Escape 19-II

If You Have Half A Brain.

Being teleported was a new experience for me, and not one I'd be eager to repeat. Something grabbed my stomach and squeezed, and I was suddenly very glad I hadn't been able to eat that food, because it would've all come straight back up. My head tipped, any sense of down vanishing, and, just for a second, I saw…


It was Earth, but… not. But not not, either. It's hard to describe. It was Earth, or it was a green-and-blue planet with weather patterns, but there was something else to it. A depth, one that had nothing to do with physical dimensions. It was just more, and I had the instinctive certainty that if you somehow managed to cram thousands of millions of planets, somehow, into the same physical space, it would look like that. And with that came a degree of perception I hadn't had before, and I could see the points where the overlap wasn't perfect. Like an optical illusion, almost, they weren't quite the same, depending on the angle you were looking from. Around them, flickers of… something. Static, rips and tears and wearing, in something more fundamental than physical space. And no, I don't know how I knew that, either.

Even with the magnitude of what I was seeing, the information I was absorbing, the entire thing took only a fraction of a second. It washed over me like a wave, knocking my brain off-kilter as the other effects did the same to my body. And then we were falling, the lights of the city sparkling below us. It was night: I'd been in there longer than I'd thought. The wind immediately began tearing at my eyes, forcing me to turn my head to the side and preventing me from getting a better look, but I was too distracted to really care. I met Jess’ eyes behind her goggles, and saw they were just as wide and full of shock as mine presumably were. She shook her head slightly, answering the unspoken question. That was not normal, and she had no idea what it was.

The time to speculate about it, though, was later: we were still, you know, falling very rapidly towards the ground. Freefall opened her mouth, yelling something at me, but I couldn't hear it over the rush of the wind in my ears. She noticed my lack of comprehension, growled soundlessly, and pointed off into the distance. It took a second, but I managed to follow the line of her arm, and see that it was pointed at the docks. Right. She was going to try and move us across the city until we got near the base, presumably by-

Another jolt, another sickening squeeze, and we were further up again. No split-second vision that time, which, in a way, was even weirder than if it had happened again. Not being able to face my head downwards, it was hard to tell, but we'd actually been moving laterally, and continued to do so as we fell again. It wasn't the most efficient or dignified method, but if it works, it works. The firm handshake it was giving my intestines was probably going to get pretty old, though.

That is, if we even managed to get that far. Facing up might have made me miss the view below, but it meant that I had a front row seat when a portal opened up above us and Edith fell through it.

Even the wind wasn't loud enough to obscure the stream of profanity that followed. Jess turned her head to glance at me, and apparently caught a glimpse of our new visitor, because she did a full double-take, then somehow managed to effortlessly flip herself to face upwards without letting go of my arm. Physics-defying tricks were supposed to be my thing.

Edith was bearing down on us now, teeth bared in a pained, angry rictus, streamlining herself like a skydiver. She plunged towards us, and as she grew close, she spread a hand out, aiming at me. Then she stared at it, confused, as absolutely nothing happened. It was so beautiful I almost cried. Or maybe that was the wind. Yeah, okay, it was definitely the wind. Still, though.

Apparently even the control her power gave her over the particles of her other form wasn't enough to counteract the fact that wind > salt. She flared her fingers again, and this time I actually saw the stream of crystals rapidly disappearing upwards. I also noticed that when they reformed into flesh, they looked significantly more emaciated. Like, down to the bone. I guess that answered a question I'd never really wanted to know the answer to. She snarled, tucked the arm back in again, and increased the speed of her dive, until she was almost on top of us.
Glancing over at Freefall’s face, I saw that she had a vindictive little smirk plastered all over it. “Don't do something stupid, please!” I yelled at her, and who knows, it might even have made a difference, if she hadn't been completely unable to hear me.

I did throw up this time, just a little. Right before Edith would've hit us, we teleported above her, leaving her flailing at empty space. While I tried in vain to keep the contents of my stomach where they belonged, Freefall did another pivot and kicked Edith square in the back, turning her moment off-balance into a full-blown spin. She tumbled downwards away from us as Freefall spread and slowed us, but quickly recovered, almost directly below us. We began moving sideways again, but she matched it, spinning around to face us. Apart from that, though, she didn't do anything, just staring up at us as we both fell.

I leant in until I was right next to Jess’s ear so she could hear me. “I don't like this,” I yelled.

“Gonna try something for sure,” she yelled back. “Can you do anything?”

“I'm spent, used my last bit trying to break the chains. I could hit her, I guess?”

“Just be ready.” We were getting quite low now, rapidly heading towards the top of a row of apartment buildings.

“There has to be a bett- hrghh.” More bile. “Better way.”

“Let me know.” Her eyes darted around. “Where's she gone?”

“What?” Sure enough, Edith had disappeared, no longer below us. Junction? No, we had to be out of his range now, and moving too fast. So then-

Too late, I saw it. The lights from below seemed off, like they were reflecting or refracting off of something. That, and some of them were growing larger much more quickly-

“Oh,” was all I had time to say before the salt cloud, carried rapidly upwards by the wind, was upon us.

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