The In-between – Part 11 of 31

Okay so I’m doing M’s prompts and going to try and do a full month as one long story with no planning. Today it is ‘Witchy Warts’

The instructions are to simply write for ten minutes or so each day and that’s about it.  It’s certainly taking me longer than ten minutes but I will keep going with this for as long as I can.


Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6  Part 7   Part 8

Part 9  Part 10

I woke early, at least I think it was early, and lay on my bed eyes closed listening to the silence.  This was the first time I had slept since I could remember, and right now I was completely at peace which, given the recent events, was something that I guessed would be most unlikely to last.

Opening my eyes I looked at the watch.  It was eight o’clock, later than I had expected.  It was hard to know whether I ought to be up though because time seemed to have to real meaning here.  I had seen no sun and had so far not even noticed whether there was day or night.  I think it had been light when we went looking for Periscope but thinking about it I was not certain.

I ought to get up I thought, it was already eight but Eight o’clock for me was all good and well but probably made not one bit of difference when each overlapping reality in the fracture was on its own time.

“Are you up Armitage?” Shouted Plumduff as she rapped on the room door.

“U-huh” I replied

“Downstairs in ten then” Plumduff shouted back and I heard her now familiar click-clack fade.

The room was simple, a single bed along one wall, a chair and small wooden single door wardrobe on the other.  I checked the wardrobe and being empty pulled on the previous days clothes and made the short walk back down to Plumduff’s office.

“Sleep well?” She asked.

“I think so” I replied.

“Good good, now we must be going.  You have everything?”

“Watch, wallet, ring” I said patting my pocket and then holding up my hand to show her the ring.  I pulled back my sleeve to reveal the watch.

“Excellent” Plumduff replied.  She stood up and walked over to the office door but instead of going through she closed it, mumbled something I couldn’t quite make out, and then reopened it.

Instead of the corridor beyond which I had only moments before walked down it opened to reveal a small walled courtyard.

“Shall we?” She said walking through as I followed.

Grey stone walls framed the paved courtyard on all four sides, a solitary wooden door with heavy iron hinges waited at the far end. Above the sky was dark and there were stars shining brightly. That answered that question at least.

“Was there no change of clothes?” Plumduff asked without turning around.

“No” I answered.  “I checked the wardrobe and there wasn’t anything.”

“I’ll have a word, you look a frightful state.”

I looked down at myself and she was right.  Not only did my shoes still show Periscope’s tidemark but my trousers and jacket were also stained to varying degrees.

“Now I need you to stay close today please” She continued. “We are going to pay a visit to a couple of witches and they are rather unpredictable.  Last time I was here there was a most unfortunate incident which resulted in Grenville spending a week as marrow afterwards.”

“Oh right I see” I replied.  “A marrow you say.”

“Indeed yes a marrow” Plumduff replied.  “He was a rather nice one as I recall –  a most plump and colourful specimen.  I won first prize at a farmer’s fair which I can assure you Grenville did not find one bit amusing.  I think I still have the winners rosette in my office.”

She smiled as we reached the heavy wooded door and she stood aside to allow me through.  “Be a dear would you” she said.

Pulling on the heavy metal handle it opened slowly and Plumduff walked through.

“Do close it afterwards” she instructed.  “Wouldn’t want the locals finding their way through to the office would we now.”

I did as instructed and turned to follow her as she headed away down a dark cobbled street.  Gone was the neon and steel and concrete and it was replaced by what appeared to be two story wood and plaster thatched buildings that lined the way.  Only a few lights burned behind small windows and an eerie stillness filled the night.

“Bunderburg” said Plumduff, her tone hushed.  “Pretty nasty place by most standards but if you want information then there is nowhere quite like it.  Many of the realities here exist in isolation but Bunderburg, for reasons we have been unable to completely understand, seems to exist simultaneously across many of them.”

“I see” I replied.  I didn’t but I was quickly getting used to the feeling and didn’t want to make a fuss.  “And we’re looking for a couple of witches are we?”

I was surprised that I asked with such nonchalance given that I knew the words coming out of my mouth were complete madness.  What had it been a couple of days since I turned up here?  Maybe it was weeks or months, but nonetheless it was all still most surreal.

“That we are my boy, if anyone knows what the device is and what it is for then it’s them.”

“And they’re your regular run of the mill cauldron stirring broom riding types of witches are they?”

“In a sense I guess they are yes.” Plumduff replied leading us down a darkened alley.  In the dim light I could just make out a door at the end of it.

“Well this is it” she continued, “and whatever you do don’t mention the warts.”

 

 

Part 12 is here (when ready)”