Ella Marie put the encounter to the back of her mind, and whistled loudy and kept her eyes averted when dusting the mummy case during the following months. It wasn’t until the floods of the following spring that she heard Elioctyl’s voice again, urging her to take action, that now was the perfect opportunity.
Pssst! Ella! Do it now, NOW!
NO! shouted Ella Marie.
Suit yourself, Honey, replied her husband Arthur, pouring himself a cup of coffee from a thermos and screwing the lid back on.
Ella Marie spun round, saying HUH? Yes, I mean yes, please.
Arthur raised an eyebrow and tutted. You said No, Ella, who was you talking to anyway?
Oh Lordy, Art, I was just saying NO to all the flooding, NO more rain, and all….Ella Marie replied, but her mind was racing.
Art Honey, why don’t you wade round to your mothers and see if she’s ok, why dontcha, and I’ll start moving stuff up into the attic. River’s gonna burst its banks tonight, I reckon, we oughta do what we can now.
Don’t get lifting nothing too heavy, ya hear? Leave anything you can’t manage for me, I’ll do it when I get back, Arthur replied.
As soon as Art was out of the door and down the porch steps, Ella Marie raced out the back door and into the garage. The adrenaline was pumping through her veins, and she felt light as air, and fit as a twenty year old. Her flashlight beam swept the garage…she didn’t know what, precisely, she was looking for, but she knew she’d find it.
Aha! Ella Marie spotted a coil of washing line rope, and a tarpaulin. Stuffing the flashlight into her pocket, she grabbed the surfboard off the hooks on the wall and dragged it outside, the rope and tarpaulin under her arm. Quickly she tied the tarpaulin to the surfboard, tethering it to the garage door handle while she went back inside for the oars out of the uninflated dinghy. The flood water was past her ankles now, inching towards her knees, as she set off for the museum, pulling the surfboard behind her, thankful for the power blackout and the dark streets.
Elioctyl had been trying in vain for years to attract the attention of the museum cleaning lady, Ella Marie Tindale.
Ella Marie had lived in Alabama all her life, and her parents before her. Some of her ancestors were native to this land, some from the distant shores of Africa. She loved the stories of the old ones, passed down through the generations, stories told at family gatherings and celebrations. Ella Marie had never learned to read, but she remembered all the stories word for word, including her own stories. Ah, her own stories! She kept her own stories to herself, she never forgot the horrified silence when, as a child of five, she had voiced one of her stories at a family gathering. A silence had descended like a pall in the dining room that day.
Ella! It’s me, you silly goose, it’s me, I mean YOU!
Duster suspended in mid-air, Ella Marie quickly looked around to make sure nobody was watching her. All her life she’d been one step away from the funny-farm; she knew she had to be careful.
Are you speaking to ME? she asked the mummy, incredulously. She’d spoken to trees before, and heard them reply, but never a mummy.
Sheesh! exclaimed the mummy, At LAST! Over 3,000 years I’ve been whispering to you, and finally, you heard me.
Ella Marie looked furtively over her shoulder, and then whispered back: Well, what for? What do you want?
I want you to get me the fuck out of here, that’s what!
Ella Marie clamped her work worn hands over her ears. You mind your language! she admonished the mummy. I don’t wonder I wasn’t listening to you all those years, coming out with language like that! Pfft….
Metaphorically speaking, the mummy raised its eyebrows and sighed.
It had been a moonth now that Elizabeth had got her first encounter with Pigoosus, her inner inspirer, on a dirty bench of the public park littered with pigeons droppings.
A whole moonth, and yet, it had been so full that she had barely noticed it passing. Even Finnley, the ever grunchy grumpy one, had felt ubiquitously absent (Elizabeth was quite fond of Lemone’s profoond quotes, and his consummate uooze of exquisitively bizarre words; so, “ubiquitously absent”, oxymoronic as it was, for all matter and purposes felt deliciously adequate to her present mood).
So, yes, even Finnley… who had felt recently so deeply absorbed by flocks of dust bunnies that went around the corners.
