Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 7 –

– 7 –

Lucy faces off against a goat.

“I knew,” she says, “when I came to this world, that there were two players. Just two, at my level. Two obstacles to remove, before I could kill this stupid world. I could feel it. One of them slumbers. He is of no account. He will not play rock-paper-scissors against me until it is too late. But then —”

She counts. She throws. One, two, three, paper.

The goat has inexplicably failed to participate in the game. It dies, as a goat will die that plays against the evil prophet of space unwisely; or too well; or not at all.

“Then,” she says, “also there was a goat.”

She frowns.

Her evil monologue has gone unremarked-upon. Her enemy has failed to show the competence that she expected.

She pokes over its corpse.

She scowls hatefully.

“Why,” she says. “Why can’t I ever find happiness? Why must the world keep it from me?”

She casts the runes but she already knows.

Of course it wouldn’t help anything to kill it.

This is not that goat.

It might not even —

Judging by the patternlessness in its spilled-out entrails —

Be an actual goat at all.



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