They didn’t keep me in the hospital too long. I haven’t gotten my powers yet, but Alexander and myself are fine. I’m advised to have plenty of food and rest, and to provide the same for the baby. My mommy milkers feel massive, and the baby took to them with a little bit of coaxing. I’ve got plenty of helpers around. Sam’s taken pretty well to dealing with the kid. Holly’s a bit useless, but she’s good at ordering food. And Isabella’s learning. Maia, aka Medusa, had to run off and deal with Exemplar duties. She’s pretty upset about it, but we all told her how much we understand. Shit’s going down worldwide.
The Grau are keeping various groups updated, but my situation puts me out of the know for the most part. I had to log in and check to find out that the Grau are still updating the villains. Three of these things are caught: the Dark, the Unwelcome, and the Fate.
They show up and fuck with Earth all at once. VillaiNet, with its priorities straight, had a lengthy thread fighting over what to call them. The Eldritch Terrors is one name they’ve gone with. Cosmic Horrors, Old Ones, and Chthonic Gods are other suggestions. Eventually, a compromise was reached and they settled on Ancient Terrors, because everyone hated that name.
Ancient Terrors it is, then.
They hadn’t really come in any sort of regular time period, so resting and eating seemed like a great idea for me. I was downing a slice of cheesecake when I first noticed something odd. The flavor was too much like cheddar. And so was the slice, which now looked like I’d cut a piece off a wheel of cheese. I set it aside, wondering what game was going on now. The Fate already had the ability to change the present, but I didn’t immediately see the threat in this, unless they got rid of all cheesecake worldwide. Then, this might be the most threatening Ancient Terror of the bunch. A world without cheesecake would be terrible.
I moved out of my seat. Alexander was crying. I scratched my back with my tail and left the kitchen, the tile floor cool against my foot scales. Alexander was whining in the crib we’d set up for him in my room. It was a small, gaudy house, with gold fixtures. That… wasn’t right, was it?
I flipped the top open and picked up my baby. Where I was Gecko, Alexander was only half-Gecko. His other half was a goddess of beauty, but he still had a tail like me. I lifted him up and got the feeling something was wrong again. He was hungry. And I was a gecko person. But I hadn’t been. I realized that. How had I been breasfteeding without any breasts? Mammaries are for mammalians.
I looked down at myself, seeing myself more clearly. I’d been a damn unicorn woman, and before that a homo machina. Instead, I was a lizard woman, with scales and colorful markings and a tail. Annoyed, I flicked my tongue out and licked my eye.
I needed to call someone. Everyone else was out of the house. I ran to get my mobile phone, but it wasn’t on the charger. The little horse charged at me, but I tossed it aside and found the phone trying to crawl out the front door.
“I think this is another of those Horrors,” the TV told me.
“I’ve figured that out by now,” I told it. More like a smartass TV. I grabbed my phone and texted the family. “Another one! It’s making everything literal!”
“what literal?” Venus asked.
“It’s when something means what it says exactly without metaphor, but that’s not important right now,” my boyfriend Sam said.
“He’s right,” Holly added.
“Wait, that’s not entirely right,” I realized. “It turned the baby crib into a crib like you’d see on MTV.” My eyes widened. I turned toward the Smart TV. “Put on MTV.”
The TV turned on and flipped to a channel that actually played music videos and had other content related to music. Holy crap.
I doubled over, holding my stomach, and rushed to the bathroom. The texts continued, but I had to finish pushing out a small cross.
“things r weird,” Venus said. “i told Medusa and she’s turned people to stone when she looks at them.”
“Reality is shifting to fit different meanings of the words we use,” Holly said.
“That seems,” I paused. “correct.” I realized I needed to be real careful what I said. “That would explain why I’m a lizard woman.”
“You’re an actual gecko?” Sam asked.
“Yes, Samantha,” I used the full first name.
I decided to check out something. I closed my eyes and thought about the human name I’d adopted: Delilah.
It took a bit of work before I saw myself change. I wasn’t a unicorn woman anymore, but I wasn’t a lizard woman. I had a moment of curiosity, and recalled the memories I’d taken off Dame, believing really hard I was Dame. I looked down and… no change. Not even her costume. Hmm.
But as a woman, I am a dame.
Boom. Skin tone, hair color, boob size. I was Dame.
“Nice one,” a voice said. I looked up to see a really small man, like two feet tall, sitting on my couch. He wore a suit and a little bowler hat with long, pointy ears sticking out from under it. He had a light green pallor to his skin and a cigar in his mouth.
“Who are you?” I asked him.
“You can call me the Perverse,” he said, puffing on a cigar. “You’re a neat one. You fought the others.” He nodded toward me. “You even found a way to abuse the rules.”
“Oh, now there’s rules?” I asked.
The Perverse smiled around the cigar. He took it out of his mouth and knocked some ashes off onto the sofa. “There’s always rules. Everyone has rules. My favorite part of the rules are the loopholes,” he said.
“Y’all keep confronting me and it doesn’t go well for you. Maybe you thingies need to walk away,” I suggested to the Perverse.
