Better late than never—here’s Chapter Fifteen of our epic switchblade-and-sorcery e-novel, Those Who Create and Destroy. The novel’s almost finished and expected to come in at around 250,000 words. While we’re putting finishing touches on Parts 2 and 3, we’ll continue releasing Part 1 in weekly installments on Wednesdays, with audiobook and e-reader formats coming soon.
—Mabel & Cass
“Sorry, You’re Not a Winner”
story by Mabel Harper & Cassidy Webb
written by Cassidy Webb
Rory’s memory of the night before was patchy, as if his mind preferred to slide around everything that had happened after the blinding blue light had consumed him. There were vague flashes of tearing down the highway in Jules’s Volvo; the sound of Jules whimpering (but maybe he’d dreamed that part—Jules never whimpered); the Enclave’s ceiling trailing past like a bumpy conveyor belt as a stretcher bore Rory along; and, finally, a lean hand clinging tightly to his own, while the words Just breathe wafted songlike through his screaming skull.
When he came to, it was already late afternoon. The first thing out of his mouth was a groggy, “Where’s Jules?” but none of the healers flitting around him like moths seemed to have an answer.
One of the mediciners examined Rory’s shoulder and said it was regenerating nicely, then gave him some instructions for care he didn’t properly listen to before informing him that he was being discharged.
“Don’t I have to wait for Jules?” Rory asked. “I’m in his custody.”
The mediciner shrugged and shook her head. She reminded him comfortingly of a Creamsicle, soft and round and pale with bright orange hair. “Ordinators came by earlier. Said Enforcement gave the order you’re free to go.”
“Oh.” Rory blinked. “Do you know where Jules is?”
She shrugged again, this time with her eyebrows and mouth, and once more shook her head.
“But he’s okay? He wasn’t hurt bad?”
“He’s pretty much all healed up. We cut him loose a few hours ago.”
Rory bathed and dressed and headed out across the Enclave toward Alchemy. It felt strange to be walking the halls of the compound free and clear, something he realized he hadn’t done in more than three years.
He reached the mole tunnels and almost got lost twice trying to find his way to Jules’s office in the back. When he finally reached it, he found the door locked, and a series of knocks got him no response. He listened briefly, but he couldn’t hear anyone moving around inside.
At that point, Jules’s assistant—Winter, if Rory remembered right—happened to walk by, and informed him the Grand Philosopher hadn’t come in to work today.
That was when Rory started to worry.