12.b: The Battle For Hell Is Underway!

It was Reverend Tommy’s voice.

It had that same stilted, booming quality that sounds both fake and super-real, the kind of voice that draws you in and compels you to keep listening. I paused, for just a second, as he yelled it, although to be fair I would have probably paused anyway because of the scene that was unveiling.

I saw Reverend Tommy on a winged horse, diving down underneath the mountain, which was being held up in the air by those two giants. There was a whole horde of Valkyries behind him, in what I assumed must be battle formation, while others spread out around and to the sides of us. There were probably, I don’t know, like 200 of them.

Then, on the ground, was a crowd of people that might have been two or three thousand thick, people like the ones I’d seen from time to time: bedraggled, torn up, half-eaten, scarred, horrifying and horrified souls, rushing forwards as Reverend Tommy yelled at them.

“Spare nobody,” he said. “All of the Blockers must be sent to their destinations,” and though he wasn’t yelling his voice carried somehow over the din that was the sound of six thousand dead feet rushing forward, of 600 wings flapping and carrying spear-wielding beautiful naked women, of demons growling. Reverend Tommy was carrying nothing himself; he simply held the reins of his horse and waved his arms, directing people. There were ray guns popping and crackling all over and I could smell the electric feeling in the air.

“Come on!” Steve gasped at me and tugged on my arm.

“Let her go,” Brigitte’s father said. “You’re time has ended. Can’t you see that?’

“It’s you who ended, piecemeal old man,” Steve snarled, and shoved Brigitte’s dad, who stumbled back.

“Do you want me to take care of him?” one of the guards said. Steve shook his head.

“He may still be of use. We need the Reacher, though. Hurry.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me along with him.

“I’m not sure…”

“You’d better be sure. Do you think they’ll spare you?” He pointed back.

Kill them all!” yelled Reverend Tommy and I saw him pointing towards the still-idle group of zombies that Steve had assembled. I recalled his sermons before. I looked at the crowd of people rushing towards the motionless ranks of… all the girls that were like me. The horses swooped down and ducked towards them.

Steve said to me:

“Tell them to fight.”

“What?” I asked. He was tugging me towards them, and towards a rocky box that stood near them.

Tell them to fight. They are your army. They will do what you say.”


Steve put his hand on his head and continued forward. Men in polo shirts shooting ray guns rushed past the other way, all under the shadow of the still-upheld mountain. I wondered by Reverend Tommy didn’t have the two giant demons simply throw it back down and crush us all.

Then I got nervous that he’d think of that and I moved faster.

“They will listen to you. That’s what I’ve explained. You are their queen, the one who can command the lesbian zombies that have been created throughout history. Recent history, anyway. Or older. I don’t know. But you are it.”

“Why me?”

I don’t know. Tell them to fight!” I looked where he was pointing and saw the crowd of people had reached the lesbian zombie army and was knocking them down, beating them up. The zombies… my people?... didn’t react.

NOW!” Steve yelled.

“FIGHT THEM!” I yelled as loud as I could. “FIGHT BACK AND WIN!” I didn’t know what to say. Given what you know of my life, so far, I suppose it goes without saying that I’d never commanded an army of put-together dead naked women before.

The zombie army jumped to life. The women turned and began fighting and yelling and howling and pushing and shoving. It was hand-to-hand combat, punching and kicking and screaming and the sounds of body after body clashing into each other as the two crowds of people… the two armies, I guess, rumbled into each other.

Steve kept tugging me forward and I tried to watch them fight as I was following him. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go with him wherever he was going, but I knew I had no hope going with Reverend Tommy. I heard rock creaking and looked up. The two giant demons were shuffling off to the side, holding the mountain, and I felt a little better about that. We were almost to the little rock cage. A ray gun beam passed really near me and I looked back, wondering why Steve’s guys were shooting at us. But they weren’t: some of the people in Reverend Tommy’s army had picked up the ray guns of people who’d they beaten up or killed and were shooting them towards us.

“They need better directions,” Steve said. “Give them more goals. They’re simply fighting anyone they see, anyone who’s not a lesbian zombie.”

“What?!” I said. “This is crazy! I’m not a general or something. I don’t know what to do.”

Steve pulled up alongside the little rock cage thing we’d been heading for. We flattened ourselves against it and I looked back. I could see the remnants of the Blockers’ headquarters, beds and desks and computers and the Map, still all standing but without the carved-out mountain around them. The polo shirted guys were outnumbered by Reverend Tommy’s army, but they had better weapons and were more disciplined than the damned souls that Reverend Tommy was commanding and would have won but the Valkyries were obviously, even to me, the difference. They were in formation and swooping down and stabbing guys and grabbing ray guns and tossing them to the dead people and hemming people in. I watched as one horse got in the way of a ray gun and dropped, and even as it did, two other Valkyries swooped in: one caught the falling woman and the other stabbed the shooter in the head with her spear.

“Tell them to move towards the left and flank the dead people around the back. Tell them to start picking up the ray guns that they find and shooting them. Tell them to watch what the others are doing and learn from them.”


Do it!” Steve said, and I did it, repeating his words as much as I could and as loudly. I saw the lesbian zombies spread their naked line of fighters off to my left, the ones behind who hadn’t yet been able to fight moving around and cornering the damned souls in between them. Some of them, nearer to us, I saw wrestle away ray guns and begin shooting at the damned souls.

“Tell them to target the Valkyries,” Steve said.

“Now, wait,” I said.

“Just do it! Those women are killing my men.”

“I’m not mad at the…”

“Do it! Do it or I’ll..”

I turned towards Steve and said “Or you’ll what?” but I was distracted as I did that because I caught a glimpse of what was in the cage that we’d taken refuge in front of.

It was hard to catch more than a glimpse of, really, because it was… weird. That’s the best word I can use to describe it. It looked like a demon crossed with a monkey, a short little thing that had really long arms and really short legs and a squat, demon head with fangs all over the place, and its hands were even larger than that, but that’s only an approximation because as I looked at it, it seemed to suddenly be huge – like, it was bigger than the whole world we were in, which can’t be, right? Then it was tiny, then it was long and short all at the same time: somehow stretching for miles and then tiny, then it was a speck, and then it was like a mountain, and this was all at the same time. I couldn’t, I decided, look right at it. Looking at it was the seeing equivalent of standing on super-slippery ice: the same way your feet never get a hold on the ice, the same way you never trust where you’re standing, the same way you don’t want to move but you don’t want to stay there – that’s what my eyes did when I looked at that thing: they didn’t want to look away but as I looked my eyes started watering and I couldn’t focus and it was just everything and nothing.

It was, I realized, moving and doing things, and there were two men in there with it, one who was holding a little gadget and the other who was feeding it little pretzel sticks, one at a time. He would stick them into the side of the thing’s mouth and it would chew it slowly into its mouth while the other man pushed buttons on a gadget and talked into a little microphone at his mouth. I saw the thing move its arm, which seemed to grow long and short at the same time and then it pulled it back and suddenly whom! There was a giant tank next to us, this great big giant machine that was easily three stories tall and was shooting at the Valkyries, shooting bolts of light kind of like coalesced ray gun beams at them, and the pretzel-feeding man said “Good boy!” and gave him another pretzel.

The tank-shooting thing started to rumble forward and a crew of Valkyries dove down. It fired at them: fshoom fshoom fshoom and the horses started on fire and one of the Valkyries went hurtling over her horse’s head and fell at my feet.

You guessed it: It was Ivanka.

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