Press "Enter" to skip to content

Aug. 25 – A Quick Dip

She nodded a little, and entered the park, cautiously approaching the figure sitting on a bench by the canal. It was an older human male, someone she hadn’t seen before. He did, however, have distinct burn scars across his face which continued below his neckline. And the hat, with its jaunty feather, she certainly had seen before, though not on a human.

The man looked at her calmly under her level stare. “Have a seat, if you like.”

“I prefer to stand.”

He shrugged, and poured some water from a canteen into a cup. “Would you like a cup of water?” He paused, and grinned. “I should warn you, though, that it has been filled with a mind-altering serum.” He did not wait for her to decline it, but instead asked, “You figured out who I am?”

“Yes. I recognize the hat.”

Prometheus nodded. “Good, I wore it so you would recognize me. I was wearing it when we came to your home.”

“Did you notice the distinct lack of furnishings?” What had been left could be easily replaced, once she had her home rebuilt. That, though, would have to wait.

“It was one of the reasons we burned it so quickly. I hate destroying good literature… though it won’t stop me.” His voice dropped to a warning tone.

“Nor will the destruction of a home stop me.” Bookworm’s tone matched his.

“Stop you?” Prometheus laughed. “If I wanted you stopped, I wouldn’t be burning homes. I’d kill you.” He held up the cup of water. “Let me make you an offer. If you can take this from me, I’ll leave your city in peace and forget Lilith forever.” Before Bookworm could speak or move, he clenched his hand, breaking the ceramic cup. He ignored the tiny droplets of blood now falling from his hand and kept his gaze steady on Bookworm.

“I’m afraid you can’t now, can you? But you and your actions were never important, if all I had to do was break the object you needed to get. The same is true of retrieving my family. I don’t have to kill anyone to get them back. Lilith will be with us again within a fortnight, and she will be happy again, once she’s been reeducated.”

“That will not happen,” replied Bookworm emphatically.

“It will. Your home will likely be the last straw for her. If need be, the asylum will come down next.”

“I think you’ll find that rather difficult.”

“You seem to have an unusual confidence, ‘Captain’,” Prometheus said, with his usual sarcastic twist to the title.

Bookworm, though, heard Daniel suddenly say in her ear, “Behind you!” She whirled around, raising the dart gun, to see a wolf approaching. She thought it was the same one she’d seen near her home.

“How many do you intend to shoot?” Prometheus asked from the bench, watching as she backed up against the wall that edged the drop down to the canal, trying to keep both of them in view. “Are you going to put down that toy yet?”

“You think this is a toy?” She was certainly ready to give him a demonstration of it.

“You seem to hold every gun like it is a toy. Do you know what pointing a gun at someone is telling them? It is sending them the message ‘I intend to kill you’. If you’re going to threaten someone like that, you had better be ready to back it up.”

“I will if I have to.”

“Then you are ready to die when you point that gun at someone else. Very well.”

Prometheus stood up, and Bookworm tensed, her eyes flicking from him to the wolf and back. Prometheus started to transform slowly, shifting into a feral ursine form. Bookworm took a chance that he wouldn’t be able to move as quickly during the transformation, which would make the wolf the more dangerous one at this moment. She quickly leveled the tranquilizer gun at the wolf, fired, and then leaped up, perching for a second on the wall before leaping back, diving into the canal.

She heard a roar from Prometheus, muffled by the water, and swam south, keeping underwater as long as she could, and feeling relieved that there didn’t seem to be any wiggyfish nearby. She shed the weight of her rifle, though she kept the tranquilizer gun, hoping that it was at least somewhat waterproof. At a junction, she turned east, keeping near the surface now to breath, and to watch for any signs of Prometheus or the wolf. They didn’t appear to be following, though, and she was able to haul herself out of the water by the hospital. It seemed, for now, the best place for her to go.

She walked, dripping canal water, into the hospital, startling Dr. Sonnerstein. As he fetched a dry blanket, she told him what had happened – both the fire, and the subsequent meeting with Prometheus.

“Do you have somewhere to stay?” he asked with concern.

“No. Would it be all right if I stayed here?”

“Of course. Kasa sleeps here often as well, so you’ll have company of there’s anything you need. I’ll let Dr. Jekyll know, too, that you’re here.”

“Thank you.” Bookworm followed him upstairs to a room, where she was able to change into some dry clothes.

That night, a note was dropped in front of the hospital door. One of the nurses found it and brought it to Bookworm.

Whether you arrive here or not I trust that the staff will see this to you. I want you to know that if I see you again you will die. My brothers, whose faces you do not know, will kill you. They unlike you are willing to shoot to kill at first sight, but you will not see them. Stay off the streets if you intend to live. You must be wondering if all of this is worth it to me. The answer is every ounce of effort, every destruction of these people’s lives is worth it to me. You do not truly believe in anything until you are willing to go to jail for it. What, do I wonder, do you believe in that you would break the law to see it done? Bringing my family together is my answer. I will not stop.

Spread the love

One Comment

  1. Buckminster Solo Buckminster Solo October 6, 2015

    As it happens, Miss Hienrichs, my employers manufacture a line of delightfully lethal security systems. They are a bit large and ungainly and certainly detract from the aesthetics of most building exteriors, but I’ve no doubt the system would protect the hospital and its residents from marauding werebeasts as well as adding a thrilling element of imminent jeopardy as persons attempting to enter or exit try to guess whether the verification mechanism will judge them to be friend or foe and try to dismember them. True, you’ll probably have to liquidate most of your remaining assets and go into considerable debt to afford a top-line model, but can one really put a price on peace of mind? Okay, SIMCo can, but they have a small army of accountants to help them. I’ll leave a card at the hospital’s front desk. And then steer clear of the place because you have insane killers after you.

Leave a Reply