Search Results for 'dido'

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  • #5960
    DevanDevan
    Participant

    Working at the gas station gave me the possibility to not only be confined at home but also at work. At least I could enjoy the transit between places, that’s what I told me everyday. And better go to work than turn around all day in the studio I rented since I left the Inn.

    You can’t imagine how many people need gas during the confinement. It looks like in this part of the country people don’t have as many dogs as them in the big cities, so they do all sorts of crazy things to be able to get out.

    A man came to the station this morning. I’m sure it was to give the equivalent of a walk to his brand new red GMC Canyon, you know, treating his car like she needed fresh air and to get some exercise regularly. From behind the makeshift window made of transparent wrapper, I asked him how was his day. You know, to be polite. He showed me the back of his truck. I swear there was a cage with two dingos in it.

    The guy told me he captured them the other day in case the cops stopped him in the street with no reason to be out. At least, he said, I could still say I’m giving them a walk. I told him them being in a cage would hardly pass as a walk but he answered me with a wink and a big grin that cops weren’t that intelligent. I’m glad we have makeshift windows now, at least seeing his teeth I didn’t have to smell his breath. I’m not sure who’s the less intelligent in absolute terms, but in that case I’d rather bet his IQ would fail him.

    Well that’s probably the most exciting thing that happened before I went home after work. As soon as I got home I received a phone call from Prune. On the landline. It’s like she has some magical means to know when I’m there.

    Anyway, she asked me if I washed my hand. I told her yes, though I honestly don’t recall. But I have to make her think all is ok. She started to talk again about Jasper. Each time she mention the subject I’m a bit uncomfortable. I’m not sure I fancy having a brother, even if it’s kind of being in a TV series. She said she had looked for him on internet, contacted some adoption agencies, even tried a private called Dick. That’s all that I remember of the private’s name. Dick, maybe that’s because he never answered her calls. Might be dead of the pandamic I told her. PandEmic, She corrected. I know, I told her, I said that to cheer you up.

    We talked about Mater too. That made me laugh. Apparently Idle saw her in a fuschia pink leotard. Prune half laughed herself when she mentioned the leotard, but she said : Truth is I don’t know what Dido had taken when she had seen Mater outside. I suspect the om chanting was simply snoring.

    There was a silence afterward. Maybe Prune was thinking about age and the meaning of life, I was merely realising I was hungry. I swear I don’t know what crossed my mind. I have a tendency to want to help my sister even if I think there is no hope. You know, I told her, about Jasper we could still go and ask that woman in the bush. It’s like she already knew what I was going to say. Tiku?  I knew by her tone that all the conversation was fated to lead there. Yeah. I can drive you there after work tomorrow. 

    Of course, we didn’t even have to go there after all.

    #5655
    prUneprUne
    Participant

    I don’t know if that’s a second youth or what, but getting to that 100 line has put Mater in an energetic frenzy. She’s been putting her things in order, like she said.

    My studies on machine learning and artificial intelligence are keeping me away for now. I’ve been studying hard for that Mars program selection, but it looks like it’s hopeless. Anyway, I had the good idea to put nannycams in all the hidden spots of the Inn. It’s not been as much fun as I’d hoped, spying on Aunt Idle and her manic ramblings. You would think she’s drunk all the time, but for all the recordings, I’d be damned if I’ve caught her yet on tape with a bottle. I guess her body just distills it on its own…

    So, I’ve kept an eye on Mater too; she’s been acting funny at the mention of Jasper. And I found her quick to put a tight lid back on the topic.

    I’m not even mentioning the dubious trails of “Uncles” of late: the Fergus, Basil or otherwise. She’d known quite a few of these in her days, although she’s claimed to have been a paragon of matrimonial virtue, being single woman with kids in these parts must have been rough after she lost Pater.

    I think I finally caught something between all the cloak and dagger mascarades, tatty letters and all. Digital footprint isn’t big, but it may be something tangible to begin with.

