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 ‘Bottled Bliss’.
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 and see where each days takes this. Either that or Ill stop if no one is reading it because its either too long or too ridiculous.
As I was dragged through the doorway the cold night air took my breath away. After that the first thing I noticed was how high above the stars blazed bright in the clear night sky and as Sadara threw me to the ground I heard the door slam closed behind us.
It was difficult to see much from where I lay, it was dark but I could feel a mixture of snow and grass beneath me and there was the glow of civilisation on the horizon some way off in the distance as I looked about with the now familiar grey mist shrouding my periphery.
“Why did you bring him?” Gravita snapped. “Now were going to have to finish him off.” She took out her wand and the tip began to glow red as she pointed it at me where I lay.
“Wait” Sadara shouted raising her hand and knocking the wand from it.
“What are you doing?” Gravita’s eyes narrowed to angry slits.
“We’ve just picked a fight with the Office of Entropy, I think it would be wise to allow ourselves a little insurance don’t you.” Sadara insisted. “Plus, did you not hear what Margaret said about him? The tree didn’t take him when it could have which means there’s more to this flesh bag than meets the eye. If the Entropy want him then I think it would be wise for us to keep him around.”
Gravita picked up her wand from where it lay in the snow and put it back inside her log white robes.
“Fair enough, but any trouble from him and I will finish him.”
“You’ll behave won’t you lad” Sadara said pulling me up from the ground.
I nodded. Not that I really had a choice in the matter.
“So where now then Gravita?” Sadara asked.
“I guess we head for the lights” she answered. “He said he’d meet us at his place in Caladros once we had the package.”
We walked for what seemed like hours through the dark, me just ahead of them and they would bark instructions at me as we walked. The shadows bounded along at each side, almost invisible in the darkness save for their eyes burning bright. The night was still and from the little I could see the land around us was barren with snow lying in patches.
As we walked I suggested they just use magic to get us to our destination and Gravita suggested she turn me inside out and leave me by the roadside so I let the matter lie.
“So why did they choose you” Gravita asked me as we walked.
“Who?” I replied.
“Plumduff. The Entropists. Why did they bring you in?”
I’d asked myself that question a thousand times in the last few days but hadn’t quite got around to asking Plumduff or Crompton. They seemed so very confident and matter of fact about me being part of everything.
“I really don’t know” I insisted. “I am not sure I am cut out for it to be honest.”
“Most have been something you did.” Said Sadara. “That’s how it works did they not tell you?”
Whilst I assumed that there was probably a rule or a code of some sort that would discourage me discussing such things with someone who was most definitely what I ought to assume was an enemy I should also admit to being intrigued. I had had so little opportunity to understand my current situation.
“They have told me very little it seems” I replied.
Gravita laughed and quickened her stride and was now walking next to me.
“What’s your name?” She asked.
“Armitage. Right. Well Armitage, no one gets into the Office of Entropy without being chosen. There aren’t many of your kind in the fracture and those that there are mostly seem to work for Crompton.” Her voice was suddenly calm and warm.
“I see” I said though most definitely did not.
“Do you remember much of your past?” She continued. “Do you remember your death?”
I paused before responding. I had been so swept up in things that my untimely demise was just another question on a growing list.
“I occasionally remember a woman’s face. She’s sad. But that is just about it.” I waited and then continued. “If I am honest my past is just not something I seem to think about. In some ways it is as if it never happened and I only seem to think about it when prompted.”
Gravita placed a hand on my shoulder. “It will come back to you boy, in good time. I just hope you’re ready for it when it does.”
“Oh great” I replied.
My sarcasm was obviously lost on the witches and Sadara laughed.
“Oh it wont be great trust me.”
As we continued to walk through the darkness the light on the horizon grew brighter and the path grew steeper and more unsteady underfoot.
“Left Armitage” Gravita barked as the wind picked up, whistling through the trees that occasionally lined the route and whipping the snow into flurries that danced around our feet. I bore left and after a short distance she shouted again and told me to stop.
“Over there” she said pointing over to my right into the greyness of my periphery. I turned to where she was pointing and as the grey peeled back I found myself looking down over a high precipice and towards a city that sprawled away before me.
“Caladros?” I asked.
“Indeed it is, and a more dangerous city you aren’t likely to find so stay close when we get down there.” Gravita replied.
As I looked down it struck me that ‘city’ was perhaps a generous description because it looked more like a large industrial complex. A vast array of pipes and walk ways connected sprawling domed buildings and whilst there were roads that criss crossed area the majority of traffic seemed to be on rails weaving its way between the buildings. Steam hissed and vented into the air wherever you looked and towering flare stacks spewed orange and red into the night sky.
Still buffeted by the wind we wound our way down a long stone staircase carved into the cliff face that brought us out on the periphery of Caladros. I stayed close behind the witches as we walked between the first set of domes, the shadows following silently behind me.
Each of the buildings seemed to be similar in design just of a different size. I ran my hand against the side of one and the metal was warm to the touch, with tall doors and high windows cut into the sides.
“This way” Gravita said and quickened her pace. The shadows melted away into the night and we pushed on. Apart from the rattle of the trains on the tracks above and the hiss and roar of the steam and flare stacks the place was quiet. Lights burned high in the sides of some of the domes but most were dark and there was no one else about.
I looked at my watch and it showed as late afternoon Entropy time. Here it felt like the middle of the night. Gravita continued to lead the way and when I looked at my watch again fifteen minutes had passed and we were still winding our way through the labyrinth of domes and pipework.
“Not far now” she said and as she did I realised I could make out a slow steady thump that sounded like the far off beat of music. Looking about the grey gave way and I cold see that there were now taller building on each side with lights burning brightly in broad bands around the domes.
“Here, this is the one” Gravita said and we headed towards one of the larger domes. The noise grew louder and she knocked on the door and waited. I checked my watch again and saw the hands tick over to midnight, which made no sense at all because there was no way that it could be that late, It was no more than an hour since I had last checked.
“Now stay close” she insisted as the door swung open. “Thrumhall is not one to be trifled with and I would caution against anything he may offer you to drink, especially the bottled bliss.”
And without another word we walked inside.