The Curse of Gary (Part 124)

The light surrounded Victor and hurled him into the air. He tumbled through nothingness, a great wind rushing against him. By lying face down with his arms outstretched he found his balance; the wind seemed to glide beneath him and support him. The golden light changed to an infinite pale blue, with far-off patches of wavy white. He saw, to his great surprise, his arms now stretched as magnificent golden-brown wings. He looked down at his belly: it was a rippling sea of feathers, beneath which protruded curled toes with long talons. Victor looked back up at the endless sky before him. “Woohooooo!” he screeched.

A crawling speck a mile below drew Victor’s attention, and he instinctively dived. The air whistled, and washed over his face like cool water. Speeding downward, outracing gravity, Victor noticed afar off the curves of rocks, the twisted twigs of bushes, and the tiny tracks of lizards in the desert sand. The speck he had seen now appeared to be a round, slow-moving creature; with an arch of his wings and a twitch of his tail feathers he closed in on it. As the ground rushed toward him, he spread his wings, levelling out in flight, and opened his feet to strike. The round creature was the size of a truck tyre and looked like a sandy stone. A whoosh of wings and Victor attacked, sinking his claws deep and effortlessly into his helpless prey; red streams oozed from the wounds. The creature toppled on its side and lay still. Victor hopped on top of it and tore into its flesh with his hooked beak; the meat was soft and fluffy, and its skin was sweet. Victor plunged his beak in again and this time tasted the warm, drizzling red fluid. “Mmm, yum,” he squawked. “Strawberry.” The creature was a giant jam doughnut.

Five mouthfuls into his meal, the doughnut vanished, and so did the desert surroundings. Feathers dropped off Victor and he regained his human form. He stood in an entirely white room, empty but for himself and a ten-gallon hat on the floor. The hat twitched, and then twitched again. Victor stepped over to it and lifted it. A hundred fat blood sausages tumbled from the hat, spilled onto the floor and then bounced up to hover at Victor’s eye-level. The sausages drew together in a tight group and began floating around the room as one, like a school of fish. Round and around they drifted, changing direction here and there, before gathering above Victor in a swirling cloud. The sausages sprouted fur, and then legs and floppy ears; they tumbled down upon Victor and knocked him to the floor, a downpour of a hundred dachshund puppies. Victor laid back and laughed as the puppies jumped up on him, yipping and nuzzling against him with their soft, sleek fur. In the midst of the cuteness, one puppy scrambled over his chest and up to his face. The puppy set his tiny front paws on Victor’s cheek and looked him in the eye. “Beware the fallboard!” said the puppy. The yipping and playful growling continued, and the puppy called out louder, “Victor, watch out for the fallboard!”

Victor giggled as the puppy’s claws tickled his cheek. The adorable black mass swarmed Victor’s stomach, the puppies clambering over one another and toppling, their stubby limbs wiggling madly about. The puppy at Victor’s face leaned its head down and nipped Victor’s nose. “Ow! Be careful,” said Victor, and he reached up and scratched the puppy behind the ear.

The puppy closed its eyes and wagged its little tail, before growling and shaking itself. It climbed down beside Victor’s ear, and whispered, “Beware the fallboard!”

The puppies and the room faded; there was a flash of light. The vision, in an instant, ended.



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