As for her, the grandioosa noovelist, she had used the inspiration of that day to take a break from that strange story she was writing, and which had accumulated so many loose ends that she’d grown yucky at the mere sight of a dish of spooghetti.
Instead, she had written a small unpretentious (as far as she could, that is) novelette, or children book as her publisher said. Of course, everything a little bit out of the ordinary was only good for children, and in fact, she couldn’t care less. She had tremendoose fun writing the Extra-vagrant Illustrated Tales of The Oogletoon Twins. Not only writing in fact, but also illustrating that intermission work (which was a first, as she had mostly the habit of doing coollages of various pictures teafed around, hence her fondness for Robert the robber magpie).
Notwithstanding, this was an interesting adventure for Elizabeth. Life was full of surprises, and she wouldn’t have thought that in becoming more “down to Oorth”, as her parents would have exhorted her to do, so to spook, she would have indeed be really, really closer to Oorth, but nonetheless, still in fairy land. Ahaha, that was putting her in the greatest of moods.
She smiled a broad smile to a fidgeting Finnley who was under the glowing neon light of the dark copy machine room, apparently in great conversation with some invisible being, as she went past the room, on her way to her office.
Checking on her compooter (her gorgeous iPear) she noticed an email from Barash… Another publisher that she was considering working with, when her current one had felt hesitant at publishing her illustrated book.
Decidedly, everything was going well for her these days.
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 thatJibParticipant
The last words of the stranger were still resonating in his mind. Franiel was feeling a bit drowsy and he had the odd sensation of being looked from the inside. A smile illuminated the face of the man.
You are the weirdest man I ever saw. he said in a sigh. When he realized what he had told his guest, he blushed with shame. I’m sorry, I wouldn’t mean…
Hahahahaha. The man was slapping on his legs. Hahahaha, my dear Franiel, you don’t know how close to the truth you are. I appreciate when one speak his heart.
Franiel couldn’t say anything. He was aware that he should have been feeling shameful, but the laugh of the stranger had dissipated that convention. He was just feeling in harmony with his creation. This last thought surprised him. His creation? He’d been told that the gods created all that is on the Duane, her sister the Murtuane and their ghostly sister the Phrëal.
What was in the nectar? I’m seeing things. He frowned. Something in the surrounding objects, the mossy rocks and the earthly path, the grass and the insects flying or crawling around. The colors were different. Your eyes… they are… blue…
The stranger was still smiling, not saying anything, and though Franiel was feeling as if he was communicating him important things.
Something leapt from behind a tawheowheo, making the nearby dandelion seeds fly away silently.
The creature was barking and Franiel jumped on his feet, making the chalice fall in the dust. It was similar as a mountain wolf, but smaller. Black and fuzzy. And it was running toward him.
Don’t be afraid of Moufle, he’s my long life companion, he’s been following me in my exploration for quite some time in a form or another. He makes a lot of noise, but he knows his friends.
Moufle was trying to lick Franiel’s face. All the love he had felt a second before was shaded by the need to keep the animal away. Not that he was dangerous. The stranger… what was his name? He didn’t tell him his name. Franiel was too shy in his normal state to dare ask directly. But he could at least relax as Moufle was now occupied with his master, who spoke as if he’d read his mind.
I am not his master, you see. he was fondling his companion. He’s just choosing to come with me.
He kept silent for a minute, snooting around.
By the way, my name is Leonard.
There was a tantalizing scent of wildflowers and meadowgrass in the still cool air of the cave, and as Sanso rounded a bend in tunnel a gentle breeze ruffled the folds of his robes. He quickened his pace, gladdened by the welcome promise of an adventure outside of the endless labyrinth. The air felt cool and warm at the same time, and deliciously fresh and clean as it wafted towards him, and with a feeling of immense joy, he heard a snatch of birdsong.
