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Okay, focus, Lachlan’s logical brain said. This isn’t the time to be thinking about romantic confessions. My brain needs all metaphorical hands on deck if I want to make it out of this one alive.

He was just above the canopy now–he could see the garden walls, which seemed to extend infinitely into the sky, and the red forest, which went on past the horizon. He thought he saw something reaching up past the treetops in the distance, but it winked out of view as the creature holding him bobbed up and down.

The other two winged creatures burst from the treetops nearby with Sam and Jen hooked in their long, curved talons, and Lachlan finally got a good look at the creatures that were holding them.

They were roughly humanoid in shape, with long, spindly bodies, slick oily red skin the same color as the vegetation, and wide leathery bat-wings that looked like they had a span at least three times as wide as Lachlan was tall.

With any luck, Sam or Jen’s new superpowers would kick in any minute now. But Lachlan didn’t want to rely on luck.

Okay. Alright. Think, Lachlan. Think.

They were only a meter or two above the canopy, and the foliage beneath them looked thick enough to catch them. If the creatures released them now they’d probably be injured but it wouldn’t be certain death.

How would he get the creatures to release them, though? And would that even be the best course of action? What if he somehow got the creatures to drop them only for them to end up with broken legs in a hostile alien forest?

Would it be better to wait a few seconds to see if Sam or Jen’s abilities activated? Did they even have a few seconds? A few seconds was all it would take for the creatures to shoot up into the sky and make escape by falling impossible.

A flash of gold light from Jen’s direction interrupted his thoughts. The creature let out a hawk-like shriek, dropping her. She fell for a split second before ending up hovering just above the canopy. The creature fell too, dropping out of the air as though stunned and crashing through the canopy.

The creature holding Sam stopped, hovering in midair, and Jen took advantage of its distraction, charging it and ramming a shoulder into its chest. It let out a similar shriek to its companion, and dropped Sam. Jen quickly ‘caught’ him via telekinesis and placed him on a nearby branch.

A moment later, the second creature fell from the air and through the canopy.

Jen headed for the creature holding Lachlan, but she wasn’t quite fast enough.

Lachlan’s stomach churned as his captor shot into the air so fast he felt like he was on one of those slingshot carnival rides. He finally surrendered the last of his logical thought processes and let his panic consume his mind.

He increased his kicking and screaming tenfold, even though he wasn’t sure why. Struggling wasn’t going to do him any good. This thing had a vice grip on his shoulder, clutching him like a bird of prey with a rabbit, and even if he somehow managed to break that grip, a fall at this height would be lethal.

He couldn’t stop struggling though. If he stopped struggling, he’d be admitting that it was over. That there was nothing more he could do.

He couldn’t be helpless. He just couldn’t. He had to keep fighting.

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