Serializations of the Hitherby Dragons novels

Categories Navigation Menu

– 5 –

– 5 –

Saul is moving past Fenris. He is skipping from building to building. He turns and he looks back at the wolf, his back braced against a tower to hold off the wolf-magnet.

His body is trembling but his face holds a distracted smile.

“Wait for me,” he says.

The wolf is trying to fight by digging its great claws into the ground.

“I will go,” says Saul, “and I will dispose of this matter. So wait for me.”

The wolf snarls. It snaps in the direction of the words. It bites itself — it consumes and takes in a bit of the strength of itself, and heals again, with little net result save agony — and then it goes back to frantically scrabbling for a hold, or to pulling away.

It is being bound again, and itself is the only logical source and target of that binding.

It is made resentful of the fact that it is a physical presence in the world, and may thus be pulled.

It is minutes before Saul’s words even penetrate the mind of the wolf.

It is white-eyed and growling, hooked deep into the Earth with its claws, and staring about for something, anything to kill when it realizes he’s moved onwards.

It is the passing thought: gravity

Let me unpack that, although the wolf’s internal monologue did not, into: well, I was already being bound by gravity, wasn’t I? And being spun around by the world’s rotation? And wasn’t I already caught in a net of being Fenris, and not anything that is not Fenris?

Wasn’t I already a prisoner of my circumstances, bound into the specificity of the world?

— that releases the grip of panic that has fallen upon it. That gives it some space to laugh there, to choke and laugh there, and then bit by bit for the rest of its situation to sink in.

Saul has gone ahead.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” it whispers. Saul has such a tiny body! He’s barely even a wolf.

Mr. Gulley has —

It sifts through Mr. Gulley’s being. (He has come to being one thing with the wolf, now, they have alloyed himself through it, and now Mr. Gulley and the wolf shall never be apart, though they remain alone.) The wolf laughs because it is proud and it is angry at its Mr. Gulley, who has known it would be free, who has not really tried to fight its being free, who could not even really make himself not want for it to be free, but had rather conceived this awful plan:

That when the wolf broke loose, it would be dragged to his Lethal Magnet, and then a giant boot — as per the prophecies of Nostradamus — would, one way or another, fall.

“Oh, gumby,” it says. “But I won’t die.”

I won’t be stomped, thinks Fenris. I refuse. I don’t have to be.

In the distance, Peter is waking up. He is flowing into his clothes. He grapples a muffin to him as he passes and he ninjas through his door without breaking stride.

He shoves the muffin in his mouth and he spits out its wrapper.

It’s really difficult for him to chew it properly because his mouth is so full but he gives it his best effort; and he runs for the bootstrap, for the lift up the bootstrap, and he runs like his body were light.

In the distance, Saul is moving. He is moving by strength and skill and by magnet, which pulls at him through the hat wound through his soul. He is moving with the speed and by the grace of the Saint-Speeding Turbo-Device, which is dialed up to full.

He is moving fast when he hits the school. He is a white-topped blur.

He hits the bootstrap without breaking stride. It’s carbon-nanotube boot leather — much like Nike’s revolutionary footstalks — but he doesn’t let that stop him. His nails sink into it; he catches hold one-handed, he scrabbles, he tears; he swings himself around, sets his teeth it, begins to gnaw at it; and that is when the elevator that Peter’s in strikes him, whirls upwards underneath him with a furious speed.

His teeth do not unlock from the bootstrap. There is a horrible squealing all along the carbon.

Five gees. Ten. Fifteen. The lift drives him up.

His teeth catch fire. His mouth is all over blood. He rips the bootstrap as he rises, buckles it, cuts two channels on either side of the furiously accelerating lift; and finally it is too much, he whimpers, he scrabbles, his eyes bleed, and he bloody-mouthed bites a chunk away; and the lift buckles, slews, and shatters, and he and Peter go their separate ways up into space.



Leave a Comment

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