"All Gods are real now," they said. They didn't say they could escape.


2. One

"Oi! Oi Mick! You awake?"

The drilling thuds in my head pounded along with Eloise's attempt at demolishing the entire shack, her meaty knuckles pounding on the steel sheet of my bedroom door. "What?" I muttered, face still burrowed in the pillow.


"What'ya want?" I groaned, the thumping in my head worsening as I cracked my eyes open and got a beam of sunlight to the face. Old curtain needs replacing, can't wake up like this again.

"You still asleep?"

Oh for- "No, I'm cooking fox steaks. Want yours with half a can of Cheesy MacCheese?"

"That stuff's nasty, even with a few hundred years of age." Eloise replied, shoving the door open and thunking herself on my mattress, black braids swinging from the impact and buck teeth biting into her scarred lip. "You seen Petra?"

"No but if you do that again, you're gonna see something you really don't want to."

"Already seen it, mom made us share baths. Probably still as unimpressive now as it was back then." She chuckled, kicking an old, grey shirt across the room and picking up a sock with her toes. "Anyway, you sure you haven't seen Petra?"

"Positive." I groaned, forcing myself up and flicking a spider off my shoulder. "Why?"

"Mr O'Connell went to wake her and her room was empty. Stole his pistol, that old police riot armour he found, a set of clothes, and some shit from the storage chest."

"Like what?" I reached for an old shirt, dragging it on.

"Old packet of ibuprofen, roll of bandages, fox steak, packet of old beef jerky, her mother's teacup, tin of beans, not much really. Iona and Alaniya haven't-"

"Wait wait...hold on. Mother's teacup." I paused, sock left half-on my foot.

"Yeah, the one in her family from before the Breakout."

Only a few reasons someone would carry that junk around. "Which one got her mother again?"

"What do you mean?"

"Petra's mother died to one of the gods, right? Which one?"

" wait! Old...thingy, Viking...Rán, that one! Drowned Petra's mother in a net off the coast of the biggest island."

"You don't think Petra's gone after Rán, do you?"

Eloise paused, biting her lip. "Petra wouldn't do something that suicidal, would she?"

"Remember when Jenny almost died to that one from that poem, Nee-arla-thotep or whatever, and Petra took a swipe at him?"

I stood up, grabbing the first clean clothes I could see. "That's a pre-Breakout pop culture one though. She wouldn't really take on a genuine mythos god."

"Wouldn't she?"

Eloise bit her lip, chewing the torn part. "You got anything to take her with?"

"El, don't you dare!" I leaped up off the mattress, tattered blanket falling to the floor. "You ain't going after her on your own!"

"I know," she straightened up, slapping a bug on her shoulder, "you're coming with me, so put something on. Bet I can load the old sawn-off before you've got ya shoes on!"

"You leave that thing alone!" I grabbed the road leathers off the tyre stack I'd made into a table, tripping on the rip in the knee as I dragged them on and staggered into the main room. Eloise had perched herself on the scavenged couch, braids tied back with a bit of string and loading the sawn-off laying across her knee with bright blue shells.

"Hey, where'd you get them?"

"The old gun store on the big island. Biggest city. Loads a shit still left from before the Breakout on there." She replied, loading in two shells with soft clicks and tucking the rest in her bra. "Pretty untouched really."

"Probably dangerous there."

"Well I have seen some big black winged thing flying over when I went scavving-"

"Wait, what!?"

"-probably one of them European ones. Come on, I know a quick way south onto the island."

She grabbed my hand as I laced my old army boots, the shotgun clutched in her battle-scarred hand as she dragged me out of the old shack. 'Someone's pre-Breakout shed' Eloise suggested, but the two side, more like either someone's pre-Breakout weed farm or meth lab. Makes a good hiding spot when she remembers to put the ivy net back over the door!

"If someone scavs our place I'm blaming you!" I snapped, jogging after her, the big rip going up her khakis flapping with every step.

"Pfft, who would? Even that git Joe-E or whatever he's calling himself now wouldn't bother. Come on, you worry too much, Mick." She laughed, leaping over a crack in the road and banking left. The remains of the old bridge still hung over the river, though in pieces, with several dead cars and the cable lights busted, dangling inches from the water. Sparks of blue and purple shot out of the ends, zapping every wave that the bay could churn up.

"Stick to the rusty bits." She yelled, climbing up onto some old pick-up, stretching up and shielding her eyes. "Clear...clear...clear...ok, it's good, come on!"

Clear...yeah, give it five minutes before one of them bastards shows up. Place like this is too fucking easy for one of the winged ones. "Just be careful!" I yelled.

"What's that?" She yelled back, sawn-off held at her side. Dust covered the front of her shirt, shattered chunks of rebar crumbling off the bridge segment she'd leaped onto. "Better make it quick, that big chunk's only just holdin' on!"

She pointed at some chunk of rebar balanced on the wires, sagging down and dragging them with it. "No fucking way!"

"It's the only gap even close to near enough."

Damn it...well it's the only shot. I took off and ran, leaping, kicking off the last rebar chunk-


It slipped! I skidded as it tumbled free, a jolt of pain shooting up my arm as I grabbed a chunk of metal cable sticking out, shoulder pulled half out of its socket. "Michael, hold on! Gimme ya hand!"

"El!" I yelled back, her snatching my hand and pulling, the wound in my hand screaming in pain. "Agh...fucking kills!"

"Don't struggle...I got it..." She pulled, tugging me half up onto the rusted cable lattice, the ends poking me in the gut. "Come on...come it-"

"Agh, fuck!" My palm screeched as I pulled myself up onto the bridge, ripping it free from the metal as it dripped blood.

"There's an old drugstore across the bridge. Can grab some antiseptic there- Mick? Mick?"

I clutched my hand, staring down at the water, her words no more than wind in my ears. "El?"


"Concrete and metal don't float, right?"


My hand shook, blood leaking down the palm, pointing down at the chunk of rebar bobbing away on the surface. "El?"



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