    Meanwhile, we’ll have to get started getting the invitation list in order; Mater’s contemporaries are falling by the minute, and Aunt Dido’s braincells are probably dying as fast as that— it won’t be easy to get a complete list. I know I should enlist Devan, I even put him on that family group thing, but he’s not big with all the tech stuff. As for the twins, well… We still have to hear about their stories. At this rate, might be faster to learn to telepathically tack on Dodo’s brainwaves. She says to whomever wants to hear she’s got direct connection to them… Would sound cultish to me, if I didn’t know better about the sisters! I’ll be worried when Mater starts to take this woowoo seriously.

    #4756
    EricEric
    Keymaster

    “Maybe we shouldn’t have skipped that welcome lunch” Continuity said to her friend.

    “Nonsense, Connie. We go and report where the heat of the action is, and something tells me, it’s nowhere near this crumbling dusty Inn anyway.”

    “Oh, right, it’s just as I thought Hilda, but our guest might have found it rude and all.”

    “Bollocks, Dido wouldn’t mind, after all she was the one to drop clues like water from a puzzle jug, talking about underground dinosaurs’ pyramids near the old mines and all that.”

    “Technically, and you know how particular I am about details, it wasn’t Dido though, it was that old fossile of Bert that dropped all the clues, clearly out of earshot from Did’. Kind of suspiciously too… Maybe he wanted us to have the real stuff, throw everyone else off the scent. But yeah, you just might be right…”

    “Of course I’m bloody right. When have I ever been anything else than right, Connie. Now, follow me, the old mines entrance shouldn’t be far now.”

    #4733
    DevanDevan
    Participant

    I have never seen so many guests at once at the Inn. Even old Bert is ferreting around, I’ve seen him many times near the shed or near the garage door. Mater knows about it of course. I’ve seen her looking at him from the corner of her eyes. I wonder if she knows about the hidden gold. I’m sure Bert knows, and that’s why he’s always been lurking around when we were kids.

    Mater, she hadn’t said anything when I came back and took my old room as if I never left. She just grunted and gave me some work to do.

    “It’s not good to stay idle all the time,” she had said, making me chuckle as I saw aunt Idle sneaking out to take care of her weed plot in the back yard. As if Mater didn’t know about it. I know she tried to chew some when Idle was in India and she didn’t like the taste of the raw plant, so I had showed her how to smoke it. After the coughing spell had passed, she had seemed to enjoy the experience then, but I don’t know if she had ever used some again afterward. She’s as stern as she used to be. But I like her that way. She’s the spine of the Flying Fish Inn. I’m not sure Idle could manage it all, especially I doubt Finly would stay more than a few days if Idle was the manager here.

    Although, I’m suspecting Finly to sell weeds to the guests. She’s been acting weird and I’ve come upon her and Idle arguing in the kitchen upon a loafed bush lizard. Dido was accusing Finly of stealing her last crop and Finley… Well, I don’t really care about what they do.

    I’ll just have to find some quiet time to go inspect the cellar. If what the man on the Harley had told me is true, I want to find the tunnels below the Inn.

    #4722
    prUneprUne
    Participant

    It all started to feel insanely crowded and agitated in the Inn, it took me a while to check whether I was tripping on some illegal substance.

    Truth was, the funny chicken was doing alright until Finly and Idle came back in a hurry, tried to make me puke and feed me charcoals, as if I’d been poisoned or something.
    I overheard Aunt Dodo when she shouted at poor Finly “why would you put my stash with the lizard leftovers! It’s me-di-cine you old cow, not some bloody herb seasoning!”
    Finly looked indignant, but she knew better than to argue. Besides, I’m sure her face was speaking volumes, something in the tune of “with the bloody mess of your stuff all over the place, why do you think?” Sure, there was some other profanities hidden in the wrinkles of her sweet face, but she would leave that to Mater to spell them out.

    Anyways, I just maybe feeling juuust a little funny, but with years of bush food regimen behind me, my liver is surely strong as an ox and pumping all the stuff out of my system like a workhorse.

    So, yeah, I was maybe tripping a little. So many new people came in at the same time, it felt like a flashmob. They were probably real and not just hallucinations, since Dido dashed out to greet some of them.

