Chapter 7 of City of Bundled Bones is up. Here we are introduced to the beastly Lee Delacroix, the Black Crow King…
What passes when fire ends? A wisp of smoke, black and thin rising from the charred remains, spent to black scabs across the hearty char. No more heat. No more cold. Dust, anticipating wind or the hand to scatter it, still-standing remains in expectation of their final dismissal to nothingness. Likewise was the mind in restless sleep, the fever-driven mind of Martinet who no longer dreamed in color or shape, but the texture of warm voices run across dream flesh and soul’s nerve. Whispers in the peripheral dark behind her dreaming mind sank the melody, recounting in a woman’s deep, somber tone the same strange fruit sung on by Thomas Ghast in the forest of agony.
Her flesh crawled, though flesh only as her dreaming mind remembered it. Her stiff self, a non-creature danced in spiral movements through a field of wind, considering nothing, a mind no longer racing, sure in its absence from control.
The voice played on, changing to the tune of a beating drum and the recitation of the still-heart harpsichord used by poppa’s mass during the height of the old days.
“Dearly beloved, we gather we here,”
“Dearly beloved,” spoke the parish, “We gather in fear,”
“With hearts to our maker, with hearts full of joy…”
“With hearts to give thanks for all we enjoy.”
“Give praise to the father, the two-fac-ed lord.”
“For thine is the city.”
“For thine is the kingdom.”
“Speak the name!”
“Remember your duty.”
“For life is very long.”
And the gavel falls, the hard sound of a sound, sure palm on the chitin pulpit of the bone church of the redeemer. And her father did lick his lips in her memory, audible in the echo chamber, silent but for his beating heart, his bated breath, his audible, tactile, in all ways resonating testimony to the glory of the ghosts and the gospel of the way…
But it was time for the dance to fall, and to her knees she did in the darkness, hands over herself, clinging to the heavy pure finder’s weeds given by the last lady to whom she was beholden…
“This is how the world ends,” said Martinet, mindful of the emptiness with no echo.
There in the dark, still very distant from her flesh mind, far enough to know she was still dreaming, she did hear a voice call out from another soul. The voice was only a whisper, but it came with the slow even clapping of a man’s thick, large hands.
“Bravo,” said the voice, cool and dark, heavy but smooth against the featureless silence behind it. “Bravo, my precious.” It basked in the language it used, soaked in the subtle rolling of syllable to enticement. It insinuated its word into deeper meaning, neither committing nor claiming, but compelling one’s imagination to give it greater meaning.
Martinet stood, hunched over at the neck as was her way.
“You are trespassing in a dream,” she said, “A very private dream.”