Karen had only used jumping gates to get from [her home town] to here [the sitting room]. She’d always been escorted never alone. Unless you knew where you were going on your on, touching your escort was only way to get to the same place at the same time.
Karen paused at the gate-door Malachi had just traveled inhaling as much of his recently exhaled smoke as she could and stepped through the gate-door with no specific intentions but traveling. “Karen, wait,” Margaret called out.
She felt her leading edge stretch to aching until her trailing edge passed the threshold and caught up with the rest of her body. The traveling place was always described as black or dark or empty, but to her senses it simply lacked light, not held dark. Immediately she sensed her mistake as the time she spent traveling held a [what happens next vibe]. She concentrated on the smoke in her lungs and Malachi but didn’t give any thought to where he might have gone.
She was rewarded with sensation of being squashed as her body came to a halt in a darkened room that smelled like salt. Sunlight glowing at the edges of the draped windows helping her eyes adjust. The drapes sucked to the cracked window suddenly and Karen’s heart tripped at the sound. Oh, God let’s end that little scene…Karen turned the knob and stepped outside into the Pacific sun.
A high railing blocked her fall into the ocean below her feet. Noonday sun warmed her traveling chilled bare arms. She grabbed the warm rail. Let us change the voice up a bit so I can move forward some.
From her position her on the rail she only sees the Pacific ocean until she notices Malachi leaned on the same rail smoking and waiting. He greets her with a good deal more pleasantness than when they departed the Library just a few moments ago.
He asks her how she found him. Was it the tidal chart he referenced in the Library
I followed the smoke.
He’s impressed and quite astounded since he’d never considered that someone might gate-travel using someone else breath as a guide. He doesn’t want to let on too much how proud he is of her. Mostly because that not his way but also because he still needs to be angry she’s followed him at all. It’s a little like a parent with a child. Their relationship is complicated with a lot of the parent-kid stuff but in as little a creepy way as possible since he’s sleeping with her.
So he turns off the pride and lays into her. Stuff that hurts for no other reason than to separate her from him. He needs to do this alone because he doesn’t know how to do it with someone. Because he’s afraid of what she might find out about his past that he’s not already revealed. And that she’ll get too involved in his unexpected quest.
She gives it back pretty good till he hits some soft spot that neither of them expected he’d go to and she breaks down. She probably forces herself not to cry—much. He leaves her stranded on the porch of this beach house.
She’s not all that stranded, just has to swim-wade into the shore in her clothes. But the result is that she’s fucking pissed once she gets to shore and he’s long gone.
She has no idea where she is. There is a spread out fishing town to the south and a two-lane coastal road laid out in front of her. After she decides what to do to find out where she is, but before she does find out where she is, she runs across a sign that reads, “Caution Penguins next 5 km”.
In an effort to reduce the bitching around here, I’ll be writing in the same voice I punted to this morning.
Malachi leaving her alone makes no sense at this point. He knows where they are and how far from home she is. He knows she knows nothing of how to get to where he’s going. Which means that whatever fight they are going to have has to have happened back int he sitting room. In front of everyone. Which means that somewhere before that she needs to have become sympathetic to the reader and for sure she hasn’t—since she’s just sat around in a room.
Now they are in Haast, but he doesn’t tell her where they are. I suspect that’s as annoying as we need to be. Also turns out the place I had in mind is Jackson Bay southwest of Haast be maybe an hour. Either way I can work out the details. Ultimately the goal here is to find Steven Tattersall somewhere in a tree house nearby. Lake Ellery sounds good. Far enough off to put some conversation into Karen and Malachi. Maybe even a hike if it feels good.
They finally get to Steven’s home/tree house and we find Steven isn’t there or some other form of conflicty inconvenience. Eventually they find him/wait him out/whatever. Steven is a little bit of a letch on the far side of charming. Probably because he doesn’t get out much. In any case he rubs Karen entirely the wrong way and is pissing tolerant Malachi off by the end too.
Unfortunately Steven tells the two that the brasswork spider is just that. Nothing more nothing less. In fact, if he hadn’t had the information Malachi gave him about it’s appearance he’d have deduced the thing was created quite recently. Malachi is suspicious Steven is lying since he knows more about the spider than he lets on. So he presses Steven for more extreme measures to extract the ‘truth’ form the spider.
I should note at this point I’m starting to wonder what the spider thinks about all this. Is it a toaster or a robot with a soul? Maybe the initial reading isn’t invasive while the next level is/can be destructive. Maybe Karen intervenes or the spider self protects.