Part 14D: Invasion!

I could hear the crackling and fizzling as the trees burst into flame and then into nothingness, and I watched as the cone-shaped beams flared left and right, wiping the trees down to nothing.

Rachel! Get out of there! I felt the Me say in my mind, and I thought back:


Or maybe I yelled it. I don’t know. I was panicking and those beams were getting lower and lower and I could smell the heat or something like that.

The ME thought back: Fall!

I thought But I just climbed back up here and I don’t want to leave you!

I’ll be okay!

No! I can’t keep… but the rays were just above my head, sweeping back and forth still and the sound was loud and I looked up as a flash of blue spun just over my eyes and the tree above my left hand disappeared, leaving a flat smooth expanse above which I could see the glorious blue air of Valhalla, the sky that I had only glimpsed through branches for the last day or two.

No!” I screamed, and pulled my hand down as the beam flashed back. I had no choice.

I let go, and dropped down and down and down, covering in seconds what had taken me what felt like days climbing up. As I fell, in my mind, I could see images of what the Me was seeing. She was looking at Brigitte, who was looking out the window with a shocked expression on her face.

I fell, and saw Brigitte staring down out the windscreen of the flying saucer with her mouth open in a cute O of surprise, and her hands pressed up against the glass.

I fell, and saw myself falling from above as the Me must have looked down at the ground below me.

I fell, and I saw below me a crowd gathering, a group of people that could barely be seen below the tree branches that I fell through in mere seconds. I saw all that and then I was almost to the ground and I dropped into a large cloth held out for just that purpose by a group of silent naked lesbian zombies all gathered around the tree.

I had flipped around in my fall and landed on my back in the blanket, which gave way a little and then was pulled tight by the people holding it, so that I actually popped up in the air just a little bit, and then I landed on my butt and sat up, disoriented. I’d expected to hit the ground, hit it hard and maybe die or go to Hell or something, but that hadn’t happened at all. I caught my breath and my wits and looked around, recognizing some of the faces of the lesbian zombie army, including Naked Girl, who held the blanket.

Rachel! A new thought came into my mind and I looked over my shoulder.


Rachel! Was all she thought again. I could see injuries on her and her left arm hung a little weird and she looked pale but she had a huge, beautiful smile on her face and her eyes were clouded over with tears. In my mind, I kept seeing me, images of me, coming from Ivanka, I guess: me on the blanket, me on the tree, me in Hell, me clinging to her back as she rode her horse out of Hell past the waterspout, me standing on the ground in the tank battle, me and her kissing…

And through it all she just kept thinking Rachel Rachel Rachel

Then she thought this: I love you!

Oh, man.

I looked up.

“Ivanka!” I said, my disorientation and fear and everything that was happening getting in the way of thinking it. “The Me, um, Me, um, Rachel. She’s up there. And Brigitte.” I pointed and didn’t make any sense. “They’re up there. They’re shooting down the forest. Help. I mean, we’ve got to help them.” I was scrambling to get off the blanket-thing they’d stretched out. As I talked, Ivanka’s thoughts flooded my mind:

I love you. I almost lost you. I can’t believe you were falling. We almost didn’t find you but then I searched for you with my mind and I felt you, a powerful pull. It must be love. I bet you love me too

While she thought that, I kept saying: “Ivanka, we’ve got to help them,” and pointing up, and I looked up, too, and realized that the flying saucer was a lot lower down than I’d thought, and the trees all around were fizzling and disintegrating and were down to only about 50 feet tall, and the destruction was spreading, rapidly. The Me was hanging above me, still held by the saucer that Brigitte flew.

“Ivanka!” I yelled, trying to break her train of thought.

Who’d had imagined a valkyrie would turn out to be a bit of a ditz? She finally looked up and saw what I saw, which was not just Brigitte’s flying saucer, but about 30 others, all over the forest and beginning to disintegrate it.

Part 14C: Brigitte talks to me!

It was Brigitte.

I nearly let go of the tree in spite of myself.

I clung there, fingers clutching the cracks in the bark and my face pressed against it, and then slowly looked up. All I could see was the silvery underside to the flying saucer.

Are you sure? I asked. I said it, quietly, but tried to think it, too. In response I got a picture, again, of Brigitte, staring at the Me, intently.

