The Eights’ Shift, Stories

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      And Opening.

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      The scene was recreated, the characters had not disappeared… They were only shifting.

      The cloud puffed words out:

      “mouse escape sort library getting silly
      finally play gloria added sometimes coon
      speak skull try mongoose open later read
      otherwise mad”

      Note to self: premature shifting can be traumatic.


      “It may have been the sudden change of environment, but Leörmn had great difficulty at staying focused.”

      Aspidistra Merryweather, suddenly disconcertingly finding herself in a completely different place, with a new name and an unfamiliar body, was marginally relieved to discover that the wonderful synchronicity of the random quote selector hadn’t changed.

      “Thank heaven for small mercies” she muttered to herself, fully aware that mercies and heaven were self made, as were sudden changes of environment. “I’m not called Aspidistra for nothing, after all. I have in built capablities for growing well in the dark”


      Aspidistra’s parents had thought long and hard about what to call her. In fact, until she was 5 years old they referred to her simply as “the sprog”. One day Mrs Merryweather, a keen gardner, was admiring her Aspidistra elatior plant which seemed to grow so abundantly despite the most adverse conditions. She mentioned this to Mr Merryweather in passing.

      Just like our Sprog, he chuckled, look at her. She is twice the size of the other kids her age, and we don’t hardly have to feed her at all.

      It was years later that her ability to glow in the dark was discovered.


      Of course Aspidistra’s qualities, although unique, were not particularly useful when it came to gaining paid employment. She lamented this fact at some length to her best friend Dick Tator. Dick did his best to console the distraught Aspidistra, even offering to teach her to speak in a more posh accent, but to no avail. She was inconsolable.

      I am going to hell in a handbasket! she cried. I am completely unemployable! Will I sink to the lowest level of society? To a world without money or moral obligation?

      It seemed decidedly odd to Dick that his friend believed that she created the very heavens, yet could not create a job for herself.

      What is it you would love to do above all else, dear Aspidistra? asked Dick gently. For he was a kind hearted soul, deep down.

      Without hesitation Aspidistra replied, I would like to sing songs! songs of joy! songs that make people dance!


      When Aspidistra woke early the following morning she lay still in the darkness. Holding up her arm she used the faint golden glow her skin gave off to read the time on her bedside clock. 4.44 am!

      She remembered the advice Dick had given her when she shared her dream. Dear Dick, she had fully expected him to laugh at her foolish fancies.

      When you wake up in the morning, take a deep breath. Sing the song of joy that you are here! Dick Tator

      Feeling a little foolish she took a deep breath, opened her mouth wide and ….. out came a high pitched shriek.

      I sound more like a squawking magpie than a song bird, she thought disconsolately.

      Gloomily she switched on the television where a muscular looking man was attempting to balance an oven on his face.


      Unfortunately Aspidistra couldn’t remember the dream that she had told Dick. I wish I could remember it, she muttered to herself. I suppose if Dick suggested I sing the joys of life upon awakening that it must have been an unpleasant dream, she mused, and as such it’s perhaps not terribly important that I recall it.

      “What are you mumbling about now, Aspidistra?” groaned Philodendron, her sister. “It’s hard enough to get some sleep as it is with you glowing all the time; if you’re going to keep mumbling as well, well, it’s just not fair!”

      “I wasn’t even speaking aloud, Phil!” retorted Aspidistra, stung at the unfairness of the accusation. “You shouldn’t be listening in to my thoughts in the first place, you nosey parker.”

      Philodendron sighed and rolled over, pulling the blankets over her head in an attempt to block out the glow and the mental chatter bombarding her from every direction. I really need to learn how to block all this, she thought, I can’t seem to get a moments peace anymore.

      “You’re right, you do, Phil” replied her sister.

      AARRGGHH!” Phil shouted. “Don’t keep answering my thoughts, they’re private! Bugger off!”


        The fact of the matter, if indeed there was a such a thing as a fact, was that Elizabeth needed to sort out her probable selves. They were constantly overlapping and it was causing a great deal of confusion. She decided to reinvent herself completely, starting with a new name.

        She sat quietly chain smoking as she pondered possible names.

        ‘Just choose a short one this time, one that’s easy to write. It really doesn’t matter what name you choose, but in the interests of ease, just make it short.’

