Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dark World: Expecting the Worst

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

“The key appears to be those globes,” Dr. Fleming said, pointing upward. Seven globes hung high above them, each a different color. “When the full moon rises, those globes light up and somehow energize the pool—and the Shiny One within it. A door at the upper end of those stairs”—he gestured toward an arch through which steps leading up could be seen—“opens, and the Shiny One goes out to seek its prey. I was hoping merely to be ready by that door and simply bolt outside and try to escape or hide before the Shiny One appeared. But now that you are here with some of my equipment, I think I shall try to destroy the menace.”

Lassiter brought out his gun and inspected the globes. “If they’re just glass—”

“It won’t work,” the doctor said. “I tried that right after reading about the globes. Whether it’s the range or the material, a bullet is not the answer.”

“Perhaps an arrow is,” Clio suggested, readying her weapon. “A bow has greater range and accuracy than a handgun.” She aimed briefly and released the arrow, which flew upward and struck one of the globes with a faint clink. She scowled. “Do you want a try, Darren?”

Darren took the bow and an arrow, and she went off to retrieve her first shot. “I’m stronger, but she has better aim,” he explained. “Still, those things aren’t much of a challenge.” He adjusted the tension on the string, increasing the draw weight, nocked an arrow, and fired.

This time the sound was more noticeable. In fact, it was impossible to ignore, as if Darren had struck a crystal bell with such force that all the neighboring bells resounded in sympathy. Darren and his friends fell to their knees before the acoustic onslaught.

“Darren,” Lassiter gasped, “do…not…do…that…again!”

“I didn’t do it,” Darren said. “Did I?”

Dr. Fleming was on his feet, gazing imperturbably up at the globe. “If you mean, did you generate all that force directly, no. I think the impact caused the globe to release a little pent-up energy, which set up a general resonance. Were it not for the extreme unpleasantness involved, I’d almost like to keep hitting the globes to see whether they would eventually break under the strain.”

“I think we’d break first,” Lassiter grumbled.

“Perhaps. Still… Darren, could you hit it even if the arrow were heavier—say, five to seven times heavier?”

“I think so. I couldn’t hit it very hard—”

“The general area should be sufficient. And how many arrows are there?”

“Twenty-five,” Clio answered, bringing Darren’s arrow back.

“And you re-packed the chemicals, Lassiter?”

“Yes, Doctor.”

Dr. Fleming smiled. “Then I think I have an idea.”

Next: Another Fine Plan

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