I could only manage a defiant hiss as I desperately to pry off disembodied hand that was cutting off the circulation in my neck. I could still hear the Vortex howling with laughter behind the hellgate.
"Hey wait", interrupted the prince as he pressed his face to the portal. "Is that hand growing?"
I was barely able loosen the grip enough for me to breathe. My eyes widened as I watched a forearm weave itself of bones and vessels and flesh from the wrist. A new form of weakness overcame me.
The shocking realization came to me. This was my father's hand...the man from whom my brother and I were made as clones. The reanimation serum my body was producing recognized the hand as part of my body and would not stop until it completely restored our shared pattern! Of course, I could not explain this to the Vortex even if I wished to, since I soon had half a torso weighing down the arm that throttled me.
"Okayyy...I did not expect this...fascinating though from a scientific perspective I must admit..."
My eyes darted across the night-shrouded mist for anything...the altar...there was still a blade...even the lit cigar...
Vortex stared down at me through the portal as he continued to converse with (I must assume) Papa Legba. "Oh this is amazing! Actually this sort of thing does happen a lot in my family..."
I was so close to reaching the blade with my fingertips when I was jerked violently backwards. My last moments of consciousness were face-to-face with my father, his skin and hair knitting themselves to completion across his face, contorted in the same breathless expression of panic as my own.