Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wither The Vain: Scavenger Hunt Part 2

Three Candy Kisses

I slogged through the sewers, my root system trying to filter out usable water from the filth.  It was truly foul.  Thankfully these weren't like the pipes near the wall or the dock works.  There would be no high pressure flushes this far in.  Which was good, I didn't feel like trying to cram myself into a stuffy little metal coffin for a half hour at a time.  I had more important shit to get done.  Boyd and his retinue were on my mind.  Their komodo had gotten off easy last time.  I was looking forward to breaking him into tiny pieces the next time I met him.  According to Seth, the komodo was a war hero and the only Sleeper to ever survive The Commandant's arena out in Gravesite.  It would be good to crush someone strong again.

Anything to stop thinking about Holly.

It was bad enough I'd been fantasizing about her since she joined us; I really didn't want to let her continue to infect my brain now that she was gone.  She looked and acted nothing like Miss Geri, but...  I had wanted her so badly.  Size would've been a problem anyway, just like it had been with Miss Geri.  Nothing would happen.  But there was hope for contact.  As long as she was alive, there had been hope.

Now, I was laying on a barroom floor in flames again.  Hell, if it meant not having to smell the reek of the sewers, I would've taken burning death in a heartbeat.  Not so lucky as all that though.

Wither wanted me to get Morelli on our good sides by starting a siege against The Scavenger and all the other little nasties hiding in Meddigo Tower.  I wasn't about to go make myself known to Morelli.  His regular troops would be a nuisance enough, let alone the hell I'd be put through if any of his Fomorian Guard were present.  I snickered a little.

Fomorian Guard.  I still remembered back when we fought the Fomori the first time, several lifetimes ago.  They certainly weren't the bunch of posers Morelli had in his employment, that was for damn sure.  I broke off a twig from my right arm and picked at my cedar teeth with it.  The real question here was how to start a siege.  I could follow the sewers right up to Morelli's tower on his private island at the base of The Bastion.  The problem was, what was I going to do to put a thorn in their side?

No it wasn't.  The problem was, Holly was dead and declared a fake.  Wither and his goddamned hands had erased her.  She had seemed grateful for it too.  Damn her.  Couldn't she have fought it a little better?  Couldn't she have convinced Wither that she deserved to stay?

"You didn't speak up for me Christoph."

I spun around, elbow bashing into a water main.  She wasn't here.  My head was playing tricks on me.  It figured.  Down here with all the chemicals, of course I was going loopy.  Nobody had ever claimed I was sane anyway.

"Don't sell yourself short tall man.  It's boring when you get all self-loathing."

Miss Geri?  I looked again with the same result.  Just an empty throat of a tunnel filling with turd water was staring back at me.  Get it together Christoph.  Not that much farther to go and you don't have a plan yet.  Focus.  Focus you damned fool.

"Judas?  Judas where are you going?"

No.  No no no.  That was not about to fly.  That had been way too long ago for her to still be alive.  More importantly, she never knew anything about what I was.

"You were a betrayer.  To me and to him."

I started running.

"You abandoned me Judas."

I did not.  I did no such thing.

"You left me alone with your silver and wished for the best."

I couldn't stay.  I couldn't.  You'd have been in danger.  No.  Go away.  My feet thundered through the tunnel, struggling to keep my head lower enough to miss the piping overhead.

"Where did you go Judas?  Where was it that you had to go in such a hurry that morning?"

You know where.  You know where I went, what I did.

"They killed me for the silver and for your silence.  Where did you run to?"

That's a lie.  A damned lie.  They never knew about you.  Not the apostles, no one.  No one...

I planted my feet and jerked to a stop.  No one knew but me.  If only I knew, it's in my head.  If I'm hearing a voice that isn't in my head, someone else is reading what's in my head and making things up as they go.

"What happens if I keep running forward?  Will my dragony friend be waiting for me?  Maybe some weed-killer is filling the tunnel?  I don't think so.  We were pretty thorough in our planning.  This tunnel is on a downward slope the rest of the way to Meddigo.  Only about a degree and a half slope of course, but it'll do."

I grabbed the water main on the wall and pulled.  Green sinews struggled and heaved as the metal slowly collapsed and finally gave way.  Water burst free and took off my hand.  I clenched my teeth together and forced a new one to grow where the old had been.  Enough screwing around.

I drove a fist into the matching pipe on the other wall and wrenched my arm free as a fountain of purified water erupted from the fractured pipe.  The water raced down the tunnel, splashing and crashing against the wall.  I ran forward and fell onto my belly, sprouting slick fronds, and coasted down the tunnel.  As I slid, I grinned and let my hands play in the crystal clear water.  I closed my eyes and felt the water start to change.  It'd start to yellow, just slightly, like a kid peeing in his wading pool.  The contamination would spread upstream, flowing impossibly against the current, through the water pipes.  Morelli had insisted that his tower receive water first so that no matter the breach, he would be clean.  On arriving in the holding tanks, the water would clear.  But as soon as it touched a throat or a root system, it would bleed into a beautiful rust red and start to burn.  Plants would die, people would wither.  Yes, just like the old days.

The siege of Meddigo Tower had begun, and I wasn't even there yet.

Top that Wither, you old bastard.

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