Hitting a Wall (6-3-18)

[OT] Sunday Free Write [Link to post.]

Dread growled in frustration and punched the street as she rose to her feet. She remembered being cut off from her powers the moment searing pain coursed through her knuckles and up to her wrist; the blacktop broke her knuckles. She gritted her teeth and clenched her body to keep the curses in, letting more unintelligible growls. She refused to let the virtual street get the better of her. After standing up she noticed Jelly_Jim standing a few feet in front her staring at something behind her.

“This is rather embarrassing. I’ve left a mess of myself,” Jelly_Jim pointed behind Dread. Her head whipped around in time to see a small green blob reaching forward to gain ground with its front half, then catching up with its rear. It inched itself across the starting line like a slug.

“Sleepers,” the scoreboard announced. Dread looked ahead of Jelly_Jim, but she did not see any zombies appear.

“Goodness, there must be more of me over there,” Jelly_Jim said. He brought his hand up to protect his eyes from an imaginary sun, then he overtly pretended to look for the other piece of himself. Dread followed his gaze to a tower of zombies standing on each others shoulders behind the starting line, and stretching into the sky. “I thiiiiiiiink I see it,” Dread heard him say. She eyed the tower of sleeping zombies and watched as each one opened its eyes. They all tried to charge forward as one, but ended up toppling themselves over. The mass of frenzied, wriggling, feral zombies fell on top of the starting line, each zombie tried its best to free itself by pulling back other zombies. The pile of zombies triggered Jelly_Jim’s affect over and over, releasing more zombies onto the pile.

“Sleepers.Sleepers.Sleepers.Sleepers.Sleepers,” the scoreboard repeated each time a new batch of zombies formed on the starting line. The woke into feral zombies, but none of them could get out of the pile enough to start walking.

“Poor little thing, it’ll never get across now,” Jelly_Jim said, then he raised his voice. “JUST WAIT THERE!” He looked at the growing pile of bodies trying to wriggle across the starting line, then he looked at Dread. “Good luck,” he said. He turned his back to her then skated forward at a light pace.

“Clear the jam! Didn’t you get any power-ups from the last group?” Dirge asked through Dread’s helmet. Dread checked her inventory on her HUD.

“Yeah, only two though. I expected more,” Dread said. “Turbo and Juggernaut, but I don’t think they fit with my class skills.”

“You can only hold two, but those are great together. You can use power-ups without using a skill.” Dirge explained. “Turbo gives you super-speed and Juggernaut keeps you from being knocked down. If you use them both you can get around the track fast and ram the pile of zombies, and maybe you can knock Jelly_Jim down on your way.”

“Awesome,” Dread said. She slapped her hips with her hand to activate one power-up, then again to activate the other.

“Turbo,” the scoreboard announced. “Juggernaut.”  Dread found herself halfway around the track before she oriented herself. The virtual houses decorating the side of the street flew by like a blur, she shot past Jelly_Jim before she realized her missed opportunity.

“Get him next time, clear the starting line,” Dirge advised.

“Right,” Dread agreed. Completing a second lap gave her more resources to use her skills. She looked through them looking for something to help her clear the bodies. She saw the starting approaching, but she could not see past it; the pile of writhing zombies climbed high enough to block her view of the track beyond. She selected a class skill inside her helmet.

“Strength of the Bear,” the scoreboard announced. She lowered her body to pick up speed as she charged at the wall of zombies. As she skated a flash of green caught her eyes. She swung her arms forward and backward for momentum, and on the next swing she recognized a jelly slime attached to her hand. She braced herself as she approached the starting line, but the slime jumped off her hand in front of her. It happened so fast she had no choice but to skate over it, causing the slime to gum up her wheels. She felt her wheels lock up under her, then she flew head first into the wall of zombies. She tumbled down to the street after the impact, without the zombies moving an inch.

“Point: Jelly_Jim,” the scoreboard announced. “Game. Winner: Jelly_Jim.”  The blacktop street and the neighborhood disappeared, leaving a bare, white oval track again. Jelly_Jim approached Dread from behind, then offered a hand to help her up.

“You didn’t do half bad for a newbie,” he said. Dread accepted the hand up, and Dirge joined them on the white track by the time she found her footing.
“Yeah, you got lucky that she’s new,” Dirge said. Jelly_Jim laughed.

“Lucky? You mean you haven’t figured it out yet?” he continued laughing, then walked off the track towards a seat.

“Figured what out?” Dread asked.

“Mundo sent you to me for training,” Jelly_Jim said. His slime exterior shrank away and melted into his body, leaving behind a short, lean man wearing a dark brown tweed jacket. He sported a grey beard, balding head, and pointy elf ears.

“But we chose to compete against you,” Dirge said. Jelly_Jim’s laughter continued.

“Sure you did. Mundo told you to head to the Derby tracks, and while you were there you decided it might be a good idea to warm up. So you looked for the easiest matchup you could find. A slime yokel sitting at a simple track, with the rules in your favor.” Jelly_Jim gave the girls an appraising look.

“Two or three times a year I get some hotshot Unique Soul coming through here swinging their powers around, thinking they’re,.. well unique.”

*** Previous Dirge & Dread story: Roaring Success
Next Dirge & Dread story: Tutorial Start

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