Necroscope IV: Deadspeak

 Brian Lumley

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All night Harry sat alone in the ruins, sat there with his thoughts, with Faethor trapped within him and the teeming dead held at bay without. He let no one in to witness his sorrow.
He had thought he would be cold, but strangely was not. He had thought the darkness and the shadows would bother him, but the night had felt like an old friend.
With the dawn spreading in the east, he sought out Bodrogk and his lady. They had found a sheltered place to light a fire, and now reclined in each other's arms, watching the sun rise. Their faces greeted him with something of sadness, but also with a great resolve.
'It doesn't have to be,' he said. The choice is yours.'
'Our world is two thousand years in the past,' Bodrogk answered. 'Since then... we've prayed for peace a thousand times. You have the power, Necroscope.'
Harry nodded, uttered his esoteric farewell and watched their dust mingle as a breeze came up to blow them away...
And now he was ready.
He returned to the ruins and set Faethor free.
What? that father of vampires raged. And am I your last resort, Harry Keogh? Do you enlist my aid now, when all else has failed you?
'Nothing has failed,' Harry told him. And then, even by his standards, he did a strange thing. He deliberately lied to a dead man. 'Janos is crippled, dying,' he said.
Faethor's fury knew no bounds. Without me? You brought him down without me? He doesn't know I had a hand in it? I want to feel the dog's pain! He crashed out of Harry's mind and discovered Janos - dead!
Astonished, Faethor knew the truth, but of course Harry had known it before him. He triggered Wellesley's talent to shut Faethor out. 'I told you I'd be rid of you,' he said.
Fool! Faethor raged. I'll be back in, never fear. Only relax your guard by the smallest fraction, and we'll be one again, Necroscope.
'We had a bargain,' Harry was reasonable. 'I've played my part. Go back to your place in Ploiesti, Faethor.'
Back to the cold earth, after I've known your warmth? Never! Don't you know what has happened? Janos made no great error when he read the future. He knew that a master vampire - the greatest of them all - would go down from this place when all was done. I am that vampire, Harry, in your body!
'Men shouldn't read the future,' said Harry, 'for it's a devious thing. And now I have to be on my way.'
Where you go, I go!
Harry shrugged and opened a Möbius door. 'Remember Dragosani?' he said. And he stepped through the door.
Faethor shuddered but went in with him. Dragosani was a fool, he blustered. You don't shake me off so lightly.
"There's still time,' Harry told him. 'I can still take you to Ploiesti.'
To hell with Ploiesti!
Harry opened a past-time door and launched himself through it, and Faethor clung to him like the grim death he was. You won't shake me loose, Necroscope!
They gazed on the past of all Mankind, their myriad neon life-threads dwindling away to a bright blue origin. And now Faethor moaned: Where are you taking me?
'To see what has been,' Harry told him. 'See, see there? That red thread among the blue? Indeed, a scarlet thread... yours, Faethor. And do you see where it stops? That's where Ladislau Giresci took your head the night your house was bombed. That's where your life-thread stopped, and you'd have been wise to stop with it.'
Take... take me out of here! Faethor gasped and gurgled, and clung like an incorporeal leech.
Harry returned to the Möbius Continuum and chose a future-time door, where now the billions of blue life-threads wove out and away forever, speeding into a dazzling, ever-expanding future. He drifted out among them, and was quickly drawn along the timestream. And: 'This thread you see unwinding out of me,' he said. 'It's my future.'
And mine, said Faethor doggedly, steadier now.
'But see, it's tinged with red,' Harry ignored him. 'Do you see that, Faethor?'
see it, fool. The red is me, proof that I'm part of you always.
'Wrong,' said Harry. 'I can go back because my thread is unbroken. Because I have a past, I can reel myself in. But your past was finished back in Ploiesti. You have no thread, no lifeline, Faethor.'
What? the other's nightmare voice was a croak. Then -
- The master of the Möbius Continuum brought himself to an abrupt halt, but the spirit of Faethor Ferenczy shot on into the future. Harry! he cried out in his terror. Don't do this!
'But it's done,' the Necroscope called after him. 'You have no flesh, no past, nothing, Faethor. Except the longest, loneliest, emptiest future any creature ever suffered. Goodbye!'
H-H-Harry!... Haaarry!... Haaaarrry!... HAAAAAAAAAA-
But Harry closed the door and shut him off. Always. Except that before the door slammed shut he looked again at the blue thread unwinding out of himself. And saw that it was still tinged red.
Men should never try to read the future. For it's a devious thing ...