February 10, 2019 at 3:00 pm #15791
Roger smiled but shook his head: “But you are family. It was a mistake not to bring you in sooner. There is literally nothing you couldn’t achieve within the organization. Come with me and we can make it right again. And don’t speak about growing old. You are a Dryad, you can live young for longer than most everyone else – another reason for you not to waste your precious live at this place…”February 10, 2019 at 4:53 pm #15792
She blinked in disbelief, thankful for the helmet. Her eyes wet, she finishes placing the goat and replies
”Roger… I can’t… no… I don’t care for the Finnigans. I… want a child. Your child. “ She steps toward him, broken. She never confessed it before, she barely understood it. Though, there he was asking her to stop this nonsense – showing her that he genuinely cares if she succeeds or not. The same man that had her compensate him for her freedom, and threatened to break all her bones if she fails to make payments.
She looks at Al, eyes wet from her helmet and says ”Al… something is wrong with me. I am seeing my Roger, and I am sort of his bitch for the last 20 years. I do everything for him – I am compromised. I know that he is not really here, but he seems so real. You should take the lead- I don’t trust myself.”
Confessing her weakness, she faces Roger again, opening her helmet. ”No… You are ruining my moment. I wanted to have this talk with the real Roger. You are just a mirage – a manipulation to weaken my resolve and get me to stop doing what I am doing. I am in Texas, and Roger is in Seattle. Matrix reception is so bad that he could not talk to me even if he wanted to.
Are you the Sleeper? What is it you truly desire? Oh, and stop raping my brain and emotions… Just talk to me honestly.
February 10, 2019 at 5:03 pm #15794
- This reply was modified 1 week ago by Gilga.
“Baby, come on. Who else should I be? And what else could I desire, but you?” His fingers gently moved down the side of Becky’s helmet.
“I’m here because of you – no other reason. Do you think anything could stop me to get what I want?”February 11, 2019 at 2:20 am #15798
Becky stands there, angry, confused and she wants to believe these words, but she has known the man since she was sixteen, could he really change after twenty years? She owes him everything, her life perhaps – and he gave her a better life than what she would have had otherwise. How much she wanted to hear these words, to commit to her. She looks at the man, frustrated with the betrayal of her senses. Her face tearing…
She opens her helmet to look at him with her own eyes, “Dammned be these eyes that betray me.” she mutters to herself. He even has this aftershave that she likes. ”There is nothing I want more than to go home. I miss you – despite myself. She grabs his hand, there is no sensation due to the body armor, but his touch sends shivers down her spine. She is ready to leave with the man, her vulnerable face and wet eyes are desperate to kiss him. There is nothing she wants more than to leave this terrible place with the man.
… But he can’t be real. Even if he has her followed somehow, there is a storm, and monsters about. Roger did not reach old age by acting like a teenager in love. He had enemies, had politics, had bodyguards. He may love her, but he was perfectly happy with having the exotic dryad jump in his bed from time to time. She was his – and he never committed, he gave her anything she wanted – anything but that. Deep inside, she knows that it simply cannot be, despite her senses, despite her emotions. Roger is not there, he would not leave Seattle and follow her to some forsaken temple.
Becky astrally perceives and examines Roger’s aura. ”Kiss me, beautiful specter” she says and leans toward the man. Her cynical mind is looking for anything to grasp. Something to shake the illusion – how perfect could he be. In her desperation, she begins assensing the man. Becky knows Roger’s aura as well as she knows his face, perhaps her third eye would shake the illusion. How realistic could he possibly be? As her resistance washes away, a primal force in her mind cries for help – ”Seal… Help me, I need you.” Her mentor was silent for a while, he never interferes but – he gave her the power of awareness – and she was clearly being played.February 11, 2019 at 5:17 am #15802
Al’s mind had already been debating whether to try to get things back the way they were, or go for a more ‘nuclear’ option in a dangerous attempt to wipe the slate clean. Honestly torn between the two, he shrugged and helped Becky get the goat up onto one of the spears occupied by a lifeless corpse. The empty husk was forced down further, and once the goat was on the spear, they took out the wooden stake. It could be useful later.
Becky wanted Al to help sew its eyes open, to which Al replied, “What am I? A damned seamstress?” Muttering something about ‘woman’s work’ he took out his knife and neatly cut the eyelids off the thing without ever touching it.
