Chapter 3: Lulz is the Law, Lulz under LOL*
It wasn't until much later that Teresa learned the exploding cat was actually a plush toy with a stun grenade stuffed inside. Off-balance and taken utterly by surprise, the force of the flash-bang knocked her over, right side striking the edge of the table with enough force to make her wince.
As she fell, the serrated pain of a cracked rib tearing her inward from bone to lung to tumor, she knew -- with an animal certainty which bypassed all thought -- that everyone in the dining room had seen the flash and heard the bang. They had shared the experience. They were all interconnected with her.
They had all been breathing her air, just like the inmates at Frontera.
The magic flared within her at the speed of instinct, burning from her tumor outward through the searing pain in her side, spreading her blindness and deafness and disorientation across a network of arcane second-hand smoke and into the two dozen customers and waitstaff.
As one, the entire population of the restaurant coughed wetly. Their lifetime chances of contracting cancer increased by a statistically significant percentage.
And then Teresa could act again, shoulder-rolling as she hit the floor, coming up into a kind of half-crouch. She could see the girl crouched beneath the table, wiping her mouth with the left sleeve of a bright pink cardigan, right hand buried inside a matching vinyl purse-slash-tote bag. Their eyes met.
The girl looked to be about 12 years old, but the eyes that looked back at Teresa weren't those of a child. They were hard and deep and dark, as black as her glossy Asian hair, a gaze made of obsidian knives. They were the sockets that remained after her innocence had been scooped out with a melon baller.
They were the same eyes Teresa had seen in the mirror every day for the past twenty years.
"OH HAI THAR," the girl exclaimed, and pulled a pistol from her bag. It was the exact same shade of obnoxious pink as her purse, except in anodized aluminum, and the kitty face etched along its extended barrel matched the picture on the girl's dress. She cocked her head to the side and smiled brightly, waving cheerfully with her left hand as
the laser spot underneath the gun barrel traced a hot pink line to Teresa's heart.
"U DIEZ NAO KTHXBAI."
To Be Continued....
*This phrase is courtesy of the Verwirrung blog and is used with the permission of Episkopos Cain.