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The Night Prince - Chapter 28Chapter Twenty Eight
In Which Something Terrible Happens To Lucia And Thomas
Lucia burst through the apothecary's front door so fast that the shop bell's ring sounded more like a high-pitched thud. Breathless, she fell against the inside of the door and leaned against it with all her might.
Looking briefly in Lucia's direction, the apothecary nodded, and then just soon returned to what he was doing. He climbed up on the stool once more and began to rummage around in the upper shelves. Scarcely looking, he extended one long arm out to where he had left his hat. He grasped it between two fingers, brought it up to his head, and dropped it on top. It fell lopsided, or at least more lopsided than it looked before, and threatened to slide off his glossy brown hair.
A moment passed. Lucia sunk to the floor and caught her breath. From somewhere up on the highest shelves, glass bottles tinkled as they knocked against one another. The apothe
The Night Prince - Chapter 27Chapter Twenty Seven
In Which Lucia Is Chased By An Angry Mob
The man who had initially spotted her had very few teeth remaining, and those that still clung to his mouth were darkened by years of ale and tobacco. His decaying grin contributed to the menacing look on his angry face, which, had he been in better health, would still be terribly frightening. He raised one arm and pointed at Lucia as he marched towards her.
"You," he barked. "I know who you are."
Frozen on the spot, Lucia could only watch as the townspeople behind him fanned out, creating a half-circle around her. Amidst the crowd, Lucia could scarcely pick out several different faces, for each one was dirtier and more furious than the last.
"Please, please. I think you are mistaken."
A hand fell on her upper arm. It was grimy, black under the fingernails, and large enough to nearly encircle her upper arm entirely. Lucia gasped and instinctively pulled back, but lacked the st
The Night Prince - Chapter 26Chapter Twenty Six
In Which Lucia Sets Out To Do Something That She Meant To Do A Long Time Ago
Lucia left the mansion in the early morning. The sun had not yet risen, and along with her mother's cloak, the scarcity of light was enough to provide cover. She silently shut the great wooden door at the front of the mansion and then paused for a moment, just to feel the wind in her hair. And then, she set off. Quietly, she crept further and further away from the towering stony walls that had so quickly become her prison. Step after step, out into the coldness of morning, she ventured. In all directions around her, purple clouds rolled along the horizon, creating the impression that the town was nestled in the protective barrier of some vast mountain range. But such cover would soon be gone as the sun climbed ever higher into the sky, and when it became bright enough, Lucia's attempt at a mask would vanish as well.
Therefore, she hurried.
The Night Prince - Chapter 25Chapter Twenty Five
In Which Claudette And A Perturbed Prince Julian Make Life Quite Miserable For Lucia
The next morning, after very little sleep, Lucia was awakened by a loud and persistent knocking at her door. Groggily, she picked her head up and looked towards the door, which concealed the source of the noise. She muttered a response incoherent to even herself, which garnered another loud series of raps at the door. At long last, a gruff voice barked out at her the late hour.
Lucia pulled herself up to a sitting position and rubbed the back of her neck. She was in a great deal of pain and found her movement quite restricted. In addition to which, she had a terrible headache that stung like lightning through her temples, and it was only worsened by Claudette's ranting from outside in the corridor.
"I'll be there in just a moment!" Called Lucia.
"You'll be there now!" Was Claudette's sharp response. Lucia groaned. The prev
The TrundlerThe waste land behind the fire station is always silent. No birds sing there, and even the wild rabbits and feral cats avoid it. Weedy wildflowers nod their seasonal heads in the breeze. Lying fallow in the midst of housing developments, shopping malls, the new movie theater — the vacant lot stands out like a knife wound on a woman’s placid face, shocking, brazen, ugly.
It is always empty. Except for one thing: a ragged heap of old trash, all nasty black tar paper and vicious snarls of rusted wire, car parts and broken glass and other junkyard jetsam. The embodiment of injury waiting to happen, an invitation to a tetanus shot... the city never hauled it away. No one ever wants anywhere near it; it radiates an eerie sense of calculating watchfulness.
And at night, it wanders.
When darkness falls, and the last cars heading into the hives of tract housing stop illuminating the asphalt with moving-picture shadows, it… unfolds. Bitter, broken tangles, grotesquely mov
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