Chapter 15:

Spirit World


Sam was freaking out. At some point while Little Red Riding Hood and Big Bad Wolf were leading her through the forest to find the Blue Nasties and the Lonely Hearts, the Moon had transformed into the Sun and the surface of the Earth had enveloped it. This had created a sort of inside out world where Sam could see Eurasia in the sky. Hundreds of ghost animals had flown out of the ground and were now chasing each other merrily about the trees. Bookmark here

At least the weather’s improved. Bookmark here

‘You okay, chief?’ said Big Bad Wolf. ‘You look a little…out of it.’Bookmark here

Sam giggled. She actually felt euphoric. ‘I’m great, how are you?’Bookmark here

The big man in the wolf skin costume rubbed his arm. ‘Um…I’m good, chief.’Bookmark here

Sam turned to the little woman wearing the red hooded robe and the faceless white mask. ‘Are you okay?’Bookmark here

Little Red Riding Hood nodded. Sam got the impression that she was either mute or looking down on her.Bookmark here

‘Then we’re all okay!’ She raised her arms and did a Mexican wave all by herself. ‘Woah! Hey, did I ever tell you guys that I always wanted to be a salsa dancer? My dad wouldn’t let me, though, because I had to help him protect the family from drug cartels. Rest in peace, dad.’Bookmark here

Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood glanced at each other.Bookmark here

Sam quickly raised her chainsaw sword at them. ‘Ah! Don’t even think about it! I may be feeling weird for some reason, but I’m still veeery dangerous! How are we doing finding my friends, huh?’Bookmark here

Little Red Riding Hood gestured some sign language to Big Bad Wolf. It turned out the pair of them were actually very good trackers. Little Red Riding Hood came across as a hunter by trade, and Big Bad Wolf had a keenest senses Sam had ever seen outside of a Hispanic woman who thought her husband was cheating on her.Bookmark here

‘Tracks lead to the east apparently.’ Wolf sniffed. ‘I smell blood.’Bookmark here

They ran to a ledge overlooking a clearing where World War III was taking place. Bookmark here

The Blue Nasties and the Lonely Hearts were defending the roof of a cabin while the Patriots and a hundred different little slasher gangs Sam decided to call the Weekend Warriors attacked them. Dozens of news network helicopters were flying around like flies about a corpse.Bookmark here

Both the Blue Nasties and the Lonely Hearts had entered the Zone. Bookmark here

Jack was burning, Puck’s skin had turned to ice, and Mezu was moving in tandem with waves of water. Bookmark here

Meanwhile, the Plague Doctor and Nurse Lovejoy were exuding poison gas and bloody mist, Mantis and Jellyfish had giant praying mantis and jellyfish spirit animals behind them mimicking their movements, and the Aztec and the Hawaiian were being orbited by swarms of miniature suns and sharks respectively. Bookmark here

Below them, Mammoth and the motorbike-mounted Biker were now sporting cool skeletal and mechanical armour.Bookmark here

Jack looked like he was struggling to direct everyone, Puck was getting swatted back by Mammoth’s giant spear despite having the high ground, and Mezu was barely fending off Biker’s leaping chainsaw wheel attacks.Bookmark here

‘Oh, boy.’ Sam scratched her head. ‘How am I going to deal with this mess?’Bookmark here

If she had guns like last time, she could just shoot all the bad guys. Now, though, her arsenal consisted of her chain hatchets, her chainsaw sword, and her addled wits.Bookmark here

A giant feathered snake rose up from the ground and coiled around her. ‘YOU ARE NOT THE BRAIN OF YOUR WARRIOR BAND, ANCESTOR! YOU ARE THE HEART! YOU MUST CONTACT THE BRAIN THROUGH YOUR OWN MIND!’Bookmark here

‘Wait,’ said Sam. ‘Who the heck are you?’Bookmark here

The giant feathered snake hissed at her and flew into the Sun. Bookmark here

Rude. Bookmark here

Sam shrugged, focused on the Blue Nasties, and thought at them. Hello?!Bookmark here

Jack’s voice answered back. Sam?! Is that you! Where are you?!Bookmark here

Sam rolled her eyes. Her telepathy must have sucked. Mezu was the brain of the Blue Nasties; Jack was the butt. Whatever.Bookmark here

I’m on the ledge overlooking the clearing! I’m communicating with you telepathically! I see you’ve all entered the Zone! That’s cool! This inside out world is crazy, huh?! Listen, can you ask Mezu what I can do to rescue you guys?!’Bookmark here

No can do! He’s getting his clock cleaned by Biker right now! Wait, did you say inside out world?! Listen, Sam, the Zone is different for all of us! You can’t trust what you see besides the forest! Damn, I don’t know what to do! I tried to split us all up so we could enter the Zone—and it did work—but the Patriots just reassembled and rounded us up like sheepdogs rounding up sheep! They use the forest just like the Vietnamese used the rainforest during the Veitnam War! Then there’s all the B-list and C-list slashers causing chaos on top of that!’Bookmark here

Well, thought Sam as she looked at her grubby nails, how did we win the Vietnam War?Bookmark here

We didn’t, Sam! Wait, are you drunk right now?!Bookmark here

Sam giggled. Maaaybe! I think my Zone works like a kind of intoxicating spirit world!Bookmark here

Oh, that’s all we need! Damn it! We lost the Vietnam War, Sam! We won every battle, but we lost the war!Bookmark here

Oh? How did we win every battle then?Bookmark here

By bombing everything that moved!Bookmark here

So, let’s just do that!Bookmark here

We don’t have any bombs, Sam! In case you haven’t noticed, the Blue Nasties-Lonely Hearts alliance isn’t exactly NATO…! Wait! I have an idea! I’ve thought of a way you can rescue us, Sam, but you have to do exactly as I say!Bookmark here

Okay! Sam cracked her knuckles like Colonel Ripper. So long as I can salsa dance while doing it! Bookmark here

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You can resume reading from this paragraph.