Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Life After - Ch2: Dying Light (KP Halloween Special)

[This version is outdated since, after I failed to get stuff done in time for the contest, I revised all the stuff I did finish.  The revised version is here.]
[This part two of an entry into Stormchaser90's Heebie Jeebie Hullabaloo Halloween Story Contest for Kim Possible.]
[As always I shall attempt to make this accessible to people not immersed in Kim Possible.]
[The character of Shin Possible was created by Blackbird as part of the Maternal Instinct universe.]

Dying Light
2029 - Earth

They were fighting corpses. It was the single most disgusting thing Jacob had ever done. Eating food from dumpsters featured in many fond memories of childhood. Wearing the same clothes for months without washing them because you've only got one set, not that bad.

Crawling through a sewer as part of a prison break, very disgusting, but not on this level.

They weren't preserved at all. Exposed bone, exposed brain, blood that was disgustingly not like the blood of the living. The gross decomposition that you'd expect. Which varied between species because only the humans had been embalmed, and even then not all of them. Perhaps not even most.

A very dead dachshund tried to jump and bite his thigh. Jacob kicked it away.

"We can't keep this up," he said to Shin.

She was doubtless having an easier time, since they seemed to fear fire. He was keeping a ball of Shin's plasma in his left hand, but he couldn't wield it the way Shin could.

Also that meant he had to keep his hand largely open, he couldn't make a fist on his left side.

Things were not good.

"We'll make for that grove and try to lose them in the ... trees," Shin said.

Jacob didn't see any trees so he asked, "What trees?"

"The giant orange mushrooms," Shin said.

Jacob looked around a bit, and then said, "Got it."

* * *

"Now?" Jacob asked as they ran through the mushrooms.

"Don't have enough of a lead." Shin said.

"I thought zombies were supposed to be slow," Jacob said.

"They're not zombies," Shin said. "Set me up."

Jacob got in position to let his hands act as a springboard for Shin and she vaulted onto one of the mushrooms. A moment later she helped him up.

The dead things reached where they had been.

* * *

Jacob was laying on his back looking up at the sky.

They hadn't heard noises below them for a while. The army of the dead seemed to have dispersed.

It hadn't taken that long, really. Though shadows were long, the sun had yet to set.

Jacob sighed and then spoke. "Given that it took them time to build up a swarm, they're obviously not that densely populated. If we use stealth we might be safe from them."

"Yup," Shin said.

"You said they weren't zombies," Jacob said.

"Notice how they didn't try to eat us?" Shin asked.

"So I guess Ishtar didn't knock down the gates of the underworld."

"What?"

"Never mind," Jacob said.

"Oh," Shin said in a way that made Jacob think she might actually know what he'd been talking about. "Epic of Gilgamesh reference."

"Good catch," Jacob said, honestly surprised she'd gotten it.

"How do you know The Epic of Gilgamesh?" Shin asked.

"The internet, books, the fact the prison you sent me to had a good library --take your pick," Jacob told her.

"I--" This caused Jacob to actually get up enough to look at her. Shin usually didn't hesitate like that.

"I'm sorry about prison," Shin said. "I didn't know they'd try you as an adult.

Because juvie would have been so much better, Jacob thought.

Jacob thought about Shin's apology for a bit before replying with, "Sorry about ruining your Halloween."

"Thanks," Shin said. "We'd better scout a bit before we lose the sun."

* * *

"We have to hide," Jacob said.

Shin looked around and pointed, "Orange ones served us well last time."

The dead beings didn't notice them and walked right by the mushroom grove they were in. When Shin thought they were safe, she said to Jacob, "We need to get the lay of the land."

Jacob was his usual helpful self and responded with, "Civilization collapsed, decay has been turned up to an absurd degree, and we're hiding from demons in a grove of bright orange mushrooms."

Shin corrected, "They're not demons," without even thinking about it.

"Ok, so they're not demons and they're not zombies," Jacob said. "Care to share what they are?"

Shin took a bit of joy in Jacob's frustration, but just a bit. She was supposed to be a the good one after all. "They're draugar," she said.

