Firstly, I probably ought to wish you all a Happy New wossname, and all that jazz. Personally, I’ll settle for this year being rather less bizarre than the last few. Boredom is my goal. Lots of lovely nothing interesting happening, interspersed by large and well-paid translation projects, please.
While awaiting another 360-odd days of mundanity, I remembered to join in with Cat Rambo’s writing games this evening, and set myself the task of writing a single piece to incorporate all three prompts. The first two were relatively easy, but the last one had me stumped for a moment.
Here’s what I produced this evening (prompts in bold).
I arrived in the city and you met me at the station, smiling in a way that made me frightened.
“What are you planning now?”
“Me? Nothing.” You grabbed my bag and hailed a taxi, innocence radiating from you like a cloud of angels’ wings. Oh shit. This was going to be really bad.
When we drew up outside the Waldorf, I knew it was going to be worse than bad. And when we arrived in our suite – the Presidential Suite, no less – my knees were so weak I could barely stand.
After the terror of the anticipation, discovering what you actually intended to steal this time, and the insanely risky method you intended to use, was almost a relief.
“Chuck’s containment breach of terrifying horrible horror.”
You grinned at me as if expecting a reward.
“You want to steal…” I had to pause for a moment and search for words. “You want to steal the mythical portal to an eldritch realm populated by immortal lizard people?”
“The mythical portal we don’t even know exists, it being mythical and all that?”
“I have proof.” Your grin faltered only slightly. “Well, kind of proof. I know someone who knows someone who has proof it exists.”
I was not going to be deflected.
“The mythical portal through which, if it does exist, immortal lizard people might emerge at any moment?”
This you were ready for.
“Nobody’s come through it for nearly five years, and none are expected. It’s perfectly safe.”
My final argument, I knew, was unbeatable, but still my voice became a little shrill by the end of the sentence.
“The mythical portal with the immortal lizard people that’s owned by King Charles, guarded by 84 Beefeaters and kept in the Tower of London, one of the most secure places in the world?”
At last, your face fell a little.
“I do have a plan,” you muttered. “It’s a really good one.”
“Iksie is a violet planet with a humidified atmosphere. It has 3 moon(s) and is metallic. It is a textile planet.”
You read from the Wikipedia page in a tone that implied every word was a lucid explanation of how to pilfer an interdimensional portal owned by one of the richest men (or possibly lizard people) on the planet, instead of a description that read like something from an 8-year-old author’s first SF story.
When you had finished reading out the brief introduction to the entry on Iksie, you looked at me expectantly.
I sighed. I’d long since grown used to the weirdness of your ‘planning stage’, and had developed a little more confidence that the disparate threads would finally pull together into something that became a heist worthy of the name. But this was obscure even for you.
“No?” you said with disbelief.
“Maybe just a little more detail?” I said, trying not to sound apologetic. Dammit. I was beginning to be drawn in, interested to see how you’d pull this one off. And what the result would be. I knew the portal would be a steal-to-order job – they always were – so it would go off into some other rich person’s vault and never be seen again (at least, I hoped it would). But at least I’d know. I’d know whether the British royal family really were lizard people from the planet Zorg or wherever.
You smiled beatifically, and this was probably your most scary expression yet. This was the one that said “I’ve got you and we both know it”.
And as I felt the fear turn to curiosity-fuelled excitement, you zoomed in on one image in the Wiki article, and displayed it to me with a flourish.
“Tapestry!” you declared. “We get ourselves made into a tapestry and presented to the king!”