    I went upstairs and spied on them from there. I’m making also a list, mostly for Aunt Dodo, because if her heart is in the right place, her brain probably isn’t (or it’s a tight one).

    So there, I wrote on a yellow sticky note:

    Dido, if you're paying attention, here are the guests at this moment:
    - Not counting PRUNE, and DEVAN who just texted me he's coming!!
    - A jeep-full of loonies: A GIRL with red and white track pants and a
    hijjab, a black CAT and a GECKO (wait, you can forget about the gecko),
    a weirdo GUY in a fancy ruffle shirt and a little redhair BOY.
    TIKU is here too, helping FINLY in the kitchen.
    - Your old friend HILDA, and her colleague CONNIE
    - Two townfolks Canadian tourists who argue like an old couple, but I don't
    think they are, MAYV(?) and SANPELL(?) (sorry, couldn't catch their names
    with their funny accent)

    I guess breakfast is going to be lively tomorrow…

    #4712
    prUneprUne
    Participant

    It’s been only a day since I arrived, and I’m already over it. Nothing seems to have changed. What a drag this place is.

    Only Mater keeps surprising. She was a bit more emotional and hermitical than usual. Didn’t think those two cursors could move with her, but I guess she’s still has it in her.
    Aunt Dido said she’ll croak one day, and we’ll find her having spent her last breath lying in a fresh dug hole in the ground. I don’t know if that was her idea of a bad joke or a veiled menace, there’s no telling when she’s been smoking.

    Bert was all busy with things to repair and prepare, we barely had time to talk since I arrived. What a crowd-pleaser he’s become, don’t know what he gets out of this one-sided deal, with Dido having him wrapped around her fingers like this.

    That funny Dido is all over the place, and nowhere to be found, as usual. She said we’ll be expecting guests. She probably was high as a kite. Would be a first since ages.
    I wonder what would drag people here, it’s not like the place is on any maps, or on the way to a tourist spot. But who knows what instant instapound fame can do to lure people in the oddest spots… Been reading articles about those nincompoops going to severely polluted place to take selfies in front of azure acidic water pretending to be on Bora Bora. Wouldn’t be surprising if Clove or Corrie had started a trend on flabber just to prank us. Like using ///digger.unusually.playfully to send people in the middle of nowhere in search for gold…

    There were some leftovers in the fridge. I was ravenous, and almost ate all of the funky shredded chicken. Smokey taste, but okay. Finly had an horrified look on her face when she came back with the supplies, probably the shock of seeing me all grown up now.

    #4678

    In reply to: The Stories So Near

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    1st DOLL

    • (Lucinda describes a) “strange gaunt doll with the grey dreadlocks and patchwork dress”
    • Its description matches DidoAunt Idle” of the Flying Fish Inn
    • called “Ima” by the Maker
    • Made in Canada, sent to Australia, got separated from its key at an airport, found its way to a market in Canada where Lucinda acquired it.

    1st KEY

    • Currently with Arona, in Australia

    What it does/open

    • Still a mystery as of now
    #4208

    In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud

    TracyTracy
    Participant

    hello dead bloody hands
    line indeed somehow great threads
    talking catch matter virtual gone
    longer job characters wondering
    getting dido head

    #4186
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    The house is empty. Perhaps it is more correct to say I, Mater, am the only one home, for the emptiness which envelops the house so strongly has its own presence.

    The family have all left on their respective pursuits.

    Dido is off following another guru. I forget who it is …someone she had read about on the damned internet thing they all spend so much time on — I’ve still not come to grips with it but suspect it is time I did. I had hoped Dido would stay home longer this time — there is so much work to be done around the place and I am not feeling any younger. “Just for a week!” she told me excitedly as she left but it has already been nearly two.

    Prune, unique child that she is, always had such trouble making friends with others of her age however recently she made the acquaintance of a new girl at school who shares her predilection for unusual interests. Prune is staying at her new friend’s house for the weekend. I smile, feeling more than a little sympathy for the parents.

    I have not seen or heard much from Devan for a long time. He is in Brisbane, last I heard anyway.

