A framed portrait on a wallpapered wall features a very young Ray standing next to a seated Gulliver Vatticus.In Chapter 28, Dora performed psychometry on Gulliver Vatticus‘ wedding band:

She saw a cozy, well-appointed lounge or study. There was a brick fireplace, a mahogany table with three matching chairs, an antique sideboard, and a flight of stairs heading up.

A man sat at the table. It was Gulliver Vatticus. Clean-cut, clean-shaven, in his prime. He was in normal clothes, not his fancy red armor. Dark pants, white shirt, black tailcoat. He was wearing spectacles, even. He looked surprisingly… normal.

And the scene itself was weirdly domestic looking, because Gulliver sat at the table with a little boy. The kid was around 8 or 9. Pale and thin. His head was a little too big for his body, and it looked like his joints were kind of messed up. He hid his eyes behind a mop of dark black hair. It was Ray. A young Ray.

Gulliver was running his thumb along his wedding ring. It was clear that this had become some sort of obsessive action for him. “Hey, kiddo. What do we say?”

Little Ray said, “Thema is a hateful old witch.”

They both smiled. Secrets have power, and this was their secret mantra. And it had been for years now.

“That’s right, Brayden. She is a hateful old witch. So what are you doing today? Where are you going?”

“Down by the lake, I think.”

“Oh, yeah? Both of you?”

“Uh-huh.”

“All right. Well, whatever you do…” And he leaned in close. “You stay away from that house at the end of Market Street. That’s not for little boys. It’s too scary. You hear me?”

Little Ray nodded, but it was obvious that that was the first place he’d now go.

Vatticus continued, “And, say… since you’ve been such a good boy this week, I’ve gotta little present for you.” He pulled out a small vial of deep blue liquid.

“What is it?”

“Special juice. Very sweet. And fizzy, too. It’s fun! It’s Fun Juice. Like Miss Melisenn likes to drink, but this is for kids. I know that hateful old witch doesn’t tolerate any sweets in the Guest House, so don’t tell anyone. In fact, why don’t you drink it down by the lake?”

And little Ray smiled and nodded. And little Ray left.

And when he was gone, Gulliver smiled. And Gulliver ground his teeth; he ground them so hard Dora was surprised they didn’t shatter.

First Reference: Chapter 28
Other Notable References: Chapter 33, Chapter 39, Chapter 73

 

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