Friday, June 5, 2015

Day Eight-Sixty-Nine: Wronged and Righted

Philip felt a distinct dip in his stomach.

He did not like the sensation. His stomach had not dipped in this particular way in several years. It had not dipped in any way since the fateful night that he’d set out with a pair of idiot brothers to capture an elephant. On that terrible evening he’d barely registered even a blip of gastrointestinal discomfort, a fact he’d long since rued. If his stomach had cramped he may well have survived.

They need to die, he thought. They need to die. They need to go away. Just like I will go away. I have to go away.

But who were they? At first, they had been no one. Philip did not, initially, much care that he’d died. Then they had been the rats, as they’d introduced him to the greatest, most exquisite suffering. Then they had been Dragomir and Robert, because they’d gotten him killed, thus introducing him to the rats. Then they became Dragomir’s son, because he had trapped Philip, and because of his ties to the damnable, awful rats…

But they were more. They were much more, now. They were everyone. They were the ants in their hills, the spiders on their webs, the penguins in their seas, the otters in their ponds, the rhinos in their spinning wheels. They were the bakers, the butchers, the masons, the doctors, the tanners, the blacksmiths, the kings, the queens, the princes and paupers and mimes. They were the seas, the skies, the mountains, the valleys. They were the fundamental building blocks of life itself.

They. They need to die. THEY NEED TO DIE.

Philip had the power to make them die, now. Everything was falling into place. Yet at the same time, everything seemed to be slowly unravelling. Because, abruptly, Grayson had pushed away from Philip - and without Grayson, Philip was just a ghost.

They’d been on the edge of finality, teetering on the brink of destruction. Philip and Grayson, Grayson and Philip, Philson, Graylip, whatever you wanted to call them, they were so close. And then, then, as if taking a machete to their bond, Grayson had gone silent. Philip could no longer hear the dead boy’s mind, could no longer grasp and play with the power of the regulators the way they’d tugged him about like a puppet on a stage. He remained a purple leech, suckling on the side of their brilliant white hive mind, but the blood flowing into his spectral mouth… it no longer satisfied.


Grayson did not respond. Philip had hoped he would - perhaps then he could reach into the boy and corrupt him again, as he had so long ago - but Grayson was busy. He would not speak to Philip again. He was too busy with his bitch of a mother.

There will be three of us, Philip thought. His grin grew, wavered, grew again. Only three. He has to take me along. And when we’re alone, I will finish them both, and then we will all be DEAD. DEAD DEAD DEAD DEAD.

Grayson did not respond.

Gathering the remains of his power - it was still substantial, if diminished - Philip dove into the tower. It was a conduit to him, a shaft of insubstantial light that he could mould as easily as an artist moulds clay. With a flick of his hand he created a balcony, larger than any of the others, and with a second flick he deposited the captives there. Touching the Non burned his essence, but Philip didn’t mind, because he could feel their pain, too, and that was good.

“Hey, Phil! Hey! My bro’s got this neat idea, ’n I figured, maybe…”

Philip bellowed.

The tower, shining serenely in the chaos of war, erupted light. The combatants surrounding the spiral edifice sheltered their eyes as phantasmal bricks re-formed themselves into half-spirit, half-statue representations of four figures, all far larger than life, all looming over the battlefield. Three were seated, their hands… and paws… bound behind their backs. The fourth hovered to the side, face tired and pensive.

“My lords…” Arabella looked around, though she could not see. “Is… is there no time to prepare…?”

There is only one lord.

Philip emerged from the brickwork behind Dragomir, Plato, and the rat as a masked, hooded spectre, an elephant nose dangling out of the darkness where his face should have been, an enormous axe held tight in his spindly hands. He raised the weapon in triumph over the heads of his captives, sweeping it so deftly that he nearly decapitated the platypus before the ceremony had begun.

Clutching the axe in one hand, Philip grabbed Dragomir by the neck and hauled him around. The Non stared into Philip’s empty hood with a mixture of defiance and sadness.

“Hi, Phil,” Dragomir said. “Do your worst, you fuck.”

The elephant nose twitched. Enraged and gleeful, Philip reached down, grabbed Dragomir’s bound arms, and pulled them upward with hideous force. His muscles squealed and tore as they rose complaining into the air, and Dragomir screamed so loudly that every person on the battlefield - for they could hear every word, projected on the wind like thunder - paused to look. Dragomir’s fingers twitched at their apogee, and he swore he would kill Philip, kill him a thousand times, a million.

As he did, green and red light blasted out of his fingertips. Philip thought it was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

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