Blueshine, Heartfire Part III
Blueshine, Heartfire Part III
Jareb gripped the sewal with both hands, Gershu’s creeda forcing him to clean. No. He’d cleaned enough, but his hands wouldn’t let go of the sewal. One end locked in his grip, the other submerged in the cob.
His foot falls felt like they was missing a step down. A stutter-stop motion that sent ripples through the murky cob water. His eyes focused on the cob water. The interior airlock only half sewaled and the water was a solid grey. Bits of sand swirled in the cob; tangle hairs, rainbow streaks of grease, gelatinous matter that could have been mold or vomit or blackrot for all he knew. All this he could see in the cob, but not one inch of the sewal below the water.
Corded twists of his hair fell from his cap and framed his view of the cob, his stutter-stop swagger now sloshing the contents back onto the floor. The Gershu’s creeda screamed at his being to slop it up.
He stopped and swayed, lifting the sewal from the cob. His pocket burned. The Gershu’s creeda cracked as his hand flew from the sewal to slap at his burning skids. No fire. One hand away and it was easier to pull his eyes from the cob.
He’d seen the Gen Master use his creeda to burn a hole trough a Vind’s boot and commanded him to finish stamping the lavreen plumes flat.
“Don’t fret about getting your blood on the plumes,” the Gen Master told the Vind. “The flesh has been singed shut. You’re welcome.”
No, there was no fire burning his skids. No hole anyway or the charred beginning of one. Just the lump in his pocket.
He reached in. The Gershu’s creeda that had continued to crack shattered as his finger brushed against the gimlet. Shattered as sure as his heart had in a murkier mess than the cob.
He stopped walking. Jareb didn’t remember walking again, but he must have. When he stopped, he looked up to and into the B Drop. Gershu stood with a finger crooked over Effy.
“That was quick,” she said without looking away from the prostrate form of Effy. “Good. Then you can help your slut finish the floors in here. Her tongue doesn’t appear to do as a good a job as your sewal, even though I had her stomach emptied before starting.”
Her finger stiffened with more creeda and twitched in Jareb’s direction.
He clenched his fists waiting for the creeda to grip him as sure as he gripped the sewal. Whether it was his own nails or an edge of gimlet, he never knew. One or the other pierced his palm and he felt it.
The fire entered his palm and traveled the veins up his arm. They were blue. It shone through his skin as bright as the inner dome lamps.
Jareb looked at Gershu. Her eyes were wide, but that damned finger still crooked at him. He could see the creeda, too. Never in his life had he even known it possible to view, but there it was jetting from her finger in a black mist. From the position of her finger it should have come straight at him, but it fell at his feet before his blueshine.
The sight of her sent something roiling through him. He cocked his head to the right, and Gershu’s finger snapped, the flow of creeda ceasing.
“Enough,” Jareb’s voice sounded oddly fuller than it had. “Never again.”
The end of the sewal snapped, leaving the head in the cob. His footing was sure now, and he advanced on Gershu.
Effy’s voice rasped like an opening airlock.
“Yes, Jareb. Listen to the slut.”
Gershu brought up both hands, nine of ten fingers writhing with creeda. The tenth dangled uselessly. The creeda didn’t come for Jareb or Effy. It shot down the hall in both directions.
“Just remember you made me do this. I only hope there’ll be enough left of you to clean up once it’s over.”
Gershu smiled and softly shuffled in her slippers. She danced in place as her creeda poured from her. Jareb saw her inner well of creeda start to dry up when he heard movement at the end of the corridor.
Jareb’s stomach dropped.
A hoard of Vindaline moved toward him in a slide-step gate, faster than he felt they should have been able to manage. Hard to manage because they were covered in black welts wherever he could see skin. Blackrot.
Jareb stepped in front of Effy, still on the floor. The handle of the sewal seemed useless against this mob of dead flesh, yet he held tight and ready to strike.
Gershu laughed and shuffled.
“The Vinds lack the ability to learn. There place is so far below, why we even allow them to be seen, I’ll never know.”
The blueshine flickered. He was to die here. This was it. Effy grabbed hold of Jareb’s skids and buried her face in the back of his leg.
The mob would kill them. Kill them, but not kill them dead. The blackrot would take their flesh, and Gershu and her creeda would puppet them like the rest of the mob.
The Vindaline closest to him looked to open his jaw. Looked because it didn’t stop opening. Its jaw unhinged and fell to ground with a rotten smack. Jareb could see the Vind’s eyes. He didn’t know him, but he knew the stare.
He sees the stare in most Vinds he meets, Effy excluded. That stare said, “Please. Please, make them stop.”
He wouldn’t end this way. He wouldn’t let Effy end this way either. His will resolved and the blueshine no longer wavered.
Gershu’s laughing dance didn’t stop. It continued as Jareb threw the sewal handle at the control panel by the airlock. Her slippers shuffled as the handle struck the Emergency Evac. Her fingers tittered even as the doors opened and the air, Vinds, and everything untethered rushed into open space.
Jareb and Effy watched all of this from inside the blueshine. The Emergency Evac counted down from ten and shut the doors once more. Not so much as a single corded twist moved on Jareb’s head.
Something burned in his chest and Jareb knew. A chard of his heart mended in the fire of the blueshine. And if a single chard could be fixed, the whole of his heart could be too. He held his hand out to Effy.
“I believe we’re to see the Gen Master.”