Meanwhile, In Tampa... War Breaks Out Part 3!

“Where did you lose her?” God asked.

“Lose who?” Samson said, but he’d already guessed by the time he said it. Who else, he thought to himself, and then had to focus on the now-rising Valkyrie that had been knocked down by Fuzzy Bird’s arrival. He held up his ray gun, but the redhead was faster than he’d thought. He’d assumed she’d been stunned but it seemed she hadn’t, judging by how quickly she got up and had the spear up and was slashing it towards Fuzzy Bird. Samson head a yell and in his mind he felt her say:

You stole her from us after we’d finally found her! And in his mind he saw, as he’d surmised, Rachel, this time being lifted out of a hole in the tower on Valhalla, in the clutches of this… bird-thing.

Fuzzy Bird spun his head and saw the spear coming and even as Samson saw the spear end glow with a flash of energy, he was being lifted up and so was God, each of them clutched in one of Fuzzy Bird’s talon-paws and rising higher and faster than Samson would have thought possible. Definitely, he thought faster than anything I’ve ever been in and I’ve been in rockets and battle saucers. The battle was already tiny below them, flashed of color from spears mixed with bursts of flame where ray guns hit their marks. Horses lay on their side around the perimeter, many of them dead. Samson knew that wouldn’t especially bother the Valkyries or the horses. That was the horse’s role in life, after all, and Samson knew that the Valkyries were advanced enough to this point that they just kept cloning the horses and then imprinting their prior self’s memories on the new horse using the telepathy they were famed for; Samson was aware of all that because the military had tried it, two wars ago, in an effort to avoid the cost of retraining soldiers. But the humans had minded remembering their deaths, minded it terribly, which was when that project had been scrapped, as so many others had been scrapped by the military simply because of ethical considerations.

Speaking of which, he thought now and began looking for the man he’d brought with him. They were too high up to spot; the entire compound was just a tiny dot now and Samson tried calling up to the bird-thing.

“Hey,” he yelled. “We’ve got to go back.” He looked down again.

Fuzzy Bird kept climbing higher. It appeared not to have heard.

“HEY!” Samson tried again, a little louder. A hand reached over and touched his shoulder.

Try thinking it, God told him through Sharing, and Samson wondered again how it was that this incarnation of God had come equipped with a chip. He must have known, which only made sense, Samson supposed, but when creating an earthly human body for himself, why bother to include the chip and the nerve-wiring that went with it? Wouldn’t He have been able to communicate with all His charges anyway, even absent the chip? Or had He known, suspected, that He was going to be locked out.

“What?” God thought at him and said, aloud, too, and His hand pulled away, sharply as Samson realized that he’d been thinking those things while God had been touching him. He wondered how much had come across, but that was a stupid thing to ponder; the whole point of Sharing was that all of it came across.

All of it.

He thought for a moment and tried to decide what to say. He looked over at God, who looked stricken and confused and angry, all at once.

He was spared answering immediately because Fuzzy Bird stopped, and stopped so abruptly that it made Samson’s stomach lurch.

“How does he do that, so quickly”” Samson wondered aloud.

Then he looked around.

“Why’d we stop?”

They weren’t motionless, entirely. Fuzzy Bird’s wings were a blur as he hovered and Samson imagined he could see the strain on the animal-thing’s face as it worked and worked to hold position.

We are near the edge of the atmosphere, He felt the Bird think to him.

“You can share!” Samson said, like most people forgetting to think it out of his surprise. Even two generations in, Sharing didn’t come naturally to many, so new of an innovation it was in human communication.

Of course I can, Fuzzy Bird said, and then aloud said ***And I can talk, too.***

“We have to go back,” Samson said. He pictured the Compound, and the man, and tried to send a sense of peril, of helping this man.

***You don’t want to help him*** Fuzzy Bird said. His wings were buzzing and whirring. God was still glaring at Samson. ***You just need him***

Yes, that’s true, Samson Shared. But I want to help him because of that, and we DO need him.

