(The story begins here.)
(The last recap is here.)
Darren had scarcely prepared his next arrow when a mist filled with corruscating colors and angry, discordant jangling rose from the pool. Though only a faint shadow of the thing described in the journal, it was definitely the same, and it was still so full of terrible, awesome glory that Darren and his friends all murmured, “Oooh! Shiny!”
Then Dr. Fleming broke the spell. “Right. Now we’re done with that, let’s kill the thing.”
Darren raised the arrow, vaguely surprised that the creature was rising toward the globes as well. It probably was drawing closer to absorb more power, but he had the odd feeling it was also going to wipe off the doctor’s concoction. He released the arrow without thinking, and it struck its target with a deafening din that shook the misty creature like smoke caught in a violent gust.
Darren himself had scarcely recovered when Dr. Fleming pressed another arrow into his hand. A quick glance showed Shafer and Clio trying to find their way off the floor and Lassiter rising painfully with the help of a wall. Darren targeted the second available globe and fired.
A typhoon was raging through a synesthetic sea that only gradually and painfully began to coalesce into a familiar order. Pain was the one great constant: everything else might be an illusion, but the pain was undeniably real. Eventually other sensations tagged along and organized themselves, and some memories and thoughts also emerged. Finally a sensation turned out to be the name “Darren,” and it was being repeated. The recognition of his own name prepared Darren to identify the speaker as Dr. Victor Fleming.
“Ah, good. Then we aren’t dead. At least I can’t imagine us sharing an afterlife.”
Darren had arrived at the same conclusion, but he decided not to pursue the topic. “Can you see?”
“Yes. Or hallucinate, anyway. That second shot must have overloaded the system: its harmonics converged and probably almost destroyed the place—and us. I’d like to see what’s left.”
“Are you sure we can see? Most of the light came from the globes; it was getting pretty dim at the end.”
An inarticulate noise of disgust followed. “I should have thought of that. I’ve still got my flashlight...”
Darren found his about the same time. A quick check revealed that their companions were still alive. Lassiter was attempting to crawl. Clio was evidently running through a mental checklist prior to exerting herself. And Shafer was sitting up unsteadily and babbling, “Let’s do it again!”
The next look showed that the giant chamber still existed, though the floor was strewn with debris. There was no sign of the Shiny One.
Next: I Spit My Last Breath At Thee
1 year ago