Friday, February 7, 2014

Day Six-Hundred-Thirty: The veil, lifted

There's another batch coming.

My body tingles with anticipation. It's a massive batch. So big that it'll have to be two, maybe three lever pulls in a row.

Which means - I bet it means - a massive reaction. Three massive reactions. I'll be engulfed in ecstacy. And once they're done, the lady in white will show me her face. I just know it.

I watch them march onto the Neck, a long, pathetic procession. I hear Cedric across the bridge, yelling at me, telling me there's another war. The last, great war. Sure, whatever, don't care.

Here they come. They've almost filled the Neck. That mechanism might be hard pressed to keep up with all the flying limbs.

Their skin. It's all... all chocolate. Huh. I don't know if I've ever seen chocolate people before. How novel.

How am I writing this? How could I write this? I have my hands on the lever already. The anticipation of glory is... it's too much.

A different lady in white lifts her head. Not my lady. One on the bridge. Her veil falls back, and white hair cascades past her browned skin. She yells something to me. The sound flutters past my ears and disappears into oblivion, sucked up by those grey clouds, by that indistinct, lovely landscape.

The castle. My castle. My castle demands justice. And it will reward me with bliss.

I pull the lever. 

Down they go. 

Heads... so many heads bounce. They can't help but bounce.

One flies past me. It screams at me, its voice a lovely sing-song. It has thick, black hair. 

I feel the ectsacy.


It's muted.

It's not right

My grip falters as the bodies are dumped into the moat. I hear the snapping of invisible jaws, the devouring of bodies. I feel... so... so damned sick...

The captain is screaming at me from across the bridge, screaming through the vague silhouette of the woman in white, telling me to get my hand back on that gods-be-damned lever and do my gods-be-damned job before I'm gods-be-damned fired for gods-be-damned insubordination. Why's he yelling that? My hand's on the lever.


Oh wait.

No, I guess it slipped off. There we go. Whoops. Silly me.

That sing-song voice. I... did I recognize it? Did it rhyme one last time / as it flew to who knew?

White hair... sailing past... disappearing... a gasp...

we played board games while we were bored games

Whoa. Whoa. What the hell...

The words slide by me, around me, above me, hovering over my head. My gods, they're sitting atop my head, screaming at me, screaming at me. Board, bored. Bored... board... board... the O flies away from board, leaving, leaving... leaving a word... a different word...

Board... ba-

He screams, he screams, the captain screams. He tells me to get my hand back on the lever before he marches across the bridge and throws me onto the Neck. He says the woman in white won't ever show her my face if I fail her. I will fail her.

I can't fail her.


Why can't the captain pull the lever? Why do I always have to pull it? What's so difficult about pulling a lever...?

The captain motions. Invisible soldiers usher another batch onto the Neck, as numerous and as chocolate as the first. They sway in the blood and gore, the features of their faces poking visibly through their sheets. I can almost picture them, so obvious, so familiar. 


I know these people.

Or I know one of them.

Only one face has a face.

Just as two of the previous faces had faces.

And I killed them.

My hand slips back onto the lever. The woman in white is whispering to me, promising, telling me that I'll know the greatest joys in my life if I pull the lever, just one last time, all I have to do is pull it one last time and she'll smile at me, she'll pull me into her, and by gods I'll be complete, we'll be one, we'll be here and there and everywhere. It will be glory itself.

She whispers these things.

But she doesn't smile.

I look at the sky, the grey, grey sky.



No, no, just look at the woman. The woman in white. Focus on her, just a little bit longer.

That's not her. Not really.



remove the O and you have bard

remove the D and you have Bora

remove the veil and you have

you have


I vault over the ramparts. The captain screams, voice shrill, unmanly, the scream of a child whose game has gone wrong. I want to say his name is Cedric, but no, it's closer to Philip.

I land. My legs break. But they can't really break. Because this... this isn't real. It's real enough, but it's not real.

I rip sheets away from faces. I see blank slates on most. On one... on one, so chocolate and so pleasant, I see a man I know. I push him aside and keep going.

On another... another... blank faces, but there's one more, one more that needs to be pulled aside...




But not this one.

I see him. 

He's smiling.

I see... oh, gods, I know that young face, that young, beautiful face, the beautiful brown face of my son, standing in a stupor, waiting to be executed, to be executed by his father, and he looks at me with such gentle trust, with such blank, bewitched eyes -

"LIBBY!" I scream, and I know that's the name of the woman in white. "LIBBY! WAKE UP! HE'S CONTROLLING US AGAIN! WAKE UP!"

And I do.

The Non awoke with a gasp, her hands flying straight to her neck. 

She could have sworn that it was torn open, ripped apart by blood-soaked blades attached to a nightmare machine. But her smooth, unbroken skin assured her otherwise.

It would not have been the first time she'd been executed. Nor, she suspected, would it have been the last. But this... this had not been real. A nightmare?

"No," she rasped, clutching her heart as she grasped blindly for a table, a chair, a railing, something to help her struggle to her feet. "No, that was... fuck me, that was real..."

She was in Engineering, a place she seldom went. A network of silent cogs stood vigil over her, waiting to be cranked back to life. Somewhere nearby she detected life, the rustle of someone stirring and moaning. For some reason the thought of interacting with them terrified her. She fled for the stairs, wiping streaks of oil from her face.

She prayed people could see the oil. She prayed her true skin wasn't masking it.

The Non stumbled to her bar. Her Neo Beefiary. Her home. It was the closest she came to tinkering with chemical compositions these days, and she enjoyed the distraction. Preparing food allowed her to ignore the justified suspicions. Preparing food allowed her to believe that she belonged, that she was one of these people.

"My neck," she gurgled, her body acting on its own as it righted chairs, swept half-eaten food onto broken plates and emptied mugs. "God, my neck, it split my neck... why the fuck didn't he listen...?"

She had many necks. She could reform herself. But it was not a pleasant experience.

Dropping a half-filled tray on a table, she walked behind the bar. Here, she knew, she could find some relief. She would be back in her comfort zone. She, the hostess; the groaning from the cabins, her patrons coming back to life. Here, she reasoned, straightening her clothes as she pushed the bar open and stepped inside, here is where I start to feel -

She stifled a scream.

She'd seen bodies before. She'd created bodies before, in more than one sense. 

Why should this one be any different? What made it stand out? 

Maybe it was the similar skin colour. She knew that shouldn't matter, but...



The bard lay in an ungainly sprawl, his limbs twisted uncomfortably under his back. His uniform, usually so clean and so trim, was ripped open and smeared with syrupy alcohol in a dozen places. A broken bottle peppered his thick black hair with glass diamonds. Somehow, the shards had left his face unblemished.

It was not a peaceful face.


  1. Man, I thought Bora was gonna be the one to bite it. Or I was hoping anyway. When I saw that prediction I figured it was one or the other. I was also going over all the reasons we could lose Edmund and it wouldn`t affect the story much and hoping Bora would bite it. :( Sads.

    1. From a purely practical point of view, I maaaaaay have offed Ed because I got sick of rhyming. Maybe.