    The twins, not my twins but the other twins; Sara and Stevie, decided they could not leave their mother. Not now. Not while she is in hospital and so poorly. The right decision I feel though I am also disappointed. At Clove’s insistence, Corrie has gone to visit with them. Clove and Corrie don’t know yet … Dodo and I talked about it and decided Fred should be the one to tell them.

    Goodness only knows where Fred is now.

    I decide I will try and get acquainted with the emptiness. Maybe even make friends. Thought this doesn’t feel likely at the moment.

    “Hello,” I say quietly. I can hear the question in my voice. The doubt. Clearly this won’t do. “One has to believe,” I admonish myself sternly. I try again:

    “Hello Emptiness. What is your name? I can’t call you Emptiness all the time. My name is Mater and this is my house”.

    I say this firmly. Much better.

    I notice that sunlight is attempting to enter through the kitchen blinds and I throw them open. It is a beautiful day. I see that Bert is already up and working in the garden. Planting something. I remember now, he told me he was going to start another vege garden, nearer the house than the other one.

    #4124
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Corrie’s findings from elsewhere:

    “Then she collapse, her body rigid like stone. Actually her skin began to take on a shade of grey, and several colonies of moss found their way into the wrinkles and meanders of the granite like hair.
    Mater arrived at that moment.
    “Oh! my! Dido, what did you do ?”
    The old lady looked at the table, saw the empty jar, the lines of ants already pillaging the sweet spots on the table and on Idle’s fingers. Some of them had already turned into stone. Mater tried to forage into the jar to find the small package. It contained the mantra to release the hungry ghost from the stone trap of the termite honey.
    The jar was meant for rats, Mater would feed them with termite honey to change them into stone and sell them on the market. A little hobby. She would never have thought Idle would eat that stuff. It smelled quite awful.”

    ~~~

    ““Well thank goodness for that!” exclaimed Liz, heaving a sigh of relief. “The teleport thread jump was a success, and Aunt Idle is safe.”

    “What are you doing here?” said Mater, aghast.

    “I might ask you what YOU are doing here, Mater, I left you under a sapling in the woods not a moment ago!” retorted Liz.”

    ~~~

    ““Are you following me, cousin ?” added Liz with a snort. “I never understood why you chose to hide yourself in that stinky town with your dead fishes. Maybe you are looking for a way out. There is nothing for you where I come from. I’ll never give you the teleportation ab-original codes.”
    “Oh you never understood anything about me, or did you ?” said Mater, “You were too preoccupied by your followers. Is Big G still with you ? And that suspicious maid of yours. Is she still moulding dust critters ?”
    “Dust critters ? What are you talking about?”
    “What codes ?” asked Mater, squinting her eyes.
    “Nothing,” said Liz, realizing she might have talked too much. But she couldn’t help it, her body was unable to contain all the words in her mind, they had to get out. She tightened her lips, trying to resist the outburst.
    “What was that ?” asked Mater looking around, “did you hear that noise ?”
    “Nope”, said Liz, “maybe an earthquake, or a storm approaching.” It had to get out one way or another she thought.
    “Don’t talk nonsense with me, I tell you I heard something.”
    Devan interrupted them. Liz looked at the young man, her cougar senses on alert.
    “I got the paper”, he said.
    Paper, with words.
    “May I ?” she asked, showing the paper.
    “Don’t try to seduce my boy”, said Mater, “I know you.””

    ~~~

    Corries further findings from elsewhere continued HERE

    #4123
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Corrie’s findings from elsewhere:

    “Mike wasn’t as courageous as his former self, the Baron. That new name had a cowardly undertone which wasn’t as enticing to craze and bravery as “The Baron”.

    The idea of the looming limbo which had swallowed the man whole, and having to care for a little girl who surely shouldn’t be out there on her own at such an early hour of the day spelt in unequivocal letters “T-R-O-U-B-B-L-E” — ah, and that he was barely literate wasn’t an improvement on the character either.