It seemed like many long years that he’d been trudging around in the gloom and the stale air of the caves, although he suspected it wasn’t as long as that. Time played tricks on him, he knew that, while he was wandering around in the darkness. He’d missed Arona, and that strange baby, when he’d first set off alone again, but not for long. He knew when it was time to move on, and so he’d left them. From time to time he wondered if he’d encounter them again, and knew he would.
A shaft of sunlight spilled into the tunnel and Sanso stepped out into the light. The breeze was fluttering the birch leaves high above him, as he squinted up at the pale blue sky. Grinning happily, Sanso took his time adjusting to the light. He sat cross legged on the soft green grass, feeling it springy beneath his hands. Hundreds and thousands of red and yellow spotted toadstools stretched out as far as he could see, carpeting the forrest floor with polkadots of colour.
Sanso looked down at his hands. The creases of his skin and under his nails were engrained with reddish dust, and he wanted water more than anything, gurgling bubbling fresh clean water. He stood up, and shook his robes a bit, and set off into the woods.
Intuition told him which way to go to find water. He marvelled at tiny flowers, and scampering insects along the way, squashing fungi beneath his bare feet which oozed up through his toes with little squeaky noises.
A rabbit ran accross his path and stopped momentarily to stare at him and Sanso laughed out loud.
Oh! Who’s there?
A girl in bright flowered skirts was sitting on the grass in a clearing just ahead, rubbing her eyes.
Whoa, I must be dreaming, she said, and rubbed her eyes again. She peered at the apparition in indigo robes, with skin the colour of tobacco and wild matted hair. Am I dreaming? she asked Sanso.
Sanso was momentarily non-plussed, and wondered what to do next.
Well, dear, if you don’t want to go back, why, then don’t go back! He wasn’t quite sure what the problem was; after all, he’d been wandering for so many years on impulse and whim he hardly knew any other way to go about it.
I don’t know where to go instead though, Zhana said tearfully. The long dark cold will be here again soon, and I must have shelter somewhere…..who will have me, besides Uncle Grishenka?
What long dark cold? asked Sanso. It seemed light enough and warm enough here.
Oh, my! Zhana was astonished. You ask me what long dark cold? Where have you come from? How is it you don’t know of the long dark cold? Oh! Are you from Nishanti’s place?
Zhana stood up in some considerable excitement. Can you take me to Nishanti’s place? Oh please say yes!
Well, I, er, um…..well, I suppose so. Well, yes! Sanso didn’t want to let the girl down, although he wasn’t altogether sure he knew where Nishanti’s place was. But he was game to give it a try, and the company of the girl would be a welcome change.
She hardly wears any clothes, and her skin is warm and brown. The sun always shines and the sky is always deep blue in her place and we play outside all year long. There’s always warm ripe fruits to eat, not turnips and noodles, colourful juicy berries and plump pink fishy things, and there are flowers all year long, and the water isn’t frozen, we can play in the water and it doesn’t turn our hands blue…..
Ah, the other side of the world…hhhmmm…..Sanso rubbed his whiskery chin thoughtfully.
Ok, I can’t promise we can find Nishanti, but I think we can find the other side of the world. But first, I’d like to find some water, and perhaps a little fresh food?
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.
Nearly two months… Two months since they had all received the exciting email from that Dr. Bronklehampton and had decided to take a leap of faith.
As a matter of fact, they had taken that leap of faith just before, and it was just a… “synchronistic confirmation that they were heading in the right direction”, that’s what old Harry had said… Or was it Joe? No, that was surely Harry.
Fred wasn’t very pleased.
Bored by all the variations of dominoes and dices games at their third-age club, the three inseparable ladies had decided, in a bout of delightful unreasonableness, to embrace all that modern technology had to offer. Sharon and Gloria, being the devil-may-care as they were, got their computer first. Mavis had to convince Fred that he could make his horse-racing bets with that computer without having to go to the city, now that the last pub in the village wasn’t taking bets any longer… and even play poker! she’d said, bluffing so vehemently that she’d almost blushed in shame for fear of being wrong. But that last argument had convinced old Fred. And now, she was connected too. A second-hand computer, with a dusty old keyboard, but she’d let it soak a night in a soapy basin, and it was now shiny as a brand-new one. Except that it now kept behaving strangely…
In their club, they could boast that now they were connected all over the word, and all the old parakeets of the club had almost choked over their tea when they had heard all of what they had discovered.
