The new style of the ship was a hokey hybrid of her familiar universe and that of the ones the others had come from, which was nothing new. Flume set her jaw as she stalked through the room, keeping her senses open for any hint that the Book might have an unpleasant development set up for her.
She was going to look for the murderer and solve everything, alright. But if that fucking stack of paper thought it could impress her by killing someone off it had miscalibrated sorely. It would take more than that to get her traipsing along in docile bliss for its stupid stories.
In the dining hall Flume found a table laden with day-old food, evidently abandoned in light of recent events. She picked up a few familiar things and shoved them in her mouth, chewing vengefully. This wouldn't be so irritating if the Book didn't feel the need to hybridize her settings with other people's clichés.
Who was she kidding, yes it would be so irritating. It would continue to be irritating and enraging and humiliating and that book
She shifted from foot to foot in the observatory, feeling the tiles under her feet. Slumped next to Sinclair she'd been depressed, almost numb, feeling helpless and aimless. Now she was beyond being hurt or angry; she was offended. Since the moment she had ditched the game plan and named herself Cutting Monster this deity of a story had been jerking her around, displacing her, ignoring her, and setting her up to get shot in an evident effort to fit her into its increasingly linear plots. It was not simply antagonizing her, it was coercing its other captives into seeing her as an antagonist, it bent blatant rules of physics and possibility, had cheated, had handcrafted against the nature of her very world making gods to unceremoniously bite the head off of Smarmadine
To bite the head off Smarmadine
She saw his matter bleeding out again, like a pocket of curdled nothing. She saw the way he stared down Sinclair's little hand weapon, waiting for his head to be blown off.
And she saw their welcoming committee when she exited the killing craft with Sinclair; four little aliens all dressed in black. Reciting their lines of melodramatic predictability.
This wasn't a story. It was a joke. It was all an enormous, multiversal ill-written joke, and the lives of its characters were an affordable expense.
She found the crime scene in the ballroom, all yellow tape and a serpentine chalk outline. She stood in the doorway for several seconds looking over it. She closed the door and continued through the manor, feeling cold in her chest and hot in her fingertips.
I have to thank my opponents again here for providing so many impressive avenues the Book could be taking as it went along. It helped me focus and get a grip on the developments I had been struggling to express and I think that made this the best round for me; it was never painful or humiliating and I never felt I had to force myself to write for it.