The interior of the Fly-boat was a bit like a Tardis, in that it was very much bigger on the inside than it appeared from the outside, and quite a different shape, too. While the exterior of the fly-boat resembled a cross between a duck and a bee, the interior was circular. There was a high point in the centre of the ceiling, and richly embroidered tapestries draping down to the floor in sumptuous folds, looking for all the world like a yurt.
Yukailli Airlines has a decidedly exotic and oriental air, Dory thought as she perused the in flight magazine, which was written in a charming but indecipherable script resembling the Voynich Papers.
“This is your captain speaking” a disembodied voice boomed. “Welcome aboard! My name is Ignoratio Elenchi, and I trust that you will have a most enjoyable flight with Yukailli AirBoats. There will be no obligation to fasten your seatbelts and you may smoke all through the flight. Our cabin crew will be preparing Vedic Stew over an open fire in the central area of the craft at 11:11. For your in-flight entertainment, up on the open air flight deck there will be a continuous light show by Aurora Borealis. If you want us to stop the flyboat at any point to take snapshots” continued Ignoratio, “Please don’t hesitate to ask.”
“Lady T’Egg, Sir Coon sends his apologies and wishes to inform you that he has been called unexpectedly away and will no longer be able to join you for dinner this evening” the butler ceremoniously announced. T’Eggy noticed Finnley’s eyes on her bulging pocket, somewhat inappropriately, she thought. Her previous butler, Harring, had been much more discrete. There was something fishy about Finnley. T’Eggy couldn’t put her finger on it — Finnley appeared to be the perfect butler ~ his credentials were impeccable — but there was more to him than met the eye, of that she was sure.
“Would M’Lady like dinner brought out to the… ahem… Potting Shed?” asked Finnley, raising an eyebrow disdainfully.TracyParticipant
“I want to go home”, sighed Jose. “I just want to go home.” He sighed again as he stood looking out of the cabin. What a mess it all was. Cyclone Ycart had left a trail of mangled wreckage in her wake, but it wasn’t just the devastation on the island, it was the atmosphere, the feeling of chaos, the sense of hidden turmoil permeating the place that made him weary and homesick.
“Oh, bugger the treatments!” Jose frowned. “I don’t think I want the treatments any more, you know.” He looked at Paqui’s face. “I never even notice your skin anymore, I like it just the way it is. I don’t even worry about my scars any more, either.”
“I know what you mean” Paqui smiled. “I’m not worried about it either, anymore. I’d like to go home too now. The question is, though, how do we get off this god forsaken island?”
Jose sighed again. “God only knows”
Paqui took Jose by the hand and led him back inside the cabin. “Remember what I was telling you about the ancients dreaming together? How the tribe would dream together, plan where to go next? How they would work things out in their dreams? Let’s try it. Let’s go to sleep and when we wake up we’ll compare notes, and see if we can come up with a solution”
Jose smiled a crooked smile, thinking that sleep sounded as good as anything else he could think of to do. Well, perhaps there was one other thing. Jose winked at Paqui as he closed the door behind them.
When they woke up the sun was low enough on the western shore to cast long umber shadows across the cabin floor, and dust particles danced in the golden sunbeams. Jose woke first and lay still, savouring the remnants of dream images. He felt good; the indescribable sense of having accomplished some meaningful communications with known but elusive others that he couldn’t quite put his finger on, yet couldn’t deny the validity of. It was some minutes before he remembered the plan to dream of a solution to the problem of how to get off the island, and in an instant the well-being evaporated as he struggled to recall any useful details, and frustratingly found that he couldn’t recall a thing.
“Focus on the feeling, Joselito” a voice in his head said. The voice had come through loud and clear, a deep male voice with a hint of a merry chuckle. “Ha ha ha!” The voice boomed again, as if in response to Jose’s awareness of him. An image of dusty reddish skin, swathed in indigo blue cloth flashed through Jose’s mind, and then vanished like a particle of dust moving out of the sunlight into the shadows.
Paqui was beginning to stir, and started mumbling. “The pool, the rock pool, there’s a cave under the pool, hold your breath it won’t be long and out the other side…” She opened her eyes and sat up. “There’s a pool, Jose, and under the pool there’s a tunnel. That’s how we get off the island.”
Jose frowned. “Paqui, this island is in the middle of the ocean, miles from anywhere. Even if there is a tunnel, and even if it goes anywhere at all, it would take months to get to the mainland on foot!”
“Focus on the feeling, Joselito ~ Ha ha ha!” That voice in his head again! Jose was starting to think he was going mad. Suddenly he was filled with doubts and hopelessness. Everything seemed so utterly ridiculous. God, what was he doing here on this island! Everything was crazy here. If only he could just go home!
