12: A: Steve Tries To Prove Some Things.

Part Twelve:

As we sat down around the little table, I heard even more rumbling and pounding. Steve leaned back in his chair and seemed oblivious to it. Brigitte’s dad looked up every time there was a thump or grumble, though, and it made me nervous. The whole thing should have made me nervous, I suppose, but everything’s relative, right? So once I got used to the fact that my whole body was in Hell, captured by revenants trying to stop the end of the world, and working with the reanimated corpse of my girlfriend… Brigitte!... then it took something even more to make me nervous, and the mountain or whatever we were in, shaking and rumbling, was that something even more.

“Is that normal?” I asked when a particularly loud thump boomed over us. I heard talking and running from out in the map room and as I thought of the map room, it made me want to go look at it again.

Steve was looking at his Read-Or unit and didn’t answer me right away. Then he looked up at me.

“You really miss her, don’t you?”

“Quit reading my mind. I’m serious. Turn that thing off or I won’t help you,” I snapped back at him.

“I think you’ll help us. Because I can tell you a few things, and I will if you promise to help me.”

“Things like what?”

“Things like is Brigitte really pregnant? And does she really love you? Those are your two questions, aren’t they?”

“Leave my daughter out of this!” shouted Brigitte’s dad, suddenly, and Steve stood up and waved the Read-Or unit furiously at him.

“You be quiet! You be quiet and shut up! Fat old man! You do not understand just how little power you have here, do you? You’re not very necessary to our plans, at all. You’re a nice tidbit to have. Having you here will help us command the octopi and use them as you have, and will convince your soldiers and corporate executives to work for us – but if they don’t, well, then, we’ve gotten this far without octopi and clerks, and we’ll get farther, still.”

“I will not help you.” Brigitte’s dad said. I suppose I should have felt kinship with him, that we were both resisting Steve and his demands, but I didn’t. All I could remember was that he’d kidnapped me – that naked and spreadeagled time—and I hated him for it.

Plus, I thought maybe I hated him because I thought maybe Brigitte had been tricking me and if she was tricking me then she was doing it because of her dad, right? So I hated him for that, so when he said he’d never help Steve, I instantly wanted to do the opposite and thought maybe I will help them.

I didn’t say anything, though.

Steve paused after he talked to Brigitte’s dad, standing, and pointing at him, and then said, with more dramatic flair than he’d had yet: “So you shut up, or I”ll have you taken back apart.”

Brigitte’s dad went sort of pale, and quieted down.

“Now, then,” Steve said.

There was a larger THUDDING sound, and then three quick louder pounding-kind of things, and I swear everything shook.

Steve looked down at his Read-Or unit. He went over to the wall and picked up a little cord with a tiny headphone on it. He put it in. “What was that?” he asked.

There was a pause as he listened.

“Keep me informed,” he said. Pause. “No, via Read-Or.”

Then he put the cord back and fiddled with the Read-Or unit and then sat down again. The pounding continued, louder. There was a genuine buzz of activity behind us, and I could feel the tension rise in the room. The guys holding Brigitte’s dad at ray gun-point were all keyed up. I could tell.

“So, as I was saying, I want your help, and I can trade you information. Good information. I can tell you if Brigitte is really pregnant, and if it is truly yours, and whether she really loves you, and I can prove my answers. But I need your promise, first.”

He stopped, looked at the Read-Or, and pressed something on it. “Double the energy, then,” he said. He turned back to me. “It appears that something has roused some local demons and they’re attacking the mountain. Nothing we cannot fend off, but it is curious. I know you had a run-in with similar demons when you were last here. I wonder, can they sense you? No mind. We’ll get it under control”

The battering was louder and louder now. He glanced again at the Read-Or and frowned but then turned back to me.

“I will trust your word. If you promise me that you will help, that you will command the lesbian zombies to help fight off Armageddon, then we will in turn provide you with answers. And when it is over, when the end of the world no longer looms, you will be free to go. You have my word on that.” Pause again, while he looked right at my eyes. I was fascinated and couldn’t look away – I’d never seen such sincerity behind a pair of ragged, torn-up, half-sewn revenant eyelids. “And you can trust me.” He finished.

“How can you prove it?” I asked.

“With this. With other information. I can show you what happened. I can either prove that the love of your life is carrying your child and pining away for you, or prove the opposite. You’ll see.”

I thought about that.

