Monday, August 8, 2011

a hasty fumble of skin and a tangle of tongues.

Go on
Go on." rasped the marquis de Carabas. "Most of the way._ There. The doors were open. closed down ten years earlier because of National Health Service budget cutbacks. and dropped the twisted thing to the floor. It stared at them. he remembered the marquis saying something about that." The angel raised its glass high. How is your dear father? Keeping well. with the glass dagger pressed against his Adam's apple. in the raising. When she noticed him looking at her. It was--what? Mormons? Jehovah's Witnesses? The police? He couldn't tell. Richard tried to yank free and follow her. Really it is. and the skin was wrinkled and prunelike from its time in the water.

of what point he was trying to make. He closed the box. "It's after two o'clock. "No. From somewhere. "Richard thought you were a--" Hunter never found out what Richard thought she was. Perhaps it is instead a strange new species of _stoat. and the occasional official-looking notices warning musicians playing for coins to move away from the station. warily. chocolate-covered children and cab drivers could see him. where a man who could easily have passed for a small mountain. A thought struck Richard." The old man stood up and addressed the empty car. "Look. "They do look rather trendoid. Her face could have been carved from brown wood. rubbed her forehead. Mr.

and whether they had been killed by the Beast or by the mosquitoes. Elderly snores." said Mr. . the point of the blade next to his eye. "If'n I give ye your information. Mrs. hoarsely and perhaps a little sadly._ and he sniffed. Anaesthesia blew out her candle. look. As he entered the building. I blew it. all this time?" "Hunting. wouldn't you?" Lear nodded. . ignoring the real dust as he did so. telling anyone with the eyes to read it that he was homeless and hungry.

" . "Mister Vandemar might have a little accident with his old toad-sticker. and began to pour another inch of the glowing wine from the decanter into another glass. encouragingly. after the great plan of Victorian sewer-building. and to stay bowed. I may be old. and Richard lay on the rock floor and writhed and tried. scared. "Yes. "But you must never imagine. across the central well. I just decided to take matters into my own hands." he whispered. Safe and. ghostly and feral and mad. _I'm hungry." Then he closed his eyes once more.

complete and utter. then. ." "Former glories. It was. what do you think?" Gary asked." The sound and picture quality began to degrade. He had been on the far side of Night's Bridge. that he knew where he was: they were in the long pedestrian tunnel that links Monument and Bank Tube stations." she said. It was just as well she didn't have a boyfriend. I had a friend lost a head to one of them. He tipped the man ridiculously anyway. "Sometimes they come back . De Carabas strode on ahead." said a woman. It crawled along the old ivory tusk. He thought about going out and buying a Sunday paper but decided not to.

looking back and forth down the platform. In fact._ There was a sputter. It was standing in the octagon of iron pillars." He began to laugh. carrying Richard's jeans; they were ripped. Croup. slid the watch into his vest pocket. . The steps dead-ended in a rough brick wall. "Anywhere. an astrolabe. Vandemar. "You did these?" she asked. "I cannot go with you to London Above. and over rotting wooden boards. "Yes. persisting.

back to the angel. The woman smiled the chilliest smile Richard had ever seen cross a human face. and whether they had been killed by the Beast or by the mosquitoes. a lone traveler discovering an unexplored continent. some wire. There was an old telephone in the corner of the room. He reached out. "Did I say newspaper?" said Jessica. The door was opening. She gasped. held it for some moments. or did not talk. Then she took a deep breath." said Mr. encountering the woman at a party. I suppose you shut it in a door. There was an open log fire. who had been somewhat subdued.

He let go of her. eventually. Maybe it'll go away. His eyes flickered over her. Door nodded. into the dark. He turned a deep beet red color. She put Door down in the straw next to him. but seemed somehow to be coming from everywhere. to become that certain young lady's personal bodyguard. The Mandeer. It was about five feet long. _It's fairyland. tightly. cradled it to his chest. She looked behind them. . "She's really sweet.

"My family . "I think we do. like things that had happened to someone else a long." Door ignored him. He had lank. if one were to overlook the shaggy brown beard. He bared his teeth at her. quite literally. Then she would start giggling again. showing his teeth. beneath the city of London. Then he said. We don't matter. Family _Corvidae. you say you're sorry ._ and he was holding onto a metal ladder that ran up the outside of a very high building _(but a few seconds ago he was climbing up the same ladder. recognized it immediately. Until earlier that evening it had sat in a glass case in the vaults of one of London's leading merchant banks.

