Night had fallen when Scottie, Sky, and Brother Lapis stepped warily into the locked room under Loner Lane. Each was armed; the Brother with his blunderbuss and his rapier, Sky with dual pistols and her golden blade, and Scottie with his shotgun and silver katana strapped to his side. Each of them also carried pieces of tonight’s experiment.
Scottie finally turned to look between Sky and Lapis. Sky had her guns out ready to fire and Lapis nodded stoically, his eyes never leaving the machine. Scottie sighed and stepped forward, placing a small specially made stool directly in the line of sight of the eye. The stool’s steel seat was fashioned into a bowl and sat upon three legs to ‘better achieve maximum stability’, as Lapis had instructed. Scottie’s hand shook as he produced a bag from his duster containing magnesium filings which he promptly emptied into the bowl. With that finished he quickly stepped back.
Even with Sky covering him, and there was no one he trusted more, he could not shake the drowsiness and dread the creature seemed to emanate. He rejoined the other two quickly, happy to be away from the thing. Lapis withdrew a flare gun from his coat, keeping the blunderbuss cradled in his arm as he lined up the shot.
Attempting to lighten the mood, Scottie turned Sky and said, “I’ve got a silver piece that says he doesn’t make it on the…” Lapis fired and the flare hit the side of the bowl and rolled into the magnesium shavings, “…first shot.”
Sky turned and buried her face in Scottie’s shoulder while Lapis buried his in the elbow of his thick coat. Scottie held onto Sky and brought his hand up to his eyes. The magnesium flared and even through his hand Scottie thought he could see the dazzling white light the magnesium produced as it burned.
The creature roared out louder than it ever had before, which was quite a feat given what they’d already been through with the thing. But it was immediately clear that this scream didn’t elicit the same reaction as the other. In fact, for the first time since the things had shown up, everything became quite clear again.
They collectively turned away from the magnesium burning in the bowl and uncovered their eyes. Everyone stood a little taller, as though a great weight was taken off of their shoulders. Scottie and Sky beamed while Lapis’ face broke out with a large toothy grin. Sky held her hand out and Scottie grumbled good naturedly, reaching into his pocket and dropping a silver coin into her hand.
“See?” Lapis said proudly, “No need for hokum or voodoo. Science and Logic will always prevail. I am not sure why I did not think of this before. It is very obvious. I wonder if the old knight is immune to the affect of these pumps.”
With that Lapis looked down and started mumbling something that may have been a prayer. When Sky joined in Scottie rolled his eyes and fumbled with the loose change in his pocket. Mid-recitation, all three were hit with a wave of drowsiness. The calm, collected feeling was chased away by that same thick, suffocating air that had invaded the room before. They nearly slumped in unison as that heavy weight settled back on their shoulders.
They chanced a look at the bowl and sure enough, there was plenty of magnesium burning still. Wordlessly, the three left the chamber and ascended the ladder. They reached the frozen street and Sky finally broke the silence, “At least we tried…”
The fellows nodded, finding small comfort in that fact. As they walked to end of Loner Lane, they began to chat once again.
“Maybe we just need a brighter light?” Scottie thought outloud.
“It may be adjusting to the spectrum. Perhaps varying it will keep it incapacitated,” Lapis offered.
“I still think we should burn it,“ Sky mentioned offhandedly.
They tossed around ideas for a few more moments before they broke ranks and set off for home.