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      The early morning sea mist was evaporating as Fanella strolled around the village picking up dog shit. She reminded herself to fully appreciate the damp coolness, before the scorching summer sun enveloped them in a bone warming blanket, and then reminded herself to appreciate the bone warming effects of the full sun later. As she retraced her steps she noted how differently everything looked on a return journey, how piles of dog shit had escaped her notice while going one way, but were obvious on the way back. It reminded her of something she’d read recently in one of the books that Lisa insisted she read to improve her English ~ A Field Guide To Getting Lost . Hah! Had there been a cruel irony in that choice of book? Fanella had felt lost ever since she arrived in 2020. But according to the book, getting lost wasn’t a bad thing, not at all.

      To be lost is to be fully present, and to be fully present is to be capable of being in uncertainty and mystery.

      Fanella sighed. All sounds very philosophical, but I’m still stuck in the wrong time zone.
      Another passage from the book popped into her head:

      We treat desire as a problem to be solved, address what desire is for and focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire, though often it is the desire between us and the object of desire that fills the space in between with the blue of longing.

      Fanella gazed up at the sky ~ the blue of longing was taking over, as the white wisps of clouds dispersed.

      The people thrown into other cultures go through something of the anguish of the butterfly, whose body must disintegrate and reform more than once in its life cycle…. how often the early stages of change or cure may mimic deterioration. Cut a chrysalis open, and you will find a rotting caterpillar. What you will never find is that mythical creature, half caterpillar, half butterfly….No, the process of transformation consists almost entirely of decay.

      Charming, Fanella thought, just bloody charming. Rotting soup of change, that just about sums it up. No wonder I wake up every morning with my bones feeling like mush.


        Jonbert had developed an interesting theory while doing his morning ablutions about time travel and catching butterflies. He had a gorgeous butterfly nursery inside the submarine, and got the strange idea that trying to fiddle with time was like catching a prized butterfly among lots of others looking alike.

        His thoughts were interrupted when the horn signaled they had arrived in 2222 in one of the blind spots of the ocean’s depths close to the particular spot where… some interesting butterflies would be attracted.

        The submarine was mostly entirely roboted. There was little for him to take care of, so instead of pacing around in his tartan kilts, he sat back in a comfortable 1980s garish sofa from his antique collections, and revisited his memories in his memory palace.

        He had taken him great patience and cunningness to hatch the plan. Through many of his Time Tourist outlets and a few shell corporations, the last of one which was named Vague, he had manipulated events to design and hire the Drag Queen time contest. Drag queens wasn’t the original plan, more of an unexpected deviation, not that it really mattered. All he needed was just one mission. Then, he only had to make sure the contestant would be diverted to a carefully selected time zone, and given a key to smuggle.
        The key wasn’t really important, what it collected along the way was.

        For him to be able to breach the Time wall of 3333, he needed vast amounts of gold, and to his knowledge, it could only be accomplished through true transmutation.
        Artificial gold, like artificial crystal wasn’t created as good as it gets in nature, and for some reason wouldn’t remain stable enough as the machines were propelled too far in time. Of course the irony of that was a conundrum in itself and wasn’t lost to him: after all, wasn’t transmutated gold just artificial too? After what centuries had managed to push as boundaries and envelopes, he wasn’t sure any longer what was artificial or natural. And it was his last ditch effort at living everlastingly.
        He didn’t care if he could just chose another of these holobodies to project his thoughts into, he was old school, and stubborn to a fault. He had to see it through, even if, and especially if so many before him had failed.

        The key was designed to capture a complete hologram of the person who seemed to have accomplished the transmutation recipe he desired: St Germain.


          Irina buzzed for her robot, Mr R. All the elite class had robots. Most nowadays were barely distinguishable from humans. However, Irina fancied herself to be someone who did things a bit differently. The design of Mr R was fashioned on the robots from classic twentieth century literature: his “head” a glass bubble sensor unit with moving antennae, his trunk-section a rotating cylinder with controls on the front, extending bellow arms that ended with mechanical claws and bellow legs with tread tractor units. He was able to move with deceptive speed and agility. Personality-wise Mr R was programmed to be the epitome of deference and tact.