"Oh, that explains everything," Jacob said with what Shin recognized as his maximum sarcasm.

"They're spirits who refused to abandon their earthly bodies in spite of being dead, usually it requires a nigh impossibly massive feat of will and also utter contempt for the natural order of life and death --or growth and decay, I was never clear on that point-- and for whatever reason it tends to be the worst aspects of a person that manage to return to and reanimate the body."

Shin sighed."Whatever Mancer changed," Shin said, "he obviously made it a lot easier for stubborn spirits to reanimate their corpses."

"And they attacked us because?"

"Don't know," Shin said. "Maybe these ones are territorial, maybe they've had bad experiences with the living before and wanted to get preemptive."

"So maybe they swarmed us and tried to kill us because were were trespassing," Jacob said. "Oh, yay."

"It's not important why, what matters is how," Shin said. "we need to find out what happened after Mancer changed time."

"Well everything I might make a time viewer out of rusted, rotted, corroded, eroded, imploded, collapsed, or decayed so--"

"I know," Shin said. "Let's hold a seance."

"Because that makes sense," Jacob said.

"It does!" Shin insisted. "We could get living witnesses to the altered timeline."

"Your proposed living witnesses are dead," Jacob said.

"You know what I mean," Shin said.

"Your girlfriend is magic," Jacob said. "You, not so much."

"I'm not talking magic," Shin said. "Today is the first day of Allhallowtide,"

"So we put on costumes so the demons can't get us," Jacob said, and Shin caught his total lack of interest.

"So it's one of three days when the border between life and afterlife is extremely slim. Tomorrow is--"

"All Saints' Day," Jacob said. "Know any saints?"

"No, but--"

"Maybe we could get Saint Francis of 'I talk to birds' or Saint Christopher of 'Doesn't my story remind you of the thing with Jason, Hera, and the river?'"

"The day after All Saints' Day," Shin said, starting to get angry, "Is All Souls Day. Any dead people at all."

"I wish your girlfriend were here instead of you," Jacob said. "She'd have a better plan."

Shin snapped, "Do you have a better idea?"

"I hate you sometimes," Jacob said with annoying calm.

"Just sometimes?" Shin asked her anger evaporating as she got ready for banter.

"There's a reason we only ever team up when the fate of the world is at stake," Jacob said. Then he pulled an apple from his pocket and was about to take a bite out of it.

"Don't!" Shin said as loudly as she thought she could get away with without giving away their position to anyone or, more importantly, anything that might wish them harm.

"I'm hungry," Jacob said.

"It's not just the barrier between this world and the afterlife that's weak at this time of year," Shin said. "It's also between here and the fae world."

"So?" Jacob asked.

"Their favorite food: apples," Shin said. "You bite into that thing, they smell it, and we might have to deal with them too."

Jacob shook his head, "Isn't bobbing for apples something you rich kids do on Halloween?"

"Why is it that everything with you ends up being a class issue?" Shin asked. She was sick of having the fact she wasn't born poor held against her.

"Why is everything with you a moral issue?" Jacob shot back. "Good and bad, black and white, dark and light, light and..." Jacob paused, and Shin noted with a tiny bit of triumphalism, put the apple back in his pocket without biting it, "shadow."

The way he said that last word bothered Shin.

"Into the open," he said, rushing out of the mushroom grove himself. "Now!"

Shin followed and asked, "What is it?" once she was clear.

"Look at a shadow, any shadow, then look at the light source," Jacob said, pointing to the setting sun. "Tell me what's wrong."

At first there didn't seem to be anything off to Shin. But the closer she looked the more she was sure that the shadows were too dark and too large. Then she realized that some of them seemed to be consciously stretching out toward them.

"They're alive," Shin said.

"How much you want to bet they're not friendly?" Jacob asked.

"No bet," Shin said. "Light up?"

"They'll see us," Jacob said, but got out his palm-light anyway.

The draugar they'd been avoiding would be sure to see them if they were the only light sources around, but if they didn't make light then they would have no way to keep back the shadows. So they'd need to go where the draugar weren't.

"Out of the city?" she asked. Jacob nodded. "Run!"