He laughed. “You can’t trap or destroy me.”
“Who are you trying to convince of that?” I asked as if I had an idea what to do.
‘I don’t have to convince anybody. I’ve got all the power here. All it takes is the right word and up becomes down.”
“Like we’ve entered the twilight zone,” I said with a laugh, then paused. Oh shit.
The color had drained out of the world. Beyond my front door was another dimension; a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. The house was moving into a land of shadow and substance, a land of things and ideas.
I’d just crossed over into… the Twilight Zone.
“Heh, good one, kiddo,” the Perverse said. He now wore a red t-shirt, the words, “Hell is a city much like Newark” stenciled on it. A pair of horns stuck out of his head. “That’s the thing about dealing with me; you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”
“You said there rules,” I pointed out.
The Perverse nodded again. “That’s right. I’m going to twist what you think and say around so that what you say doesn’t conform to the way you meant it. So the rules, as such, are the ones that all language deals with. You know, I like you. You’ve bent the rules the same way. You’ve crushed people’s dreams. You’ve been an unwelcome invader to this whole dimension, and you defy fate constantly.” He eyed me up and down.
Well, probably the best-known meaning of Perverse has to do with sex. Hmm. And it can affect the Perverse.
“Why do I sense a deal with the devil coming up?” I asked. I stepped over and booped one of his horns.
“Because you’re a smart girl,” he said. I looked down at him from much less height. “You’ve got a rich mind that I can’t wait to twist and make responsible for fucking up the entire world. You and I could have a lot of fun.” The TV, now an old-fashioned one in a wood frame, switched from an MTV that was showing Cab Calloway to images around the world. People sitting on a rectangular plane were falling from high in the air. Oh, an airplane. A movie theatre exploded, taking an entire city block with it. Blockbuster. And cargo container the size of a container ship was now clogging the Suez Canal. Elsehwere, a man was being attacked at a hibachi restaurant by a chicken, fried rice flying into the air as it pecked him.
I believe a chicken fried that rice.
There’s a lot of potential for chaos if someone doesn’t watch how they phrase things. We could end up really screw-, really messed up.
“We’re two…” I stopped myself from saying we were two peas in a pod. That could have turned out badly. While I scrambled for an alternative, I had an idea. “Of a kind.”
I’d hoped to render the Perverse human. If that thing turned into a little girl, I could have dealt with her real easily. But instead, I felt myself shrink further. I wore a suit of my own, white with a black shirt. A couple short horns poked out of my head and a quick feel showed my ears were longer.
“You know, I’m something of a contrarian myself. And you’re pretty perverse, too,” the Perverse said. I could feel my face and hips shift to his idea of pretty. I looked pretty good as far as a mirror of myself. “We’re a lot alike, you and I.”
I rolled my eyes. They popped out of my head, but I grabbed them and put them back in. That one I was prepared for. I’d used that one similarly before with my cybernetic eyes. Then I had an idea. A smile crept across my face.
“So you’re pretty powerful, huh? Loopholes are one thing, but is there anything you can’t do? Any physical or temporal limitations to your abilities?”
“Not a one. I can go faster than the speed of light, or make two electrons in an atom occupy the same quantum state as easily as you can blow your nose. I can do anything, go anywhere, and I have access to every bit of recorded information in the omniverse.”
I nodded. “I have another question, if you would answer it for me?”
“Ask,” he ordered.
“Is there anyplace in the universe and all of being where you could go and not be able to find your way back here?”
“No,” he said, a playful smile on his face. He approached close. I let him back me up against the wall. ”I could scoot over to the Andromeda galaxy and back in a microsecond, faster if I don’t stop for lunch. I could go to, say, what would be Berlin if the Nazis had won the war. Or 21st century Rome if Alexander the Great had lived to old age, I confess I had higher hopes for you. Trying to find a place I couldn’t come back from? That’s not going to work. I’m here to stay.” My back pressed against the wall, the Perverse put a hand against the wall right by my head, trapping me there.
But we were two of a kind, right?
I grinned and told him. “Get lost.”
Snap back to reality.
I stumbled while readjusting to my correct size and shape again, even with the wall behind me. Ope, there goes gravity, reasserting itself. I scooped up my phone and ran over to the baby’s crib. Alexander was fine. He was safe, just crying a bit. I popped a tit into his mouth and checked the phone. “Everything ok?” I asked.
“Everything was weird, but I think it’s back to normal,” Sam said. The others confirmed it.
“Hey every1,” Medusa said. “I thot it best not to text with that going on.”
In retrospect, letting Medusa or Venus text like that was a bad idea. “It’s fine,” I assured everyone. “Tell your liason friend the Perverse is dealt with.”
I hoped, at least. I turned to the TV. “You’re a smart TV, aren’t you? Play MTV.” It didn’t respond and a flip of the channels once again showed that Music Television was reality TV and a show about viral videos. Reality TV. I shivered at the thought of what would have happened if I’d referenced that to the Perverse.
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