Everyone Pull Harder!

Apr 16, 2022, 6:27:53 PM


Natsumi stabbed the Heartwing Staff into the ground and took her sweet time to join Catherine. Catherine grunted and leaned further back. Spuddo floated over and wrapped his tubular arms around the whip. He channeled his energy turning more opaque to get a good grip on the leather cord. Natsumi joined the two of them. Like Catherine, Natsumi found a gap between two of the concrete slabs beneath her right food and wedged her stiletto heel between them. She jambed her left heel into another crack behind her and took hold of the whip.

She yanked and with the three of them working together they made progress. Between the Gate of Daitokuin and themselves tiny fractures began forming in the empty space between. The cracks widened around the floating forearm and revealed more of the being on the other side — at least more of an arm.

But even with the three of them pulling with all their might, the creature on the other side held them in a stalemate. The resistance levied against them was real and they were getting nowhere fast.

She lifted her left leg and tried to get some purchase against the concrete slab behind her but the bottom of her shoe slipped against the surface. She tried again and again. Each time she managed to catch her heel on something but it scratched forward and plunged back into the gap.

“Put your back into it, Karen!” Natsumi called.

“It’s Catherine!” Catherine retorted. “Natsumi,” she said with her strained voice. “I learned your name, you can at least learn mine!”

“Yeah!” Spuddo chimed in. “And my name’s not ‘Spuddo’! You can call me Fujiwara-dono!”

“Alright, alright! I get it, everyone’s got a name. Catherine, Fujiwara-dono… pull harder!” Natsumi mustered her strength and tightened her grip around the coarse leather of the whip. She pulled. This was what all her training amounted too. The dozens of push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups she did every morning. They were for a moment such as this.

“Come on!” Natsumi called out annoyed with the fissure floating between them rending a hole in spacetime.

At last she stepped back and managed to get a strong hold on another gap between the concrete slabs. She pulled the whip. It chaffed and slipped against her hand tearing at her skin.

Next to her Catherine managed to step back and jamb her own heel into a gap behind her. She pumped herself up with a few breaths and pulled. Fijiwara-dono floated backwards but even his strength showed in the small slackened curve of the whip as he pulled his two tentacles together.

The fissure cracked further open revealing more of the creature on the otherside.

They were winning the tug of war. “Get out here…” Natsumi yelled. “You… Big… Dumb…” With each word she jerked the whip backwards. Catherine followed suit and they were yanking in unison. “…Butthole!” Natsumi yelled.

With a final tug from the three of them they fell backwards. The fissure cracked and shattered with the sudden impulse of their unified tug. A noise like glass breaking filled the air and shards rained forward along with a burst of white and blue light flickering and flashing in front of them.

The floating hand that became a floating arm, revealed a shoulder, a body, a long flowing ribbon of scraggy dark hair. A figure slammed onto the concrete steps and and tumbled forward.

The fissure sealed itself up. The blue and white light disappeared leaving only the lone figure heaped on the pavement. They were dressed in a white tattered gown. From what Natsumi could see of their face, the eyes were missing, the head skeletal. From deep inside the body there was a strong green glow, and Natsumi knew what that meant too: It had eaten the souls.

But it wasn’t going to get Fujiwara-dono’s, not if she had anything to do with it.

Natsumi stood back on her feet and limped over to her Heartwing Staff and plucked it from the ground.

“Natsumi,” Catherine said standing up. She brushed some dirt off her dress. “Can you refrain from language like that?”

Really? Natsumi thought. She didn’t bother with a reply and faced the monster heaped on the ground in front of them.