Still rattling away, and here’s a teaser.
I’m quite certain it makes bugger-all sense out of context.
“The wings won’t grow back of course,” says Tibbot. “Although the horns might, eventually.” He sighs. “We don’t know yet.”
I drag my gaze from the transforming fay to look at the man next to me. Tibbot’s face is grave, pale. He taps his pen against his clip-board, still caught up in watching the fay.
“And five,” he says, as the clock hand moves again. “Analik, you’re recording?”
I place the low hum that’s been just on the edge of my consciousness, barley noticeable. Analik’s turned the flat screen of his comp to face the jack in the box, its implant camera activated.
“Six,” says Tibbot, sounding pleasantly surprised. “Now that was better than I expected.”
Inside the glass cage, the jack squirms. Magic is sparking off him, faint little firework plumes of silvery dust.
“This, unfortunately,” says Tibbot, never taking his eyes off the captive jack, “is where the problem comes in. We get the magic back, but we’ve not yet found an effective way of stopping it. There comes a point when the magic is just too much, and then we get this-”
The jack doubles over, fingers clutching at his stomach, and vomits blood. It splatters thick as paint against the glass, then runs in lurid streaks down the inside of the case.
“What do you get, Analik?”
“Six minutes, 37 seconds, sir.”
“Well.” Tibbot taps his pen faster. “It’s certainly an improvement.”
The jack is on one knee now, gushing up the liquified remains of his inners, clawing through the mess of blood and organs streaming down the inside of the plasglass. I’m feeling hot and sick, a corona of darkness tightening around my mind as the Pacifier takes effect. I try to slow my breathing, tell my uncooperative heart to pace each beat, but the darkness edges ever-fucking closer, then smothers me.