“Focus on the feeling, Jose.” The voice was gentle now, and kind. “The feeling will take you home”.
“I don’t know what you mean!” cried Jose in exasperation. “How can a feeling take me home? It’s not logical!”
Paqui smiled a wise old smile and said “If you can’t trust yourself, dear one, then trust me for now. We’ll leave first thing in the morning.”
“But we don’t even know where the pool is! What if we can’t find it?”
“Focus on the feeling Jose, and trust that we will.”
Oh I dunno, I just don’t know what I want to do, Bea grumbled. My head’s in a fog. I’ve got hundreds of ideas, but I don’t want to do any of them badly enough to even think about starting anything. So then I try to sort a few thing out, you know, so I can bloody find things again, and I just end up with a big pile of bloody miscellaneous. It’s the bane of my life, all the miscellaneous stuff that defies categorizing. I should have been called Miss A. Laneous. I start to sort things out and then I get sidetracked; I never finish any sorting out, I just end up with more and more miscellaneous….her voice trailed off miserably.
Leo swiveled round in the computer chair, took off her glasses and glared at Bea. Bea, you know you always find what you need by trusting that you’ll find what you need when you need to find it. You’ve told me that time and time again. You’ve droned on and on about that, how you love finding ‘just the thing’ and ‘by accident’ and now you’re sitting there moaning and groaning because for some inexplicable reason ~ Leonora rolled her eyes ~ you think that having things neatly ordered would be a better way.
Well if you found what you were looking for right away, you silly cow, you wouldn’t find all those other magical bloody surprises by friggen accident, now would you?
There’s no need to be rude, Bea said sniffily.
Leo swiveled the computer screen round so that her friend could see.
“Illi sat up and surveyed her surroundings. The sky was a deep azure blue, the sun was making twinkling stars on the waters of the lagoon, a warm gentle breeze rustled the coconut palm leaves, and birds sang and twittered in the foliage. It was indeed idyllic, and Illi decided to simply enjoy it, while her new ideas formed into a reality.
Illi was enjoying a new found freedom in her contentment, in not pushing her energy in frustration, and meandered happily around the island taking mental snapshots of a thousand delightful and marvelous wonders, appreciating even the smallest most insignificant things. Time lost all sense of meaning: there were deep velvet indigo skies full of sequins, and there were abstract multicoloured sunrises and sunsets; there were cottonwool clouds in cartoon shapes suspended on a canvas of blue. It mattered not the day or night; there was no longer a sense of time passing, just a glorious collage of appreciation and beauty.”
Bea read the excerpt reluctantly, and harumphed.
The door of the garage opened with a creaking sound, and Madame Chesterhope sped up into the gritty alley.
In that dimension where she had hidden her command base, people were a bit sloppy about roads and tarmac, so she had designed a little modification on her machines to be able to levitate in some of the less practical areas; but she had to admit,… she loved the vibrations and bumps that the motorbike created with the friction of the ground surface.
She started to giggle, all enthusiastic about the speed and the wind in her hair, that she ignored the road sign indicating that the road was flooded some miles ahead. The rain had been pouring cabbages all past hexades, so much so that her leather suit was in all honesty the best thing she could have worn, not to mention the fact of course, that it was making her totally sexy.
Two peasants were coming her way, looking at her with wild eyes like they had just seen something otherworldly. Ahahah she laughed, the fools would soon have forgotten everything about it (another handy and sly magical modification she nodded to herself). Looking in her rear mirror, she could still see them wiggle their hands in a frenzy… What the fl…!
On the road, the two peasants wondered what in the name of Shaint Lejus was that rider… But worse, it was heading straight to the pool that the swollen river had made recently, outpouring on fields and little sniggly and thorny paths, like this one. Making desperate signs to be seen and warn it, they watched in horror the black podgy thing with flabby flapping schpurniatz arms sink straight to the bottom of the pool.
The landing was a bit bumpy, but she found her balance quickly. Those transdimensional puddles were a bit rough to get accustomed to, but once you knew how to manipulate it, you couldn’t forget it.
Now, all she needed to got to the location she was heading to was to hop through a few more transdimensional puddles.
Actually, all sorts of puddles could do the job, water puddles, even oil puddles… or run-over poodle puddles for that matter. She preferred water ones, for the quality of water was very fluid, and allowed for easier defocusing. Lately she had tried transdimensional exhaust fumes clouddles, but that was a bit disorienting more than helping.
As far as she could tell, this first one had been projecting her to a dimension in between Earth and the Duane. Incorporating vibrational qualities of the two, with a little more rigidity though. The machine needed a little time to stabilize and get prepared for the next transdimensional jump.
As far as she could tell, she was in a place that was not unlike her birthplace, in the countryside of England. There were occasionally some giveaways that she still wasn’t quite there yet, like an erratic flying schpurniatz, but she was close now.