    Mike didn’t want to think to much. He could remember a past, maybe even a future, and be bound by them. As well, he probably had a family, and the mere though of it would be enough to conjure up a boring wife named Tina, and six or seven… he had to stop now. Self introspection wasn’t good for him, he would get lost in it in quicker and surer ways than if he’d run into that Limbo.

    “Let me tell you something… Prune?… Prune is it?”
    “I stop you right there, mister, we don’t have time for the “shouldn’t be here on your own” talk, there is a man to catch, and maybe more where he hides.”

    “Little girl, this is not my battle, I know a lost cause when I see one. You look exhausted, and I told my wife I would be back with her bloody croissants before she wakes up. You can’t imagine the dragon she becomes if she doesn’t get her croissants and coffee when she wakes up. My pick-up is over there, I can offer you a lift.”

    Prune made a frown and a annoyed pout. At her age, she surely should know better than pout. The thought of the dragon-wife made her smile though, she sounded just like Mater when she was out of vegemite and toasts.

    Prune started to have a sense of when characters appearing in her life were just plot devices conjured out of thin air. Mike had potential, but somehow had just folded back into a self-imposed routine, and had become just a part of the story background. She’d better let him go until just finds a real character. She could start by doing a stake-out next to the strange glowing building near the frontier.

    “It’s OK mister, you go back to your wife, I’ll wait a little longer at the border. Something tells me this story just got started.”

    ~~~

    Aunt Idle was craving for sweets again. She tip toed in the kitchen, she didn’t want to hear another lecture from Mater. It only took time from her indulging in her attachments. Her new yogiguru Togurt had told the flockus group that they had to indulge more. And she was determined to do so.
    The kitchen was empty. A draft of cold air brushed her neck, or was it her neck brushing against the tiny molecules of R. She cackled inwardly, which almost made her choke on her breath. That was surely a strange experience, choking on something without substance. A first for her, if you know what I mean.

    The shelves were closed with simple locks. She snorted. Mater would need more than that to put a stop to Idle’s cravings. She had watched a video on Wootube recently about how to unlock a lock. She would need pins. She rummaged through her dreadlocks, she was sure she had forgotten one or two in there when she began to forge the dreads. Very practicle for smuggling things.

    It took her longer than she had thought, only increasing her craving for sweets.
    There was only one jar. Certainly honey. Idle took the jar and turned it to see the sticker. It was written Termite Honey, Becky’s Farm in Mater’s ornate writing. Idle opened the jar. Essence of sweetness reached her nose and made her drool. She plunged her fingers into the white thick substance.”

    ~~~

    “But wait! What is this?

    Her greedy fingers had located something unexpected; something dense and uncompromising was lurking in her precious nectar. Carefully, she explored the edges of the object with her finger tips and then tugged. The object obligingly emerged, a gooey gelatinous blob.

    Dido sponged off the honey allowing it to plunk on to the table top. It did not occur to her to clean it up. Indeed, she felt a wave of defiant pleasure.

    The ants will love that, although I guess Mater won’t be so thrilled. Fussy old bat.
    She licked her fingers then transferred her attention back to the job at hand. After a moment of indecision whilst her slightly disordered mind flicked through various possibilities, she managed to identify the object as a small plastic package secured with tape. Excited, and her ravenous hunger cravings temporarily stilled in the thrill of the moment, she began to pick at the edges of the tape.

    Cocooned Inside the plastic was a piece of paper folded multiple times. Released from its plicature, the wrinkled and dog-eared paper revealed the following type written words:

    food self herself next face write water truth religious behind mince salt words soon yourself hope nature keep wrong wonder noticed.”

    ~~~

    ““What a load of rubbish!” Idle exclaimed, disappointed that it wasn’t a more poetic message. She screwed up the scrap of crumpled paper, rolled it in the honey on the table, and threw it at the ceiling. It stuck, in the same way that cooked spaghetti sticks to the ceiling when you throw it to see if it’s done. She refocused on the honey and her hunger for sweetness, and sank her fingers back into the jar.”

    ~~~

    “The paper fell from the ceiling on to Dido’s head. She was too busy stuffing herself full of honey to notice. In fact it was days before anyone noticed.”