Sharon had won most of the glaring bedazzlement. Wearing newly bought sunglasses, she’d said whispering like a conspirator that she had searched her name on a website and she had seen more than 7 million pages talking of her! Imagine! More than seven million people talking of her! And she had not known she was so famous… Hence the sunglasses, she’d added with a wink… there were probably a slew of paparazzi hidden somewhere to discover all that was to know about her… But you can’t fool dear ol’ Sharon Stone.
Gloria Fowles had been gathering almost 4,000 pages… But well, she had not the charismatic aura of Shah.
And Mavis Staples had got a hefty 470,000 pages!… Of course, she had not told Fred, who was already so paranoid about all of this stuff. When they had received the machine, he was convinced there were miniature cameras and transponders from the MI6 inside the PC and had spent hours disassembling and reassembling it.
Very soon after they had registered for their free email address (the reseller had explained patiently that she couldn’t electrocute herself while licking the envelop), the next day to be precise, at 5:33 —that was the hour when Mavis had finished her routine dusting and breakfast preparing for Fred, and just before taking Gulp, the dog for a news reading (that was what Sha was saying “butt sniffing for dogs, is like news reading for us”), she had granted herself a little peek into the emailbox— she had seen something in the recipe folder.
She wasn’t sure why they had called that folder “meat” or “ham”… no that wasn’t “ham”… “SPAM” more like it… Anyway, in the recipes folder, she’d received her first email. She’d called eagerly Sha and Glo, and they had received it too, and had even answered it already, as they had spent the all night “surfing” as they said — which was a bit difficult for Sharon with her sunglasses in the dark.
All three of them had received a free coupon for a massage and therapeutic rejuvenating treatments (and possibly some bonus organ enlargements free of charge) in Tikfijikoo Island!
Well, now Mavis was ready to go too, now that Fred had been mollified and she’d gathered the money for the trip.
In a sense, that was good she’d not received anything yet from Sha and Glo, it would allow her to imagine the wildest things!
Elizabeth Tattler gasped and clutched the right side of her chest. For a moment she wondered if the sharp pain she felt was a heart attack, and was greatly relieved when she realised it was located on the other side of her chest. After some investigation of her cluttered desk, she realised she must have fallen asleep on the pyramid shaped pencil sharpener her friend Yannie P had given her for her last birthday. It was made of fake blue diamond and was really rather beautiful; she could see thousands of suspended dust particles in it’s reflected light. But it was damn sharp! A thought flashed through her head, was the gift really a cunning plot to murder her? She shook her head at her own absurdity, anyway, fortunately the five layers of Angora-Mongoat wool jerseys she was wearing had protected her from more serious injury.
She could not help but notice how the consistently the quote of the day seemed so in tune with her moods. It was almost uncanny:
Bugger your feelings~ Tobipooh
Damn right! If she listened to her feelings she would go home and sleep for a week. No time for that, no time for a nana nap even! She had a novel to write.
January 4 th, 2008
A communication about legends, to complement what Yurick had connected to during his sleep, with ties with the dimension of Alienor, and possibly counterparts within his dimension
Starry sky, eternal and boundless waft of dreams and legends…
Many if not all of the physical dimensions possess legends. Legends of their beginnings, and legends of their ends.
The language which legends speak is a language of symbols, and though many of the receivers of legends are prone to erect them as absolute and faithful accounts of historical soundness, they are much more mutable and protean than what may be commonly thought of them.
They are connections, bridges from a locus (point in time/space) drawn as a frontier between what is known of the now, in which civilizations of these worlds are thriving, and a locus which is forgotten, or beyond the commonly perceived world.
As such, they essentially represent boundaries.
