Bookwyrm, Part 13

Day 78. 60 pages, 24,154 words.


The three Molren and the Demon traversed some more empty chambers and a passageway that curved around and upwards. Whether it actually sloped upwards, or if the entire thing was simply a trick of gravity, Predericon couldn’t guess.

They didn’t speak. Predericon got the impression that their silence was very disconcerting to the diabolised human and that it would have preferred to talk the whole way. She acknowledged, however, that this might have simply been the stress of the situation, combined with her general dependence on peer prejudices to replace experience when it came to humans. If Odium was unsettled, of course, Predericon couldn’t find it in herself to really care.

For her own part she was trying, fruitlessly, to figure out just what was going on and what the Elevator had in mind for all of them. All she really knew at this point was that neither Segment Four nor Segment Eleven seemed to be telling any of them the truth. And that there wasn’t a damn thing they could do about it.

After one small chamber sealed them up and subjected them to a brief swoop of vertigo in the form of an internal elevator or transport, the doorway opened and the Destarion announced, “Special transport nine ends here. You are now leaving Segment Eleven and entering Segment Twelve. No maximum security functionality or paradox field effectivity beyond this point. Please try not to be upset by some of the speech patterns and idiosyncrasies I may present in Segment Twelve. You will not be harmed.”

“That’s what she said when we went into Segment Eleven,” Gyden complained in a low voice, and raised a hand to her bruised face.

They stepped out into Segment Twelve, and continued along a corridor that seemed no different to all the others.

Destarion?” Predericon called, then once again kicked herself for raising her voice and went on in a more normal tone. “Can you hear us?”

“Of course I can hear you,” the Destarion replied. “You have a non-organic element in your company. Are you sure you want to bring it into the lower archives? The risk of undead contamination of command overrides-”

“I don’t know how much you’ve told you,” Lelhmak spoke up scathingly, “but this is apparently a situation you have intentionally orchestrated and with which we have been left with no choice but to comply, either by you or Odium. Odium has made it very clear that our defiance is unwelcome, and you have made it very clear that our defiance is irrelevant, so at this point we’re really just going along with your rambling excuse for a plan.”

Odium gave a hoot of simian laughter. “Nicely done, Grey.”

“My name,” Old Man Lelhmak said stiffly, “is Kedane Lelhmak. Research overseer of the Manatrikti Academy.”

Your name is Kedane Lelhmak, antique Molran phobe who scolded the Godfang like she was a foolish child wasting everyone’s time,” Odium corrected him. “And I cannot but approve.”

The Destarion maintained a silence after this that Predericon couldn’t help but feel was surly. They progressed once again through a series of chambers and twisting corridors. The Elevator finally spoke again as they arrived at the sealed-off end to the latest tunnel.

“Lower archives,” she said curtly. Behind them the tunnel closed off, turning the section in which they were standing into another antechamber.

Or an airlock, Predericon thought.

The doorway opened like a silent mouth in front of them, and the strange murky light of the lower archives filled the chamber.


– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while on the bus.

About Hatboy

I’m not often driven to introspection or reflection, but the question does come up sometimes. The big question. So big, there’s just no containing it within the puny boundaries of a single set of punctuationary bookends. Who are these mysterious and unsung heroes of obscurity and shadow? What is their origin story? Do they have a prequel trilogy? What are their secret identities? What are their public identities, for that matter? What are their powers? Their abilities? Their haunted pasts and troubled futures? Their modus operandi? Where do they live anyway, and when? What do they do for a living? Do they really have these fantastical adventures, or is it a dazzlingly intellectual and overwrought metaphor? Or is it perhaps a smug and post-modern sort of metaphor? Is it a plain stupid metaphor, hedged around with thick wads of plausible deniability, a soap bubble of illusory plot dependent upon readers who don’t dare question it for fear of looking foolish? A flight of fancy, having dozed off in front of the television during an episode of something suitably spaceship-oriented? Do they have a quest, a handler, a mission statement, a department-level development objective in five stages? I am Hatboy.
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