Telepathically intercepted transmission from Subject EX00023-90690ACE aka “Ace.” Cordy, this may be of interest to you. The individual who shouted at you upon the closure of the ThingTown Abyss turns out to be one of the minor local punk hedge wizards I’ve been following. Here’s part of their experience of the event, including the moment you became aware of them. This is a small excerpt of the transmission; I have omitted a lengthy irrelevant portion in which the Subject’s humanization of these demons is even more disturbing. (This glimpse, below, is bad enough.) It’s not pretty, seeing into the mind of a radical nihilist who wants to erase all boundaries between the worlds and invite unending uncontrolled incursions. But we must know what we’re up against: these people want to let these creatures loose in the city, based on pseudoscience and pop superstition! In any event, I thought you’d appreciate this peculiar confirmation of your job well done. – T.Q. …Narrow beams of bright light shoot back and forth inside the Dome at all angles, cascading in sheets and waves, crystallizing momentarily into grids or webs. The deafening hum makes ACE’s astral teeth shudder in their sockets. OAKY has risen up on its roots, trunk writhing vertical, branches clawing skyward, pumpkinhead bent back with its mouth gaping wide. Wherever a flashing beam of light touches it, a small piece of bark, wood, or pumpkin gets charred off. Dozens of hits all over its body leave little smoking divots. Then the lights start flashing a hundred times faster. Thousands of flashing impacts erode Oaky to nothing in a few seconds. KATY HECK screams and screams from three mouths, or four, while those mouths last. The light storm shreds her cash, shatters her cocktail, severs her cigarette, blast away bits of her suit and skin and page boy haircut. The light grinds her into burning astral meat, then to ash and steam. Then there is nothing. The light storm scours any remaining features from the stark landscape within the Dome. The diagonally-split statue of the EGREGORE OF THE PAVEMENT vanishes last of all. Quickly chiseled unrecognizable, but it takes a full minute for the whole to be shattered into gravel, then to sand, then dust drifting away and fading out of existence. Inside the Dome: nothingness. No Abyss. No aetheric plane. No dust of what was. Ace leaves aetheric trance, consciousness returning to the material plane. Inside the ThingTown Dome, a roiling cloud of multicolored light, slowly convulsing. Silent. All at once it goes jarringly bright. Then nothing. No Abyss, no interdimensional rift, and within the Dome, no aetheric plane either. Just a hole in the soul of the world. Katy Heck and Oaky: not a shred, residue, or echo. Ace spots the Reality Patrol technician operating the machinery that killed Katy and Oaky. ACE: Murderer! Murderer! World-killer! P.S. Note that this text was processed through a new narration algorithm. I remain undecided as to my satisfaction with its translations. They always seem a little “off” somehow. – T.Q.
This chapter continues right from where Chapter 37 left off.
One person’s successful mission is another’s atrocity.
See you next Wednesday,