Helloween: Whispers

From the Story Arc: Grim's Gamble

Previous Story in the Arc: Helloween: Take What's In The Box by Astra Kyne Murdock (Monday, November 06, 2006)

Next Story in the Arc: Helloween: Such a Deal! by Astra Kyne Murdock (Tuesday, November 07, 2006)

(posted Monday, November 06, 2006)

“I'm ready,” she said. “How do I get there?”

Mandy rumbled. “Foxglove, if you have any control over this... man... please remove him.”

“I know, it's jealousy. You all want gifts!” Circus Master crowed. “Form a line please! conjure something up for everyone!”

“He's not a man and I haven't a bit of sway over it,” Foxglove replied.

Mandragora reached out for Circus Master, as Harmony cautioned, “Love, careful....”

“Astra... Don't do this...” Zakat said.

“Let's not get frisky now!” Circus Master said, easily eluding Madragora/

“Show me the way, Yogi,” Astra said, her voice faint, but steady. “Tell me how to reach him.”

“Astra, talk to me privately upstairs for a moment,” Foxglove said, suddenly, unexpectedly. She glanced at him. Something…

“Quite easy actually,” said Circus Master. He tipped his hat and let it tumble down his arm before catching it. “Just talk inside there cutie-pie.”

“Astra wants to go to the Rogue Isles, and find this Garvey,” Zarya told the newcomers. “We—she glanced around at the assembled—“think it is... a very bad idea.”

“Kid, come on,” Foxglove urged. “I've got important stuff to tell you and only so much time to get ready.”

“If only that was what was happening, Sofia,” Zakat corrected. “Astra wants to give herself up. Surrender.”

Her hands were covered in drying blood. She resisted the urge to press them to her temples to hold out all the thoughts, the emotions, so she could just deal with what was in front of her, what she had to do….

Some of them moved to block her, but of course, she could fly…Mandy bristled and announced her protection, everyone was trying to do something and none of it mattered…

And in the middle of this Red Star appeared, and it seemed half the room appealed to the Warshade to stop her—

“Seafood!” said Circus Master, as Star thudded in, wearing her Ruhkrut form, and growling. “Burping seafood, gross...”

“Just in time, Zvezda,” Zarya said. “Astra is about to do something foolish, and she refuses to listen to anyone with a Ph D.”

Circus Master put his hat back on with a grin.

“Up here,” Foxglove urged. “: A moment, everyone. I wish to speak to her in private.”

And then she finally realized she had the weapon to take it all out of their hands. With a twist of her Kheldian energies, she went invisible.

And she blocked Star’s telepathic sendings, blocked Kyne from talking to her. No more. No more. There would be no more killings…

Invisible, she slipped up the stairs to stand next to Foxglove. “Talk fast,” she whispered.

Downstairs, the threats, the promises. Petro pledging to track her, to find Garvye and the Ghost, people giving “sensible” advice, too many voices, too many things to keep track of. Her heart was breaking, her head pounding….

Foxglove wrote furiously, shielding the paper with his body. He somehow found her hand and pressed the note into it. With the contact came another flash, a face—like hers, but older, with darker hair. Love. Anguish. Hate. Pain. Love again. The note read, “ I will look out for you. Stay in the flowers.. Rescue should be possible.”

And ally. Yes. She had an ally.

“Fangzong fengkuang de jie,” cursed Sun Kai. “Aiyah! Wo xiang mei er, mei xin, bian shitou.”

“She is invisible,” Zarya said. “She can go anywhere she wants, for most of us. But perhaps not for you...?”

If they were hoping Star could see her….well it wouldn’t happen. Nictus couldn’t. And she was walling Star out of her thoughts.

“I know exactly where she is, the Great Yogi sees all!” Circus Master smirked, as she moved down to stand next to him. “But I'll never tell. She wouldn't like that.”

“Hold out the hat,” she whispered to Circus Master.

He performed the same “hat trick,: catching it in his hand, as the others made threats and demands.

“What do you want?” she whispered into the hat.

“A moment dear, I have to find him, but it'll get there,” Circus Master whispered back, ignoring the others.

“You will tell me what you did to Astra, Circus Master,” Star growled.

“I did nothing, she does it to herself,” he replied. And it was only the truth.

Then came the strange voice from the hat. And she knew it could only be Grim Gambol’s. “Ya'll, darlin'.”

“What proof do I have that if I come to you the killing will stop?” she whispered.

The hat began to glow.

“Heh. Not a dang thing. I ain't goin' ta stop killin', anyhoo. Them kids, though, I can put a halt ta.”

“Hum we're getting some minor interference sweety, just a second,” Circus Master said.

Star was demanding explanations, and getting them from the others; Astra ignored it all, waiting for the whispered, cold voice.

“What will bind you to the promise that you will stop killing children?” she persisted

Circus Master Rolled his hat up one arm and down the other, catching it again, the hat glowed brighter. “A collect call,” he said. “I'm just an operator, I switch up the lines.”

“Not a dang thing.” Grim Gambol chortled. “All ya'll got is my word. I wasn't doin' it b'fore, though, and I ain't plannin' on doin' it after.”

And then, once again the dynamic abruptly shifted, as Blaze Phoenyx charged into the room.

“What's going on here?” he demanded. “Kai? Alek? Astra?”