The War of the Gods Book Four Chapter 17

Sally Winters

Just when she thought she would lose, something extraordinary happened. Jerry reached her, his bony, broken knuckles locking around her throat. By all rights they shouldn’t be able to hold anything up, but trust her, they were more than strong enough to yank her up off the section of floor she floated with. The floor plating broke away beneath her, and she waited for Jerry to snap her neck or at least injure her sufficiently to make it easier to control her mind. But just as his fingers started tightening around her throat, his own head was yanked back. It looked as if someone had attached it to a string and then suddenly grabbed it with all their might. She could see the lines of muscles in his throat exposed as the skin was stretched over them. There was a crack from somewhere back near the base of his head.

He dropped her throat. His finger started to twitch. He grabbed his own neck, his jagged nails sliding down his flesh, tearing the already torn and strained skin.

Sally fell onto the floor. They’d been fighting in another one of those cold, lonely rooms. There wasn’t even any technology in here. It looked like nothing more than a silent grave. Not one for a person. Just one for four walls and air.

She staggered back, her hair flopping in front of her face as her eyes opened wide at the sight of Jerry stumbling off the section of floor he’d been floating on. He continued to clutch at his throat. Then he screamed. Once. Just once. It wasn’t him – it was one of the Observers’ keening voices. It had this final quality to it, as if the guy was dying.

“No,” the other Observers gurgled as one.

Jerry fell to his knees.

For a fraction of a second, Sally actually thought she’d done it. Somehow, the Observers had fallen. But then they rose again. Jerry was jerky at first, but then the smooth quality of their control returned.

It was accompanied with a look of desperation she had yet seen them show. It was worse than anything they’d looked upon her with before.

There was an edge of utter desperation. It was replicated in the movements of their hands as they snapped them forward.

Jerry turned and stretched a hand out. He instantly grabbed hold of the floor below her, and he yanked it out as if he was grabbing hold of the carpet underneath a once stable chair. Sally had no option but to fall to the side. She tumbled down the hole opening up beneath her. She assumed she would fall straight to another room below. But this time, she entered some kind of hangar bay. She caught a glimpse of a strange ship suspended in a pillar of light right in the middle of the massive room.

She continued to fall. Her terror got the better of her for a fraction of a second until she managed to shove a hand out. It was just before she struck the gray metal base of the hangar bay. She stopped her fall. But that was it. The further away she got from the future box, the less she could use her newfound telekinetic skills.

Maybe that wasn’t the same for the Observers, though. They could clearly extract more juice from it remotely, because Jerry suddenly floated down beside her in a cloud of crackling black psychic power.

Sally twisted, kicked her feet over her head, and shoved up. She preemptively brought her hands up and tried to connect to anything she could, but there was precious little around her. She didn’t have the strength to yank the floor out from underneath Jerry’s feet. And there were no handy tools she could grab hold of or chunks of discarded metal.

“It’s over now. The end will come today. Time to submit for the King,” the Observers said, but their voices slurred together with shrieking fear.

Sally had no clue how one of them had died, but now she was more certain than ever they’d been killed. There was only one thing she could think of. “Joseph. I don’t know where he went, but he killed one of you somehow, didn’t he? He’s actually managed to get rid of one of you, despite all your so-called power.”

The Observers might have been trying to hide the truth from her, but they couldn’t hide their rage. As it pitched through Jerry’s throat, they revealed everything in one endless cry that sounded as if it came from the depths of hell.

Sally finally managed to snag hold of just a small section of metal from underneath her feet. She yanked it up and sent it spinning around her defensively.

It was just as the Observers rocketed forward.

She was done describing how broken Jerry’s body was. Whatever device was in his chest would clearly ensure he held on for as long as the Observers needed him.

But how long could it work for? Yeah, it was clear it came from this strange building – whatever it was and wherever it was. She couldn’t even begin to recognize the technology. But she just knew it couldn’t animate a rotting corpse too long, despite its inherent power.

Maybe the Observers realized this, because they snapped in quicker than they had before. Their movements were precise, controlled, and deadly. The next thing she knew, Jerry was somehow beside her. He interacted with the plating beneath her feet, and it grew up, moving so quickly, even Joseph wouldn’t have been able to react in time. It encapsulated her foot, locking her to the spot as it solidified back down. She spluttered and tried to jerk away, but the edges of the metal were rough, and they easily cut her skin. As long lines of shimmering crimson blood slid down her lower leg and splashed onto her other boot, she tried again, this time using her telekinetic abilities, but it didn’t count.

Jerry reached her, scooting in from behind, his feet still secured on a floating section of floor. He locked an arm around her throat, and he shoved his bicep against her neck. He pushed in as hard as he possibly could until she spluttered like a dying engine. “Over now. Over. The King will come. He will save us all.”

“It’s… not over for me,” she managed a snarl. “It’s over for you.”

She just had to keep the hope in her heart that out there, somewhere, Joseph was managing to fight the Observers directly. All she required was time. Give him that, and he might cut through every single one of them.

Sally still had a connection to that single piece of metal sheeting she’d ripped from the floor. She sent it spinning around her and twisting up high. It shot toward Jerry’s head. But he created a telekinetic force field just in time, and it rebounded. Sally didn’t give up. She just sent that scrap spinning to the left then to the right, then it attacked him from below.