Shin lit her hands, bright not hot, she saw the beam of Jacob's light, and the two of them ran in the direction that seemed like it would take them outside of the city limits most quickly.

* * *
* * * * * *
* * *

2004 - Earth

Josh heard the thing pacing back and forth on the other side of the counter. Either it had lost him and was sticking near the place where it lost the trail, or it knew where he'd gone but had serious reservations about coming closer to the mystery meat.

Then Josh heard a phone ring. Maybe that was Wade trying to get its attention. Please, please, please let it be drawn away by the sound of the phone.

The pacing stopped. Then, when it started moving again, the footfalls were uncertain, assuming it wasn't just wishful thinking on Josh's part, as if the thing weren't sure whether to continue after Josh or investigate the new noise.

Finally Josh heard the thing walk from the cafeteria, and when he heard the doors shut behind it, he could breathe again.

For a while Josh did nothing but sit there, still hiding behind the counter, catching his breath. Then the prototype Kimmuniucator, which he'd set on the floor to his right, crackled to life again.

"Josh," came Wade's voice. "You should be clear to move now."

"I'm gonna need a moment," Josh said, his body was only now beginning to relax and doing so slowly.

"Ok, it's past time I checked in with Tara's group anyway," Wade said. "Push the hole that looks like a button belongs over it when you're ready to move again."

Josh nodded. After a moment he realized that accomplished little, since the Kimmuncator was still on the ground, and not pointed in a direction where Wade would be able to see his head. So Josh said, "Ok."

* * *

Tara found herding an auditorium full of people --or about three fourths of that, as the case may be-- through the halls to be much more difficult than she would have expected.

The school wasn't that big so there weren't too many halls they had to herd the people through. But there were the animals to avoid so it meant keeping them all quiet, not walking too fast, definitely not running, occasionally dumping a lot of the people in a classroom or three so the amount of space they took up in the hall would shrink to small enough to avoid detection, and repeatedly having to turn around when they were almost to their destination. The fact that the last leg of the journey would be in the open wasn't very appealing, but they were having a hard enough time just getting to an exit without an animal sighting turning them back.

Also, Ron was getting heavy on her shoulders.

There were some improvements since they first set out. Barkin had taken point, which was a very Barkin thing to do, leaving her to only have to worry about keeping the rear of the group under control. Barkin had also given them direction.

But then there were some downsides too. Barkin's group had been bloodied, as had some of the groups Wade and Josh had sent her way. She put those who smelled of blood in the middle, hoping that those ahead of and behind them would mask their smell with that of a large mass of people who didn't want to be there. Since that was the smell of a school, and they were in a school, it was the closest thing to camouflage she could manage.

A phone near her started to ring. Tara carefully set down Ron, when the phone call was over she'd see if he was ready to walk on his own. Until then he could sit with Rufus. The naked mole rat would watch over Ron while Tara was occupied.

Someone else, a senior maybe, reached the phone first, picked up, and handed the receiver to Tara.

"Wade, I presume," Tara said.

"Yeah, it's me." Wade said.

"I don't like it when people hang up on me," Tara said. She didn't have it in her right now to muster the outrage she thought it deserved. She'd become emotionally exhausted ages ago.

Wade was defensive, "I'm trying to save as many people as I can."

"So am I," Tara said, "but if you want me to have faith that you focusing your attentions elsewhere will end up saving more people then I'd like at least some faith sent my way over whether or not there's person-saving value in continuing the conversation."

"Ok," Wade said.

"Especially since you can apparently contact me whenever you want," Tara said, "while I can't contact you."

Tara heard typing.

"Cell reception in your area is unharmed," Wade said. "Do you have a phone?"

Once Tara had Wade's number in her phone's memory, Tara asked, "So what's the situation?"

"I'm able to track the creatures now," Wade said. "You're safe at the moment. I've been drawing them away from people by making calls to empty areas, but I think they're already realizing that a ringing phone doesn't mean food.

"Most of the ones that have appeared have actually ignored the school and moved outward," Wade. "There are only about a half a dozen on school grounds."

"That's very comforting," Tara said. She hoped the sarcasm made it to Wade.

