Went and saw the place again.
Felt weird, going all the way back to those long-gone days when me and Lanesh would crawl up into the old Halliburton's Hell chimney (a quasi-natural steel formation about 20 mi east of town, this was back when there was joy in walking and my left knee wasn't wonky) and scream things into the winds. You know, just to see what would happen.
I still think we might've killed Old Vimpun that way, God rest his soul.
So, anyway, back to the subject at hand. I went back today to get an old receipt I remembered leaving in there, to prove that I'd borrowed Furtherings of a Necromantic Relationship: The Powers, Principalities, Dominions, and Don'tminions of Modern Heuristic Methodologies in Recreational Eastern Thruggion-Nymrysk And Other Lands by Prowley the Elder. Needed it to apply for the secondary banal trivialities administrator job, you see - they apparently needed it to confirm my semanto-criminal record check after Systems crashed last July. Folks are still scrambling over that one, last I checked. So at any rate I had to look for a twelve-year-old receipt lodged in an old wet ironwomb, no doubt by this point eaten by guano and faded to oblivion.
On my way I bumped into... okay, if some of you remember a certain girl I'd mentioned a while back, whom I'd known from Simulacrum 424 and Daemoniacs Practicum 3. Yeah. That one. God, she was fucking beautiful, just like I'd remembered... dazzling blond eyes, hair so calm and cold blue you could lose your soul in it. Perhaps a little more worn after the years, but it was her in more real a way than I could possibly imagine.
She wasn't angry at me. There wasn't hate in her eyes. I could have kissed her for that alone... but...
Guess what she had found while accompanying her nephew's boyfriend to a geological survey of a local ironwomb.
We exchanged phone numbers and I thanked her graciously.
There was an Interruption, and she'd disappeared before I could take her to the place and show her what the receipt was doing there in the first place.
I clomb alone up the Halliburton. I put on my mask. The wind at the top was enough to cut bone.
For a long time I sat up there, staring back at the lands of the Christ Child, where I was born and raised. Iced and frozen over, just like I remembered it, surrounded by the bleak and blackened Cocytus Tundra that kept anyone from returning. Odd, they should be covered in snow by now. Most folks blamed Bush.
Eventually I finally screwed up my courage and set myself to the task.
A tiny golden dragon flew from the receipt and dissolved into the afternoon sun.