me over?”
That- yeah, no.
“Nevermind, you’re right. It’s alright.” The head’s last action was to grin as it’s voice seemed to slip loose from its moorings. “You three are all dead, you think you’re bringing me down to your level, is what i’m saying… Which is actually… really cute.”
Like a hat slipping off the top of an invisible head, Ellen’s corpse sturred it’s last, giving rise instead to the god’s true form. It’s arms materialized only as they pressed up on the hollow stage, coated in the blood of it’s former shell.
Decay - the true elder god, no longer contained by the meat it had inhabited for 63 years - stood up to it’s full height. It was formless, taking shape only in the drips of blood that traced their way down its limbs. Ratty shielded her eyes as she struggled to get a read on it; it was like looking into the absence of light, sucking in the same way that the sun burned the back of one's eyes.
The few audience members who had not fled had now either passed out or died in its presence, and it smiled. Anyone who could have said to have seen it would have said it was smiling.
“I’m excited to show you what real death looks like.” It spoke, it’s voice somehow unchanged. Each trail of red dove first towards Emily, the flat drips of blood transforming into thick, meat-like ropes: veins built from the inside out, as they pierced the rabbit.
And it did what creatures of this nature do to show confusion, as it noticed it’s weapon coated in a thin layer of light blue paint.
Emily watched from the sound booth as her apparition dissolved around Decay. She tapped on the glass when she was sure Sapper’s snare - the snare she had baited - was tight around it’s limbs.
Decay was trapped, having accomplished nothing. It glared up at the booth made too solid by Sapper’s abilities to lash out as Emily pressed down on a button labelled ‘NO’ in masking tape.
Ellen’s earpiece lit up, somehow surviving an axe-stroke by a few hair thin strands of wire.
“Hi Ellen. You missed me.” Emily had earned the right to gloat.
Sapper kept a tight hold on the rope as the creature bucked. Ratty moved on instinct, kicking a chair over and using it as a launchpad to throw herself over the creature, narrowly missed by what limbs Decay had left.
She put a second pair of hands on the rope, followed in quick succession by a third as Emily darted through the wall and wrapped her wrists in it. In an instant, the one corpse was made three as Ratty, Sapper, Emily, and Ellen were dragged into the GhostZone.
Decay’s breath stuck in it’s chest as it thudded to the grassy floor of the expansive forest of the ghostzone, landing face up in a cage of subspace rope. Halfway between their corporeal form and the incomprehensible form of a god. GhostZone was no man's land. No god, God or demon had more power here than the average spirit.
So, not a great one, huh Decay?
Why don’t you try to take over the narrative, buddy. Black out some of this page, why don’t you? Fuckin jackass. Get bent loser.
Miles of glowing string kept it trapped and subdued. Beyond the pen, Ratty and Sapper sat on a tree branch, shooting the shit, completely ignoring the caged god, the possum’s legs swinging back and forth, careless.
Decay shot an arm through the cage, willing the burn each string made against its skin in the direction of the pair. They would burn, it thought.
Ratty snapped to attention immediately, yanking the back of her wife’s dress and dropping them off the branch. She took the silent blast to one eye, passing out for a moment and following Sapper to the leaves below. The leaves on the other side of the cage rustled as Sapper stood up out of them, stunning the neutered god double as it realized simultaneously that it’s foresight had disappeared, and that the possum had fallen into a different pile of leaves.
"This isn't really my moment.” She started, her voice gargled almost too little to be noticed. “I'm learning to be okay with that, but I do want to say, that it takes a lot more than this to kill me." Her voice echoed through the technicolour treetops, drooling blood through the exposed portion of her skull as her skin wove itself back together over top the wormtracks of black and gray cracks.
She fell back behind Sapper as the light flickered back into her replacement eye.
In through the gaps in those piles of leaves, now dripping with the bright smell of green tea, that disgusting, overpowering smell, Sapper stepped forward, felt a tap on their shoulder, and-
Emily didn’t need to stretch, but it gave the other two time to prepare.
“Have you ever actually been in a real fight before, hun?” Ratty asked, dropping her coat on the big van’s roof with a series of metal clatters of buttons and studs.
“I fought off some guys at AngelCorp.” Sapper said.
“Right, but like, a fist fight. No magic kinda deal.”
“Oh! I strangled someone with a belt the night we met Emily.” Sapper smiled. Ratty blinked, turned to look at Emily, then back to her wife.
“That’s- uh. Pretty creative, actually.”
“But I also wanna learn how to punch, just in case.”
“For sure, so- here’s what I’ll do. I’ll- Em, are you ready?”
“Yeah, I’m ready.”
“So I’ll stand behind you and-”
Swung, connecting with the god’s chin. Their heart raced as the accumulated dew from the tea leaves sprayed Decay’s ‘skin’. It must’ve felt like acid to it, and god it felt good to sock that piece of shit. Punching was fun, Sapper made a note to punch more in the future.
A laugh caught in their chest as Ratty grabbed them from behind, yanking them out of the way of the retaliatory strike: a spike of veins missing the pair by several inches and sticking straight through a nearby tree.
Ratty dropped into the tea, Sapper followed suit, and Decay dove after them, stubbing their fingers on the now empty patch of hard dirt below. It dug frantically, all but foaming at the mouth as the living earth seared at its flesh.
“That was your great plan? Expose me to plants? How terrible, I suppose I’ll just keel over and die!” The creature growled. “You think I give a ████ about a little pain? I INVENTED PAIN.” It stood, still furious as it rammed against the walls of its cage. The rope shattered easily, of course, it wasn’t real, how could it be.
