Shadow Spell

Shadow Spell by Caro King Read Free Book Online

Book: Shadow Spell by Caro King Read Free Book Online
Authors: Caro King
’appens. Which it’s bound t’ do, though prob’ly not till nightfall. BMs don’ go out in the day.’
    â€˜Yik dik.’
    â€˜Yeah, but I made a choice see, ovver BMs jus’ wouldn’.’
    Jik didn’t look convinced and Skerridge could see his point. If Skerridge could make a choice, surely so could the others? Not that they would, somehow Skerridge was sure of that.
    Skerridge burped loudly, fished around in his teeth and then spat out a small silver disc with the name‘Tuffin’ on it in curly letters. Jik sent him a look and then turned his gaze to the flickering TV screens next door. The many images were now showing an interview with a senior police official who looked pale but calm and who was answering a battery of questions from the press.
    He sighed. Skerridge was right. Nothing more was likely to happen here until nightfall.
    â€˜Well,’ said Skerridge cheerfully, scratching his ribs under his fancy waistcoat, ‘time fer me t’ be movin’ on.’
    Jik glared.
    â€˜Le’s face it, yer perfectly suited t’ standin’ in one spot impersonatin’ a statue an’ watchin’ over fings. An’ I’m perfectly suited t’ superspeedin’ back ter the Drift t’ look around an’ see wha’s goin’ on.’
    Jik glared some more.
    â€˜Tha’s the spirit. Keep that up an’ no one’ll buy ya!’
    The air fizzed. Jik glared at the empty space where a bogeyman used to be, then he switched his gaze back to the block of flats across the road, heaved a sigh and stood guard.

    In the Sunatorium, Mr Strood was getting even more things done.
    Below Jibbit, who was still watching through the Sunatorium’s crystal roof, a large barrel of blood had been added to the bizarre collection of things in the wood. It stood to one side and was already covered incrowsmorte grown from the single bloom Strood had thrown into it a short while earlier. Guard Stanley, who was topping up the blood with a couple of bucket loads, had a job finding a gap to pour through. And as soon as the fresh blood tipped into the barrel, the whole thicket of blooms quivered and rippled, as if they were one great body sucking up the gore. And growing. Unfurling new blooms and putting out more shoots. Spreading.
    Jibbit shuddered. He didn’t have any blood, but even so, he knew what it meant to a Quick to lose it all. He wondered how many humans and animals would be bled dry to feed this growing crop and where Strood would get them all from.
    â€˜That will do for the present,’ said Strood cheerfully.
    He was settled in his armchair, one silk-clad leg crossed tidily over the other, his quartz eye glittering with satisfaction. He went back to studying the bottle on the table beside him. It was full of a golden liquid, shot through with dark ripples. Essence of Tiger-Man.
    In the machine, the remains of the original tiger-man bore no resemblance at all to the exotic creature of this morning. Its vitality and spirit had been distilled out of it and all that was left was a dried-out yellow skin with a few pale stripes. Scribbins was gingerly gathering it up to put in a sack, handling it carefully in case it crumbled into dust and got all over the place.
    As he studied the essence, Strood hummed thoughtfully. It was the sort of hum that meant he was ready to move on to the next stage of an interesting experiment.Hearing it, Scribbins paused in his work and shuddered.
    Strood got to his feet. He picked up the bottle carefully, carried it from the small table to the workbench and set it down again next to a beaker of blood.
    â€˜A bloom, Scribbins.’
    Scribbins laid down the sack and went to pick a crowsmorte flower. He didn’t have to go far. By now the plant was spreading across the Sunatorium floor. He took the bloom over to Strood who had opened the bottle and drawn off a syringe full of golden liquid.

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