"Do you have anyone who's gotten a good look at one?" Wade asked.

"Several," Tara said, "but right now the group is moving on. I'll call back when I've caught up to one."

"How's Ron?" Wade asked.

"I'm about to check," Tara said, "Bye Wade."

Tara hung up without waiting to see if he had anything else to say.

She walked to Ron, squatted down to be eye to eye with him, and asked, "You ok?"

"My head feels like Shego punched me," Ron said.

"That tends to happen when you bash it into a stack of cinder-blocks," Tara said.

"The cinder-blocks were supposed to break," Ron said.

"They did," Tara said. "Right after you did."

After a pause Tara asked, "Can you walk, or do I have to carry you again?"

"I think I can walk," Ron said.

* * *

Four times Josh had thought he was ready only to find himself unable to actually pick up the Kimmunicator and contact Wade. On the fifth time, though, he managed it.

"Wade, I'm ready to move," Josh said. "What can I do?"

"Let me-- ok, there are only two isolated groups still in the area," Wade said. "Both are too far from Tara's group for me to feel comfortable just giving them directions."

"Ok," Josh said.

"If you can join one, bring it to the other, and then bring both to Tara," Wade said, "that's probably as much of a difference as you can make right now. With the Kimmuicator to guide you, you should be able to steer clear of the animals."

"Right," Josh said. It wasn't, exactly, that he didn't believe it, it was more that he didn't like trusting his life, or the lives of others, to something that should be possible.

"I'm doing what I can to keep the animals away from everyone," Wade said, "but there's only so much I can do from here."

Josh looked at the map on the Kimmunicator. "Any advice on where to go first?"

"I'd recommend the group to your northwest," Wade said.

Josh appraised the group of red dots representing the people, looked at the blue dots representing large, angry animals, and worked out what he thought was the best route.

* * *

The first person Tara came across who had encountered on of the animals was Brick Flagg. Given that he seemed to be on the verge of a panic attack, she decided it was better not to have him be the one to describe the big scary animals to Wade. Also Brick wasn't the brightest ever.

The next was Junior who, in spite of his moments of insight, was generally not the best at picking up on things.

Then Penny, best known for her work for various charities. She was cradling her right arm, which was looking better, Tara thought, then when she'd joined the group.

When Penny's group had made contact, her arm was still bleeding, and wrapped in her shirt because they hadn't had anything better to bandage it with. Now it was in actual bandages and, while it might still be bleeding, definitely wasn't dripping anymore.

"Penny," Tara said to get her attention. When she had it, she asked, "Do you think you could describe the animal to someone who's helping us?"

Penny nodded, so Tara called Wade and said, "I've got someone who can describe one of the animals here. Before I give her the phone, I figured I'd give you an update.

"We're headed to a fallout shelter under the gym. It's very slow going because this many people can't exactly sneak passed anyone or anything so whenever something we don't want to meet gets in our way we have to change course. Hiding and unhiding is also a time consuming project.

"Some of the people here, including Penny --the girl who's going to describe the animal for you-- need medical attention. Ron is semi-lucid. Pretty much what you'd expect.

"You get all that?"

"Yeah," Wade said.

"Ok," Tara said. She handed the phone to Penny and said, "His name is Wade, he's doing what he can to keep us safe."

Penny nodded and took the phone.

"Hi," she said, "what do you want to know?"

Tara wasn't sure if she should stay with her phone, or go back to the back of the group.

She'd left Ron and Bonnie in charge at the back. The look on Bonnie's face had been wonderful, but she'd actually had a good reason for the choice. Ron still wasn't recovered enough to take over the responsibility, while Bonnie had the presence, force, and attention to do it but lacked Ron's experience with bad situations.

Hopefully together they'd be up to the task, if they didn't kill each other.

Tara had made the argument that if Bonnie did this she'd be even with Ron for saving their lives at camp Wanaweep and saving Bonnie specifically when she'd been kidnapped by robots. It wasn't a particularly good argument, but it was one that would appeal to Bonnie. The only thing Bonnie could stand less than having to work with Kim or Ron was feeling like she owed one of them something.

