tagNonHumanIt's Always Time Act 05 Ch. 02

It's Always Time Act 05 Ch. 02


Act Five: Just Desserts

Chapter Two: Whatever May Come

Concrete fractured into ragged slabs as it fell and struck the ground. Dee and Black Cherry disappeared in an acrid storm of grit and pulverized rock. The noise was deafening, a rolling thunderclap. Ears ringing, Yves huddled on the pavement drawing himself around Raspberry as best he could.

Raspberry soliloquized at him, tone harsh but smile warm: "I'm made out of Jell-O, dumb-fuck. A little jiggle like this can't hurt me. Good thing I'm too scared to cum, though. All this hugging and sappy bullshit's got my cooze so creamy I’d frig away my last nanomek if I could." She looked away, sighing. "Black Cherry's right. I wanna stuff Dee's cock up my cunt so bad I get cross-eyed just thinking about it, but to tell you the truth, babe." The lavender girl shook her head. Concrete fines and dust nucleated in her hair, turning orchid petals into gray sandpaper. "You've made me a fag-hag. If you're looking for a beard, I'm your bitch. We could get a little apartment, you could do all your fudge-packing at home, and I'd felch all the jizz I'd ever need out of your ass."

"Alright, alright," Yves said, loosening his hold on the leering goo girl. "I can hear again. Now would you please shut your filthy fucking mouth. Where's CeeCee?"

Raspberry nodded to the left. CeeCee hulloed, "Over here, honey." CeeCee sprawled on the asphalt a few paces down the road, a heap of yellow, cream domes, as if someone had carved a reclining Buddha out of the world's biggest butter pat and left it melting on the pavement. "I'm just going to lie here awhile, if you don't mind."

Yves asked her, "Are you okay?"


"Are you going to be okay?"

"I'm not sure. I've never had so little nanomek to keep me going before. Honey, what happened? What on Earth was Dee thinking?"

Yves surveyed the wreckage. He saw no sign of Dee. A crimson puddle spread out from under the rubble, too thick and too fast to be Dee's blood unless nanomek had changed Dee in ways Yves did not want to think about. "Same as you," Yves told CeeCee, "to buy time. Time for Eurydice to put herself back together." He turned to the Jeep tucked beside the onramp. "Time for Nyx and Ursula to…" He squinted but could glean no clues from the sideways vehicle. "…to do whatever the Hell it is they've been doing in there. Time for us to retreat." One of the largest broken slabs of concrete thumped and shivered, raising a cloud of fines. Yves added, "Time for Dee to go mano y psicópata with Cherry."

Raspberry still dangled in Yves' arms. "But you're not going anywhere, are you?"

Yves clucked his tongue, watching the puddle ripple and wax into a pool, incarnadine and shadow entwined. "Nope."

She turned and glared at the growing pool, her eyes hard as true amethyst. "Then neither am I."

"You couldn't drag me away with wild horses," CeeCee said, staring up at the sky before admitting, "You'd need a bucket."

The thumping stopped. The slab grated over the pavement, a stone sarcophagus groaning open. Pale fingers reached up from beneath, found purchase, tensed, and pushed. The slab progressed another few inches. The bottom of the slab abraded into gravel. Fingers splayed and scrabbled but disappeared downward. Dee's muted swearing floated up. "Fucking physics!"

"Dee," Yves called out, amazed, relieved, but somehow, utterly unsurprised. "We're okay."

"Yves?" Dee's fingers reappeared from beneath the slab, their hunt for a handhold growing frantic. "Christ, Yves. How many times do I have to say, 'Get out of here' today before you actually get the Hell out of here?"

The ruby pool drew in on itself, doming in the middle. "I've got a few minutes," Yves lied. Dee's fingers danced around the perimeter of the slab where the crumbing concrete met the pavement. "Listen; are you squashed flat under there or something?"

"No, dammit, I'm harder than ferroconcrete, but ferro-fucking-concrete is harder than asphalt."

"You didn't lie down?" Yves asked.

"No, I didn't think of it. In comic books you don't have to worry about this kind of shit!"

"What the fuck are you two dickweeds talking about?" Raspberry demanded.

Yves stood up. "Our man of steel's been driven into the ground like a steel railroad spike." His elbows and shoulders burned from carrying Raspberry. "He's buried alive in the hardpan." The ruby dome rose into a ball. We may have to run after all.

"Bedrock," Dee corrected, annoyed, from a Dee-sized hole in the road. "Granite, I think."

"Who gives a shit?" Raspberry bounced in impatience. "Just punch your way out and kick psycho-twat's ass summore."

"I'm working on it," Dee said. Yves heard the crump of crumbling rock. "This isn't easy. I'm no Uma Thurman. How much time have I got left, Yves?"

