Part of the process is that sometimes you just get done. You just get done with it, even though you haven’t an escape route or a clue what next. That was today.
I want money. I want peace. I want something more. (This is another hack at it…better, getting there.)
Settling herself at the table, she resolved that she would end, here and now, her association with the Professor and return to the now idyllic work of gathering vases from the Orient for wealthy collectors. Another steaming cup set in front of her, meant to settle her nerves. This time, Amelia pushed the tea aside.
“Tell me what you’ve done. How you’ve raised this man from the dead, how you pulled a Houdini act in front of my eyes, and then…all the rest, all the bloody rest?”
For a moment, the Professor pulled a wan and drawn smile, clearly exhausted. “I suppose in this world, such things are memorable.”
“In this world? What a curious thing way to describe a murder.” Amelia found herself chilled by the callousness of his words, even though he looked nothing of the sort.
Willoughby shook his head, to admonish his employer, though it quickly became empathy. “It was frightening, Ammon. Don’t try and soften it for the woman. This began in horror, and it reeks of it at every juncture, even if it was only an act.”
“Please understand me, Miss Crevecoeur. All this will seem quite fantastic even to a woman as well-travelled as you, but I am indebted to you and now, despite my unwillingness to tell this tale, you must know the truth about all of this. Willoughby was never in any danger from me. But if you had been able, if you had known to look in our great distraction, you would have seen the door open behind me. One not that cannot be traversed, but for a death to illuminate its shape. A death, not here, but on the other side. A world which has found us and is in very grave need of aid.”
In an instant, Amelia thought of Lela, thought of the mythic power of a woman to tell a truth from a lie. She had no such power, and yet…
“It is not a beautiful land, but it is ruled by a King. And this King, for all his abilities, for all his gifts, he hungers for more. He hungers for blood and when your father fell through the door…this hinge-less door…
“Yes. He became this King’s most prized possession. The first man who would not fear him, who could outwit him, but more than that, could provide him with access to the sort of inventions his own people where too oppressed to contemplate creating.”
Willoughby interjected, taking her hand to strengthen her. “Your father wrote the List. He appeases the King with these treasures. These trinkets, and Ammon gives them him an explanation of how we use them. And if we do well, the King is pleased, and will not put another sacrifice on the altar to open the door between our worlds. And if we do better yet, the nascent rebels can use these tools to kill this King.
“The King could not be sure, of course, that I would not leave him and his on the other side of the
“You think I did not know, Laurence. You think I did not know what you enc
Willoughby rushed past, Amelia, clearly incensed at the accusation. “I am not the child I once was. Perhaps once my loyalty lay with that monster that gave me life. But being here, in this world, with its extravagant kindness…I wanted only your happiness. I wanted only for all of us to be free of all of the bindings.
He turned to Amelia, “If I do not return, with you,
“No, Ammon. I cannot allow it. If you return, he has what he needs. He has everything he needs to bring an army through
“Why not collapse the ceiling, seal this room off entirely?
“This is the ultimate question. Do you stay here