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      Arona had no idea what dimension she was in. Or indeed, whether she was where she was at all. Oddly enough, and it was not often now that Arona found anything odd, she was finding the experience rather freeing.

      “Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Hoooooooooooooooooo” she shouted, and holding her arms wide open, began to whirl joyously around, till dizziness overcame her and she landed in a heap on the ground. She expected to land in a heap on the ground in a soft meadow with pretty spring flowers, but to her consternation realised that she had landed on what felt like polished concrete. She was even more concerned when she realised that she had a large audience watching her with interest, although at that stage all she really took in was a sea of feet around her. On further inspection she appeared to be in what looked like an enormous building full of shops, and, shoppers.

      “Are you okay?” A kindly gentleman asked her in a concerned voice. At least that is what Arona thought he said. Although the words were familiar, the accent was strange, and not one she had heard before.

      “I am fine, thank you,” replied Arona, trying her best to appear composed and rise gracefully from her sprawled position all at the same time. She must have looked convincing because, after a few more curious looks in her direction, the crowd began to disperse.

      Good Grief, where am I now? she wondered. Determined not to be alarmed and to go with the flow, however rapid that flow may be, the intrepid Arona set off to explore her new surroundings.


      Arona looked around. It was the strangely spoken gentleman who had first offered assistance. He was brandishing a book towards her.

      “Take this book. It is no good for me.”

      Arona hesitated. The last time she had heard those words she had ended up with a funny little baby to look after. The man was insistent though, so, thanking him politely Arona accepted the gift.

      “Hmmmm, How to Write Fiction, how very peculiar!” Flipping it open randomly she read:

      [Random Words Epigraph] Step One: Randomly choose 5 entries from your dictionary. Just flip through the pages, close your eyes, and put your finger down on the page. Copy down the word that is closest to your finger. If your finger lands on a word that you don’t know, you can choose the word just above or just below it. For the purposes of this assignment, count paired words as a single entry (for instance, “melting pot” is listed as a single entry). Step Two: Shape your list of dictionary entries into a poem or story, using all of the entries.

      “bugger that,” snorted Arona.


        She woke up at noon and it was 100 degrees, or 37 degrees, whichever you prefer, but whichever way you look at it, it was not a good temperature to wake up to. Everything was pointing in the direction of going solo, playing the game on her own for awhile, or at least until she was in a regular habit of giving herself priority, giving more attention to her own creative pursuits, and less time to the futile attempts to keep group projects going. She supposed for a moment that making a start whilst hot, tired, discouraged and confused was not the most ideal mood for a start, but at least it was a start. She wasn’t even entirely sure what it was she was actually starting, but suspected that it didn’t much matter, in the grand scheme (or lack thereof) of things.

        She’d had a moment of inspiration when she started reading a book. She’d only read a few pages and had no idea how the book would turn out, but the format was interesting. Julie had had an idea, simmering on a back burner for years, to write a book. It always seemed to want to be an autobiographical book, and that’s where she always came unstuck because she couldn’t see the point of that, not that she was overly concerned about whether anyone would want to read it or not, but she often came unstuck when she wondered about how all the characters in the book might feel about it, which is why that moment of inspiration in the bathroom the other day seemed like such a good idea.

        She could write a book about a probability party, perhaps called ‘Probably Real’, (maybe with the subtitle ‘Probably Not’.) There would be an occasion, the details of which she hadn’t worked out yet, in which various (not all, she soon realized!) of her probable selves met ~ such as in the Atkinson book, in some quiet desolate place with no interruptions (obviously somewhere with no internet connection, although there was always the danger of picking up a freak broadband WiFi), where they had all the time in the world to tell their tales, compare notes as it were.

        Which was where the fiction idea came in ~ of course! Just call it fiction! Would just one of the probable selves be telling the truth, relating the only true version of Julie’s life? And if so, which one was the real probable self? All the characters in the book would have probable selves and probable lives; which of them was the real probable self, the official version? No-one would ever know.

        Of course, anyone versed in the metaphysical mechanics of probabilities and such would realize that all probable versions are real, at the same time as all being, in a certain sense, fiction ~ made up. The only question was, would that be too unlimiting to contain within the confines of one book, but time (so to speak) would tell.

        Procrastination had set in, as usual, not that that is a bad thing, and things pretty much carried on as usual for a few days. Julie noticed the puppy tugging at a particular magazine from the bottom of the magazine rack over the course of those few days, and eventually the magazine was rather pointedly poking out from the bottom of the pile, it’s title clearly showing: a booklet on How To Write FICTION, with FICTION in big letters.

        Never the less, the procrastination continued, although the clue was duly noted. It hadn’t been the first time a Writing A Book incident had occured.

        It was easy, in this case, to remember that date, because it was right around the time of the 1999/2000 milenium party, right around the time when that particular roller coaster had derailed. While unpacking the boxes of books and putting them on the shelves of yet another rented house ~ a particularly garish and tasteless monstrosity, a drug baron’s dream of unfunctional largeness with hideous coloured glass windows (it’s the sheer randomness of the colours that’s so awful, G had remarked) ~ a book flew off the shelf, quite literally, and landed alone in the middle of the floor some distance away from the bookshelf.

