But it was too late. The moment that the gun was dropped away Fuzzy Bird did something like a leap and a twist and he was up and through the ceiling dragging me, and the Me, with him away from the others.
We crashed up through the ceiling, Fuzzy BirdÂ’s arms/wings buzzing and flapping too fast to see, like a hummingbirdÂ’s. They made a racket, too. I couldnÂ’t focus too much as we tore through the ceiling that turned out to be a floor of a room above us, and then through that room and into the ceiling and crashing on upward into another room which was filled with Valkyries, I saw, quickly, already running towards us, and then through the ceiling of that room, with me holding the Me in my right hand while Fuzzy Bird somehow grasped onto my hand-encased-in-plastic and flew and smashed through the ceiling again and by then there were Valkyries all around us and one grabbed at us but Fuzzy Bird kicked out a foot Â– I noticed it was webbed and big and orange, just like a duckÂ’sÂ—and the Valkyrie got kicked in the stomach and fell back. A blast of energy, hot and orange like fire, singed past us and I got glimpses of thoughts and emotions all flashing through my mind: Get him save her Save Rachel donÂ’t hurt her She wants us to help with images: Mostly of people seine Fuzzy Bird holding me holding the Me, but also of the throne room with She ordering people and marching out regally, and then some images of horses galloping across the sky to the top of a tower.
Oh, heÂ’s seen that too, I heard, and looked down at the Me, who nodded. It was her talking to me. And Fuzzy Bird must have seen the horse-image, too, because he suddenly stopped crashing up through ceilings and instead turned abruptly to his left, landing and running down the long curved corridor we were in. He kept hold of my hand, my left hand, and pulled me with him, and we were hard-pressed to keep up because his legs were so long and when he ran, they were fast Â– they moved with a blur like the wing-arms had and I had to yell Â“I canÂ’t keep up!Â”
He kept going.
Drop, the Me said.
So I did. I simply went limp, with Fuzzy Bird holding my left hand, and it almost wrenched out of his grip, but not quite. The Me went down, too, and we tumbled and got dragged and it slowed him down.
But he didnÂ’t stop.
Fight him, Rachel. You can, the Me told me.
Fuzzy Bird looked back over his shoulder. I thought he was looking at me but I heard galloping, hooves, and knew he wasnÂ’t.
Fight him, the Me said again.
I bumped and dragged along and thought as quickly as I could. I heard the hooves and knew I had to just slow him down a little. As he pulled us I had an idea. I curled my legs up and looked at those buzzing-orange-y- blurs of Fuzzy BirdÂ’s legs running, and just as he was about to turn a corner, I kicked my legs out and into the blur.
Â“Ow!Â” I yelled as his legs hit mine and tangled up. I thought heÂ’d broken both of them and hollered again, but it had worked because he went down in a tangle of feathery fuzz and zombie legs and the Me, crashing into us both. The hooves were coming closer.
***No*** Fuzzy Bird howled and stood up again, still holding my hand. He looked wildly around, his bill-mouth frowning, and then with a grimace, he forced his way through the wall, pounding his head into it and diving through the hole, still holding me.
The Me had let go but came diving after us. Rachel! She thought at me and I held out my hand. She grabbed onto it and hung on with both hands as we tumbled out of the wall and into open air with Fuzzy Bird still holding me but now flapping his wing-arms again.
We fell only a few feet, I guess, as he got his speed up and somehow flew while still holding us in his arms. That didnÂ’t last long. He stopped flapping with his left hand for a second, causing us to careen wildly to the left as his right wing kept going, and he transferred my left hand down to one of his webbed feet, which enclosed it perfectly.
Then he started flying again and kept going, even faster. I could hear his wings buzzing and flickering as we hung from his foot.
The Me slowly climbed up my arm until she had her arms around my neck. I was face to face with myself. She was breathing heavily.
Thanks for catching me, she said, and looked right into my eyes.