“Tell me what you meant,” God said, suddenly. “About Me.”

Samson looked over at him. He couldn’t think what to say and just kept his mouth shut. All the times he and The General had talked about this, and he couldn’t for the life of him think of what they’d strategized about the moment God found out what was going on and who He really was.

Samson suddenly realized that God was reaching out to him and tried to block his thoughts.

“Don’t, Sir, please,” he said, and tried to have his voice echo with the authority of all his commands in all the past situations. If he could urge 3,000 men to charge across a field of molten lava simply for the greater glory of a petroleum company, he should be able to slow down the Hand of God.

As he watched, God pulled his hand back.

I can’t believe that worked, Samson thought, a feeling of immense pride and power flooding into him. I commanded God.

But God was looking over Samson’s shoulder, not at him, and so Samson looked over his shoulder, too, where he saw what God was looking at..

There was a hole in the air, a gaping wide hole that seemed at first to be looking into nothing, and then seemed to be glowing red. As they watched, the hole widened up, and a finger poked through. Then two. Then a whole hand, which reached out for them “We’re going to Hell,” Samson said, with a sigh of relief. “It’s the Grabber!” The troops had won!

He watched as the hand approached and thought to himself that as soon as they landed, he’d have them grab the man, too, to help get to the bottom of things about why God had ordered Rachel and this whole deal about the left hand, which was not supposed to have been on there.

But the hand got to them, and somehow bypassed Samson entirely. It grabbed God, pulling him away from Fuzzy Bird’s clawpaw, and God and the hand disappeared.

Meanwhile, In Tampa... War Breaks Out Part 2

Samson didn’t hesitate. He hadn’t been hiding because he was a coward. He’d hid because he was a veteran of four different wars, counting this one that the world didn’t even know was going on yet (or most of the world, which was the same thing as far as he was concerned, but, then, the last two previous wars hadn’t been general public knowledge, either. The fact that a war was secret, or that it now involved probably 16 different dimensions, didn’t make it any less fatal.) He’d hid because he had to assess the situation, and now, having assessed it with a combative intelligence that had been honed through those three prior wars and the early skirmishes here in Armageddon (for we might as well call it that, he thought to himself as he ran faster and faster towards the Valkyrie) he acted to save God by running directly at the giant naked woman whose sword was plunging directly towards God’s face.

Samson plowed into her with all the force he could muster, holding his ray gun in his right hand. He wasn’t particularly large but had unexpected amounts of strength that he attributed to the time he’d spent in Hell, time that was supposed to have been only a couple of weeks, at most, but the way time differed between the dimensions, he couldn’t tell how long, anymore, he’d been there. Decades, maybe, most of it still haunting the back of his mind no matter what else he thought about. He drove into the Valkyrie with all of that pent up might and rage, and… it did nothing.

Or almost nothing. He shook her enough that the sword missed its mark, didn’t slash through God’s face but narrowly avoided it. Samson didn’t fall back or drop off the Valkyrie, who at first did not seem to have noticed him. He pushed into her and wrapped his arms around her – grabbing around the slim-but-strong waist and pushing more, his right hand still clutching the ray gun. The Valkyrie faltered a little then and looked down at him, still holding God in the air with her other hand.

Samson fired, his right hand swiveling to shoot the ray gun up towards the woman, regretting even as he did it that it would damage her beauty. His finger pulled the trigger down and held it down and he heard the familiar sizzling sound, saw the results as the Valkyrie’s face and hair became burnt, the hair bursting into flame and her face scorching and twisting in agony.

She dropped God as in his mind he felt a burst of images and horrific pain. He was still in contact with her and tried to pull away before Sharing killed him, too. That was one of the first things one learned about hand-to-hand combat: let go before they die. He jumped up, still firing at her with the ray gun, the close range making it all the more effective, as God dropped to his hands and knees nearby.

Samson’s mind whirled with the brief blast of agonizing pain and torture he’d felt and he struggled to regain his composure, but only for a second. He leaned down and put his hand on God’s shoulder.

“Let’s go,” he said. God looked up at him.

“Did you have to do that?”

“She was going to kill you.”


Samson helped hoist him up to his feet. “We have to go,” he said, and he heard that sound again, the bird-thing, coming down, the buzz of its wings like a giant hummingbird, or maybe a helicopter (who’d seen one of those for centuries, he thought, absurdly) and he looked around for the source of the sound. His mind clouded, too, with more images and words as the Valkyries’ telepathy grew more dominant. He realized they were regrouping, forming up a defensive front against the bird and the compound’s guards.

Right around him, he realized with a chagrined feeling. They were enclosing him in a circle where he stood next to the Valkyrie he’d just killed with his ray gun, with God at his side. Words and yells and strategies flitted through his mind, a montage almost too fast and blurry to follow as the squawing sound got louder. He could feel the sound waves pummeling him and he braced himself, as he saw the Valkyries doing.

The squawing, the buzzing, grew louder, overwhelming the sound of the rest of the battle. A Valkyrie backed up, staggering before it, and bumped into him. She turned around. He looked into eyes that were impossibly large, and soft, and bright, surrounded by curly reddish hair underneath a battle helmet. This Valkyrie was only about 3 inches taller than him but still stronger-looking. She had her spear and she looked down at the dead, burnt woman at his feet, then scowled.

He lifted his ray gun as she whirled her spear around to point at him but they were both flattened and pushed back as Fuzzy Bird suddenly landed between them, the squawing stopping, as Fuzzy Bird looked at God.

“Fuzzy Bird!” God said. “You came back!”

“I found her,” Fuzzy Bird said. “But then I lost her.”

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Meanwhile, In Tampa...

Meanwhile, In Tampa:

Samson rolled down and over and came up with water pouring down on him and something heavy and squealing falling on his shoulders. Sputtering and gasping, he clawed at his face and gasped for breath, smelling oily fish scales and hearing nothing but roars and screams. It took a second for him to realize, as his vision cleared, that he’d been right next to the aquarium-wall and that the explosion, whatever it was, must have shattered that.

He stayed down, though, and pulled at the eel-like thing that had fallen on his head and flapped around, squawking and honking as it tried to get back into the water. He was soaked and breathless and needed to get this thing off of his head. In front of him, as the eel flapped, he saw:

Eel: red and yellow and finny and scalyh.

Then the man from the deli looking around blankly, his shoulder on fire.

Then more eel, as a fin drooped over his face and he continued pulling at it, thinking this thing must weigh 300 pounds. He was hampered in moving it because his other hand was digging in his coat.

As the fin lifted he saw one of the armed guards shoving the deli man out of the way and holding a rifle up only to have his head explode and the fin dropped down again.

Samson had grabbed what he needed and now pulled the small ray gun out of his coat where it had been hidden away. He also had shoved the eel off enough that he could try to sit up, only to have the fins flap up and block his view again, just as he’d seen what he thought was a horse flying down.

“Shit,” he said, as he processed that, and, thinking quickly, he ducked back down behind the eel, which continued to squeak and honk and flap, sliming him and blocking his view much of the time. But if it was what he thought it was…

It was. In between flipper-flaps, he saw the horse land and more horses land, with the Valkyries forming a protective circle, horses and spears facing outwards, shooting blasts of energy from their spears at the guards who were coming up the drive and across the forest and out of the house.

But where was God?

And how did they get here?

Samson sat below the eel and thought those things.

Two valkyries took shots from ray guns and went down, their horses moving forwards to cover them. Samson tried to blank his mind out. They would not be able to talk, here, he knew, and so would be using nothing but telepathy. And if they were looking for hostile thoughts, he would not be mask his mind from them. He doughted he could block his thoughts at all, anyway. Not with that many, and not with how his mind was racing. And not with his chip and wiring making it easy for them.

Where is God?

He watched from behind the now-slowing eel’s fins, the fluttering thick leathery substance more weakly moving up and down now as the eel suffocated, and he saw the Valkyries reorienting to take on the bulk of the guards. He saw the deli man come over to him, crawling. His shoulder was still on fire.

“Don’t you feel anything?” Samson hissed as the man got close enough for Samson to reach out and grab his collar. He pulled him closer and beat out the fire, which the man for the first time seemed to notice. “Where’s God?” Samson said, as the man was about to speak. Samson said it and shared it, the question coursing through the tiny filaments that doubled as nerve fibers, his chip picking it up and communicating it to the man’s chip. The image of God, in his sandals and sporty shirt, was transmitted, too.

The man didn’t respond but his mind was a blank and Samson got that. He also got a mixture of emotions back, a blast of confusion and fear and adrenaline and also, he noted, some anger and fear that was hidden in the background – a different kind of anger and fear than the other anger and fear, like tasting the pineapple in a pineapple-orange daiquiri.

It was aimed at him, he realized, and he looked at the man.

“No time for that,” he said, and sent shared some reassurance. “Trust me,” he said, and sent some more reassurance. At least he hoped he’d sent reassurance. It’d been a while since he’d had to do this. He looked out again at the Valkyrie-Guard battle and noticed that some of the women (and beautiful women they were, sexy and large-breasted and bare-chested in some cases and flowing hair and one of them had no pants on, either. Even in the midst of the battle Samson felt his cock harden a little at that and he tried to focus) some of the women were pointing up.

He looked up.

“What the fuck is that?” he asked.

The eel fin flapped once more and Samson missed the first glimpse. The fin lifted and he saw the second glimpse, a giant curly-haired sheepbird thing diving down at a screamingly fast speed, and screamingly was the right word for it, because the bird-thing was shrieking, squawing, so loud that the sound was like a force itself.

It was, in fact, a force, he saw in a moment, as the bird dove and the squaw got louder and the Valkyries were flattened by the sound – almost literally, as they and their horses were knocked over, falling to the ground and scrambling. The bird-sheep thing swooped low over them and through the area, drawing some ray-gun shots from the guards, too, who were uncertain whose side this thing was on and decided that if they didn’t recognize it, it wasn’t on their side even though it had just helped them.

With the Valkyries momentarily down, about ten of the guards swarmed in and began wrestling hand-to-hand with the Valkyries, who were themselves quick to get to their feet. The horses were slower but in seconds there was a battle between armored guards with electrified billy clubs and horses and six-and-a-half foot tall beautiful women holding short swords.

As Samson laid there, looking at the battle and for God, he saw one of the taller Valkyries square off against two armored guards. This was the one that had no pants – she was naked, entirely, her skin an almost-ivory, creamy white color that contrasted with the jet-black ebony flowing hair that was pulled into a ponytail but which hung to nearly her firm, round, buttocks, which Samson found almost hypnotic as they flexed and readied themselves to attack. The guards both held up their clubs, glowing blue with power, and the Valkyrie crouched, all three motionless for a split-second before she dove at them. Her sword jabbed towards the guard on her left, missing him, and missing him badly. Samson wondered how she could have been so far off but then saw: She’d jabbed but started her sword to the right, deliberately missing the blow, which had been a feint to the guard on the left in order to entice the guard on the right to attack her even as she leaped.

Which he did: the guard on the right, no coward, jumped forward himself as he saw the blade stab away from him. But he was himself a jillionth of a second too late, and the Valkyrie had already plunged her magnificent body forward enough that he missed her entirely with his down-sweeping club blow, hitting the club hard against the ground where a hair-breadth before, the Valkyrie had stood.

She, meanwhile, had moved forward while her sword arm swung back on the seemingly missed blow, and the sword arced around behind her, her right arm guiding it without the Valkyrie watching it at all.