Its neck snapped around as it caught another glimpse of the pair, one hunched over the other, tending to a wound. The god charged, head down, hearing their only absence as they disappeared from outside of it’s cone of view.
Then a crunch from behind. Decay turned again directly into another tea-coated punch. They swung back on instinct, finding their ‘hand’ caught in the firm grip of a possum. Ratty had stepped out from behind Sapper. She grinned, pushing back on the waves of rot Decay pushed through her wrist
“Kick.” She said, a quiet bark. Sapper complied, bringing a hoof down on the god’s knee and - if not snapping it - dragging it down to the floor. It glared at the dirt, taking just a moment to actually study it: it had suddenly become so clear. The rich, tar-like black of subspace had been laid into the ghostzone, forced together like a pair of woven blankets.
And it shattered as it was understood, like a vinyl record falling to pieces. Decay fell for only a moment before landing, this time on a gravel rooftop, cheap and creaking under their feet. Beige buildings rose around them, and on the edge - silhouetted by the sunset - sat a very familiar rabbit.
“Oh, hey Ellen.” Emily turned, smiling gently, letting her eye’s fall to the god’s feet as they tried to charge. “It’s- this is my city. It’s not going to let you come any closer if you plan on hurting me.” the ghost seemed almost sorry for this, giving a gentle shrug.
The god stood upright, gathered themselves, stared at Emily and told itself not to kill her.
And the roof released its legs.
And it sat down next to Emily.
“There we go.” Emily smiled sadly into her former bosses eyes. There was always something sad about ghostzone. “Y’know, it's funny.” She spoke softly for someone with the full blunt force of everything that's ever rotted hibernating a few inches from her ear. “I grew up around a lot of crime. Not-so-safe neighborhood, y’know?”
Her eyes fell to the street, her head turning along the line as the sun shifted colour over the bay. “I like this place. People here have such a passion for life. They don't want to leave yet. See, what I realized recently... it wasn't any of these people that made me afraid to go out at night. Well, I mean, a few of them were straight creeps, I'm not gonna lie to you. but the creep ones were just like you. People like you, with so much that they pray on the weak to get their kicks. You’re the kind of person who made it dangerous to go out at night. It all comes back to you.”
She stared out over the broken city, the wistful happiness of missing home passing over the pair like a cold breeze.
“Theres this pizza place just down that way, run by two folks who came here from afghanistan- Well, okay, not here here. Actually, I don’t know if it's still there either. Anyway, every morning I used to walk past to get to the bus route, and every morning they would bake this like, beautiful smelling sweet bread kinda deal. Was beautiful! I used to treasure that part of my morning every single time.”
She pointed south, and Decay’s eye followed. “And there, just down there. My uncle Alf’s friend let me keep this scrap-heap of a car in his buddy’s tow place for fucking MONTHS while I tried to rebuild it.”
Then north, and in the blur between the blur of the god’s eyes the beige was replaced with rust red, rows of victorian homes, a needle rising up through glass towers. “I haven’t actually been to the CN Tower yet. I don’t think like- I mean its not close to the top of my priorities list… what's here, what's here, what’s here… I’m starting to learn what's here. Ratty likes the bulgogi at this little basement spot down that way. Near the museum. Sap’s tea-shop is like, a few miles west… There used to be this nice pharmacy… what else… OH! There’s this bookstore in Chinatown that’s run by this super hot werewolf chick. I mean they’re hot but they’re also smart, you know what I mean. Tall as hell too. Really cool.”
The god grew bored with the trappings of simple life, staring at blank buildings. It would at least become the owners to hire an architect, it thought. And so it asked: “Why are you telling me all this?”
“Oh, I’m mostly stalling actually. Look.” Emily pointed straight down into a crowd of 18 pairs of black eyes, and in the blur of refocusing, the city of Toronto gave way to the original Ellen stage. Studio 11, in an even more advanced state of decay, quietly rotting away with the god’s victims huddled below.
“Took us a while to get them all over here, they were all living their own afterlifes but uh- time was on our side.” the rabbit’s voice took on a cheesy hue as she pointed to the back of the studio, Ratty with her feet up watching, and next to her Sapper with their nose in a book. The possum gave a lazy solute. “C’mon down, lets say hi.” With that, the scaffolding collapsed below them, dropping Decay into the center of the crowd.
Their lives, their sacrifice still as worthless feeling as they were they day they died. It felt dirty to be in their presence again.
“Go on.” Emily nudged. “Say hi.”
Panic returned to decay in waves, as though each locked gaze piled on another layer. It’s heart raced, thrumming through its chest, glowing red in spite of its body’s tendency to suck in light. In a panicked instant, it turned on Emily, driving a woven fist into her chest and pumping wave after wave of decay into the ghosts body, dumping its ability to burn into the spectral form like a river of hot slag.
And the form stopped, seemingly frozen as its voice rose from behind Decay:
“Oh, Ellen…” Muffled as it rattled against the laminated paper of a mask, legitimate pity in her tone. “I really didn’t expect you to fall for that twice.” Emily stepped out from behind the 18, dropping her mask to the string around her neck and staring at the spot where Ellen connected to the fake Emily. It crawled up it’s arm like creeping vines, slowly digested by the rabbit’s will to live, by the lives that would have been if it had not cut them short.
It fell to its knees with the illusory Emily as the women that it took watched it be taken back. Some turned away, disgusted by the gore, too polite to watch a creature who heartily deserved it finally breathe its last. That was fine, Emily got bored of watching in time, turned away when she had had her fill, and went to sit in the back of the theatre with her friends.Next