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After a brief rush, accompanied by the sensation of turning inside out, Gunner found himself in a lush forest. Up ahead stood a strange dwelling that could have emerged straight from a Tolkien novel. Topped by a thatched roof dotted with moss and toadstools, its crooked walls were covered in peeling beige stucco that revealed rough-hewn logs underneath. The sagging front porch was home to one empty flowerpot and a weathered rocking chair. Gunner wondered if there were elves inside, baking cookies.

 “Good one, Snake, bringing me back to my own damn house.” Horatio threw his hands up. “Why not hand me over to Meridian on a silver platter?”

“This is the last place Meridian would expect you to show up. Besides, you can’t trot around bare-assed all over the galaxy, now can you?” Snake said.

“I guess not. Although, I think I’m pretty damn sexy.” Horatio ran his fingers over his cock and wagged his eyebrows at Gunner. “Ready for another taste, cutie?”

Gunner frowned at Horatio. “Why did you steal my guitar?”

Horatio pointed up. “That’s why.”

From above, Gunner heard flapping wings. Gigantic flapping wings. Glancing skyward, he thought he might crap his pants. “What. The. Fuck. Is. That?”

“Liver bird!” Snake shrieked.

The humongous creature descended, barbed talons exposed as if to strike. It pierced the air with a raucous screech and dove toward Gunner. Closer, the beast smelled of decaying flesh, and its razor-sharp beak dripped with green slime. Eyes glued to the horror, Gunner sank to his knees and prepared to die.

“I got this!” Horatio fiddled with the knobs on Gunner’s guitar and played an earsplitting riff. The flying demon stiffened and crashed to the ground.

“Holy shit,” Gunner said before his vision clouded and went dark.

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