Part Two of our queer dark switchblade-and-sorcery novel, Those Who Create and Destroy, is here, with a new chapter free to read every Monday and Friday!
In today’s new chapter, “The Number No Good Things Can Come Of,” Jules intuits a vague forecast of doom and, together with Caliban, visits the site of the grim ritual in which Max was conceived.
Download the full Part One free for e-reader, for those who need to catch up.
“The Number No Good Things Can Come Of”
story by Mabel Harper & Emrys Webb
written by Emrys Webb
VIEW CONTENT WARNING
Jules singled out a dust mote. Followed it with his gaze as it hung on the air among a lazy cloud of its fellows in a long beam of sunlight, all but weightless, without purpose or direction.
Draven sat in silence across the table from him, absorbing the news he’d just divulged to her. The tome-filled cages of the secret archives enclosed them on all sides.
“Is she sensible at all?” asked the Grand Archivist finally.
Jules dropped his gaze to his left hand, with its bandaged wrist, lying flat and motionless on the table. It didn’t seem like part of him. Felt like he could probably get up and walk away and leave it there, and the rest of his body too, and that was seeming like a nice idea. “Sometimes. I think. Hard to say how much, seeing as she probably doesn’t want to talk to me, or even acknowledge I exist.”
Draven sat with a grim expression, her knuckle pressed to her lips.
After a long silence, “I don’t know what to do,” said Jules.
“Mm. What do you mean?”
Jules looked at her. “I mean I don’t know what to do.”
“Are you stalled in your investigation? In your research?”
Jules was a bit disappointed to see his hand tense. “The research hasn’t gone anywhere. Not from day one. And the investigation…” He paused. “Not stalled. Not yet. There’s still the site of the ritual in which she was conceived. Caliban and I are supposed to go have a look around there tonight.”
“It seems your way forward is clear, then.”
Jules eyed the Grand Archivist. “I guess it is.”
Draven’s expression wasn’t unsympathetic. It wasn’t quite sympathetic, either. “You seem unconvinced.”
“Lately, everything I do just makes things worse.” Jules watched his hand flex at his command. “What if it’s all for nothing?” Touched his fingertips to his thumb, one by one, felt his pulse in each.
Dropped his voice to a whisper, because it felt wrong to voice the thought at all:
“What if the wound came before me, and can only grow?”