          “Did you have a pleasant time with Mr Sanso?” inquired Mr R politely. “I believe you have a spot of cucumber on your face. Allow me to remove that for you.” He did this with a deftness belying his dangerous looking extremities. “And how else can I serve you this morning?”

          “Thank you, Mr R. Mr Sanso proved to be inscrutable as always. Please provide scanning assistance. Target 2121 Time travel mission 2222.”

          “Delighted to oblige, Ma’am!”

          Irina scanned the brains of the time travellers. The 3 drag queens were hypnotically sensitive and should be easy enough to manipulate. The girl, Sadie, was more problematic. Her motivation was happiness and her purity of intention meant that she would be difficult to manipulate successfully. Sanso, she knew already, was a law unto himself.

          Irina felt a stab of fear as she thought of the 22nd of February 2222. (Fear was an unusual emotion for Irina—in fact all strong emotion was unusual—and it took her a moment to identify it.) All the 2’s in alignment. If the time travellers were successful in retrieving the crystal and decoding the information before that date, what would that fateful morning look like? Would Irina herself even exist? Doubtful.

          Life was pretty good for Irina. In 2222 the Elite were free to pursue their goals—without the confines of the ethical and economic considerations of the old days. They were not confined to human bodies either; they could be robotic, animal or some other more exotic design or mythological creature. It really just depended on how the mood took them. Irina, with the expert assistance of Mr R, was planning in meticulous detail a mermaid-like body, complete with gills and a tail, so that she could travel to an underwater location for her next vacation.

          It wasn’t like that for everybody though. And this “progress” had not come about without a huge impact on the environment. There were large pockets of people scattered throughout the world who had eschewed the new technology, instead choosing the way of Love.

          “Looooooooove!” Irina rolled her eyes and Mr R chuckled politely on cue.

          If Irina had her way they would dispose of the time travellers the moment they arrived. Or better yet, send a team back to 2121 and dispose of them there. Management had forbidden this route, not for any ethical reasons—there were few moral guidelines nowadays—but out of caution. The vote had been close. Apparently there were some documents from the early channellers foretelling disastrous consequences if the time travellers were unable to return to their century. Management had decreed instead that the time travellers must be diverted from their goal.

          The crystal itself was closely guarded by the whales until the so called Chosen Ones arrived with the key.


            Something funky happened. Please bear with us while we iron out the kinks.”

            HUH!! Some kinky bonking going on somewhere. Must be that head countertart. No wonder she’s always so mysterious.


            In reply to: Tales of Tw’Elves


              In the corner of a nearby street, Todd reverted back to his prefered form. That of a brown dwarf. His dream was to be a star, so he liked the irony of it.
              “Finally done with this irritating ex-pron star and her antics” he said chewing on a bone leftover while heading for his ride, a red convertible, gift of the Sh’elves. “She had it coming after all, she should have libned quietly like she was supposed to.”

              Next on his plans was to liaise back with Neb, but he feared his friend had not in him to complete his mission. Hopping in the car, he wished he wouldn’t be too late on his way to the ranch, with all those cracks and holes in the road.

              Wiping his mouth still full of blood, an insidious concern crept into his mind. What if he too had been affected by the bloody fwicking kraken disease. But that was too early to say.


              In reply to: Strings of Nines


                Yurick had to laugh when his dear friend Finn told him “welcome back”, not that he didn’t like to be back, or Finn’s lovely comment of course. But rather because Finn being back herself at a time he wasn’t, was a most delightful irony he couldn’t miss. Unlike Finn (whom he had missed in the past, he felt obliged to add, in a manner to dissipate any misunderstanding).


