Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Blah. I’m in a funk at the moment. It’s a combination of things, really: Last week’s cold is still hanging on with a few skeletal fingers, just enough to keep me down a little. I haven’t exercised in nearly a week. I’m not going to sleep until 2–3 a.m. every night, and the alarm goes off at 8:30, so I’m tired. Work is uninspiring. I’m in the midst of figuring out taxes for Otherspace Productions, and keeping all the employees informed. Ick.

And here’s where the VR story started to get really fun to write.

Doodlehopper stepped back, completely nonplussed, her jaw hanging open in shock.

“You couldn’t tell me that you wanted to go along, could you? No, you had to protect me from myself, like you’ve been doing all along. I had to be rescued from my own apartment. I had to be dragged to Safe House. I’m sick of it! I’m sick of being treated like a baby.”

Doodlehopper spun to face the door and Thomas grabbed her shoulder and said, “Don’t you run away—” But she was not running away; her every sense was attuned and pricked and straining. She turned and launched herself at Thomas, taking him down in a heap.

The shelves exploded in fireworks of brightly-colored shards of plastic and metal, glittering in the air amidst the fine dust of pulverized mass-market snack food. To Thomas, it sounded like an Apollo rocket was lifting off next door. His hands covered his ears as his eyes squeezed shut as he felt bits of shelving and less destructible foods bounce off his body.

The glass drink cases began to shatter and the bottles inside exploded in neon fountains of overpriced sugar water, flooding the floor in a sticky rainbow. The lights went next, each one shattering and sparking at random. Then, finally, the thunder of gunfire ceased.

On the street outside, three men stood in a line facing the store. Kino, the one on the left, looked nervously at the man in the middle. Karl, the one on the right, looked with awe at the man in the middle. The man in the middle wore a trenchoat which billowed in the wind, and in each hand he held a machine gun one foot in diameter. His muscles bulged, and his nasty grin twisted the nasty scar that ran from his right eye down to his chin into a serpentine shape.

The man in the middle stepped forward, his weathered military boots crunching on the shattered remnants of the convenience store’s windows. He took a deep breath and yelled to the blasted wreckage of the store, “I am Grey Hackle the Heavy-Armed, and I have come for Thomas Aznable!”

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