    ~~~

    “The honeyed ball of words had dislodged numerous strands of dried spaghetti, which nestled amongst Aunt Idle’s dreadlocks rather attractively, with the paper ball looking like a little hair bun.”

    ~~~

    ““Oh my god …. gross!“ cackled the cautacious Cackler.”

    ~~~

    ““Right, that does it! I’m moving the whole family back to the right story!” said Aunt Idle, invigorated and emboldened with the sweet energy of the honey. “Bloody cackling nonsense!””

    #4122
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Corrie’s findings from elsewhere:

    “On the empty road, Quentin realized there was something different in the air.
    A crispness, something delicate and elusive, yet clear and precious.
    A tiny dot of red light was peeking through the horizon line.

    It was funny, how he had tried to elude his fate, slip through the night into the oblivion and the limbo of lost characters, trying so hard to not be a character of a new story he barely understood his role in.

    But his efforts had been thwarted, he was already at least a secondary character. So he’d better be aware, pretend owl watching could become dangerously enticing.”

    ~~~

    ““There hath he lain for ages,” Mater read the strip of paper, “And will lie Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep..” Buggered if I know what that’s supposed to mean, she muttered, continuing to read the daily oracle clue: “Until the latter fire shall heat the deep; Then once by man and angels to be seen, In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die…..”

    Mater had become increasingly irritated as the morning limped on, with no sign of Prune. Nobody had seen her since just before 3:00am when Idle got up for the loo and saw her skulking in the hallway. Didn’t occur to the silly fool to wonder at the time why the girl was fully dressed at that hour though.

    The oracle sounded ominous. Mater wondered if it was anything to do with the limbo of lost characters. She quickly said 22 Hail Saint Floverly prayers, and settled down to wait. If Prune had accidentally wandered into the lost characters limbo, battening upon seaworms would be the least of their problems.”

    ~~~

    “You should have thought about it before sending me for a spying mission, you daft tart” Prune was rehearsing in her head all the banter she would surely shower Aunt Idle with, thinking about how Mater would be railing if she noticed she was gone unattended for so long.
    Mater could get a heart attack, bless her frail condition. Dido would surely get caned for this. Or canned, and pickled, of they could find enough vinegar (and big enough a jar).

    In actuality, she wasn’t mad at Dido. She may even have voluntarily misconstrued her garbled words to use them as an excuse to slip out of the house under false pretense. Likely Dido wouldn’t be able to tell either way.

    Seeing the weird Quentin character mumbling and struggling with his paranoia, she wouldn’t stay with him too long. Plus, he was straying dangerously into the dreamtime limbo, and even at her age, she was knowing full well how unwise it would be to continue with all the pointers urging to turn back or chose any other direction but the one he adamantly insisted to go towards, seeing the growing unease on the young girl’s face.

    “Get lost or cackle all you might, as all lost is hoped.” were her words when she parted ways with the strange man. She would have sworn she was quoting one of Mater’s renown one-liners.

    With some chance, she would be back unnoticed for breakfast.”

    ~~~

    “Prune turned to look back at Quentin as she made her way home. He’d have been better off waiting for a new chapter in the refugee story, instead of blundering into that limbo with that daft smile on his face. What a silly monkey, she thought, scratching under her arms and making chimpanzee noises at the retreating figure. Look at him, scampering along gazing up into the treetops, instead of watching his step.

    A deep barking laugh behind her made her freeze, with her arms akimbo like teapot handles. Slowly she turned around, wondering why she hadn’t noticed anyone else on the track a moment before.

    “Who are you?” she asked bluntly. “I’m Prune, and he’s Quentin,” she pointed to the disappearing man, “And he’s on the run. There’s a reward for his capture, but I can’t catch him on my own.” Prune almost cackled and hid the smirk behind her forearm, pretending to wipe her nose on it. She wondered where the lies came from, sometimes. It wasn’t like she planned them ~ well, sometimes she did ~ but often they just came tumbling out. It wasn’t a complete lie, anyway: there was no reward, but he could be detained for deserting his new story, if anyone cared to report it.