        Becoming A Writer was the name of the book, and the funny thing was that she had been thinking of writing a book but didn’t know where to start, and had been toying with the idea of buying a book on writing a book. So she read the book and started writing, a little bit every day, following the books advice to just start writing, even if it’s just ‘I can’t think of what to write’. There was plenty to write about as it turned out, but circumstances changed, another sudden move of house ensued, another rollercoaster ride, and the writing stopped for awhile.

        But back to the book, Becoming A Writer. For a long time, Julie had no recollection of buying that book, and wondered by what magic had it appeared at her feet. Many years later she perhaps would have simply accepted the magic, and would have known that she created the book in that moment. But at the time she didn’t, and in due course constructed a memory of buying the book some years previously at a car boot sale somewhere along the coast road.

        (We did buy the book, piped up PSJ2, and I actually read it, unlike you, as soon as I bought it. My 5th book is about to be published, a lightweight comedy/detective series about the Costa del Crime)

        PSJ2’s interjection reminded PSJ1 (Good grief, we’ll have to think of a solution to the probable self names, she noted) that she had in fact started writing a book about the Costa del Crime, called Peregrino’s, or perhaps that was the name she’d given to the bar, the central hub, of the book. Of course, that was in the days when bars had been her central hub; she doubted very much if she would choose a bar as the central hub of a book now. She hadn’t got very far with the book, and had burned it when PSA1 got busted, just in case. What to do first, bury the (probable, it must be remembered) pump action shotgun, or burn the book. She had buried the gun, under cover of darkness, in the back garden, wrapping it in plastic bags and blankets, making it look for all the world like the body of a dead child. It was dark, it was raining, and there weren’t many neighbours out there in the orange groves, and she could do no more than hope for the best that she hadn’t been seen.

        No doubt there was a probable self who did choose to create being seen, but if so she hadn’t arrived at the probability party (yet, at any rate) with her tale.

        That it had been a major probability junction was certain. Not just the gun burying incident, which had turned out to be no more than merely incidental, but the events leading up to it.


        In reply to: Strings of Nines


          The word flounder popped into Yolands head, and for want of the inspiration to do anything meaningful, or even useful, she googled flounder. She was astonished to find so many varieties of flounder, and recognized that she was counterparting with quite a number of them.


          There was the Crosseyed flounder that she felt an affinity for, at the end of an evening of trying to sort out her photos; Alcock’s narrow-body righteye flounder, which was what she felt like in a bed full of male dogs every night, and she could relate to the Antarctic armless flounder when she couldn’t keep track of the Antarctic thread. Barfin flounder reminded her of the green icon and her friend Finn; Bigmouth flounder ~ Yoland sighed, she definitely felt a connection to that often enough. Blotched flounder, well that sounded a bit like botched ~ there were many occasions when Yoland felt that everything she did was botched, half done and messy. Chain-mail wide-eyed flounder when she dabbled a bit in past lives, and the Disc flounder when she got her music in a muddle. The Dark flounders were the worst, when everything seemed to take on the tone of a horror movie, but they were often followed by a Deep flounder, which sometimes contained a few insights, more often than not promptly forgotten.


          Yoland sighed. Imagine counterparting with just about every flounder known to man! She decided she wasn’t the only one counterparting the European flounder, which was a releif, nor was she the only one counterparting the Fantail flounder, although at least it could be said that she wasn’t a complete fan of anyone in particular, dead or alive, she was a fantail of quite a number. There were long spells of resonating with the Finless flounder; Finn was always disappearing, or so it seemed to Yoland. Very rarely she felt an alignment with God’s flounder, thankfuly she wasn’t often prone to dwelling on God things.


          Ah, the Gray flounder, yes she’d had a bit of a flounder when Gray sent all those photos of the Beltane Dance, she’d had a flounder for sure in amongst all those. Looking back though, she’d had fun with the mummy and Ella Tindale in the Gulf flounder…


          Yoland had to laugh when she came across the Intermediate flounder. Yoland wondered if the majority of her foundering was counterparting with the Intermediate flounder and decided she was probably too intermediate to work it out objectively anyway. She often had a tussle with the Large tooth flounder, lordy, she was always floundering with dental issues. And the Largescale flounder, that really was the biggest ongoing flounder of them all, the sheer vastness of everything.


          Every now and again, less than previously though, Yoland had a Melbourne flounder on Saturday nights, and rather enjoyed it, but not as much as she enjoyed a good old New Zealand flounder.


          Another flounder Yoland always enjoyed was an Olive wide-eyed flounder, roaming around the ancient olive trees of Andalucia, wide eyed and awestruck with the beauty and history of the place. She also enjoyed a Peruvian flounder on occasion, too ~ she’d even had a dream recently about floundering around by the mysterious doorway of Amaru Muru. The next night she’d had a River flounder, dreaming of the river in the Grand Canyon.


          Sand flounders were the best of all though, Yoland recalled many happy flounderings in the world of sand and all its Subulmantium configurations. The trouble with the sand flounder was that it often morphed into the largescale flounder, and got quite out of hand.


          Yoland sighed, it had been ages since she’d felt connected to the Seven pelvic ray flounder, what with Dan working nights. She was beginning to feel like a Shelf flounder. However, at least thanks to her new diet of replacing meals with flans, chocolate mousses and ice cream, she was closely aligning now with the Slender flounder.


