Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 3 –

– 3 –

A fly has landed on Sid’s pale finger. He lifts it, gentle and calm, up to his right eye’s eyelashes.

It is going to crawl down onto his eye.

His left side is shuddering continuously but his right side has it under control. His eye has gone full clear, all quivering and awful jelly; he is wroth with the power of his (Torment’s) House.

It is perfect.

At last it is perfect.

It will crawl onto his eye. Maybe it will lay eggs there. And the world will be saved.

It will — if he can just do this.

If he can just get through this part, this last hard part, everything is sure to be fine. Everything will be OK forever. Just let it . . . just . . .

There’s a knock at his door.

He twitches; it flies away; he howls. He beats his head against the table. He freaks out. He can’t stop.

Then he stands up. He walks to the door. He opens it.

“Oh, hi, Emily,” he says. “What bad timing! I was just —”

He waves his hand vaguely.

He waits for her gold eyes to throw him into confusion. He waits to forget what he was doing. But she isn’t goldening him. She isn’t bespelling him, not this time. She isn’t keeping him from exerting the power of his House.

She’s just holding out a basket. She isn’t speaking. The basket’s got a cloth and some cookies inside.

Sid sighs.

He raises an eyebrow at her.

After a while, she reluctantly turns on her speech amplifier. It’s svart-elf technology. It lets her talk without straining. “They’re cookies,” she says.

“I see that,” says Sid.

“They’ll rot your teeth,” she says. “I mean, if you eat enough of them.”

He makes a face at her. She blushes. She looks away.

It’s kind of creepy having her there, but there’s only one of her. You can stand in a creepy point near somebody but it doesn’t give the whole effect of the Keepers’ House.

“I don’t know why you’d think I’d eat your cookies for that reason,” says Sid. “Dental hygiene is extremely important. I am a good person, Emily.”

She just shrugs, forcibly hands him the basket, and she goes away.

He closes the door. He drops the basket by the door and he starts shuddering. He doesn’t want those cookies.

Maybe later, when they’re stale, and more crumbly, and less sweet.



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