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Friday, November 9

Awfully Familiar Update

I ran around the pit, zig-zagging as I went. And even as I ran, a trail of death followed behind me. Rat after rat was finished by Jacko. At the rate I was going, I'd be responsible for the death of an entire colony of rodents.

"Stop moving!" barked Jacko. "I'll never beat Billy's time at the rate you're going!"

"Stop moving?" I inadvertently shouted back. "You're trying to EAT me!"

Jacko froze. The crowd booed.

"What?" One eye blinked. "You can understand me?"

"YOU can understand ME?" I said, panting from my exertions.

"Finally, a challenge!" Jacko began to growl. I realized he wasn't really speaking, per se. We were hearing each other's thoughts. I just directed my thoughts at Jacko, and he heard me. Likewise, I felt like I was picking up Jacko's thoughts out of the air.

I skittered to a corner I had visited five times already. I was running out of places to run, and there was no forked branch to save me this time.

Jacko snapped at me again. I leaped into the air, grabbed hold of his tail, and bit down hard.

"Is that the best you can do?" I mentally shouted. Which was kind of neat, given that my mouth was busy.

"Yeah," said one gap-toothed moron in the crowd. "Is that the best you can do?"

I suddenly realized that I couldn't just understand everyone else. They could all understand me. Even humans.

Jacko flicked his tail, sending me flying into the side of the pit. I slammed to the ground, stunned.

I caught sight of Spindle and Corwin. They were cheering me on, pointing and laughing. That's when I noticed there were no other rats left.

"Just me and you, little one," said Jacko. In my head his voice sounded almost kind. "I'll make this quick."

Jacko advanced, growling again.

I leaned back and, mentally broadcasting at the top of my…err, mind, I guess: "Spindle and Corwin are cheating! They gave the rat Modav dust!"

The crowd gasped. Jacko lunged through the air, slobber trailing from one yellow tooth. All I could see was his long, wet tongue. I closed my eyes…

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posted by Michael Tresca at 2:53 PM


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