And then some guy showed up. And Becky became as distracted as Noir.
Al stepped back to take it all in. The first conclusion came quickly: Everything, however powerful, had finite power and resources. Whatever this thing was, it was using its best tricks on first Noir, and then Becky – an apparent tactical error since Al was clearly the most badass cat in the group (a point upon which he congratulated himself heartily). What that had to mean was that when Noir had said she knew what to do, she must have been right, because it made her a threat. And then Becky had initiated getting the goat up onto the stick, and it had gone after her. So not the nuclear option – the strategy of putting things back the way they were clearly had merit.
”Al… something is wrong with me. I am seeing my Roger, and I am sort of his bitch for the last 20 years. I do everything for him – I am compromised. I know that he is not really here, but he seems so real. You should take the lead- I don’t trust myself,” Becky told him. Good girl – dealing with it better than Noir.
“It ain’t no illusion, Precious. Ol’ Al can see ‘im too. Somehow this Sleeper freak is manifestin’ folks’ desires. Ya want free, break the fucker’s neck. it won’t hurt the real guy, wherever he is. An’ I shoot ‘im, well, I don’t think that’s the answer.”
Seeing what Becky and Noir were going through, he braced for any such manifestation that might hit himself….
He also saw that having enough watchers was working – the thing was indeed getting younger; he’d guessed it was some sort of age forward/backward set-up – bigger it got, the more dangerous….until it was too late.
“All right, y’all, us havin’ eyes on this thing seems ta be workin’ like we’d hoped. Git up here, an’ if’n ya ain’t doin’ nothin’ else, watch it. It’s powerful hard ta look at, an’ now on top o’ Noir’s kid, it’s done produced Precious’s boyfriend or somethin’. So stay on yer toes.”
Once he’d helped the others up, there was one more critical task before they got to work on salvaging Noir and Becky and figuring out their next step… He’d been disappointed that the mana weirdness hadn’t found some sort of equilibrium once they’d crossed the portal, but that did seem to have happened now that they were in Shrike’s figurative flip-off of golden spears.
Hoping that they no longer needed it to access their juice, he gingerly tested dialling down the Orb, knowing they were risking a catastrophic detonation with every second they let it keep sucking the Sleeper’s mana. He turned the key, wary of the effect on himself, and also forcing himself to watch the creepy toddler for any sign he was allowing it to get stronger….February 11, 2019 at 12:33 pm #15806
Between his cyber arm and Al’s help, getting up on top of the pyramid hadn’t been hard. Making sense of what was going on was hard however.
* Coleman: That man is acting possessive of Becky, and appears to be a prime threat
* Eliza: Sam has re-found her daughter, her actions are likely to be to protect it no matter what
* Gamma: It is improbably hard to look at the child-monster-thing.
* : AAAAAAAA
* Oleg: The man and Sam’s child must be witchery, there was nobody up here. Traps to take them out of action.
* Monkey: Oh, do me, do me! I want Tanya to say she’s dropped her objection to drugs and wants to do Jazz with me. No, no, Sonya to say that she wants me back finally. Maybe Amanda, she could …
* Gamma: Fisher. It would be Fisher, telling me what to do.
* Coleman: I don’t need Fisher to tell me what to do.
* Eliza: I want Fisher to tell me what to do. To take the responsibility away from me.
* Gamma: It is unlikely that anyone showing up now would be a trustworthy source of advice.
* Coleman: Eyes on the child-monster-thing. That is the prime responsibility right now. I need to stay focused on that above all else.
Dragging his eyes back to the thing in the centre of the ‘thicket’, Preston did his best to ignore the other scenes going on. Maybe he’d have to think about those later, but according to Al, for now it was eyes on the child-monster-thing that were important.
* Coleman: we need more eyes.
* Gamma: my burner link did not last long
* Oleg: Witchery cares more about mind than physics, I think
* Gamma: I don’t have an AI, or even an agent
* Coleman: Data gathering becomes a priority then, find out what else might help, and how long it would last.
Preston drew his Predator, activated the smart link, and pointed it at the apparent child. Announcing “Safety is on, just checking if the smart-link camera helps, and how long it lasts.” Then with reluctance he one-handed out his deck, and activated the camera on it, pointing it also at their target. Going into AR he monitored both cameras as well as his own eyeballs.February 11, 2019 at 1:19 pm #15807
As he played with the Orb, Al couldn’t help but also notice that both the fake child and the fake boyfriend had sought/invited physical contact with their targets. It gave him a bad feeling – as if his feelings about this place could be any worse.
