Lifelong Educations

The Inner Jack

The door to his room thudded shut, a quick flick of his wrist pushing home the dead bolt with a sense of finality before he stalked angrily to the bed and sat. Bottle in one hand and a copy of the contract in the other, Jack glared angrily at the text.

It was well-written, sound, binding, a solution to the problem. Yet it still didn’t feel right.

So far, he knew of at least four people whose souls had been eaten by the gods-damned cat. If the cat were a mage, he’d be hunted down by every member of the Consilium in no less brutal and thorough a manner than Tom had been. In fact, to Jack’s mind, Codex had done worse than Tom ever managed.

A quick scrounging under his bed brought out his journal, which he slapped on the desk and flipped open, scrawling angry letters between mouthfuls of whiskey.

_Dear Journal,

Does the natural amorality of a spirit make it any less accountable for its actions than a human being?

I hate the monstrous bastards. Never trust a fucking spirit. Never. They aren’t people, they aren’t human, and they don’t give a fuck about us._

Giving the journal an angry shove that sent it to the floor, Jack laid back on his bed, growling as his head thumped into the wall. The bottle seemed a better consolation than most. At least if he drank enough, he wouldn’t have to dream about those empty eyes, the soul-less hobo he’d had to coach on how to eat beans, or the stricken look on Ryuhon’s face when Dina had so angrily told him the cat had to go.

He didn’t want to think about how that was going to play out – How he was going to convince Dina to give the cat a second chance. How he was going to convince Ryuhon to trust Dina around Codex. How he was going to deal with the energetic, excited look Mobius had gotten over the whole thing.

With a grunt, he slid off the bed and to his knees to scoop up his wrongfully-abused journal.

“Sorry, buddy. Not your fault. …I’m talking to a fucking book, what the fuck is wrong with me?”

Nonetheless, he put the journal to his forehead and sat, wishing he could talk to the bit of dead tree, ask it questions about what to do and get real answers. Bothering Spider with this seemed silly. After all, though Spider was a good friend, he wasn’t the emotional type who would easily understand this sort of thing.

After a while, he slid back up onto the bed, laying the book in his lap, and continued to worship the grain. Among its many blessings, dreamless sleep beckoned. He’d do chiminage in the morning, in form of hangover.



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