Friday, October 31, 2014

A Story About You

Two in the morning isn't a peculiar time if you're asleep. You were not. You had woken one minute and forty seconds earlier by a tinkling, wordless version of the Happy Birthday song outside, as if played by a music box. For the moment, you can barely hear it. The sound is moving away from you, but gradually it gets louder, louder. You resist the urge to look out the window by your bed as the sound reaches its climax and then fades away.

Happy birthday to yo-o-ou, happy birthday....

The sound fades out of hearing while you try to place why it sounds familiar. Not the happy birthday part, of course, but the tinkling tone. You can hear it coming back now. Is it circling your building? The song has changed, now the ABCs or perhaps Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Without the words, you can't tell which it may be.

Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky.

As the sound level reaches its peak, you sit upright and stare out the window. An ice cream truck drives past, then around the corner, taking the song with it. You love ice cream trucks. In the summer, in the daylight. This is October. This is two in the morning. The ice cream truck circles past your window again.

Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are.

It's moving slower now, the ice cream truck. It approaches your window. You watch it. It stops, just outside your window.

Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear...

The song stops. You lean closer to the window, trying to make out a driver. You can't tell if one is even there. The truck's lights are on, but engine is off. The song starts again.


When morning comes, you are gone.
That moment when it's raining as much as it's snowing. Mad King Thorn is laughing tonight. May he not laugh at you...much.


Happy Halloween.
















[Mad King Thorn belongs to GW2 and Arenanet]

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mrs. Wickhamdorfam Flies Away (excerpt)

[An excerpt from a new short story of mine. Also proof that it's not all doom and gloom and dead people on this blog. Sometimes I have Mrs. Wickhamdorfam. And blog fish. And the dust bunnies shall always make an appearance because I love dust bunnies. They are the best thing to personify. They just sound so adorable! I mean, come on, don't they?]


It was the bright sort of autumn day when the sunlight is warm and the wind is is attempting to turn the population into human kites, tossing people hither thither like so many leaves. It was a bad day to be small. Or a dog. Or a bird. Toddlers. Underweight people. Extremely tall people. And my neighbor, Mrs. Wickhamdorfam.

Mrs. Wickhamdorfam lived in the other half of the half-and-half that I lived in half the year. She lived alone with three Egyptian Maus (silver, bronze, and pewter), two Newfoundlands (black and grey), a house sparrow (it was wild; it just wouldn’t leave), and Bob. Bob was a clock. I don’t know if she was a widow or not. She’d never explained the Mrs. part and I’d never been the questioning sort. Curiosity was never going to kill my cat.

Mrs. Wickhamdorfam, wasn’t very old, not even by my standards whereby anyone with the title “adult” was automatically old. She didn’t have grey in her hair yet, but she wore it in an old lady style, all bundled on her head. Of course, by morning tea it would have collapsed into wisps and curls only loosely pinned up. I think she planned it that way.

I know this because in the summer and on breaks I’d help Mrs. Wickhamdorfam around her part of the twin home. Mostly this meant I just followed her around and played with her pets. “But they’re not pets,” she’d tell me, “they are dear friends, practically family.” The dogs were named Pip and Fitz, and the cats were named Long John Silver, Periscope, and Jofflemeyer. The cats got longer names because Mrs. Wickhamdorfam said that cats insist on full proper names. One or two syllables names are for dogs because that’s all a dog can handle. Not that this stopped me from shortening the cats’ names to LJ, Perri, and Joff. I think they still liked me anyway. Mrs. Wickhamdorfam refused to name the sparrow because it wasn’t hers even if it wouldn’t leave. I called it Sally.  

My aunt didn’t like Mrs. Wickhamdorfam much. “She’s an odd bird and is never up to any good whatsoever,” my aunt would always say. Personally, I thought Mrs. Wickhamdorfam was witch, but the good kind like Glinda, just less bubbly. And sparkly. She’d sing a lot, but never in English. And she always seemed to be able to hear anything I said, even if I whispered it as softly as I could into Pip or Fitz fur. But if it was a secret I was only telling to Pip or Fitz (because the cats didn’t keep secrets if they weren’t in the mood), Mrs. Wickhamdorfam never said anything. I know she heard them because she heard everything, but she’d let me pretend she didn’t know a thing.

