tagNonHumanIt's Always Time Act 04 Ch. 01

It's Always Time Act 04 Ch. 01


It's Always Time Act Four: Food for Thought

Chapter One: A Hole for the World

"Yves, Ursula," Dee said to the odd couple goggling at him in the hallway. "You guys okay?" He scrutinized Ursula's face. Her eyes were hidden behind the fog filming her wide, oval glasses. "Ursula?"

Yves followed Dee's gaze. "Ursula, how're you doing?" Her hand squeezed his until his knuckles ground together. "Everything okay?"

"Yeah," Ursula gulped. "Still gay." She nodded. "I'm impressed but still gay." She surrendered Yves' hand. "Just having a strong flashback, sorry."

"Ursula?" The green girl peeped over her shoulder. "Oh, it's the pharmaceutria from two doors down. Hey."

Ursula started at the term but raised a palm. "Uh. Hey."

The green girl shifted her weight in Dee's arms to leer up at Yves. A sheaf of agate dreadlocks fell over her eyes. "Why hullo there," she drawled. "You're Vigo? A guy like you, staying home playing computer games all night?" She shook her head. "What a crime."

Yves laughed, massaging his hand. "I'm Yves. Upstairs neighbor. Favorite video game: Ms. Pac-Man."

She tipped her head. "Nice to finally meet you two."

Ursula turned away, muttering, "Pharmaceutria."

Dee held the green girl away from his chest to look her in the eye. "I would've introduced you to my friends if you'd ever let me out of the apartment."

"Friends?" The green girl's brow wrinkled. "You have friends?"

"Very funny." Dee rolled his shoulders. The green girl gasped, giggled, and decanted from his arms onto the floor. The cheap carpet wilted and browned under her feet.

Yves marveled at how she moved, sumptuous, feline and somehow familiar. Dee. The green girl sinuated herself under Dee's right arm and nested in the hollow of his shoulder. She moves like Dee does. She purred, her gel flesh smooching against his, a leopard lazing against her favored tree. Or does Dee move like her? He's always moved like that, at least a little or whenever he gets worked up about something, hasn't he?

Dee grinned down at her. "Meet my girlfriend, guys. Honey, these are the guys."

"Just after the nick of time," the green girl sighed, "like always." Dee's right hand disappeared behind her back and she squealed, jumped, and wriggled—No, she's oscillating, Yves realized. Her jelled curves rollicked in the aftershock. It's not a sex kitten act; it's colloid physics. She moves that way even standing still, the poor girl.

Ursula wiped the dew from her glasses on a sleeve. "Galatea, you don't look anything like…" Yves pinched her on the elbow. "…Yves said you would." She glared at him and dodged a second pinch. "You're years younger and a lot shorter than I expected."

The green girl, still undulating against Dee, arched an eyebrow at Yves. "Real subtle."

Yves shrugged. "I'm not worried about subtle. I've got two accomplices. Right, Dee?"

Dee tore his gaze away from the green girl's shimmying chest. "Huh?"

The green girl's face clouded over.

"See?" Yves grinned. "We were just wondering if Galatea was all right, considering everything that happened." His smile fell when he saw the green girl's expression. "Galatea, what is it?"

The green girl fluttered a hand around her throat. "You called me 'Honey,'" she said, staring up at Dee. "You've never called me that before. Have you?"

"I have." Dee cupped her chin. "I'm sorry."

She trembled. "I've lost the first time you called me 'Honey.'"

"We'll get it back," Dee told the green girl. "We'll get all of you back."

"Is it amnesia?" Yves asked.

The green girl shook her head and clung to Dee's side.

"It's a lot more complicated than that," Dee explained. "There are things that happened to Galatea that she's never experienced. And she hasn't just lost Galatea's memories; she's got a bunch of the wrong ones."

"I don't understand," Ursula said. Yves nodded in agreement.

Dee sighed. "It's best if we start over, with proper introductions." He gave the green girl a reassuring squeeze. "Okay?"

"Okay," she said, sniffled and stepped forward.

"Ursula, Yves," Dee said, "I'd like you to meet my beloved, Eurydice."

* * *

A myrtle blush flushed Eurydice's bare breasts and flashed up her throat. Yves and Ursula recoiled from a sudden flare of heat, retreating sideways into the dingy dead-end of the long hall. Dee turned but Eurydice squirmed and fled behind him, yipping, "Sorry, sorry!" Yves could only see the daggered points of her hair quivering behind Dee's neck as she spoke. "I'm so sorry. Dammit, Dee!"

Dee flinched under a splattered drubbing against his back. "Ow. What, what?"

