"What?" He was close enough now to touch Mother's bloodied face, and he did, grabbing her by the side of her head and forcing her to face him. "What did you…?"
"Someone has altered the pattern. The girl's location is unknown."
Mother's words made a slither of fear pass down the Mayor's spine, made a spike of terror twist in his guts, and he held Mother's face so tightly that his claws were digging into her flesh.
"I…I cannot say…something has changed…the girl's location is unknown."
"Is it the Believers?" he said, gripping tighter, Mother's blood leaking down his claws. "Is it the Believers? Did the Believers do this?"
"How did they find out she existed?"
"Well what do you know damn you?! " he yelled, and he scratched Mother's cheek open with one swift movement, the blood spattering the floor.
"I know, many things. All things, maybe." said Mother, and she went to place her hand on her wounded cheek, but the needles that were her fingers just cut her even more, sliced four fresh cuts that quickly filled and overflowed.
"If you knew all things," said the Mayor, watching her hand lower from her ravaged cheek, "You'd know how close I am to flaying the flesh from your bones…"
"I may have the minds of a thousand slain souls, but, Jasper, I still need a weather vane to tell which way the wind blows…"
"You are incompetent and riddled with errors." said the Lord Mayor. "It is impossible that the girl has escaped, it is impossible. She is guarded constantly by twenty seven GoreMen and fifty three human officers, none of which have notified me of any disturbances or…"
"No, Jasper, no they have not."
"Then they are dead. They are all dead. All GoreFeeds lost."
"You're wrong. It is impossible, and you are wrong, you've been wrong before and you're wrong now."
"I only see in numbers, and the numbers tell me that the cathedral has been lying empty for twenty one point three days, and that the girl is gone, and that she…she will…"
"And what? And what will she do exactly?"
"She…she will not run from you."
"Is that so?" He lifted a finger and stroked it down her unwounded cheek, watching how neatly the claw cut into her.
"She…" continued Mother, barely flinching as the Lord Mayor began a second cut. "She will find you." She swallowed. "And then she will destroy you."
He chuckled blackly, the laughter of his vile throat echoing darkly throughout the chamber, his shadow strange and long in the slanting light.
"Will she indeed?" he said, still chuckling. "So she will destroy me, will she?" He pushed his glasses back up his nose with a bloody claw. "I have no time to talk with an erroneous machine." He turned around to face the stairs. "Prepare the girl's extracted memories for transportation."
"Yes my son, of course. But Jasper?"
"What happens when…when you find her missing?"
He ignored her, and left her in the darkness with the numbers.