          The ongoing slug issue with the cat food was obviously because she was still strongly aligned with the Slime flounder. Notwithstanding, Yoland was rather pleased to note that despite her morose and petulant mood this morning, it had to be said that she often counterparted with the Smooth flounder; although that was easy to forget in moments of quiet desperation when the floundering got out of proportion.


          Smiling, Yoland remembered the dream of feet touching when she noticed there was a Sole flounder too. And how often the Spotted flounder popped up, she was always spotting clues. Well spotted! she would tell herself. Oh, and the Stone flounder, wasn’t that the truth! Yoland was aligning strongly with that lately, smoking more than ever, somehow striving for either inspiration, or perhaps oblivion.


          Oh well, I guess this is just a Summer flounder, it will pass, Yoland decided (who was secretly glad that she was nearing the end of the list of flounder names). And sure enough, the next on the list was the Three spotted flounder, surely a good sign! A probability change perhaps! As if to validate Yolands impression, she noticed the Tile-colored righteye flounder. There was even a Warthog flounder, which seemed to ring a bell with a recent entry to the Reality Play.


          Best of all was the Windowpane flounder, Yoland felt she would even go so far as to say that this was her new focus animal. Well, she thought, if I am making this all up, I can make that up too!


          Thankfully Yoland reached the end of the flounder list, rather pleased that it had ended on such an amusing and encouraging note.

          Being closely aligned with flounders wasn’t such a bad thing after all.



          In reply to: Strings of Nines


            The fact of the matter was that Ann had been intending to write about Cordella’s twin sister Flagella, but had been hopelessly side tracked when Godfrey had thrown that curve ball. Flagella had been wanting to slap herself rather badly and Ann was more than willing to oblige her by entering a scenario into the Play. The way things had panned out highlighted some interesting parallels with Yoland’s current state of affairs too. Obviously Flagella had chosen not to slap herself after all, although she appeared to have chosen to effect that in a somewhat convoluted manner. It was the unknown factors that were baffling Ann, the missing links in the convoluted manners; she felt painfully aware that she simply wasn’t seeing the whole picture.

            Unsure of her footing, that’s what it was, at least that’s what Yoland had noticed. With the puppy always climbing over her feet or somewhere underfoot, she hadn’t been able to take a normal step in a fortnight. It was making her tense and tired, and jittery. Every step she took was halted, mid step, which made her feel permanently off balance.

            Flagella had wanted to slap herself for being irritated, which was becoming immensely irritating in itself. Being irritated wasn’t fun at all, it was irritating! The most irritating thing of all was that she didn’t know why she’d started getting irritated in the first place.

            Ann wanted to butt in and tell Flagella a thing or two about how dense she was being, but didn’t think there was much point. It wasn’t as if Flagella hadn’t already heard whatever Ann might have to tell her a thousand times or more, so it was doubtful that more words would be any help.

            She doesn’t need any help, full stop, Ann reminded herself, and neither does Yoland.


            The Fellowship wish to extend our greetings to you young lady, and to thank you most sincerely for gracing us with your delightful presence.

            Lavender smiled encouragingly at the pointy headed gentleman who was welcoming her so warmly. Still, she was wondering anxiously why she had been summoned to this meeting of the Fellowship, when her little Essence was not due for another two days.

            Thank you, it is I who am honoured to be here. she responded politely.

            The Speaker smiled benignly at her. I sense your anxiety. Let me assure you there is no reason for concern. We are very happy with your pregnancy. However we did encounter some unexpected challenges. Perhaps, it is best if you just see for yourself.

            He nodded to one of the Helpers, who waited like silent black shadows around the edges of the room. The Helper disappeared, and returned a moment later carrying a large bundle, which appeared to be wiggling vigorously. The Helper laid the bundle gently at Lavender’s feet and unwrapped the cover. Three little striped piglets emerging, squealing indignantly.

            Yes, smiled the Speaker. We are delighted to inform you that your pregnancy has resulted in triplet piglets. I am sure even though this is unexpected, you will be as thrilled as we here at the Fellowship are.

            Lavender hoped Aspidistra liked piglets as much as the Fellowship clearly did …


            With the flood of water that was spilled on the land after the crash of the plastic-wrapping-the-now-melted-iceberg-ship dragged along by the strong pull of the engine for miles inside the lands, a huge pool had started to form that began to gather animals around.

            The blessings of the fresh water was in fact such that, not long before they managed to have their feet back on terra firma, the three valiant musketeers Sharon, Gloria and Mavis with their chivalric Akita and his faithful spirit dog Kay were surrounded by the most diverse fauna they’d been seeing in days.

            — Lookit that! Can ye believe it?!
            — Zebra, zebra,… ZEBRA!
            — What’s up with your underwear Glor’?
            — Zee-bras, no bloody brassieres! See?!
            — Well, no bloody wonder, it just looks like the Serengeti
            — What bloody gothic serum?
            — Jeeze, Serengeti! In Tanzania… Africa, the land of the Maasai, bloody Lake Victoria et cætera
            — Oh, you don’t start getting that snotty tone again…

            Leaving for a moment the ladies at their cultural talks, Akita went for a walk with Kay, looking for some clues on how to get moving in this faraway place. He’d hoped to reach Egypt and the Suez Canal to get the ladies back to Europe, but obviously the single-use strange iceberg-ship was planned for Africa, and not much further.

