Welcome to my serial science-fiction/fantasy adventure, The Only City Left. This is the story of Allin Arcady and his adventures through a dying, planet-sized city called Earth. (Click here for the Table of Contents.)
At the end of Part 79, Doyle told Allin he planned to take control of Allin’s body.
The Only City Left: Part 80
“A little,” Doyle replied with a broad grin. “You don’t try to transfer your consciousness into a string of other bodies without a few side effects, after all. But I have no doubt that this time, with you, the transfer will work.”
He picked up my lantern coil again and said, “The transfer is best completed when the subject is in a transition state between wolf and man. So let’s get this on you and begin, shall we?”
I tensed up, uncertain of what torture I was about to be subjected to in the name of Doyle’s mad experiment. When I heard a loud slam from behind me, I jumped and nearly slipped off the stacked books, but it turned out to only be a door opening.
“I’m sorry, sir. We couldn’t stop her without injuring her,” said a gruff, masculine voice.
I looked to the side to see who was speaking, but the first person to come into view wasn’t some werewolf guard. It was Tyena. She was dressed in fine crimson silks and had her red hair up in a tight bun. For a prisoner, she looked well kept. She advanced on Doyle with a righteous anger in her eyes, but when she glanced over and saw me, she stopped and ran to my side.
“Allin, it’s true. You’re alive!”
“For the moment.”
“It’s okay,” Doyle said to someone behind my table. “Let them say their goodbyes. Wait outside until I call you.”
The door closed again and Tyena turned on Doyle, still holding on to me.
“Let him go,” she said.
“No, let her go,” I countered. “You got what you wanted. Set her and her mother free.”
“So sweet, the both of you, but the answer is no. Besides,” Doyle said, putting one wide hand over Tyena’s stomach. “If I were to let him go, it would mean I would need to use your baby. Is that what you want?”
“Baby!?” What in the world?
Tyena shot me a fierce look, while behind her back, Doyle leered.
“She didn’t tell you? Then let me be the first to say ‘Congratulations, Dad!’ I’m sure you’re as happy as I was to find out.”
Happy didn’t quite cover the range of my feelings at the moment. Disbelief. Confusion. Concern. Especially that last one. Since Tyena and I had never been that intimate, her carrying my baby was impossible.
“With you presumed dead, it cheered me to no end when that cat brought me Tyena. At first I thought to make a sport of her slow death, but imagine my delight upon hearing that she was with child. Your child. All hope was not lost.”
Now it made sense. Tyena had said what she needed to in order to survive for a little while longer, although this was one lie that couldn’t last for very long. At most she had pushed back the date of her execution by a couple of weeks.
“You were going to transfer your mind into a baby?”
“Eventually. It would actually be easier to overwrite a baby’s fresh mind, but there’s no point in being flesh again if all I’m doing is pissing my dipeys all day long,” he said. He let go of Tyena and walked around to my other side. “Sadly, it will be years before the child is old enough to be suitable for me. But then, a gift. You returned.”
Tyena squeezed my shoulder tight while Doyle went on.
“Don’t worry, though. Even though I don’t need him now, I’ll allow your son to grow up. If it’s a daughter, eh, we’ll see.”
“You leave them the hell alone,” I said, struggling against my bonds. I was playing along with the charade for Tyena’s sake, but there was a core of real emotion in it, too. I’d be damned if a lunatic like Doyle got near any child of mine, even if this one only existed in Tyena’s desperate imagination.
“It won’t be any of your concern in a few more minutes,” Doyle said. “Guard, take her away!”
“Allin, I’m so sorry,” Tyena said. She kissed me one last time as the guard came into the room.
“I’m sorry, too. For everything.”
“So sweet,” Doyle said as the guard put his furry mitts on Tyena’s shoulders. “Now go get some rest, my dear. You mustn’t exert yourself so.”
The guard led her out of my sight and shut the door behind them. I hoped for her sake that she had another trick up her sleeve and could escape before Doyle caught on.
“You’re a monster. You were really going to steal her baby?”
“Of course. And I still will. You see, if this ritual works, and I take over your body, what’s to stop me from dying and reincorporating as many times as I want? All I need are more Lazarus swarms, which the Fifth House has promised me, and more bodies to which I am related by blood. Your child will be the first, but once I’m corporeal again, I’ll get to work on making more little babies who can grow up to be host bodies for me. Yes, I’m quite looking forward to that part after all these years.”
“Good thing you’re such a loyal little lap dog to the Fifth House. Sounds like without all the gifts they’ve given you, you’d still be a sad little punk. My mom chose both of your brothers over you, didn’t she? I bet that hurts, doesn’t—hurk!”
That last bit was my yell of surprised pain as Doyle kicked the books out from under my feet and all my weight fell onto my bound wrists and straining shoulders again. As I writhed, he slipped my necklace back on and pressed the buttons to activate it.
“Did you know that you can’t change the passphrase on a coil once it’s set? And that I was there when Dylan chose his? So shall you say it or shall I?”
Ghosts, if you’re planning on saving me, it’s now or never.
“Yes, keep going,” Doyle urged.
“Always. Shove it up your ass, Uncle.”
* * *
8/25/13 News: That last line is perhaps my favorite of the whole book. Now you know my maturity level.
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