The crime scene had not changed. Reinald watched Fourteen kneel besides the chalk outline, and with her back to them, extent a crooked forearm alongside it, as if measuring the length. None of them spoke as Anna and Reinald left her to it to look over the bullet, burns and teeth, trying to anticipate what sort of mystery was meant to be set up despite them all knowing the ending already.
"Hey, so whenever we've done whatever we're supposed to, we're going to get divided again," Flume said after a time.
"Most likely," Reinald agreed.
"So I guess good luck, if you two go on ahead. And I'm glad we could at least have understood
Reinald hesitated only a moment before he gave Anna a meaningful look and followed her, pressing his teeth together at the heavily implied threats.
"Why are we walking away?" Anna hissed, glaring over her shoulder as a black-furred butler appeared to reshelf their work.
"Because the last time I declined the books prompt to be a monster, it made my friend into one and made us kill him," Fourteen answered. "What is predictable in murder stories?"
Reinald looked to Anna, remembering her horror movie comment. She snorted. "The first person to leave the group gets killed first," she said. "The murdere
Reinald didn't see much use in looking through novels, but then again, he supposed they were in a book, after all.
While he and Anna looked over them Fourteen returned to the small shelves and poked through them. After several minutes, she said, "Did you ever fight a big animal with water?"
" Yeah," he said, looking up. She held a thin volume out to him.
It was illustrated in graceful inks, in the style of an artist mimicking the oriental aesthetic. Frowning, he closed it to read the title. He looked through the pictures, reading a paragraph here and there.
Dmitri and the Guardian with Three Eyes.
He gave it to Anna, who looked j
It was in the library that she felt a potential to get a hold of the crystallizing emotions inside her and try to think rationally. It was of course nothing like anything at home; who grew paper trees in spaceships after all- but she knew what it was, and it was a store of knowledge, and that at least was familiar.
She lifted a hand and trailed it over the spines, feeling their fabric, leather, or cardboard bindings. Her fingertips lingered at the top of one for a moment and then pulled, gently, so it started to come free from among its fellows. Flume watched it, holding it up half out of the shelf, then let her hand fall. The book smack
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, evid
Sinclair looked down at Flume, feeling his chest tighten at the crestfallen, lifeless way she moved her limbs as they stepped into the airlock and she reached up to punch in an opening code. They both winced, eyelids narrowing against the sharpness of the sudden sunlight.
Sinclair felt a small sense of gratitude for that brightness; it was healthy and safe and natural, a powerful deterrent against so many of his own monsters. Flume, who had been so moved when she had first found herself upon the surface of a planet and under its glorious sun, was unmoved now. She looked tired down to her molecules, moving with the listless mechanic qualit
"What," Anna said coolly, as she regarded their host, "in the actual nature of fuck."
Transitions, it seemed, were beginning to lose their flavor. Anna had not spoken to Reinald as they threaded through the forest, through the rip, and into this next story. There was no fancy curling of medium this time, just a languid morphing of their clothing and a flicker of some short-lived sense of duty that didn't bother truly fighting to establish itself in their chests.
They were standing under the overhang of a great and splendid Victorian mansion, politely sheltered from the shivering drizzle of rain that blanketed the surroundings well enoug
She stumbled into him, her arms around him without touching him; he was trapped against the wall looking into her face, it was the one with the blue tattoos, the mutilated chest. Her jaw opened and undigested crumbs of old meat pattered out, they splashed on his face, her breath was egregious.
"I'm so hungry," she whispered. Her eyes were jaundiced and desperate, fixed on his. "Please, Jack, please you have to help I'm so hungry "
He looked to the shelves, to the neat stack of dispatched ghouls that he kept as larder, but of course, she couldn't eat that, she was one.
"So hungry," she wept, begging him.
She reached through the enveloping miasmas, and she felt, with certainty, that something, perhaps the Book itself, reached back. Their fingers met.
It was hard to describe.
It was as if something inside her that had always been there had only just leapt to attention, wide-eyed and
Like every interest, every curiosity, every care she had felt in her life was merely rain fall over her mind and this was an onslaught
There weren't words, in her culture. There were, in her language. But not in the cubicle rooms and sterile, light-flooded work rooms. Not in the darkness of her quarters and the vastness of the
She had already committed a grievous sin against her safety and her sense when she had removed her helmet to face the experience of the Book, now she fell to one knee in the dusty ground and yanked the glove from her right hand. She scooped a handful of the dirt and watched, eyes wide and intense and focused, as it cascaded over her bare fingers; the feel of it, and its smell and texture were so new.
The shadow-loathing (whose name Flume had failed to ask- but forgive her she is a supremacist- was Smarmadine) for his own part, had slithered down her shoulder while she gloried in the dirt, and now he sat, like an eel, like a tatzelwurm, upo
He stood up in the filtering dim blue light and swayed lightly on his toes. There was no rustle of the once-flawless, immaculate fabrics of his clothing, for while he kept them in good repair they had become worn and shabby, like an old effigy to expensive attire that has fallen from grace.
He was very fond of those clothes. Replacements could be easily obtained, but he had no interest in those professionally rendered suits.
Anyone could go out an buy clothing.
He moved quickly through the short hallway into the main chamber and there she was, stark and tall like a vicious artist's ink slash