Chapter Five: Bad Trails

15 Mar

The beastly red creature approached with fury, his face a clear statement of, “yes, I’m going to kill you,” his hands clenched into bulging fists. Many thoughts raced through my head—mostly a long train of swear words and frenzied panic.

“Cirno, I think we should run or something.”

Steve was probably right, except my brain had already calculated my speed against the demon’s and determined how far I’d make it before I was snatched up and broken in half.

“Do something, Cirno!”

‘Do something’ indeed had to be done.

…or would’ve, were it not for a fierce rumbling in the upper atmosphere. Myself and the demon and presumably Steve all looked up to see an object in the sky, too high to identify.

Its obscurity was soon remedied by its speed and the fact that it was heading straight for us.

It looked like a meteorite or a huge hunk of metal. There wasn’t enough time to fully analyze it, because seconds later it collided with the camp site with and pulverized the earth beneath us, throwing the demon and myself (and Steve by proxy) to the ground painfully. Tremors continued to quake underfoot as I tried to stand and get a look at what happened.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. “A huge hunk of metal” indeed described what was apparently an alien space shuttle. A hatch opened atop the ship and a figure crawled from it.

“G’khrol belrfe snajgus!” The being called out with a deep and husky voice in a tongue so incomprehensible as to occupy all of the senses in effort to process it.

The demon who’d been ready to throttle me moments before rose to its feet with a stagger. The instant it turned to face the space anomaly, a green laser beam shot from the ship and melted a hole through the demon’s brain. Blood blasted from the newborn crevice and the body collapsed in a heap.

If I didn’t shit myself, I surely thought I was going to. I focused on the alien being, trying to ascribe meaning to its form, but my powers of conceptualization weren’t strong enough. I could only see another flash of green light fire in my direction, and then there was a hole in my chest.

I looked down through it curiously for the last moment that I was alive to do so.

I’m just fuckin’ with ya, none of that actually happened.

The beastly red creature did approach with fury, his face a clear statement of, “yes, I’m going to kill you,” his hands clenched into bulging fists. Many thoughts did race through my head—mostly a long train of swear words and frenzied panic. But what Steve said next was:

“Cirno, have you ever used a chainsaw before?”


“Pretend I’m a chainsaw!”

The demon was getting close. I clenched Steve’s handle with all my might. Even with his length, the demon’s arms were a lot longer than mine, so I was going to need to get in close for the attack.

Except it’s not like I knew how to fight, and in the time I spent thinking about what to do, the demon had already closed the gap between us, his enormous red fist thundering towards me in dramatic slow-motion. Instinct took over and I raised Steve in front of my face for defense.

Had Steve just been a pole, he would’ve been pummeled clean through my skull. To understand what happened instead, imagine trying to punch a chainsaw.

Having attacked with all of its strength in such an exaggerated way, the demon couldn’t cancel its momentum and found its entire arm carved down the middle. The blood which shot out was instantly evaporated in the air by the super-heated Steve, resulting in a cut so clean that when the demon and I turned to face one-another in the next moment, it looked as though his arm had always been grotesquely halved.

Unless demons just didn’t feel any pain, it was possible that Steve had fried the nerves in its arm so quickly that it didn’t feel a thing, since it went through the emotions of “bewilderment” and “anger” without taking a rest for “anguish.”

I don’t think the beast gave significant consideration to what had just occurred, since it next proceeded to attack me with its other arm, losing it in the exact same way.

Now I was facing off against a demon with disproportionately thin arms so asymmetrical that I couldn’t take them seriously. Maybe that’s what gave me the confidence to spring into action and attack the demon head-on.

Quite literally, I might add: I hoisted Steve above my head, then smashed him down on the demon’s skull. Grinding sounds reverberated from the cut as I slowly forced Steve through the full length of the demon’s body until it’d been completely split in half.

I breathed heavily with exasperation as I stood over the demon’s mercilessly butchered corpse.

“Hey, Cirno… you realize you just killed that thing, right?”

“Don’t give me that shit, Mr. ‘ever used a chainsaw.'”

“I’m just saying, we don’t even know what that guy was all about.”

“I’m at least eighty percent sure he was gonna grind my bones to make his bread.”

“Whatever, existential racism quandaries aside, I think we’re pretty much fucked now.”

“Wha..?” I looked up at the camp site that was no longer a considerable distance across the horizon.

Approximately five-hundred eyes were looking back at me.

A thought crossed my mind about how when movie characters murder castle guards, there’s always a wall between them and the rest of the castle so that no one sees what’s going on. I wondered, “why don’t they put the guards on the inside of the wall? It would make it harder to figure out where they’re stationed, harder to sneak by them, and a lot harder to kill them without anyone noticing.”

“Cirno. Being as my existence is largely intangible, I have no concerns about my own safety. If you need to drop me and run, I’ll be fine.”

“…run? Who said anything about running?”

A crazy idea was worming its way into my head.

“Surely you don’t intend to fight all those people? They’ll completely gang-rape you.”


That’s not right.

That’s not the real truth.

“You aren’t thinking creatively enough, Steve.”


You’re the one who’s going to kill all of those people and demons. I’m just going to guide you towards them.”

“That’s very philosophical Cirno, but—”

“You don’t understand. Electricity is a force to be reckoned with, Steve. Did you know that if a human is struck by lightning, they’re pretty much dead? Or that electricity easily travels at… well, lightning speed between objects? I used you to cut Tape Man in half because your shape naturally made me think of a sword; but in truth, I can think of a million ways to use your power.”

“That sounds great and all, but in this situation, the numbers are simply overwhelming. Plus, they’re already walking creepily towards us—we don’t have time to plan out all of these—”

“Shut up, Steve.”

Steve was silent.

“Let me tell you a little story. When I was in tenth grade, I was failing most of my classes. My teachers thought I should be taking lower-level courses, and other kids made fun of me because they thought I was stupid. But I didn’t care. To me, the drawings that I spent my class time on were far more important than any of those people or any of that schoolwork.

One day, my dad was giving me the usual speech about his disappointment in my grades, because he refused to believe that even if I was really passionate about drawing, it was worth failing out of school for. I understood the way he felt—after all, his thinking was totally different from mine. But then he said that if my grades didn’t pick up, he was going to pull me out of school and make me start working to pay rent.”

The demon/human army was getting closer.

“And let me tell ya, that pissed me off. That wasn’t a part of the plan. Suddenly, I didn’t have a choice—I’d be thrown into the real world, and I didn’t want that. So I got angry.”

My grip tightened.

“I decided that if I was gonna do it, I was gonna completely destroy it! I was gonna rock the system down to its foundation and beat it at its own game! I’d outdo everyone’s expectations and reset the definition of their existence! I made a complete turn-around. I abandoned sleep altogether and joined as many classes and clubs and special projects as humanly possible. I graduated with above a four-point-O GPA and was class valedictorian. I had scholarships to every college you can think of. They even had me give the speech at my class graduation. Do you know what I said?”

The front line was no more than three meters away.

“I said, ‘can I go back to drawing pictures, now?'”


One Response to “Chapter Five: Bad Trails”

  1. Flak March 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm #


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