Peter whirled through sky, highway, and suburb before landing in his body with a jarring BZZZT. He immediately began to jump and twitch.
Kora reached forward and wrapped her forearms around his torso, pinning him against the driver’s seat. Eun leaned over from the passenger side, trying to grab his wrists, but his arms were thrashing like electrified whips. She eyed them for a moment with rapt, unwavering focus, then plucked them from the air with a pair of quick, efficient snatches.
“Get his head!” she yelled at Kora.
Kora palmed his forehead with her left hand, pulling his skull against the headrest. He jerked and bucked for a few more seconds, then settled back into a sweaty mess. His right pupil was pointing down and to the right, his left was pointing down and to the left.
“How is he?” Kora’s voice was strained and tight.
Eun barely registered the question; she was creeped out by his unfocused gaze. “I…I…”
Peter drew in a tremendous breath. “HuuuUUUUUHHHH!”
Eun leapt back and let go of his wrists. She immediately darted forward, intent on grabbing them again, but Peter raised a hand.
“It’s okay.” He patted Kora’s arm, still looped across his chest. “I’m good.”
Kora let him go. He pounded his sternum with a clenched fist and coughed twice.
“The Timekeeper?” Eun asked. “Is he—”
“Don’t know.” Peter gave her a haunted look. “He was still—”
[Fi-ht-ng. I -m st–l—] The demigod’s voice was interspersed with static, but they got the gist: he was still fighting. He was still alive.
[Timekeeper? Timekeeper!] Peter stretched out with his psyche. Desperation caused him to duck his head and raise a hand to his ear, like he was activating a mic’d up earpiece. [Is there anything we can—]
[NO.] His voice came through loud and clear. [I hurt her, but she managed to injure me. Listen carefully: your dimension isn’t safe. She won’t be able to gobble it as fast as she could at full power, but she’s still—]
[We need to get you some fucking hel—]
[LISTEN. I’m going into a psychic coma. I need to heal.]
[I’ll be inside an astral cocoon, so I won’t be able to help you—I’ll be immobilized. Dissona will still be active, but her power is limited. You need to move fast; it’s only a matter of time before she—] He cut off again.
[Timekeeper?] Peter’s eyes moved back and forth in frantic tics. [TIMEKEEPER!]
“Look!” Eun grabbed his shoulder and pointed center-dashboard. Bitefighter was jumping up and down on his holopad, emitting a series of high-pitched squeaks.
“What is it, buddy?” Peter asked urgently.
BF sank to a knee and scribbled on his whiteboard. He pushed to his feet and held it up, moving it slowly from left to right, making sure that all three teens could see what he’d written.
Final message from Timekeeper, it read.
Keep your eyes open!