The other reason I was fairly sure she was a witch was Bob. Bob was her grandfather clock, but he travelled through the house. It wasn’t the grandfather clock that moved, but whatever made the grandfather clock Bob would sometimes show up in the other clocks to sing us the weather or challenge Mrs. Wickhamdorfam to a verbal duel or even occasionally tell the time.

Bob’s hard to explain.

The first bluster day of the season was a Friday. Aunt had let me skip school because I was small for my age and could probably be blown away. I liked to sit at the kitchen window during bluster days and watch the things go by. It was mostly squirrels at first and the occasional trash can, but by breakfast, people started to fly. One of the girls in my class caught my mailbox and I cracked open the window to talk to her.

“Hi Lucy!”

She didn’t wave of course, because then she’d have lost her grip, but she said hi back.

“Do we have a test on Monday in Mr. Barker’s class?”

“Just a vocabulary quiz,” she answered. “Staying home today?”

“Aunt doesn’t like it when I blow away. She’s afraid I’ll blow to my mum.”

“What’s wrong with that? Last time I blew away to my grandmum. It was nice seeing her. She made tea.”

I shrugged. “Aunt’s just like that.”

“I’m losing my grip. I’ll see you Monday, Auggie! Hopefully.”

“Bye, Lucy!”

A wind gust caught her and off she went. By noon, twelve people, three pools, five mailboxes, seven dogs, one cat, seventeen birds, and countless squirrels flew past the window. All and all, a mild bluster day. I dragged my chair to the back window that looked out on Mrs. Wickhamdorfam’s garden. And that’s when it all happened.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Mud--The Order--Part 2 Installment 12

[Soundtrack brought to you by Sherlock Holmes:
]








Pain flashed through Murderous’ hand and then snapped through the rest of his body, spirals of poignant agony twisting around his limbs, torso, head. But it wasn’t just pain, it was…something he hadn’t felt before, something completely unlike pain, unlike dying, and it terrified him.
Without hesitation, he slashed the knife across his hand, breaking through the unfamiliar symbols there. The pain...and the not-pain, stopped. He stumbled to his feet, shaking his head in sharp jerks to try and dispel the feeling of unbalance. The world felt tilted, or maybe he was tilted, or maybe the two filthy mortals were tilted. A gnawing gulf opened up inside his stomach and he grasped it, doubling over against the unfamiliar feeling. It didn’t abate and he wrenched his head up, white-rimmed eyes locking on that bloody undertaker. She was moving, she kept moving, swimming in place.
“Stop moving!” he screeched.
He folded his fingers into the shape of a gun and aimed it at her, trying to follow her movements.
“Bang!” he screamed, then pointed his finger to the other one, also rotating drunkenly. “Bang, bang, bang!”
Wobbling, he whirled away and left the underhang, shooting at anything that moved. His shrieks of “Bang!” echoed on for a while, but the moment he was out of sight, Zofi crawled to Alfons’ side. Somehow, Murderous’ shot of Irrevocable Death had missed her. A spot on the ground was oozing black blood. If Murderous hadn’t been careening all over the place, he’d have hit her for sure.
But he had hit Alfons.
And Alfons wasn’t dead.
The insubstantial bullet had caught him in his left side, right between his last two ribs. A ragged hole existed there, showing splintered rib bones and dripping blackened blood. Between that and the normal gunshot to his leg, Alfons was barely conscious, his eyes glazed over, a dual-colored pool of blood beneath him.
But he wasn’t dead.
“Alfons!” Zofi exclaimed, shaking him. Her own blood dropped onto his face. “Al. Come on. Be okay. Be okay, please.”
He took a breath, then his head slipped to one side, eyes staring into space. His chest stopped moving. Zofi touched him, then shook his shoulder.
“Please, be okay,” she whispered. “Al.”
He gave no response. Her arms gave out on her and she collapsed to the floor. She stared at her blood pulsing from her wrist, feeling it ooze from the other lacerations. It melded from the dirt, sinking in and turning it to mud. 

[A short one this week.]

