Dragomir abruptly found himself standing guard over the Neck.
He shook his head, confused. The bridge to Castle WhatIsGoingOn looked as it ever had: a little rusty, a little bloody, a little twitchy. So too did the castle behind it, with all the same adjectives applied, just in different ways. Yet the Neck looked too luminescent, the castle too radiant, and the sky… the sky was just a bit too white.
There was a big lever in front of Dragomir. Beside it sat a lumpy burlap sack. Dragomir knew there was a head inside the sack, and a small, very tired part of him wanted to cry when he saw the tip of a dread lock protruding from the sack’s drooping mouth. The rest of him, however, simply got angry.
“I’ve already done this,” he proclaimed, quite angrily. “I’ve already done this shit. You aren’t tricking me again, you little asshole.”
The air to Dragomir’s right warped and twisted, popping loudly. He refused to look at it. He’d be staring at a face he didn’t want to see, a face of tricks, lies, and wifely thievery. He was especially tired of the thievery part.
“I wasn’t trying that hard to trick you,” Grayson admitted. “I just wanted to give you something familiar to look at while we chatted. It’s been a long time since we chatted.”
“Gee, whose fault is that?” Dragomir barked. He spat over the edge of the ramparts, watching his spectral spittle as it fell towards the water and disappeared with a vague ‘plop’. “I’m pretty sure you’re the one who fucked us all over ’n took off, Grayson. Not me.”
The air twisted again, moving. Dragomir moved with it, away from it, refusing to stare his first borne son’s floating head in the eye.
Grayson chuckled at his not-father’s defiance. “Won’t look at me? You’re a child, Dragomir. A child. And not the kind she deserves. She deserves a good son. And she’s got one. I’m going to look after her for an eternity.”
“You’re fucked up, kid,” Dragomir hissed. He stepped to the opposite side of the ramparts and looked at Grayson’s version of the Indy Plains. They were, like the real thing, flat and unremarkable.
“Maybe. But I’m holding all the power right now. And, ah, I wasn’t stupid enough to go and get myself caught, now was I? That was all you, dad.”
The Plains shifted, twirling in on themselves in a visual lurch that made Dragomir sick to his stomach. He clenched his eyes closed until they settled again… and when they did, he found himself staring at a vast, white, latticed wall. A black blob with an odd protrusion on the front of its head and a rat dangled from the latticework, their arms bound by the walls, both looking unbelievably tired. A woman Dragomir did not recognize sat a few feet away from them, her arms cradling her knees.
“Say hello to your cellmates,” Grayson whispered into Dragomir’s ear, his voice fading. “They’re the last friendly faces you’ll ever get to see. One of them’s even a freak, like you. Ta.”
Grayson’s pressing presence faded out of Dragomir’s head, and he took a deep breath as some of the pressure behind his headache - but not all of it, never all of it - faded as well. He forced a yawn, as if to look casual, though he wasn’t sure why he bothered, because the situation was anything but casual.
“Hey, guys,” Dragomir said, knowing who the blob and the rat were. He recognized Plato’s drooping tail anywhere, even if it did look like a liquid frying pan at the moment. ”Long time. You look like hell, Plato. My son been treating you well?”
Plato raised his head, and Dragomir expected the platypus-Non’s usual singsong language to emerge from his bill. He was, instead, surprised to hear the flat quack of a relatively normal voice. “Your… your son is mean, Drago… Dragomir.”
Though shocked by Plato’s apparent discovery of English, Dragomir took it in stride. He swallowed and nodded. “Ain’t that the truth, pal. Ain’t that the truth.”