And of course, boundaries are only boundaries because they serve a purpose. Much like boundaries drawn on maps are not necessarily representing actual obstacles which cannot be physically crossed. These are mere perceptive frontiers, which tie in the various developments of history and societal relationships.
When the civilizations, or species, as you understand them, come close to one of these perceptive boundaries, there is an interaction with the very nature of the boundary, which is receptive to the inception of volition to cross the perceptive limitation.
And a process of reshaping and expending the borders takes place, by means of insertion of new legends.
Legends, in that way of seeing things, are not necessarily old dusty accounts sung by blind bards with jovian white beards. Not quite. They are much alive. They are created and recreated in the instant where boundaries of perceptions are being tempered with. Which makes it important to notice that they are translations of much wider movements in consciousness, spanning more than the physical dimension in which they manifest.
Many of the legends that humanity is aware of are very similar accounts, throughout your globe. And they are also projected in other dimensional areas vibrationally close to your manifestations.
You are currently fiddling with the legends of your ends of times, and that is the reason why at the same time, you are starting to create new legends. Legends of new beginnings.
In actuality, this is done oftentimes; each time a perceptual limit is crossed and seen beyond. The only difference here would be the unprecedented span of the process which is occurring now. The point where you are standing, prodding into the interactive frontier you have come across is not a single mere frontier, but a converging point of many of tinier, shorter ones. This also creates a singularity which makes the frontier respond with a sort of inertia. In fact, it is like a wide net of fine threads, which possess altogether a high absorbing potential for small energy bumps. Nonetheless, it will give way to a vastly expanded perception, as soon as the collective energy is focused upon, and steadily moving into the direction of pushing that protective envelop.
That process never ends, and during that process, new legends are being remembered. For the lands beyond the frontiers exists when you are aware of it, which in retrospect also means, it is created, or inserted as you are prodding the frontier.
In fact, you are, as you stand before that specific nexus point, being creating new legends, in that you are evaluating the potentials that you see fluctuating as a shadow world through the layer of a soap bubble, and have them blend with legends that you know of.
Your very lives become the legends of these potential worlds, and thus is the importance of your being at that locus of transition. You indeed come at that point, as much for making it possible but more so, to experience the transition and alteration of the legendary landscape. You are the bridges between a future which you are creating as you remember it, and a past which contains the clues that will be seeds for your new discoveries.
And that is a most rewarding travel, as you will come to see…
Instantly Elizabeth regretted her spikey, voodish behaviour and scrambled to retrieve the telepooh. Her mother was Vood by nature, a particularly dysfunctional personality type, and Elizabeth had struggled all her life to avoid similar behavioural patterns. Her friends, and certainly her ex-husbands, would say perhaps with only partial success.
Apologies Bronkel, I was engrossed in my writing. How can I help you?
Bronkel appeared to be covered in bandages from what she could see of his upper torso, giving him the appearance of a rather odd mummy like creature. He was constantly searching for new beauty treatments to extend his youthful goodlooks, however at 167 years more and more desperate measures were being called for.
Elizabeth! Thank God, Where in Flork’s name have you been? he shouted at her. His pudgy, prouty little face was scrunched in peevish vexation. I can’t talk for long, I am on the Island for a month and the connection is flork. Where in the name of Fock is the story you promised me?
She could not find the words to reply to Bronkel. I wonder if I am mindblown? she mused. She had read of this horrible phenomenon, and seen the sad pictures of those thus afflicted. Poor wandering creatures, strange erratic behaviour, always travelling, always seeking. But for what? Hell on Dearth indeed. She shuddered.
It is getting urgent you know, spluttered Bronkel. Every day I am reading of new treatment centers opening for those undergoing crisis due to the prolonged absence of the Fickle Four in their lives.
