Wednesday, February 24

take your new-fangled this and your new-fangled that

"OVER THE TOP!" cried the image of a uniformed Hotspur O'Toole from inside a nearby neuron as Bloodwing tried to batter his way into the great glowing orb that was Darien's Spark. Tentacles of reanimation serum tried to ooze over him as he swatted the tendrils into droplets that slowly coalesced back into a steadily increasing mass.

While he had been transfixed by the workings of the Spark on many occasions, Bloodwing had ever entered this forbidden zone of Darien's mind. While occasionally he could reason with it from the outside, it was the one area he could never penetrate. "Let me in!" roared the demon. "You know damn well who this is! You sent for me!" Instantly, he was absorbed into the light.

He found himself floating in a silver orb. Looking up from where he was pulled through, he could see shadows shifting and growing on the outside of the barrier. Equations and diagrams swam past him like schools of fish. An brass automaton that resembled a great moray eel lined with shining lenses for spots circles itself several times around him as if ready to tighten and crush him. Lights from the beast danced in lines around the demon's pale form, following the trace of every mark on his skin, every ridge of his horns, his crimson hair that billowed behind him, and the striking colors upon his face.

"I am not simply a memory. I am indeed the Founder in spirit form. I entered Darien's mind in sleep, and found myself trapped by his precious poison."

The eel dispersed into a cloud of wires and brass and lenses, reforming into a human shape. While it kept the same color, two lenses adorned the face, very nearly matching in size, but not quite. The wires grew into hair, most notable a handlebar mustache.

"Yes, we have been rivals in this mind for decades. But we are all in danger. Tell me how this happened. I cannot believe he would be so careless as to overdose..."

The figure waved its arms like an overly excited lecturer from the podium, its constituent parts jangling like the contents of a tinkerer's box falling off the carriage and down the ravine. A cloud of small orbs gathered behind it, making a mad choreographed dance to the tunes of protons, electrons, rings of molecular chains and double-helices.

The demon closed his eyes and held his head in frustration. "I do not have a damned sheepskin on my wall from performing years of practical jokes with cadavers at Miskatonic! Condense and simplify!"

When he opened his eyes, he found himself in a classroom. He stood in the center aisle, with a dozen desks manned by children to either side, their heads facing forwards for the most part and all apparently oblivious to the sudden presence of a former demon-prince in their midst.

"Now class, I have a special presentation for you," chirped a bespectacled Frau Lowey, standing in front of the room. She gestured towards the medical table with her pointer. The shrouded shape on the table slowly shifted as she spoke.

"Today we are going to discuss the dangers of critical overdose of reanimation fluid. Please welcome Doctor Darien James Mason to the class."

"Hello Doctor Mason!" their voices raised in unison as Frau Lowey pulled back the sheet to reveal an aether suit floating a yard over the table. As the limbs flailed helplessly, the suit gently spun on its side. Through the glass of the faceplate the demon could make out Darien screaming in self-contained silence.

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