Danny's Story

32. in which danny gives wild chase

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Like a squirrel being chased, Danny sprang from the end of a branch. The bough bent sharply under her weight, and half of the tree shook with the force of her jump. Leaves showered to the floor below. Her extended hands grasped a thick hanging vine, and she slid down it, crying out in surprise when the vine’s leaves turned out to be razor sharp wafers of metal. If not for the armor of the Suit, she would have been cut to ribbons.

She landed in a crouch on the ground below, unharmed. She stole a quick glance upward. The cyborgs were sliding down the vines toward her like spiders toward their prey.

Not today, she thought.

But that did giver her an idea.

As the cyborgs sped down toward her, Danny flipped onto her back in a roll. As she faced up, she extended her arms in front of her and splayed open her palms. All the while, she spoke hurried, harsh words of description. Her palms opened — she finished the sentence as the tendons went taught — her breath caught —

And her words came true as twin sprays of white liquid shot up from her palms, bursting in the air into wide, gooey nets. Each net wrapped around one of the cyborgs, then hardened on contact. As Danny completed her roll, she hastily shot off one last net, then sprang to her feet. Immediately, she ducked to the ground and covered her head with her arms as two of the incapacitated cyborgs hit the ground heavily as roundish messes of metal and hardened white cement. The ground trembled with each impact.

Unscathed, Danny glanced up and started. The third cyborg — one of the two lackies — had escaped her attacks. It was less than ten feet away and falling toward her, its metal strut legs spread wide like a terrible halo. Its face twisted, and it let out an ear-piercing scream like rending metal.

Danny rocketed forward just as the creature hit the ground and skittered forward on its eight nimble legs. Using her momentum, she ran up a tree, then flipped forward from it, grabbing onto another tree’s branch. She swung onto another branch and ran.

The cyborg leaped easily after her. When it did, Danny somersaulted to the ground. She gave it wild, evasive chase.

The cyborg kept pace, springing after her and almost premeditating her next moves as she turned this way and that, running, leaping, rolling. It dodged two more of Danny’s attempts to net it, gaining ground with each of those brief pauses she took.

The clack of its legs grew loud behind Danny. She had to try netting it once more, and without losing her forward momentum this time. She could not afford to lose any more distance.

Danny leaped into a forward flip. Her hands extended in front of her. At the turning point of the flip — as she turned to face the cyborg upside-down — she shot two nets from her hands.

The cyborg was snapped up in an explosion of white glue. Just as Danny landed on her feet from the flip, she was knocked forward through the air. The boulder that had been the cyborg crashed past her and shot through the forest with its unchecked momentum.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey

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