They quite literally ran into one another around a sharp corner, falling backwards to the floor. Seoc stayed there, rubbing his head, but Seymour popped back up to his feet immediately and bounced impatiently, desiring to move and wanting Seoc to follow him.
“What’s with you?” Seoc asked, his brow furrowed in mild annoyance.
“C’mon, c’mon, c’mon! Time is of the essence!”
“Give me a hand?”
Seymour helped him up, but didn’t let go, instead tugging him along down the corridor.
“Where’re we goin’?” Seoc gasped, running as fast as short, skinny legs could carry him. The floor seemed to be sliding by beneath him at a dangerous pace, and he felt vaguely like a human kite. Surely if Seymour sped up any more, Seoc’s feet would leave the ground entirely.
The Aechyed ignored the human’s question. “What does the word ‘taken’ mean to you, little fish?”
“I…dinna know? Just…what…it seems?” Seoc felt faint and feeble, and though he certainly knew what ‘taken’ meant, he just did not have the brainpower needed to define it at the moment. Even if he had, he would not have had the respiratory capacity to speak it.
“And what’s that?” Seymour inquired.
Seoc swallowed a mouthful of saliva, causing him to miss an opportunity to inhale. His lungs burned and he had a stitch in his side. “Sey…I canna…breathe!”
Seymour slowed and stopped, and Seoc sank to his knees, coughing and panting. The Aechyed hauled him to his feet again, putting an arm around his middle to support him. “I’m sorry, little fish. We just need to get somewhere safe.”
“And are…the corridors no’…safe?”
“No. I don’t know why. I just have a bad feeling about them. Corridors are like roads: they are too easy to travel along. Too open. Too exposed.”
“What do you mean?” But even as he asked, Seoc found that he knew exactly what he meant. He wouldn’t have been able to put it to words, but he knew. Something was very wrong. Was the Serpent here, inside the Castle Carviliet? Not just in the minds of its occupants, but actually physically—or metaphysically—present? Was it coming for them?
To take them?
Seymour shrugged. “I just have a suspicion that something is following us. Something…something from the cemetery.”
What does ‘taken’ mean to you?
Seized? Engrossed? Passionate? Removed? Distracted?
Seoc looked nervously over his shoulder. “Weel, in that case, I suppose we ought ta hurry along ta supper.”