Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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In Tom’s upside-down Vault of Forbidden Things, there are many things that are forbidden.

There is the shrine to New Kids on the Block. You shouldn’t have one. There is the goat that he’s been sharpening. You definitely shouldn’t have one of those!

There is the cage with his buttered vulture.

There is a machine in Tom’s Vault that is Forbidden; it takes candy from strangers and it swallows its gum.

Tom’s infinitive splitter rises — it is forbidden, in Latin. It slams down. It cuts, to improperly power his lab.

You shouldn’t have things like that, Tom.

That vulture. It’s too slippery!

In the corner is a faux button that cannot be pressed.

Harold had argued with Tom over this, extensively. He’d told him that a button that can’t be pressed represents the very antithesis of reason. Tom had answered, “But if someone were to press it, wouldn’t the consequences be pretty bad?”

He tries to press it anyway, sometimes, in pursuit of one theory or another.

The button is really more of a bit of abstract art, a kind of subtle joie de vivre in a Vault otherwise entirely concerned with wrong things, and so he fails. It isn’t really a button, as buttons are understood, at all.

In the very center of his vault there is a vacuum environment.

In that vacuum a pair of scissors drifts.

They are not alive but they are not dead. Not all the way. They came at Earth but they never quite reached it. He caught them from the sky, held them in magnetic grip, because he had a plan.

“Experiment 58,” says Tom. “Making all that is lost and purposeless, something good.”



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