It pushed against the chunk of metal he stood on. It made it shudder and crack, but it didn’t destroy it.

Jerry just locked his arm harder around her throat. “It’s over, Queen. Break apart to allow us within. Open the gate. Once and for all.”

“There is no way in hell I’m gonna let you get to the Queen,” she croaked back. She elbowed him.

He was ready for it. He took the move. She put her all into it, and it didn’t damn well matter. Sally couldn’t keep doing that. There was a limit to how much strength she could scrounge. She was already running on empty, anyway. But just before she could hit the pits of despair, she told herself to just buy herself another single second. That was it. Gather together every moment she could and just hope that out there, somewhere, Joseph would find her another chance.

So she used what strength she had to elbow him again.

Jerry didn’t even jolt back this time. It was as if she’d done nothing more than pick up her shoe and use it to try to dig out a grand tree. He was immovable, and everything she attempted wouldn’t work.

He locked his hand on the back of her head. She felt a wave of his psychic manipulation try to push in. It was desperate. She’d never felt this kind of force. The Observers were right now scared for their lives, and every time she’d been scared for her life, she’d managed to scrounge more energy, just as they did now.

She was forced to scream, her lips opening of their own accord as her psyche let out this wretched cry that signaled its impending end.

The Observers pushed in and in and in until suddenly there was a crack. Sally didn’t know where she heard it from. It didn’t come from this room. It had to be from beyond. She almost… almost thought she heard Joseph give a scream of joy.

And that’s when Jerry was thrown back. He dropped his grip on her head, and the metal around her ankle suddenly cracked. He tumbled right off the section of floor he’d been floating on. He fell to the side so harshly, she swore she heard his hip crack. He clutched his side, his sweaty fingers sliding off as his eyes bulged once more and his head was dragged back. He screamed. There was the uncanny shriek of another one of the Observers dying.

She heard the guy’s distinct voice rise up from his cracked throat, then it just fell back like a wave disappearing into the sea, never to return.

She knew she had to capitalize on the moment. She instantly grabbed hold of the section of floor he’d been on. She didn’t use it to shoot upward to get closer to the telekinetic force of the future box. She set her eyes on that strange ship instead. She had to go back to the fact that, within, she knew where this place was. She had no clue at all what kind of technology it used. She had even less of a clue of whether it would interact with her. But she had a hope, and she would force it to count.

She reached the ship.

She spread a hand toward it, using the little telekinetic energy she had left to attempt to interact with it.

She thought she heard some kind of grating sound, almost as if the hatch was just about to open for her, but then she was rebuffed.

That’s when she recognized this technology, whatever it was, had a psychic component.

It was too late. Jerry was back. He rose up toward her, covered in another cloud of spitting power. If she’d been paying attention, she would’ve realized that this time he was much weaker. Jerry was starting to shake like an engine that simply couldn’t be forced to continue the output its cruel pilots were demanding of it.

His hands were twisted at the wrong angles, more bone shards protruding from the graying flesh.

He still reached her, still shoved a hand out toward her like chains erupting from a nightmare.

As his shoulder muscles strained and his neck bulged, she was struck by a wave of telekinetic force. But she didn’t give up attempting to interact with that ship.

Not only did it have some kind of psychic input mechanism, but… did she recognize it? Yes. She had no clue why, but something within her simply knew this place.

She… now wasn’t the time. It really, really wasn’t the time, but she was forced to close her eyes anyway. She thought she saw a flash of this hangar bay. But it wasn’t one she’d experienced in the last minute. This was from long ago. Hundreds of years ago, to be precise.

Sally still didn’t know what had transpired between the Queen and Caxus. All she knew was that whatever had happened, it had ultimately cost Layra the most important of her memories.

It had driven holes in her head, making her ignorant of the true forces lining up to use her.

But maybe those holes in her memory were now fixing themselves.

Layra had definitely been in this exact room, and she had interacted with that ship. And it belonged… it belonged to Caxus. It was a Xentai ship. As was this entire building.

Those were amazing revelations, but they couldn’t change the fact the Observers had reached her.

A new wave of telekinetic energy struck her and lifted her right off the section of floating platform she’d been clutching on to.

She was twisted around until she looked like nothing more than a doll in a display case. Her mouth was forced open.

Then she shot forward, right into Jerry’s greedy grip. But as his hands locked around her throat, she felt it happen once more. Another one of the Observers was attacked.

“No,” they all shrieked together. “We cannot fall. They were destined to win. We didn’t sacrifice everything to lose now.”

She somehow managed to speak around his cast-iron grip. “Nobody sacrifices to lose in the future. And nobody gets to win just because they tried hard. You need to try harder,” she snapped. But the words weren’t for the Observers. They were a last-ditch rallying cry to finally get her to rely on her own strength.

It was Sally’s turn to shove her hands forward and wrap them around Jerry’s throat.

She didn’t float there. She had to hold on to his floating form instead. So she damn well held on. She held on, and she squeezed with all her might and all her mind.

It was just in time, both for her and Joseph.