            Kay always had most puzzling associations to bring up in their conversations. “Well,” he’d say “besides all these blue bulls isn’t it funny that the zebras are a variety of indigo’s…”

            “You’re a funny dog”, Akita told him “what is that supposed to mean?”
            “Obviously it’s an analogy…”
            “A bit too bloody subtle” Akita was starting to talk awfully like the ladies…
            “Zebras are symbols for a people who have a funny way of blending in… Or actually to not blend in. They’re symbols of the weirdos of your societies. Affectionately said, of course. I do consider you and your girlfriends a bit on the weirdo side by the way…”
            “Well, that’s nice… I suppose?”
            “It’s all symbols, and it’s dream-time, so pay attention dear one.”
            “If you say so” Akita said with a shrug
            “It is not uncommon to find in dream interpretation books some funny sentences like

            Dreaming of zebras running fast indicates you are interested in fleeting enterprises. If you dream of a wild zebra in its native environment, you might try a pursuit that could bring unsatisfactory results. Beware of those with multicolored stripes.The Everything Dreams Book

            “Now,” Kay was continuing his near-monologue as they were still walking “what is that supposed to mean; if that were a dream you were dreaming, would you use that one-fits-all approach to interpret that zebra dream?”
            “Who cares, really, it’s not as if I’m dreaming anyway…”
            “Of course, you’d know better; but anyway, that brings me to the multicoloured zebras. There are children who have started some years ago to manifest en masse on this planet with different views, a wildly different approach on life. People around your world have started to label them “indigos”, another shade of blue if you will. I wouldn’t be so circumspect in my dealing with funny coloured animals, if I were you…”
            “I’ll be damned if I understood a word of what you just said… Perhaps you’re right and I’m dreaming after all…”
            “You can say that again.”


              “Barry the White Bear is the last person having seen Arky the missing Aardvark “ Mlle Mongoose reported back to the team of worried animals.

              “And did he say anything more?” Angela Goose asked, interrupting busy-looking Mlle Mongoose in mid-sentence.

              “Well, if you’d let the Director speak, perhaps we could hear what she knows” said Freaky the Ferret.
              “Don’t be zo mean to Angelipooh” Jobby the Hippo said compassionately “You know poor Angie is zo buzzy with Baba Yolanda coming over”
              “Who?” asked Weirdy the Weasel distractedly
              “Baba Yolanda the Loon !” answered Angela with a hint of exasperation “You’re not paying attention my dear? I told you ages ago she’d be coming this week to the Zoo to spend her winter here… I figure it’s getting too difficult for her in the wild given her age.”
              “Well, I hope it’ll be better this time; last time she came, she left you in a pretty bad shape, it took us months to get you back on your feet. It should be time for her to get over that old ugly-duckling complex…”

              “Ahem”, managed to say Mlle Mongoose who was however following the discussion with great interest
              She continued “As far as Arky is concerned, perhaps you should go see him yourselves. You’ll probably get more from Barry White than I did; He’s bearing the management a grudge since we decided to raise the temperature of his room because everybody around was catching colds after colds.”

              “Oh, great… my time of hitting the spotlight has finally come, and I’m stuck with dear ol’ Baba Yolanda” sighed Angela Goose.


              “Did you see how Malvina went to her date?”
              “Yes I saw it beloved” and she added with a giggle “though she probably wouldn’t like us to call that a ‘date’ huhu”.
              “Ahaha” Georges was enjoying himself with various associations connected to his periphery. Associations with words like ‘date’, or with time-space connections, like the ones related to the dress Malvina was wearing.

              Salome huddled herself up against Georges, and not looking at him, said in a dreamy gaze “I remember perfectly that first time we heard about the Zynder”
              Georges answered, surfing on his own associations “I remember how people had so much trouble pronouncing it ‘right’ — Ze-In-dear, Zee-Indeer, Zaindher…ahaha it was so funny”.

              Then coming back to Salome’s last sentence that had been hanging in the soft silence unanswered. “I think I heard about it before you did, but I was vaguely aware of it. You were the one to tell me the legend.”

              “Yes, on that first day on the Kandulim, where the Zentaura told me about it.”
              “I would love you to tell me again…”

              The Legend of the Zyndre

              as told to Salome by Zharon the 44th, of the Zentaura’s tribe

              There is a legend among the people of this place, that people love to remind themselves of in times of despair. It’s the legend of this mythical creature named the Zyndre.
              What the Zyndre looks like, nobody knows for sure until they see one. Because once you see one, you know what it is, without a shadow of doubt. It may be tricky because some people have seen one, and they get into fights about what it looks like, for such is the nature of the Zyndre that its form is diverse and it doesn’t show itself to two people the same.
              That’s why my people have named it Zyndre, which means “the creature of a thousand forms”.
              Some people have searched to catch it, but their attempts have always failed. For the Zyndre doesn’t show itself to the forceful people. The Zyndre is a peaceful creature that will find for you what you most desire.
              That’s why many people have used to represent it with a large nose, for it is a seeker. It may find anything you want, but you have to desire it so much that it becomes the main focus of your attention. It burns in your head, not like a madness, but like a warm reinsurance, a soft knowingness that you will indeed find it, that which you desire most.
              So that once you find the Zyndre, you know you’ve reached that thing that you desire, because the Zyndre is pointing you in its very direction.