She sighed, Pull yourself together Elizabeth, her bloodshot and tired eyes were drawn to the planetary horrorscope on the monthly calendar. Todays “Words of Comfort for the Descending” quotation was from the famous philosopher Lemone. She particularly loved Lemone’s ideas. Many considered him a nutter, a few thought he was a genius ahead of his time. For herself, she did not really know, only that his profoundly beautiful words offered a kind of solace or balm to her tortured soul at times such as this :
Sometimes it takes a single sniggly thorny path to go through to reach Elysian avenues much more efficiently ~ Lemone
Absolutely fantastic Bronkel, I think this is going to be the best novel yet! My God what an effort it took to say that, but for some reason Bronkel appeared to believe her and began to calm. Thank you Lemone, I could kiss you! she breathed an inward sigh of relief.
Poke its eyes out! screeched Robert X exuberantly.
A sniggly thorny path indeed, she thought, hanging up on Bronkel. She had fun using him and his island getaway for inspiration in her last novel. Fun, what happened to the fun? Is this what descended beings do, sit around in a dank, dusty office writing trashy novels?
She began nervously smoothing out pieces of paper and tried to decipher the scribbled notes; …big soup party …..pointy teeth like cannibals…..tribal wedding ….
Elizabeth put her head in her hands and groaned in abject despair. Twelve of the twenty mongoats fainted at the fearful sound.
Elizabeth Tattler stared morosely at her screen. Her long hair, formerly her crowning glory was wild and matted, small bald patches had formed where she had begun to habitually pull at it. Her beautiful violet eyes for which she was famous were bloodshot from weariness.
Ms Tattler was known planet wide for her series of children’s books “The Fickle Four”. The exploits of Almad, Tinigrump, Samnuf and Bekipo were beloved by children of all ages and planetary connections, although perhaps most endearing to those of the Fumari dimension who had a natural disposition for exploits of such fickleness. The catchprase “Bit rude Tinigrump”, and “Madder than Almad” had become part of the national vocabulary in recent years.
Formerly Ms Tattler had written, with limited success, novels of a more adult nature, drawing on her numerous marriages for creative inspiration. However her publisher had asked her to create a series about four friends who were on a mission to create other worlds, the focus being on “providing positive and fun role models” for children growing up in these difficult times of planetary upheaval. The works were in the science freakshow genre of writing and the popularity of the original novel had been unprecedented, taking Elizabeth and her publisher by surprise and leading for the demand for many more.
Ah, she sighed, and then spluttered as she inhaled the dusty, smoky air, but what a noose this has created. Her yellow nicobeck stained fingers touched her neck and then ran agitatedly through her hair. For at some point, when did it start? the story had begun to take a life of its own. She no longer felt in control as plots became more and more bizarre. She felt unable to follow anything through, creating endless threads which seemed to lead nowhere. She looked around her small office, everywhere was the evidence of stories started and discarded, screwed up pieces of paper covered in frenetic doodles littering the floor.
The telepooh began to buzz. She knew it was Bronkel her publisher before his face came up on the screen.
I know you are there Elizabeth. Will you pick up please!
In a fit of rage Elizabeth picked up the telepooh and threw it across the room, where it narrowly missed Lana, one of her 20 fainting Mongoats she kept as pets. Lana fainted for a few seconds in fear and Robert X, her pet Magpie, hopped around delightedly, Bugger the telepooh, Bugger the telepooh! he screeched. Poke its eyes out! Poke its eyes out.
It’d been two hexades that the Abbot Hrih Chokyam Lin’potshee had been laying in bed in poor condition.
At first, he had wanted to be as strong as he had always been towards hardships, but he’d finally admitted that quelching the pain wasn’t doing any good to him. So he had agreed to be taken care of by a young monk, and to lay in bed as long as was necessary.
He knew that he was very likely not to get out of that bed but with his body covered by a white sheet, nevertheless, the thought was still something distant. The pain in his body was making him so present to himself that the only thing that was still blatant was that he was.
More than the body, it was all his faith that was shaken. He had thought he would leave this life without mess, without pain, probably very discreetly in his sleep… But now, his head was wincing at every noise, even the nature’s sounds that once felt like music to his ears, he was eschewing them now as much as he could. His very skin was hot and couldn’t bear even the soft contact of the bedsheets.
