Continued from Chapter 42, here.
Standing there, in the strange simulation of reality that was too vibrant, too real to be truly correct, I felt my fingers tighten around the cold steel of the crowbar that was leaning up against the half-torn-apart car. Gripping it so tightly that the beveled edges bit into my skin, I brought it up and swung it at the head of the thing that wasn’t quite my wife.
The crowbar swung true. It flew right towards Alexis’s forehead, and I felt a burning scream inside of me, a scream at the idea of doing this to something with the face of my wife, even if it wasn’t really her, just wore her skin- Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 41, here.
“You’re not serious,” I said to this mental construction, whatever it was, of my wife, sitting on the couch of a stranger’s house beside me and smiling with love at me as she rubbed my hand between her fingers.
“What’s scaring you, husband?” Alexis kept smiling, didn’t stop moving her fingers against mine. Somehow, that closeness made it even worse. Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 40, here.
No. Not possible. This couldn’t be happening.
Standing just in front of a couch, in a room that shouldn’t exist and didn’t seem quite real, I stared at the woman who had just walked in through the front door. There were a handful of situations when i remember being too stunned to speak, but none of them could compare to this one. Those were gentle brushes compared to this current mind-fuck.
“Alexis,” I croaked out, my lips barely even able to shape the name.
The woman smiled at me, a slightly uncertain smile that I recognized intimately, instantly. That was the smile she gave me when I first swept her off her feet, promised her that I’d treat her like no one else ever had.
“Hi again, Brian,” she said softly, and I swear I heard the ripping sound of my heart being torn in two. Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 39, here.
No one else seemed inclined to say anything, so I kept on taking the lead.
“I remember you now,” I said, waving a finger at the man. He didn’t back away, didn’t even acknowledge the pointing towards him. “This is your house, isn’t it? This was the living room. We stopped by, saw pictures of you here.”
Hobbson didn’t say anything, but he gave a slight nod of his head, as if allowing me to continue. Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 38, here.
Well, today was turning into a strange day.
With my squad, I located the massive, impossible-to-understand monster that may have been responsible for billions of deaths. Despite feeling almost absurdly over-prepared, we failed to kill the thing. Hell, we failed to do anything but make it angry – at which point it decided to squash us like insects under a boot heel.
Instead of dying, we apparently woke up in some sort of shapeless version of Hell, where we fought off an endless stream of attacking psychic tentacles using the power of our mental focus. We managed to escape through a cheap pine wood door, appearing in-
-in a living room, I finished that disturbing, totally bonkers summary inside my head. Continue reading
With my attention focused on the main screens, my eyes glued to the free plasma levels, I barely heard the door to the command deck slide open. Indeed, I might not have heard it, even if I hadn’t been distracted. Chief Engineer Hansen had just been through last week with a can of atomized graphite, complaining about “the infernal squeaking every time it opens.”
Instead, I kept every bit of attention focused on the screens, watching the readouts. All I had to do was make sure I didn’t miss seeing- Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 38, here.
And then, creeping in so slowly that it was all but unnoticeable, awareness.
I was… that’s it. I was. Again. For a period, indescribable in every way, I hadn’t been, and now I was once again.
What I was, where I was, how I was… all of these were questions I’d address in a minute. For some unit of time that I can’t measure, I simply luxuriated in the simple pleasure of existing.
And then I noticed where I was, and all of that happiness went straight to Hell.
Dammit. Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 36, here.
We woke it up.
Still knocked down to the ground, I stared up at the huge monstrosity that rose in the place where the mushroom had once squatted. Continuing the plant metaphor, it reminded me of a massive bunch of crabgrass, stabbing up with blades from the ground.
But no crabgrass grew in pale white, or stretched miles into the air, up beyond the clouds.
“Shit,” Jaspers cursed, landing on the ground next to me. “Now what?” Continue reading
Standing there, the too-tight floaties nearly cutting off circulation around my upper arms, I had only one thought running through my head.
Parenthood makes you do crazy, ridiculous things.
I glanced back over my shoulder, turning to look at Brandon. The flippers on my feet meant that I had to do a stupid, ridiculous little penguin-shuffle to rotate, and I knew that, if any of my office buddies could see me right now, they’d be laughing their asses off. I’d be the butt of all the water cooler jokes for weeks.
“Now, you’re still convinced that the pool’s too deep and scary,” I said again to Brandon, hoping that maybe the six-year-old’s mercurial mind had changed since the last time I asked him, five minutes earlier. Continue reading
Continued from Chapter 35, here.
I moved back from the huge mushroom, the size of a small house, that sat pulsing in the middle of the scrub-brush and dusty hills around it like an alien artifact.
“Let’s blow it up,” I declared, turning to look over at Jaspers, standing a few feet away. “If this thing was once a person, it’s too far gone, now. It’s not going to just transform back into a human.”
Jaspers nodded. “Well, it isn’t bloody reacting to our presence, at least,” he admitted. “We can get a few mines placed around it, some Claymores, make sure that when they all blow, we tear it to bloody shreds.” Continue reading