It was the same Brigitte and I felt my heart flutter involuntarily. She was leaning forward, I thought, and then realized that she wasn’t leaning forward as much as I’d imagined, or seen, at first, but instead, she was very pregnant. She must have been… I don’t know. I don’t know how people look at various parts of pregnancies but she was really really pregnant, and I was surprised at that and couldn’t stop looking through the Me’s eyes at Brigitte’s round, full belly, until I looked up a little more and saw her breasts, just above it, and they were bigger than ever. I stared at those for what felt like a long time –

-- still looking through the Me’s eyes, while I tried to keep climbing up the tree, feeling like I was going slower than ever, inch by inch up the hundreds of feet to where the Me was dangling upside down in front of Brigitte in the saucer.--

And I was going so slowly, now, because of those breasts, which I remembered so well I could almost feel them in my mind.

Hey! Came a thought, blasting at me.

Sorry, I said… thought. Both. I kept climbing. It’s Brigitte.
I know Brigitte, the Me thought back at me. It’s not that. You’re USING MY EYES.

What? I thought, and stopped climbing. I concentrated and realized that, yes, this wasn’t looking at an image of Brigitte, it was looking through her eyes.

Stop it! The Me yelled in my mind.

I don’t know how I’m doing it, I said back to her. I want to stop it… and then there was a blank, somehow. Like a door had closed, I couldn’t see Brigitte anymore or the saucer, not that way. All I saw was the inside of my eyelids, which I opened up and looked up. I was closer, but still hundreds of feet below them, and not going to make it there anytime soon at that rate. I kept climbing up. Like the time in Hell, I had nothing else to do and nowhere else to go. I kept my eyes on the Me, and on the saucer, and tried to focus on climbing faster while still trying to talk to the Me.

Me? I said, over and over. Rachel? Me? But there was nothing. After a minute of that, and 15 feet more of climbing, I finally grabbed on tight to the tree and yelled, at the top of my lungs:

I hung there, on the side of the tree, looking up at the Me hanging upside down and tears in my eyes, tears of frustration and fear. I stared at her and tried to see her face.

I didn’t get anything back. She didn’t call or wave or anything, and I was still blocked out by that wall. “Please!” I said, not yelling it. I just tried to beg her, in my mind and in my words.
Then I thought of something: I switched over and instead of trying to talk to the Me, I tried to talk to Brigitte.

Brigitte! I thought. I pictured her face, her hair, her… lips, and then tried to focus again on her face. I tried to imagine myself picking up a phone and talking to her. Whatever might help make a connection. I pictured her stomach, bulging out with the baby below it, and said again, outloud and in my mind: Brigitte!


I’d kept climbing but I was still far away. I was getting tired, too, although I’ve found I don’t get as tired as other people do. Whatever keeps me running doesn’t let me wear out as quickly as I would expect it to.

I thought for a second. I looked at the Me and she was still hanging there, unable or unwilling to move because she wasn’t. I hoped she was okay. I looked at the saucer and wondered how Brigitte had gotten here. I tried to remember all the stuff the Me had said about how to communicate through telepathy.

Then, I scrapped all that and hollered at the top of my lungs:


That did something. There was a flash of lights around the saucer and it moved up a little, then back. The Me still hung there, in the air, motionless, but I saw that she’d looked a little more down towards where I was. As I watched, the saucer hovered up a little higher.
There was a crackling buzz and then a voice, amplified and mechanical a little but still very obviously Brigitte, just Brigitte-through-a-loudspeaker, came out:

“Who said that?” the Brigitte-voice said.

“ME!” I shouted again. “DOWN HERE!”

In my mind I tried to picture her again, tried to picture her eyes. The eyes are a good focus, the Me had said. If you’re looking into someone’s eyes, even in my your mind, it’s easier to really communicate with them. I pictured Brigitte’s eyes, long lashes and deep blue and wide and bright and always a little wet, like she always had just really smiled big or had just finished crying, or both.

It’s me, Brigitte.
My mind felt confused, too, because the last time I’d seen her, I had been so betrayed, but there was so much emotion there that I had to try to focus, to calm down, to just picture her eyes and think that over and over: It’s me, Brigitte it’s me Brigitte.

The flying saucer went up a little higher.

“Who is that?” came over the loudspeaker again, this time even a little louder. I saw, as I clung to the side of the tree, that the Me had been pulled higher, too, so that both were clearly above the treetops.

