Lachlan was getting really tired of this place.
He couldn’t make sense of anything here. Where had the snake man come from? Why did Mrs. Sharma, Angelina, Chelsea and the bat thing all seem to know him?
Why were Chelsea and Angelina carrying around a little Italian-speaking bat creature in the first place?
An empty flower pot vanished from a porch with a ripping sound, and Lachlan sighed.
At first, he’d been enjoying the mysteries of this place and debating with Sam how things might work here. But that was before the mysteries of this place had gotten completely ridiculous.
Maybe his initial theory had been right. Maybe everything here was just a drug-induced fever dream.
Or maybe the mad scientist who had Lachlan’s brain in a jar was feeling particularly sadistic today.
The group split to walk around the snake man, and the two sisters followed, just outside their group’s perimeter. Lachlan accidentally made eye contact with one and she reached out a strange, toothy hand and snapped it at him, then winked.
“Oh, fuck off,” he said.
Sam echoed his thoughts as they stepped over one of the snake man’s massive arms.
“I hate this place.”
Before Lachlan could agree, Sam froze, glancing behind them.
“What is it?” said Lachlan.
“There’s something following us.”
“Of course there is,” said Lachlan. “Because the Donner sisters and the fucking snake man weren’t enough trouble.”
“We should probably tell Mrs. Sharma.”
“Probably,” said Lachlan. “Somehow, I doubt she’ll take us seriously until whatever it is actually starts trying to have us for a delicious afternoon snack.”
“Afternoon doesn’t actually exist in this place,” said Sam.
“Eh.” Lachlan shrugged, looking back over his shoulder.
He could see what Sam was talking about now; a tall, humanoid shape shambled toward them, its neck bent at an unnatural angle.
“Excuse me, Mrs. Sharma,” said Sam.
“What?” she said.
“I think we’ve got company.”
“Seriously? ‘We’ve got company’?” said Lachlan. “I didn’t realize we were starring in a mediocre action movie.”
“Shut up,” said Sam.
Mrs. Sharma sighed.
“This had better be worth my time. What kind of company?”
“Company of the… monstrous persuasion,” said Sam.
“Great.” Mrs. Sharma sighed. “Just great. This is exactly what we don’t need right now. Everyone, stop walking, slithering, flying, or whatever your preferred method of locomotion.”
Everyone obeyed, even the sisters. The group turned around to face the creature.
Lachlan realized with a jolt that the creature was only a few feet away now, stretching its long, thin arms toward him. Before he could react, it was right in front of him.
He cried out as its arms tightened around his body, jerking him away from the group.
A girl shouted his name, probably Chelsea or Naomi.
He could hear his companions’ panicked voices overlapping, blending together and fading into the background as he fought to get away.
His feet left the ground as the creature lifted him into the air, swinging him back and forth. He kicked backwards and pulled at the arms holding him, trying to free himself, but the creature was too strong.