        Ann sat quietly chainsmoking, wondering where to start.

        ‘Perhaps you should go back to bed’.

        Ann sighed, feeling tired and disillusioned at the unexpected changes. It felt like too much effort to start afresh, as if the disruptions and changes everywhere were permeating her own private sanctuary, and stray random thoughts now had no easy path towards release, that they would be bogged down and hampered with new details, and new explanations.

        ‘You don’t have to write anything.’

        But there was so much to say!

        ‘Try listening instead’.


          “Speaking of infinite details,” said Björn who was watching a circus program with a muscular looking man who balancing his contortionist partner who was attempting to balance plants on her face.

          “What?” said Iris who was already dozing on the couch.

          “Sorry dear, I was just talking to myself, have nice dreams”, he said, stroking gently her freckled face.

          He continued in his head, slightly dozing off himself.

          “One two, one two. Testing the acoustics… Sounds good.”

          “Funny how these thoughts come in and out… It occurred to me something funny.”


          “Can you add a plush toy in your dream?”
          “Oh sure darling. What kind of?”
          “A baby aardvark”


          Björn wasn’t very comfortable yet, he started to toss and turn until he realized he was seated on Iris’ plush aardvark. He fondly placed the little soft thing in Iris’ arms and returned to his thoughts.

          “There, it’s inserted…”
          “Now, your reality can be viewed to some extent as the most complex, yet the most simple of assemblage. You may liken it if you will to a room with mirrors (*). Ancient Indian mystics have spoken of Indra’s net where droplets of waters are each reflecting all of the other ones; these are the same images.
          It is not new information to you, the fact that you are seeing your reflection in your world, or that it is a sort of illusion reflecting you, but this is not the point we want to highlight here.

          Consider that the room in which you are is reflected an infinite amount of times in every direction. In a sense, they are all the same. They are you. Now, we come to the interesting part. You may very well decide to explore the room next to you with its shining details, by going through one of these mirrors. Some individuals quite enjoy such explorations, they call it past or future or even probabilities, other dimensions etc. And by moving into the next room, it becomes their present.

          You now realize that you have not really moved, since all rooms reflect only you. And you may want to continue in the direction you are exploring and go into more rooms. It’s alright. But some individuals realize that all rooms are equivalent, and that from where you stand, you can view the point you wish to explore in one part of the mirrors reflections. This is being present. You shift your attention, and expand your vision of the tiny part, rather than moving towards it with great efforts.

          Now, when you are dreaming, the very nature of dreams is the same. It gives you a whole fractal hologram to ponder. You may get carried away by wanting to remember all the tiny details, because in doing so, what you are doing is simply opening rooms upon rooms upon rooms. And more details will be created for you! Or you can simply realize that the details are all contained within your feeling of being present, and standing in the middle of one of these rooms, and not one of them is more important than the next.

          Connect to your feeling, and all the natural movements of your explorations will be automagically connected. And we bid you a nice fractal dream exploration.”


            “The fellowship didn’t know it was possible…”

            What was possible?

            “The fellowship didn’t know it was possible that the publication be suspended for a moment.”

            What does that mean? Where and who am I?

            “A new babe essence… at least in this particular blink.”


              The transitory times were hectic, to say the least, though it did not always appear as such for everyone involved.

              For focuses, still living at the helm of the Shipft, riding the turbulent waves of change, it was a very delicate period.
              The last wave had propelled them very far in a short time, and they had rejoiced that their promised new land was in sight. Finally.

              But little did they know that the land in question was only still a reflection of the old. They had created it to let themselves rest, and spew out their stress, their anger and frustration, while behind the curtains the activity was intense with the careful and barely noticed moving of props.

              Sometimes, the riders of wave had glimpses of that movement. But it still felt as if they were left on their own. Most of the activity seemed to have shifted to other grounds, and that was a ground they didn’t realize they had access to already.

              Like the rainbow Bifröst leading to Asgard, all these bridges between the realms would soon start to crumble. It wouldn’t be possible to have one foot here and another there, not any longer.
              Choices will be made.
              They are being made.

              And then, the Circle of power, the one Ring will be melt into a burning core of ‘lova’, and the Shite will be healed and shifted. (well, tentatively heehee)


                “This is a powerful combination, and will do well for this time.”
                “I agree, and they will have a hard time not to notice it.”


