A nauseous scent...
Since Eeltje's very first breath she felt her tongue go slightly numb. The stench in the air was hard to describe. Not disgusting as that of organic rot, instead, more akin to a chemically unpleasant compound, inherently yet inexplicably repulsive. Kinda like the awful combination of synthetic leather and cheap, aged car fresheners, or the strange cleaning products interstate bus companies use to drench their closed-circulation vehicles in an unshakable odour that no amount of foodstuff or bathroom flushes could overcome (perhaps for the best). Differently from those mundane situations though, Eeltje just couldn't acclimatize. It had an underlying... influence
. Smells are associated with memories. And Eeltje's memories were mostly corrupted, disfigured, unstable, sombre and unsettling. Feelings she didn't even know she could feel were slowly blossoming. Despite her conscious effort, her uvula wouldn't be overpowered. It was prevailing. Her esophagus loosened. The peristaltic movements became more frequent. Her jaw tightened.Oh god...
Her empty stomach didn't save her.
The cryptic sky...
Only then did she begin to inspect more minutely her surroundings with the dim lightning that the night sky provided. No, not night, because while the runic sky above her was mesmerizing and overwhelming like sidereal space, it was unnaturally oppressive, just like the scent in the "air". As she glanced around, she realized the surface was just as infernally whimsical as the skies. The "buildings" around her were littered with debris and encroached with pulsing (and fluorescent at times) vines. And rather bland too. Square, tar-drenched remnants. Two stores at best. They were honestly unrecognizable - much like one can't tell whether a deteriorated Paleolithic construction is a house or a shop, Eeltje couldn't make sense of the ruins.
She was quick to stand on her feet. Wherever she was, it was probably not the wisest idea to find shelter in the constructions, but it was better than lying in the open in the middle of the street like she was. Well, at least that was the procedure if a terrorist attack or an armed conflict took place (or so she heard; she was never caught in a crossfire). Carefully enough she creeped towards the street corner. Eeltje looked around. The brick wall behind her stretched for quite a while both east and west. (She just assumed her right meant east and her left, west). No street southwards, just northwards. Tar everywhere. Oozing from the floor. From the wall cracks. Defying physics, flowing freely, with colour eddies dancing on the pools much more swiftly than the substance's viscosity could allow. It was mesmerizing, too. The tar had its own strange, incomprehensible odour, so intense the sickening air paled in comparison. She felt strangely comfortable watching it. Hypnotized, even.
A deafening hiss...
You probably are familiar with this, a sensation that almost resembles a sixth sense. When the television is turned on, it emits a very high frequency pitch (well, at the very least, cathodic ray TVs used to). It is so subtle you can't quite distinguish it as television screen noise
; instead, it's more of a pervasive emanation that your eardrums notice. You just feel it. Once it's turned off, the high frequency pitch - or, as we perceive it, this intuitive sensation - ceases as well.
Eeltje must've thought there is a huge television above her, then, because the sensation was overwhelmingly present. More like a tinnitus than a subtle pitch. But after that wet hiss she just heard - almost like someone was drooling and bubbling in their saliva - the sensation went from a television hum to a high frequency radar, perfectly snitching the hissing creature's position right behind the brick wall. It was certainly large - only an elephant could feasibly make a noise like that - and certainly a surreal aberration given her new abstract landscape and the... uncanny
emanation its presence exhaled. Unless some unknown pheromone could transpire arcane malice, that creature was definitely a freaky thing.
Overwhelming might...It's the adrenaline kicking in.Yeah, it's most definitely the adrenaline. That's gotta be it.
The first time you feel a novel sensation, you can't quite put your finger on what's happening. Eeltje certainly couldn't. How would she? Her Monkey Mind ceased to wander in the sea of sensations and thoughts this new world triggered. She suddenly turned into a snake ready to pounce. Her reactivity increased tenfold.
It didn't make sense, though. How come her reaction to "some unknown creature is roaring its battlecry at me
" is to activate fight mode? No, not even fight or flight
mode. She was a hundred percent combative. Feral, in a certain way, although still in plain control of her mental facilities. How could Eeltje be so sure of herself?I had no idea adrenaline felt like this.
It wasn't adrenaline. It was no human, or mortal even
, feeling. No sort of biological or chemical reaction. It was something far more complex and incomprehensible, but which felt to Eeltje as familiar as the feeling of an adrenaline release. Well, perhaps it was a bit like adrenaline, except an unholy version of it. Nevermind that, though. Eeltje was not in a time to explore her newfound sensations. It was time to fight.
(But we, detached from her mind, and detached from her experience, can take a hunch. Lilith. The succubus' blessing. She must have infused or awakened something in Eeltje. She was self-confident and dangerous before her arrival in New Atlantis, no doubt, but she would never seek physical combat.)