"Master." Black Cherry unfurled, a rose blooming wet with morning dew. Her wings drooped, glistening and unformed. Her movements were twitchy and insectile. "You hurt me, Master." She paced in a little circle then folded up over a broken slab. "You hurt me so much." She rolled onto her back, luxuriating in a post-coital daze. "So much."

Dee was silent for a moment. "Thanks a bunch, Yves." The sounds of an avalanche in miniature spilled out from the hole.

Black Cherry glanced around. Her coy smile upended into a confused frown. "Master? Where are you?" Her head wings pulsed, glued to her pageboy haircut. She lazed onto her tummy and scooched to the end of the slab, streaking the concrete in a florid swath of fluid. She peeped over the edge. "Master?" She giggled down. "Oh, there you are. My noviluninium is waning, Master. Are you ready for me now? Or do you want me to play with Yves again? It's your choice, Master. Just as before." Her sly gaze flicked over Yves before she spoke to the hole in the pavement. "Is it time?"

Raspberry snorted, a guttural ch-hock! noise bubbling in her throat. She stuck her violet tongue out from between her lips, aiming carefully. The purple stains on the overshirt wrapped around her welled and spread. Raspberry grew cold in Yves' arms. Yves pinched her as hard as he could on the neck. She coughed and swallowed. Yves felt the soft, radiant warmth rekindle in her core and he relaxed his grip on her neck.

Something clanked inside the silver Jeep. Black Cherry pivoted on her ripe bottom, scissor-kicking to sit up, legs folding. She prized her diminutive wings away from her hair, angling them at the Jeep. Strings and filaments of gel drifted, lighter than air, in a hazy halo around her head.

"What did you do that for?" Raspberry wheezed at Yves.

"Don't you dare die for me or Dee," he told her.

A slim, lustrous black arm sprouted skyward from the driver's side window of the sideways vehicle. Its smooth, conical fingers and thumb fluxed into raptorial claws before hooking down into the canvas top.

"Ah," Black Cherry sighed, "of course. Just in the nick of time, too, imagine that." A second arm followed the first, fist clutching a torn book page and raising it high. "Our little heroine." Black Cherry peered at the nonsensical, spiraling scrawls of arcane formulae scribbled in black fountain pen ink across the crinkled paper. She shrugged. "She's the one I came for, Master. She helped you get away. She needs to die for that." The clawed hand flexed as the newcomer hauled herself into view. "She needs to die today…Wait." Black Cherry bounded to her feet, her head wings pricked up like the ears of a startled cat. "Who the fuck are you?"

Wide, red, oval-rimmed glasses, lenses chipped into splinters and flakes, sat askew on the newcomer's pert little nose. Long, plaited pigtails framed a porcelain white, china doll face and arced down into the Jeep in ropey licorice braids. Ebony glossed her liquid lips. A burnished onyx choker ringed her ivory neck above a cashmere poncho. A narrow but deep laceration slashed across a high, angular cheekbone. A single bead of jet black blood rolled down a cheek as pale as milk. The obsidian goth stared down in silence.

Wings of webby ink unfolded in sharp planes and geodesic formations from her back, holding her in place. She razored the poncho apart with a single slash of her clawed fingers. Strips of soft cloth fell away to reveal an iridescent, second skin, a living glaze of black volcanic glass, accentuating every curve of bone and swell of flesh,.

Black Cherry was the first to blink and step back. "What are you?"

The obsidian goth whipped off her useless glasses. She closed her eyes, daubed two gloved fingers against them. A perfect mask of black mascara coated her eyelids. Her eyes flicked open, their whites filling with starless night.

"We - are - U - Nyx," she breathed, and took flight.

"Oh, come on," Yves said. Unyx sailed high into the air on billowing, membranous wings. "Everyone's a superhero but me."

Black Cherry hunched, hands curled into fists, glaring up at Unyx through her eyelashes. Unyx dipped and dove, kite-tail braids whipping high and back. Red wing claws snapped up, aiming for the tender flesh below Unyx's ribs. Crimson struck lacquered black.

Yves flinched in the agonized noise, worse than fingernails across a blackboard. Needle-sharp claw-tips skittered over the Unyx's second skin. Black Cherry shrieked, threw her wings wide. Unyx bore down unhindered, her black talons ripping a gash between scarlet breasts. Black Cherry's single shriek stretched long without a stop for breath.

Unyx's thick-soled go-go boots smacked into the pavement. She wrenched one arm back, drawing out an arc of sanguine gel. She punched out with the other hand and thwacked the torn page over Black Cherry's jagged wound. The scribbled equations and gridline charts were lost as red nectar seeped into the cheap paper. Black Cherry's inner gel, swirling red-and-black, sucked the page inward.

