Chapter Nineteen, Part Three: Breakfast EpiphaniesMature

An hour later, the sun is higher, a boiled duck’s egg. But the ice ignores that, too. 

His body is warmer, if marginally; at least there’s no frost forming in the ridges of his abs now. He can tell because his darkening veins are expanding under his skin. They’re turning blacker…

 He blinks. 

“Well, now; that was a nice breakfast, wasn’t it my cheery little pumpkin?” the Valeyard says, patting himself. He touches his rump, suddenly mindful of the damp cold mess he made of his trousers when he slid down the bench. “Daddy needs some new clothes! We’re off to the shops for some proper gray silk and a stiff cotton. If popping you out is gonna kill my prospects,” he reasons, walking out of the eating hall and down toward the central T of doors that lead into the Museum, “…I can at least do it in a derby. Plus, I need a sturdy stick for the ice capades. We wouldn’t want Daddy’s little rice cake to go sliding out the toaster because he’s fallen on the nasty hard ice, would we?” 

No answer; only, a shard of frosty nerves grabs him by the tailbone. 

Meow, he muses in the vaults of his secret mind. He’s going to need all nine lives to survive this. 

Suppressing a shiver, he wanders out the doors. 

Behind him, the crawling blue ice follows in his footsteps, growing along his shadow and out from his heels like a dog he does not see, a wake of deathly flowers forged of pale bifrost carbuncles and sterling.


The End

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