The estate’s proximity alarm began to scream from Wartimus’ communicator. He scooped the space dildo in the bucket and dragged Simon out of the pit. The spotlight on the helicopter followed them.
Under cover of stand trees, Wartimus looked his communicator and disabled the audible alarm. “Back to the house,” he grunted, “Someone is attacking the estate.”
The two boys began to run through the woods together, zig-zagging to elude the helicopter’s questing light. Wartimus estimated they were close to halfway back when the helicopter shut off its searchlight and quietly turned back in the direction of the crater. He and Simon crashed to the ground.
“Are they gone?” Simon gasped as Wartimus checked the communicator again.
“No,” he said in a rough whisper. He began flipping through the security camera feeds. “The far west wall has been explosively breached and there are several large armored vehicles in the front yard.”
“It’s so big,” Simon whispered. He had picked up the dildo from the bucket and was studying it. “Like huge. Why would it be this big? And so heavy?”
“I don’t know,” Wartimus replied absently, typing out a message for his father.
Simon held the dildo up next to Wartimus.
“It’s bigger than your entire forearm!”
The message to his father came back as undeliverable.
Simon dug in his backpack noisily and brought out a flashlight. Carefully shielding the lens with his fingers, he turned it on.
“And there’s some sort of socket on the end. Metal. A metal socket,” he said.
“Simon, there are armed men on the property. It doesn’t matter.”
“Of course it does,” he said, shaking the dildo at Wartimus. “They are obviously here for this. Why would they be after a dildo? And why did it fall out of space?”
“Simon, we’ve got to get back to the house,” he said. He stood and shrugged out of his backpack. “Leave your pack. We’ve got to travel light. Even the flashlights, Geiger, everything.”
“We can come back and get them in the morning.”
Simon nodded and turned off his flashlight. He dropped his backpack beside Wartimus’ and said, “I’m ready.” He held the dildo out to his friend.
“You can carry it.”
“It’s so warm,” Simon said, “And kind of slippery.”
“I know,” he said morosely, “More running.”
“We’ll just walk the rest of the way. We need to be quiet and keep our eyes peeled.”
As they started off, Simon used the nickname he used so rarely and asked, “Warty? Why do you do think it’s purple?”
“No clue,” Wartimus admitted.
Simon didn’t say anything about how his friend was guiding through the moonless night without flashlights and concentrated on walking quietly. Wartimus dialed the light down on his communicator and silenced it. He tried to resend the message to his father again only for it to fail again. He was looking through the network settings when he realized Simon was no longer behind him. He had to backtrack almost a hundred feet. Simon was giggling in a small clearing as he swung the dildo around, making lightsaber noises.
“Simon,” Wartimus hissed. “We have to get back to the house.”
“It’s a weapon, Warty,” the boy said dreamily. “I can feel it. It’s doing something to me.” He had a two-handed grip on the dildo from outer space and a faraway look on his face. Wartimus could see that Simon’s pupils were fully dilated.
“Give it to me, Simon.”
“It’s a weapon,” he repeated. “Watch.”
Simon pointed the dildo at a nearby tree and twisted the base sharply until there was a muted click. A gout of fire arced out of the tip and hit the tree trunk and stuck, burning with a bright blue flame as it ran down to the ground like a thick fluid.
“Holy fuck!” Wartimus shouted in a hoarse whisper.
“It’s telling me how to use it,” Simon said and laughed. He twisted the base again and tossed the dildo to Wartimus. It writhed in his hands like something alive and he almost dropped it. When he looked closely he saw that dozens of tiny tongues had broken out all over the surface and lapped blindly at the night air like an erotic rash.
“Maybe you better hold on to it,” Wartimus said and tossed it back with a shudder of revulsion. It seemed to slap itself in Simon’s hand.
“It knows you, Warty Hugeman,” Simon said in a distant voice. “It thrills at your touch.”
Wartimus blinked a few times and then turned for the house without bothering to check if Simon was following.
Wartimus crouched at the edge of the forest and lawn. Three helicopters hovered over the house, their spotlights playing over it, not bothering to run silently like the one that had followed them from the crater. Someone on board was shouting over loudspeakers, words that just ended up sounding like the feedback howls of faulty equipment. He hailed his father on the communicator, the network connection stronger here. Either the attackers were blocking communications on the estate or his father was blocking theirs to hinder coordination. Maybe they were both pumping electronic chaff into the air. He set the communicator to scan for active channels.
Wartimus turned at the crack of a twig to see Simon walking calmly toward him out of the woods. He cradled the purple dildo in the crook of his left arm and stroked it like a beloved pet.
“Get down, Simon,” he told his friend.
Simon ignored him and stepped out of the edge of the woods and onto the manicured expanse of lawn.
“SIMON!” Wartimus called but the boy continued walking at an unhurried pace. One of the spotlights on the helicopters picked him out. All three angled away from the house and came to hover over the boy, the grass flattened around him in three huge overlapping circles.
Wartimus’ communicator squealed angrily over the cacophonous noise of the helicopters and lit up. He had to jam it close to his ear and heard a babble of unfamiliar voices.
“The readings are clear!” someone said, the sound of helicopter blades echoing strangely. “He has the out-time object!”
“Who the fuck is this?” Wartimus screamed into the communicator.
“Take him!” the voice said, just an angry crackle.
“STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE!” the helicopter loudspeakers shrieked. “WE WILL USE LETHAL FORCE!”
Simon stared up into the sky unmoving.
“SIMON!” Wartimus screamed again, useless in the hurricane of sound. He broke from the wood line on instinct, running toward Simon. He covered the distance in seconds, his muscular legs tearing up clumps of grass as he accelerated. He tackled Simon and covered him with his body.
“You’re going to get yourself killed!” he yelled in Simon’s face.
Simon smiled serenely and jammed the blunt end of the dildo into the exposed skin on the back of Wartimus’ hand. He felt a sharp sting and he rolled off of Simon in surprise. He could see in the actinic light of the helicopters that his hand was bleeding.
Beside him, Simon clambered to his feet and held the dildo aloft. It flashed once, a searing purple light that left a clear outline of it in Wartimus’ vision. As he raised his bloody hand to shield his eyes, thick snakes of electricity arced from the bulbous tip of the dildo in Simon’s hand and all three helicopters exploded simultaneously.