              “You know Georges”, she says “that night on the beach, I dreamt of the Zyndre”
              “Really? And how did you perceive it?”
              “It was beautiful, not like the classical representations we see, of that big-nosed creature; it was so elegant, like a small silver-shining spotted doe, with tall feet proportionally to its body, not unlike the Qilin of the ancient Chinese; and it was proposing me to ride it to escape its enclosure.
              And I was thinking in the dream, ‘it must be strange and a bit uncomfortable when it’s galloping’ —because it’s small, and my feet will touch the ground.”
              “So did you ride it?”
              “Yes, and you were with me, and it was carrying us with ease and grace, like it was floating and gliding above the ground…” Salome looked at Georges with a smile “So that when I woke up, I knew without a shadow of a doubt, that I was exactly where I most desired to be.”


                Al was singing this Hallowe’en tune in his imp costume:

                “Trick or treat, smell my feet, we want something good to eat” :yahoo_pumpkin:

                —“Sacrebleu,” he said to Tina “I guess Becky Pooh must not be far away, I can feel her limerick rhymes aiming at Ewrick”
                — “Mmmm, ‘whatever that means’ I suppose” retorted Tina, rolling the eyes of her funny Hallowe’en fancy dress. :ghost:


                The corridors were unusually long and Malvina was thinking of urging Leormn back to the cave, but she pulled herself together and began to sing a well known song of her friends’ world.


                Mandrake was trying desperately to relax, but apparently Yikesy wasn’t seeing it that way. Vincentius was so patient that it wasn’t human… well he wasn’t human after all, and Mandrake was beginning to doubt the baby could be human too, his dark rocky face notwithstanding.

                After all he had done to amuse him, the baby’s responses were quite disappointing. His subtle puns, his witticisms and his elaborate jokes all overlooked… And worse, that devilish baby dared pull his tail! Mandrake couldn’t help a disgraceful meow before he ran away from the scoundrel.
                Vincentius had told him the baby was a bit young, but the cat was suspecting a particularly mischievous tendency.

                The baby stopped crying and shouting. That’s when Mandrake realized someone was coming.
                Strange song really, he had never heard that language before… maybe it was just jibberish. He sprang on his feet and sidestepped skillfully another attempt of the little one to catch his tail. It was the occasion he was waiting for.


                Focused on her 100th kilometer, Malvina hadn’t notice she was arrived. Vincentius was attending to the child’s need and she had just the time to notice the cat who had just snaked under her petticoat.

                Mandrake, be careful! I almost walked on your tail…

                — Meow! (that one was quite elegant and he was proud of it) Well, he said ironically, I was trained by the boy…

                She laughed at the idea of Mandrake tormented by Yikesy.

                — He’s Yike a cyclone, not resting until complete exhaustion.
                The trace of bitterness in his tone surprised him, though he began to relax under her smile. That was a long time since he hadn’t purred like that… he really liked her presence and energy, and it seemed to influence the kid also.

                — Are you going to make him sleep? he asked eagerly.

                — Oh no, I’ve merely soothed your energy and the baby is responding quite readily to the newborn calmness of the room.

                — That was rude, he said as if offended, but he was grateful for it. Vincentius, my dear fellow companion in this godforsaken place, he called to divert attention from him. Look at who’s here.

                The semi-god turn quickly his head and bowed it slightly before returning to his main preoccupation.

                — He’s a bit rude too. He had barely welcomed you…

                — Well he’s quite aware I’m not here for him or the baby.


                  Images floated across the dark screen of Elizabeth’s closed eyes as she lay on the bed. She was aware of the trees rustling in the breeze outside her window, and the soft breathing of the miniature giraffes curled up by her feet. The afternoon heat was intense, heavy and soporific.

                  An island, strewn with debris; fallen trees and unidentifiable mangled wreckage of a stainless steel tubuler kind; splotches of blue everywhere dried and cracked into oddly shaped human-like-alien forms, and the telltale battered paint can with the word Azure showing, unscathed.

                  Darkness, damp smells, grey stones and spiders webs, slippery underfoot, bone coldness, and then a glimpse of lime green maidenhair ferns, a shaft of light and the sound of gurgling water….

                  Water sounds becoming surging tides, roaring pushing sucking head spinning weighty and then silence and the tinkling of windchimes….

                  A dog barks in the distance, waking the miniature giraffes. Big brown eyes atop slender necks gaze at Elizabeth as her eyes flutter open and then close again.

                  Last orders gentlemen PLEASE! and a jostle of bodies in the smoke and laughter and babble of voices. A crush of humans across a long wooden barrier for large glass vessels full of foam topped amber liquids. A hush. Silence falls as a glass box perched high in a corner begins to speak. Elizabeth can see the head and shoulders and the serious face, she can see the lips moving, but the silence is total and she can’t hear the words being spoken. The Big Hush, she heard herself think.

                  Hurdy Gurdy music and a merry go round…..grinning white horses up and down and round and round …..

                  Elizabeth drifted off to sleep.