“Jazz, Ichante, y’all are womern an’ know about feelin’s an’ shit. What say ya see if you can disengage these two from the’s phoney loved ones an’ snap ’em out o’ whatever spell they’s under?”February 11, 2019 at 1:58 pm #15809
Preston felt a sharp rap on his head. Even before turning around he knew who he would see now. Fisher stood there, with the stern, disapproving look he had carried so often: “Damn boy. What a crowbegotten mess have you gotten us in now? Haven’t I taught you better than to point a weapon at something you don’t intent to shoot?”
Preston had noticed something interested: Although the lense on his smartlink also began to fog slowly, it happened at a much slower rate while he kept his eyes focused on the feed. This was not normal magic. Magic relied on the physical light transmitted and wouldn’t work through a digitized image at all. Whatever the rules were around here, they were different from home.
Fisher carried on: “Now, you damn well know how to solve such a problem. I damn well taught you how. State problem, assess situation, formulate options, weigh chances, execute option with the highest chance of success.
So, what is the problem?”
Al noticed that it was getting a bit crowded up here with all those people appearing. The other thing he noticed was, that he couldn’t dial the suction of the orb back down. Even more unfortunately he noticed that the goat had stopped moving entirely and slowly sacked deeper on the pole as its own weight impaled it further.February 11, 2019 at 3:35 pm #15812
Becky passionately kisses fake Roger, and embrace him. Shortly after she pants for air, and seems blushed like a teenager after her first kiss.
She says ”Look, Roger, I don’t know what kind of magic it is. I cannot deny my emotions – but if you really are a creature of my fantasy you have to help me. This dreamer is a threat to our entire existence. You have to watch him for me until we figure it out. Don’t look away, keep watching. If you really are loyal to me, and not just a manipulation I will share my life with you. We’ll disappear together, and I will love you as intensely as possible.
If you are simply a minion sent to distract me, then know that I am a woman that was tormented so much already. I am not taking any more shit from anyone. Not even if your touch makes every cell of my body dance. “
She gave her lover a last glance and raised her voice to be heard by everyone. In her most authoritative voice, she says. [colr=red]”We have work to do… Loved ones! If you love us, you need to help us survive this shit. If you are not… “[/color] she slightly lifted her Katana.
Becky looks at the rest of her team and says ”Guys, putting the Shedim back in place is only a temporary solution. We need a solution where the Shedim are free and the sleeper sleeps. If Sam managed to free some Shedim in exchange for regeneration – then the status quo sucks… Any power hungry mage can end the world. It is no solution at all. Let’s start with cameras, they weren’t around 10 thousand years ago. Perhaps they work, perhaps it is not the camera itself but the person watching it? I have a blogger friend that can live stream a video to thousands of people. Perhaps it would solve the problem forever? I know nothing on arcana, but let us at least try to solve this thing. “
February 11, 2019 at 5:32 pm #15815
- This reply was modified 6 days ago by Gilga.
Things were going farther south with each passing second, and events were unfolding such that each new theory Al came up with was disproven almost as soon as he’d thought of one. It was enough to make a person lose confidence.
As if that could ever happen to Al Guthrie.
The one shedim they’d got back in place was free, more fake friends were appearing, the Orb was stuck on Apocalypse setting, and now Becky was talking about wanting the damned shadow spirits to go free. He hoped she meant they needed a solution that made them irrelevant, and not that she’d become some sort of shedim rights hippy.
“Yer right, Precious, puttin’ things back ain’t gon’ work no more. An’ speakin’ o’ shedim goin’ free, we jist lost the goat – so one o’ them things is floatin’ around here lookin’ fer a new ride as we speak. Anyone got eyes on it?” he asked, looking at Ichante. The little elf was thankfully still free of any old flames or family members. This thing wasn’t a fight yet, but just in case it went that way, Al had Rex flip the switch on his glowing brass knuckles.
He looked back at Becky. “That,” he said pointing at Roger, “was sent by freak baby. All o’ them was. Sent here ta keep you all from ruinin’ hell-cherub’s first chance at freedom in ten thousand years. Jettison the damned thing afore I shoot it on principle. Or else work on yer camera thing with Presto baby. He’s already playin’ with it. Maybe yer onto somethin’.”
