And in her last glance in the mirror, as he carries it away, she can see a great tower that is not her tower; and beyond it a sea of surging chaos; and an Ink who is not herself, but somehow possessed of that which is forbidden to her in Hell.
The mirror cracks.
— Ink in Emptiness
“Oops,” Martin says.
His fisted hand goes to his mouth and he stares, half in horror and half in involuntary amusement, as the lens Necessity cracks.
The crack becomes a webwork of cracks, spreading across its surface like marching ants.
The pressure in the chaos swells.
Martin can hear Andhaka screaming. The beast’s voice is audible even though Mrs. Schiff is quiet.
Martin thinks, Andhaka is unsettled and disjoined from her. I should go and offer her stabilizing advice, such as, “Do not throw good money after bad.”
Martin realizes that he is tumbling through the air. He does not like it when his goggles break so he curls in his neck. He does not bother protecting his cheek from a razor-edged shard of history.
The chaos has manifested a cocoon. It would be smart to deal with that but instead he finds himself thinking about how best to use it to tease Jane.
It’s really important to tease Jane in a crisis because she is so hard to freak out under normal conditions.
He hits the ground hard.
He is rolling. His cynicism goggles, darn it all, crack. They let in just the tiniest bit of the real world’s light. It is like a slice of horrible rose in amongst the construction-paper green.
His shoulders hurt.
His hand falls on squirming dust.
He looks up.
Jane has a knife. For a dizzying moment, he imagines her showing him the treatment he had shown Bob—
Such an incredibly funny concept! It’s almost impossible not to laugh, but because he knows that’s the crack in his cynicism at work he bites it down—
And then he realizes that it is a story more than it is a knife. It is a fragment of Necessity and it is tuned to something happening right now, right this moment, somewhere in the world.
He names it. He caresses it on his tongue.
Hard on the Heels of Ink’s Legend.
Time, which he hadn’t even realized quite had stopped, starts up again.