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The most bizarre thing was how unsurprising that news was. There was some part of Septimus that was in shock, sure—a part that had been holding out hope that Sweet himself was normal, and things like the eyes, his eyes, were just the effects of this place, some kind of curse, something like that. But it was mostly drowned out by the sheer amount of evidence that had been hanging over his head, unacknowledged.
Honestly, this wasn’t even the weirdest thing that had happened tonight.
But at the same time, he didn’t want to let the strange banality of the realization make him too complacent. Even when he’d thought Sweet’s father was human, he’d known that Sweet had a poor relationship with him. Sweet didn’t even go by his first name, but instead his mother’s maiden name, and he’d avoided talking about his father whenever possible. Some of that was probably that he was apparently an eldritch abomination living in the basement of their family home, sure, of course, but it was clear, too, that he was using Sweet in some way. That it was his fault Sweet was cold, exhausted, tired—if not worse.
“Nice to meet you, sir,” he managed, keeping his eyes straight ahead as he continued down the hall. “My name is Septimus Boon and I’ve been dating your son for a few months now.”
He brought you here / he told you to leave him here / leave him here.
The voices came from all around, overlapping and difficult to pick out in their strange susurrations, coming in together only on the final here of each one. Septimus repressed a shiver and kept walking, slow and steady, like he wasn’t fighting the primal urge to break into a run, to just flee until this thing was left behind.
“I know, sir,” he said. “But he’s been in a bad way tonight and I’m worried about him. He was pretty weak when he came down here to see you, and he’s been down here longer than before. I just want him to be healthy and happy, so I’ve come to check on him. May I see him, please?”
Go back / pretend you saw nothing / or go ahead and / find him / but you won’t be able to leave.
The pitch blackness of where the eyes ended was around twenty feet away, he guessed, though it was difficult to judge distance in this place. He could tell he was speeding up despite his attempts to stay measured. “What do you mean?”
He’ll be gone soon / the part that makes him him / Sweet / Damien / gone / you’ve done a good job restoring his humanity / he struggled / but he’s just temporary
A placeholder /
/ a space to be filled.
I will awaken.
“I disagree, sir,” Septimus choked out. “He’s no more temporary than anyone else, and he’s a lot more than just empty space. And I’d like to see him and take him upstairs, if you’re done with him. I’m sure you’ll have another chance the next time he comes here, so if you’ll let me see him now—”
The echoes grew and rumbled and roared around him. The end of the corridor was still out of reach—ten feet? More, less? It was hard to think, the words pounding around him and through him, disrupting the pace of his heartbeat and the rhythm of his footsteps.
And then they fell silent, suddenly. Against his will, so did Septimus’s walk, feet rooting to the ground. He wasn’t sure whether his heart was still beating, feeling only a tight squeezing in his chest.
Or will you sacrifice yourself to me instead?
He couldn’t answer, suffocating on lack of air. Wasn’t sure he should. He’d played enough games and heard enough folktales to know the danger of bartering with something like this.
On the other hand, he wasn’t sure either would get out of this alive if he didn’t offer something.
/what will you give up/yourself/him/yourheart/youreyes/
/you want to lose the least/
/those things that make you/ human/
/what will you give me so I don’t take that last
/of what he has that has let him/
Air rushed back in. Septimus’s feet remained frozen and he willed them to move—felt, after a moment’s aching effort, his toes wiggle. The walls seemed to be moving closer now, closing in around him, in front of him. If he ran he might be able to make it to the end.
If he could run.
[Please offer actions, thoughts, or concerns for Septimus in the Comments.]
[Instructions | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | Day 14 | Day 15 | Day 16 | Day 17 | Day 18 | Day 19 | Day 20 | Day 21 | Day 22 | Day 23 | Day 24 | Day 25 | Conclusion | Author’s Notes]