    The man previously known as the Baron introduced himself as Mike O’Drooly. “I’m a story refugee,” he admitted.

    “Bloody hell, not another one,” replied Prune. Then she had an idea. “If you help me capture Quentin, you’ll get a much better character in the new story.”

    “I’ve nothing left to lose, child. And no idea what my story will be or what role I will play.” Perhaps it’s already started, he wondered.

    “Come on, then! If we don’t catch him quick we might all end up without a story.”

    #4121
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    Corrie’s findings from elsewhere:

    “You can’t leave without a permit, you know,” Prune said, startling Quentin who was sneaking out of his room.

    “I’m just going for a walk,” he replied, irritated. “And what are you doing skulking around at this hour, anyway? Shouldn’t you be in bed?”

    “What are you doing with an orange suitcase in the corridor at three o’clock in the morning?” the young brat retorted. “Where are you going?”

    “Owl watching, that’s what I’m doing. And I don’t have a picnic basket, so I’m taking my suitcase.” Quentin had an idea. “Would you like to come?” The girls local knowledge might come in handy, up to a point, and then he could dispose of her somehow, and continue on his way.

    Prune narrowed her eyes with suspicion. She didn’t believe the owl story, but curiosity compelled her to accept the invitation. She couldn’t sleep anyway, not with all the yowling mating cats on the roof. Aunt Idle had forbidden her to leave the premises on her own after dark, but she wasn’t on her own if she was with a story refugee, was she?”

    ~~~

    “Seeing Dido eating her curry cookies would turn Mater’s stomach, so she went up to her room.

    Good riddance she thought, one less guest to worry about.
    Not that she usually thought that way, but every time the guests leaved, there was a huge weight lifted from her back, and a strong desire of “never again”.
    The cleaning wasn’t that much worry, it helped clear her thoughts (while Haki was doing it), but the endless worrying, that was the killer.

    After a painful ascension of the broken steps, she put her walking stick on the wall, and started some breathing exercises. The vinegary smell of all the pickling that the twins had fun experimenting with was searing at her lungs. The breathing exercise helped, even if all the mumbo jumbo about transcendant presence was all rubbish.

    It was time for her morning oracle. Many years ago, when she was still a young and innocent flower, she would cut bits and pieces of sentences at random from old discarded magazines. Books would have been sacrilegious at the time, but now she wouldn’t care for such things and Prune would often scream when she’d find some of her books missing key plot points. Many times, Mater would tell her the plots were full of holes anyway, so why bother; Prune’d better exercise her own imagination instead of complaining. Little bossy brat. She reminded her so much of her younger self.

    So she opened her wooden box full of strips of paper. Since many years, Mater had acquired a taste for more expensive and tasty morsels of philosophy and not rubbish literature, so the box smelt a bit of old parchment. Nonetheless, she wasn’t adverse to a modicum of risqué bits from tattered magazines either. Like a blend of fine teas, she somehow had found a very nice mix, and oftentimes the oracle would reveal such fine things, that she’d taken to meditate on it at least once a day. Even if she wouldn’t call it meditate, that was for those good-for-nothing willy-nilly hippies.

    There it was. She turned each bit one by one, to reveal the haiku-like message of the day.

    “Bugger!” the words flew without thinking through her parched lips.

    looked forgotten rat due idea half
    getting floverley comment somehow
    prune hardly wondered eyes great
    inn run days dark quentin simulation

    That silly Prune, she’d completely forgotten to check on her. She was glad the handwritten names she’d added in the box would pop up so appropriately.

    She would pray to Saint Floverley of the Dunes, a local icon who was synchretized from old pagan rituals and still invoked for those incapable of dancing.
    With her forking arthritis, she would need her grace much.”

    #4096
    prUneprUne
    Participant

    I don’t know exactly when it struck me first. The passage of time.
    When you are young, it’s easy to miss it, some would say “you’re a child, you don’t know about such things”, and maybe they are right.

