Chapter Twenty Four – Polydactyl Prank

2 Aug

I stared at the fingers, my fingers, for a while longer and started to swirl it all around in my mind. If the ink was able to make a copy of anything, then I still could theoretically go back if I submerged myself in a bathtub of the stuff. Of course, I’d need a snorkel. But, even then, I could probably only keep going for a couple of days until I died of dehydration or ink poisoning or whatever. It’d make for a few interesting headlines, but I had no clue whether this meant that my body in the real world would die too.

Eventually, I shoved the idea to the back of my mind to use as a last-ditch backup plan. Rosie knelt next to me and took a look in the mirror before gasping and almost falling backwards. I picked up the bowl another look in the mirror. By now there was a crowd of people gathering in the street where my copied fingers had landed. I could just make out the reflection of police car lights on the kitchen windows of my house.

I cringed again – they’d probably run all sorts of tests on the fingers and conclude that I was either dead or in some horrible situation. There would be headlines, phone calls and a hundred questions if I ever came back. If I tried to explain this to anyone back in the real world, the other world, then they probably wouldn’t believe me. At the absolute best, I’d become a celebrity for all the wrong reasons.

Rosie must have noticed that I was starting to freak out because she put a trembling arm around my shoulder and said ‘Claura, everyone screws up. At least you still have your fingers in this world.’

‘Yeah, I guess. I thought it’d just be a fun prank.’ I muttered, almost kicking myself.

We stood there for about ten minutes and just stared at the mirror as the police force in the other world moved the crowd back and started calling forensics on the phone. At least I think that they were calling for a forensics team, I wasn’t that good at lip reading. Eventually, we walked back into the house and I started washing the ink off of my hand. After about ten minutes of solid scrubbing, what was left of my epidermis still looked like it had been fingerprinted a hundred times.

As I turned the tap off again, I could hear the TV through the bathroom door. How could Rosie be watching TV at a time like this? But, when I emerged from the steamy bathroom yet again, she was. It was a period drama of some kind or another, although as soon as I saw Jeremy Brett’s sharp features, I knew that it was Sherlock Holmes. I thought about saying something but, well, I just felt too exhausted, so I sat down next to her and decided to watch another detective in action. Who knows, maybe I’d even pick up a few pointers.

When the credits rolled, Rosie looked at me and said: ‘I’ve just thought of something. Those wooden models don’t seem to care about the ink. If what you said about the pub was true, then they actually managed to release some of the stuff. Maybe someone is trying to send them across into the old world? I mean, if the ink copies things, then they’d appear over there once wherever they were staying in had been filled with ink.’

A shiver scintillated its way down my spine and my eyes widened slightly. Why didn’t I think of this? Finally, I said: ‘Why would someone want to send an army of mechanical models into the real world. Hold on, an army? Oh shit…’

Rosie put her arm around my shoulder again and smiled at me ‘ You’ve been watching too many TV shows. If someone wanted to take over the world with a strange army of some kind, they wouldn’t make them out of flammable, fragile wood. Would they?’

‘Yeah, I guess it’d be like something out of crappy B-movie from the eighties.’ I could feel my icy fear thawing into warm, blushing embarrassment.

Rosie laughed loudly and I couldn’t help laughing too until a stray thought crossed my mind. I turned to her and said: ‘Hold on, the models wouldn’t die if they were left under the ink and they’d be pretty useless as an army. But, they could be useful if someone wanted them to carry out a task of some kind or other. If only we could talk to one of them, then at least we’d know what that was.’

Rosie grinned at me and said ‘You know, that isn’t a bad idea…’

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