Help Me Out, Natsumi!

Apr 10, 2022, 1:07:58 AM

Catherine saw it first. The pale white hand poked through the curtain of darkness above Spuddo’s head. The gnarled fingers hooked and spread ready to latch down on its prey. Judging from Spuddo’s staccato whimpering pleas, it seemed that his friend may have been spirited away when he wasn’t looking — correction, when they weren’t looking.

If there was blame to cast, she certainly had her fair share, since she devoted some time to livestreaming rather than staking out the grounds. But, how was she supposed to know it was a hand in the darkness? Natsumi was right, she barely knew that the sky was filled with strange aquatic-like creatures until she accepted the caterpillar from her.

The claw reached out for Spuddo.

“Hey you!’ Catherine called.

Quick on the draw, she unlatched her whip and unfurled it behind her. She dashed forward and flicked her wrist back. The whip snapped against the concrete pavement. She swung her arm forward and cast the coiled snake shooting it straight like an extension of her arm. The end of the whip wrapped around the floating hand’s wrist.

For a disembodied floating hand, it sure was resistant. The hand tried to pull back into the curtain of reality it parted. Before the whip went taut, she wrapped some of the slack around her left hand and balled it into a fist. Catherine slid forward on the toeboxes of her heels until the pointy ends of her stilettos caught in the cracks of the sidewalk anchoring her. The floating hand struggled against her, but she held it in place. “Show yourself monster! And prepare to be dominated by justice!”

Natsumi snickered. “Did you really just say that?”

“Yeah!” Catherine rolled her eyes up and away from Natsumi. “I know, I know. It’s cheesy. More importantly, a little help here Natsumi!”

“Oh,” Natsumi began. “I thought it was pretty good.” Natsumi twirled her Heartstaff and braced herself for a fight. “It’s on brand with the look.” She shrugged.

“That… that is surprising coming from you,” Catherine said giving her another side-glance. Maybe her initial thoughts on her were simply that: they were her own opinions on who Natsumi was and not who she actually was, and if they survived this encounter intact, then afterwards she could find out more about her. One and done, she recalled, but began to rescind the idea altogether.

She really wished that they wouldn’t have to fight after spending all night pacing through the park past midnight. She really wanted to go home and change out of the dress and boots. A long soak in her deep bath tub was what she wanted, but if this was the last obstacle that would get her closer to that moment, then she focused and gripped the hilt of her whip. The disembodied hand tugged against her.

The leather stretched and vibrated liked a plucked string on a guitar. The minute movement gave Catherine the sense that something more hid in the darkness out of sight. Whatever creature it was, she sensed its size and weight from the give and take through the vibrations of the whip. And it was large but not stable. If it were a humanoid like her, one strong tug and it could trip and topple through the curtain of spacetime right into their purview.

She leaned her weight backwards. Either the whip was going to snap or her heel, but she snapped first in Natsumi’s direction.

“Now, can you help me out here??