Inside The Dome, two beings who once held watch over The Beast engaged in a duel. In their hands they gripped compact cannons, each shaped like broken bows without the strings, each automated like the rest of their blinking and buzzing machinery, each loaded with a single slug of toxic metal. Six paces were taken but only one being spun around and took his shot, and his shot was aimed well. Barciro fell as the inner shell was shattered and shards of thick glass rained down on The Wikler’s devastated head. He stood motionless for a few moments, long enough for The Mink to finally overcome his fear and win his claw; now he slowly proceeds to his slain comrade, his partner in crime, the being who thought up the idea of the black cloaks in the first place. The Wikler cannot return to the future alone, he would be tried for the worst of crimes and sentenced forever to the gaol at the bottom of the Mariana Trench… no, he brought this on himself. His pet is gone and so is his partner, the cycle is truly broken, the giants shall never evolve to be live beneath the water’s surface, and The Wikler, without purpose, without a certain future to return to, pulled the trigger on his one and only friend. Now, with Barciro’s cannon, he shall pull it on himself.
A hole is punched into the outer shell of The Dome but the structure does not shatter. The rogue lead slug beams through the murky water without concern for the furry little mink with a big meaty claw grasped between his jaws who swims in its path, and it’s through the heart of this mink which the bullet makes its final pass. The Mink feels very little of the impact – there is only a strange and ethereal warmth blooming like a rose in the center of his chest – before the water around him grows just a shade darker. Then another shade. Then another shade.
The Mink is surrounded in black darkness, engulfed in an emptiness comparable to that of The Void during a long dark rest. It is dark for The Mink, it is dark for a very long time; then, he sees the light at the end of the tunnel. With the briny taste of mousemeat seasoned with fish scales and marinated in the blood of the one who did The Mink like The Mink almost did the crawdad, The Mink crawls and wriggles towards the light. He’s blinded when he reaches its source.
The vibrant reds and oranges of trees falling slowly into dormancy greet his eyes. Reborn at last, The Eternal Mink emerges from a burrow in the center of Isla Meeney, a burrow which only opens for a slippery moment hidden from time on one autumn day in the fourth cycle since the filling of the Monksville Reservoir. A certain haze sets in over his memory of his entering the burrow, of where he was before he took his refuge, but that doesn’t matter. The Beast howls forth in these waters and they are not safe to swim in, and Dino Island is quite a distance away. The Eternal Mink skips through the shallows behind the back end of Isla Meeney and traces the shoreline of Monksville until he finds the dirt road which giants follow to make a certain climb much less treacherous.
From the base of the waterfall cliff, The Eternal Mink travels along the Wanaque Reservoir’s shoreline far past the Fishing Village until he comes to a clearing hidden just behind a wall of trees. It is here that The Eternal Mink finally satiates his hunger with the meat of the crawdad, the crawdad he’s pursued through both time and space over cycles immemorial. When the shell is hollowed out, The Eternal Mink leaps his full brown belly into the water and swims beneath the surface to the second submerged dune of sand he comes across. It is here where he buries the fabled claw under a small layer of pebbly sand, a layer which will be stripped when the water level falls and the Reservoir dries out into a desert-like state.
Satisfied with his efforts and the breaking of a tired cycle, The Eternal Mink flees from the Wanaque to spiral anew. In the spring of the third cycle after the burying of the fabled claw, when a mighty drought shall grasp the Wanaque Reservoir by the floodgate installed by giants, a lone lady goose will be nesting on the dune closest to the shoreline, and from there, her brown eyes will be caught by a lone claw strewn amongst the pebbles.
This has been the seventeenth subchapter of the fourth chapter of the book The Monksville Chronicles. Here is everything you need to know about it:
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