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Hollowmark and Lovelace 5Chapter Five:
January 11th (Mid-morning): Figures
It was nearly half past eight when I woke up. The pillow was soaked from my late-night/early-morning shower, the smell of shampoo wrapped around my head like a thick envelope. As I tugged myself upright, I felt as if my head stayed down.
"What is it you said your mother called you on days like this? Mr. Mugwort?"
"Muggins. It was Mr. Muggins." I rubbed my eyes and then stared at Joseph's empty bed. He was in here, he'd just spoken. Why couldn't I see him? "I was five, I think "
I turned towards the sound, but the only thing I could see was the wall. This was starting to get well, scary, if it must be said. "Where are you?"
He snorted, or at least I thought he had. "What? Can't see me?"
"No, I can't. Stop hiding." He had to be hiding. I'd been seeing
Hollowmark and Lovelace 4Chapter Four:
January 11th: Wee Morning Hours
"I really really hope you're just being self-centered."
It had been a few hours, and I just wanted to take a bath and drown myself. Not enough to kill me, just enough to enter a vegetative state. Or a coma. I was pretty sure there was a difference between the two, although I didn't know what it was.
The bed across from mine, technically still Joseph's, was covered in journals and reports. The last of Abney's victims still employed by the organization had left only a couple of hours ago, but Joseph was still wound up. They'd pulled rank on him at least twenty times, and if there was anything that sent Joseph into a tail spin, it was being shut up when he had something to say.
I reached for my book, then threw it at him. Obviously it didn't have the same effect it used to, but it disrupted his image, and that got his attention.
"Oy! What was that fo
Hollowmark and Lovelace 3Chapter Three
January 10th: Minding
Temporary leave. No, that was sugar-coating it. We were on mandatory shelf-time, after a long lecture about protocol and the importance of safeguarding my life. I grimaced at my book.
"Never should've gone in that bloody house," Joseph muttered. He was hanging upside down from the ceiling, not for any discernible reason other than perhaps annoying me.
"It was your idea," I growled back. "All of it. So stop complaining. Even for you, two and a half days of whinging is a bit in excess."
After a short series of loops, he came to a halt more or less standing next to my bed. "No, it isn't. I've known you for the emotional equivalent of fifty years, and you've whined and carried on the entire time."
"That's probably why it feels like such a long time." I put my book back on the night stand. Page 155 of Chalkdust Mary was no
Hollowmark and Lovelace 2Chapter Two:
January 7th : Arrhythmia
My blaring alarm cut into my sleep-softened brain like a scalpel into melting balaton cheese. I covered my head with the flat pillow and groaned. Then I made an easy decision and swept the clock off the desk. Hard. There was a loud crack, and then the incessant beeping cut off.
It was too early to be up.
"You're still a total ponce about sleeping in, aren't you?"
"Proudly," I murmured into the sheets.
"Even when we've got work to do."
"Especially then " I wanted a day off. Just walking around with Joseph was awkward now. I was too used to just turning and talking to him whenever I felt like it. It put me off my stride when he was the only one who could talk.
Here at the dormitories, things could be pretty much the way they'd always been. Everyone could see him in any case, but even if they couldn't, they'd at least know I wasn't cra
Hollowmark and Lovelace 1Chapter One
January 5th : Routine
The damp earth in my hand made the air feel clammy. Not far from me, the priest's voice sounded as though it was muffled by seawater as he droned the appropriate things. I stared hard at the casket they'd already lowered into the grave. The casket wasn't particularly remarkable, and the grave was exactly as deep as one should be. Dreary and plain as dry toast.
"Pathetic, really. That it should come to this," I said quietly, lifting my eyes to fix them on my partner's freshly carved tombstone. Someone had remembered to insist upon that ridiculous middle initial, most likely it had been me. "Absolutely pathetic."
"You're telling me."
It wasn't raining. I wondered if Joseph felt cheated. In our line of work, the subject of funerals had a tendency to arise often and at odd times, and he'd always joked about wanting a suitable sort of rain and a weeping
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