                In reply to: Strings of Nines


                  Messmeerah (Winky) Maymhe, High Priestess of the Pendulous and Loose Otherworldly Threading, was going for a bath into the Pool of Rejuvenation. Her ineffable beauty had started to show the early signs of time tampering —signs she’d learnt to notice as soon as they’d appear. Luckily, the moons were in perfect alignment for the rituals of Spring Beautusk*.

                  News were good, very good indeed —which would certainly help in maintaining her perfect brow and forehead in pristine smoothness.
                  News were so good that she’d sent her minion Minky fetch the boy just right after her white crow Saggin had came back with news of finding him… after all those years (not that years did matter to her anyway, she prided herself on that).

                  It’d been close to an eternity, and she weighted her words… (in actuality it was a few teens and futile years at most) that she’d been trying to recover the boy, but the dwarfs had played her, and had managed to hide him from her sight.
                  She had not thought he could be concealed by anyone powerful enough, and it was surely not by the magic of that headless Malvina and her pesky dragons. In fact, the boy had been concealed even after Malvina and her menagerie had left the boy and his caretaker. She was thinking the caretaker in question had a concealment charm far more powerful she thought could exist.

                  But Minky would surely take care of that.

                  • It should be said that one of the effects of the rituals of Spring Beautusk were a slight stiffness of the overall face (and other dipped body parts), which earnt Messmeerah the cute and albeit ironic sobriquet of Winky, as she hardly managed to blink and was often victim of bouts of winking when she tried too hard.

                    Phurt knew there was something strange, her previous memory was that she was dead and now she seemed to be perfectly alive and alert.
                    The environment was strange, though. It was all full of little balls and she could see many headless people. Compared to them, her size was quite ridiculous and she prefered not to make her presence known for the moment. She will have time later for her projects of conquest of the world. But is what world was she?

                    All at her thinking, she didn’t see the creature coming and she almost died again out of fear when it began to breath in the air around. Maybe it was some kind of hoovering creature. She began to feel the vibrations as the dog (who has his head on for a change) began barking to notify his master that he has found the strangest little creature aroud. The master of the dog was a child of New Peasland and when he saw that strange little creature that he had never seen before, he called for his mother, who in turn didn’t know the little creature at all, and she asked her neighbor what it could be, but the neighbor didn’t know as well, so the went together to the mayor who in turn didn’t know what to think of it, but he was sure it had not been spotted before by a mayor of New Peasland, he would be the first, and he asked the kid to entrust him with his find and that he would tell him soon about it, thank you!

                    All alone in her matchbox, Phurt started to relax, the last few event had been frightening and she couldn’t do anything to escape her assailants, but the eventually let her alone, even if it was in some kind of jail.

                    MOUAAHAHAHAHAH, she laughed of her little spider laugh, which resembled more to a little squircking sound than to a laugh, especially in the New Peasland dimension. She had laughed because the walls of her prisons seemed quite tender and it would not demand her too much effort to get out. But for now, she was exhausted and needed some rest. It was not everyday that you found yourself alive again.


                      Ann glanced vaguely over the bookcase, wondering where her dictionary was. Did people still use dictionaries in book form? I suppose any book will do for the purpose, she decided, and reached for the nearest book, a book about Rembrandt. She opened it randomly five times, using a ball point pen as a pointer, and selected five words for Prof Underbaker’s assignment.


                      What a coincidence, I might be able to kill two birds with one stone here, Ann thought, with a slight shudder at the bird killing metaphor (if it was indeed a metaphor, Ann tended to skip the Labelling Words classes)…


                      Ah, but who? Who shall I excite?


                      Pointed in the right direction? Addressed someone pointedly? Not to put too fine a point on it…


                      Ann was interested to note that her selection of words started with the word NOW and ended with TIME, and popped it into her clue box in an effort to stay on course and finish the assigment.