A few meters in front of her, she could see a lovely puddle that could do for the next jump. A bit small for her… well, motorbike, what were you thinking… but that would probably do it. She took another breath, then pushed the TDPP (Trans-Dimensional Puddle Propeller) button.
Bugger, bugger…. What the bloody heck!
Straw was flying all over her hair, and obfuscating her vision… Darn last puddle had to much mud in it, and her concentration went off for a split second, heading her towards a field of barley.
Turning round and round for a moment in complete disorientation, she finally pushed the levitation button to take a little altitude.
Oh, now,… at least she could tell she was in England, because she knew that place.
How perfect! She could now just move into the dimension to the Pacific island. The GPS included in the modern expensive motorbike had been bipping as soon as it had found again the satellites, and it was now pointing the direction.
Giggling again, she pushed a new button and disappeared into the sky in a supersonic puff of smoke.
a few days later, Chestershire, UK
AFP - 2008-07-21 - An new amazing design has been reported by eye-witnesses on a crop of barley of a local farmer along with reports of strange booming sounds and orbs of light. A sight to behold, the delicate intricacy of these interwoven patterns is believed by many to be the work of the Crop-circle Makers, some alien intelligence desiring to communicate with us. The theme of this crop-circle is thought to be a variation on planet Venus cycles, and would be highlighting the number of cycles lefts until the notorious end-date of Mayan calendar, Dec. 21st 2012. Scientists have brushed off the allegations of elderly pranksters, as this one seemed to have required levels of astronomical knowledge far beyond human intelligence.
New Venice, July, 1 st 2035
The night was hot in New Venice at this time of the year. The weather patterns had been steadily shifting for many years, and the climate was now sub-tropical in the inundated Big Apple, as more and more people resented the usual coldness of winters, and had subjectively agreed upon a heightening of the temperatures of a few degrees.
Though accustomed to tell his body to relax, and vibrate at a lower frequency to counteract the sticky and displeasing effects of the heat, Al was finding sleep hard to find. Usually, he would attribute those moments of twitching slumberness to mass accessing of subjective information and bringing them to the objective. With the eclipse that would occur in the next weeks, those were still time of great cosmic synchronistic congruence.
Needless to say, he and Tina had been somewhat stirred by Becky’s sudden casualness, and relative abandon not only of the Reality Play but also of her three lovely first born to her friends.
People of that mysterious facility that Becky had briefly spoken so highly of had been doing a fantastic job, considering the very early birth, but still, Al had soon noticed the babies were displaying some kind of emotionless state which was eerie to observe in children that young. He had first thought of a remnant from the birth trauma, but it appeared that they were all perfectly aware, and even more than that, accutely aware of their environment to the point of displaying qualities of awareness akin to telepathy or pre-sentience.
Sam’s innate talent with the young ones had been very beneficial to them, and Al was hoping, would help them access their emotional communications as a guidance system to navigate within the immense and potentially overwhelming quantity of subjective information they were given such an easy access to.
Al woke up with a chill, sweat beading over his eyebrow.
They would come… Hybrids from their future… He remembered having met one a few years ago.
A strange bald guy with piercing eyes and strange snorting twitches on his face. One moment he was talking to him in the middle of the ramp waiting for a condocab, and the moment after, he had forgotten all of this encounter.
The guy had said intently to wait for the time when the Dream would remind them it was the Time of the Reunion.
So what was next? Aliens coming in their aluminum flying saucepans making mosquito sounds?
That sounded awfully like the outrageous rants that old Russian guy named Pasha was making years ago in the archives of Dory —which they had taken as a basis for their Reality Play…
Gosh, that dream was so vivid, it couldn’t be a coincidence… Especially since the first Hybrids to make contact all looked like they were clones of Becky!
Bea stretched and yawned, and threw the bedcovers back. The early morning sun was streaming in the windows, catching the coloured glass bottles and crystals on the windowsill and making rainbow mice scamper over the floor. Horus, the Siamese cat, crouched with tail swishing, ready to pounce.
Bea sat up and swung her legs out of bed, feeling around with her feet for her slippers; a rainbow mouse crawled up her leg.
“Ouch! For fuck’s sake, Horus!”
Horus stared at Bea, unperturbed, and then yowled, asking for breakfast.
“Come on then Horus, let’s go and put the coffee on, are you hungry? Lovely day again! I wonder if Leonora’s up yet; doubt it! Come on then, hut hut!”
Bea wasn’t sure why she always said ‘Hut Hut’ to the cat, but Horus seemed to know what she meant, and followed her into the kitchen.
