And on the Seventh day, we wept.
Art of London
Sun-Filled Stories, Chapter Three
by Cassius Mortemer
The Author woke up in his bedroom, a small package on his bedside table. It was morning, and he was alone. What happened last night? He didn’t feel particularly troubled. Or happy. Or particularly alive.
The Author rolled over and grabbed the package. Logically, he thought he should be alarmed, scared, heartbroken. He felt none of that. Just a vague emptiness, deep within him. He opened the package. It was a few handfuls of jewels, bits of Nevercold Brass and a Devilbone dice. There was a piece of paper on his bedside table. A contract. His very own infernal contract.
He had lost his soul.
Should he go look for it? It’s certainly an odd sensation, to not have a soul. Not unpleasant, he supposed. But odd.
He wrapped up his jewels and brass and made way for the door. He should look for the Introverted Devil. He will have his soul. Won’t he? He certainly didn’t expect an Abstraction when the Devil sat so close to him yesterday, but he’s the only one that could’ve done it. He thought about last night. Drinking with the Devil, getting to know him… somewhat.
He didn’t feel anything…
Did his home always look this grey and dismal? The Author got dressed in cleaner clothes. He’ll check the honey-dens first. He met the Devil there, after all. Maybe someone saw him. Maybe someone knows where to find him.
The same Guardswoman stopped him from going in this time around.
“You don’t understand, I-”
“Yeah, yeah, you said the same thing yesterday,”
The Author felt a somewhat… muffled sense of unease. A knot in his stomach where anger used to be. It feels kind of… cold, now.
“I don’t need to go inside,” he says.
“What do you want, then?”
The Author pulled a piece of paper out of his pants pocket. He had attempted a sketch of the Introverted Devil from memory before coming here. It wasn’t half bad, really. Very detailed, too.
“Have you seen this devil? He’s blond, wears all black.”
The guardswoman looked at the picture for a while, then at the Author. Then back at the picture. She jerked her chin to the alleys off to her right.
“Yesterday. That’s all”
The Author looked towards the alleys. That’s where he and the devil had met. He’s no closer than he was when he left his house. He sighed, disappointed, but thanked the Guardswoman nonetheless.
The next place to check would be the Forgotten Quarter. The Author took the exact same route he took with the Devil. Waited for a cab on the same corner. Got off at the same desolate street.
The Forgotten Quarter was quiet. But not ‘quiet’ as in a lack of sound – there was screaming in the distance, for one – it was the kind of quiet that instantly silenced your own thoughts. The kind that allowed even the slightest sounds to press in on your ears and burrow into your mind.
The Author put one foot in front of the other. A muffled sense of fear was creeping into his heart, as if by habit instead of genuine feeling. Is it safe to travel alone here, where Devils prey on humans? What would they do to someone who’s soulless? Does he even know where he’s going?
Would he be able to find the Devil again?
News of Art, Art of News
Our Dearly Departed
12th of June 1872 – 5th of January 1898
Today we say our goodbyes to ______ __________, a renowned hunter, zailor, a loving friend. Only a handful had returned from her last northbound expedition. The zhip had crashed, unsalvageable, and ______’s zailors refuse to speak of what had happened.
______ is survived by only her brother and sister. A symbolic funeral shall be held at the delta of the Thames and the Unterzee, in a week’s time with the midnight bell’s chime.
May her soul find peace.
Ask Mother Goose
Dear Mother Goose,
Perhaps, it was all for something.
All shall be well.