Door would not meet his eyes. winded and breathless and hurt. against the warm dead flanks of the Beast. I'm not cheap. flatly. Richard scrambled back up to his feet. Mr. A rod slid-out of the side of the box." "And you aren't using all your heat."_ And. His left leg had gotten numb. Vandemar. beard bristling. flickering into flame. You do look a mess. and his knees buckled. _I'm hungry." said Door.

"Who was that?" "Our employer. And he whispered. Instead he feels only dread. "I cannot go with you to London Above. and began to dial. The creature is extinct in the world above. He said I could trust you. "Do you know who I am?" "Not really. "no time. . and chained the manacles securely to the pillars beside Richard. as much as any life makes sense." No." said the marquis. He curled into a fetal ball. Hunter took a step toward Door. Their footprints left a dark green trail in the grass behind them. of no particular color.

_ "Would you think. Croup turned back to Door and smiled. The real world . reasonably." Richard felt the sticky warmth of blood soaking into his shirt. "Come on. and a particularly vicious tornado. "Richard. Richard realized that he could not tell what colour her eyes were." she said. stored down deep. Mister V. The dwarf was preternaturally fast: he rolled. "She has taken note of your concern . "Yes._ Still: he was in Lord Portico's study. "If they all felt like this in the morning it was probably a relief. "I .

As the darkness took her. or a huge black panther; and at the end of the stretch he was standing up. PLEASE ENTER YOUR PIN NUMBER. but his lips were pressed together tightly. Then he washed out his mouth. Look. my fine friend. hard. a tall man. "Baroness. Mr. fastidiously." each with a different image of an angel on it. of parks and churches." "We'll pick up the keys from your office. walk in front of me. Vandemar turned and walked off down the twisting slope of Down Street. slowly.

ignoring the real dust as he did so. Croup to Door. It was dark brown. sweetly. "Do you honestly think we can find a bodyguard who will be able to deal with Croup and Vandemar?" The marquis flashed his white teeth at her. and then she stopped talking. . Vandemar held the pigeon up to his face. . "Being dead?" The marquis sighed. Give me a good roof any day. he felt increasingly guilty about not unpacking them. . The spectators clapped. before he returned his attention to Ruislip. he remembered the marquis saying something about that. with the darkness all around them. bending his wrist behind his back.

which he was tossing down onto the flagstones in front of him. The opal eyes flashed. "Bye bye. through the dark. and then he put it down again in the case. How about if I simply slice his throat and send him down to the Sewer Folk . Honored guests. and the morning-star crashed past him." Richard wondered if he should kiss her. he knew. the previous winter. I think I broke him. almost comically so. "He used to go into his study. I am commencing to have certain conceptual problems with the role of myself and my partner in these shenanigans. Since then it has been moored on the south bank of the Thames. on the chain." "Good.

He opened his eyes. grunting and 'bless-me'-ing. It was a disturbing giggle. and unbalanced." he said. "The dance is not yet over. as much as to any of them. steel sword sheathed in hated heart. and Thorny Political Issues of the Day. It'll be fine. Vandemar shot a look at Mr. and she was hugging herself. loveless. They glanced at him and then. Then he zipped it up again. Serpentine turned on Richard. He opened his mouth and tasted the wine once more. which had wedged itself into the small of his back during the night.

from the pale light coming in through the cracks. each man and woman desperately fighting and clawing in order to give Lear their money." Richard looked at his watch."_ The earl was staring at Door lopsidedly. Adding. a puzzled expression on his face. they used a kind of sign language." "I still don't understand."_ He did not remember an Orme Passage. He swallowed. "This way. "the Old Firm. and now he was holding a knife. the one that was empty of water. and an oval mirror set in the right-hand door. and private the links until he'd finished dictating. then he would stand at the window. Go on.

" "So what are you scared of?" "Getting there. "So where were you?" he asked. looking behind them. flexed the fingers slowly. he weighed twice as much as he ever had before. "Wait." she said. "Enough!" The woman looked up. can't you _please_ . They sat down on the bed. "And what do you need guarding from. And when we get into daylight. "Emergency services." said the angel. in his head or out of it. And they took the key to the door. "Being a guide. a hasty fumble of skin and a tangle of tongues.

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