Â“Thanks for coming along,Â” I said.
WeÂ’ve got to fight him, she said.
I looked down. We must have been 2,000 feet up. Behind us the tower weÂ’d been in was receding quickly, the hole in the side about midway up the top of it and getting smaller and smaller. I could see a few other towers behind it or off to the side. From the hole in the wall, horses with Valkyries were pouring out, and over the top I could see more horses, some with riders and some without, stampeding towards us.
TheyÂ’ll catch us.
Â“I hope so,Â” I said.
Fuzzy Bird had my hand in his foot. I had the Me holding onto me. But I had my right hand free. I wondered what I could do. I inspected the situation. His wings were out of reach unless I could climb. His other foot was folded up against him. All I had within reach was this foot. Climb up his leg to get to him? IÂ’d have to pull myself, and the Me, up.
The Me looked back, then at me again. Her lips Â– my lips Â– were only inches away from me and her breath was unexpectedly hot and sweet-smelling as she thought at me We need to slow him down.
I looked. It was true. We were leaving behind the horses, who were going, it seemed, full-steam but it wasnÂ’t enough. Fuzzy Bird was really, really fast. I looked in the direction were going, and saw trees and more trees, tall ones, with little meadows in between them, and a blue sky approaching rapidly.
Approaching? That didnÂ’t seem right. But it was true: the sky, above and all around, was a cool, smooth turquoise blue that looked like a tall drink of water on a hot day, and as we flew, it got closer.
Think, I told myself.
Then Me told me that, too: Think of something.
I looked back at the horses again, then up at Fuzzy Bird. He was paying us no attention as he flapped his way towards that blue sky.
I told Me: Â“Hang on tight.Â”
Okay, she said, and it came out a little too sexy for me. I looked at her. Sorry.
Was it weird that I was turned on by Me?
I pushed that thought out of my mind and reached up with my right hand. The Me grabbed me tighter and then wrapped her Â– my Â– legs around my Â– herÂ—waist. I was distracted by my breasts being smushed by my breasts.
Why are we so sexy? The Me thought.
Then: Sorry. I guess IÂ’ve been among the Valkyries too long.
I tried to stop thinking about myÂ—herÂ—ourÂ—breasts and instead reached up again. The blue was definitely closer to us now, and I couldnÂ’t figure out how that was happening, but the horses were farther away, too, and I had to do something.
So I grabbed the only thing I could, which was one of Fuzzy BirdÂ’s webbed toes. I began trying to pry it off and he slowed up a bit.
***Stop that*** he said, and then began flying faster again.
I pried more, but couldnÂ’t budge it much. I felt his foot clamp down tighter on my hand, crunching in the plastic a little.
That gave me an idea.
I punched his foot and began wriggling back and forth. I kept punching his foot with my small hand and twisting and turning and shaking. I tried to swing back and forth.
***Stop that, I said*** Fuzzy Bird commanded again. His flight was wobbly as I swung back and forth below him, and he tried to correct it but we dipped a little and then fell a bit before pulling back up and to the right.
I continued what I was doing.
Â“Help me,Â” I told Me.
She tightened her grip, more, and began pulling and pushing back and forth, sort of pressing against me and then pulling away as I kicked my legs and twisted my left hand Â– that one that everyone hated Â– and kept batting at Fuzzy BirdÂ’s foot with my right hand. We swung and twisted and swung and twisted and pulled and Fuzzy Bird tilted left and right and back and forth.
***Stop it*** Fuzzy Bird yelled, and then squawed again, loud, as he pulled right when we swung sharply right. I swung back, to the left and hit his foot as he did that, and he couldnÂ’t hold on any more. His foot squeezed hard, and the plastic-thing wrapping my hand cracked open and energy began to shoot out all over the place.
Â“Hang on!Â” I yelled but I didnÂ’t need to because the Me grabbed me tighter still as Fuzzy Bird let go and we began dropping thousands of feet out of the sky.
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