Sunday, November 1, 2009


((16 - Entity))

Things weren't quite the same, come morning. Skunk was the first to awaken, and she could clearly see Owl... Owl's skin was... darker, somehow. Covered with... symbols. Some of them were the same as the ones around them, on the walls, but some were radically different.

Skunk put her hand down, and it clanked loudly against Oliver's deck. ... clanked. Skunk started in surprise. "Uh."

Goat leapt lazily out of the kitchen, and into the small upper room Owl and Skunk had been sleeping in. He looked at the two older woman.

Skunk's skin shone silver, reflecting the light like... metal. "Owl?" Owl's eyelids fluttered at the noise, but stayed sleeping. Skunk raised her voice. "HEY. Owl."

"Nn. Leemehloh," she grumbled.

"You both look... different," Goat observed.

Skunk ignored Goat, and leaned in to prod Owl.

That finally roused her. She lifted her sleep-ruffled head and opened her eyes. "Mm.. whuh. You... Skunk?" Her red eyes took in the room in confusion. "What happened to your... self?"

Skunk stared back, her own eyes red. "Where's that Jaz person, and what the fuck is up with this!?" She shoved her hands at Owl, staring at their metallic surface.

The door slid open with a shhhink! and Jaz walked in. She looked no different than she had before, except her swords were in arms instead of strapped to her, and her feet were bare. "Hey everyone, you should probably wake... the fuck?"

Owl turned towards Jaz. Above her she saw the same writing the pilot had pointed out before. "We... found something. Somethin big. It's... alive." She slapped a hand over her mouth. "How..." Owl wondered.

Jaz stared at her. "She can read..."

Skunk leapt to her feet. "What the hell is this about?" she demanded.

"How can I?" Owl gasped. "It's all... I can read it!" She glanced down at her symbol-laden skin. "I can read... all of it," she whispered.

"And more than that." Jaz strode forward, leaving the swords by the door, and grabbed Owl's arm. "This isn't english." She stared at the walls nearest Owl. "Neither is this!" It was clear that the writing on the wall around where Owl had been sleeping was... different than it been the night before. The pilot spun back to Owl. "What did you do?"

"I!" Owl raised her hands in defense. "I didn't do anything! I just woke up, and... it was here! Me, the ship, written... well, all over myself and Oliver!" She pointed at Skunk. "She's made of metal! Yell at her!"

Skunk bristled. "You're always accusing US of doing all this shit, but I still don't know what's going ON!"

"I don't see what's bad about Owl being able to read," Goat said quietly.

Jaz didn't even seem to be listening, but stared at Oliver's walls nearest where Owl had slept, where the symbols were strange and alien to her eyes. She traced her fingers along the symbols. "No, no, it's like... like a disease... So strange, I don't like it."

"Well, I don't either!" Owl snapped. The walls behind Jaz started writing new words. Angrier words.

"Hey! WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING!?" As Skunk yelled, her hands elongated, grew thinner...became... blades?

Jaz turned and scowled at them. "I don't fucking LIKE this. I want things to make SENSE again!" She spun back to the walls. "Stop! What--what are you doing to him?"

"I'm NOT doing it!" The older woman bellowed. 'I'm not doing it' flickered on the walls in a multitude of languages.

Goat leapt back in surprise, hit the ceiling at high speed, and bounced off. He landed on the floor, hard, and slowly got up. "Huh. I didn't mean to jump that far."

Jaz clutched her head, tearing at her short blonde spikes of hair. "Okay. Okay. Nothing to worry about, it's got to be some sort of illusion, ate some rancid meat or something, still dreaming--Oh!"

Owl rolled her eyes at Goat. The words on the walls started rotating. "You always jump that far." Descriptions of Goat's previous jumps plastered the walls.

Jaz's face burst into a sunlit smile. "I'm still dreaming, that's all. It doesn't matter why this is happening, why you're making Oliver so... strange, inside, why you're made of..." She started at Skunk for a few seconds. "... metal?"

"Yeah. Fucking METAL."

"Language," Owl reminded. Several equivalents of the word 'fuck' popped up on the walls, and a line struck through each of them.

Goat walked to the far end of the admittedly small room and said, "Duck, everyone!" He focused on the corner opposite him, took a deep breath, and leaped.

Jaz did more than duck, she dropped to the floor completely and crawled over to where she'd left her swords.

He soared over their heads, and landed at the corner without hitting it. He turned around with a maniacal grin. His eyes gleamed like deep flames. In fact, the exact sickly bloodred of the freed creatures' light.

"Whoa." The walls went blank as Owl stared at Goat. Her eyes popped, staring at Goat's eyes. 'Center, last hope, I said I'm gonna ride it, ouch, shoulder, shoulder gone,' popped up on the walls.

Jaz muttered all the while. "Just need to wake up. Doesn't matter. Doesn't matter, it's not real, they're not magic, if they were magic, they'd be demons and if they were demons I'd have to kill them." She kept crawling, reaching her swords. "Doesn't matter, doesn't matter, just dreaming, is all..."

Skunk made an angry growling noise. "Look. It's not a goddamn DREAM, unless I'm dreaming it too or it's my dream or... WHATEVER!"

"If this is a dream, I want to stay asleep!" Goat said, bouncing around the room.

Jaz picked up her swords, and sat on the floor with one of them on her lap. "Just gotta wake up." There was a thread of absolute, abject terror in her voice, below the forced cheeriness. Jaz unsheathed the sword in her lap and shut her eyes tightly, refusing to believe in all of it, in the light, in the words, in anything. "Just got to wake UP."

"We are up," Owl answered. The walls read 'Skunk, poking, ouch, know we're up, have to be up'

Skunk's eyes fixed on Owl. "How can you be so goddamn... normal right now!? I'm made of fucking METAL!" Skunk nearly screamed the last few words.

"I don't know!" Owl answered, voice breaking. "But everything makes... sense. Everything. I can understand... I can read..."

Jaz gritted her teeth and thrust the trip of the blade into her palm. "See?" She said, staring up at them. "It's just a--" She looked down at her hand, at the blade sticking through it, and the blood staining her lap. "Oh, fuck." She said, and keeled over in a dead faint.

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