                      There was no time like the present. Indeed T’Eggy was well aware that All is Now, she’d heard about that theory in Wicks, the online magazine that she’d found so enlightening. She’d been reading a copy of Wicks (a reproduction, the originals were now collectors items and very valuable ~ in an artifact rather than a monetary value kind of way, monetary value having been devalued in the early part of the century) in the teleport waiting room when she met the handsome foreignor in the dusty blue robes. Of course, it was not unusual to meet foreignors in the teleport waiting room, not unusual at all, but the tall, dark, and handsome stranger had excited her. Perhaps it was the flash of long lean tanned thigh that she glimpsed as his robes caught on the door knob. Of course, even the ‘waiting room’ was a retro touch, because there was no need to ‘wait’ for teleport travel. It seemed ironic in a way that folks in the old days had perceived ‘waiting’ as an onerous thing, an somewhat unpleasant period of clock watching and crossword puzzle books. These days ‘waiting rooms’ were popular places to meet people and choose probability pools. The latest trend was Turtle Nights, and Frog Nights, where men and women gathered in waiting rooms to choose partners, to find that special someone, loosely based on the old Hen and Stag nights.

                      “Do teleport stations have door knobs, Ann?” Pedro interjected.

                      “Oh!” Ann was momentarily non plussed.

                      “Non plussed? Is that a word?” asked Pedro.

                      Pedro, stop interrupting! The assigment isn’t to design a teleport station!”

                      The teleport station had been designed in retro style, a facsimile of the Atocha train station in Madrid. Lack of need for physical details had not resulted in a lack of appreciation for physical detail simply for it’s artistic merit, not to mention historical educational value, and the TRANS (Teleport Relative to Any Now Space) Station was an award winning example of old fashioned detail. Why, it even had doorknobs, even though doors had been dispensed with several decades ago.

                      “I thought the assigment wasn’t to design a teleport station?” asked Pedro.

                      “Does it bloody matter?” retorted Ann, with a hint of exasperation. “The overall point is to write rubbish, and that’s what I’m doing!”

                      “I’m glad you pointed that out, Ann” remarked Pedro helpfully.

                      “Oh my god, look at the time!” Ann exclaimed. “It’s time for class!”

                      “Bugger that!” snorted Pedro. “I’d rather hear about what happened with T’Eggy and that tall dark stranger!”


                      In reply to: Strings of Nines


                        Yruick (a temporary mergence of a pig’s little tone and Yurick) found himself mildly amused by the random quote about “Saint Tina” given that he’d spent a large part of the day hunting for misspelled “SAINT” in post addresses.

                        Then, he wondered what Yoland was raving about. The links work perfectly, don’t they? And what were these Bits of Little Tuna on her face?
                        Interesting she should mention Amsterdam however; at lunch today, Yurick’s new boss was thinking of planning a seminar, and was asking which little town they could go to. Why not Amsterdam he’d told them. Then Yurick smiled, thinking back of the Madrid adventures, and wondered how the pushing of little words like “fig” would work out in a different environment such as this more formal one. So he just thought of Madrid and that grand hotel where they’d been to for a few seconds.
                        And there it was… the next second after, the boss went like “You already all been to Madrid, haven’t you?”


                        In reply to: Strings of Nines


                          The Le Hoot triplets had just arrived from the Nest Dimension and were quietly aclimatizing to the new environment. They were well camoflaged against the pine tree branch, Sprack had done a good job as usual with the expedition planning, his noteworthy attention to detail and vast knowledge of Pulmonia was second to none.

                          Sprack unfortunately hadn’t forseen the lungquake occuring so soon after the Hoot’s arrival, however. When the pine branch first started to tremble, F’Loot, who was perched on the outermost position, almost lost her footing. Luckily K’Yoot managed to hold onto F’Loot, while M’Yoot maintaineed a firm hold on the pine trunk, saving them all from an embarrassing and potentially disastrous fall.

                          The Le Hoot’s had been sent to Pulmonia to locate all the Lost Eggletons and return them to Ovadonia for debriefing and eventual retirement, with instructions to locate all missing Eggletons, whether they be dead, alive, melted or cooked, or miscellaneous parts thereof.

