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XI. The Storm

It was raining outside. The pounding torrent was making the thatched roof sway under the weight of the blanket of water that was continuously striking it.

Sitting up, he saw he was not alone in his little visitors tent. Butterscotch was there watching him.

“Good morning,” the cheery guinea pog said as he handed over a bowl of berries and nuts.

“Thank you,” the man said and took a handful of the offering.

“Your sleep was very troubled,” Butterscotch noted, “I think the chinchillas chase you in more worlds than this one.”

He nodded at the wisdom of the rodent's words.

“You are right, Butterscotch. I don't know how or why, but I believe it's their fault I am here with you.”

The old rodent chuckled at this “Is it not obvious? It's a test.”

He nodded his consent that he believed, but for what? And whom?

Sensing his thoughts, Butterscotch picked up his story with a puff of blue hued smoke.

“The chinchillas began building their empire under the earth. Killing, enslaving, and sacrificing any that lay before them. The evil races of the down under were no match for the new abomination upon their soil. Then one day, they discovered us. The Guinea Pogs”.

The great map of smoke appeared again, and one by one, the stars seemed to fade, and instead, a dark pit was left in its place. At last, there were half a dozen or so stars left.

“So few?” He asked, and Butterscotch nodded.

“We are lucky here, this part of the jungle has thick stone underneath, and the chinchillas do not like to move in daylight, nor do their foul creations.”

“Creations?” he asked

“Yes. The fate of a guinea pog captured by a chinchilla is often much worse than simple death. You see the dark gods of the Chinchillas will not accept the soul of a pog for sacrifice. So once we are killed, they raise us again to serve them. In death, we are tireless and fodder to serve them at hand and in battle. The undead legions of the Chinchillas is one of its fiercest weapons.”

“Zombies?” He asked not believing what he was being told.

“Zombie pogs,” corrected Butterscotch.

“I don't understand what any of this has to do with me, Butterscotch,” he said pleading in his voice.

“Why am I here? What do they want from me?”

Butterscotch was about to answer when the sound of a horn blew in the village.

“In the name of Hamburger!” Butterscotch cursed.

“They are here! Quickly! Run!” The old pog shouted and led the charge straight out of the door.

The storm had yet to abate, and they could see frenzied Pogs running in every direction. Butterscotch tried to calm his people but was quickly knocked over by a mama pog and her young pups.

He helped the old pog up and led him up towards the edge of the village. As they approached Full Cheeks sprinted up beside them, cudgel held high.

“No, Cheeks,” his winded father said.

“It was not him. I know it.”

Cheeks lowered his weapon and scooped up his father in his two powerful arms.

“Come with me if you want to live,” he said to the furless man and sprinted off into the storm.

He really hated all of this, as he was trying to keep up with Full Cheeks and his father. Everytime they would stop, he would try to remove the VR helmet once again. He was seriously starting to wonder if the thing was stuck or maybe he was just in a coma for real this time. Honestly, that made more sense.

All around them in the jungles, the screams of dying and now enslaved guinea pogs filled the air. It sounded like a fucking route. The scariest part for him the entire time was the little voice in the back of his mind that kept saying,

“I know where you are,” and “I am going to get you.”

He knew it was Mary.

Each time the alien voice echoed in his mind, it spurred him to run faster and faster, nipping at the heels of the great guinea pig before him. Without notice, Cheeks threw his father at the man creature and pulled his great stone cudgel from his back. Before he even had time to stand, the large beast had crushed the skulls of two of the undead guinea pog zombies and was holding back several more with the threat of more swings.

Then something inside the old pog broke, and he picked up a large stone and joined the fray.

With each swing, he caved in the thin bone skull of a once living creature and hoped his blows would give them some sort of rest. With each swing, however, he also felt a bit of power enter him. Maybe it was adrenaline? Either way, it spurred him on, and the great guinea pog and his father soon stood on a pile of mangled and rotting creatures.

Eventually, even their bravado was not enough, and as the wind and rain pressed in, they found it was too much to fend off their assailants.

The storm was a tool of the enemy, he thought, as the two pogs and himself were plopped down in front of a pair of hooded chinchillas. Seeing them in person and at this size, he could see the demonic influence. These things were evil. The black cloak and necklace of skulls definitely lent a hand to the image.

Full Cheeks was about to bark a threat at the pair of hooded figures when they simply nodded to one of the undead pogs next to them.

The zombie pog stabbed Full Cheeks over and over until one of the masters made a motion and stopped the affair. Butterscotch wept openly at the brutalized and still bleeding body of his son.

To add insult to injury, the chinchilla popped something out of its bag, ate it, and then began to chant in a horrible muttering of sounds, the likes of which can only be found in a truck stop bathroom.

As the creature finished its eruption, Cheeks began to move again.

He looked the same as he did in life, except for his eyes. They had been gouged out.

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