"Dee, I can't believe you named me in front of your friends! You know how much that turns me on!" A few rivulets of green syrup spilled over Dee's hunching shoulders and rolled down his sinewy, naked frame. "So few men ever live long enough to name me and the one that gets to name me twice turns out to be an idiot."

"I understand even less now," Ursula said, pressing her palm against her forehead.

"You’re not alone." Yves sidled as close as he could in the baking heat. "Dee, Ursula and I just risked our lives saving you and your girlfriend's asses, and I know it's not over yet—but I have no idea what happened in there." He stood on tiptoe to stare down at Eurydice from over Dee's shoulder, "Are you Galatea or not?"

"Hey," Dee started.

"Shut up," Ursula said, her back still flat against the beige wall. "Let Sherlock do his thing."

Eurydice propped her chin on Dee's brawny back to glare up at Yves. "I am Galatea." Her brow crinkled. "And a few others, too. Dee brought us back." The nervous writhing of her medusa's hair grew more purposeful, the tips of her snaking dreadlocks exploring the cords of Dee's neck. "I mean Dee brought me back from just a few nanomek…"

Ursula said, "What's—" but Yves muttered, "Magic powder, raw material for meliae magic, makes girls out of goo. Move on."

"Oh!" Ursula jumped away from the wall and babbled. "There's a material component for summoning nymphs? Is it the massa confusa? Does it only make female things? Can I have some?"

"Massa what?" Dee said, "Cherry Cupcake called it novilunium."

"Novilunium, really? Why doesn't anyone tell me these things? Can I have some?" Ursula bounced on her feet. "Actually, that connection makes a lot of sense. Seriously, though, can I have some?" She frowned. "Wait, who's Cherry Cupcake?"

"Oh my God," Dee cried, "you mean you don't know?"

Yves and Eurydice chorused, "Shut the fuck up!"

Yves blinked. Eurydice poked her head around Dee's left arm and grinned like a madwoman up at Yves. "They talk way too much, don't they? How do we get rid of them?"

Yves shook his head. "I'd shake your hand if it weren’t three hundred degrees."

"Time to cool off, then." She stepped out from Dee's shadow. "Dee, go hose yourself down and then bring me some ice. I don't need much—I'm very energy efficient—but only if you're not around getting me hot and bothered."

Dee glanced down to give her a wry smile. "Yes, dear."

Eurydice slapped him on his bare rump when he turned about-face and marched back into Bee's smoldering apartment. "Ooh, I shouldna done that," she said, touching the tips of her fingers to her lips. The gelled blades of her hair stuck together and a green sugar glaze ran down her forehead. "I'll need more ice, solid boy!"

Ursula whistled. "Wow, I knew you'd got it bad, but not that bad."

"Have you seen that man's ass?" Yves asked.

"I wasn't looking," Ursula admitted.

Eurydice hooked her thumb at the apartment door. "Go check it out."

Ursula rolled her eyes. "Fine, I get the point." She disappeared into the misty apartment and squeaked, "Holy shit!" Yves and Eurydice exchanged worried looks. "Look at this mess!" Yves gave Eurydice the thumbs-up.

"So," Eurydice sighed, peeling her sticky clumps of hair apart into a forest of shimmering dreadlocks. "How much time we got, do you think?"

Yves watched her shake out her jade mane. She's green. She's made out of Jell-O. She's real. "Just a few minutes, but that's not the real worry." The real worry is you're God-damned made out of God-damned Jell-O. He glanced down the hallway. "The real worry is morning rush hour." No, the real worry is I'm talking to a girl made out of Jell-O as if I meet one every day waiting in line at Starbucks. Well, at least this one isn't fisting my dick and my ass at the same time like the last one did. "There are only two other apartments along this hallway since the rental office is on this floor, and both Kay and this Esteban guy are…gone…but someone's bound to notice all this collateral damage. We're supposed to have security, but somehow they've missed all this. So stop showing off and give it to me straight."

Eurydice cocked her head to one side at a ninety degree angle. "If you stop feeding me a line of bullshit, and tell me what you're really thinking, I'll stop showing off."

"I'm thinking security didn't notice because Cherry Cupcake ate them, like she ate Bee, and possibly Esteban, Kay, and God knows how many other people. Ate them for their collagen; human bones and fibers are loaded with the stuff. That's why she was as strong as Dee, maybe stronger, when they duked it out."

Eurydice's eyes clouded and brimmed. "Did Dee…I mean, was he—"

"Ready? Yes. He was ready. Galatea prepared him well. I saw the video." Yves smiled as kindly as he could. "It was a pornographic version of the Karate Kid training montage, a black belt in goojitsu via four day fuck-a-thon. My turn: How many men sublimated before you found Dee, found the one that could go all the way?"

Her sadness flipped into a visage of shock. "Dee videotaped us?"