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Key--The Order--Part 2 Installment 11

[This week's soundtrack provided by the amazing Hans Zimmer....via The Dark Knight.
]











Zofi stumbled on a sudden dip in the land, windmilling her arms to stay upright and keep running. Alfons staggered up the rise ahead of her, touching a tree for balance.
“Have we lost him?” Zofi asked, falling in line with Alfons. He’d kept the lead for the first few adrenaline fueled minutes, but he’d been slowing down with every step since.
He shook his head in answer.
“We can’t keep running,” she told him, swiping blood out of her eyes from a cut on her forehead. She didn’t even remember being cut. Maybe it was from the pit, maybe from a tree. It didn’t matter.
“Gotta,” Alfons wheezed. The color had drained from his face long before and his steps were drunkenly. All she could think was how he wasn't supposed to be able-bodied.
“I don’t hear him, Al, please. Stop.”
He shook his head again. “Still there. Still coming.” He sucked in a deep breath and increased his speed.
Zofi chased after him on wobbling legs. She couldn’t keep up this long-distance sprint. How long had they been running, ten minutes, twenty, longer? It felt like an eternity. Her calves burned and her hips ached. Breathing was almost impossible.
Alfons abruptly disappeared from view. Zofi had only a moment to realize this before she followed him, the ground giving way at a steep angle. They fell fifteen feet, then rolled down the side of a ravine, tumbling into the crevasse. Her shoulder smashed against a rock, then her head, and then she lost sight of the world in the next roll.
She jerked back to consciousness minutes later feeling like she was still falling. She could hear Alfons breathing shakily beside her, her eyes gradually adjusting to the dim lighting. Where were they, a cave of sorts? No, not quite a cave. More of a deep overhang. She could see the ravine bottom now, level with them and sloping sharply up only twenty feet away.
“What—”
“Shut up,” Alfons hissed, his hand snaking out and covering her mouth. She glanced up at him, saw his eyes shining white in the dark, his irises small against his fear. And then she heard the footsteps.
Her eyes snapped toward the opening in time to see the Immortal drop down into the ravine. He stood very still for a moment, his head cocked like a hunting dog waiting for instruction. A revolver rested easily in his hand. He wore a grey suit that looked as if it had been made for someone else, but he wore it with the familiarity of one used to such clothing. Slowly, the Immortal stalked a little ways to the left, moving with the careless strength of the young, though from his face Zofi would have guessed him to be nearing middle-age. Then all at once, he spun toward them, a smile splitting his face, and fired the gun.
Alfons screamed, falling away from her. She bucked in surprise, then twisted toward him, looking him over frantically. Blood ran from Alfons’ thigh in a heavy stream. He clutched his leg, gasping.
“Naughty that,” the Immortal said as he strolled closer, practically skipping, “running away in the middle of a sacrifice. A bit rude too.”
Zofi scrambled to her feet and stepped in front of Alfons. “I’m an undertaker,” she warned the Immortal. “And there’s enough death in the air to make it hurt you.”
It was all a lie of course; undertakers couldn’t do anything of the sort, but to outsiders, they were mysterious enough that maybe he’d believe it.
The Immortal cackled gleefully. “Oh, silly, puny mortal. I am Murderous, the Immortal, the invincible! Death cannot touch me. Well, not your death.” Then he laughed again as if he’d made a joke.
But Zofi mind was churning. Murderous…as in the Murderous One? “The god?” she asked.
He looked delighted. “I came for the death, dying, and bullets flying. You can grovel now while your legs still work.”
"Grovel to you? I'd rather kill you."
He laughed, then snarled. "I don't think I like you."
"It's mutual."
"Bow."
When Zofi did no such thing, Murderous seized her and threw her against the back wall. She slid to the ground with a groan. He glanced down at Alfons, then tilted his head, studying the former soldier.
“You look like someone who has aggravated me,” Murderous said.
Alfons coughed up blood, then spat it at Murderous. “I’m the thief.”
“You’re the thief!” Murderous exclaimed. “No. He was a bald guy. I killed him. I shot him frequently; he was dead. And not you.”
“Ah, but he didn’t have it, did he?” Alfons replied.
Murderous blinked. “You? He hid it with you?” The Immortal gripped Alfons by his shirt, hoisting him into the air. “Where is it?”
“Gosh. I guess I just don’t have it anymore.”
Murderous punched him until bones cracked. “Where is the Key, mortal?”
Zofi used to the wall to stand, staring as the god tortured Alfons. The god was an Immortal. Immortals could be controlled. The gods could be controlled. 
"I have nothing to tell you," Alfons gasped in between hits. The Immortal paused, his eyes narrowing, then flicking past Alfons to where Zofi stood.
            The Key controlled the Immortals.
"Nope. Betcha don't," Murderous said, dropping Alfons as if he were an unnecessary towel. The Immortal crossed to Zofi. She dashed for the exit, but Murderous tripped her, then followed her to the ground, pinning her beneath him.
            The Key controlled the gods.
Alfons stretched his hand toward her, but he couldn't even sit up. Fear flooded through Zofi and she thrashed. Her nails raked across Murderous' eye and the Immortal hissed, then punched her. 
"Feel free to speak up any time, thief," Murderous told Alfons as he holstered his revolver, then drew a knife from within his coat. His eyes gleamed. "But I won't mind if you take your time."
He slashed through Zofi's wrist. She screamed, jerking against his weight. Murderous hummed gaily to himself as he cut Zofi again, slicing arbitrarily at first, but then taking time to decide each incision. Alfons and Zofi both were shouting and screaming. Murderous paused, glancing toward Alfons.
            “Something just occurred to me,” Murderous said. “If you’re not—what are you doing?”
            He snapped his gaze to Zofi. Her finger, covered in her blood, was tracing over the back of his hand, drawing symbols while she muttered breathlessly, eyes glazed over. Murderous stared down at the symbols, recognizing them. Zofi drew every symbol she remembered from the Key, chanting every word that came to mind. She didn’t know what any of it meant, if it would do a thing, but she kept whispering. Because the Key controlled the Immortals. Green light flared around the lines and Murderous recoiled with a shriek. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blog Fish Diary--White

