The Chocolate Raven pours another glass of red, takes a sip and sets it down, braces both her elbows on the railing, holds up a pair of binoculars she has brought with her, and trains them on the tower. As she fine-tunes the focus, an unexpected seahorse shimmers in from the haze and stands sharp, its stony head lushly capped with a crest of mossy hairs where a pencil of moonlight hits it from above.
Easing the sight-line upwards minutely, she almost drops the glasses in shock, for there’s the Platinum Raven in one of the round brown windows, holding up binoculars directed straight at her. I SEE YOU! the latter mouths in silence, across the desert miles, then she winks and turns away.
The Chocolate Raven flicks the glasses down, alarmed and guilty: they aren’t allowed, as very well she knew. She shivers, shuts her eyes, shakes her head, puts the glasses down, leans on the rail and grows attentive once again…
Somewhere in the turret room, the Platinum Raven’s fingers find the air-conditioning dial, rest upon its circle for one second longer, and then rotate it clockwise: the pointer on the dial’s edge sweeps from 2 to 10, and the tower in the Hajar Mountains fills up with mirror mist, denser than any tower’s ever filled before.
Somewhere in the main hall far underneath her, in the softness of the billows, re-projected on a thousand mirrors, Scorpio dances on: silently, alone, without exertion and divinely, as if for all time.
Somewhere in the labyrinth of passages around him, Amber stalks: relentless, bent on destruction, without the possibility of failure or surrender.
Somewhere in the labyrinth behind or ahead of him, despairing in the mist far more than he’s ever done, hopelessly lost and endowed with a lethal sense of who is in pursuit of him, an unnamed man lives a nightmare.
Mirror mist, on full…
For more about "The Platinum Raven" by Rohan Quine, see
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