The In-between – Part 20 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 ‘Leathery Lies’.

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.

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

Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13 Part 14 Part15 Part16

Part 17  Part18    Part 19

There are points in your life when things become too much and you simply have to insist that enough is enough and you will no longer play along and be buffeted and tossed by the universe.  For me, this was one of those moments.

As if being dead was not enough, I had been forced into the service of the Office of Entropy without so much as a leisurely induction course conducted by a friendly and attractive instructor called Debbie or even a tour through the offices where the toilets and canteen would be helpfully pointed out.

No.  Instead, I had been witness and party to the most outrageous set of events one could imagine which had left me feeling rather done.

I looked around the room for an exit, stars blinking through the high windows and dim lights set in the curved ceiling.  The way we had come in seemed the only way out and I didn’t fancy my chances at making a break for it.  Sadara and Gravita stood in front of me with the shadows behind and set around the long table in front of me were an array of heavily armed creatures that looked like they would rather enjoy hunting me down if I decided to bolt.

Something boiled up inside of me.  It could have been bravery but I suspect it was more stupidity.

“Excuse me ” I said coughing politely and peering out from behind where Gravita and Sadara stood.  Everyone turned to face me.  “But would you mind terribly if I just let myself out.  I would very much like to not be here.”

Thrumhall laughed loudly and Gravita turned on me.  “Quiet flesh bag” she barked and struck me across the cheek causing me to fall to the floor.  My well honed sense of self preservation insisted that I stay down and remain quiet but such was my mood that I uncharacteristically did exactly the opposite.

“No, I will not I really have had enough of this.” I said as I regained my footing.  “Do with me as you will but this whole business has gone too far and I really must insist that you let me leave.”

The room fell silent, all eyes now fixed on Thrumhall where he sat at the end of the table.  He was a creature of some size, probably 8 foot tall and I had counted at least four of what I would call arms though they could have also have been tentacles or robot claws it was hard to tell given how gloomy the room was.  His head reminded me very much of an oversized goldfish in both shape and colour with eyes set wide apart and no nose.  He had a wide mouth with rows of sharp teeth which he seemed to great pleasure in showing off.

He stood slowly, those around the table slinking down in their chairs as he did so.  He was dressed in the sort of dark clothes untrustworthy dangerous types seem to favour in whichever universe you might find yourself and a large nasty looking pistol lay on the table in front of him.

He slammed one of his hands hard on the table and roared with laughter again.  This in turn was taken as a signal that the others could laugh and they promptly did so all looking rather relieved as the tension lifted.

“Oh you are a brave one aren’t you” he shouted loudly.  “Do you not know who I am?” he asked.  The others around the table fell suddenly quiet again which told me that obviously I didn’t.

I said nothing.

“Forgive him Thrumhall” Gravita said walking across in front of me.  “He’s new here, he is of no significance.”  She struck me again and this time I chose to remain on the floor.

Thrumhall grinned.  “Fair enough” he said and pulled the Periscope’s device from abreast pocket.  “He did after all bring me this little beauty.”

“On that matter” Gravita said wringing her hands together.  “Should I assume our deal will be honoured now that you have it?”

“Oh yes, yes of course” Thrumhall replied “No word of a lie I will take great pleasure in destroying those fools from the Office of Entropy.  Nothing will make me happier and when they are gone the Fracture and all the worlds within will be ours to do with as we wish.”

The assembled cronies around the table roared loudly and banged their weapons on it.  One particularly enthusiastic fellow discharged his weapon and a fizz of green ricocheted around the room until it grazed the shoulder of the angry looking creature opposite.  They all howled loudly and found this quite hilarious.

“Very good” she replied.  “If that is all then we will take our leave and be back to Bunderburg.”

“Leave the flesh bag though” Thrumhall replied.  “He’s fun and I think he might come in handy.” He sneered and the look on his face told me that this was unlikely to end well for me.

Gravita and Sadara exchanged glances and whispered briefly and then, without a word turned and left the room through the two large doors behind us.  The shadows remained behind and scampered over to where Thrumhall stood and he reached down and caressed them.

“Now flesh bag” he said loudly walking back to his seat.  “Time to show you what you brought me I think.”  He pulled out his chair but remained standing.  “Jaral, bring me the machine.” He shouted.

An older creature, similar to Thrumhall but considerably smaller shuffled from the shadows and placed a large wooden box on the table.  He took off the lid and then folded back all four sides.  Raised within the box was what looked like a silver flower.  A central circular body supported what could easily have been leaves that curled from the base upwards and even in the dim light it shimmered and reflected light around the room.  Those around the table leaned forward and the shadows began to prowl back and forth.

Thrumhall, still holding the device in one hand grinned and picked up the device and held it in the other.

“At last” he said holding it up to admire it in the light.  “Time and space within the fracture and without will no longer hold us back but instead be ours to do with as we wish.”

I strained to get a better look and he noticed me staring.

“You really had no idea what you had did you flesh bag” he said holding it out to me as if to tease me.  “With this and the power of the shadows I can be anywhere and any when within all eventualities past and present.”

“Oh I see” I replied.

This felt as confusing as anything over the last few days, perhaps more so, but if I was to be honest with myself I was really beyond caring.  He seemed particularly happy with himself and I decided to let him have his moment of glory.  I had not asked for any of this and there was no way I was picking a fight with a room full of fully armed goldfish looking types armed with only a bad attitude and a throbbing headache.  I simply shook my head.

Thrumhall reached inside the petals of the device and pushed the core he had taken from me into a slot in the base surface.  Instantly what little light there was in the room flickered and fizzed and a hum filled the air.  The shadows stopped prowling, walked over to Thrumhall and sat bolt upright.

The creatures seated around the table took this as a sign and left their seats to stand behind Thrumhall.

“Now flesh bag ” he said taking his pistol from the table and pushing it into a holster on his belt “where shall we go next.”

Part 21