Hanging alone on the skyway, the lens Necessity flickers quietly.
It is made of melomid skin— the kind that sees the past and shapes the chaos, as distinct from that melomid skin that sets fire to the heavens or makes a fine pair of boots.
It is generally inclined to self-preservation: to act in defense of its individual identity. Yet it is chained by its nature as an object in the world to participate in the lives of others.
How can anything survive, torn by such fierce opposing pressures?
The third of three histories regarding the cracking of the lens.
Tonight, if all goes according to plan, the lens will assist in telling the final legend of Ink Catherly.
They had all agreed, in somber gathering:
“Her legend ends here.”
Jane was crying. That can happen when you are in the business of telling legends. But she nodded.
Mrs. Schiff was taking the minutes.
“Hell is inescapable,” she wrote. “That is the condition of the world. The flesh cannot aspire to the spirit. Gross meat cannot give rise to the divine fire. Questions remain unanswerable—”
Here she held the pencil’s eraser against the corner of her mouth and paused. Humor outpaced sorrow. Grinning inappropriately, she wrote, “And suffering insufferable.”
Mr. Schiff gave her a look.
So they decided in their cabal the fate of Ink Catherly— that horror to which she would be left until the reforging of the world.
And then they left the lens Necessity alone to contemplate the problem of Persephone.
“Anyway,” said the lens, “it’s just, I think that Meredith needs to think about the fallacy of independent existence, not the proper application of world-destroying power.”
“. . . I worry,” Jane admits.
“Hypocrite,” the lens whispers to itself.
To the unfinished history of Boedromion it turns; to view Persephone in her Underworld it turns.
A hairline fracture is born.