Searle stared after him, flabbergasted. ‘The boy! We’re blind without the boy!’ And with a curse, he swung up onto the horse, and jumped it over the side, for Grif- fin must not escape, and Martin and Arno were left to beach the boat, and bring on the spike.
nly when that top was made secure did he look up, and out, and was seized by de- spair, for upon the harbour was no sign of his fellows who bore the spike. He saw the city was a vast maze and he knew his band might never reach their goal.
And he shouted, this tiny figure perched black upon a spire with the lightening sky behind, a useless sound in the vastness of this place.
Then he remembered a signal that was within reach if he but descended the ladder, and was more potent than any human voice to sound across the city, for it was the sound of God.
riffin was lost. He ran pell-mell into the city, but the road branched and forked and at every turn he was hemmed about as by a thicket, and could see no steeple, nor choose one road from another except that once he heard a chuckle, and an iron skull peeped around a corner, eyes flashing, and he veered away and did not look back except once to see men feeding it, with buckets. And he ran, and stopped, and ran on ever deeper into the rifts and chasms of the great city and ever deeper into despair.
And indeed, Connor had been carried in to the city by the sea monster, and did jump off upon a pier and sighted the Great Church, and ran to it, and had already climbed the steeple upon a ladder affixed to it, and was even now lashing trusses and a pulley to its pinnacle, and with desperate strokes, for the first blush of the approaching dawn was upon the eastern sky. . .
And about him now the lights rose up to the sky as if count- less ranks of pure souls stood sentinel on the mighty cliffs, and before him a legion of others floated and winked and waved their lights, and the boy fell himself running headlong into the great storm of the dies irae, the day of wrath, where every soul is lost amongst the millions of the dead, and the greater the glare, the more does every feature fade, and every trait grow dim.
And he stopped, helpless.
Connor! Con! And there was no reply. Yet around a distant corner now galloped Searle on the horse, and Griffin ducked away into an alley. And there he stopped, aghast, for perhaps Searle was right and this place was indeed Hell, and
if all punishment visited on sinners be suited to their sin, then those who spoke to him now were gossips and prattlers for their heads had been cut off and put in boxes, yet they talked on and did not stop even as the boy shouted his question.
‘Where’s the cathedral?’
Yet they nodded and smiled, and talked on, and Griffin turned and saw Searle, and then he screamed for the horror of this world and burst into tears.