“Oh, it’s Eggleton painting day today, Horus!” Bea said to the cat, noticing the big basket of eggs on the kitchen table, For the Eggleton Hunt on Thursday.
Horus yowled and twisted himself through Bea’s legs.
“Ok Ok!” she replied, and opened a can of BocaBits with Atun. For herself, she made a large mug of black coffee with plenty of sugar, and lit a cigarette.
With the third lungful of smoke, Bea recalled a strange snatch of dream, and started to sing:
One man went to mow , went to mow a meadow,
One man two man and his dog
Went to mow a meadow……
“Oh!” Bea said “I wrote something down in the night!” She went to the bedroom to get her dream journal.
“One man went to mow scattered lettuces.”
One man went to mow scattered lettuces? HUH? That doesn’t make any sense. I wonder if Leo can work it out, she’s good with clues…
Horus, having disinterestedly licked some of the juice off his Bocabits, jumped onto Leo’s lap as she typed the word lettuce into the search window. He jumped onto the desk, knocking a well worn paperback copy of Seth Speaks onto the floor, and on impulse, Leo added the words ‘Horus’ and ‘Seth’.
After hours and hours of lessons in the middle of stinky pelts in their log cabin, it didn’t take Elvira long to realize taxidermy wasn’t really her forte either.
I take it from that you don’t know where the wedding dress is currently. Well if you do come across it would you mind letting Felicity know. said Tina haughtily, switching the phone off abruptly.
Al’s words running through her head she started walking quickly nowhere in particular.
Tina, what’s the point of these experiments we have been doing with Becky and Sam if you are going to keep relying on the phone all the time? And why are you trying to sort out the dress for Felicity, it isn’t your problem.
It wasn’t the so much the words which had stung, after all he was right, it was the annoyance she thought she had heard in his voice.
She felt him making contact, quickly blocked, feeling too hurt to be open.
She knew he was tired, god knows he had put so much into the wedding preparations, as he did with all his projects. He was fast building a reputation for his ground breaking experiments with body processes. Tina loved Al whatever he looked like, which was just as well really considering some of the rather bizarre effects he managed to produce.
Becky had been a bit irritated with her as well, Tina you are so last decade, nay century even! she would say, rolling her large eyes dramatically. Becky too was racing confidently and exuberantly ahead. Her intriguing contributions to the reality play never failed to amaze Tina. Her own contributions felt stolid, words trapped in a big gluggy ball of last century energy, she had to work hard to extricate each one.
It was nearly dark, raining harder now, wind-driven rain. Tina liked it, the rain complemented her mood and disguised the self-pitying tears streaming down her face. There were very few people in the street. Just the long line of shop windows, glass faces warmly lit, overhangs offering some shelter from the rain, though it wasn’t shelter Tina was looking for.
Her long hair whipped around her face, wet blue satin clung to her slim frame.
Sam had taken off unexpectedly and suddenly to Australia. He had been gone only a few days and she missed him. Dear Sam, his wicked and irrepressible sense of humour could make her laugh even in the blackest of moods. He too was playing with new potentials, forging new and exciting paths.
The others are probably all communicating with their advanced telepathic skills right now, laughing at dumb old last century Tina, she thought morosely. In fact even last century I would have been so last century, judging by my spectacular lack of success at anything I have undertaken recently. A vision of her recent humiliation in the ballet dancing class sprang to mind. She winced and quickly blocked the distressing image of the dance teacher drawing her aside after class and gently suggesting she might try the Ancient Kuzhebar Motional Practices beginner’s class, to get some basic rhythm, before attempting the ballet. ….
An elderly woman who had disembarked at the nearby gondola stop splashed by her, and, illuminated momentarily by the street lamp, Tina felt a flash of recognition. The woman turned suddenly towards her, smiled, gesticulated with her free hand, the other was clutching a large bag, towards some distant bushes. She mouthed some words at Tina, but these were lost in the wind. Tina waved and managed a reciprocal smile.
She noticed a Positivity Robot parked in front of Samantha Lingerie, and found herself drawn towards it, 3D images of models wearing the latest in underwear fashions rotated in the shop’s window, their faces beaming irritatingly at her. These Positivity Robots had been all the rage in the early 2020’s, you did not see as many of them now. On impulse she stood in front of the robot, touched the screen, allowing it to read her energy. “negative 21” its glass face discreetly informed her. The words “I AM PERFECT” flashed up on the screen as a suggested thought pattern to implement. Tina grimaced. I wonder how low I can make this damn thing go. The idea made her giggle and to her alarm shot the meter up to a positive 12. Bugger, a bad start!
What am I going to do with myself, Mr PR, if you are so positively smart?
I AM PERFECT…. I AM PERFECT …. I AM PERFECT ….
perfectly grumpy, perfectly insecure, perfectly last decade, perfectly soaked to the skin, Tina watched as the meter climbed all the way up to 55.