He’s said it just in hopes of keeping her busy and out of trouble. She did make some good points. There had been no cameras back then, so who knew? But even if it worked, getting a feed out through the portal would mean keeping said portal open. Nope. And if sprits on sticks were no good because any crazy sorceror could come along and mess it up, then how hard would it be for any drunk psycho to wander in and move a few cameras? She was clearly under the influence of this weird manifestation of her boyfriend – the last sane words she’d spoken had been to tell him to take over.
Right. Take over and do what?
Hard to think with the Orb getting warmer against his chest with each passing second. So broken or not the first order of business was still to calm the thing the hell down. He was already of half a mind to just let the thing blow in hopes that ten thousand years of stored up juju would put an end to this freak show, but for that to work meant closing the portal – which they had no idea how to do.
And if he was going to blow up, it’d be on his terms, not because of some freak eldritch malfunction.
Praying that Ichante and Jazz were making some headway with Noir, he got to work. Working by feel with the stuck key, he did his best to also keep looking at the baby. Beyond it was the horizon – red sands simmering under a red star sky. Shrike had talked about this. What was it? Something about a judgement….February 11, 2019 at 5:35 pm #15816
* Oleg: I don’t know what sort of demon that is, but that is what Fisher would say, and he isn’t wrong.
* Monkey: Heh, some people thought Fisher was a demon, at times.
* Gamma: the timing of Fisher’s appearance was very close. It could have been a coincidence
* Coleman: Perhaps not a coincidence, certainly worth including in our decision tree.
* Gamma: Coincidence might be a testable hypothesis, indirectly
Preston fought hard to keep his eyes forward, knowing all too well how painful a jab Fisher could deliver if he thought he wasn’t being listened to “What we actually have here is a problem tree. Try to blow this place up, or try to put it back where it was? Depending on which branch we go down, we have different issues to overcome. However there is also a convergence between the two: If we try to blow it up, how do we keep the missing spirits from messing with those plans? If we try to put it back as it was, how do we get the missing spirits back in place to stabilize the situation? Either way we need to track the spirits, but if we go off looking for them, we don’t leave enough eyeballs here. Which maybe means we have to instead take more desperate action, like just shooting this thing?”
Already in AR and plugged into his deck, it takes Preston barely the duration of a thought to configure his deck for maximum noise reduction, and then he does his best to blast a message through to the others <<Two spirits were missing, and then the one that left the goat. Two ‘people’ showed up here, and then a third showed up just after the goat died. I don’t know any way to tell for sure, but we should allow the possibility that our three missing spirits are here talking to us. My left arm is about all that was left of Fisher after my frag-up left a pack of hell hounds have their way with him. He isn’t missing an arm. If any of you with magical gifts can tell me anything about his left arm, that might give us some information. Given this conjecture, I am interested in what the reaction to my suggestion of just shooting this damned thing.>>February 11, 2019 at 5:51 pm #15819
Al’s own theory was that the baby was reading their thoughts and sending their personal demons and angels to distract and deceive them. As such, the secrecy of using comms would be pointless.
But Preston was a smart guy. And his reasoning was sound. Still twisting the key, he subvocalized into his own lapel mic. <<If we can git an update from Threepio on the critter inna basement, we can confirm or disprove yer theory right quick….>>February 12, 2019 at 1:33 am #15827
As Becky speaks with her wonderful voice she takes a pause, back to the loved one and faces Al, she winks. and then continues to watch the sleeper. Forcing her eyes to stick on that wonderful, and terrible critter. She replies to Preston >> Preston, it can be. Thing is, we need to blow up this place. We put everything back where it was, and the same thing will happen all over again. The Orb is known, and the Shedim are cunning.
I am watching the sleeper until Al and Ichante figure out how to blow up the Orb. Then we succumb to the allure of the loved one and leave with a big explosion behind us. Preferably not dying ourselves.
I hope that the Shedim help us rather than fight us. I don’t mind them going free, as they are not an existential threat. They already exist in our world – so I think that if they cooperate we go with them rather than fight them.February 12, 2019 at 2:25 am #15831
”Distractions,” Ichante grumbles. ”They’re distractions to stop us from watching.”
She looks around, using the psyche to focus her concentration and remained detached from the emotional aura of the situation while simultaneously remaining engaged in the details.
