Originally Posted by Erin
"He had me shut down the automatic fireman alert. They might be intending to smoke Wormwood out?" Erin suggested, biting her lip. Not very well, from the way Rakesh made it sound. "I think we should all be very careful going down there."
"You won't have any arguments from me there." Hammond said with a barely-suppressed shudder. He stepped through the portal, followed closely by Rakesh.
The Twilight was the closest of what Mages called the Invisible Realms. It was an echo, a land made of whispers and smoke and shadows. In most ways, it resembled the Mortal Realm closely. You could see
the Mortal Realm, though it was darkened and muted, a world on the other side of a blackened mirror. You could see the Museum of the Industrial Revolution, with its strange machines and uncertain contraptions. You could see the doors and windows, the floor and wall. And you could see other things as well. Places where the floor became different, where old machinery was replaced with a row of prosthetics, or a jar of formaldehyde. Places where the Twilight showed not a modern London museum, but a Genevan basement two centuries ago. Places where the world of Hippolyte Schafer bled into the present.
You passed no one as you ventured into the basement. No crewmembers, no thugs. If nothing else, you had proven successful in keeping the bystanders to a minimum. You reached the security room. Seventeen wiggled his fingers in a peculiar fashion, then confirmed that there was nothing with a mind inside it. Whim thereupon took out the kris
and cut another door between worlds, through which you were ushered out hurriedly.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
that infernal racket?" Seventeen said, pausing momentarily to listen. "Right then, into the room before someone spots us, let's see about those--- what the sodding hell?!
The door swung across something, viscous and deep red. There was a dragging sound as it smeared the color across the floor, painting a broken arc of crimson across the entryway. The fluid led back toward the center, gleaming in the static glow of a handful of television monitors. There was no other light in the room, or little enough to matter. It was only by the anemic white light that you could see the giant, seven foot clock, towering in the center of the room, it's face shattered by bullets. The frosted glass door hung open, the lower half broken, the rest splattered with bloody handprints. Blood covered the bottom part of the clock, blood and pieces of broken glass. And there was a woman hanging brokenly, half inside the clock, half out.
Cruel, leather straps locked her petite form into the clockwork prison, holding her slumped, in ways no living human could move. Her blank, porcelain face stared forward emptily, her white eyes hollow and dead. Blood had been smeared across her white lips in a mockery of her lipstick, and her red hair stood out against the deathly white of her cheeks - all save for where it had been carefully cut away, to reveal the clockwork brain in her sawed-off head. A neat bullet hole had smashed through her forehead, causing a spider-web of cracks to spread across the woman's face.
Six of the television monitors for the cameras were shattered, their screens shattered by a hail of bullets. The remaining four merely showed a stream of static that arced and danced across the screens, in time to that abominable ticking sound. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
Words lay scrawled across the floor in blood, broken by the pools and rivulets that gushed forth from the towering clock: