As that threat rumbled off Sally’s lips like thunder from an ominous, gathering rain cloud, she thrust her fingers wide, and she readied her telekinetic power.
If she’d had the time to be distracted, she would’ve realized the tingles that pulsed through her fingers were memorable. The sense she could move anything with nothing more than her thoughts was buried in her body somewhere, and it had simply been waiting for her to rediscover it.
This was what it truly felt like to be from the phase realm. For in phase space, if you learned to throw your thoughts, you essentially learned to throw any form of matter. If you connected to it sufficiently, you could do what you willed with your will alone.
But the memory was indistinct, and she knew now wasn’t the time to distract herself.
Jerry skidded back, his shaking shoulders smashing into the wall behind him, and he opened his hands wide. She actually saw a few little shards of bone perforating his knuckles. His fingers were splintering. Good God. What exactly were the Observers going to do when he died? Move in to her? It’s clear that’s what Gan wanted to do. But that would still be an incalculable risk. They’d been given an opportunity, so why hadn’t they bothered to find another host?
Jerry roared. The look in his eyes could’ve rivaled concentrated death. Suddenly, he grabbed hold of the wall paneling behind Sally and ripped it out. She imagined it was the sound of somebody grabbing hold of another person’s skin and yanking it right off their muscles. It sent this spine-tingling wave of total dread rushing through her, but Sally didn’t give up.
She shoved to her knees, letting her balance drop out from underneath her deliberately, and she rolled to the side in a quick move that saw her fringe plaster over her sweaty brow.
It was her turn to grab hold of the wall behind Jerry. It was such a unique experience. Indescribable, really. Though technically they were in bridge space, it still looked real enough to be considered the actual world. But all she had to do was think about an object directly, and she connected to it. It was all in how direct her will could become. She now used it like a set of hands, and she gripped up that section of wall paneling as hard as she possibly could. Then with another roar, she sent it spinning toward Jerry. As it spiraled through the air, he fell onto a knee, shoved his hand out further, and grabbed hold of it with his own force.
He also let out a scream that could wake the dead. “It won’t work, Sally. No matter what you think you can do, you can’t fight us all.”
“I can fight anyone who is stupid enough to get in my way,” Sally barked back. She jolted to the side, rolled again, then grabbed hold of the floor paneling beneath his feet. It was just as he grabbed hold of the paneling beneath her feet. She felt it ripping itself up from the floor. It came with this eerie sound, almost as if someone was tearing through bird wings.
As fast as she possibly could, she locked a hand down on the floor plating and regained control of it. But it distracted her – enough that Jerry managed to do the same, and he grabbed hold of the floor beneath his feet. They were now standing on cut-off sections of plating they had to control with their own minds.
Jerry yanked his head up and sneered. He shot toward her. So Sally just let herself descend. It was quick. She didn’t know what was below her, and she hadn’t had time to psychically scan this place. That said, she didn’t imagine there were any other minds here. It felt empty. Living people didn’t go with the cold, clinical theme. Emptiness, however, went with the prevailing theme of death. It was like someone had stripped out all life in creation to make this place. There was just the metal and lights – no plants, no bacteria even. It was a lonely carcass of a building, almost like a mausoleum.
As Sally went shooting through a new corridor on top of her section of floor plating, she saw doors that led to rooms. There was barely anything inside them. A few glimpses of consoles, but that was it. This place was huge. Who exactly had lived here? And how had they survived through the unbearable loneliness?
That question rose, and she almost felt an answer rising with it. It was as if the information was already buried within her.
Her lips parted open, and she let out a gasp, but this was no time to be emotionally affected, because Jerry found her once more. He came blasting out of the wall to her side. She hadn’t even been aware of the fact he’d come down to her level. He didn’t scream. Why use your voice when your gaze is more effective? His burnt with the blistering hatred of impending death.
“Come back here, Sally,” he snarled. “Everything is over. The King is already growing. There is nothing this pathetic universe can do. It is time to give in to the power that has always waited to overcome you.”
She shot through the corridor. Though she didn’t want to face him, she still twisted around, just to see how fast he was. Perhaps it was an indication that his mind really was stronger than hers, because he was gaining speed.
Sally knew the only thing you could do when you were facing a predator who was faster than you was to weave like a darting rabbit, so that was precisely what she did now. Reaching her fingers out to the left, she blasted a hole through the wall to her side, and she shot through. She didn’t remain there. She’d already interacted with the floor by the time she arrived, and she shoved through it.
She was surrounded by the sound of fracturing metal. That, and Jerry’s breath. If she could actually be pleased about one thing, it was the fact he still had to struggle for every inhalation, and it was only becoming harder.
She twisted over her shoulder once more, and she caught sight of his face. It was even paler. It looked as if he’d died, been brought back to life, and died again. His skin and the rest of his organs simply couldn’t take too much more of this. Then again, all he had to do was capture her.
She tried to weave through another room, but she was too slow. He reached her. He didn’t grab her with his fingers and instead tore up chunks of metal from the section of floor he was on and used them like chains. One of them shot up behind her and snagged hold of her foot. She shrieked but quickly remembered she had the power to wrench it off. Yet only just. She locked her full attention on it and eventually pulled it off her. But it was costly. Jerry got control of the platform she was on. He sent it spinning toward the wall. She saw a flash of it, her whole body stiffening with the anticipation of being smashed against it, but it didn’t come. Again, just at the last moment, she managed to capture hold of her platform.
But she would run out of time eventually. Energy, too. She’d never fought with her mind like this. Even the phase creature hadn’t demanded so much of her.
“You’re already falling, Sally. It’s just a matter of time. We will wear you down. You have been worn down from the beginning, Layra. You cannot continue to fight us. Bit by bit, you will be sacrificed to the King.”
Sally managed to get out of another room. She faced another impersonal corridor, and she fled. For now. Jerry was only gaining ground.
Sally would need a miracle. But none would be forthcoming.