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


4. Two

"El, El, move!" I grabbed her by the collar and yanked as she stared, trapped like a deer in the headlights. The waters were parting below, waves crashing off her body with roars like a bear. She...that thing, Rán, had been lurking in the water, sleeping, and we'd woken her up.

She staggered up as I tugged, taking aim and firing two shells straight into the water where the goddess rose, blood leaking from one hip as she stood upright in the water. Black hair tangled around barnacles and clams and lobster thingies, slit-like gills in her neck, and a fishing net wrapped around her bare legs.

"Just fucking move!" I grabbed her braids and yanked as she fished in her bra for more shells, dragging her back a good way. As if breaking from a trance, she snapped and bolted, a single shell flying from her hand and landing with a thunk on the bridge.

"We...we pissed her off!" She gasped, vaulting up onto some old car and launching off its trunk over a gap in the bridge, landing and rolling sideways once, twice as a wave stretched up through the gap like a hand.

"No shit, just run!" I followed her, the shock of landing racing up my back to crunch in my chest, the smell of seawater heavy in the air. Rán had unwound the fishing net from around her legs and caught the waves with it, tossing them at us like a spray of stinging acid. The weights tied to it thunked against the metal of the bridge with every spray, and the shrieks of rage filled the air with every creak of the bridge.

It jolted! I stumbled as the bridge swung, hitting the concrete and getting a good half of my face chewed up by it as the rusted hunks of cars skidded with the squeal of rubber. That goddess thing was shaking the fucking bridge down! "Michael!" My sister yelled, a car door swinging open and knocking her over.

I dragged myself up, something wet dripping into my eye as the bridge swung again. "Hang in, El!" I yelled, lungs starting to ache and burn as I vaulted a gap and thudded my guts right into the blunt hood of some old car. "I...I got you!"

"Michael, run!"

She grabbed my shoulder and yanked, my head snapping back enough to get a good look behind us. The gap I'd nearly missed seemed far too close, and the pale, dripping figure climbing up it seemed even closer. Her black hair leaked creatures onto the shattered concrete, gushes of water dripping down off her bare breasts onto the shattered bridge. Her teeth were pointed, snicking together as she dragged herself up, two words escaping with hisses of rage.


I turned to run, but El had grabbed my shirt, loading the sawn-off and taking aim. "Watch this! Gladly, bitch!" She yelled, letting go of me and pulling the trigger.

"Fuck are you doing!?" I snapped, grabbing her arm and pulling as the first spray of blood erupted from the deity on the bridge. She'd got Rán in the jaw, the saltwater tangled in her black hair dripping into and chewing up the wound.

She didn't reply, just gripped the shotgun and ran with me, pausing only for a second to turn and fire once more. The bubbling screech of pain indicated she'd hit, and the roaring splash of the surf was another good sign. At least she wasn't on our level anymore.

"Don't just fucking stand there!" I tugged her hand again, clambering up on some pre-Breakout college kid's gift from daddy and vaulting up over the chasm spanning the water, landing with a thunk as my knees slammed into my chin. The air was getting warmer, the sun peeking out behind the clouds and threatening to wake up any more of those that didn't hunt at night.

Last thing we needed right now. Or Petra, wherever she was. She'd come out here after Rán so she can't be too far. If she'd even made it. What if she too had woken up Rán, and didn't get across the huge clear stretch over the top of the arch, or didn't make the jump? She's not the most agile, so if she slipped...

No, don't think on that. Just get over the bridge, get away from the water, get away from the-


Eloise's words got lost in the roars of a wall of water, my foot skidding on a loose slab and knocking my other leg out from under myself, the goddess emerging, climbing up the side of the bridge and sweeping a tidal wave of water across the shattered road. Blood still dripped from her jaw, a chunk of flesh hanging off and rippling as she hissed and swung at me with another spray of water, hitting with the force of an earthquake, knocking me off the bridge into her net.

It whipped and caught me in the chest, tangling around and slicing into my bloody hand. Other poor saps had met their end in here, their greenish-grey skin peeling away in layers and their eyes glazed over, limbs flailing like fish as they hung out of the net. Several slapped into me as the net swung, tangling around my ankle, bringing me face-to-face with a fresh one. Red hair still shiny and matted, green eyes still clear and bright, its clothes drenched and hanging off it like weights, and a dark spot on its upper arm swirling and tumbling over itself in a complex knot. Celtic design, almost three thousand years old, scratched into her arm with an old scalpel, ink, and the only sober hand on a drunk night.

Petra O'Connell. She'd gone after Rán after all. Failed though, got caught in her net and drowned like the rest of them. Like me.

No! Not like me! Not this time. I grabbed one of the cords of the net, blood mixing with the threads and the seawater, holding steady and shoving Petra's body aside as I climbed up and self-righted myself, the threads tangling around my ankle further. Looking up, the bridge was a good few feet up, Rán herself climbing up it, the occasional bang of my sister's shotgun going off accompanied by sprays of godly blood dripping down like sunlight. Each pull strained my ankle further, reaching down and tugging at the rope until with a stab of pain, I came free.

Got for her. "El, run!" I began scaling up her net, each thread biting into my palms, each corpse still entangled as they flapped in the wind snatching at my shirt and chewing at my hands. Each rung of the net ladder burned, the occasional slimy padding of a corpse not a pleasant replacement, and the shotgun blasts above were coming thick and fast.

"El, fucking move, stupid bitch!" I yelled again, the sea air burning my lungs. Each breath felt like razor blades, coming out in wheezes as I dragged myself up the net in the god's hand. Rán was peppered with tiny, bleeding holes, the water below her starting to redden, her webbed feet kicking at the air as she struggled to pull herself up onto the bridge.

"Just ru-"

Eloise got her. Right in the eye, spurts of blood gushing out, her child-height hands spasming in shock and detaching her body from the bridge. She crashed down like a building, hitting the water with wave-sized ripples, the net of corpses caught in the wave as it too dropped, flinging it - and me - out from the bridge with a snap like a whip, forcing me to let go, flipping me into the air and smacking me again into the sea as I flailed, gasping for precious breath, struggling with every wave as I forced my flailing to become strokes, pushing me forward, dragging me there...

Until the second volley of waves came. Rán had emerged, shrieking with rage and pain, flailing and churning the waters into waves that flung me towards the shore, embedding my legs into the silt and mud, slamming my chest against a rock on the shore, knocking all the air from me and leaving me wheezing. The waves were thrashing like a whip, mud caking my legs, weighing me down as I struggled, fighting for air against the blurred figures dancing in the coming blackness.

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