What up, diary?

Yeah, I don't know what I'm doing keeping a diary either. It's like, dude, I'm a fish. Fish can't write. Or hold a writing utensil. But that's okay. It's a mental diary. Good thing I'm not a goldfish or I'd forget I was doing this before I finished it. Goldfish are so stupid. It's hilarious. Right, anyway, daily doings and things. I did yoga. New fish judged hardcore. Whatever. 'Kay. This was fun.

Later,
Noir



Yo, diary,
Azul is hot.

That's it.

Later,
Noir



Hey, Di,
Note to self, which is me, which works 'cause this is a mental diary, right. So note to me: do not tell Azul she is hot without any other complimentary phrases. Or in the tone I used. My bad.

Later,
Noir

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Blog Fish Diary--Red

Hello Diary,
The pond was cleaned and today we raced the Almighty Feeder around and around. It was most enjoyable. The new fish must be stressed by his new environment because today he told me to "go screw yourself." Poor fish. I hope he is less stressed soon.

Love,
Sauron


Hello Diary,
I ate algae. It carried unique tangs of salt that I rather enjoyed. The new fish was again hostile and mean. I prayed for him.

Love,
Sauron


Hello Diary,
Today the Almighty Feeder dropped something new into the pond that is not food, nor does it seem to be environmental decoration. It is...most curious. It is circular and gold, like a ring. It is my favorite thing I have ever seen. In fact, it is mine.

It is my precious.

Love,
Sauron


Hello Diary,
The Almighty Feeder took back the precious and I am very distressed to see it go.  Exposure to Dandelion did not improve my emotions. I am unhappy, Diary. I am unhappy indeed. I fear nothing shall break my discontent. Oh, food! This is the best day ever!

Love,
Sauron

ringing writer. anybody home?

Where's The Order? What happened to it? It's Tuesday and no sign, no note. It's coming. Just a little late. Monday was just a proper Monday and clotheslined me.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Petrichor

The scent of wind rushing through rain through trees through the whistling gaps in buildings through the empty spaces in people, flooding, billowing in drafts of perfect freshness like morning, like night, like dust after rain. The dampness, the cleanliness, the deep breath take it all in because there is so much to breathe in, it keeps coming, coming, coming, and exhale.

Released. Relaxed. Refreshed.

Refreshed because your freshness has dimmed, has wavered, has gone stale. So breathe in new fresh, not your fresh, but the very freshness of God blowing over the Earth in a mighty whisk, just gasp. There. And you're fresh again.

Spirals of air through spirals of hair. Dancing with arms spread wide because maybe this time you might fly. No fear of running out of air, of breath, of freshness.

It's clean. Like the cold water in the warm air in a perfect mix of inhalation that floods through your senses like a deep-rinse, a deep-clean, a deepness. It floods. It fills. It sweeps through and out and is gone, but you're still there.

Fresh.

Practically new except for the experiences.