                          As the ground started to shake for a second time, M’Yoot spotted the terrified yellow Eggleton clinging desperately onto a gravestone, beads of chocolatey sweat spattering the cold grey stone.

                          M’Yoot tugged K’Yoot’s wing in alarm, pointing wordlessly at Amarilla. K’Yoot in turn nudged F’Loot, who almost lost her footing again. There was an almighty roar as the ground heaved and split.

                          As the Lost Eggleton screamed and disappeared into the heaving bubbling goo, the Le Hoot triplets sprang into action.


                          In reply to: Strings of Nines


                            Yoland was inordinately pleased with her purchases, trifling though they were. She smiled at the little bottle of cherry red nail varnish, imagining how it would look on sun browned and callous free toes. Painted toe nails was one of life’s simple pleasure, she reckoned. Nothing fancy or expensive or uncomfortable, like her new brassiere, which had never the less given her spirits a bit of a lift, as well as her breasts, with its bright blue moulded foam shape. She wondered if she could suspend the brassiere and its contents from something other than her shoulders for once, but couldn’t see how it could be arranged and still allow a modicum of freedom of movement. Perhaps some of the new scientific discoveries that she was eagerly awaiting would include some kind of gravity and weight defying device, possibly helium filled foam support. Perhaps even in the future, anyone with a high squeaky voice would be described as a bra sucker. Or perhaps one day breasts worn on the waist would be fashionable. This thought made Yoland a bit uncomfortable, as she hadn’t really believed she was following fashion, but maybe she was after all.

                            Yoland wondered if she was verging on the ridiculous again, and decided that it didn’t matter if she was. There was something rather splendid, she was beginning to discover, about the mundane and the silly. Something serenely pleasurable about ~ well about everything she’d been taking for granted for so many years. The things she hadn’t really noticed much, while her mind was busy thinking and pondering, replaying old conversations, and imagining new ones, sometimes with others, but often with herself, inside the vast jumble of words that was her mind.

                            It was always a wonderful change of pace to go away on a trip, with its wealth of new conversations and words, events and symbols to ponder over later at her leisure, the many photographic snapshots providing reminders and clues and remembered laughs, but it was the renewed sense of appreciation for the mundane that was ultimately most refreshing about returning home.

                            The word home had baffled Yoland for many years. For most of her 51 years, if the truth be told. So many moves, so many houses, so many people ~ where, really, was home? She’d eventually compromised and called herself a citizen of the world, but she still found herself at times silently wailing “I want to go home”, but with the whole world as her home, it didn’t make a great deal of sense why she would still yearn for that elusive place called home.

                            Of all the words that swam in her head some of them seemed to keep bobbing up to the surface, attracting her attention from time to time. That was the funny thing about words, Yoland mused, not for the first time, You hear them and hear them and you understand what they mean, but only in theory. The suddenly something happens and you shout AHA, and then you can’t find any words to explain it! Repeating the words you’ve already heard a hundred times somehow doesn’t even come close to describing what it actually feels like to understand what those words mean. That kind of feeling always left her wondering if everyone else had known all along, except her.

                            Yoland was often finding words in unexpected places, and these were often the very words that were the catalysts. (Even the word catalyst had been one of those words that repeatedly bobbed to the surface of her sea of words). Her trip had been in search of words, supposedly, channeled words (although Yoland suspected the trip had been more about connections than words) and yet there had only really been one word that had stood out as significant, and oddly enough, that word had been watermelon.

                            That had been a lesson in itself, if indeed lesson is the right word. Yoland had been attempting to exercise her psychic powers for six months or more, trying to get Toobidoo, the world famous channeled entity, to say the word watermelon ~ just for fun. She couldn’t even remember how it all started, or why the word watermelon was significant ~ perhaps a connection to a symbol etched on a watermelon rind in Marseilles, which later became a Tile of the City. (Yoland wasn’t altogether sure that she understood the tiles, but she did think it was a very fun game, and that aspect alone was sufficient to hold her interest.) By the end of the last day of the channeling event Toobidoo still hadn’t said the word watermelon which was somewhat of a disappointment, so when Yoland saw Gerry Jumper, Toobidoo’s channel, in the vast hotel foyer, she ran up to him saying “Say watermelon.” The simple direct method worked instantly, where months of attempts the hard way had failed. Yoland felt that she learned alot from this rather silly incident about the nature of everyday magic, and this particular lesson, or we might prefer to call it a communication, was repeated for good measure the following day in the park.

