The department store was busy at this time of day, but as before, the Prism was standing in its place and was largely being ignored by the shoppers. Some of them did glance at it, so it wasn’t as if it was invisible … they just seemed to think it was some sort of decoration or display or something.
To be honest, I’m not sure what they thought. The outlooks and motivations of people are a mystery to me a lot of the time.
The Prism was still there, anyway, glowing softly in its enigmatic pastel-yellow permanow, and Creepy and I stepped up to it like nothing so much as a pair of super-sidekicks ready to Finish This Once And For All. Because that was the sort of sentiment you were supposed to express, even if deep down you knew that nothing you did was going to Finish This Once And For All. Because, deep down, you were aware that what you were really doing was Starting The Next Bit Once And For All instead.
But that was alright. It kept us busy.
“Well?” I asked.
Creepy had been wearing the X-ray specs ever since we came into the department store and doffed our sunglasses, with the occasional shuddering grimace to avert his eyes and snatch the glasses off his face as he looked at certain people or packaged foodstuffs or, disturbingly, clothes mannequins. Whether this meant the X-ray specs were working in any way, or if he was just messing around, was difficult to tell. He wouldn’t give me a turn with them, declaring my desire to look through things ‘unseemly’.
Now, he twiddled the brass knobs on the rims of the goggle-like accessories, and squinted discerningly at the Prism. I was reasonably certain the knobs didn’t do anything, and at a glance the X-ray specs didn’t seem to have any sort of power source, let alone radioactive matter, just a pair of reddish-brown convex lenses and a lot of brass and age-crazed rubber.
“Hmm,” he said. “Hmm.”
“Hm. Hmmm. Hmm,” he looked up at the ceiling, and twiddled the knobs some more, then looked back at the Prism. “Hmmmmmmmmmm.”
I sighed. “So, nothing?”
“Now now, Hatboy. These things can’t be rushed … hmm.”
He frowned, and twiddled the brass knobs on the X-ray specs again.
And that was when the Prism turned blue.