Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Day Eight-Seventy-Four: Getting worse

Grayson had envisioned the tower as the greatest structure known to any species, any time, anywhere.

As a direct root into the power source of the regulators, the tower was, originally, insubstantial. It was an invisible conduit tied to every rat on the planet. As such, it was, in a sense, metaphorical: no one could see it, touch it, smell it, taste it, hear it, or even sense it. The rats themselves were only aware of the tower as a lifeline back to their original body, more a tether and a power source than a structure.

Grayson and Philip - though mostly Grayson - changed that. He desired a glorious landmark from which to begin the end. He wanted the world’s final vision of the apocalypse to be his shining edifice, the top of which would be the only surviving anything once he saw his plan through. Once he killed his father.

This was rapidly coming to fruition. Though not in any sense Grayson had intended.

As the tower fell it sheared in half, robbed of its regenerative properties, and the brilliant ivory brickwork that formed the lower half dissolved into pixels on the wind. Walls, balconies, stairways, and rooms melted away, transforming the sky into a crystalline tapestry that might have looked breathtaking under different circumstances.

More - much more - was happening down on the ground. People were, in fact, dying. But a small, select group of idiots were too busy trying to escape into the sky to do anything about it.

A blind councilwoman over one shoulder and a flabby platypus over the other, Driscol stomped up the closest set of stairs he could find, his feet pounding the ground so hard that they left indents in the softening stone. He didn’t know where he was going, exactly, only that his mother had told him to immediately ascend when he’d procured the platypus.

Pausing for one crucial second, Driscol dared to look behind him. The landscape, far below, winked back at him through the crumbling floor. Driscol turned and ran ever harder up the stairs. If he’d allowed his eyes to linger on the earth a second longer, he might have noticed that it, too, was fading away, though he still would have prioritized his current predicament as the worse of the two.

“What’s happening?” Aribella wailed, so still that Driscol could’ve been carrying a sack of potatoes and not known the difference. “I… they’re fading, but… the masters… oh, gods, please tell me what’s happening!”

“It’s better you not know,” Driscol replied. The jelly-like texture of the ground made his voice shaky, despite his best efforts. “The circumstances… are… nasty…”

“I’d rather know than not! I can’t tell if I’m climbing or falling, or if that sound behind me is a monster, or… or…” Aribella clung tightly to Driscol’s veined skin, apparently heedless of its weird, rubbery texture. “I just… I don’t understand anymore!”

Driscol sympathized. He’d long since given up trying to understand what was what. The days of playing the would-be puppetmaster were long behind him. Now he just wished he was back in his mother’s cosy den. He was powerless and restrained, there, but it was still better than this. The floors were nice and wooden, if nothing else.

The stairs ahead, carpeted eloquently with the finest fabric Driscol had ever seen, began to drop away. Driscol spied the night sky through the widening cracks in the floor, and the thought that he’d ascended into nighttime nearly drove him crazy. Ignoring the implications, he roared, planted his feet hard against the ground, and jumped.

His legs pinwheeled in the air.

His two burdens - No, three, there’s a rat hiding in my hair, don’t forget the rat - screamed.

His sense of time crawled along.

His scars, and he had a lot of scars, ached.

Driscol knew he wasn’t going to make the jump. He knew it as surely as he knew that one plus one was two, that the sky was normally blue, that the paperwork back home had been boring, and that he loved his sister, but not in that way, that was gross. He wished her all the best in finding herself a good, pliant husband to manipulate the shit out of some day.

The four of them - Driscol, Aribella, Plato, and the rat - fell. Green and red explosions filled the sky around them, neatly blocking out the stars of codespace. Driscol closed his eyes, wondering if there would be ground to hit, or if they’d simply float in an abyss forever.

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