“If I were an immortal fragger with an eternity to dream up ways to avoid being watched, I’d conjure up images of what my watchers most wanted to see. And if that didn’t work then I’d infuse the distraction with some sort of power to physically stop you from looking away.”[/color]
She whacks Becky a few times like a school chaperone trying to ensure a prudish distance between dancing teenagers, lest the spontaneously start copulating. ”Becky! Break it up! If touching the goat was no good for you then touching him isn’t going to be either!”
Ichante looks at the young boy on the altar, trying to force herself to maintain the gaze. Ichante likes kids, finds the innocent and playful, but so does the rest of humanity. If something wanted to take a form that humanity would be inherently reluctant to harm, a small child is certain near the top of the list, near puppies and kittens and red pandas and penguins.
She looks over to Preston, who is engaged in conversation with a new arrival. She addresses Al and Jazz instead. ”Can we move the golden stakes? If so, let’s try to grab one and touch it to the new arrivals. They look normal, but let’s see if they react.”
For privacy, she comms the next part directly to Al and Jazz, and only Al and Jazz.Spoiler:February 12, 2019 at 5:21 am #15834
Al figured that the only good thing about this impossible puzzle was the flurry of amazing theories and ideas it was inspiring among his coworkers.
He tried to focus his mind on that, instead of the fact that he was standing on top of a black pyramid in an alien world surrounded by impaled shedim and dream-manifested spectres while facing off against a sleeping Satan baby.
Sorting through everything he saw and heard, his mind kept coming back to a permanent solution. He stopped trying to fix the rapidly overheating World Seal.
<<Yer right Presto, it comes down ta fix or blow up, an’ logic is tellin’ me the latter’s the only one that lasts.>>
Becky’s wink, purposely performed out of sight of her gremlin, sent a wave of hope through Al that she’d come to her senses. And then when she laid out her plan, a flip switched in his mind. He now saw what she was gettting at with the shadow spirits – they were flies to the Sleeper’s elephant, and they were enemies of their enemy. He’d still rather just leave them, but they did present options…
He answered her, including the whole team. <<Fact is, Precious, they ain’t nothin’ for us ta figure out. This here dingus IS gon’ blow – any second now, near as I can tell. An’ I think that if it blows up closer ta the Sleeper than ta the Portal, then Sleepy Baby’ll die first an’ the Portal will shut afore the blast hits our world….what we need ta think about doin’ is ditchin’ these emotional parasite manifestations forthwith, especially the one on Noir – we need ta know what she knows, an’ we need ta know now.>>
He also replied to Ichante’s, keeping the same group. <<Like the way ya think, princess. My gut says it won’t work, that if these things even are people, that they’ll jist die on them golden toothpicks. But I can’t say it ain’t worth a try, an’ since I’m all in favor o’ divestin’ ourselves o’ these supernatural hangers-on, why not levitate one onto a free stake? See what happens. Jist be careful who amongst us ya piss off by killin’ they supposed loved ones.>>
He then looked at Becky, then up at the writhing watchers. “I say we don’t help or use ’em unless we gotta. We don’t need ’em ta blow this place up. But if we do need ’em fer somethin’…” He said it loud enough for them to hear him, wondering if there’d be any reaction.February 12, 2019 at 7:38 am #15836
Becky looks at Ichante and grins. She would have never given up on the kiss, she is almost conditioned to do so, and while the sleeper crated that man – there is no evidence that he is not (literally) the man of her dreams. The one she has been waiting for her entire life, Becky would at least give him the chance to prove it.
She texts the team>> The sleeper created him, but he may be quite literally – the man of my dreams. I cannot leave him here to die… if he turns hostile then I will cut him in half myself. Don’t take my happiness away for me.Spoiler:
February 12, 2019 at 8:00 am #15840
- This reply was modified 5 days ago by Gilga.
Al would have raised his rifle and shot Becky’s dream man (how appropriate!) between the eyes right then and there if he hadn’t been loaded with wood pulp rounds.
Or maybe that would be better…
But he kept his cool. He’d been wrong. She hadn’t come to her senses. The thing was doing its job of distracting her all too well. But the last thing they needed was a dust-up within the team – exactly what the baby wanted….February 12, 2019 at 3:36 pm #15844
Roger didn’t react to anyone but Becky: “Baby, I don’t know how I could help you with that. You were always the capable one if given good directions. Just leave this forsaken place with me. I know, you learned that lesson before. Sometimes you have to walk away from a mess just so it doesn’t get worse. If what you say is true – where’s the harm when people’s desires come true?”
