::'''''Small Worlds'''''
::''Chapter Thirty-Three''

The green-skin child leapt from tree to tree, arriving to the spot where the three strangers had gone. It stood, watching them move, sizing them up. It casually slipped into their minds.

One of them was thinking the words 'Jesus Christ have mercy' over and over. The child had no idea what that meant, but it understood that the woman was terrified. Well, all the better. Her fear invigorated the child, and it sighed happily.

The second one wasn't completely consumed by terror, but underneath his determination to succeed, it was clearly present. In fact, it was the source of his ability to function, such that as the child fed on him, he began to loose his touch.

The last one, to the child's surprise, was no afraid at all. Not that he was unaware of the danger - the child could tell that all three of them knew what reputation this place had. But it did not affect him emotionally. He was pondering how to escape with his life, but if he didn't, he would deal with the afterlife. At least he was on firm ground instead of out in space. This reaction frustrated the child, who felt denied a meal. It also meant that the power of the forest wasn't sapping his will like it did the other two.


Visstor could see his two companions slowing down. "Sstay alert, would you. Thiss iss no time for daydreaming." He told the gunslinger, who shook his head in a disoriented manner.

"This gun keeps getting me into trouble." He said.

"Yesss, but you will get uss out." Visstor urged him. "You sssaid you wanted to get back to the sship. Do you know how you will do that?"

Vaniah shook his head again. "I don't know. I can't think." He slowed almost to a stop, and then visibly forced himself to keep moving.

Well, he wasn't much good. Nor was Werther, still begging for salvation. It was up to Visstor. The shedim suddenly realized that he was much less affected by these woods than the other two. Why was that? Was it some sort of human weakness?

Werther completely stopped, and Visstor prodded her. She showed no response. Vaniah was still moving, although very slowly. She was more affected than him.

Visstor saw a moment from the corner of his eye, and turned. In a brief moment, he thought he saw a person scampering along the tree. What if it was a person? What if this wasn't just some weird forest thing, but a psychic attack?

"Gunsslinger, what wass that thing you ssaid getss sstuck in Pssyker'sss mindsss?"

"'Tenser', said the Tensor; 'tension, apprehension, and dissension have begun.'" Vaniah said softly.

"Keep thinking that, gunssslinger." Visstor suggested.


The child had followed the unafraid one's planning, and was concerned by how much closer that one had come to figuring out what was going on. But it told itself that even though he was resistant, he'd succumb anyway.

The child was surprised by the little rhyme, surprised and fascinated. Tenser said the Tensor tension apprehension and dissension. It didn't seem to mean anything, but it sounded interesting. Forgetting about its meal, the child giggled and recited it, enjoying the feel of the words.

"Tenser said the Tensor tension apprehension and dissension have begun. Tenser said the Tensor tension apprehension and dissension." It said aloud, and laughed. "Tenser tensor tension apprehension dissension."


Vaniah felt like he was coming out of his fog. Somewhere, he heard a voice echoing the rhyme he'd been running in his head. "There's a Psyker in here!" He yelled.

"Close." A green-skinned child, naked and apparently genderless, dropped down to hang from a branch overhead. "Got any more rhymes? Tenser tensor tension apprehension dissension is fun to say, and I get bored."

Vaniah tried to think of something. His mind was still fuzzy, but he'd made an effort to memorize as many repetunes as he could. ''A three hour tour. A three hour tour.'' He thought. He wondered if the strange child might be willing to make a deal.

"A three hour tour. A three hour tour." The child giggled, swinging back and forth. "Tell me more and I will lead you to your ship. That's what you want, isn't it?"