She glanced at the shop window, just as a smiling model wearing a minuscule open net dress and nun’s habit rotated by. She felt an inexplicable burst of amusement as the meter climbed to 57.
Elvira was tucking into some reindeer stew left over from Becky and Sean’s wedding when she telepathically tuned into Becky’s distress signal. Chewing thoughtfully, Elvira tried to make sense of the visual imagery she was receiving. She seemed to be getting a mixed message; was it a nun, or was it a tart? She reminded herself to trust her impressions, and not discount them even if they seemed incongruous or unlikely, and accepted that Becky was indeed in some kind of tarty nun trouble. The question was, where was Becky.
Elvira pushed her empty plate away, and focused on the situation. AHA! Nutley Park, 25th bush on the left.
Right Ho, dear, shall I come and help?
And with that, Elvira, sprightly old crone that she was (and fortified with mushroom laced reindeer stew) bustled off to hail a gondola cab, carrying a large carpet bag containing a selection of hastily chosen clothing.
I am sorry, Ms Tattler, I am under strict instructions from Mr Arak that I am under no circumstances to let you in until this office has been cleaned. I will lose my job if I let you in.
Now there’s an idea! she thought, toying with the idea momentarily
Why that pompous, arrogant, supercilious proot ….. Elizabeth paused midflow to admire her vocabulary.
Finnley was quite enjoying the change of routine, and Ms Tattler’s office really was a treasure trove of interesting bits and pieces. The thick layer of dust, and were those magpie droppings? were a little off-putting mind-you. She plucked a book randomly from the shelf, and lifting the visor of her protective faceshield in order to see better, gently wiped the title clean. “I am Perfect Indeed” The author was some fellow named Erwin P Lemone who Finnley had never heard of. She picked another one, “Basic Flying Massage Techniques of the Ancient Kuzhebar, Book One for Beginners” by Jibberish E Shrale
Finnley, Elizabeth’s voice had taken on a wheedling tone from the other side of the door. Be a sweetie-pooh will you and put this note in my clooh-box. Finnley watched intrigued as a piece of paper inched its way under the locked door.
Sure Ms Tattler, where is the clooh-box?
On my office desk, next to the daily quotes. Don’t mess anything up Finnley dear, you be careful, I have very precious things in my office.
Finnley could not resist a peek but the scribbled words made no sense to her
Amanita muscaria intoxication typically produces macroopsia – Beckipooh?
13th gate and the 13th skull FEBRUPOOH 20TH 2008
The Snoot – who is he really?
ArakDr Bronkelhampton? ? ? ? WHAT IS PLAN B?????????
Her eyes fell on the daily quote for the day, that Lemone chappie again!
rainy wedding, merry marriage
She snorted derisively, He must be madder than Almad that Lemone, how silly! No wonder poor Ms Tattler seemed a bit mindblown sometimes if she reads stuff like that
It was taking longer than expected for Sanso and Zhana to find food, and they were weak with hunger when they came across the big toad. There was plenty of water; gurgling brooks and rushing streams crisscrossed their path, crystal clear with icy cool snow melt from the summer thaw. The’d found a few cow berries along the way, and they had chewed a few mushrooms but they wanted something substantial before setting off for the other side of the world. Sanso had left a trail of flourescent green cave lichen, to show them the way back to the cave entrance, which was to be their portal to Nishanti’s place.
You ask him! replied Sanso.
No, YOU ask him. Zhana was inexplicably feeling shy.
Sanso chuckled goodnaturedly, and agreed to ask toad. He stood there silently smiling for some minutes, and Zhana began to wonder just WHEN Sanso would oblige. Her stomach was grumbling and growling and she was starting to get impatient when Sanso turned and strode purposefully off to the left.
What the…..snapped Zhana. She rushed after him, angrily shouting OY! Her foot caught on a root, sending her sprawling face down amongst the mushrooms.
AAAH Ha Ha Ha! AAAHHHH Ha Ha Ha HAAAAH! OOO Hoohooo! If you could see your face all covered in blue mud and red and white spotted mushrooms, you’d laugh too!
Zhana started to cry.
There there, dear, Sanso said kindly, trying hard to stop laughing, and wiped the mess off the girls face with an old rag he found in one of his pockets. Did you know that Siberian blue mud is a much sought after beauty treatment in some places? This little mishap will do wonders for your complexion, you know.
Will it? snivelled Zhana, who had been preoccupied of late with with her adolescent skin.
Yes! There is no such thing as an accident, you know.
Well, where were you rushing off to, anyway? You promised to ask toad where to find food, and then without saying a word, you dashed off and left me!
Sanso looked perplexed. I DID ask toad!
