" You must be Johnny’s Boyyyyyyyyyyyyy, hahahahahahahahahahahah"
Robert’s Eyes shot open. did he just hear that? was someone in the room? He looked frantically around the small room, dark stone walls, caltrops were in place on the floor around the hatch leading below, wire traps in place, and the thin line of dust was undisturbed. The torches were in place on the walls and floor. His backpack still firmly attached to his back, he felt Oswald stir, still asleep. Creeping over to the hatch he gently took his back pack off and peered at the cluttered room below. Solid walls, stone door, unopened, Steve the scarecrow stood at his post, ever vigilant, undisturbed. wire traps were in place ready to drop acidic death on the heads of anyone below, acid was best, it was evil and reached for you and pulled, and it didn’t light the place on fire when it was tripped. and the lantern he had left was quitly hanging mid air direcly below him, making a nice circle of light. Everything was as he left it.
“What about the ceiling?”
he hadn’t though of that! he couldn’t see the ceiling from there, something could crawl along it and get in the hatch and he couldn’t even see it! and Steve couldn’t see upward he couldn’t turn his head! and Audry couldn’t reach quite that high yet! Slowly, cautiously he reached out for the hatches knob, gazing at the floor beneath him through the smoky transparency, shadow like, he swore the smoke moved! there were shadows on his ceiling! he threw the door open tumbling through, hitting his floating lantern on the way down and landed on the floor beneath, throwing his bow upward and crouching down.
forms flew around the room, they had gotten in! he loosed around at them pinning them to the walls but they didn’t seem to care. he backed against Audrey her branches offering protection and offense. why didn’t she attack? she could smash them with her huge branches. movement in the corner! a quick shot with an arrow stopped it fast. it was his lantern, he had pinned it against the wall through the handhold, the movements that moments before had spun so wildly around the room like a storm of ravens stopped like they had taken roost. there was nothing, just shadows and light, dancing around each other, nothing else. An empty ceiling, and room, filled with illusions, just him. still perched there the shadows loomed over him, judging him, looking at him. he reached out with his mind to the lantern to make it brighter. the lantern didn’t brighten like it was afraid to glow that the ravens would be disturbed and attack. he pushed harder and almost fearfully the lantern brightened, pushing the shadows back slowly into the corners until they were little more than grey areas in the back of his mind.
picking himself up, he checked Audrey, hard to see if there is any damage to an invisible plant, it would be much easier to check if he could see her. the same way Book and colonel book, or was it just book? or just the colonel? the way they or he had seen that monster days before. it had been there for who knows how long. and he hadn’t seen it hadn’t detected it. but they showed it didn’t they?
" didn’t we little Audrey? yes we did! your not so little anymore are you?"
She took up a full corner of his room now. he had to pull up the stones to open a patch of dirt to plant her in. maybe he would have to move her out to the center room soon. she would like it out there, more room to grow and she could eat anything that got in like rats or cats.
Giving a silent evil grin at the thought He grabbed two pieces of the meat fresh off the rack, still wet and tossed one towards her, it stopped mid air and was pulled into the corner of the room where it vanished with a quiet slurp.
He sat and ate the other piece himself. Chewing and thinking, he climbed back into the door, the smoke swirling and gathering in strange patterns where he held on. he gathered his things, pulling free the wires and bells, gathering the caltrops, and checking his backpack. He peered in and opened the secret compartment.
“Oswald are you ok?”
“Yeah I’m fine, what was that?”
“Just the lantern again, I though i saw something on the ceiling but its gone now, nothing to worry about.”
“Ok are you ok?”
" Yeah i just bruised my shoulder on the way down."
" Maybe you can have someone look at it, heal you all up."
" I would but there isn’t anyone here, its just me and you now, everyone else left with that scroll"
" They used it, like Kearny and those…… people wanted, I don’t like them Robert."
He had to leave, had to go out and find the others, it was his fault they were gone. He had gone out to….. and when he came back they were gone and the scroll was gone too. for all he knew kearny cold have walked in and took them like he did before.
He shuddered for a second. That scroll, he didn’t like it, he didn’t like that man, those men, those people? But Paik was with them now and Paik was a friend. wasn’t she? was she Paik? she looked different? maybe she wasn’t Paik, Paik not Paik. Like Book wasnt Book. She was with them now too. Maybe the rest of his friends were now too. Mabee they were like her, all…… changed. Maybe he should go find them. But there was something else. What about Kearny, he said it was nice to have another lynch working with them again. He wasn’t working for them was he? just with them? and again, he said, he? it? they? He knew his father, thought he was his brother.
“You must be Johnny’s Boy” he whispered “Oswald?”
“Yeah Robert, whats wrong?”
“We have to find the others.”