                            Wailon, the other world famous channeled entity who was the star attraction of the Words Event, had proudly displayed photographic evidence of orbs at the lecture. Like Yoland had tried with the watermelon, he was choosing an esoteric and unfamiliar method of creating orbs, suggesting that the audience meditate and conjure them up to show on photographs, rather than simply creating physical orbs. Yoland and her friends Meldrew and Franklyn had chanced upon a beautiful glass house full of real physical glass orbs in the park, underlining the watermelon message for Yoland: not to discount the spontaneous magic of the physical world in the search for the esoteric.

                            It had, for example, been rather magical and wonderful to hear Gerry Jumper explain how he had mentioned watermelon to his wife on the previous day in the dining room ~ mundane, yes, but magical too. It would have been marvellous to create Toobidoo channeling the word watermelon for sure, but how much more magical to create an actual slice of physical watermelon in the dining room and have Gerry remark on it, and to have an actual physical conversation with him about it. Who knows, he may even remember the nutcase who spent six months trying to get him to say watermelon whenever he sees one, at least for awhile. It might be quite often too, as his wife is partial to watermelon. Yoland wondered if this was some kind of connecting link, perhaps the connection to Gerry and Cindy started in Marseilles and watermelon was the physical clue, the pointer towards the connection.

                            Perhaps, Yoland wondered, the orbs were the connecting link to Wailon, although she didn’t feel such a strong connection to him as she did to Toobidoo and Gerry Jumper. She had been collecting coloured gel orbs for several months ~ just for fun. There was often a connecting link to be found in the silly and the fun, the pointless and the bizarre, and even in the mundane and everyday things.

                            In the days following her return home ~ or the house that Yoland lived in, shall we say ~ she felt rather sleepy, as if she was in slow motion, but the feeling was welcome, it felt easy and more importantly, acceptable. There was nothing that she felt she should be doing instead, for a change, no fretting about starting projects, or accomplishing chores, rather a slow pleasant drifting along. Yes, there were chores to be done, such as watering plants and feeding animals and other things, but they no longer felt like chores. She found she wasn’t mentally listing all the other chores to be done but was simply enjoying the one she was doing. Even whilst picking up innumerable dog turds outside, she heard the birds singing and saw the blossom on the fruit trees against the blue sky, saw shapes in the white clouds, heard the bees buzzing in the wisteria. The abundance of dog shit was a sign of a houseful of happy healthy well fed dogs, and the warm spring sun dried it and made it easier to pick up.

                            It was, somewhat unexpectedly, while Yoland was picking up dog shit that she finally realized what some of those bobbing words meant about home, and presence, and connection to source. It seemed amusingly ironic after travelling so far (not just the recent trip, but all the years of searching) to finally find out where home was, where the mysterious and elusive source was. (Truth be told, some printed words she found the previous day had been another catalyst, by Vivian channeled by Wanda, but she couldn’t recall the exact words. Yoland had to admit that words, used as a catalyst, were really rather handy.)

                            Wherever you go, there you are ~ they were words too, and they were part of the story. Now that Yoland had come to the part where she wanted to express in words where home, and source, was, she found she couldn’t find the right words. In a funny kind of way the word vacant popped into her head, as if the place where the vast jumble of words was usually housed became vacant, allowing her to be present in her real physical world. It really was quite extraordinary how simple it was. Too simple for words.



                            In reply to: Strings of Nines


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

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

                              Cordella wondered how many times, and with how many additions, this perfectly timed random quote would thread its way through the volumes. She had been trying to balance her universal celebration lettuce somewhat unsuccessfully, wishing she’d paid more attention to the lecture, when she spotted the orbs.