No, you DIDN’T, retorted Zhana.
Sanso stared at her, wondering what was the matter with her. Then the penny dropped, so to speak, and he realized that Zhana was more familiar with verbal conversations, and had been unaware of the silent communication between him and toad.
Zhana, most of our conversations aren’t in words, you know, he explained gently. Listen to the non-words.
Huh? it was Zhana’s turn to look perplexed.
You do it all the time you know. You are simply not paying attention.
He winked at her, and smiled. Come on! The food is this-a-way!
After a long but uneventful ride in the yellow gondola cab, Becky stepped out onto terra firma and strolled through the park.
Various fleeting images of the wedding party flashed through her mind, and she recalled the change in Elvira after the meal. She certainly tucked into that reindeer stew, Becky mused, Had a right good scoff, she did. Funny, anyone eating four helpings of that slop would be expected to slump in a chair for an hour or two, but Elvira had sprung into life. She looked pretty good for 121 years old, but who would have guessed what a splendid dancer she was! She put the younger guests to shame with her fancy steps, and tireless enthusiasm.
And not only that, she’d really come into her own when the drunken fights started, fearlessly breaking up fights between men twice her size.
Becky felt revitalized somewhat after breakfast, and decided to go for a walk. Sean was still snoring and mumbling in bed, so she pulled some clothes out of the closet quickly and climbed into them quietly, unable to see clearly in the dark.
If the pile of wedding gifts on the dining room table hadn’t attracted her attention, she might have looked in the hall mirror, but as it was, she didn’t. It wasn’t until much later, a long way from home, that she realized what she had donned that morning.
Becky picked up the doll that Patel had given her and grinned. She couldn’t have chosen a more entertaining husband for her mother if she’d chosen him herself. He was such a delightful practical joker, a real hoot, and Becky was very fond of him. She frowned as she turned the strange doll round in her hand, not quite sure what the joke was yet. She was quite sure there would be a laugh in it somewhere though.
Well, time will tell, she murmured, and headed out of the front door to hail a gondola cab. Shivering as she waited, she thought happily of the honeymoon in Sri Lanka the following week. Becky wondered if they might extend the trip, and visit Sam in Australia.
Several days later, when the wedding celebrations had finished, nobody could remember anything about it, other than the jokes and poems. In true Russian custom, there had been ample alcohol…well, more than ample, there had been several hospital admissions from alcohol poisoning, drunken brawls and accidents.
As a Lord Wrick was driving down the freeway, his cell phone rang.
“It’s not just one car,” said Wrick, “It’s hundreds of them!”
Sheesh, sighed Becky.
As she poured herself another mug of coffee, a limerick popped into to her head.
There was an Old Crone with a beard,
Who said, ‘It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Lynx,
And a Rabbit in Pink,
Have all built their nests in my beard!’
There was an Old Abbot whose habits,
Induced him to feed upon rabbits;
When he’d eaten eighteen,
He turned perfectly green,
Upon which he relinquished those habits.
Most dentists chairs go up and down, don’t they? Al asked the wedding guests.
The one I was in went back and forwards.
I thought, “This is unusual.”
The dentist said to me, “Al, get out of the filing cabinet.”
Franiel felt an unaccustomed tiredness. The changes of late, his own indecision as to his path, were taking a toll and his spirit felt heavy. Despite the admonitions of Aum Geog to make all haste on this journey he decided to rest, and finding some soft grass under the shelter of a tree he sank gratefully down into it’s embrace.
Just a short sleep, he thought drowsily.
He was awakened by some gentle drops of rain falling on his cheek. Not knowing how long he had slept for, and seeing the darkness of the clouds in the sky, Franiel realised he had best find some shelter of a more permanent nature to wait out the storm.
Franiel, he heard his name being whispered in his thoughts, it was no louder than a clear sky, but rang as clear as any sound he had ever heard.
And Franiel followed. Though he knew not what spirit it was leading him, he went swiftly to the entrance of a cave set in the side of the hill, as though he had known of it’s whereabouts all along. Just in time, for with a deafening clap of thunder, the heavens opened.
From the shelter of the little cave Franiel looked out and felt a mixture of exhileration and awe at the power of the mighty elements he was witnessing . Though he kept his body dry, he sent his spirit out to dance in the rain, and laughing softly to himself, he at last felt the greyness of the last few weeks begin to ascend, as though lifted by the hands of angels, said the soft voice in his head.
Who are you? whispered Franiel, feeling an inexplicable and sudden longing.
It was the next day before Franiel was able to continue his journey. Making himself a small meal of bread and cheese from his provisions, checking that his precious cargo was secure in his pack, he set out feeling refreshed.
In the creaking wooden caravan slowly moving its way on the dusty roads, Twilight was lost in deep thoughts, caressing mechanically the beautiful blond wig.