What was the point of all of this? He had never doubted that everything had its purpose, but now, he was doubting…
He was even trying to find some reasonable reasons for what was happening, he who never trusted in reasonable reasons in the first place. Perhaps that was because of his seating under the chilly air and the warm sun in front of the Meditation Wall, reading for all of the poems that had been written by the monks who had dared to write. Perhaps he had “taken cold”, whatever that means…
“Perhaps not” the voice kept saying softly in his head.
Now, his whole succession was feeling like a moot point. After all, he was not even capable of saving himself from anything, then how could what he created make the slightest difference? These were all like an extension of his body, bound to decay and come back to Earths.
Not so many monks had dared write upon the Wall about their highest truth. A few jokesters had begun at first, helping the others to participate.
One in particular had had Hrih laugh for quite a while.
A toad is a toad
Then a dozen of others had flourished upon the wall, until Aum Geong decided to write his own. He’d not wanted to go first, to allow the others to express without the burden of comparison, and also to have some more time to write something deep and thoughtful. But that profusion of nonsense between some occasional pearls of wisdom made him write his own.
Unattainable is the Truth
For in the Dust of things
All in our View is bleak
Doing Wrong we forswear
For Dust to be lifted
And Wisdom we seek
In the deed of the Elders
And the Faith in the Community
Light and Trust bespeak
All the monks had been quite impressed, but Hrih had not been entirely satisfied by it… To be honest, he even completely disagreed with it.
Now, however, stuck in this bed, the poem was playing in his head and suggesting that the Worlds were something terrible that he had not yet understood, or be willing to avoid seeing. Perhaps Aum Geong was wiser than he was.
Perhaps all that Hrih had put as foundational to his life had all been Dust…
“There is no Dust, and you know that” the voice whispered softly.
Now that he is about to die, what difference will it make anyway…
He reach out for a bowl of water, and almost let it fall, as the weight of it surprised him. He was becoming so weak… He never had been so self-conscious in many many many years.
After he had propped himself up to drink a few burning swallows of the lukewarm water, he noticed something folded on his bedside, that had been put under the bowl… Young Franiel had been the one attending him with Jog Lam, so it must have been the doing of one of them. He intuited that was Franiel.
As he read the stanzas, tears were in his eyes…
I am the driftwood
the wave carried me
I was buried in sand
I am the flower
the butterfly touched me
I fell in love
I am the raindrop
the cloud released me
I became the ocean
The Young monk had probably not dared write it on the Wall, especially after most of the monks’ vocal appreciations of Aum Geong’s poem…
“Perhaps not” the voice again spoke.
Another reason for it formed into Hrih’s mind. Franiel perhaps didn’t feel ready for such responsibilities and his role and fulfillment in this community was not form rules nor to continue it.
It was more to inspire them, and perhaps to start his own discoveries.
Hrih wrote a note behind the paper. He wanted to leave something for Franiel, for him to keep faith in his coming adventures during these coming times of change.
After a deep breath, he took another paper that was with him for already such a long time, wrote down some words, and signed it, the aura of his hand burning a glyph that was his signature in the paper. He then called for Jog Lam.
— Jog Lam, my friend…
— I’m dying…
— I know Elder
— Let me continue. (Jog Lam nodded)
First, will you give that paper to Young Franiel after the cremation ceremonies. (Jog Lam nodded again)
Second, I want you to relay that I have made my decision, and that Aum Geog will succeed me (Jog Lam’s surprise was noticeable in his eye). He is, to date, the most adequate successor for this monastery.
— I will do as you want.
— Thank you my friend.
— Farewell, my friend, I am always with you.
When Jog Lam stoically left the room, Hrih Chokyam laid down, his eyes on the ceiling. His body was so weak that all he could do was to project behind his closed eyelids and see the starry sky, even if he would have wanted something different for his death. He would have loved something like a nap in a sunlit meadow with a little singing brook.