In the end Tara decided to stay with the phone, and listened to Penny describe the animal.

"It was a dog," Penny said. "Yeah, well it was the biggest dog I've ever seen." Pause. "No. Bigger." Pause. "Not shaped like that though, more like a husky or something."

Great, Tara thought, a dire wolf of doom.

"Its fur was all black. That's how it snuck up on us. It was hard to make out in the darkness."

Long pause.

"Its claws are sharp. Really sharp. The wounds on my arm are more like incisions than lacerations." Pause. "I volunteer at the hospital every Saturday." Pause. "The impression that I've gotten from people who were bitten is that the teeth aren't that sharp." Pause. "Yeah, more ripping than cutting."

Long pause.

"I don't know . . . smaller than a bear." Pause. "It was really cold . . . I didn't even think of it at the time, but shouldn't it have been hot?"

Long pause.

"I can't think of anything else; anything in particular you're interested in?" Pause. "Ok." Penny looked to Tara and said, "He wants to talk to you."

Tara took the phone and said, "Wade, go."

"I can guide you passed the dogs," Wade said, "but given the size of your group and how fast the dogs can move, I think we'd have to do it in stages."

Tara surveyed the group again then said, "It'd take a lot of stages."

"Is there anywhere people can wait until--"

"If there were a safe place we'd use that instead of the fallout shelter," Tara said.

"If they can keep turning you back just by walking around at random," Wade said, "then you'll never make it to the fallout shelter."

"Then guide us around them a little at a time," Tara said. She started walking towards the front of the group. If there was going to be guiding that's where she'd need to be. "We'd be there by now if we could tell when the . . ." Tara still wasn't up for calling monsters that were hunting them "dogs" it seemed to understate the problem, "things were following us and when they weren't.

* * *

Josh had about a dozen people, eleven to be exact, with him as he made his way toward the final group. Movement was done by sprinting to the next spot to hide when there were no blue dots around, catching their breath, waiting for a new opportunity with the blue dots not in the way, and sprinting again.

Even with the breath catching he was getting worn down, and he could see the others were too.

The Kimmunicator crackled to life.

"Well, I found out what the animals actually are," Wade said.

"What?" Josh asked.

"Dogs," Wade said.

"There's no such thing as a dog that big," Josh said.

"Obviously not normal dogs," Wade said. "You look like you're pretty close to getting everybody."

"Just have to cross the tennis courts," Josh said. The tennis courts behind Middleton High School were a large open area in a chain link cage. The only idea that Josh could think of that was worse than going through them was going around them.

Thus the final sprint would be across a large open area in a chain-link cage, in the dark, where they might be mauled or eaten.

"I don't have any help I can give you out there," Wade said. "In fact, I was hoping you might have ideas."

"About what?" Josh asked.

"Tara's group is trying to get to a fallout shelter under the gym because it seems like it's the safest place," Wade said. "The problem is getting them there. There's safety in numbers, but it's also a lot harder to move a larger group.

"I can't figure out how to get the dogs away from them for long enough to let them get there," Wade said.

Josh could. Josh could think of a great way. It just wasn't one that he particularly liked.

"What are you thinking?" a member of his current group asked.

"We need bait," Josh said. "The phone idea was good, but if we really want to get them out of the way we need someone to catch their attention and then lead them somewhere else." His voice shook a bit as he said it. He remembered running for the cafeteria.

Running from one of them was a lot worse than running in hopes of avoiding them.

"I'm on the track team," another member of the group said.

"So am I," a third chimed in.

"Ok," Josh said, "But can you sprint a long distance run? Because that's what it would take.

"We could break it up," was the response. "Like a relay."

"That's a good idea," Wade said. "The Kimmunicator could always be with the runner, and once someone was done with their leg and the dogs were after the next person, they'd know the way back to the gym was clear.

"We could move all of Tara's group, and all but one of yours," Wade said.

"We still have to get all of my group," Josh said. "I'll call you back when I'm across the tennis courts."

"Got it," Wade said. The signal shut down.

Josh looked at the map. The red dots, the blue dots. Then he asked, "Everybody ready?"