Yves snorted. "Dee? Never, and you know it. Bee rigged a webcam from his bedroom into yours. It's hosed now. Melted into slag."

Her mock shock downshifted into real regret. "Aw, damn. I would've loved to see that."

Yves smiled but his eyes were hard. "Answer the question: How many men?"

Eurydice shrugged. "Most of them, I guess."

Yves laughed. "That's not the kind of answer I was looking for."

"That's the only kind you're going to get," Eurydice said, "because I don't know. I don't remember everything, even now. Especially now."

"But you said 'most,' so a few meliae-makers before Dee have gone all the way with you instead of sublimating. Dee isn't the first, after all." That might explain her speaking in tongues.

She smirked. "You really like that pun."

Yves shushed her. I bet I can put it all together now. "You remember at least three. Let me guess:" Greek. "Hercules."

"Now who's showing off?" she said, but nodded. "And it's 'Heracles,' if you please. He had thirteen labors, you know, not twelve. No one ever remembers the first one."

"Very funny." Latin. "Romulus."

"And Remus, too." She winked at him. "My one and only twosome, other than Gilgamesh and Enkido. Tag-teaming's more trouble than it's worth. Dee's already made me cum more than all four of those bozos ever did, and we're just getting started and I've lost half my memories of him."

She's trying to distract me. "And, uh…" It's working "Damn, I don’t know."

"Oh yes you do, Yves." She stressed his name and arched her brow.

"Better not be John Donne," Yves said.

"No," Eurydice laughed. "Gawain." Her grin was wistful. "He was almost as hard and good as Dee. Mm, almost. His friend was kinda cute, too."

"Wait. 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.' The green knight. You?"

"Kinda sorta almost," Eurydice said, rocking to and fro on every word.

"The same way you're kinda sorta almost Galatea?"

Her hips froze in mid swing and her smile vanished. "I am Galatea."

"You mean Galatea is in there with you."

Eurydice stamped her foot, setting off temblors in her many curves. "That's not how it works at all."

Yves crossed his arms. "Then tell me how it does work." Eurydice huffed and heaved. "You can stop the T and A show. Dee and Ursula will be back any minute now, though, and you'll get a captive audience out of the two of them, I promise you."

"Fine, fine." The turbulence in her tits and ass smoothed out. "Nanomek memory is holographic."


Eurydice flicked a hand at him. "Pfft, don't you start. I mean one iota of nanomek contains enough info to reconstruct the whole shebang."

"But when Dee brought you back," Yves said, "something went wrong, the nanomek went down the wrong reconstruction path a few times and brought back fragments of the wrong shebang before it found Galatea. Hey, that's your pun, not mine, so don't blame me for using it. So what went wrong?"

Eurydice turned away. "I don't know."

"Was it Galatea?" Yves guessed. Eurydice shivered but stayed silent and Yves plunged ahead. "Galatea's not sure she wants to come back."

Eurydice spun to face Yves, hair writhing, her glare thunderous. "I wanted to come back. I did come back. I am Galatea."

"But you don't remember how Dee left you." He reached for her shoulders and found them shaking and cool as marble. "What he said, what he did, and what happened after. But there is a part of you—the whole of you, really, because you're the part and she's the whole—there's a Galatea out there that does remember. And Cherry Cupcake has her. And Dee wants her back."

"I hate you," Eurydice sobbed. "I hate you. I could ask Dee to kill you. And he would!" She batted her fists against Yves' stomach as she cried. "Gilgamesh killed Enkido, Romulus killed Remus, Gawain killed Yvain, and Dee will kill you!"

"Is that how this always ends?" Yves demanded. Eurydice wriggled in his grip but Yves would not relent. "A tragic fairy tale? Galatea divided? Friends and brothers dead?" 'Yvain?' Who the Hell was Yvain?

"I don't know. I don't know!" Eurydice threw her arms around Yves and hugged herself to his chest. Her face and breasts were cool but her core still burned. "What if Dee finds Galatea and she wants him but we can't re-assimilate? I couldn't share him, I'd go mad. Or, God, what if we do re-assimilate and I don't want him any more? That would be worse, so much worse."

Yves cradled her head as she wept. "It won't end that way," he told her, "not this time. Dee's different than the others, you said so yourself. And I'm different, too."

Eurydice snuffled and looked up at him. "What do you mean?"

"Cherry Cupcake," Yves said, pulling away from her a few inches to escape the furnace below her belly. "She's always involved too, right?"

"That depends," Eurydice said. "Is Cherry Cupcake Dee's psycho bitch ex-girlfriend from Hell?"

Yves nodded. "Yeah, that's her. Like Gawain and Morgan le Fey. Hercules…I mean Heracles and, uh, Medea."

Eurydice laughed once between sniffles. "You've got your myths all mixed up."

