|The Prince of Midnight
Author: Ardith Block PM
Christopher Carrion finally has Candy Quackenbush with him in the Dead Man's House. He's intrigued by her, maybe loves her, needs to kill her. Follow Carrion's side of Days of Magic, Nights of War from Marapozsa Street to the Hereafter and beyond Barker.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Fantasy - Chapters: 2 - Words: 1,559 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 6 - Updated: 01-13-11 - Published: 12-11-10 - id: 6548282
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Thanks for all of the encouragement on the first chapter! Hope you didn't mind the long wait for the second too much (the result of a bit too much travel this past month). I promise the third installment is well on it's way. Keep the comments coming. Constructive criticism is welcome.
~ Chapter II ~
It was a disconcerting feeling for Carrion to be surrounded by himself on Marapozsa Street. Only part of his consciousness was there – leaving the rest behind to dissociate from the vessels and their dream-chapeaux – but even with the slight separation, seeing that one human girl from the Hereafter from every possible angle was too crowded a perspective to fully acclimate to, even for the Prince of Midnight. He tried to focus himself into one being, a leader who, through his single-minded concentration, could make Carrion's vision less prismatic.
Once he was thoroughly embedded in a man crowned with a miniature Ferris wheel, the Dreaming Street was not an uncomfortable place to be. The box was a place of Carrion's invention refined based on the zoetropes which had been imported centuries before from the Hereafter. The Abarat had already improved upon the design with enchantments by the time the device had come to Carrion's attention. For a few decades, a travel sized version had been sold to visitors of Babylonium so that the tourists could re-envision the endless amusements of those streets and tents no matter the hour.
Only within the past half century had Carrion adapted the hybrid technology for the purpose of interrogation. Initially, his models had been as harmless as the keepsakes of the carnival island, but even in those early stages, his intentions were never as frivolous as were those of the Babylonian innovators, motivated solely by entertainment and profit. Now, solidified into the rough, orange-tinged flesh of the man on Marapozsa Street, Carrion thought of his glass collar in the physical world, flooded with nightmares, and of how difficult a process dream extraction could be.
"Where are your dreams?" Carrion asked through his chosen projection.
He could see the girl look from the jubilant hat back down to his eyes. She blinked once, more out of shock than out of consideration. "What…" she returned, her voice trembling.
"Come on, girl. Everyone wears their dreams. Where are yours?"
She shook her head back and forth. "I don't have any."
"Aw," said Carrion, practically cooing. "But your dreams look so lovely. I can tell. Show them to us?"
The girl whipped her head around looking, Carrion supposed, for a door. She would not find one, the foolish girl. "How do I get out of here?" she asked.
"Out?" Carrion asked. Before she knew it she would not know that she had come in. "What do you mean?"
"How do I get out of this place? Out."
"There…" he began as if musing "is no out."
She turned on her heels and began running back through the alley. Too late if she saw the alley, defined down to every last crack in the paving, she would only make a maze of it with her mind. "Show us your dreams, and it will be better …"
Carrion let himself flow into several eyes, and the eyes followed her, several mouths, and the mouths called to her, "Show us your dreams." She turned from one face to another, looking for an answer "Out? Out?" but, without knowing, saw only Carrion.
Poor Candy, Carrion thought as the girl stopped to turn away from the multiplicity of him and stare into vacant space. She was conjuring herself out of her body, and in moments her life would turn into a dead image, an image for his viewing. "Show us your dreams, girl," he said, seeing without seeing the last doubt coaxed out of her eyes. And those eyes – they were almost enough to make him feel real pity for her – the one melting to water as the other settled like fertile silt on a bank.
Candy's arms slowly pumped back and forth.
He felt a surge of agitated power from his corporeal body. "No."
She swung her arms faster, readying herself for the jump.
"No!" Letting go of his dream – foolish, foolish dream! – Carrion saw what she saw, the passing of a motor to a steady whoosh, whoosh, whoosh… "You'll die, girl. Just show us your dreams." He could see it in her swinging arms, picking up speed, her tensed legs. He would not be able to stop her. "You'll be cut to bits," he warned as he began to suspect she would not be, clenching fists in many bodies as he began to worry she would be.
"Your dreams—" he started before her feet left the ground, and then all he could say was, "Die!"