“IT’S ME! DAMMIT, BRIGITTE! IT’S ME!” I shrieked it at the top of my lungs, my mind exploding in a vision of making love to Brigitte and the hallway where Samson, that damned soul, had told me she’d betrayed me, to her eyes after Church that morning that we’d first been attacked by the revenants to her hand clinging to mine in Hell. In my mind I almost started to cry and a sobbing shrug heaved out of me, making it hard to hang on to the tree. If my thoughts had words, they’d have been something like: It’s me, Brigitte, and how could you do this to me, how could you tell me you love me and tell me you’re pregnant and obviously you are pregnant but is it mine and what am I supposed to do about it because it was all fake wasn’t it, it was all a trap, it was just something that was set up but I really did love you so why are you being like this?

My thoughts were shooting out like that, and I hung onto the tree and looked up and saw the saucer start to lower slowly down.

Then, in my mind, I saw an image of Brigitte again: Her eyes had that wide, almost-cried look, and she was smiling. She was beautiful.

Then, in my mind, I felt: Look out!

Then I saw Doc! It was Doc! Hovering there, and it took me a second to realize that he really was there, right by me! Doc!

I said it: “Doc!” But he didn’t do anything, not right away, and then he shot straight up into the air, up to the saucer again. I lost track of him about a hundred feet up. “Doc!” I yelled again.

I was about to start climbing when I saw a ray shoot out of the bottom of the saucer, a bluish ray that began at the top of the trees. Wherever it hit the trees, there was a fizzle sound, and crackling and electrical smells began to fill the air. The blue ray was disintegrating the trees, right above me, sweeping lower and lower and lower.

Towards me.

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Part 14B: A surprise above the trees!

She shot up faster and faster, and I heard in my mind:

What are you doing? Stop it? Help! But it was growing fainter as she went up and up. I shouted and tried to think back:

“I’m not doing anything! Fight! Or something!”

She stopped, about 200 feet up, looking down at me, just a speck above me in the branches and speckles of light and leaves that looked small but which I knew (from falling through them) were as big as me, almost. I could barely see her.

And I could barely hear her. Or think her. Whatever. But in my mind, I heard, or felt… look, it’s easier to say heard, okay? That’s what I’m used to saying. In my mind I heard:

Rachel, you’ve got to help me. I don’t… stop that!

That last part wasn’t directed at me. I looked up. The Me was fighting or struggling, somehow. She was hunched over, it looked like, and throwing elbows. Her feet kicked back at something and she was writhing a little. In my mind, I heard no words at all, just feelings.

They weren’t good, they weren’t bad. They were scared, which I guess is bad. I didn’t know that you could project feelings, or maybe I did, because when we’d been making love, there’d been an extra oomph! to it, especially during certain parts. But I hadn’t thought those were, you know, emotions. Now I knew that you could, because the Me was sending me scared and fright and wonder… I don’t know how I knew that last one but it wasn’t one that was like fear, only it was, kind of.

I looked around, on the ground, for something to do. My mind kept being overwhelmed, buffeted by the feelings that the Me was sending: wonder… fear… wonder… thrill…fear...then it began being more fear fear fear, kind of the way a shower in your CleanZone might be set to begin with hot, then go a little colder, then get hot again, if you like to mix things up.

I couldn’t find anything that seemed helpful. There was a rock nearby, about the size of my fist. I picked it up, hefted it, and looked up again. The Me was dangling, now, upside down, apparently by one foot. I still couldn’t see what was holding her in there but it was something because she was really fighting around, trying her best to get free.

Don’t try to get free, I thought at her. Then, in case my thinking didn’t work, I yelled it, too. She looked down at me – I saw her face turning towards me – and I said and thought: “I’ll help you!”

Then, not knowing what else to do, I hurled the rock, as hard as I could, up at her, trying to hit whatever was holding her up.

It fell way, way, way short. It went up maybe fifty feet and then fell straight down, in fact almost hitting me – I had to sidestep it.

Help! A thought got through. I wondered if something was blocking her, or if there was a limit to how far telepathy could travel. I wondered if they’d take her farther and I wouldn’t know what to do.

The emotions kept coming, and I knew I had to do something. There was more fear than anything else and I could see the Me fighting and fighting. I looked around again, helplessly, and then heard another scream and felt a blast of emotion. I looked up.

The Me was going higher, still. She shot up a little more, now almost completely out of sight among the leaves and branches.

I looked at the tree in front of me. I remembered when I woke up in Hell, that first time. I looked at my hands. I sighed.