"This is Ursula's area, not mine," Yves said. "I took English for Engineers in college. The names don’t matter, but listen: Dee did not screw around with Cherry Cupcake. She came to him disguised but he figured it out and rejected her before anything was fully consummated. That's not why he and Galatea broke up. Hell, they didn't really break up at all. They had a row, a lover's quarrel, that's all."

Eurydice gasped and leapt away, her fingers fluttering about her throat. "He didn't…You mean they didn't…?"

"Dee figured out Galatea fed him nanomek. He freaked. They had their first fight, and Dee stormed out to get roaring drunk."

Eurydice's eyes were as wide as saucers. "And he didn't sleep with Cherry Cupcake? With you? Anybody?"

"No, although he had to fight off potential psycho ex-girlfriends with a stick." And now I know why: to fit the fairy tale. "I wasn't one of them, thank you very much."

"Then what the fuck happened?"

"What usually happens when women throw themselves at Dee: absolutely nothing. It just made him mopey and piney…for you."

Relieved laughter bubbled out of her. "I knew he was different! I knew he could be the one!" She jumped up and kissed Yves on the cheek, leaving a warm, gooey green lip-print. "I wish he could have done it some other way than moping and pining. You're not smiling, Yves," she realized. "What are you not telling me?"

"When Dee rejected Cherry Cupcake, she raped me," Yves said, voice flat.

"Oh my God. Oh, Yves, I'm so sorry." She nestled back into his chest and held him close for a long while before muttering, "I'm going to kill the bitch."

Yves hesitated before he ruffled his fingers through her hair, a mop of thick, velvety rope. "No macho bullshit."

Ursula staggered through the doorway to Bee's apartment, shreds of metal scraping across the floor. Green flakes of plaster speckled her hair. "It's Hell on Earth in there."

Eurydice winked up at Yves and turned to face her. "How's Dee?"

"The walls are gone," Ursula said. "Just green gunk, stained cement, and support beams. Like walking inside the ribcage of a giant, rotting corpse."

Eurydice revolved a finger in an unmistakable wrap-it-up gesture. "How's Dee?"

"There's water running everywhere," Ursula said, staring past Eurydice's left ear. "All the porcelain and plastic in the bathroom melted into lumps. Even the toilet."

"Ursula," Yves said, "where's Dee?"

Ursula ran shaky fingers over her braids, knocking out the plaster. "He stood in the water splashing into the hole where the tub should have been. The water was cold." She met Eurydice's gaze for the first time. "I could hear things…cracking…inside him as he cooled off. He said it felt great, like whole-body chiropractics. When he was done, he reached up and pinched the pipe shut." She reached above her head and pinched the air with a thumb and forefinger.

"Sorry," Yves said, "I should have warned you."

"What did you think of his ass?" asked Eurydice.

"I've got ice," Dee declared, waltzing through the doorway with a mostly-melted plastic bowl full of ice cubes. "The freezer shorted out a few minutes ago, so there's a little more if you need it." He stepped around Ursula and passed the bowl of ice to Eurydice. "I've stopped the leaks in the bathroom, but there's like three inches of water in the bedroom."

Eurydice grabbed a modest handful of ice from the bowl and munched on it like popcorn. She tipped her head to regard Ursula. "Well?"

Ursula blinked and glanced downward, pulling her glasses to the very tip of her nose. "Nice ice." She straightened up. An ice cube bounced off her forehead. Eurydice catcalled and threw another cube at her. Ursula ducked and it sailed overhead.

Dee stood still, a naked, human maypole, as the two girls bobbed and weaved around him, ice cubes flying. "What now?" he said over Eurydice's howls and cackles.

"I go get you some clothes," Yves said. He deflected an ice cube with a casual swipe of his open palm.

Eurydice readied her last cube, squinting at Yves. "Shove it, samurai." The icy projectile flew. Yves caught it an inch in front of his eyes and Euyrdice said, "Ooh—ow!" when the returned volley struck her in the nose.

Dee frowned. "Clothes."

"You are buck naked, you know," Ursula pointed out.

Dee's frown deepened. "Yeah."

"Last time you were naked in front of me," Yves said, "you blushed like a school girl."

Eurydice leered at Dee, eyes roving. "He's meant to be naked. Wait." She turned on Yves. "Naked in front of you? You weren't naked, too, right?" Her eyes narrowed and she readied the empty bowl. "Right?"

"You'll need some clothes as well, green girl," Yves told her. "We've got to get out of here before anyone can connect us with Bee's disappearance and all this destruction."

"If you look up in Bee's bedroom," Ursula said, "you see Dee's bedroom ceiling. It's green, too. And arterial red. Security's not going to call the super; they're going to call the fucking cops."

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