Samson had heard stories of Valkyrie battles and he knew that they, through their telepathy, could link minds so that each Valkyrie saw the entire battlefield from the perspective of every other Valkyrie in the battle. They were impossible to sneak up on, impossible to surprise, impossible to outwit, he’d heard, and he saw why, now, as the Valkyrie’s sword, without being watched by its owner, swept around and sliced through the armor of the right-most guard, nearly cutting him in half. Samson heard the guard moan and cry out as the sword bit into him.

The left-guard, meanwhile, had only a brief moment to react, and his reaction had been one of relief as the sword-jab had missed him. His relief lasted not at all as the Valkyrie’s instantaneous, simultaneous leap had driven her into him – his body relaxed in that moment because he thought he’d been spared the sword-blow that was even now cutting his compatriot in half. His relief ended as the beautiful, sexy, deadly warrior drove into him and knocked him down underneath her powerful legs (and, Samson thought, if I was going to be stabbed in the face by a Valkyrie sword, I’d at least like it be while I had her legs wrapped around my head…).

The Valkyrie knelt there, pulling her sword up, and was about to stab down on the man’s face when the bird thing drew her attention, as it came swooping back through on another superfast, superloud pass, its squaw blowing the Valkyrie off the guard entirely and sending her sprawling again. Again, the Valkyries were knocked prone by the wave of sound as the bird thing made its run, and this time the guards were driven down, too.

Samson watched that, too, and saw, among the bodies struggling to stand and begin fighting again, one man already up, seemingly unaffected by this all but confused. God stood amidst the battle with a puzzled look on his face, staring at the receding shape of Fuzzy Bird as the bird-thing rose up to begin another turn and dive again.

Samson saw God’s mouth working, mumbling to himself, and he knew he had to act.

“Wait here,” he told the deli man, and shoved aside the fin to stand up again, hoping he could get to the middle of the scrum and back before that bird thing came back and before the Valkyries and guards began fighting again. Hoping, but certain that he couldn’t. “Don’t move a muscle,” he said. “I’m going to get God out of here.”

With that, he ran towards the middle of the battle, but was not quick enough, as two guards got up first, to be knocked down by a horse who had made it to his feet and was neighing madly. Before Samson could get there, before any more guards could get there, the naked, black-haired Valkyrie made it to her feet and grabbed God by the throat with one hand, lifting him off the ground and holding him in the air with her left hand.

With her right, she aimed her sword at God’s face.


My weekly reminder of what I'm writing and what I'm reading...

What I'm Writing:

The pause button lets me take a moment, as I recall my honeymoon, to explain why I chose those particular songs for my Honeymoon Mixtape. (Thinking The Lions)

Maybe getting dumped isn't all bad? It's certainly not if you're a character in a movie -- then you almost want to get dumped, don't you? (The Best of Everything.)

2012? It'll come a lot earlier thanks to Joe The Magician, whose first show went off without a hitch. Except for the part about hastening the end of the world. That's a small flaw. (AfterDark.)

Desperate for love, or sleep? In my novel Up So Floating Many Bells Down Sarah roams around her house in the middle of the night, thinking about her trip to San Diego with Peyton, her fight with Jane, and why photographs no longer seem real. (5 Pages)

School's almost back, so it's time for a landlord-tenant law pop quiz! (Family and Consumer Law: The Blog)

Zounds! I've figured out how to use midichlorians to boost my writing career. Take that, Darth Sidious! (Aaaugh!!)

It's literature's first pregnant ex-lover/sexy Valkyrie/mysterious clone/lesbian zombie love quadrangle! In the latest installment of her story, Rachel is almost shot down by a fleet of flying saucers, but is rescued by a revived Ivanka -- who's as sexy as ever. (Lesbian Zombies Are Taking Over The World!)

What I'm Reading:

Want to get published? Write good query letters -- with help from QueryShark.

The Boy is blogging? It's true -- and he's picked five movie sequels better than the originals. (Note: He's wrong about The Empire Strikes Back, and he'll be grounded for that.) (Mean True Things)

I never know how I find these sites, but I do -- which is good, because otherwise I'd never know how to get to the Electric Pony Sale. (Worst Sign Ever.)