“I’m coming to get you,” I said. Then I thought it: I’m coming to get you! Hang on! I thought it as hard as I could, then I reached out and grabbed the tree, as high up as I could.

I pulled up and tried to find a footrest. Belatedly, I kicked off my shoes and dug my toes into the grooves in the bark. I pushed up with my toes and grabbed higher up, then felt around more, getting a knot in the tree where I could rest my left foot.

I began inching up that tree, watching with as much of my attention as I could, watching the Me dangling there, so high up, upside down and fighting and twisting and wrestling whenever she could, pausing now and then. I kept feeling her emotions in my mind but I couldn’t concentrate on anything, really, except climbing, so I tried to, in the back of my mind, just think reassuring things to her and hoped she picked them up.

It was tiring. It was exhausting, pulling myself up that tree inch by inch. It didn’t seem like I was making any progress, at all. A foot here, a few inches there. I had to move around the tree, too, trying to find good places to climb. There were little twiggy branches here and there but nothing for another hundred feet or so to really help me climb. I kept going, though, fingers getting torn and raw and bloody, knees pushing against the tree, arms aching, sweat pouring down my forehead.

I’m not going to let you get away, too, I thought at the Me. I’m going to save you.

I felt a wave of fear and gratitude come over me. When I saw the Me now, on those times I was on her side of the tree, she mostly hung there, motionless and tired. I felt, coming from her, mostly tiredness, now. I kept my mind on her, kept picturing her smiling and trying to make that a pleasant thought, a hopeful thought. I tried to climb on that side, so that she could see me.

Once, I looked down. I was higher up than I’d thought, maybe fifty feet up already. It felt like I’d been climbing for days. But I was closer to the Me: The emotions were stronger and I could pick up more words in her thoughts.

Let me go she thought a lot.

And What are you doing?

And What is this thing? When she thought that, I wondered what she was looking at. I looked up, wanting to wipe sweat out of my eyes, but I was clinging to the side of a giant tree 75 or more feet off the ground and couldn’t spare the effort. My hands were needed. I locked my legs and tried to take deep breaths.

What is it? I thought at the Me.

Nothing in return. I couldn’t hardly see her. I started to climb again when I got an image, thrown back in my mind, strong and solid, almost. It startled me, how strong it was, and how shiny it was, but that wasn’t all. It startled me so bad, in fact, that I almost lost my grip. I grabbed onto the tree, my heart racing and my pulse in my ears, sweat dripping down into my eyes and mouth. I gasped for breath.

“Hang on, Rachel, hang on,” I told myself. “You’ve done harder things than this.” I tried not to fall. My mind felt like a tornado. I felt more than ever that I had to climb up, but I also wondered if I wasn’t just making it up. Maybe my own mind had filled that in.

I pressed my face against the bark of the tree, feeling its rough scrape on my cheek. It was cool compared to me and I hung there, eyes closed and chest heaving. I got my breath and I got my bearings.

I looked down. About a hundred feet up, maybe.

I looked up. Maybe one-third of the way to the Me.

I shifted my right hand to get a better grip. I was desperate to just start climbing up again but I had to be calm. I had to make sure I didn’t fall, and that I didn’t give anything away.

Assuming there was anything to give away.

I kept my face against the tree, my eyes closed now. I pictured the Me, up there, upside down, in mid-air. Can you hear me? I thought.

I can.

I thought this, then: Was that what you see?

A pause. Then the thing again. Instead of an answer, the Me simply sent me what she saw:

Hanging above her, way above her, above the tree, too, above all the trees, was something shiny and silver and round and kind of flat, with little points and lights and gadgets and stuff on it. It had spots, here and there, that must have been windows or something, and things, too, that looked like weapons. (Weapons always look like weapons, don’t they?)

So it is really there, I thought. I kept the tree pressed tight to me, hugging it. I kept willing myself to hang on, to be calm, not to fall.

It is, the Me thought back.

Then, the Me sent: Why are you so upset?

I took a deep breath. I dug my fingers into the bark and grabbed on for all I was worth.

What else did you see? I asked her. I pictured in my mind the flying saucer that was hovering over the trees, holding the Me somehow up in the air. But I didn’t fill it in. I just waited for the Me, who sent back:

I saw someone flying it, and then she sent me the image of who was in the flying saucer.

It was Brigitte.

I nearly let go of the tree in spite of myself.