And then still. Standing still between gusts, inhaling as fully as those lungs can expand, feeling it coming, and waiting.

Rain falls. Splats of chill wetting your face in one, two, three, all the drops at once. And the splatters turn into a constant stream of sound, a dozen toddlers racing across linoleum at once. Splat, patter, smack, patter, patter, patter.

Patter.

Sprint. You run, racing through the torrents in a mixture of elation and trepidation. So much rain, so much falling. It's like the world is drowning. Or is it you? Parting the liquid curtain with your passage, it makes way, but it doesn't stop its progress, sliding down silver strings from the clouds to bead on the ground, the beads collecting in a pile, a puddle, a pool.

If you splash through your reflection does it change what was there? And if you stop for a moment, can you realize you aren't drowning, but flooding. Flooding into a new being.

A droplet strikes your eyelashes, explodes, they close, just an instant. But in one moment, closing your eyes reveals galaxies. Twisting universes within spinning hands. A smile, a wink, and the lips purse, blow, wind whistling through all the dust, brushing it up into shapes and sounds, thumbprints and crop circles revolving around another, mixing paint to create new colors. And as the dust swirls, the water splashes down in one still frame after another, tossing scintillating light observed through refracted dust clouds. In one small spec, a world is born, an infinity is born and a hearty chuckle fills the empty spaces.

The blink ends and the rain still tumbles in perfect aerial form, dives, spins, flips. A chuckle rumbles across the sky in perfect counterpoint to the patter, patter, patter...patter, slowing, dripping.

You run, laughing, refreshed, the scent of wind and rain uncoiling tension and erasing all concerns. Your foot sinks through a puddle, displacing waves of water as you run inside before the next downfall, a splash launched to touch a pocket of dry dust.

The cloud of dust puffs into the air, mixing earth into the freshness. A world is born.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blog Fish Diary--Yellow

Dear Diary,
Today marks my first day in this see-through prison after having been chosen by the Face. The Face has forced me to live among six other dirty, dirty creatures. They are oh so stupid. There are five too many of us and the lunatic one has already bumped into me twice. He thinks I am a girl fish.

He is wrong.

I may not survive the night.

With detestation,
Dandelion



Dear Diary,
This place is evil. The creatures clearly given to me by the Face as slaves refuse to obey my superior intellect. I will have to take dramatic measures to ensure they--holy crap, it's raining food!

With detestation,
Dandelion



Dear Diary,
Today I learned that the white one's name means black. I do not know what the Face was thinking. Much as I do not know what it was thinking with my name. The white one says it is 'irony.' I do not have knees and I do not run. I think this fish is high. I must avoid the algae now.

This pond is too small.

With detestation,
Dandelion

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Killing--The Order--Part 2 Installment 10

[This installment's soundtrack is comes from Within Temptation.
]




