Here’s the other thing about the Prism. There was no way to reach it or get to it from below – not that Creepy and I were able to find on our spectacularly, nay definitively unsuccessful tour of the sub-sewers – because the department store’s lower levels were very responsibly built of solid concrete and steel girders and only had the occasional nasty little pipe. Probably the reason they were still mostly clear of gunk now, in fact, although how this crusty old building had failed to collapse while the L&E tower had done so was perhaps more of a mystery. I guess there’s no designing around a sudden-onset accursèd stink-hole.
For me, the inaccessibility of the Prism’s underside meant some additional thought and study, and this was bumped abruptly to a lower-level priority by the onset of the aforementioned curse. For Creepy, the inaccessibility of the Prism’s underside meant stealing an antique trumpet in order to trade it for some X-ray specs so he could take a look inside the Prism, thus – probably – setting the whole curse in motion.
Like I say, it’s all a rich swirly sundae of causality and paradox and exasperating inevitability. Nothing much you can do about it, or presumably you would have done it already.
Anyway, the point is, the Prism may to all practical purposes have always been there, whenever it had ‘originally’ appeared. The very term originally is a joke at this stage of the game. And there hadn’t been any way up to it from below. Not that we’d found. It wasn’t as if its underside was likely to reveal anything that its other faces hadn’t anyway, in retrospect, but it was at least a semi-empirical and methodical approach.
There was, however, a way down from it.
I looked at the trapdoor in the sludge-spattered floor.
Then I crouched, pulled the trapdoor open by its battered bronze fold-into-the-floor ring-on-a-hinge, grimaced at the musty but blessedly not deathstinky smell that wafted up from the darkness, and descended yet again into neither-here-nor-there-space.