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The creature... and the 'ground'.... tilted suddenly to Dee's left. The stalk that held the creature's eye whipped downward out of sight. Dee saw the Scarecrow fling himself free of the glowing orb just before the appendage vanished, but she didn't see where he went.
Everything was falling, except the walls of the shaft, where were spiraling upward past her
There was deep, throbbing shudder, followed by a groan, both coming from 'beneath' her. From below... within the main mass of the creature.
Everything shifted hard to the right as the creature threw itself against the wall, and then slid downward even faster in a barely-controlled descent. The horrendous stench of decay increased exponentially. Dee started to cough, and realized that she could actually SEE the stench quite clearly now...a green and brown haze poured from the "ground" that was actually the creature's skin. Her eyes stung... as did her nose and nasal passages. And it was getting worse, fast.
Dee realized that this wasn't just a smell, it was some kind of chemical... perhaps a defense mechanism. It might even be acidic. Whatever it was, she had to get out of it. Beside Dee, Treach had given up barking and was furiously urinating on everything including himself. The stench must have been playing havoc with his canine senses.
"C'mon..." Dee grabbed Treach's collar, picked a direction at random and pulled him along after her. It was like stumbling through a nightmare; a flesh-coated universe thrashed and undulated around her as her eyes went from stinging to burning. Keeping them open for more than a few seconds at a time hurt. Badly. Her throat clenched shut after every breath.
She kept moving. The thing wasn't actively trying to EAT her any more, so maybe she could survive this. Maybe if she could make it to the wall; find something solid to hang on to.
There was a very loud, very wet sound directly in front of her. With the next step, Dee's foot came down on-
She fell. Her hands left Treach's collar and clawed at a turgid, fleshy surface that was suddenly rough... and then sharp. Her fingers found a short, protruding spike of SOMETHING, and she held on. For an instant she thought she'd stumbled off the edge of the creature and fallen into/against the shaft wall. But no, she was still clinging to something organic. But it was changing. Dee felt a few sharp points jabbing against her body. Then a few more.
She looked down.
The stinging, reeking cloud was almost nonexistent here; Dee could see clearly the giant, circular mouth that yawned open a few yards below her. Then she realized that it wasn't BELOW her... it was AROUND her. She'd already fallen in, and was clinging to a short, curved tooth. More teeth were extruding from the fleshy wall, all of them curving toward her from multiple directions. The wall itself was trying to fold itself around her. What waited below was a throat at least twenty feet across. Instead of a dark hole, the throat bubbled over with wet, eager, squirming shapes.
Dee was about to congratulate herself for not panicking, then she realized she'd been in a state of continuous panic for the past ten minutes. The only reason she wasn't running around screaming incoherently was because she needed to hold on to the TEETH THAT WERE COMING OUT OF THE WALL TRYING TO CHEW HER TO PIECES!
Something grabbed her hand.
Short, stubby shapes wrapped around her wrist and pulled violently upward, nearly dislocating Dee's shoulder.
By the time she recognized the shapes as fingers, and the arm they were attached to as the Scarecrow's, she was already being hauled up over the sharp-and-still-growing teeth. Several points snagged her clothes; several more poked and tore into the skin beneath. Dee planted her feet on the wall and pushed away as her silent savior pulled her up. With an awkward walking motion she moved up and over the thickening rim of the giant mouth.
Once again, the stinging stench closed around her. Dee crouched with hands on her knees, trying to breathe and NOT breathe simultaneously.
"Thank-" She began. The half-breath she'd taken fractured into a fit of coughing, and as she forced herself in take another, the Scarecrow vanished.
Dee blinked, then looked up. The Scarecrow was above her, dangly from a long, fleshy tendril that circled his torso, pinning his arms to his sides. He hung suspended for a moment, and then the tendril snatched him downward into the large mouth that Dee had just escaped. Dee staggered to the edge and looked down. There was nothing to see but teeth and squirming flesh.
"NOOO!" Dee howled.
There was a large, gurgling groan. Not from below, but from behind her. Correction... all around her!
Dee couldn't see the walls of the tunnel any more. Instead, large curved spikes jutted from the creature's flesh, looming dozens of feet overhead and curving inward. Skin and flesh crawled along them, pulling upward and stretching between them like webbing. The creature was forming some new kind of structure around the mouth that had swallowed her friend. Around HER.
The 'ground' beneath slanted toward the mouth, which was now expanding outward.
Soon there'd be nowhere to stand. There was already nowhere to go. She was trapped. Her friends?
Where was Treach? Gone. Swallowed? She had no idea, but unless the dog could fly then he'd be joining her and the Scarecrow soon enough.
Another long tendril unfurled from the monstrous throat and hovered in the air above the mouth.
It reached for her. Dee tried to run, but despite the fact that it had no eyes, the thing could track her somehow. Of course it could. She was running along its skin... jogging along its gum line like an ant.
The tendril... actually an elongated tongue as big around as her upper thigh... snaked toward her feet. It just missed curling around her legs, but still managed to trip her. She fell and rolled a few feet down the steepening slope.
But a few feet was all there was. Dee twisted, and here lower body slipped over the edge. She quickly yanked herself back up and twisted to her right as the prehensile tongue slammed against the flesh where she'd been. It retreated briefly, then thrust itself upward and swung down toward her once again.
Dee tried to run, and ended up crawling along the shrinking ledge, trying not to scream as the tongue rolled after her, swatting at her almost playfully. Dee realized that there was, in fact, one more level of panic left to achieve. Beyond running and screaming... there was desperation.
There was no hazy intent... no blackout... no lack of control. This time, when she unslung the backpack from her shoulder and reached inside, Dee knew exactly what she was doing. The fingers of her right hand closed around the glowing red gem, and the world expanded around her. Hunger pulled at her awareness... straining to be let free.
"You wanna eat me?!" She shrieked. "Let's see who gets full first!"
Kneeling, she brought her left hand down onto the 'skin' below her. Her hand went through it like a scalpel. Dee thrust her arm into the creature's flesh up to the elbow. The red gem clawed its way out from the center of her thoughts. She let it come. Dee unleashed Hell upon Hell, and smiled at how good it felt.