Friday, January 2, 2015

Day Eight-Hundred-Five: Unexpected Viewership

(Author's Note: One week hiatus coming up. Won't be any longer, I promise.)

Unnoticed by all, July watched the battle on the command deck from the comfort of her home, sipping tea from a cup and grinning fiendishly.

“You’re enjoying this too much, old bag.”

July turned one eye to her son. Driscol, armless and helpless, was pinned against the wall of July’s hut by three bands of twisted vines, each protruding from the wood at Driscol’s back. Though he was as captive as any person could be, July had decided not to take any risks with the lad. So long as he was alive, Driscol could be dangerous.

“You know it, kiddo.” July lifted her cup in mock salute, then pressed it to Grayson’s split lips and sipped. “When ya reach my age, you take what pleasures you c’n get.”

“Acting the voyeur is a twisted pleasure,” Driscol pointed out.

“So dramatic,” July sighed. “It’s not like I’ve been watchin’ ‘em fuck or anythin’. Though I can relocate to Dragomir’s cabin, if ye like. Maybe you’d fancy the rise ’n fall of his pale ass as he - “

“I get it,” Driscol sighed forcefully. “Shutting up.”

Rolling her eyes, July turned back to the door of her home. It had expanded to twice its normal size, and beyond and beneath it lay the Sky Bitch’s sprawling command deck, large as life. July knew that her door was no bigger than a pinhole to the occupants of the ship at the moment, concealing her place aboard the Sky Bitch, and she marvelled again at the strange effects of Grayson’s body on her powers. It made them no stronger, not in the ways she desired, but any little surprise was welcome.

“Keep an eye on Dragomir,” July said, her own eyes narrowed. “Bet he’s about to do somethin’ crazy.”

“What, that beam sword isn’t crazy enough?” Driscol countered.

July thought back to her discovery almost two years prior, when she’d examined Dragomir’s code in her mountain lair while hiding from human and Non alike. “Just wait.”

Dragomir was currently backed up against the Sky Bitch’s steering wheel, and he was doing little to nothing to right the ship as it spun out of control. Even Libby, who had her fingers wrapped limply around the wheel’s spokes, seemed too shocked to keep the Sky Bitch aloft. Fynn stood near his father, apparently casting buffing spell after buffing spell on his sister as she attempted to grab Kierkegaard. The penguin proved too quick, however, and continually popped from portal to portal, evading Eve’s iron grip.

“They’re going to crash, at this rate,” Driscol pointed out. He shuffled slightly under his restraints, which was apparently the only sign of nervousness he would show to his mother. “We’re going to crash.”

July shook her head. “I won’t let us, if it comes t’that. What, you afraid you’re gonna die, my wee boy?”

Driscol snorted. “Death means as little to me as a used snot rag.”

“Then why so fidgety? Hmmm?” July added a merry lilt to her words.

“I’m not fidgety,” Driscol said, tilting his head into the air as though he’d caught a foul scent on a breeze. 

“Uh huh.” July winced as one of Kierkegaard’s oversized hands slammed Eve to one side, sending her through the glass canopy and out into the night. She rebounded back into the ship, lunging for the hand, but it was already gone. “Shut your gob, I’m tryin’ to enjoy this.”

The fight continued to intensify as Dragomir jumped back into the fray, brandishing the Catastrophe as he battled gravity and the lean of the ship. Fynn, one moment standing tall and muttering incantations, was hurtled backward the next minute, slamming his head against the canopy’s port side and shouting. His pain seemed to bring Libby back to her senses, and she struggled to right the ship while calling for her son. Kierkegaard’s leering face appeared in front of her for a brief second, and she had just enough time to swing at his beak before he vanished into a portal.

That’s when Libby vanished into a portal, too. It appeared beneath her feet and dragged her in.

“Ah,” July breathed, shaking her head. She’d always liked Libby. “Here we go. Watch close, boy of my loins.”

Dragomir screamed, watching as Libby’s head dropped into the deck and disappeared. Kierkegaard’s ghostly cackle floated out of a dozen portals at once, and his bone-white beak and too-large head flitted from opening to opening, taunting his opponents. Eve came closest to catching him, her gauntleted fingers closing on the tip of his beak, but it crumbled in her hands as he pulled away, turning into a thick, black ooze that stained her fingers.

When Libby reappeared, she was suspended three feet above the deck, her arms held tight in the grip of Kierkegaard’s massive claws. Her face looked uncharacteristically pale, as though she’d seen a lifetime of horrors inside Kierkegaard’s pocket dimension.

“LIKE PLUCKIN’ WINGS OFF A FLY,” Kierkegaard screeched, his voice tinny through the distortion of July’s door. “SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR SWEET ’N CUDDLY, DRAGOMIR!”

“Yep,” July said, sitting back in her armchair and sipping. “Here we go.”

Dragomir’s staggering attacks came to an abrupt halt. Despite the tilt of the deck he stood stock-still, the twin tips of the Catastrophe dipping towards the ground. His chin dropped, as though he was staring at something with drunken interest -

- but the ungodly howl he let out next hinted at anything but drunkenness. It was, instead, a thing of inhuman rage, and as it grew in pitch and anger Dragomir’s entire body seemed to twist and gyrate, growing and thinning and darkening into a slim creature of emerald and tar. Sharp claws grew out of Dragomir’s boots, replacing them, and they clamped into the deck to keep Dragomir upright.

“Sweet gods above,” Driscol said, his usual sourness replaced by genuine shock. “He’s… he’s one of them…?”

July cackled. “That ’n more, I think, my boy. Shame I couldn’t find much use for ‘im beyond mayorin’, ‘cause he’s a hell of a gem.”

His head twitching violently, Dragomir lunged towards his wife, her face so ashen that it could have been monochrome. The thrumming green blade in his hands rose, as if to cut his wife in two, as if he’d gone insane -

- but instead, Dragomir swiped downward, at thin air, almost five feet short of Libby’s dangling legs. July blinked, wondering if he’d simply lost it… but then an enormous whoosh of wind assaulted her ears as a massive gash appeared in the air in front of Dragomir. July caught a faint glimpse of starlight from within -

- starlight that was blocked as Dragomir tried to climb into the hole -

- but was tossed aside by his daughter, who climbed in instead -

- and, as Kierkegaard began to scream, dropping Libby, the whole of the Sky Bitch abruptly tilted toward the ground, giving July a too-clear view of the Non army far below. Yet the teeming masses of shadowy figures were similarly obscured, these by a sheet of white, and July no longer had any clue what was going on.

“Oh well,” she said, content that her own pocket dimension would protect her from harm. “At least I got to see Libby’s reaction. And that young man standing at the stairs. Priceless, both.”

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