Wind spirits dance inside the pages of the Daily Mail. I laser-pointer-flick Yggdrasil’s tip through a handful of threatening dot-matrix Muslims on page six. The outrage-engine wails and boreal spirits howl through the spilt magazines. Tesco glimmers briefly in reflected light from burnished lifestyle thighs and promises and threats of female fat. I dodge the still-sharp mech arm as it swings, invisible inside a chaffcloud of Mens Health and Empire magazine.
I quickly swat a soap-stars blurb out of my eyes and jam my sword into the scarred machinery of his leg. Squat-thrust up levering the blade and knocking the cab back as I rise. The mech and I both slip on greasy women’s mags and inexplicable peanuts (arranged to face like duellists in every shop across the land.) The car goes down. Slams back through the plate glass window. That’s. That. Done. At least. “Ah ha!” Hopping onto the windshield once more. I eye the single earhole staring back. He’s already rolled out through the window, a blur of red. Now we can really get started. Lets see those one hundred styles. I plunge through the angry wind-things. A micro-typhoon nips my heels riding a Guardian letters page. I don’t have time for this, no pets! Too late!
A black-red blur cracks my jaw, thumps a rib and smashes the back of my calf with one blow. I fall. (Don’t drop the sword.) The fucker looks like a Cumulo-Nimbius giving birth to a scally Kali. Occultum Nunchucks. (Occultum is an anti-material, one neutron lighter than hydrogen, unstable, shifts under analysis, occupies multiple spaces at once.) He can omni-whack from every direction at once with single swings.
“You should have started out with that.”
I throw the Guardian letters page at him. For the first time in history it has a meaningful effect. Hit paper with a stick, it tears. Hit it with a hundred sticks at once you get confetti. I grate my sword point on the tarmac in an arc, sparks don’t fail me now. An ember leaps into the powdered dust. (Fail? Flail?) It whooshes up in flame. Non harmful but enough to break away. Superfast moonwalk backing up point levelled at his face.
“Nice idea but I think you’ll find it flailed.”
No. Wait. Hold one, that doesn’t work. He looks confused, bats ashes from his face.
Style one! (Can Yggdrasil cut Occultum? How bad is he?) Roll forward! Think Capcom! I dive under him as he falls, an arch within an arch. Duck-skid to a halt as he comes down. A blur of occultum jackhammers the road surface leaving a barbecue-sized scar.