He got nods of yes, but he knew the truth. None of them would ever be ready. Definitely not him. They just had to deal with going when they weren't ready.

So he said, "Run!"

* * *

"A distraction relay?" Tara asked. Then she had to tune out Barkin talking about military tactics. A sound tactician would be useful here, but Barkin just strung together words in a way that sounded vaguely meaningful while in fact being completely vacuous.

He'd been in the military, sure, but he'd never been one to make plans, only execute the orders that were passed down to him after the plans were made.

Tara had to think it over for a while. She believed that a larger group was in fact safer. No one had survived a one on one encounter with the animals. There were a couple of cases where someone just managed to outrun having such an encounter in the first place, but every single person amoung them who had actually faced off against one of the animals and lived had done so because other people in their group had been able to help them get away.

Still, what good was sticking together if they never got to a safe place? There had to be an endgame beyond surviving the moment if any of this were going to mean anything.

They rounded a corner and saw a severed hand, nothing else left of owner but blood.

"Alright," Tara said, "I'll start looking for volunteers.

* * *

"For the record," Josh said, "I think this is a stupid idea."

"Noted," Wade said. "You don't have to participate."

"No," Josh said, "I'll do my leg."

Then Josh handed the Kimmunicator to another student, and got ready to hide and wait.

* * *

"If we want to keep all of the dogs in the area occupied, we need to start with three runners," Wade said.

"We know that Wade," Tara told him.

Wade had lines open to two other people which, plus her, made the three runners.

"Ok, Tara, you're up first" Wade said. "Go . . . NOW!"

Tara sprinted away, loudly burst through a door she'd never understood the purpose of anyway because it just separated one hall from another section of largely identical hall, ran down the second hall--

"The first one heard you and is on your trail," Wade said over the phone. "Take a hard left at the next intersection." Tara did and, out of the corner of her eye, saw a large black form in one of the classrooms.

She didn't slow down.

"You've got two," Wade said. "When you reach the end of the hall go outside and turn right."

She bodily slammed into the door, using the impact to kill her forward momentum, and then sprinted to the right.

"Third one's coming," Wade said, "that's all of them in this direction. I'm calling the next leg."

In front of her a desk smashed through a window. She jumped in, someone else jumped out, and her leg of the journey was over.

She stayed out of sight, ignored the pain where the broken glass had cut into her, and tried to slow her breathing.

The three dogs passed the window and she was free to return.

She was walking slowly, still trying to catch her breath, when her phone range.

"Tara," Wade said, "I need you to get back to the others."

"What's going on?" she asked, even though her exhaustion made her want to say, "No."

"I don't know," Wade said. "I'm getting strange temperature readings. Not like the dogs, but I think there's something headed for the group."

"On it," Tara said and started running back to where she'd left the others.

* * *

Josh was waiting to be the last leg of the relay, in theory the group should be mostly safe by now, all he had to do was to keep the dogs occupied for the runners to make it back.

Someone ducked into the classroom he was waiting in, he snatched the offered Kimmunicator on his way out of the room and then ran. Before long he could hear the dogs behind him. Was it six or seven? He didn't quite remember.

"Josh, I've updated the map to show something else," Wade said. "Or somethings else. We don't know what they are yet so your best bet is to stay clear."

"Josh glanced down and saw that the red and blue dots had been joined by areas colored in a lighter blue than the dots marking the dogs.

That seemed wonderful. Entire areas of question mark rather, than just points of dog, that he'd have to avoid.

* * *

As Tara approached the gym she saw that the most of the group was already inside, so that, at least, was good news. She also saw dark shapes, though "shapes" might be giving the things too much credit, which she thought were approaching the people.

She couldn't seem to focus on them. Her eyes seemed to want to go right through them. Definitely not dogs.

The dark things reached the group a moment before she did and . . . they seemed like darkness. But how could there be darker dark than dark? How could shadows move?

They also seemed to be bad for the people. Whenever someone touched one the flinched away, but soon everyone was surrounded, soon after engulfed, and whatever was happening, it was slowing them down.

If they were somehow creatures of darkness, then Tara though maybe light could keep them back. It was a major leap, but she didn't have a lot of options.

