Chapter 14:

A Thing

A Tour of the World Between Worlds

A bright color filled the sky above our heads, but I only stared at it for a moment. My attention was quickly grabbed by something that emerged from the myst.

It was difficult to describe.

The thing was fleshy and smooth. I saw no visual indication of any features a living creature might have. The form was amorphous and seemed to wiggle across the ground like a worm. As it moved, its body would stretch and squeeze, so it always took on a different shape from any prior moment. I watched it squirm along the lake's other side with my mouth open.

“What is that?” I asked Casey. A hint of disgust lined my words.

“Something we need to kill.” The giant beast warrior offered only a vague reply; I suspect she wasn’t too sure either.

She pulled back her arm and with it, the spear in her hand. Her pose indicated the warrior was prepared to make a long throw. She waited a moment and carefully watched the monster as it writhed and moved.

Casey thrust forward with one fluid motion. The spear made a sharp whistle as it flew just above the blue world-lake. The thing was immediately stabbed and pinned to a grey tree that sat just outside the myst.

The creature let out a sound between a wail and a screech as it squirmed and flailed with the spear cutting through its fleshy body. No blood or any liquid left its body. Casey motioned for me to follow, and in a matter of moments, we ran around the world-lake to where the creature was pinned.

Are we actually going to kill that thing? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to touch it.

“Casey!” a shout rang out. Lerato quickly ran alongside us, and Enas followed soon after.

“We need to hurry,” the beast warrior shouted.

“A real ugly one,” the bald man said as he eyed the pinned creature.

As we closed in, the thing looked at us and stopped squirming. ‘Look’ might not be the best word, but it was the only one that made sense. A fleshy appendage appeared to grow out and aim in our direction. It stopped squirming immediately and began to change shape.

The creature seemed to collect into itself; out popped arms, legs, and a head. The body remained smooth with no features, but what was the head looked at us. My stomach seemed to flip, and I gripped my blades tightly.

The monster still had what was now its chest, right where the heart would be, pinned into the tree. It didn’t last long. Quickly the thing got used to its new hands, and it grabbed the spear, holding it in place. It let out one last cry as the weapon was pulled out.

The spear was thrown into the world lake, and Rheba made a hiss as her weapon dropped into the world.

Enas didn’t waste any more time. He stopped suddenly and pointed his metal weapon at the creature. Several blue shots flew into the fleshy form, leaving holes in their place. The sections quickly closed, and the creature was left unfazed.

The now humanoid form leaped into the air and soared over our heads. We all hastily turned around as the creature began to run to the woods.

Lerato was the next to react. His body seemed to glow with a silver aura, and he quickly closed the gap between him and the monster. His glowing energy seemed to collect like a suit of armor, with all the minute details included, and soon covered all but his head. With his hands clasped together, he brought them down on the fleshy form's skull like a hammer.

The body seemed to squish down like it was clay being pressed. Lerato paused and slowly pulled his hands away. Casey and I took off to meet with the hero while Enas kept his weapon trained on the scene.

The fleshy body sprang over Lerato’s head like a spring. It clasped its hands together and copied the hero’s attack verbatim. At the last possible moment, Lerato’s glowing energy covered his skull like a helmet. The force was immense as we all felt the ground shake. Lerato took a step back, but he remained standing. The monster wasted no time as it took off running into the woods.

“Lerato, are you okay!” Casey shouted as we ran past him. He stood as still as a statue after taking the blow.

“Just fine!” he yelled in a cheery tone and with a smile. It was clear that he was dazed from the blow.

The creature seemed to turn and look our way as we chased. The gap quickly shrunk between us.

As if anticipating us, the fleshy thing did what I can only describe as tearing its arm off. The skin seemed to pull in many strings until the arm was severed and tossed aside.

The disembodied arm quickly morphed, and soon it formed into a shape of a small animal that sped across the ground back toward the myst. Enas wasted no time firing at it, but the small piece escaped back beyond the misty edge. The whole human form of the creature shrunk slightly as a new arm grew in place.

As that happened, Casey grabbed the thing on its fleshy shoulder. She pulled it back and pushed its back to the ground. Then, she delivered a heavy punch into where the face belonged. The head deformed around her hand and quickly seemed to wrap around and incase it. Casey tried to pull her hand away, but the clay-like skin kept moving up her arm.

The thing’s body moved up on Casey’s arm, eventually collecting around her back. She stood up and tried to shake it off, but it held tight. I stared and watched. My daggers were firm in both hands, but I couldn’t do anything.

The fleshy form remade the human appearance of a torso and arms above Casey’s head and once again mimicked Lerato’s attack on her head. She fell to her knees, and the thing quickly jumped off and reformed human legs. As it ran into the woods, I looked back at the others. Casey and Lerato were out of commission. Enas had his eyes on the myst as if he expected more to come out.

I took a deep breath and ran into the grey woods after the creature. Whatever dangers it presented, I was alone for the moment in trying to stop it.