Chapter Twenty-Seven continued
After the dinner at Mom’s, Cindy forgot all about the medicine chest she’d stolen. But she discovered it in the back seat when she went thru the carwash before going to kill Mom. She put it next to her on the front seat, and worked it open while her car went thru the suds. There were bottles of penicillin from the ‘80s – Mom had been breeding antibiotic resistance for years by only taking half the pills and stashing the rest. There were 50 year old bottles of paregoric, tranquilizers, amphetamines. A drug store in a box. There was even some morphine, and a syringe. All horribly out of date, but this stuff didn’t lose its punch, most of it. Cindy’s mouth watered. Which should she take first? Valium? Haldol? Phenobarbital? Benzedrine? She wanted to try them all.
It’s no wonder that she fell asleep on the way to Mom’s, and Xynthde drove the rest of the way. Standing on the grass in bare feet, wobbling with the breeze, Cindy and Xynthde weaved in and out of each other. Gradually Cindy understood that the dragon master, the wicked witch herself, was inside the fortress. Gradually Xynthde understood that Mom was the wicked witch herself. They both agreed that the wicked witch needed desperately to be killed, and that it would take the two of them working together.
They could hear dragon breath. It sounded like wind rustling the bushes, except it was regular. They looked around. The bushes rustled. Something was hiding behind them. They drew their weapons and crept forward, stalking the dragon.
Drug interactions produce strange side effects. A couple of hours ago, Cindy took a fistful of Xanax, which calmed her down remarkably. Helped her to achieve a few minutes of sleep, in fact. One of her favorite daily drugs, and one she habitually doubled or tripled the dosage of, because it was so good at making everything okay.
But the trouble with Xanax is that it makes you evil once it wears off.
Xynthde rummaged thru the satchel they’d brought. The stickiness intrigued her. Ah, the magic box. This time containing the sacred bonbon of life. It would make them invincible in battle. Xynthde loved chocolate. They shared it, for luck, then licked their fingers and moved into position.
The dragon stirred. Cindy felt the rage build up inside her. The dragon – might as well say Mom out loud – was the enemy she’d been fighting all her life. Any shred of independence was hers only because she’d hacked and cut her way thru. The way she lived, the things she owned, were only hers because she snatched them out of the hands of that greedy bitch, who sucked the life out of her.
She felt the power of her rage. All the side effects of her many medications gathered together and took a vote. It was a close race, and they held a runoff. Cindy was dizzy. She was weak. She was agitated. She was confused. She was excitable. She was exhausted. Her heart raced. Her breathing slowed. Her kidneys got gummy and stopped up. Her liver exhaled toxic waste. Her blood pressure dropped. She grew cold and hot at the same time. Her vision grayed out. She struggled to stay conscious. She struggled to remember her mission.
The dragon was breathing on the intrepid warriors. Its noxious gases corroded their skin. The smell of burning hair was overpowering, but the smell of burning flesh was strangely appetizing. Cindy could feel blood lust creeping over her, and looked in Xynthde’s eyes to see it boiling there, too. An unspoken strategy passed between them. They readied themselves for the charge. Cindy checked her Glock; Xynthde wielded her battle scythe.
“One, two three, whee!” Cindy wailed, the very thing her parents said when they lifted and swung her between them as a toddler. Xynthde gave it to her as her personal battle cry, because of the good vibes the sounds contained.
Together, Cindy and Xynthde burst out of the bushes and exploded across the moat, crossing it in a single leap. The portcullis was dropping fast, the sharp spikes were twisted and corroded. Cindy wished she’d had a tetanus shot the last time she was at the doctor’s.
They fought thru the guards and into the central courtyard. Spying the last of the ladder being drawn into the keep, they bounded over the heads of the guards and with a mighty leap, thrust their weapons thru the last rung, nailing the door open.
The dragon’s stench was strong in the keep. There was her famous evil chariot over in the corner, and stolen loot piled against the walls. The dragon had probably just been thru there, and was at this moment in some deep lair inside the keep. The stink of ages rushed out around the brave warriors, but Xynthde had a potion against poison gas, and the girls shared three deep snorts and prepared for the long battle to the room at the top, where the dragon lived, and the wicked witch worked her evil. Or could the wicked witch be in her laboratory?
They split up. Xynthde ventured down to the dungeon, where she freed many prisoners and slayed all the guards, but the dragon and its evil master weren’t there.
Cindy creeped up the spiral staircase to the room at the top, thankful the stairs were made of stone. The wicked witch could always hear her sneaking around when the stairs were wooden. The smell became more pungent, rotting flesh and shit, heat and stale air. Cindy’s nostrils wrinkled and her lip curled involuntarily. She approached the heavy door. She released the safety on her weapon. She paused to listen.
In the tiny room at the top of the stairs, open to the air and the rain, rotting animal carcasses piled in the corner, the witch and her evil dragon crouched, holding their breath, smelling like fear. Cindy wasn’t fooled. She was waiting for Xynthde to catch up to her, and then they were going to finally kill the wicked witch.
The fumes made her sick. She puked quietly, careful to project it into the middle of the stairwell, hoping to keep the slimy juices away from the steps. Where was Xynthde?
Cindy grew weak. The wicked witch was sapping her strength, sucking the life out of her even thru the heavy door. But here was her friend and companion, and suddenly Cindy felt renewed. They retreated half a circle and checked each other’s armor. Xynthde shared some speed, and they shot morphine into the small veins under their tongue.
The dragon sniffed at the bottom of the door, identifying them. They could hear scratching and snuffling and the blood curdling voice of the wicked witch, wanting to know who was there. The time was now. They stood together on the landing, gave each other a last embrace, and burst thru the door like Butch and Sundance.
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