Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

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– 3 –

– 3 –

A few days later Linus walks the roads the antichrist can walk. He’s going to test himself again against the janitor, having already aced his exams.

He stops before he gets to the company.

He laughs.

It looks like today he won’t have to.

The cleaning man’s already busy. He’s already hard at it. He’s dealing with a different world-ending threat!

“Oh, man,” says Linus. “This is going to be good.”

He pulls up a chair. He gets out a bag of popcorn. He uses balefire to pop it. He sits down.

He watches Jeremiah Clean, against a goat.

The man has a mop in his hand. He twirls it. He strikes forward. It breaks against the sharpness of the goat. Clean goes to the left. -liness goes to the right. The mop itself is split, then split again, until not even the quarks of it survive.

The goat lunges forward.

Linus thinks it is a goat. He is not sure. It is really remarkably sharp. His eyes are bleeding a little, just from looking at it. His concept of a goat — his ability to see the various sensory ephemera and assemble them into a larger sense-impression of a goat — keeps going all julienne; the longer he looks at it, the less he can understand what it is he sees at all.

Perhaps it is a goat.

Perhaps it is an n-dimensional, n-sided razor, as n tends towards infinity: a star of metal and lethality, stuck into the world of things and ideas and impressions but not strictly a part of what is there.

Jeremiah Clean stops it. He catches it in one heavily-gloved hand; he heaves the goat over. He pulls his hand back. The goat falls on its side — if it has sides — and cuts away at the sidewalk.

The glove explodes into yellow fragments and yellow mist.

“Try a little baking soda?” Linus calls out. He gulps a handful of popcorn.

Jeremiah looks at him, for all the world as if this does not help.

The goat staggers unsteadily to its feet. The lamp posts up and down the street split down the middle. They fall open. One or two lamp globes remain hovering, awkwardly, in the air.

Reality peels away.

Shapes and shadows move behind it.

Jeremiah Clean pulls a spray bottle from his cleaning cart. He shakes it. The cold electrons of the cleaning solution mash one against the other to fill up all the available energy levels. He spritzes the goat.

It’s like reality is brand new!

Even the sene-goat’s sparkling! But if it’s sparkling, that means it’s not dead.

“Get ’im,” whispers Linus Evans, to the sharpened goat.

The city is in flames and ruins; the dead are ravaging through the world, and ants.

“Get ’im,” says Linus, the future Mr. Enemy.



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