                                With a side glance at the random words written on the fridge, Harvey was starting to get another slipstream of weirdrom (weird and random) information.

                                Earth escape; whole asked environment similar — Friend forgotten work, thinking moving! Managed recently whatever known questions — dogs ones myself physical energy

                                Now, did this Earth escape had anything to do with that recent quest of Philodendron for a FTL travels equipped island…


                                In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


                                  Freakus self forgotten parcel snooter
                                  sound mouse elikozoe aware nut
                                  soft environment knew arona
                                  barb nice listen moving nonsense
                                  rather mean


                                  In reply to: Scrying the Word Cloud


                                    I’m amazed at the sense the cloud makes sometimes:

                                    land told merely remember
                                    environment focuses individuals
                                    feeling trust face nonsense
                                    dream pig Angela shut bag fur
                                    closer himself tried probable


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

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

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


                                        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.”


                                          Salome was recalling her first steps on the Murtuane as she was fondly turning a small pale greenish stone into her palm. The stone was smooth, with a milky shine and had a diffuse warmth.

                                          It was carrying many of her memories of this time. She’d taken it from the shores of the Kandulim that first night, taking the rough stone as something to cling on, and firmly grasp, to bring herself back to her own senses, and drown her fearfulness and disorientation in the strong presence of feeling alive.

                                          She’d kept it for a while, and then had started to learn how to use stones to encode certain information. Of all the shiny crystals that she could have used, she’d preferred to keep the rough unpolished stone because of its genuineness.
                                          Encoding it wasn’t as easy as for more regular crystalline structures found in more precious stones, yet it was almost as if she’d wanted this one to bear the mark of her mastery at this art.

                                          She wasn’t very educated, and had not seen much of the Earth, but she had known at once that this place where they had docked the dinghy after that epic escape from the Sultan’s palace wasn’t like anything she could have found on Earth. Somehow, even her own body had begun to reflect that alien-ority to her.

                                          The stone was showing her scenes she had conveniently let slip away from her current focus. As she was seeing them, appreciation was overflowing her heart. It had taken her a while to get accustomed to this place and eerily enough, despite that lack of familiarity, she’d had a knowing that she was meant to be there.

                                          Her thirst of discovery was as immense at that time —not that it was less at the moment, but the contrast between her ignorance and the things she knew she could access had been stark and bitterly felt.

                                          She couldn’t help but smile at the scene of her past self learning to read and write. When Madame Chesterhope had taken her under her wing in her schemes to approach the Sultan with a worthy price, she had begun to learn from her a modicum of English language, but she would never have dreamt of learning how to read.

                                          And there, how ironic that the first place she would learn that, of all the many languages she would learn over the course of their explorations with Georges, was a place from another dimension, with a language she only started to feel she could utter the sonorities of.

                                          It was no mistake Leonard had brought them here first. Now she was thinking back, reminiscing this period of time, she recognized how much she loved the languages of the Turmakis. For her, it was as close as “home” a foreign culture could be called.


                                            Elizabeth had wanted to voice her concerns about the Vowel Shift and its potential impact on language and understanding to her publisher Godfrey Pig Littleton on numerous occasions, but until his, to her way of thinking, outrageous tampering with her script, it had not been in the forefront of her mind. She had simply ignored the Vowel Shift in the Ooh Dimension, and made up her own Vowel Shifts instead, in a variety of minor ways. Ironically and somewhat perversely (Elizabeth was well aware of the consonant shift, which she translated as a continental drift symbol) Pig Littleton was quick to notice and object.

                                            “Do you deliberately write ‘collaberative’ instead of ‘collaborative’?” he asked.

                                            “There are No Accidents, Godfrey” retorted Elizabeth, rather cleverly shutting the old coot up, at least for awhile. Thank Goodness he was otherwise engaged with the latest production of TWIST, and not breathing down her back about The Book.

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