Thursday, July 11, 2013

Day Four-Ninety-Nine: I tried

"We're doomed, you know."

I looked up from my lunch, a nice tray of cooked insects. It's the best Julius can manage out here.

"We're doomed," Antonia said again. Her canine voice betrayed no emotion, but Julius… his tiny tarantula eyes… they seemed to be welling up with tears. "June can't figure it out. She doesn't know how to do what she wants to do. After… how many hundreds of years… she still can't get what she wants."

I crawled to my knees, setting aside my tray and clasping my hands. "Julius. C'mon, man. We've played cards. Chess. Other games. You make great tea. We're buds, aren't we?"

Spider nod. "Yes. I like you, Dragomir. You're a lovely man."

"Then, c'mon!" I pointed over Antonia's shoulder. "Let me talk to June! Just for a minute! Maybe we can, I dunno… salvage all this… if she'd just, just… just TALK to me…"

Antonia didn't say anything. Julius bowed his legs, wriggling into her fur.

Frustrated, I tried something else. "Well… hell, how do you know we're doomed? Just look at the shield! Go on, look!"

I pointed out the cave. The shield, though difficult to see, looked as white and healthy as ever.

"See? The Non can't get through that sucker! Whatever June's doin' -"

"She's trying to trick them."

My words fell apart mid-sentence. I formed something else. "Guhwha?"

Antonia turned to peer out the cave. "June is exerting herself to make the shield appear as though it's at full health. She's hoping the Non will give up. In reality, it will probably die within the day. At the latest, it will fall tomorrow. The battering it's sustained over the last week is too much for June to hold back, even drawing on the power of the lock."

I bit my lip, a fresh wave of panic washing over me. "… and… what happens when it goes down?"

"The workers in the mines will try to defend June as best they can." Antonia wheezed out a sigh. "They will probably die in the attempt. Or perhaps the spell she cast on them will be broken, and they will flee. I do not know. Either way, the outcome is essentially the same."

"But not if she lets Grayson out."

Antonia bristled. I'd presented my argument to release Grayson and set him loose on the Non dozens of times. Each attempt was met with the same rebuttal: even if June could divide her attention enough to summon her hut from wherever it's been, she probably wouldn't let Grayson out. He's as dangerous as the Non, especially since he knows how to wield the power of the rats. And, by extension, the power of the lock.

He also hates June. Her chances would not improve in his presence. From my perspective, though, he's kind of our only hope - assuming he's fit to fight an army of Non. Hell, for all I know, Kierkegaard is good enough to take out Grayson solo.

Gods. Talking about my son like that. Grayson may be a fucked up prick, but… he's still…

Shit. I don't know what to think of him anymore. My wife's captor or my little boy. I think spending so much time with Eve has made me sentimental.

I slouched back onto the cavern floor. I didn't know what else to do. At that point, trying to dig through the walls seemed a possibility… only they must be extremely thick, and filled with metal, or June would've brought the Hypermole up here to dig.

"I understand your frustration," Antonia said, her voice gruff despite the softness of the words. "I… I can only offer you the hope of a speedy end. I am sorry, Dragomir. I did not think either of our lives would end this way."

"Peh. Been there, done that." I kicked at a stone, wincing as I realized it was attached to the floor. "Gah. Fuck. Hate this place. Y'know, I bet Antonia didn't figure on biting the dust here, either. Not very fair to her, is it?"

Antonia shook her head. "No. No, it's not."

"Yeah." I picked walrus out of my teeth, spitting a chunk onto the floor. "Wonder why she's here, anyway. Always wondered what brought her to the mountain. Guess it was the lock."

"Yes. I suspect it was."

"Poor Antonia."

The werewolf drooped. "Poor Antonia."

Waiting for the end. It's like being in that damned hole all over again - only this time, Royal Guards won't be coming to fetch me for a meeting. They'll be charging in to claim my life.

I'm sorry, Libby. I tried.



1 comment:

  1. "Always look on the bright side of life"