Unyx rocked her hips. She sprung high and away, wings whomp-whomp-whomping and thrashing the air. Her braids flew before her face as she soared backward. Black Cherry lashed out with both hands, seized the ends of Unyx's trailing braids and hauled. Unyx's neck jerked down as her braids drew taut. The snarling scarlet girl smashed her fists into the pavement and Unyx slammed into the ground headfirst.

Unyx's thick choker collar nictitated into a shell over her face an instant before colliding with the ground. Unyx twitched. Her wings settled to the ground in drifts of black silk.

Black Cherry stepped astride Unyx's form. She wound the obsidian goth's braids around both her fists. The slash in Black Cherry's chest zippered shut and her snarl melted into a befuddled frown. Goosebumps dimpled her scarlet gel-flesh, making her shiver. "What's going on?"

The filigree of shadow, the dark skeins and spirals permeating Black Cherry's red gel, trembled and whirled just below her skin. Beneath the fading scar between her breasts, the threading veins bent and twisted into angular shapes and mad loops before snapping into focus as numbers and symbols in a dozen languages, modern and ancient. Gibberish equations invaded her gel-flesh like a mathematical virus. Tunneling worms of code crept up the curves of her breasts, encircled her dark nipples in even darker lines of sums and symbols before swarming outward. In moments her stomach and neck swam with a motile tattoo inked by a demented algebra student. "What did you do to me?"

Unyx pawed the road but said nothing. Equations scrolled up Black Cherry's arms and legs. The scarlet girl yanked on Unyx's braids, swung her up and over and back down hard, spraying chunks of asphalt into the air. Black wings wilted and collapsed into lumps.

Black Cherry hoisted Unyx up by the hair and screeched in her face. "I said what did you do to me?"

The black candy shell protecting Unyx's head peeled away to reveal Ursula, pale and unconscious. The wings on Unyx's shoulders melted and molded into a second pair of reedy arms, spindle neck and blank, egg-shaped head.

Nyx emerged to confront her creator. She wrapped her arms around Ursula's neck in a fierce, desperate hug, conveying more affection, anger, and defiance in that single gesture than anyone could speak in a thousand words.

"Fine," Black Cherry sighed. She unreeled Urusla's braids until the goth girl dangled to the ground. The growing math-tattoo breached the scarlet surface of Black Cherry's wings. Tension gathered in her gel as she prepared a final swing. "Then die."

"Do it," Ursula mumbled, eyelids fluttering, eyes rolled back.

Nyx craned her neck. One gaunt arm raised, too thin to support a hand. The tapered tip curved into a hook, its inward edged polished sharp.

"If you say so," Black Cherry shrugged, the living tattoo encroaching the very tips of her wings. She rocked her arms back, dragging Ursula along the pavement.

Nyx's hooked arm whistled down. She hesitated at the last instant, hook trembling above Ursula's creamy throat. Her skin grayed to a matte black.

Ursula grimaced. "Do it!"

Black Cherry poured power into her throw. Nyx turned her head, and, shuddering, slashed sideways. Black Cherry toppled backward. Ursula and Nyx skidded across the pavement.

Yves found his voice. "Oh, God, no."

"Did it work?" asked Dee from his hole in the pavement.

"Did what work?" Raspberry cried. "Ursula's dead!"

"Look-it," Yves whispered.

"You fucking asshole." Raspberry's tears burned little holes in Yves shirt. "You should have let me nuke the cunt. I don't care if…"

"For once in your fucking life would you just shut your mouth and look-it?" Yves hissed.

Raspberry purpled, then turned and lookited. Black Cherry sat up, perplexed. Numbers and symbols spun beneath the surface of her skin. She held two long, black braids, one in each hand. They danced in the air, totaling six feet of plaited pigtails, their ends shorn shear. The living tattoo completed a full circuit, and the scarlet girl was covered head to toe in a madman's idea of math homework.

Ursula propped herself up, blinking sleepily. The remains of her pigtails stuck out straight from either side of her head for a good half foot before puffing out into black pompom tufts.

"Well, shit," Raspberry grumped, "She's cuter than ever now."

"Then Ursula's okay," Dee said. "Thank God. Nyx too?" A rampart of granite pebbles and chips encircled the hole in the pavement. "Did it work?"

"I think Ursula's okay," Yves answered. The Goth girl plopped down onto the pavement, exhausted and huffing. "More weary than wounded. Nyx is looking pretty gray, though, like a wool sweater. And I have no idea if anything worked because you didn't clue me in on your plan this time." More pebbles appeared. "Speaking of which, what the Hell are you doing? Trying to dig upwards?"

