After experiencing two consecutive nights of terror, the ever intrepid kikimora explorer, Sashenka Demidov, wants nothing more than some respite. As she returns to a life at sea, will she find this and more as her motley crew strengthen their bonds? For along the way to Ethiopia, there are still bizarre landscapes to be found and hints of dangers to come.
A contest entry focused on an injured Holstaur, her husband, and their journey together.
“You broke my nose,” wheezed Snake as he stumbled back. He was clutching his nostrils as blood gushed down into his mouth. He spit out viscera as he pointed at Marin Le Tiec. “Why the fuck-” He reeled back again as the smaller Frenchman lunged past his accusation like a dog unleashed. A straight punch from Marin’s left drilled into Snake’s ribcage. It broke a few lower rib bones and elicited second, shallower gasp from Snake as his bulk crumbled onto the gravel parking lot of the Silver Bar. “What- what do?” The beleaguered ranch hand uttered between desperate gasps. Marin tossed something the size of an unfolded wallet to Snake. Under the pall of the Bar parking lot’s dim lamppost, Snake squint and tried to make out what it was. The pain kept the answer just out of reach despite its alarming familiarity.
“Don’t recognize your handiwork?” Marin asked in his best Midwest impression. He grabbed the birch-core, Lousiana Slugger from his back. He choked up on the grip as he saw the American batters do just before stepping up to the plate. He tested it with a swing above Snake’s head. The sound it as it cleaved through the air reminded Marin of a whooshing plane taking off next to him.
In the disarray of her vision, she saw something faintly and her head locked on it. Heart pounding, her eyes went wide as she saw the small hole in her nest. Frantic, she moved to it, laying flat to look through it and saw a small tunnel just beyond it, her mind snapping to attention. The jumble of thoughts and fears in her mind filtered away and one key memory sprung to mind before she jumped to her feet and flew out of the cave.
“You naughty little trash panda.” I tease. “Why would you think our chaperone is just gonna let us walk out of here?”
“Anta-wa…… Tanuki desu.” the canine lawyer growled in Japanese, which I found endearing for some reason. “Anyways- I’m way ahead of you, Buckaroo.”
“Way ahead of me…how?”
Instead of answering my question right away, she looks around to see if Zombina is paying attention.
She’s not- her attention is directed at the field for now. Apparently she’s digging the band’s performance much more than either one of us.
Akagane begins rummaging through her purse and pulls out a copy of the Llano County Argus-Prospector before giving it a cursory look. She then pulls a leaf from her considerable cleavage and with a small puff of smoke, the newspaper changed into something else.
A comic book. The art style looked like some sort of manga and the cover art…..
It started off as a faint squeeze on his leg that Cullen almost didn’t register at first as he was transfixed by the predatory glare of his captor, but the sensation began to grow tighter, causing him to squirm and tear his eyes away from her. He glanced down at his sprawled out legs and saw that her feet was progressively growing tighter and tighter around his calves, which caused him to narrow his eyes in confusion at them before he struck him what she was trying to do, his eyes shooting up at the sight of her talons growing closer to his fragile skin. He tore his gaze back to her, and saw a sadistic gleam enter her eyes as his own panicked look met hers; he swore he could see her smirking at him.
Cullen remained rooted to the spot, unable to tear his gaze away from the blood around the creature’s lips. It had to be a dream–that’s it, he must’ve still been dreaming. This wasn’t real, none of it, why would this fantastical creature be before him? It had to have been the exhaustion from the hard work over the past few days, and he was just having a very bad nightmare. He shut his eyes and lightly slapped his face with his hand, hoping to awaken from this nightmare into the comfort of his own bed. But once he opened them, he could only see the same monster before him, it’s eyes filled with confusion.
Taking a deep breath, she focused only on him, watching him as he stepped further and further into the clearing before he reached far enough from the trees. She took one last cursory glance around the clearing, but, much like how she had first seen it, it remained empty except for her and her target. She took to the sky quick, spreading her wings and hovering just a bit behind him. The angle was perfect, and her target was clear to her–this wouldn’t be any more trouble than any other hunt that had transpired before it, and it felt like those hunts prepared her perfectly for this moment. She took one last deep breath before she began her descent, gliding towards him unblinkingly, her talons now raised out in front of her, aimed for his shoulders, the wind and the pounding of her heart roaring in her ears.
Nodding at her decision, she rose to her full height and spread her wings wide, nearly encompassing the entrance to her home. She knew she must’ve made an impressive sight and she turned her head, a smug smile on her face only for it to go away once she was greeted with the darkness and emptiness of her home. A sudden weight formed in her chest and she quickly turned away from the darkness and pushed herself out into the air, pumping her wings to keep herself afloat as an updraft of wind propelled herself up high and she took off for the river, the feeling in her chest throbbing all the way.