The afternoon brought clouds. The evening brought rain. The night brought lighting.
Sam used her hatchets to climb up a tree and clambered onto one of its wider branches to rest. The forest was strangely hard to escape. Running in a straight line led you in circles. She panted. A green snake coiled on a branch above her. A trio of Patriots ran beneath her. She tensed. Predators everywhere. The chill wind and icy rain had frozen her stiff. She rubbed her hands together to produce some heat.
Oh, God, help me! I don’t know what to do!
A little Angel Sam and a little Devil Sam appeared on her left and right shoulders.
Angel Sam spoke in a high-pitched voice. ‘You should climb to the top of the tree to find a way out of the forest and see if any of your comrades need help! You shouldn’t have abandoned them in their time of need, Samantha!’
Devil Sam spoke in a low-pitched voice. ‘You should start a fire to burn the forest down and kill everyone!’ She gave an evil laugh.
Sam breathed some heat into her hands and whispered. ‘You’re both idiots. The darkness will keep me from seeing anything, and the rain will keep me from burning anything.’
Angel Sam crossed her arms. ‘There wouldn’t have been any darkness if you’d asked me during daytime.’
Devil Sam jumped up and down. ‘Yeah! Yeah! You could have turned everyone into beef brisket during daytime! Who’s the idiot?!’
Sam rested her head on the tree. ‘Me….’
A knife struck an inch above her head. She scrambled into her belly. Her attacker couldn’t be seen in the darkness, but then a flash of lightning revealed Girl Scout was standing on the branch of the tree opposite her.
Sam, Angel Sam, and Devil Sam screamed.
Girl Scout ran forwards. ‘You’re goddamn right you’re in trouble! I’m going to gut you like a pig!’
Sam shrieked and used her hatchets to climb up the tree.
‘You can’t run from me, you coward!’ said Girl Scout. ‘I’ll hunt you to the ends of the Earth!’
Sam reached the top of the tree. Something sour entered her nose and made her gag. A flash of lightning revealed a dozen bodies impaled on metal poles atop the surrounding trees. They were burned to a crisp, but some were still gasping for air!
Girl Scout popped up opposite her. ‘Like the decorations?! KGB spies! I use them as lightning rods to power the base!’
‘You’re a monster!’ said Sam. ‘A monster!’
Girl Scout shrugged. ‘We’re up against the USSR! An evil empire with forty thousand nukes aimed right at you and me!’ She laughed maniacally. ‘The world could end in a nuclear holocaust at any second! You can never be too cruel to commies! You have to become a monster to fight monsters!’
Another flash of lighting blinded Girl Scout long enough for Sam to clamber down the tree and start running.
I’m dead! I’m so dead!
A white light ahead of her.
She ran towards it, but then she tripped on a root and fell face first into cold mud.
Three figures darkened by the light behind them stood ahead of her.
She raised her head. ‘Jack? Puck? Mezu? Is that you?’
The light lessened to reveal a red knight holding a halberd, a woman in a purple hooded robe and a sleeping mask holding a scythe, and a man with a totally hairless head wearing a white suit.
‘No,’ said the hairless man. ‘We are not your friends. Sir Hacksalot, Duchess Siesta, cut her to ribbons…slowly.’
Sir Hacksalot and Duchess Siesta brought their halberd and scythe down. Excruciating pain shot through her hands. She snatched them away, but….
‘My fingers!’ said Sam. ‘Where are my fingers!’
The white light moved towards her. It was a black woman holding a camera. She was standing between Sam and her attackers!
‘What the hell are you doing?!’ said the black woman. ‘Mr Milk! You said this was all a show!’
The hairless man gave a toothless grin. ‘It is a show, my dear Coco; the greatest show on Earth. You said you wanted to be like Marilyn Fox one day, didn’t you? You’ll never become a reporter for Big News or any other network if you squeal at the sight of a little blood. Now, be a good girl and give us a nice close-up shot as we cut her face off.’
Three knives shot into the heads of Mr Milk, Sir Hacksalot, and Duchess Siesta.
Girl Scout was standing behind Sam and Coco. ‘C-list trash! That’s my prey!’
Coco threw her camera at Girl Scout, hauled Sam over her shoulder, and ran. ‘It’s okay, baby! I’ve got you! You’re okay!’
Sam looked at the agonising horror of her fingerless hands. ‘Things weren’t like this before. Things were kind of funny before. Even the horrible things. Where did my funny little angel and devil go? What’s happening?’
A knife shot into Coco’s calf. She cried out and fell, dropping Sam onto wet grass.
Am I going to die?
Girl Scout strolled over and stood over her. She wore an expression of disgust. ‘The Colonel had such high hopes for you, but look at you now: the worm that wouldn’t turn. There’s no room for the weak in war. You’re a Christian at least, so I’ll grant you a quick death, but before you go to Heaven, let me show you the price of weakness.’ Girl Scout held up Coco and put a knife to her throat. ‘Tell God we don’t want any more cherubs on the side of the angels.’