Fisher nodded at Preston: “Almost correct. But you forgot the fundamental first question: How can I ensure my survival. Everything else is secondary. It also neatly solves your question: The thing is going to blow up. All you need to worry about is that you are not close to it when it does. True, you need a way to ensure it doesn’t follow you or is manipulated – but that’s what having disposable forces is for. You have too much potential, kid, it would be a fragging shame if you were goint to waste in a place like this.”
Noir had stopped sobbing and – while still embracing her daughter was having a whispered conversation with her.
Ichante was focused on the Sleeper, when she felt the loving caress of a rough and callused hand. There he stood, the materialized beefcake of a man whose form her spirits tended to take on. A kind of musk of fresh sweat and old leather hit her – right in the libido. The man smiled at her but kept silent – at least with his mouth. His eyes spoke volumes about what he wanted to do with her…
Al looked around whistfully, still tinkering with the orb, when he heard a familiar voice and a touch on his ear. Turning around with a leer, expecting to see super model slash singer slash actress Rai Takada, dream of his boyhood and all time favorite in her role as Floire Chasseur of the Red Samurai, just after she was forced to get out of her iconic armor to reveal what exactly she wore beneath that hard exterior…
only to be greated by Shrike Redback as he had last seen him, clad in his armor with the impossible large auto shotgun:
“Hi Al, fancy seeing you here. You really must have a crush on me that the Sleeper conjured me up instead of Sian or that sweet little Robyn…”February 12, 2019 at 4:47 pm #15847
The Dryad grew cold and distant, disappointed ”So you are nothing but a distraction… I dreamed that for once you will be there for me, after I always drop everything for you. If you do not want to watch the sleeper then leave – before we get violent… “ Without taking her eyes from the creepy child. ”Shedim, I need your help, I am willing to grant freedom if you help us destroy the sleeper. Why didn’t the sleeper free you in all these years? Why didn’t he just manifest someone to take you off the spears?”
February 12, 2019 at 6:05 pm #15872
- This reply was modified 5 days ago by Gilga.
Al looked around at the rapidly increasing number of Specters. Freak Baby was pulling out all the stops now, so it must be scared.
Well, Al was too. These manifest apparitions were tearing the team up more than any battle could.
And they were all about to blow up. The Orb was hot to the touch now, and shaking enough to compete in Al’s bones with that infernal heartbeat.
Listening to the conversations around him, he was pretty sure the Sleeper didn’t want that to happen. All the Specters were either stopping people from doing anything constructive or else outright talking them into leaving, while Preston’s friend’s words showed that the Sleeper knew the Orb was about to blow.
So it must figure it had some way to stop the blast if it could get them to leave.
And that was a hell of a kink in Al’s plan.
He was kind of hoping not ot have to stay behind with the thing…but that was the sort of problem he knew how to solve.
But much as his gut was telling him to wipe this place out, he was also sure Noir knew something….
He squatted down next to her, tuning out Becky’s deal with the devils, and leaning in to listen in on the conversation she was having with her fake daughter…he listened real close, wishing Shrike was here to answer some questions for him….
Then the touch, and he turned….DAMMIT….well, that was what he got for leaving his thoughts unguarded. In a way, though, he was relieved. He’d been braced for this, but even so, if the thing had sent anyone from the Walrus, he wasn’t sure what he’d have done.
But Shrike – all he wanted from this guy was info, and he was absolutely sure none of it would be reliable. He stood up. He liked Shrike. Even considered the crazy bastard a…well, if not friend, then a semi-trusted acquaintance. But there was nothing here to like. Because Shrike wasn’t here.
Still, as long as Al knew that everything he said would be designed to misdirect, a conversation might be useful.
He didn’t like that the thing had touched his ear. “Helluva set-up, ya got here,” he said, shifting his position so that he was on the other side of Noir. “Ever’ time I think I got a handle on how crazy ya are, ya go an’ show me somethin’ new.” If the thing wanted to touch him again, it would have to be overt about it. “So this thing’s about to blow. Maybe you can keep me company while I stay behind with it.” It was half the truth. The back-up truth. Al concentrated his mind on that.
And he squatted back down and kept listening to Noir and her fake daughter.
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