Just like a swordsman unsheathe his blade as his combat commences, or a soldier cocks his gun, Eeltje's hands started to fume. Thick, dancing, evil purplish black fog emanated voluminously from her hands. From the looks of it, it could as well be the gaseous version of this wicked world's tar looking fluid. Eeltje was aghast, as anyone would be if their body started to behave against their assumption of physiological normality. But the emanation felt so natural she realized there was no need for fear. Just like after a bath one finds peace watching their skin smoking water vapour, Eeltje accepted her smokey hands. And boy did they fume.
All of this - from the hissing to her hands' spontaneous reaction - took little less than ten seconds, but her exhalation already extended a few feet around her. She was quickly drowning herself in her own opaque gas. Oh shit, oh shit, I'm blinding myself.
And right after her thought vanished the fog she created gently drifted to her sides. She was Moses with his staff and the gas Red Sea. By her sides it remained, behaved, as more and more of it was produced. Huh? What the hell? That is... so neat.
Eeltje would probably toy around with her mist if the situation wasn't grave.
She took a few steps to the east, away from the northwestern intersecting street, with her gas accompanying her accordingly. It has probably been twenty seconds by now and the hisser remained quiet behind the wall. What was he, dumb? Does he think he's concealed, away from Eeltje's perception? Why would he even hiss, rather than simply pounce covertly?
Wait a minute...
What must have felt like a sharp whiz rocketed behind Eeltje. Her augmented state of perception was able to notice that sudden advance, and while she managed to turn backwards, she couldn't protect herself from the huge cannonball...ish object that struck her. Well, in retrospect the impact was nowhere near being hit by a cannonball, but at the time it felt like it. Eeltje was blasted some few meters away from where she stood.
Whatever hit her, it was hurting her elbows, badly.
Actually, it wasn't quite hurting
her elbows... it was, in fact, pressing them.
Two hands, mummified in pulsing tar veins, pushing Eeltje against the floor. That thing
was right over her, with its scrawny 150 centimeters of pure tar seeping glory, hissing at stunning decibels right at Eeltje's face. What the fuck
what the fuck
what the fuck
what the fuck
If Eeltje hadn't puked a few minutes earlier, she would definitely have right then. The acid warmth of the creature's sludge dripping over arms, chest and legs, its nauseating breath - tenfold the horrible scent of the air - and the concept of something that vile mounted over you was beyond terrifying.
And if that thing wasn't the crux of her situation she would probably have spotted a second entity in the background, climbing right over the brick wall, this a much bulkier figure, the creature her sixth sense had originally located.
Will you shut the fuck UP????
One can only assume the purpose of the whistling, um, attack must have been to stagger and immobilize the prey. But it didn't work against Eeltje. The hissing ceased and the thing collapsed by her side, with a protuberant black spike puncturing through his occipital to its forehead. To be fair, it was more of a jousting lance than a spike: insanely long and as thick as a wrist. Eeltje crawled back on her fours, part flabbergasted, part disgusted (brain
bits all around - ewww).
Funny. She had just imagined some sort of pike blowing through the hissing thing's skull, and just like that it happened. She noticed half of her "summoned" smoke was missing, too. The other half remained obediently still next to where she was standing.Did I.... did I do... this?
There was no time for an after-action investigation, though. The bulky freak seemed a bit horrified by the situation but its craving for Eeltje was much too strong. It advanced graciously over the wall - seriously! Its movements were fluid and silent, almost like a cat despite its body type more akin to a bodybuilder - ready to spring over Eeltje.
It must've assumed to be an intelligent idea to charge at her before she could properly process the situation. Maybe, right after such an odd chain of events, she would be paralyzed in confusion, unable to adequately respond to yet another oncoming threat.
Eeltje, as a good empiricist, wanted to ascertain she - and not some ethereal event of common occurrence in this strange realm - had caused the first thing's timely demise. And, instinctively, the second freak was the perfect Petri dish to test her hypothesis. She thought of a few javelins darting at the monster, and the magic happened.
The remaining mist, up until that point devoid of motion, swiftly spiraled into sharp cylinders and bolted towards the sprinting creature. She watched in amazement as, in mid-air, the objects' spectral semblance converted into something firmer.Deposition.
In total, some seven projectiles were launched. Six of them missed their target - it was a moving object, after all - but the seventh fulminantly impaled its chest and shoved it to the floor to the other side of the brick wall. The being started to grunt uncontrollably. Eeltje couldn't make sense whether those were howls of pain or a summoning call for its pack.
It doesn't matter. If more come, I'll kill them too.
Eeltje remained by the whereabouts for a few minutes, listening to the sweet symphony of death. Part sadism, part self-realization. After all, she had singlehandedly skewered two surreal entities that could quite possibly lacerate a human being with less qualms and difficulty than a lion, all thanks to her newfound gas-bending, depositional powers. The monster's pain meant, foremost, safety. No matter what plane of existence she was - whether purgatory, hell, or some scifiey earthly dominion - she was not a prey. To think she was a predator was a bit premature and arrogant, but Eeltje did nonetheless.I'm the killer. Like it should be.
Eventually, the air went silent. Eeltje smiled shyly. Suddenly, the smell was no longer a problem.