Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

Categories Navigation Menu

Posted by on Nov 23, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

Rock

– 5 –

Posted by on Nov 24, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

Mr. Gulley cannot love the wolf.

He tries but it is not in him. It is too much for him. Rather he does love it, he cannot help but love it, but he cannot stop the hatred for it that also grows.

It is in him, the wolf is in Edmund Gulley, it is wound through him and within him, and the chains of that slip and cut in the chambers of his spirit until he is ragged with it, until he cannot bear it, until his fear and guilt and shame at being the owner of the wolf, and the wolf-gold, are too much for him to bear.

He hits the wolf. It is pitiable. He beats it with his fists and he cannot do anything more with this than ruffle his great wolf’s fur.

He screams at it. He yells at it. He tells it that it is a bad wolf and it should not eat people

And the specific time that he says that, he whispers, “Especially not father,” and he slumps crying against the great warm wall that is its fur.

The wolf looks away as if it shares his shame.

. . .

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

When he is seventeen Edmund Gulley runs away. He spends three months on an island before the knowing of the wolf calls him back. He comes back and his servants have left him and there is blood on the basement window and the wolf has eaten through his stores —

“I have to kill you,” he says.

“That is not an uncommon reaction,” says the wolf. “Though really, Edmund.”

“I know,” he says miserably, because the wolf is immortal, invincible, and has raised him from a foundation of twisted love. “But you’re evil.”

The wolf lolls its tongue. It grins.

“Then that’s the right thing to do, I guess.”

“You’re teasing me.”

“I only have one Edmund Gulley,” says the wolf. “Let me appreciate him.”

. . .

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

“You’re mean!” Edmund Gulley wails.

“I’m mean,” agrees the wolf. “I ate your gardener.”

“He didn’t deserve that!”

“He was right there,” says the wolf. “And I was hungry. And I am a wolf.”

. . .

Posted by on Nov 26, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

“Wolves don’t eat people, you know,” says Edmund. “I saw that on the nature channel. That’s just propaganda. You have been programmed by pernicious ideas.”

“That’s ordinary wolves,” the wolf dismisses.

“That’s not!”

“That’s wolves that don’t drip acid,” says the wolf, “and don’t have awful fetters hurting them every second of fourteen hundred years, give or take a few at the beginning. And that don’t come out of rocks and get turned into gold.”

“You don’t know that,” says Edmund. “You’re just . . . you’ve just had a bad influence.”

“What?”

“That Hans guy,” says Edmund. “He was bad!”

. . .

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

“You probably just think you’re supposed to eat people,” Edmund explains furiously, “because of Hans, and then every time you eat someone, you get more invested in the idea, so that you don’t have to face the guilt for all the times before. You’re probably meant to be a super-angel-Heaven wolf and guard little children from awful magical threats.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know,” Edmund says. The scissors haven’t fallen yet. He flails for ideas. “I guess . . . Nessie?”

“Nessie?”

“The Loch Ness monster?”

The wolf gets up. Wincing it adjusts its position. It lays itself back down. It licks at one of the fifty-pound sphere-weights that it occasionally rolls back and forth as toys.

“I will consider the possibility,” says the wolf, “because it entertains me. But I doubt very much that I will agree.”

. . .

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 1 comment

“I couldn’t free you even if you turned good,” says Edmund, softly, “you know.”

He can see the bone of Fenris Wolf’s leg where the binding’s cut.

“I know,” agrees the wolf.

“I wouldn’t want to,” confesses Edmund, with so much shame that it could drown him, that it could fill him up like an overfull beaker and pour out to slime and slick all the wolf dander in the room.

“It’s all right,” says the wolf quietly. “You aren’t the one to free me.”

Edmund goes up the stairs.

“That,” explains the wolf, “will be your son.”

. . .

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

And the wolf thinks on Edmund’s words, and he on Fenris’; and in the end they come to their separate decisions, which are these:

The wolf thinks, I shall be good, if I am good, but if I am not, I shall not be bothered.

And Edmund sits on his roof and he stares up at the stars and he says, even knowing that the wolf’s ears are sharp he says it:

“It’s got to die.”

He cannot stop thinking of what happened to the gardener. He has a sudden flash of memory, and also of its absence; he remembers a sudden, wild night of passion on the island, but not whether he used contraception; he cannot remember the girl’s features, cannot remember her name; he thinks, if Vaenwode’s heir should quicken in that womb

He cannot stop thinking of the gardener; of his own destiny; and of the awfulness of the furrows and the suppurating wounds of them where the fetter holds Fenris bound.

Posted by on Nov 27, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

Rock

– 6 –

Posted by on Nov 29, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

On December 18, 2004, magical jaguars in a decaying orbit around the world prevent the formation of a stable strangelet at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

“It’s not that I really want the world to keep going,” Yohl confesses. “It’s just —”

If the sorcerer-sages of the Mayans hadn’t shot them into space, the magical jaguars wouldn’t have to prevent the formation of stable strangelets. They could end the world themselves. They could fall on people. And then fall on other people. And more, and more, and more! And then they could crack the world open and they could play in its shattered corpse!

“I’m just attached to it,” Yohl concludes.

. . . . . . . . .

Posted by on Nov 29, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

Gravity pulls Yohl in a long and gentle loop around the still blue Earth.

. . .

Posted by on Nov 29, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

In late 2007, Bahlum comes to a decision.

“When we hit the atmosphere,” he says, “I think, I will catch fire.”

“Warm!” says Ixchel.

It is almost a moan.

“You’ll catch fire,” says Chan, “and then you’ll regret it. You’ll say ‘I should have moderated my ambitions!’”

“Ah,” says Bahlum, “but that’ll be the friction.”

“I’ll stay cold,” says Yohl.

“You won’t do!” says Chan.

“I will,” says Yohl. “The cold of space permeates me. That’s part of my jaguar magic, much like my ability to talk in space.”

“We all do that,” says Chan.

“But I do it through cold,” says Yohl, “while you do it by assigning blame.”

“That’s so,” concedes the magical jaguar, Chan.

. . .

Posted by on Nov 29, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

“I will burn,” says Bahlum. “I will be burning. And I will think, ‘perhaps this is holy fire. The fire of holy righteousness and second-hand vengeance.’ I will plummet onto the back of a human target. He will stand as totem and proxy to the Mayans. He will scream.”

“What will he scream?” asks Ixchel. She is almost drooling at the thought of the warmth of being on fire.

“‘Help help!’” Bahlum says. He savors it. “‘Somebody. Anybody! A fiery orbital jaguar is using my mass to decelerate from space!’”

“There is nothing to be done,” says Chan. “Poor man! It is the righteousness of Heaven.”

In this Chan is incorrect.

That’s not the righteousness of Heaven at all! In fact, it is arguably an act of vice.

I don’t know where a magical jaguar in a decaying orbit around the Earth would even get the idea that this represents some sort of righteous Heavenly vengeance unless it is letting its personal biases and interests cloud its moral judgment.

The actual righteousness of Heaven isn’t anything like jaguars falling out of orbit. It’s more like —

Like, um, um. Hm. Like —

. . .

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

The actual righteousness of Heaven will be more like that seraph.

You know, that one, that deadly one, that herald of the world’s fiery ending. The one who will come, on the day of the Rapture and Last Trump, and stand there above the world, in space; who will lift God’s trumpet to his lips, and blow.

He will be terrible. That sound will be terrible. That is the righteous vengeance of Heaven.

. . .

Posted by on Nov 30, 2012 in Stomping the World Round: Chapter 2 | 0 comments

He won’t have even practiced playing the trumpet, not ever, so you can just imagine how terrible that trumpet blast will be.