Up in Smoke
Penultimate Peril spoilers. Quigley's thoughts when he looks up and sees smoke. A Violet/Quigley drabblish one-shot
The lulling movement of Hector's flying machine finally soothed the worried mind of a certain triplet into fitful sleep. His troubled dreams were of black skies and a murder of crows, cawing simultaneously. After what felt like hours, their cawing became speech. "Wrong!" they were shouting. "Wrong! Wrong!"
And he was back in the Stricken Stream. He felt himself slip sideways off their makeshift raft, numb hands clawing fruitlessly for something, anything to keep him from falling…
He slipped under.
He was under a long time, too long, long enough for him to start panicking and flailing. By the time his head broke the surface, they were almost gone.
"Meet me at-"
A sudden spin of the current made him loose what little control he had, and he was once again beneath the water.
Again, what feels like hours pass, and he finds himself floating on his back down the stream, but the stream's not there anymore, just a river of black smoke…
It clogs his nostrils, slowly suffocating him. He can't breath, he can't see, he's been swallowed by the same smoke that seems to have followed him ever since the fire, where it had killed his parents, had tried to claim him…
He woke up, gasping. He could still smell the black smoke from his dream…
He sat up. It couldn't have been later than 6 am, but there was a pale pink in the east, promising a warm, bright day. But to Quigley's left, almost reaching the clouds, was a long, dark column of smoke.
He quickly turned to Hector, who had come up beside him.
"Please, tell me that's not it."
Hector nodded sadly. "It is." He paused, than turned away. "I'll go turn her around."
"What? No, they might still be there! We have to find them! I said…"
Here he stopped, brushing angrily at any imaginary tears in his eyes. "I said I'd meet them here."
Hector frowned. "I doubt they're still there, Quigley. They're probably already heading back to Brimy Beach, or somewhere like that. We'll check there."
Somehow, I doubt that. He fumed. If Olaf set that fire, then he wouldn't have let them get out alive. He blinked back tears, hardly realizing they were there. She's gone.
A small, familiar hand patted his back.
"I'm sorry," Isadora whispered, her voice cracking. "I know you liked Violet."
He nodded, acknowledging her, but not really listening. She didn't get it. Nobody did.
He heard a small sniffle, and turned to see Fiona sitting besides him. They had picked her, and her brother, off their sinking submarine. He hadn't really interacted with her much, just a bit of polite talk over meals. Now, here she was, crying for the same reason he was.
"You know, I'm not very nice."
He looked strangely at her, but she didn't notice.
She didn't turn and look at him, just stared at the big column of black smoke.
"He hated me. I gave him every reason to. How could I have been so stupid?"
She must be talking to herself. Right?
"So, you liked Violet?"
He blushed. "Yeah."
"Oh. Well, we both like Baudulairs, then. Weird, eh?"
He shook his head, and turned back towards the smoke. "Not really."
And so they sat, watching the smoke until the sky became so dark, the smoke disappeared into the pitch-black sky. They sat, in absolute silence, and no one dared touch them, as they watched the sign that showed all their now-foolish dreams had gone up in smoke.