To those left in 1937, they saw a sudden flash of light and felt a strange sensation, as if time and space were reknitting around them.
“I’m reknitting time and space around us,” said Kakakatak.
They could still see 1926 in front of them, the half-farmhouse with the body of Ramón Echevarría and the puzzled-looking Vince Stack and Walter Winston.
Jimmy threw Job’s ceremonial dagger at Vince Stack, as hard as he could. It would have been a difficult throw under most circumstances, let alone the wild changes in weight and momentum around the collapsing Singularity. Still it found its mark almost as if fated. Stack dropped to the ground, bleeding.
Winds lashed them. A vortex of air and dust was forming around the Singularity. There were flashes of static and a smell of ozone, a distant roaring in their ears. Everything looked eldritch and distorted.
Ruby saw a shape loom up out of the cloud—herself, whole, with a flesh and blood left arm. Somehow she knew that if she really wanted to, she could reach out and make this image of her reality.
“No,” she whispered after a long pause. “I think I’ve finally learned to leave well enough alone.”
They felt weightless. Time twisted in thrashing loops, catching them in its sinews. Geronimo found himself cast again and again to that horrible day when his brother died, each time just as powerless as the last to save Rodolfo.
Dr. Orange was cast forward in time for a while: to Oswiecim, Poland, to Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. He saw every inch of the horrors his countrymen had imagined, saw the dead piling up around him, and knew, knew that this was no vision but a premonition, that what he had seen would be true and he would have to live with the knowledge of what was to come without the power to stop it.
Mirabelle and Millicent clutched each other. “What should we do?” said Mirabelle.
“We could combine ourselves!” said Millicent.
“Do you want that?”
“No! I want you to live!”
“I want you to live to, sister!”
They fell down into darkness together.
Jimmy was alone.
Gusts of wind assaulted him. He seemed to see with doubled vision—a hell of blazing stars where some vast menace was approaching him, and his other self, battered, tossed like flotsam on this great storm of time itself.
He pulled out his rabbit’s foot and held it up. He watched it begin to fade from his sight. And he knew that this time he had truly lost it—that this time, its very existence had been undone, that all the memories he had of it—the day his sister gave it to him, the way Francis had made fun of it, the countless burns and scars a decade of adventuring had inflicted on it—were all gone now, nothing but the dried leaves of recollections locked inside his own head.
He gritted his teeth and leaned into the wind.
[So I kept track of paradox individually and as a group; these bits were me making Moves based on how much paradox each PC had received.]
Then they were back in the amphitheater. Murphy’s men were herding the crowd out. They weren’t being very polite about it.
Kakakatak was nowhere to be seen.
Hanging in space in front of them was an afterimage, slowly fading, of the 1926 farmhouse. They turned away from it, Geronimo offering his shoulder for Ruby to lean on.
There was a ripple in the air behind them. Something lashed through the air, a barbed tentacle with horrible saw-toothed edges. It drove into Geronimo’s back and exploded in a burst of blood from his chest.
The tentacle pulled back and vanished into the past.
Ruby was screaming as Geronimo slumped to the ground in a quickly spreading pool of blood. Jimmy was yelling something to Dr. Orange.
“It’s too late,” said the German. “He’s dead, Jim.”
Using all his strength, Geronimo pushed up from the ground. “No,” he said in a harsh whisper.
And a woman in a frowsy black dress was standing in front of him. I was standing in front of him.
“When it came down to it, soldier of God, you weren’t really willing to die for your beliefs,” Nyarlathotep said. “I just wanted to say, I told you so. Have a happy life. Well, unlife.”
Geronimo stood up.
“How…how…” said Ruby.
“I seem to be all right,” said Geronimo. “If in rather enormous pain.”
“He’s stable,” said Dr. Orange.
“I feel strong,” said Geronimo. “But what is my prognosis?”
“You were stabbed through the heart. But…given that you’re alive…I think…you’ll survive surgery to repair the damage, and then long enough for the wounds to heal. I might want you to come in for a grant application…”