To The Bounds of Deepest Water
He thought of the cold between the worlds and the sterile necessity of flight as he painted the walls of his ship with blood. The metal had been coated with a greenish plastic, very light like the petals of a leaf, as an improvement over the bright dead-white of the padded chambers where they slept.
The blood was fresh and dark and it ran in small rivulets down the plastic walls as his fingers drew shapes that his dreams had imagined. He tried to catch them as they ran and smeared roadways along the borders of his art. The blood would be black soon with no flys, no bugs, no larva in this lifeless metal box that was his home.
His ship, of which he was not captain, instead, imprisoned by a terrible duty, it was a tomb. Inside were the ranks of sleeping dead, their frozen coffins ringed about the circling outer hull. Inside, deeper, were the halls of the awakened who would wake no more. Deepest still at the roof of his circling world were stored the seeds of the future; flora and fauna, man, woman, animal and plant; all ready for the new Eden, and he was the burning sword.
The blood was hot as he drew it from the long wound on his arm. The others had fought him at the end but his injuries would not kill him; little could, so little of flesh was left to him, but humanity he still jealously possessed. His fingers traced the outlines of the world the left behind and as he painted he began to hum.
Time passed, much, much time, but the sequence was all wrong.
"Gill!" the man called to the darkened room lit only by the white-blue of the machines. He called again and only the distant thrum of machinery that should have been silent responded.
Samuel Clemes pushed himself to his knees, he'd fallen from the Ice Box and found himself on the ceiling, or what should have been the ceiling, amid a tangle soft metal conduits that had been pulled from between the walls. They were too soft. almost plastic, and the folded about him in bends and creases clutching at his legs in an imploring tangle of wrongness.
For a moment darkness overtook him and he was violently ill, painful spasms trying to bring up bile that his disused digestion did not contain wracked him. He wiped his dry lips with the back of his hand while his throat burned at the strain and he laughed suddenly at the pang of hunger he was not supposed to feel.
There were five boxes on the new ceiling. Four blinked green while the fifth was red and empty and black. By stretching Samuel could run his fingers across the pad of keys as it waited for the nunbers, but he hesitated.
Maneuvering across the gutted ceiling in the darkness was difficult and he fell more than once as he made his way to the wall. He ran his hands along it till he felt it move beneath the pressure and then leaned with his outstretched hands with all his strength. The wall clicked and the panel slid aside.
With both hands he felt inside the opening and pulled the top panel free, beneath it a motor whirred into life and hummed a song sweet to Samuel's ears. A creature of plastic, wire and metal fell free. It began its fall as a black square but as it fell its edges came apart like writhing serpents, light appeared along its length and at its center was a globe that admitted a gentle light which filled the room.
Samuel gasped at the carnage revealed as the light from the Dog showed him the extent of the destruction around him and the flaking images scrawled on the walls in long dried smears.