                    4:21:44 PM 8-8-08 1da Geolocation Time.

                    sometimes the flow climbs a mountain.

                    pause. step. quick step. pause again. step. upstream another step. the stones solid, smooth, settled beneath my feet with the timeless passing of water. the path of gravity. the rising of a mountain. a rapid, considered, going on pace. sand between the stones. the moments of time. light on the rippling waters flickering. the air transparent, timeless, crisp, cool.

                    knowing i’ve passed this way before, i pass again for the first time.

                    it’s good to be back. returning. beginning.

                    knowing my destination. the cave far above beneath the ancient pine. the boulder near the rough and gnarled trunk, slick and smooth. so hard the sense is of softness gliding with my fingers over the iridescent surface. soft to sit upon, to watch the valley far below extending forever into the distance. soft to recline upon, arcing my back. the warmth of the day in the stone, lingering far into the night to heat my bones. …knowing my destination, i take the next step into all that is new.

                    sitting near the water. deep transparent pools of green/blue. the setting red sun. a shelter beneath driftwood high on the bank. a myrtle tree draping a blanket of scent over me, opening my soul. with each breath. i watch the light fading into the words echoing through my skull… life is hard… the song…

                    Life is hard
                    Anyway you cut it
                    Life is sweet,
                    Like a berry from a tree
                    Life is temptation, baby,
                    Every single day
                    Life is hard

                    Life is funny,
                    I dont mean ha-ha
                    It‘s not always sunny,
                    When it needs to be
                    Life is frightening,
                    Nothing lasts forever
                    Life is hard

                    My time
                    Is next to nothing
                    My time
                    Falls on you, yeah
                    Is in motion
                    Life is hard

                    Life is precious,
                    No matter how you see it
                    Life is crazy,
                    Like yellow fishes in the street
                    Life is lonely
                    When you‘re not with me
                    Life is hard

                    Is that you story?
                    Hanging religion
                    From a tree, yeah
                    My time
                    Is next to nothing
                    Life is hard

                    My time
                    Is next to nothing
                    My time
                    Falls on you, yeah
                    Is in motion
                    Life is hard

                    My time
                    Falls on you, yeah
                    Life is hard
                    Life is hard

                    – J. Mellencamp – while on the planet earth.

                    ok. life is also beautiful. – 1da

                    it’s a cruel crazy beautiful world – J. Clegg – also while on the planet earth.

                    stars flickering in the fading twilight. the silence of a light breeze as pine boughs begin to whisper. the ache of tall trees swaying in the night with a moan like countless masts on the tall ships of a planet. blink. and i sleep.


                      Becky pulled a loose cotton dress out of the suitcase, and scowled at her bikinis. I’ll go for a long hike, she muttered to herself, slipping a pair of strappy mule sandals on her feet. At least my legs aren’t fat! she said, admiring her slim ankles…

                      She stopped for a while wondering why this scene seemed so familiar. She had lived that day already… Was she going crazy?
                      What would you expect with time-traveling affairs? the voice of one of her babies smirked at her…


                        Becky pulled a loose cotton dress out of the suitcase, and scowled at her bikinis. I’ll go for a long hike, she muttered to herself, slipping a pair of strappy mule sandals on her feet. At least my legs aren’t fat! she said, admiring her slim ankles.

                        Slamming the door of the hotel bedroom behind her, Becky trotted down the stairs, hesitating momentarily at the dining room, she decided against breakfast, and strode out of the door into the morning sunshine.

                        Squinting in the glare of the bright tropical sun, Becky swore under her breath. Forgot my fucking sunglasses, damn! Not wanting to return to the bedroom and see Sean again, Becky strode on.

                        She walked and walked, hardly noticing a thing as she grumbled and fretted to herself. She reached the edge of the town and carried on walking; not paying attention to where she was going, she made randon turns to left and right, and eventually the paved roads petered out into dirt paths, and still Becky strode on in her flimsy sandals, squinting with the sun and the sweat that was dripping into her eyes.

                        By the middle of the afternoon, Becky was hopelessly lost and close to swooning with hunger and the overpowering heat, but she stumbled on. A sudden sharp pain almost doubled her over, and she stood clutching her stomach. Shit, I should have had breakfast, she swore under her breath, mistaking the pain for a hunger pang.

                        Perhaps a trifle unwisely, Becky decided to run, in an attempt to find the nearest house or village in which she could find a morsel to eat. Before long the inevitable happened, and she twisted her ankle on a stone and fell heavily, banging her head and knocking herself blissfully unconscious.


                        It only took a few seconds for Armelle to deflate though she donned off with a hint of reluctance the delightfully filling feeling of power she had acquired notwithstanding the slight overweight (a few grams at best, given her immaterial nature of pristine white hallowy owly essence, but you could not reasonably expect to be really ascended with even no more than a few grams of physicality left, could you?)…

                        So, it only took a few seconds, which in essence’s inner time was tantamount to a mere eon (a merry myriad of seconds).

                        But then, all was so clear.
                        She was seeing the trail that was left unwatched by the spiders, and that her friends would take to the wort-hole.

                        Claude, my dear, would you be so kind as to oblige me for a few minutes? she regally asked her host of the branches, taking great care not to be too self-conscious, which would irremediably make her roll her eyes and lose all composure.
                        Well… err… I s’pose yes…
                        Indeed. Then, take good care of the wort-hole, and wait for us to come back, and then lead us back to the place from whence you came.
                        Wouldn’t do that, if I were you… It’s full of magpies there…
                        Oh bugger now. Armelle sighed so profusely that it made the hair raise on Claude’s head. The Snoot told me the way would be clear, so… have a little faith in me she said in a cocker’s voice.

                        And there, in a majestic elan, she went back to the spot where her friends were now gently getting together.


                        When she arrived, Akayli the were-lynx had just been deposing his precious package of the two silk-wrapped parents at the feet of little Anita. The first minutes of doubt passed, her hesitant face started to show a smile, knowing that her parents would be fine.

                        Yuki was for himself all very impressed by the transformergence of his friends, and was finding that a very good idea to get more focused.
                        However, he could hear the yet unvoiced protests of Armelle at his yet unphrased suggestion of a mergence
                        Now way I get my white feathers mixed in that bloody smelly goat’s fur!
                        And of course, he could hear too the yet unvoiced slew of outraged protests
                        Smelly goat? Who you bloddy call a smelly goat, you persnickity saucer-eyed shuttlecock?

                        Yet… Yuki, gazing for a few seconds of essence in the stream of possibilities, weighted again the enticing result that a mergence of the three of them would produce…
                        Which would be… a… grabbiffon.
                        A magnificent winged horned cotton-tailed… sort of… gryffun… or grumpfoon.
                        Well… perhaps Armelle was right in the not-yet-voiced first place.

                        That would just be plain ridiculous.

                        So… what are we waiting for?! Let’s do it now!! all three of them laughed in unison :D =)) :creating_magic: :buffoon:


                        — If you have an idea, then tell it quick, said Akita, this place gives me the creeps.
                        — Remember how Kay’s having this nice werewolf form in his shape-shifting bag of tricks?
                        — Yes, but he cannot really hold it for very long… Wouldn’t be easier if you just teleport us or something?
                        — Well, the thing is, yes, that would work for us, but that would take too long to teach you, not to say the parents. We can’t really count on their cooperation for now… and it’s perhaps better that way, because I’m not sure they would really believe they can do it anyway.
                        — So the real question is, Kay interrupted, how do we move quickly with two stoned weights?
                        — Exactly. My suggestion is that we combine our energies. I must say I’m quite fond of the werewolf outfit, it’s brawny and forces respect, and besides, you and Akita know how to operate it.
                        — I think I get your point. So how do we do?
                        — Just let Kay merge with you, and I’ll facilitate the anchoring, said Araili.

                        Kay started to swirl around Akita in a swoosh of air, while Araili faded into the background to become a force-field around them, getting tighter and tighter, until all three were a ball of light and poofed back in the form of a twelve-feet tall impressive werelynx.

                        GRRRREAT, growled Akayli the beast. Let’s move on.

                        Baring his claws, he delicately tore off the mummifying silky threads to unwrap the two parents, and taking each of them under the hairy soft grey arms, sprung out of the nest to the forest in quick bounces.


                          His teeth had been nudging him for a few days, or maybe a few weeks actually. Last Wednesday, Yurick and him had a chat with their friends Michaela and Elias, and Yann told them about his questioning.
                          Now, he was wondering about what was the meaning of all that in his new understanding of his reality. He was having the impression that he was in a complex video game and that at the beginning he hadn’t been told about all the fun stuffs he could do in it. Many aspects of this video game were unraveling and still he was feeling cold feet about jumping ahead.
                          Yann was noticing that his teeth were nudging himself mainly when he was doing certain things, like judging himself, finding himself unworthy, trying to force himself in certain directions, or to force his body. It was like his body was an amazing communication device from him to himself. It was continuously giving him information, not only about his environment like temperature, smells, lights and images, but also about what would have been hidden like weather patterns, mass excitement or balance, mass tension or release…
                          Elias had told him and Yurick that their energy was constantly open to each other, in a continuous merging and exchanging process. They were quite aware of that now, and at the beginning of their relation it would have been overwhelming, but now it was really fulfilling in many ways. Even when they were not in physical proximity, they would be together and feel each other. But they were also more centered upon themselves and they were not as influenced by the mood of the other as they had been ;)) they had reached a more balanced relationship and were beginning to intensify the movement.
                          Yann had also begun to be aware of a humming tone, inaudible, but very present. It was humming under the veil of this reality and he had been told it was one of his language of communication. This was very intriguing and it was overlapping his interest in his body and his teeth, he was wondering about the effects of this humming tone on them.


                          It had been more than a week now that Claude had broken loose from one captivity to fall into another.
                          Not that this gang of strange shape-shifting magpie beings seemed to consider him a captive, rather an impromptu host that they felt obliged to take care of. But Claude wasn’t duped one moment.

                          His precedent prison on Tikfijikoo had been relatively easy to break out from, thanks to that unasked for gift of preternatural strength he had gained from the experiments he had be subjected to. Actually, had he not almost been driven mad from pain, he would have been on the loose earlier. Thank the Magpies for his recovered sanity…
                          Security on the island facility wasn’t the highest and most difficult he had been confronted to. They seemed to consider the relative isolation of the island and its deadly sharp coral reef encircling it their main asset in keeping their experiments clear from outside interferences.

