[NOTE: James has consented to allowing me to remove the bandages, as my fingers have begun to heal. The following was typed up only a few hours previously. The only changes that I have made to its originally formatting have been to format it so that it is easier to read.]
There is a line of people across the road in front of us. Considering that they have linked arms and are simply standing there, stretching off into the forest on either side, I think that it is plainly obvious that they mean to stop us here.
And they have, for the past twenty minutes or so. Miss Waterman has instructed all of us to retrieve our weapons, in case it comes down to a fight. I have done so, but I do not expect it to. In terms of comparative durability, the human body loses outright to a van. James and Miss Waterman seem to have reached the same conclusion. Phillip seems skeptical - he seems to think that they would not have formed a line across the road if they did not think that they could withstand such an impact - but
Yes, even this sentence. The one that I am saying now, yes.
Good. I have a message for you.
Shut up, girl. I'm talking to the old man. I know him. More than one member of his family has been part of me, and he himself has been attempting to track me down for years. The rest of you are marked by the rest, and I'm not in the mood for dealing with you right now. Sullivan.
Good. Your archive idea is a good one. It makes the information harder to destroy. That's a good thing, here. Keep doing it. I am a creature of knowledge, after all. [laughter]
What do you want from me?
I want you to do what the song tells you to, Sullivan. You have heard the silence howling. Now it's time to catch the angels.
What the hell are you talking about?
Did I say you could talk? There are more of my arms here than you see. Be quiet.
It is something of an appropriate question, though. What do you mean?
I mean that you stand at the center of something bigger than you can possibly know, Sullivan. Your chosen pen name is more appropriate than you had initially intended. I approve, by the way. [laughter]
That is a dodge, not an explanation.
No, but it's all that I'm going to say on the matter. All that I can say, really, in such a limited form of communication. The crowned pawn knows the truth. It's just a matter of whether or not you can get it out of him without becoming the next specimen in his butterfly collection. One way or another, you're going to have to get him to talk. Just don't be stupid enough to think he actually wants to tell you. And keep a close eye on the mirrors. We are ALL watching you, Sullivan, and none of us wants to help you.
Then why are you talking to me at all?
Because I have my own plans for you. Why else would I? Just because I take the time to speak doesn't mean that I'm benevolent. The Butcher speaks as well, you know. I just have a vested interest in one particular outcome over the rest, and having one of the others get you first would make things a lot more difficult. You've drawn our attention, Sullivan, and, for one of you, that is never a good thing. Just talk to the crowned one. Don't force me to speak to you again. I won't be so peaceful next time.