    In a few months, it will already be 2 years that we reopened the Inn. The results have been mixed, we haven’t gotten any richer, but it definitely helps pay the bills.

    It definitely helped to pay for Aunt Idle’s rehab, after her nervous breakdown last March. Well, rehab is a big word. We got professional help from some friend of Mater, Jiemba, who knows someone who knows someone.
    Of course, we had to package it nicely for Didle to take the bait. She would have none of that rehab thing of course. But she was sold at the first syllable of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and Psychotria viridis leaf, well aya for short.

    After that, seems she wanted to travel to Iceland. Got to figure how she gets all that fancy money. Mater says it’s her sugar daddy lovers. Not Mater’s, you silly. Dido’s.
    Mater says that without any judgment, which is rare. She still calls her a tart and all sorts of nice things, but it’s like she’s proud that she made it in the world —or just that she slowed down on the gin bottle.

    Speaking of Mater, she hasn’t been so well. After she tried to grab some can of chicken broth from the shelves, she broke her hip bone. Of course she couldn’t stand staying at the hospital and got herself discharged as soon as her doctor looked the other way, but I can see she’s not completely healed. Finnly is doing her best with the circumstances, adding nursing to her housekeeping skills. And Bert’s been around to support with the inn maintenance.

    Well my twin sisters are another story altogether. They’ll be moving out, they said, live in the big city. They had no intention of going to college anyway. Seems they are looking for a full-time blogger job. I’m betting they’ll be back soon enough. Nothing beats Finnly’s mince pice and charbroiled spicy huhu skewers.

    It’s been a while I’ve seen Dev’. Always working at the gas station. Mater always says his lack of ambition will save him from trouble.

    So yes, time has passed. It’s funny how nobody else seems to notice.

    #4080

    In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud

    AvatarJib
    Participant

    Universe process indeed report funny beginning
    Presence towards love
    Key next dido house human nobody
    Cackler age
    Head bar strange due

    #3997
    TracyTracy
    Participant

    “Cheer up, old bean,” Liz said kindly, reading his mind. “There’s a rendezvous at the Absinthe Cafe soon. Aunt Idle (and I do often wonder why you all insist on calling her Dido; it’s nothing more than a deliberate confusion tactic for the poor reader) will teleport over. It’s a fancy dress party, and my suggestion Godfrey is that you dress up as a particularly dashing superhero, in tights. She won’t be able to take her eyes off you.”

    #3995
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    “Oh yes, big boots. Very large foot size that Finnley,” murmered Godfrey distractedly.

    “Are you listening to me, Godfrey? This is my thread and I demand that you listen to me no matter how much I prattle on incessantly about nothing of any importance. That is precisely what this thread is for.”

    But Godfrey did not reply. He sat staring gloomily into the distance. Truth was, he couldn’t get Dido out of his mind; he had wanted to be the one to rescue her from her concrete prison and he would have if it had not been for that damned Roberto. Or was it Roberta?

    But once again I fell short, he thought disconsolately.

    #3976

    In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud

    EricEric
    Keymaster

    unexpected john apparently interesting
    secret world gone easily cackler
    notice program chair refugee outside
    run dido fact ones lizette start short

    #3968
    AvatarJib
    Participant

    Then she collapse, her body rigid like stone. Actually her skin began to take on a shade of grey, and several colonies of moss found their way into the wrinkles and meanders of the granite like hair.
    Mater arrived at that moment.
    “Oh! my! Dido, what did you do ?”
    The old lady looked at the table, saw the empty jar, the lines of ants already pillaging the sweet spots on the table and on Idle’s fingers. Some of them had already turned into stone. Mater tried to forage into the jar to find the small package. It contained the mantra to release the hungry ghost from the stone trap of the termite honey.
    The jar was meant for rats, Mater would feed them with termite honey to change them into stone and sell them on the market. A little hobby. She would never have thought Idle would eat that stuff. It smelled quite awful.

    #3957
    FloveFlove
    Participant

    The paper fell from the ceiling on to Dido’s head. She was too busy stuffing herself full of honey to notice. In fact it was days before anyone noticed.

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