She had done it almost on an impulse, but like all impulses she’d ever had, it had always felt deeply true to her core and she had gone. Now, it felt a bit strange, and too rational doubts were creeping along like viscous bugs, and she felt like judging her behaviour over and over.
Of course, her brothers, Jo the first, and then Elroy, had been supportive, but they had always been that way. Even when their first reactions were to object to what she was doing, like dancing in the saloon, her determination was always winning them easily. She had promised to write often, and she would probably be back in a year.
When the Freak Show had settled in town for a week, she had been at first almost grossed out by what was announced, and had not been her brothers to egg on her, she probably wouldn’t have been going to see them.
Pat Elson, the director of the Fabulously Great Freakus (or FGF), was a little dark-skinned man in an orange suit and top-hat, with a communicable enthusiasm and a sincere consideration for the people he called “his performers”. Very soon, rather than being repulsed by the differences, Twilight had been attracted by the way of life of these people, and was considering traveling with them as an opportunity to discover more about the world and about herself. Her inspiration to write was even tickling her fingers like an army of ants she had never felt before.
When she had said to Pat Elson that she was willing to travel and work with them, rather than laughing like he used to do, he’d taken a silent pondering moment to consider the options. Obviously Twilight wasn’t a freak herself, at least not physically freaky. But he couldn’t refuse help, as his business was growing every day. Venus, the armless woman, his best asset on the show, had been recently pregnant, giving birth to conjoined twins, and would surely appreciate two arms to give her a hand… so to speak.
So he had agreed.
The babies started crying in the caravan drawing Twilight out of her reveries. Venus was sleeping nearby, still exhausted, and Zarafina, the giraffe-woman, started to groan annoyed by the noise.
Twilight hurried to cuddle the babies, checking that they were alright. All was right, they were probably only bugged by the bumps in the road. No wonder… she sighed.
— Where is your bloody friend?
Armando was muttering again, growing impatient and agitated he couldn’t appreciate stillness. He was “so busy” as he was pleased to remind his friend. Sam was rather amused and held his friend in great affection. But at times it could be very irritating.
— We’re going to be late. I have another appointment in 2 hours, and it is in Boston. Not that my new car can’t do that…
He looked at Sam, waiting some kind of approbation or validation, maybe was he looking for awe. But Sam wasn’t impressed at all. He could be in Boston and in Botswana at the same time… well not yet physically in both but he was getting better at it. It was not so important now to be all physically focused in one place and time… or rather to block the recognition of the other places and times one was focusing on. Well he was lost in his thoughts, waiting for Becky.
— It’s quite… Yellow , Al said in a neutral voice.
I told you, Armando is not yet familiarized with telepathy.
— What? You think I can’t do it with my new car?
Sam had no idea of what Armando was talking about. Since he had bought this new gadget, he only had one thread of converstation available. Though Becky and Tina were quite eager to try this new technological progress. Becky almost fell into Canal Street’s dark water last time she went to see her friend Yang Tsung, her Chinese herborist, in a gondocab. She was looking for some hair growing potion, and she left with some new preparation to help her regain her balance.
Becky was late, and it was quite unusual… well most of the time she was not.
Sam and Al joined their thoughts and opened themselves to her energy, all they could grasp was about some nine tailed fox, and Chumpy… was she trying to mate her Chumpy with one of those new fancy pet breed?
A few minutes later, she was jumping from a gondocab to the yellow flying car.
— Sorry I’m late… you know I was at this new “Rent’a Pet Shop, Boy!”, it’s fantastic the variety of old and new breeds they have. A poor girl was looking for a parrot or a magpie… so common, hopefully she would follow my advice and take one of those nine-tailed glowing fox.
Her gaze was distant for a few seconds and Chumpy was protesting at how she was holding him.
— Well it matters not as you know. Chumpy don’t be rude to mama! She sat and grinned voraciously, looking a bit worried. When are we going? We’ll be late to meet Tina!
Armando was gaping at her, and decided he would rather not argue with her. It was his first time with her and he already had categorized her.
All 3 were sitting on the rear of the car, while Armando was driving, focused on his new toy, trying not to make them all crash on one of the emerging towers of Manhattan Water Town. Sam was telling his friends about a dream he had last night and that seemed quite important. At least it was the only one of the night he could remember.
— How unusual of you, Becky said, you should meet Yang Tsung, his herbs are quite efficient, he’s got weeds for anything…
They lost her for a few seconds again, and Al looked at Sam, encouraging him to continue with his dream. Sam attention was splitted between Becky’s strong energy and the concentration of Armando who was not so confident in his ability to drive the flyellow car after all.