I pictured the rows of … lesbian zombies… waiting for me to command them. What would we have to do? Where would we go? I had a million questions. Who would we be fighting, and how? Demons, Samson, missiles, tentacles… I shivered a little.

But I wanted to know. I wanted to know. I wanted to know if Brigitte had ever told me the truth. About anything.

The mountain was shaking good and hard now, and I felt dust crumbling a little onto my hair. I looked up and watched the rock-ceiling of the room move back and forth, vibrating.

I looked back at Samson.

“Prove one of them to me before I decide,” I said.


“How do I know you can prove it? How do I know I can believe you? Prove one to me before I decide, then I’ll see if you can really do it. I’m not going to promise you anything and then find out you lied to me.”

“You could always then renege on your own promise,” Steve said. There was a loud crash and he paused to look at the Read-Or. “The gate is holding well,” he said. Then he tried smiling. It was hideous. “As you’d expect,” he said. “We know what we’re doing. But I may have to go attend to this, so get on with it.”

“First prove one of them to me,” I insisted. “Or I don’t help. I’ll refuse.”

“We could kill you, then.”

“You won’t,” I bluffed.

“I might.”

“Then go ahead. How do you know they won’t simply make another one of me and then they’ll have me?”

Inside, as I said that, I felt a little sick. That was the first time I’d ever used my… whatever I am… to my advantage. Up until then, I didn’t want to really admit what I knew I was and that I was so different. But when pushed to it, I guess, I had to acknowledge that I am what I am, and that I’d better accept it and take whatever advantages I can.

Whatever I’d said, it scared Steve, I could tell. He straightened up and put a hand to his lips, lips which were gray and parched and peeling and rotten and gross, and said: “There is that.”

He thought a moment more. There was another large sound, and he glanced at the Read-Or, then said: “Very well. I will show you the truth of Brigitte’s pregnancy.” He fiddled with the Read-Or unit, punched some buttons, spun the flywheel, and turned it towards me. “Look at this,” he said.

It showed me Brigitte, in her apartment, and I saw myself lying in her bed, too, next to her. I was naked, and Brigitte was almost naked. She had only a t-shirt on, and I remembered that t-shirt, a little tank-top that she’d been wearing when I woke up that morning. This was our first night together.

I was asleep. I could tell that because I didn’t move when Brigitte got up. As I watched, my eyes twitched and turned and my hands scrambled and my legs moved. I was surprised by how much I moved during my sleep, and I remembered what Brigitte had said about how I slept. But I didn’t watch me, much, as I was distracted by Brigitte, who stood up, and looked at what I realized was the mirror in her bedroom– she looked directly at the Read-Or unit, and I thought that must be how it does it, looking through mirrors or something—and she took a deep breath. Through the t-shirt I could see her breasts, the nipples poking out the fabric, and the t-shirt lifted up so that I could see where her legs ended, smooth and clean, and then she turned around and looked at the bed, again. Her shirt didn’t cover her backside, and I saw the perfect, soft curves of her butt, where I’d so many times already run my hand over and rested my face sometimes.

She climbed onto the bed and I continued, in the Read-Or, twitching and tossing and turning. She slowly and gently moved me so that I was lying on my back, and then she carefully laid herself down along the length of me, her legs matching up perfectly with mine, her groin pressed against mine, her breasts mashed down onto mine, and her face staring into mine. We were very close to the same height, she was a little taller, and somehow she made us match up.

In the Read-Or, I stopped moving.

Brigitte laid her face alongside mine for a moment, then began moving, a little, rubbing against me, slowly, and put her hands alongside my arms, then pulled me against her so that as much of our bodies as possible were touching. She then gently, while still moving subtly and keeping our bodies pressed together, pushed her lips against mine, and when she did that, her eyes open, my eyes closed, there was a glowing flash of bluish light that electrified both our bodies – hers fully, and mine dimly – and then she pressed her lips hard up against mine and moved her body more sensuously, in the glow, rubbing and touching me and pulling me to her and then finally she threw her head back and gasped and rolled off of me and lay there on the bed, rubbing her lower belly and smiling.

Her smile, I thought, was a nice one. A happy one.

Then the mountain got lifted up off of us, and we all looked up to see two giant demons holding the mountain over our heads, moving it off to the side while all around us Steve’s men in polo shirts shot at demons and Valkyries with ray guns and yelled and other demons and people fought them. I heard someone yell:

“Dear God, There Are Thousands Of Them!”

It was Reverend Tommy’s voice.

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