“Now, hand over the goods, and the girls, and no one’s gonna get hurt,” one of the bandits, the biggest one in the lot, says. You eye him carefully, taking in his scruffy face and dirty clothes, but also the big axe he’s holding by his side.
Skinner looks back towards your wagon and winces. “I see,” he says. “Do you know who we are?”
“We don’t, and we don’t care,” the bandit says. “Any one of you moves and you’re dead.”
“But, sir,” Abigail says as she sits up straighter. “That’s not a good--”
An arrow zips by her face, a thin line cutting into her cheeks. The bandits laugh as she squeaks and falls back.
An arrow almost hit Abigail.
An arrow hurt Abigail. You watch as she falls back and slaps a hand over the cut across her face.
An arrow could have killed Abigail.
You can’t hear the others, all the noise drowned out by a sound that’s like a million waterfalls tumbling past your ears. Numbly, you look up and see the bandits jeering, laughing, some of them making rude gestures. Daphne is trembling as she tries to help Abigail. Charlotte is glaring, her sword out and held by her side.
“Ǹ̷͚̘̤͙̞̘̙̹̀̕o̡̮̠̬̫͙͢͢,” you say.
Tentacles burst out of the ground all around your wagon and in a blink the entire thing is cocooned in walls of your flesh. It’s dark within, dark and quiet until you remember that Abigail doesn’t like the dark and the inside of your tentacles begin to glow.
“Take care of Abigail,” you tell Daphne. There’s no smile in your voice. The happy is gone. “I’m going to take care of those things out there.”
Before she has time to reply you’re yanked out of the cocoon. You hover in the air, feet planted on nothing as you tell physics to go eat it's own tail. “I,” you say, voice like the birth of stars. “Am Dreamer. But there are no dreams left for you.”
A few of the bandits laugh.
Your new combat tentacles lance through them, sprouting branches that sprouted more branches into infinity.
They can’t laugh anymore.
The other bandits are beginning to back away, some arrows are shot at you, but you don’t care, not even when they hit and make your pretty dress ugly with your black blood. It doesn’t matter. You find the one that hurt Abigail and shoot towards him so fast that the air screams at your passing. A glance reveals everything there is to know about him down to the terrors that made him bawl as a infant
You send tentacles into him, tiny ones that look more like writhing noodles than normal tentacles. They each grab a tiny part of him until every cell and atom that makes up the bandit is in your grasp, and then they pull.
The bandit is dust.
He doesn’t deserve to be eaten.
You move onto the next. You had been waiting for an opportunity to try out your newer, sharper tentacles, and this is it. Bandits make loud screaming noises as you break them apart into bite-sized bits that you gobble down while still moving. There are more and more tentacles around, some of them warping the world so that those who run away come running back , others, made from the trees and grass and air, grab onto your lunch and hold it in place.
It takes a minute, maybe two, but in the end you float above what had once been a road cutting through a forest. It is now a twisted landscape of tentacles, warped trees, and holes in space and time that go on forever. Abigail... wouldn’t be happy with all of this.
You close up the holes, patch the time warped bits, and yoink the strangest trees back to you real body where they are promptly eaten.
It’s better now, much better. The only problem is that your tummy is really full now and every step makes it bounce and gurgle. So you crush it down, making your meal smaller and smaller until it eats itself.
You land with a ‘hop’ in front of Skinner’s wagon where the boy and Everett and Sigmund and Wuffles are all huddled together and looking off into the distance. “It’s okay, they’re all gone now,” You tell them.
“T-thanks,” Skinner whispers. It’s a very loud whisper in the otherwise silent patch of forest. You suspect that one of your tentacles might have eaten all the sound and maybe also all the birds.
The tentacle cocoon around the girl’s wagon gets pulled back into the ground and you jump up to check on Abigail. She’s dabbing a cloth at her cheek where a line of dried blood formed. “Dreamer!” she says before spreading her arms wide.
You crash into her, ear pressed against her chest as you listen closely to the thump-thump of her heart and make sure she’s completely okay. “You’re alive,” you say.
Abigail laughs and your tummy flips at the happy sound. “I am. Dreamer. What happened to the... what happened?”
You pull back and make a frown settle on your forehead. “There were bad people. They hurt you. I got rid of them.”
Abigail and the others take a moment to look at the world beyond the wagons which, despite your efforts to smooth things out, is still a little... crookedy. Skinner jumps out of his wagon a little ways ahead and moves over, making sure to jump over the bits near the side of the roar where things are misshapen. “Ah, we’re going to... take a short break. But not here, I think. And while we’re taking that break, I would like to talk to you, Abigail.” He looks at you, then back to Abigail. “If you wouldn’t mind?”
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