Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dead Rite chapter 17.07

Jasfoup gave him a forced smile. "Next to the tea machine? Fancy that. Why would there be a tea machine on the seventy-ninth floor?"

"Because that's when it was installed and it moved up with the floor." The security devil smiled tersely back.

"Splendid." Jasfoup picked up the imp and headed into the dim interior where a winding staircase led upward, the darkness punctuated every so often by a mortal-world streetlight. The lower ones were white LED but the turned to neon on the next floor up. By about the fifth floor they became yellow sodium vapour, with the traditional every-fourth-one blinking and fizzing. He turned to Devious. "You could just gate up there and fetch the catalogue, then I could tell you what to get from the top."

The imp looked up into the darkness. "Couldn't you come with me? Just to the seventy-ninth floor? You could have tea then."

Jasfoup slumped in resignation. "Very well." He began to climb. "Let's see. Twenty-three steps between ground and first. That makes one thousand, eight hundred and seventeen steps to the tea machine in total."

"Twenty-four. Twenty-five." Devious grinned. "This is fun. It's like an outing."

***

Devious tugged at one of Jasfoup's leg spines. "I've been working upstairs for too long. It feels like we're walking into the lion's den here."

The demon snorted. "Don't be ridiculous. This is the public records office of the largest bureaucratic city in all of the nine planes. I did a decade's internship here when I was young. If you needed to fill out a form you had to request it in triplicate on a seven page request docket. Which were usually out of stock. Woe betide you if you were late for work. Just filling out the unauthorised absence ledger could take you all day."

"It still feels creepy." The imp looked up at the towering stacks of files. "It's as if there are people lurking in the shadows. People I owe money to."

"That's just paranoia." Jasfoup patted his head. "I bought all your debts last month. I own every bit of you now."

"Every bit?"

"Every bit."

"Here." Devious stuck a finger up one nostril and extracted a particularly slug-like bogie. "Have this on account, then."

"Thanks a bundle." Jasfoup took it off him and inspected it. "We'll call it a penny's worth." He popped it in his mouth. "Here we are. Floor seventy-nine. Go and find the tea machine."

"I can see it from here, sir." Devious grimaced. "You're not going to like this."

"What?"

"It's not plumbed in."

2 comments:

stephanie said...

*cringes* I don't even want to read further. Perhaps you've changed POV by next installment?

Leatherdykeuk said...

*laughs*