Chapter Twelve, Part Three: Hell is for HandbasketsMature

Other master had got the guards to ignore the Hand, when it was the Bird; the Bird could fly and scratch and change what it wanted, not like the Hand, who got stepped on and always had to be a rug. Other master was the only person the Hand didn’t mind being the Hand with, because Other master never stepped on it. Other master was careful not to. 

Wings furling against its sides like flags rolling down on their poles, the Bird sails for the door, becoming a nut-shape in midflight as it coasts past the doorframe and into the hallway. 

‘Above their heads,  between their legs…’ the Other master always said. Care not to scratch anyone was important. One scratch could not chaossify any longer, but the long curlable toes with their bright talons could still bring a welt up on the unprepared. 

Hanging fairly high over the head of a Time Lord in purple with a skinny neck that perhaps would have been too easily scraped, the Bird who was the Hand glides on down the hallway, bypassing room after room. When it reaches the right one, it pops into flatness with a slight cloud of feathers, becoming a keycard to fit the passkey machine next to the vestibule. 

It changes again on entry, becoming the Hand itself once more so it can easily scurry along the desks and tapestries papering the rooms of the Cardinal. 

Other master would have said something like, ‘…mmm. Looks like a bad remodel. Could be worse though! There could be mounted fish.’ The Hand knows this for a fact, because Other master had preferred Borusa’s decorations to the ones in the Cardinal’s quarters now, and had said the words the Hand remembered, the very phrase. 

The End

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