She ran into the group, and thus into the darker dark, an was immediately chilled to to the bone. She made for the center of the dark and shouted, "Rufus, Diablo Sauce!"

The rodent threw her a packet and, with fingers shaking from the cold, she replicated a stunt from Ron's overly long talent show performance: Fire breathing.

The darker shadows scattered, leaving them outside in the less not-as-dark dark of a cloudy night, and the cold dissipated with their departure.

Tara herself, however, had been reduced to a shivering mass.

"Great trick T," Bonnie said, as she helped Tara to her feet.

"She got it from my act," Ron said as he too helped Tara.

Tara just shouted, "Everyone get inside!"

Ron and Bonnie helped Tara follow her own command.

* * *
* * * * * *
* * *
2004 - The After

Kim didn't know all that many dead people. Most people she knew were in her age group or professionals near the prime of their careers. Not too many older people. Still, Kim had faith that dead people could not be wholly bad.

The mention of "Life lovers" had given her a new direction and a new goal. She was going to find the good dead people and get advice from them on how to get back to the world of the living, and how to save the world of the living once she got there.

She was without Team Possible, but she was still a Possible and that meant she could do anything, even deal with this ferociously weird sitch.

She just had to be more careful. When she was solo she tended to underestimate the amount she usually relied on backup. It was how she ended up secured to a wall inside of the worlds largest cheese wheel. It was how she'd been captured by Drakken this time.

She couldn't afford to make the same mistake again. Not here.

Just because anything was possible didn't mean that a given thing would come easy, just because she could do anything didn't mean that she would be able to do a specific thing if she let herself get sloppy. She didn't have Wade, she didn't have Ron, she didn't have Rufus. And she didn't have much in the way of resources.

* * *

Even in the afterlife, it seemed, there were things that could make you giggle. She'd found that the deeper she went, the more signs of "life" there were, so she'd been going deeper and deeper still, and now she'd come across a sign that, if she was interpreting it correctly, said, "No Ammit allowed." After she'd encountered someone empowered by Anubis, she'd thought ancient Egyptian religion might be worth looking into in more depth, so now she could recognize a picture of the eater of hearts. Given that Ammit was a god known for sending dead people to a second, more devastating, death, Kim could see why dead people might not want her around.

* * *

"Everything dies," Kim said to herself.

If she was right, she was looking at a river god. Dead river; dead god.

Not particularly what she was after though. Also, the dead river god seemed to be hanging around with some skeletons she didn't like the look of.

* * *

Kim came across what seemed to be a carnival, except it was entirely empty.

Not creepy at all, that.

The entire area had a dreamlike quality to it, and Kim had the impression that she was getting further from the reality she knew.

"Further"? Or was it "farther"?

She kept low and made sure there were always things obstructing line of sight in as many directions as possible. She felt like she was floating as she made her way through the place, and size and mass didn't seem to have as much meaning.

Definitely further. Not amount of distance could explain this, it was entirely about degree.

If she made it out alive, if the world didn't end, she was totally going to do a great job on the "problem words" quiz.

* * *

Kim expected ghosts to look like they had in life, but the ones she was seeing now were, at best, caricatures of humanity. Traits exaggerated almost beyond recognition.

And some didn't even seem to be human. She gave the gathering a wide berth and stayed in the shadows.

* * *

"Look, I'm not one of them --I don't think those in first-life are somehow more worthy than us-- I just don't see why we'd even want to return to that wretched world."

There was "them" again, but no indication where "they" might be found.

Couldn't someone just say, "Of course you know Bob ..." and deliver all the information Kim needed?

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[Previous][Kim Possible Index][Next]

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I'm not particularly happy with this one, but there's a time limit on the whole affair and I figured I'd need one installment per day to get the thing done on time when I started, so I'm already a day behind.

3 comments:

  1. "I can't figure out how to get the dogs away from them for long enough to let them get there," Wade said.

    Josh could. Josh could think of a great way. It just wasn't one that he particularly liked.

    I got a pretty huge kick out of this bit. :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another great installment, Chris! I liked it a lot. Thanks for entertaining us!

    ReplyDelete
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