                  Col had been in the business of intergalactic sleuthing and profiling for many years now and his tall broad stature and kind, poised black face was well known all around. They used to call him “the Zebra”, not so much because he made black and white statements —he was very nuanced— but because of his unusualness and knack for blending himself in questions.
                  As a matter of fact, he’s made himself quite a reputation of a highly skilled professional, with no one up to par for finding clues and solving mysteries.

                  Col Umbro’s motto was “all you have to do is to ask the right questions, in the right order.”
                  Of course, he wouldn’t tell which way was the “right” one and which was not. But one thing was sure enough, most people completely overlooked the last part of the sentence.

                  And that was what he intended to teach to his next assignment. A distant focus of his essence in mid-shift. For the moment, dream projections were the easiest and safest way to catch their attention, because they were not accustomed to a shifted state enough to pay attention to more physical projections.

                  It was hilarious to see that most of the enthusiastic ones were waiting for unexpected events to come and rapture them in awe. Sillies… For one, “unexpected” shouldn’t be so… expected.
                  Besides, most of the time, (most of the now) people were simply blind to the facts not in alignment with their allowance for disbelief. A pink elephant, say… They had grown so blasé that should they even see it standing in from of them, that they would probably then dismiss its appearance as another miracle of genetics (or debasement thereof)…
                  So, reaching them would actually require quite a tactful and sly approach. Qualities he possessed enough.

                  “Who’s this new person appearing disguised in a pseudonym?” His assignment was wondering.

                  They had forgotten rule number one. Nothing is hidden from you. Granted, a pseudonym is a mask, but the choice of the mask is revealing enough of a clue.
                  Then, you had to ask the questions in the right order. “Who is it?” should be the last of them all. Same with all the “how’s”. “What and why” where more important questions to consider.
                  Once you got the “what”, the who is so self-evident, that it would not even retain the slightest of interests…

                  He had found a nice slot, just after an entertaining equilibristics dream show. Making a dream for his assignment would be fun. And probably even more fun as she was the most impossible subject who wouldn’t remember dreams at all! He would have to use a proxy dreamer. Someone close enough to her. He knew exactly who to choose…


                  I don’t remember dreams at all unfortunately, she confided, her voice lowered. But, on the bright side, the DMT I have been taking is helping me to see aliens and little people.

                  Her close friend Harvey Norman, circus performer and proxy dreamer in his spare time, nodded distractedly, not really listening. He was more concerned at that moment with investigating any visible damage to his precious nose. Freakin heck! a freakin oven! what would the producers come up with next?

                  Oh you know what! she continued, unperturbed by Harvey’s lack of attention. I’m pregnant! I’m so excited. I have a name picked and everything. I am going to call it Essence. The Fellowship said I could pick it up next week!

                  Oh yeah? The Fellowship said next week? That’s pretty cool. Didn’t know you were after a baby. They are a bit hard to come by now aren’t they? So who is the father donor?

                  None other than the great Col Umbro himself! She smiled proudly, anticipating the effect her words would have. She was not disappointed.

                  Wow! Col Umbro! The Zebra! Harvey stopped the investigation of his nose in order to shake his head in disbelief. How did YOU manage that?

                  Oh, well you know last week when I had that interview with Ann Tattler? you know, the crazy author who doesn’t write any more, just listens?

                  Harvey noodded and roolled his eyes disparagingly. Used to be Elizabeth right? yeah sure, who hasn’t heard of her… so, go on …

                  Well, HE was there, and he suggested I ask him some questions, you know to assess my suitability for the position. Somehow, by some freakin miraculous fluke, I managed to get the questions in the right order .. he is a bit obsessed with the whole order thing …. but I didn’t know that till after … so anyway, he was so impressed with my obvious brilliance that he offered to father a baby for me!

                  Harvey, rendered momentarily speechless, shook his head again. He had never had much time for babies himself, although appreciated that some people were into

                  Yeah, I know what you mean, she said, reading his thoughts. Actually I am not sure if I have really thought it through. I might have got caught up in the whole thrill of the moment thing … to be honest, I don’t know if little Essence will fit into my lifestyle. I am supposed to be going to Asgard next week …

                  Asgard? Really, can you still get through? I thought the bridge was crumbling?

                  oh really! bugger! … Oh but anyway I am thinking of giving little Essence to my cousin Aspidistra. She is such a funny old thing with her strange glowing skin. A little baby to care for could do her the world of good.


                  Harvey was thinking if anything had escaped his friend’s keen eye for details…
                  She was so good at it that his attempt was only futile and hopeless.

                  He gave a distracted look at the menu of the restaurant.
                  He’d kept getting the strangest reads recently by “mis-understanding” other people’s words, in an entirely bizarre yet funny and enlightening way. Like when his friend talked about Bifrost, he first thought she was talking about getting roasted beef.

                  Speaking of which, the menu was saying (so he first read)

                  “pig bed wonder
                  hairy expect reason liked universe
                  behind certain Tina doctor busy light individual”

                  “Oh, egg Benedict for starters” she said, “sounds just great”
                  “What? Why did I read ‘pig bed something?’” he muttered to himself.
                  “Pig?… Did you just say ‘pig’? I am sure that is a synch… can’t remember what though… Piggy I have to remember”

                  Harvey noticed that he had seen pigs recently as well. The first occurrence was after a crappy condition, about recycling pigs’ waste to make gas; and the other was about a pig feeding piglets on the road.


                  Oh! That’s right! that’s what I meant to tell you .. she exclaimed.

                  What? … oh and what IS your name, anyway? asked Harvey. We are such close friends, I sort of feel I should call you something.

                  Lavender ..funny, I thought you knew that .. well anyway, I forgot to mention, when they asked me what breed I would like for Essence I asked for a piglet. I asked for one with black and white stripes to take after Col. They are so cute aren’t they, and smart too! I hope Aspidistra likes pigs though …


                  Harvey wondered for a moment why he’d thought he’d heard “Sylvander”… He made Lavender repeat her name to be sure he got it right.

                  At least, that was easier to remember than Aspooh’s full name.

                  A striped cute little piggy… He’d heard about those funny Japanese Tokyo X ones. Speaking of Xs, there was a ten steps list to remember to help him out of procrastinating further on his current task that Lavy had kindly sent to him, but bugger if he could remember any one of them…

                  Now… if that were to be a Japanese pig, they would have to learn how to say ‘Essence’ in Japanese:-?


                  Speaking of sex? Lavender’s ears perked up. Oh X! He was speaking of X. Now SHE was mishearing … or mis-mindreading to be more accurate. Pity, sex sounded more interesting than all this X business. She did wish Harvey wouldn’t call her Lavy, for obvious reasons, she would have thought. No wonder in the 6 years they had been friends she hadn’t told him her name.

                  Speaking of names … do you think Essence is a good name for a pig? she asked, hoping to get Harvey off the rather boring subject of procrastination. She would speak of X later, maybe … if she had time.

                  Maybe I should let Aspidistra name the pig?

                  Harvey wasn’t paying attention. He was balancing the waiter on his nose.

                  You know I might have to go through the portal if the bridge to Asgard has crumbled, Lavender mused, to no-one in particular.


                  I think Aspooh is too busy mourning her cat which she had embalmed and mummified to pay any attention to the piglet (it be).

                  “Did you know that ancient Egyptians shaved their eyebrows in sign of mourn when the family cat died?”

                  What do you think of “Cellar door” as a name? Some eminent linguist has proposed it was the most beautiful association of nouns in the whole English language…

                  Now, Lavender was puzzled; why in the name of all the angels’ choir, Harvey was speaking of nun associations? Soon he’ll be talking of peanuts at that rate…

                  This whole Shifting business was definitely taking its toll on uncanny understandings…


                  Lavender stared at Harvey in alarm. He had put the waiter down and was rambling incoherently, head jerking in small sharp movements, eyes too shiny.

                  His eyes. Something dark seemed to be emerging from his eyes.

                  Lavender threw herself at him, and grabbing his massive shoulders attempted to shake them vigourously. In actual fact he didn’t budge.

                  GET OUT OF HIM! she shouted instead.

                  What are you doing? asked Harvey after he recovered from his initial shock.

                  Oh sorry. You sounded weird. I thought you might have been taken over by aliens.


                    “You can laugh Philodendron, but what on earth am I going to do with a piglet?”

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