All day acolytes in red passed over Zofi and Alfons’ cell, dragging prisoners with them to the pit. The sun had long ago passed overhead, raising the temperature in the cage to an almost unbearable heat, but neither said a word. The longer they stayed in the cell, the more they hoped they’d been overlooked. And if they’d been overlooked, maybe they’d have a chance to live.
They sorely underestimated the number of victims the acolytes possessed. They had not been overlooked; it had simply taken until late in the afternoon to reach them. The grate above their heads was removed, a ladder planted by Zofi’s feet, and then two disciples descended. Zofi shrugged off their hands as they pushed her, still bound, toward the ladder. She offered no further resistance until she and Alfons were both up in the open air again. Then she shot him a look and ran.
She went two steps before an acolyte tripped her, caught her, and forced her closer toward the pit. Alfons hadn’t managed more than a weight shift before he’d been stopped. Zofi ground her teeth and leaned away from the red hood pulling her along. She was not going to die in a pit with her throat cut like a pig.
Unfortunately, the acolytes were not willing to lose a single sacrifice. With extreme force when necessary, the red hooded disciples hauled Zofi and Alfons into the pit already half-filled with victims affixed to wood posts buried in the flesh of the pit. The two of them were tied to their own posts with several people between them.
“Alfons!” she shouted, her voice mingling with the hundreds of others exclaiming or crying.
“What?” he called back.
“You alright?”
His response was drowned out by her neighbor’s screaming. Zofi tried to kick the man, but missed. No one was dying yet, after all, and his noise was getting in the way of hearing Alfons.
But the panic in the pit only grew and Zofi had to stop trying to hear Alfons over it or trying to make him hear her. She was afraid that if she tried, she’d join the panic instead. It was overwhelming. The sun drooped lower as if a rope was slowly fraying and about to drop it, splashing red light over the world as the pit filled with people. When the sun finally drowned beneath the horizon, the acolytes were still hauling victims into the pit. And then all at once, Zofi realized it was filled.
Someone had started chanting. The chant swelled, silencing the people trapped in the pit, and the disciples of the Murderous One stepped forward, encircling the entire pit, knives gleaming in their hands. Zofi tugged on the ropes binding her, pulling against them from any angle she could manage, but stopped when she saw the heavy, rust red moon lift into view. Her mind jumped to the last red moon she had seen, the day she’d learned the Immortals must be real and her grandfather might have been killed by one. That moon had gleamed brighter red than this one, and only from the middle down, the top still mostly silver. That moon had also worn a black imperfection that it had never had before. It all felt so long ago. It felt like years before instead of two months.
The dark spot was still there, she realized, almost invisible against the darkness of this moon’s red. As soon as the moon came into view, the acolytes climbed into the pit. Fear, cold as snow melting down her back, made Zofi shiver. Pleas and cries for mercy rose from the outside edges of the crater, but they all ended abruptly. The disciples worked their way toward the center at a feverish pace, slashing every throat they passed in hurried motions. Some of the cuts were incomplete or too shallow to kill fast, rupturing the night with the cries of the dying. The stench of blood washed over Zofi all at once and she gagged, still trying to wriggle loose or possibly snap her ties.
The acolytes waded through the bodies, the crest of a wave transforming life into bloodied death. The ground glistened behind them. Zofi dug her teeth into the ropes as the acolytes came closer. She heard a knife squish through flesh and whirled around to find a disciple raise his knife to her. Zofi ducked the blow, kicking the red hood in the knee. He let out a cry, then slashed again, catching her in the collarbone. Zofi reeled back against the post, eyes wide. The disciple lunged forward, grabbing her by the hair and ripping the knife through her throat.
She felt it part her flesh in a hot flare. Something snapped loudly and she collapsed face down in the blood slowly soaking into the earth. Someone took her arm, pulling her upright, and Zofi sucked in a breath, hands going to her throat. It was cut, but only a little, not very deep, and not one of her major arteries. The red hood lay on the ground next to her, his head twisted unnaturally.
Alfons called her name again, shaking her shoulder. “Are you alright?” he repeated when she finally looked at him.
“You did that?” she asked. Her hands were free. Also Alfons’ doing? And how had he gotten free?
“Not the time,” he said, helping her stand. He had blood smeared on his face and hands. Then he took her hand and started running toward the lip of the pit, trampling bodies underneath them.
A pair of acolytes noticed them escaping and gave chase. Alfons tripped over a sprawled leg of an old woman now dead. With a blank expression, but shining eyes, the closest acolyte dove at him. Alfons rolled to one side, popped up on his feet again, now behind the acolyte. The red hood spun toward him, knife outstretched. Grim determination on his face, Alfons batted the knife aside, stepping in close enough to punch the acolyte firmly in the throat and solar plexus. When the man dropped, Alfons caught him, snapped his neck with a practiced gesture, then launched himself at the other acolyte.
The two connected and went down, rolling through the blood until Alfons got a hold of the woman. She stabbed her knife at him with more control than the other one, catching him on the ear only because of Alfons’ swift dodge. The red hood stabbed again, but then Zofi grabbed hold of the woman from behind, covering her eyes. Alfons disarmed the fanatic in one smooth motion and drove her knife under her own ribcage, into her heart.
Zofi stared at Alfons for a moment, and then they both took off running again. They scrambled out with difficulty, their hands and feet slick with blood. But all at once they were free. All of the acolytes were in the pit. None of them had yet noticed the escapees. The two sprinted into the woods.
“No!” someone screamed behind them. “No, no, no, no, no! You can’t leave yet! You’re still not dead!”
Without intending to, Zofi snapped a look over her shoulder. A man in a suit with a grin a wide as the moon chased behind them, a gun in one hand. Alfons risked a glance as well and stumbled in shock.
“Faster!” he urged her. “It’s the Immortal.”
 


[The red moon previously seen in Part one Installment 1 and Installment 3. If you were wondering.]