Chapter II: Chimera

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"Madness, in its wild, untamable words, proclaims its own meaning; in its chimeras, it utters secret truths."-Michael Foucault

Cornelia was unable to tear her eyes away from the man-monster. His luminescent blue eyes whirled with immortal power and lightning erupted from his hands. Cornelia braced herself and awaited the searing pain of his attack.

Instead, it was the Chimera that roared in pain. Lightning tore its golden hyde to shreds. Strange black liquid oozed from the sizzling wounds. Another bolt tore through the jaws of the lion's head forcing it to release its hold on her leg. Cornelia grabbed the ground she dug her hands into the soft earth and attempted to pull herself away, oblivious to fresh tears the thorns ripped into her skin. The blood loss and exhaustion clouded her mind.

The man-monster did not tear his eyes away from the chimera as he issued a scornful commanded to Cornelia, "Petaq! run you stupid girl," Cornelia was unable to move, driven by her own mad curiosity, she tried to make sense of him.  She could not look away from the mesmerizing mirage of the man-monster who was crowned with living blue and ebony flame.  "Run!" He commanded again, as azure lightning crackled between his fingers.

Clarity thundered through Cornelia's mind and she scrambled to her feet. She turned to run but her crippled leg only dragged behind her, and the sudden change in height made spots dance in front of her vision.  A single pitiful wail, from the boy, cleared her vision. She groaned as she realized he did not heed her words.

Cornelia felt her heart drop as she realized, that this scream may have been his last. The boy's helpless body had collapsed to the ground, and she feared he had been murdered by his fear. She shuddered at the thought and shambled toward the child. Pain seized her body but she persisted through it. She could not let it control her. She reached the child and collapsed next to him, Cornelia rested her ear to his chest. A sigh of inexplicable relief escaped her lips when his slow and shallow breaths finished her investigation. Satisfied with his wellness she grasped for the lowest branches of the tree that he leaned on, and hoisted herself up, grateful for the additional support. She refocused her vision back to the man-monster and did her best to ignore the strength that drained from her leg.

The man-monster had brought back up. There was another much larger man with yellow eyes and a woman with skin the color of the forest floor. The woman barked strategies and orders at her comrades. Cornelia was overwhelmed by the miracle of the battle that unfolded before her.  Cornelia felt her soul churn with a contradictory mix of emotions; paranoia, terror, madness, but the emotion that ruled them all was a reckless sense of adventure.

"Hercules, grab it by the tail. Avoid the other two heads, they are the fire breathers!" The emerald woman commanded. Jealousy overwhelmed Cornelia as she watched the woman move with practiced precision.

The man with yellow eyes seized the chimera and hoisted it into the air and spun it by its serpentine tail. He released the beast and it flew several yards away. Its body slammed against a tree, splitting it in half under the immense force of the blow.

The chimera was only dazed for a moment, it jumped back up to its feet with renewed ferocity and charged the green woman.

"Artemis, on your left!" The voice of the yellow-eyed giant that they called, Hercules, had a surprising lack of emotion.

To Cornelia's astonishment, 'Artemis', did not show fear. Her expression was calm and calculated. As the chimera was about to collide with her she leaped out of its reach, spun in the air, and shot two bolts of silver light clean through the goat's eyes. The goats head lolled in the throes of defeat and hung uselessly off the monster. The lion head roared in frustration and charged the green woman again. Its attack was cut short as two streaks of blue lightning cut off its path and Hercules grabbed it by the tail and dragged it backward.

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