Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

Categories Navigation Menu

– 6 –

– 6 –

The yard is green and blue. The grass is damp. There is a fountain in the middle of it, white in the darkness, with a cherub perched in its marble center. It is a Lethal cherub; there are letters marking it as such scrawled across its base.

The sidewalk is clean but poorly maintained and there are startled ladybugs in the air.

Above it all there is a window that is missing, its glass shattered and turned to dust, its wooden frame burnt, its screen melted away. This is a safety hazard; for instance, somebody trying to scare off the Edmund-beast by hopping at them while brandishing brand-new boots might slip on the blood and viscera of Andrea’s mortal body and fall sideways out the window. The remnant window wouldn’t be an obstacle to this at all!

Above that, the sky boils with nithrid.

It is an unchained storm. It darts whithersoever it pleases. It burns the sky and it burns the ground: lightning lashes from it to set the flagpole merrily on fire, to burst the gardens of Principal Goethe, to chase two errant students who had waywardly been necking into the cover of a nearby Hall.

It was Andrea but now it is a seething sky-fire. Now it will bring an end to the civilizations of the earth.

Cheryl and Tom are arguing.

Tom is of the opinion that he can bloody well keep going even though he’s barely patched up, and Cheryl should stop worrying about him. Cheryl, conversely, is of the opinion that they should abandon the hunt for Edmund and instead harness the energy of the sudden living lightning storm all around them to conquer space.

She makes a particularly stern argument. She snaps her arm out, flat-handed, as if to assert an emphatic conclusion to the same.

Peter thuds smoldering into the ground.

“Cheryl!” chides Tom. “That’s not how one emphasizes one’s points in the House of Dreams.”

“The matter is coincidental,” avers Cheryl.

“Loose lips throw people from windows,” Tom sighs, and shakes his head.

Cheryl is at Peter’s side. She checks him for signs of consciousness. She looks up at the window he’s fallen through.

Edmund stares out at them with hunger-whitened eyes.

“Oh, right!” she says, suddenly remembering. “We’re hunting cannibals. Tom, you should be resting.”

Tom squints up at Edmund. He tries to remember which argument he’s having. “There are souls toiling in Hell,” he says. “Realistically, we should be using lightning to wake up the dead and let them go. That’s what Frankenstein would have done.”

Edmund glares down at them with a vague, possessive anger.

He vanishes into the building at a run.

“Dr. Frankenstein is fictional,” Cheryl says.

“I don’t like this,” frets Tom, ignoring her.

“You’re barely conscious.”

“No,” says Tom. “I mean, the part where we’re all about to get eaten.”

“Priorities, man!” she says. She waves upwards at the lightning. It flashes, almost simultaneously with the roll of thunder.

Tom stares at Peter.

Then he shakes his head. “He’s still a good role model for proper scientific behavior,” Tom says. “Knew what was what, Victor did.”

Cheryl’s shoulders sink.

“But, but — space.”

Tom picks up Peter’s arm. He makes Tom-wroth gestures with his head until Cheryl picks up the other one. They drag Peter off.

Behind them they can hear the Edmund-beast howl.

“We’ll conquer space one day,” Tom reassures her, but Cheryl is too busy dragging half of Peter to really pay attention to his words.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *