Aug 31st 2011, 15:45 by E O Hatterpol | 1228 AU FROM SUN
NIXIE broke out of Heartbreak's spell just after his final breath. I can only imagine what she must have thought when she came to her senses and saw me.
My teeth were bared like Captain Makemake's, one spaceboot pushing Heartbreak away by the ridge of his limp spine, both hands up by my head pulling tight the entrails wrapped around his throat.
Heartbreak's eyes rolled into the back of his head, leaving only bloodshot white orbs; his tongue had come loose of his mouth, lollygagging limply there like a dead dog's. His chest was wet and red and his guts were on the floor in front of him. At length, I let him drop facedown onto the cold, chalky gym floor.
"Nixie!" I cried, stretching a warm, bloody hand out to her. "Are you OK?"
I could tell by the hesitation in her eyes that she was afraid of me. Somehow, I also knew then that she would never be able to agree with the lengths I had gone to to save her. But I didn't care what she thought about me anymore; I only cared about her, and her safety, and her life.
A voice cut over the PA system, a familiar, watery voice, the kind of warble that makes you imagine the big googly fish eyes of a frightened coward.
"Ahoy, Starbase Octopus. Flybrary preparing to lift anchor in fifteen minutes. All Flybrarians please report, I repeat, all Flybrarians please report to Ravisius Textor's wall of books for entry. Best of luck to you. That is all."
"The Carptain!" I snarled, my twisted mouth and curling cheek painted with Heartbreak's gut lipstick. "Let's go or we'll be left - NOW!"
Nixie reluctantly took hold of my slick, sticky red hand.
Outside, all the other supercharged female zonbi gymnasts had lifted the yoke of Master Bokor's vodou, but it was much too late for them. Although in their minds they were innocently confused, those who had had their babies squashed or their own spines thumped or their grandfather's shoulders used as uneven bars thought them rightly under attack.
Ironically, Heartbreak's attempt at total control had led to total chaos.
Groups of anarchists had seized the opportunity to loot stores with ski masks on and smash windows with wooden bats and upturn Help and Welcome Department electric golf carts; others, like that snothead man who outed me as a fugitive on the DSOD, had taken it upon themselves to light fires, both to shed light on the zonbi attacks and to stave off the rapidly deepening chill of outer space.
But these fires had been made in barrels and oil drums and other things easily overturned. Fire had spread up the walls and into stores and down arcades and through trampoline rooms and everywhere else I could imagine. Starbasegoers fought back against the zonbis, who were now mostly defenseless teenage girls who themselves had no choice now but to fight for their lives. That made everything worse, not to mention the anarchists, who fought everyone in sight with a smile on their faces, just enjoying the sport of it.
Nixie and I sprinted to the Squid's Beak. The crushing humanity there was so thickly in turmoil I had to beerslash my way across without discrimination for innocence or guilt. I cut some, and killed others, but all that came easier to me now, and I wasn't going to be left on this chilly dark shell of a Starbase to die in chaos and anonymity after everything I had been through, and I was going to make sure Nixie didn't either.
But just as we climbed over the last of the slain bodies to get to the mouth of the Tentacle to fight our way to Ravi the Bookman's protective wall of books, we got caught in between two very scared young girls and a massive hoard of anarchists and angry Starbasegoers turned crazy in the chaos and seasoned Starbasemen who thought themselves fighting an unknown terror.
But the two young girls were no longer zonbis; they were just two little girls, and they were going to be slaughtered in bloodlust if we didn't do anything.
"Help them, E O! Show me, show me you're still good inside! Save them!" Nixie cried.
"We've got to get to the Flybrary, Nixie - we don't have TIME for this," I screamed back.
WHAT should I do next, Flybrarians?
A: You heard the Carptain, didn't you? The blue whale is lifting anchor whether you're on it or not, so ditch the two defenseless girls because the two people you need to save above all others right now are Nixie and yourself!
B: These girls don't deserve what's coming to them; they're just two more of Heartbreak's victims. Do the right thing and fight off their attackers, even if it means being stranded on Starbase Octopus!
Your daily choice becomes tomorrow's adventure! Choose Our Own Adventure with either (A) or (B) in the comments section below, on Twitter, Google+, Facebook or EOHatterpol[at]gmail[dot]com.