Chapter Seventeen, Part Four: The Robbes-Pierre of LonginusMature

“And what was the trouble? Why is everyone leaving?” he remembers to ask aloud, finally. But their eyes, their postures… it is in them that he finds it. There is, he has found, a certain look in the eyes of refugees from an attack. That vision of destruction is in these eyes. 

The hospital has been attacked, somehow. And the attendants have no more time for him.

 He follows those instructions, passing the shiny white Lobby sparsely decorated with floating root-ball plants. Then he crosses by a Vending Machine Shop full of half-open packets of some sort of edible red or white or green or orange gel. Some of the packets are leaking onto the floor, making a mess.

 And the gels seem to be crawling away.

 How queer.

 The stairs are somewhat cramped, but he manages the height difference by lurching forward, dodging the medi-bots with painted on yellow happy faces bobbing at him to leave.

 “Sir, we must insist you leave,” they counter in tin voices, reprimanding him with little needles, “… the rime crust is spreading over this section! Sir!”

 He waves them away like flies, and they fall at his compulsion.

 “Hmph,” he sighs, glad to be rid of them as he turns down another corridor. 

Rime crust?

 Ice.

 Could it be?

 Spying the last stretch, he draws his own blue note from his pocket.

 It says,

 Room 512.

 Mind the snowmaiden.

 “All right,” he says aloud, listening for any sounds as he nears the simple, opaque glass rectangle of white door.

 

The End

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