Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dark World: Left Behind

(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)

For a moment Clio paused, hand closed, gazing at it in shock. Then she fell to her knees and collapsed groaning on the ground. Darren knelt down beside her, but a steel grip arrested his arm.

“If you touch her right now,” Dr. Fleming said, “she’ll rip your hand off.”

Darren glanced from him to her and back again. “Sometimes you’re very perceptive, Victor. But I—”

Clio rolled over and seized his arm. “Send me there!”

“What? I wouldn’t even if I could, and I can’t.”

“You must have seen whatever he did!”

“Saw, yes. I didn’t memorize the ritual, and I couldn’t hear the words.” Darren conveniently omitted that Dr. Fleming probably had memorized the gestures, though he hoped the doctor hadn’t heard the words either. He certainly wasn’t going to mention Lassiter’s importance, if he still had any: with the door now open, perhaps anyone could wander through. But Lassiter probably remained a focal point, and she would definitely haunt the poor man if she knew that.

Just then he saw a welcome diversion. “Rosa! You actually came with Clio?”

“I wasn’t going to stay in that house alone. Though I’m not sure this is any better. What happened to him?”

“To the doctor? He decided to explore a new world—and a dark one. May God have mercy on him.”

Rosa bowed her head and crossed herself.

Meanwhile Clio had had enough. “Darren, you know more about this than you’re telling. I know you won’t lie, but you will be evasive if I let you—and I won’t. Do you know a way to that accursed world?”

“I know a way to probably a different part of it. He used a way of his own, and whether it’s any safer than the one I know is impossible to tell. I believe the one I know is lethal, and anyway I can’t make it happen whenever I want. We may be able to help him eventually, but it will take investigation, planning, and prayers that you would never pray. Just leave it to us.”

“I can conduct my own investigation.”

“And get killed. These are dangerous people—I won’t say dangerous men, because they aren’t all men; they may not all be human.”

“I can take care of myself.”

“Enough of this,” Dr. Fleming interrupted. “We shall settle this now with a wager that you shall lose, and you shall stay out of this whole matter in consequence.”

This earned him a withering look of feminine disdain. “Try your best. And when you lose—I haven’t yet decided on a suitable humiliation, but it shall almost make up for the rest of this infamous day.”

Next: Flip You For It

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