But seeing the actual World was something even more precious to him. The barren mountains of the icy season, the clear unclouded sky. His mind was so full of energy that his body lacked.
With a deep feeling of gratitude for his body, he bid it farewell.
Outside the apartment, the sky was a pale grey, with some delicate hues of more silvered clouds of smoke spewed out by the brick and concrete chimneys. Winter time was a few degrees warmer in the big city than in the countryside, on most of the scales he could think of: temperature, decibels at least,… and certainly a few others he didn’t know of.
Yurick (or Quintin as he was still known) was spending some time at his friend Gustav ’s place, Gustav having moved a while ago from Vienna to Paris, for a new job opportunity in the gaming industry. Gustav was living for a large part in a fantasy world full of trolls, ogres, thieves, demonists and other creatures, which made his conversations always fascinating. It was like he could get his own information about some shifty aspects in consciousness, and they were translated rather undistortedly through these fantasy adventures.
To Yurick, Paris felt almost less familiar than these other dimensional worlds, and bearably less colourful. But when he’d come back the day before, he had found not much changed, and the ambivalence he felt towards Paris wasn’t a stark dislike, as he could have felt some months before. Furthermore, as he was becoming closer to Yann, colours were coming back into his perception of that odd reality.
And it seemed that Yurick was developing an uncanny propensity to see 23 or 53 each time he looked up at the clock. Making him wonder if that could have any use at all ;)).
Arona finally managed to fall into a restless sleep.
She dreamt she was walking down a narrow alleyway between a row of old brick houses. A woman hanging multicoloured shawls on a washing line called out to her.
Where are you going? asked the lady. Are you lost or something? Do you need some co-ordinate points?
oh no, said Arona, I am just checking out the other side. I heard there is chocolate over there. It is through that gate I think.
The lady recoiled in horror. The other side! NO, you don’t want to go to the other side. I went to the other side once and I was never the same again. They all say I am mad now. No stay here and help me with the laundry.
Arona hesitated. A rabbit, a lynx and a toad rushed down the alleyway. Woooooo Hoooooo, they shouted. We are going to the other side toooooooooooooo.
Mad, said the woman shaking her head, completely bonkers I am afraid, and she threw fairy dust on Arona.
Arona wakened from her strange dream feeling oddly refreshed. It was morning. She started making her way happily back towards the cave, anxious to see her friends again.
Jose Maria stood sadly in front of the plate glass window. He avoided looking in mirrors, tried to forget his disfiguring scars, but occasionally he caught sight of his reflection in a window, and it always came as a shock. He avoided leaving the finca as much as possible, but had felt obliged to visit his frail and aged mother in the Residencia old folks home. His uncle Juan had come trundling up the dirt track to the farm in his clapped out old Citroen van, with the news that Josefina was expected to die within the week, and Jose Maria had agreed to make the trip into town.
A pointless trip really, Josefina hadn’t recognized him, had called him Sally at first, and tried to kiss him; and then later she’d shrunk from him in fear, calling him Pierre.
Three days later Josefina was dead. Jose was required to make another trip into town, much to his dismay, to the funeral. He stood quietly at the back during the ceremony, next to his cousin Paquita, who was attempting to hide a bad case of acne behind her long black hair. Jose Maria smiled at her kindly, and she smiled gratefully back.
Paquita and Jose stayed close to each other for the rest of the day, and Paquita’s family invited Jose to spend the night at their apartment in town. Jose hesitated, but when he noticed Paqui’s hopeful expression, he relented and accepted courteously.
Long after the rest of the family had gone to bed, Jose and Paqui sat on the balcony overlooking the industrial estate and the superstores, in companiable silence. Jose’s scars, and Paquita’s acne no longer visible in the darkness, they had both relaxed, and wondered vaguely why they’d never really noticed each other before.
What do you mean? asked Jose.
Well, Josefina won the lottery, and you’re her only child, Jose, it will all be yours.
Jose’s mouth opened and closed like a goldfish. Lottery? Oh you must be mistaken, my mother doesn’t have any money. WHAT lottery win?
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