— Well, as I told you it was about new focuses of Al and I, they were journalists…
— Journalists? Like my friend Bonny! Did I tell you about her last crush? She fancies a future focus of her mother. He’s called Moht and lives 200years ahead from now. She goes and meets him in her dreams mostly, but she’s practicing with rendering more real during her… She stopped speaking, looking a bit confused
— Continue Sam, journalists then?.., she said, stroking Chumpy distractedly.
— Journalists yes, and they were creating a relationship similar to Starsky and Hutch. They were attending a meeting, though I don’t remember what it was all about. All I know is that Al and I were time-travelling, and we happened to meet them at that moment. I don’t know how we knew that the conference would be the target of a terrorist group, but we were there to warn them. We were talking with my focus, Simeon, as Andre, the focus of Al was already in the conference room. It was an international conference and the bomb would cause many death among political personalities, scientists, writers and so on… Well my focus thanked us for the warning but also told me that they had their lot of fun and mischiefs in their lives and that they were ready to disengage.
— Wow! I have a synch with that. I think I was one of the Indian woman there, maybe a minister or similar? You know what? We’re planning to go to Madagascar with Sean for our honey moon
— We’re at the Opera, Armando said, Is it your friend who looks so furious?
Hmmm? Leonora wasn’t really listening, she was engrossed in the Yurara Fameliki website.
With a sigh, Leonora turned to face Bea and said, I’ll never bloody catch up with that Yurara story now. Three weeks with no internet, as fast as I’m reading a chapter, another three have started, it’s doing my f’kin’ ‘ead in.
Well I don’t know what your problem is all of a sudden, Leo, since when did you ever read anything in the right order?
Oh, bloody good point, eh, Leonora felt instantly cheered. I forgot that, it’s true. Matter of fact, she chuckled, I just got lost roaming around all the first chapters, Heh…..wasn’t even trying to get the latest lot straight.
What did you say it was called? asked Bea.
What was what called?
The website you were just going on about. Bea rolled her eyes.
Oh! heh….Yurara Fameliki; why?
There was an article in the Reality Times about them yesterday. Some batty old woman left them a fortune, apparently. Circle of Eights or something….
Circle of Eights? Leo had an image of interlocking circles that felt strangely familiar, meaningful somehow…
Yeah, this old lady was 88 when she died, and she was reading the 888th entry when she saw the ‘Buy A Drink’ link…she lived at 88, Faraway Close, too, Nottingham…..
How much dosh did she leave them?
F’kin’ ‘ell….ooof! It could be that easy, eh. I want a ‘Buy A Drink’ link, too.
Well, a website would be a start, eh. Where you going to stick your ‘Buy A Drink’ link, on yer arse?
She was beginning to catch a few sparkly glimmerings of an idea.
Before leaving the castle, the fake Viscountess needed to check something on the skull…
Was it a genuine one? She had almost trusted the so-called experts of the auction room, while she knew perfectly well that they only could see what they knew. And they didn’t know as much as her.
To her knowledge, there was only a handful of genuine old crystal skulls. But counterfeits were legions and a plague for such a skillful cat burglar as she was. Well, cat-burglar,… perhaps not as acrobatically as she used to… As a matter of fact, her life-long search for these skulls had suffered the competition of a little embonpoint… — the good thing being that those few sticky superfluous pounds had been perfect to impersonate the Viscountess.
In the past, she had come across a few of these fake skulls and most of them bore very similar indications leaving her to think stakes were high that they were coming from the same con-artist.
She methodically drew a little dagger from a scabbard at her belt. Going to one of the window, she drew one of the curtains a few inches to reveal the pale sun of Shropshire which was already fading.
Then, she turned the jeweled hilt in such a special manner that a soft clicking sound was heard, and a beam of light started to converge from the sun rays into the dagger. She directed the ray coming from the tip of the dagger’s blade into the bottom of the skull, and hold her breath in expectation.
Soon the skull started to glow a bluish light, and light poured out of the skull onto the walls in dancing symbols, while a soft buzzing sound was being heard around, started to drown her in a slightly dissociated state.
She cut the dagger’s beam very quickly, her heart pounding at the validation. It was a genuine skull. One of the six.
She had to hurry, she needed to proceed on her investigations to find the missing ones.
The trunk was there. She took another key that she had around her neck, leaving the first one on the cupboard’s lock for the Viscountess to be freed as soon as she would be out.
With the key, she proceeded to open the high-tech lock of the armored trunk which opened with a blow of air.
Her jumpsuit was here, along with the two turbo-reactor powered condor-wings that she strapped on her jumpsuit in very professional movements.
A few moments later, with her big dark sunglasses that gave her the appearance of an obese fly, Carla was flying high over the countryside of England, enjoying the soft gliding on the slightly damp air.
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