“Yes you are,” David said bluntly. There was no point in sugar coating it. The image of Paul didn’t flicker, if anything it became brighter, more solid. “You died and were eaten by a squid. I don’t know how it works but somehow your soul has been preserved by it, and you’re able to take control of the squid.”
“I don’t look like a squid,” Paul stated looking at his body.
“Somehow the squids can appear however they want, usually as the person who’s driving the carriage so to speak,” David tried to explain. Paul looked just like he had the last time he saw him. Frock coat, waist coat, breeches, boots, tricorn hat on a head of graying brunette curls. Paul clutched his head.
“So… noisy,” Paul groaned and suddenly flickered and was Mitch again, who stood up.
“The strong ones are the visible ones?” David asked Mitch who picked up his spear.
“Yes, we’re the loudest, strongest minds,” Mitch answered. David didn’t mention that he’d just seen Paul. So Paul was strong enough to take over.
“I need to be alone,” David stated and turned to walk towards one of the large mine tracks. This one was built of wood and had been painted white at one time.
“You’re never alone, not anymore,” Mitch called after him, “You’ll hear us, forever.” David didn’t responde and kept walking it. It was the voices he was listening to.
“I’m so alone!”
“I don’t know where I am.”
“Is anyone there?”
Intermingled with the distinct voices were just the sounds of screams and sobs. David discovered he could listen to one for a moment, then shove it aside. He had tried to answer a few with his own thoughts but he never seemed to get any legitimate replies. At the base of the supports of the tall mine track, David sat down in the grass, well, his projection gave the impression of sitting down in the grass.
“Paul?” David asked outloud. He waited, no response from the voices. “Paul?” He tried again.
“David? Is that you?” Came the whisper in his ear.
“Yes, it’s me,” David replied.
“Where are you? I can’t see you… I can’t see anything,” Paul asked trying not to sound concerned.
“We have a mission to do,” David stated. There was an idea buzzing around his head among the roar of voices. Dr. Schwertfeger had said that David would be able to control the other squidlings, but he didn’t know how, and there was this urge, this compulsion to get above the clouds. He needed to be bigger, he needed more mass. He needed other squidlings to join him, to merge with him. “We need the DNA of the Cloud People.” Before he had been a squidling, David had no idea what DNA was, but somehow in the back of his mind, among the voices, someone had answered and explained what DNA was. It was how someone explained to him that the squidling he’d been talking to was named Mitch.
“Beware of Mitch,” whispered a voice, not Paul’s.
David closed his eyes and concentrated. He listened not to the voices that were in his head, he listened for the ones not there. He realized that those who were dominating the mind of a squidling were not among the screams and wails and jabbering in his head.
“COME!” The command exploded out from him mentally in a wave, like ripples in a pond. Suddenly squidlings began to show up, they had dropped their human projections and were in fact just squid floating through the air. Floating towards him. As the touched him, he could feel them merge together, as the seams disappeared between each of their limbs, some screamed in pain or fear but none stopped to escape. Faster and faster the squidlings merged and formed a much larger, much more massive squid.
It reached a point though as soon as the squidlings were merging, they were falling back off. They would turn and try to merge again, only to have other fall off like stones falling down a mountainside. David didn’t feel he was large enough to reach above the clouds yet, but it seemed his mental control of the squidlings had its limitations.
“I need help,” David’s voice now boomed through the theme park. He wasn’t seeing it at an uneducated cloud person, he was absorbing the knowledge of the squidlings as he absorbed them.
“I will help you,” came the voice of his brother. David could hear the minds of those trapped within the squidlings, but he couldn’t seem to talk to them, they didn’t hear him. He suddenly felt Paul, as a presence within him. Their minds touched, their minds merged, and the squidlings weren’t falling off anymore, they were merging and David’s size doubled, quadrupled. He looked down, now taller than the roller coasters. Standing in the grass he could see Mitch, the squidling had not merged with him. What made Mitch different? What made him independent? What caused him to disobey? David’s first thought was to kill him, except that Mitch’s mind was still preserved in all the squidlings. If David took this vessel away, then Mitch would just emerge and break off. No David would let him live, maybe he’d serve a purpose. David floated over him, past him and up towards the clouds.
The Cloud People had always had a myth about the Sky Kraken. It wasn’t until David became the Sky Kraken that he realized there wasn’t a Sky Kraken. The clouds were still too much for him, and he could only get his tentacles above them. He could see through the clouds, though everything was slightly hazy. He saw the ships flying around and the island floating. He could see the Rainmakers built into their bases, and after centuries they were still working. The Cloud People couldn’t see the Rainmakers and never once tried to explain why the landmasses floated. He sensed the people more than seeing them. With Paul inside of him, merged with his mind, he had a particular fancy for Louella, and he explained it easily that was simply his brother’s love for his wife bleeding through him. He had gone to the Wondering Holm first, looking for her.
David knew his job, knew his duty, it was programmed into him, and though David wanted to fight it, he had to bring the Cloud People back to the surface. Life was waiting for them, along with the 6 billion minds within him. There was a chance to be born again, a biomechanical reincarnation. The only way for it to be successful was for all life on Earth to be wiped out. Dr. Schwertfeger had already thought or known that if any biological humans remained, then there would be a war. So David, now had a task to eat every man, woman and child above the clouds.