                          Claude snapped back from his thoughts and gazed fixedly at a tender green sprout at his feet while humming a nursery rhyme. An effective trick.
                          He had to be more cautious… He knew they could read his surface thoughts…
                          Apparently, he could come and go as pleased him, but as he had tried to find his way back to the island facility, he had discovered that the landscape was changing each time he felt close to it. And soon enough, he was finding himself back to the hidden settlement. He knew enough to suspect his affable alien hosts of playing tricks on his mind to keep him in check. Perhaps they were even bending space around their settlement, as far as he knew…
                          Not intrusive, and yet not a very different treatment from the inhumane experiments. Except he had no mummy bandages this time…

                          Know thy foe so went the adage, and Claude was determined to know enough about his new captors to escape and complete his mission.
                          From what he was guessing, as they had not killed him, they probably would release him (if he was lucky) as soon as their mission would be completed —a mission which was most probably the same as his own. Snatching the crystal skull he knew was there somewhere. He could sense they were after it too.
                          He was wondering who had hired them to retrieve the thing. Obviously they were not from the common lot of thieves, most certainly not even from this planet, and anyone who had hired them must have been in dire need of the thing.
                          He had been told by the Baron that the crystals were storing ancient vast knowledge and that accessing it had been only possible since a few decades, actually since the discovery of coherent beams of light (laser). But even accessed, the information stored remained vastly incomprehensible, and deciphering it could take another millennium without appropriate knowledge of its holographic proprieties.
                          The Baron had told humanity was like a child being given a box of books on relativity… And even the mad transvestite doctor was only toying with the tip of an immense iceberg.

                          Those Magpies were far more advanced, Claude could see it clearly, and he wondered how he could outdo them, if that was possible. Quite frankly he didn’t know why they had not yet retrieved it. Perhaps they were having trouble locating it too…
                          That would mean he still had a head start, however short.


                          A faint barking sound seemed to echo in his head… It was apparently coming from… the gnarled trunk of an old majestic tree… Whispers seemed to come from it too, like a child talking with an adult, and whispers around them…
                          The tree seemed wide enough for him to enter into the biggest crack of its bark…
                          Could it be one of their secret entrances and exits? There had to be coordinate points were they could get out of this warped space… What was he risking to try?


                          In reply to: Synchronicity


                            I guess this falls under the category of syncs, though I’ve not yet found all of the implications of this yet…

                            In the various extremely interesting and profound articles I found while browsing the news this morning, I found an intriguing article (FR): “She punches a snake with her bare hands!”. (they could have say “with her bare feet!” or better, “with her bare tits!”, that would have sounded more dramatic, and would have sold best… those wannabe journalists ;)) )

                            Anyways, it tells the vibrant story of a woman named Ruth Butterwurth (sounds like our dear Mrs Butterbutt to me) who punched a python to rescue her kitty from its clutches (well no clutches really, fangs at best) of the monster.

                            The article (which was posted the 23 rd of March, at 14:23, while it’s seems relatively old news) gave a link to a flickr photo with… guess what was on the same page, besides the Nanapython?

                            A lemur, an antelope (looking a bit like a :goat: :yahoo_oh_go_on: ) and a lynx :cat_happy: too. :spider: :y_orly: :yahoo_big_hug:

                            On the python article:

                            In Greek mythology Python was the earth-dragon of Delphi, always represented in the vase-paintings and by sculptors as a serpent. Pytho was the chthonic enemy of Apollo, who slew her and remade her former home his own oracle, the most famous in Classical Greece.

                            Mmm, Mrs Butterbutt and draggies? :detective:


                            The room was chilly and silent when she awoke. The transition between her dream and the reality was like a cold shower on her aching body. It was still the middle of the night, even the guards were noiseless. She managed to bring her body close to the wall with the only window far above her head. Her thin clothes weren’t sufficient to keep the warmth into her flesh and she couldn’t restrain a shiver. How painful this could be after such a vivid dream.

                            She winced when one of her right thigh muscles decided to contract on its own and wouldn’t let go of the tensions. She tried to relax and breathe as deeply as she could, which made her cough repeatedly and that was even more painful. Still she could think. She was with that girl and her dragon again, Lola she was. Though that time the dragon was sleeping rather deeply. She could not blend her mind with her. The other was well shielded and she couldn’t communicate. Even her mind was a prison that she couldn’t communicate with her dream selfs.

                            There was that woman again, the Warrior Goddess, but they didn’t fight with her pupil as they usually did. She was more like a channel to another realm. Atiara could barely feel the presence of the others. They were too far in a way that she couldn’t comprehend.

                            Oh! Now she was remembering… hope.

                            After what had seemed hours of an exhausting fight with ghosts, the vividness of that dream had faded and she had found herself speaking with a young lad. What was his name? He was showing her different symbols, telling her that she had asked him in a dream once and that his friend Ewrick had now finished them. Yann had then showed her this set of symbols.

                            She had felt a different kind of power along with the smile of a blue man. Had she asked for this? She couldn’t remember. She had said to Yann that they were beautiful though she hadn’t the slightest idea of what they were. He had laughed and just said that she’ll know soon enough. And there was that guy behind Yann, with his mischievous look and his nine-tailed fox

                            All she could hope was that she would remember the set. It seemed important. Well important enough that she had forgotten her painful body consciousness for a few moments. The coldness of the stone under her bare feet was bringing her back to her gray reality. The storm was now closer but still not ready to release its power. She was waiting for it.

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