Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 7 –

– 7 –

It is amazing to Tom how much that hurts him. It is a ruthless, amazing cruelty that somewhere between hating Bertram Gulley with every fiber of his being and having to be his corpse’s discoverer, he’s somehow managed to forgive and even — care about — the man.

In the face of Bertram’s dead eyes he is empty; loathing drains itself like a sieve.

There is only —

This was there, and then it is gone.

He finds himself kneeling over the corpse again, some time later. He isn’t really sure what he’s been doing. . . . Staring.

There was a fire even in Bertram Gulley. There was a thing there that was sacred.

There was a purpose, however awful, and it was flowing in him; but it does not flow in him now.

Tom tries to wake the secret fire in him, the light that danced in him once, the insight, the power, tries to cadge his mind into spitting forth the secrets to wake the dead. He presses his hand into Bertram Gulley’s shoulder, he stares at the half a human and the half a golden face, and he cries out, Rise up, Bertram Gulley!

No light takes life in the eyes of Bertram Gulley. Tom’s sudden life-wroth does not contage.

He sits back.

He is disconsolate.



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