Dee's fingertips waggled above the ring of rock. "I've barely got one arm free down here and I'm trying to make some room. Superhuman strength is pretty useless when you're pinned in place by plate-freaking-tectonics." A finger stabbed out at an angle. "What's happening to Black Cherry?"

"She's covered in that magic square number stuff," Yves said. "And she's just…sitting there."

"Maybe it did work, then," Dee said.

"Master?" Black Cherry dropped the severed braids and tried to stand. She stepped on one sagging wing and flumped back down on her ass. The wings on her head shriveled and paled. "Master?"

Yves adjusted Raspberry's weight in his arms, taking the edge off the fire in his shoulders. "What were U and Nyx trying to do? Magic, right? Not number games. Real magic." The lines of cipher wrapped around Black Cherry's body looked less like crazed math and more like an elegant but incomprehensible foreign language. "But magic to do what?"

A face hidden by a drab olive hoodie and green, wraparound Onasis sunglasses poked out of the driver's side window. "To take the Devil out of Black Cherry," Eurydice answered, pushing herself up by the palms and flipping down onto the pavement.

Black Cherry wobbled to her feet, gawping at Eurydice. Her head wings furled inward and melted away. The wings on her back faded and shrank until they were little more than the toy devil-wings of a Halloween costume. The green girl turned to her.

"Hello, baby sister," Eurydice said.

Black Cherry twittered, pointing at Eurydice but peering over her shoulder. "You made another one, Master?" She shook her head. "See how replaceable she is. Not like me. There's nothing like me. I'm nothing." Her bravado failed. "I'm alone." She glanced about, desperate and lost. "Be with me." Her gaze fell on Eurydice, darted to Yves and Raspberry, to CeeCee, then Ursula and Nyx, before circling back to Eurydice. "Become me. Name me."

Ursula rolled onto her side, reaching for the hem of Eurydice's fatigues. "Hurry. The binding won't last. She's strong." She smiled before slipping back into exhaustion. "Just like you."

Eurydice nodded, pulling away the glasses and the hood. Jellied dreadlocks tumbled free. Black Cherry tried to sneer. "So young, he made you so young this time. Just like I remember you." Black Cherry pressed her palm over her mouth. "I remember you? I do." Her hand trembled as she pointed. "I know you…"

"You know me of old," Eurydice finished for her. "Yes. Things echo. But echoes have never been enough. Not for you."

Black Cherry backpedaled, almost tripping herself up on crumbling cement. "I don't understand."

"Neither did I at first." Eurydice unzipped her hoodie, molding the pliant garment into a peculiar sash, leaving her left breast bare. "Now that I've seen you, though, everything's so clear. We've done this so many times, you and I." She stepped closer. "But things are different this time. Everything can be different, if you let it." Black Cherry stared wide-eyed and silent. Eurydice pressed forward. "You don't have to be alone. Be with frends, with us. Become yourself." She held out her hand. "Adrasteia."

Black Cherry fumbled backward. "Ide," she gasped, and at first Yves thought she said, I Dee, or maybe Idly. She bumped into a fallen slab and sat down hard. "It is you, Ide.".

Eurydice reached out to her, smiling. "Call me Eurydice."

"What the fuck is this shit?" Raspberry called out. Eurydice turned and shushed her but Raspberry just stared. "Jesus fuck, check out those tits."

Yves whispered, "Nursemaids."

"What?" Raspberry asked.

"They were sisters," Yves answered. "Nursemaids." Another piece clicked into place in the puzzle.

     ["...That depends, is Cherry Cupcake Dee's psycho bitch ex-girlfriend from Hell..."]

"Black Cherry's always been the eldest before," Yves explained. "But not this time. That's what's different."

     ["...No one's ever gone lime first time before..."]

Eurydice smiled, opened her hands to Black Cherry again.

     ["...Hello, baby sister..."]

"Dee made Galatea first," Yves said.

"Wait. Nursemaids? Of what?" Raspberry narrowed her eyes at the ample curve of Eurydice's bare breast. "Buffalo?"


"Names," Black Cherry said. "Why do you have so many names?"

Eurydice's brow crinkled in confusion. "What do you mean?"

"Ide," Black Cherry said, and stood up. "Eurydice. Galatea." The little wings on her back flushed red. "Shamhat. Meliboea." Black Cherry advanced, her sneer returning. Eurydice dropped back. "Brunhild. Marya." Two curved horns budded from the top of the scarlet girl's head, opening as embryonic wings.

"I'm clueless," Raspberry hissed.

From her muddle on the pavement, CeeCee said, "We know, honey. We know."

Eurydice zippered her hoodie. "Adrasteia, please. I used up so much nanomek to put myself back together after the crash, just to talk to you. Listen to me, please."

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