Week 43.5 – The Final Gambit

Previously: Twain was released from the Ghost’s possession when Cole cut off his hand. And now…

“Son of a bitch!” Twain shouted. The fallen rocks all around him rumbled in sympathy. “You’ve got to find a different way of doing that.”

A howl arose from the crystal at Twain’s feet, but Digger destroyed the shard with a small Driller blast. The tiny rush of power felt to Twain like eating a wafer-thin mint after a huge meal. The energy was pulsing in his head like the world’s worst migraine, and in his chest, making it hard to breathe.

“Welcome to the club,” said Bogdan. He slowly sat up and rubbed his head. “I have a healer in the town. She can grow you a new hand in a few weeks.”

“No need,” said Twain, remembering the way his muscles had grown and his wounds had closed just a couple of minutes ago. He let go of his stump and snatched his hand off the ground. Bright red blood spurted out of his arm, but Twain held his severed hand to the stump, and within a few seconds, the bleeding had slowed to a dribble as the cells rejoined.

Twain let go with his other hand. The formerly severed hand stayed in place. He flexed his fingers experimentally. They moved, but slowly. The sensation felt vague and distant, as if he were moving the fingers by remote control, or perhaps making them move by telekinesis rather than through nerves and muscles.

“Neat trick,” said Digger.

“See? No harm done,” Cole added.

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”right”]The sensation felt vague and distant, as if he were moving the fingers by remote control, or perhaps making them move by telekinesis rather than through nerves and muscles…[/blockquote]“No!” said the Ghost’s voice. It was tinny and attentuated, as if heard through a telephone handset from the other end of the room. Twain saw the image of the Ghost forming from watery vapor above the few glowing crystal shards that still remained. “You haven’t beaten me yet. I still have the power of my hate, just like when I was in Yi Fan.”

“Do you?” asked Twain. “Because you don’t look so strong anymore. Maybe you lost it when crystals’ power was released.”

“No, believe me, I…” Whatever else he said was drowned out by a boom as Digger destroyed another fragment.

Twain felt another tiny trickle of new power. As Digger turned toward the next fragment, Twain held up his hand and said, “Wait. Don’t destroy them all.”

“Why not?” Digger asked.

“Because he’s weak now,” Twain said. “But if you destroy all the crystals, you might release his spirit to possess one of us. Better to leave him trapped in his teeny-tiny little prisons.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Digger said. He looked up at Twain’s massive form. “Jeez, you’re huge. Looks like you’re the new Czar now. What are you going to do with all that power?”

“I don’t know,” Twain said, rubbing at his aching head. “Feels like I could do just about anything. Anything I could imagine.”

He looked at the hand he had just willed to reattach itself and flexed his fingers again. What had the Ghost said? Control life and death itself

Twain whirled and began to dig frantically through the piles of fallen rock.

This is it. Starting tomorrow – THE FINAL WEEK! Don’t miss Week 44!

To read from the beginning, click here

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