[Destiny] Chapter 17: A Book You Can’t Read

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On the surface that generics perceived, Copenhagen had surprisingly few cabinets, but sometimes cabinets had the habit of blindsiding you with cosmological paws, and that’s what happened in a bookshop off Prinsessegade where Sila was reading a 60’s French comic that seemed ostensibly to be about a sex demon sailing on a cruise of the damned, but was really about mid-century French petit-bourgeoise acting like pieces of criminal shit.

‘Have you read this before?’ he asked Joanna, who was hovering nearby, a German book hanging loose in hand.

‘No.’

Sila showed her the cover to make sure, but she shook her head and said, ‘the name’s weird, and I don’t speak French, but, actually, that naked woman next to the boat funnel does look a little like a comic I saw in Ljubljana once.’

‘A French comic?’

‘I think it was the day before I met you, a few days before you came out of the cabinet in my room.’

‘Jezus…’

‘Don’t know where you were before that. You haven’t told me yet.’

‘I thought we’d moved past this.’

‘Maybe you don’t remember. Maybe your brain isn’t very strong. What do you mean? I am moving past it, I’m moving forward, here, in Denmark.’

‘I’m buying this comic.’

‘You’re the one who won’t move past anything.’

‘… … … …’

Sila took the comic to the counter, but there was no one serving so he poked his head into the back room and that’s when he saw the cabinet, all green, standing completely alone in the corner.

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[Destiny] Chapter 16: In The Rusted Arms Of Sci-Fi

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Near the zine store was a park with a bench.

They bought some Czech cereal bars and sat down and watched the pigeons for a while. After eating half of her bar, Joanna started breaking off little pieces to give to the birds. Sila told her not to, they might not be able to digest it, but she ignored him. Irritated, he switched tack and talked about how to prevent arguments for the next two days.

First idea, don’t talk at all, but that was unrealistic as they were sharing a room.

Second idea, only talk about the city. That was more plausible, though also depressing.

Third and final idea, talk about anything except Ljubljana and don’t get so wound up, both of them. After that, after two days were up

he could go his separate way

she could go hers

and they’d never have to see each other ever again.

Joanna wasn’t convinced, saying, ‘despite everything, we make a good team, and your cabinet mission is really growing on me. It’s something I think I can adapt to.’

‘Bullshit, you just wanna get me back on that hill.’

Joanna broke off another piece of her bar, threw it at a bored-looking bird and said, ‘not true.’

‘Sure…’

‘Not true at all.’

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[Destiny] Chapter 15: Not That Cold

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There was nothing left for him in Cesky Krumlov beyond Romulan trickery, so Sila checked out early the next morning, early being 10am as he hadn’t got to sleep until five.

The bus station wasn’t far, just up the hill and along a hidden path. Getting there in twenty minutes, he checked the schedule pinned up on one side of the car park, or the bus park as there were no cars. The bus wasn’t due until half eleven so he went inside the building opposite and sat in the waiting area, sat there for one minute only as every single person was smoking and he didn’t wanna inhale any more of that shit.

On the way back out, he dumped his own pack of cigarettes, still half full, in the bin and walked over to the bench next to the bus schedule. He still had forty five minutes to sit and wait and hope she wouldn’t turn up on the bench next to him, so he pulled out his Slovene-Romanian dictionary and did the section on literature.

The study lasted about ten minutes as it was no good when there were no Romanians around to practice with. Or there were but he couldn’t recognise them.

He put the book away and stared at the other buses and the end of the hidden path, continuing the hope that the Chinese ninja wouldn’t appear at the top of it.

It was a promising hope right up until two minutes before the bus was due to depart, when she walked out from the end of the hidden path and, despite Sila asking the driver to put his foot on the pedal and go, she made it onto the bus

mostly cos Sila was shouting in English and the driver only spoke Czech.

She put her luggage on the rack, sat down on the seat behind him, ignored the guy next to her asking if she was Korean, waited out ten minutes then leaned in and said,

‘Where next?’

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[Destiny] Chapter 14: Everywhere But Ljubljana

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For people with occult missions, the peak of mourning was well known to last only four days, so, despite the vague what the fuck am I doing aura floating about, Sila still managed to pick up the map and plot the next cabinet ambush, which turned out to be back in Salzburg, only two hours away by train, two and a half by bus.

‘Ljubljana is four and a half,’ said Joanna, leaning forward from the seat behind, the Austrian Demonology book in her right hand.

‘How the-…’

‘Maybe five.’

‘I thought I lost you in the station.’

‘It’s not too late. We could change tickets and be there by mid-afternoon.’

‘We?’

‘Early evening at the latest. Yes, we.’

‘I’m not going back to Ljubljana.’

‘We could be at the castle by six.’

‘No.’

‘It’s not that far.’ She took out the vial then the blade and mimed a slicing action on her arm. ‘Not that far at all.’

‘No.’

‘Just a drop.’

‘I’m going back to Salzburg then on to Czech land. After that…ne vem. I don’t know.’

‘Those places are okay, but Ljubljana is better.’

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[Destiny] Chapter 13: A Close-Knit Pair

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Hoped to god it was cheap plastic

but that was forlorn

as soon as I saw the glint on the edge of the blade

then a second glint

and a third

as the pendulum cut through the air above me, dropping an inch with each swing.

‘The rope?’ I asked

tilting my neck as far left as it would go without snapping

but Kurzsan shushed me

and continued with his recital.

‘…the wound seventeen degrees to the arch of Saturn, count to nine in the old tongue, insert the blade and call out, ‘I know of Oizys, their follies’.’

I tried to catch Kurzsan’s eye

but the only thing looking back was that fucking book

The Hocken Manual

as the pendulum kept slicing down an inch

and down an inch

and down an inch

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