No workout

Baker Bloch knew something he could do to perhaps help immediately. There was one too many of the same color within the sphere. He transformed into King Orange and teleported over to his house in Saturn. Greater Malefic, opposite Tronesisia’s positively charged Rose MoonDream cottage. Realm of Oranges which should be just Realm of Orange.

He takes one last gulp of wine through his forehead and begins the process. The King knew Orange Nova usually woke up about 7 and headed over to Muscle Madness to begin his daily 10 hour workout. It was 5 now. This was a window.

He goes outside. “Eclipse nightclub,” he thinks, staring in its direction. “Damn fine goblets of wine.” He then peers further, just around the corner. White house.

Orange — the *fake* Orange — would be sleeping upstairs in its only furnished room. *Barely* furnished. This should be simple.


Goblet raised, King Orange strikes.

And strikes again. And strikes again and again. And again.


Orange Nova turns from blue to white. At 7 sharp he walks out of his house toward Muscle Madness, chained to a routine even after death.

He can’t pick up weights. He can’t sit on the benches. He can’t do anything.

Morris shows up.

“I’m the last person anyone wants to see in their lives,” he admits. “But it has to be done. Come with me Orange Nova. You’re time has arrived.”

Morris changes into a wolf and leads him through the portal to the Great Beyond.

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Baker Bloch changed into Pitch Darkly and summoned Buster Damm to the scene. They couldn’t think of anywhere else to go, so they took her to a nearby church just on the other side of the woods. Tronesisia and Mary were supposedly still out of town. VHC City was not safe any longer. King Orange’s place was too close to the edge for comfort. No, it would have to be the church. The real Clare Nova’s church.

The next day, after a good night’s rest in a barrel bed located on the second floor, Wheeler felt a little better. “You called me Clare,” she said to Pitch Darkly, sitting in a nearby chair. Damm was out gathering firewood in the forest. “I distinctly remember your voice saying the name Clare in alarm. You thought I was dead.”

“Actually, at first I thought you were Mary. But, yeah, I did say Clare. I’m not sure why. I knew you were the person in the picture.”

“What picture?” asks Wheeler.

Pitch uncrossed his legs. “Never mind that right now; I’ll show you later. First you must get better. That was a nasty collision you had with that tree.”

“Hallo-ween tree,” she said.

“That’s right. Nowhere near Christmas. I don’t know why you were there. Do you remember your name now?” Pitch looked at her keenly.

“I’m Wheeler. My name is Wheeler. Wheeler Wilson.”

“That’s it,” says Pitch Darkly, encouraged.

“Or is it Wilson Wheeler?”


“Very sad,” Pitch said to Buster later after they’d shared a meal of fruit and vegetables downstairs. “It’s as if she’s stuck between regular and reverse times.”

“She must have made successful contact with the shadow being.” Buster looks around the room. “Sure are a lot of bear images around here, Pitch. And more in the woods — real ones. There’s a cave if you haven’t noticed. Bear cave. Thing shocked me when I went inside and turned to the right. But he’s a right fine fellow. Name’s Guernsey. But he’s mad as hell at the real Clare Nova. She’s hunted his kind. For example, look to your right.”

“I know. I’ve seen it over there.”

“And your left.”

“Appears to be circus related,” guessed Pitch. “Clowns… bears. We’re moving closer to the truth.”

“Wheeler may not fully come out of it for a while,” said Buster, sighing.

“We may have to keep her here,” suggests Pitch. “Nowhere left to turn.”

“And danger all around.” Buster scans the room again.

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“What do you think Buster? It’s the first image that comes up in a google search for ‘pitch darkly’ that isn’t a part of the Sunklands blog.”

“But… there’s nothing in it,” Buster logically replied.

“Oh, there’s a bit of blonde or red hair if you look closer. Right down there at the bottom.”

“Not much.”


“So what does it mean?”

“Hmmmm… I’m sensing a general absence about the Pitch Darkly character. And of VHC City as a whole. I guess you heard that George won’t be joining us anytime soon.”

“Yeah, sorry about that Pitch,” Buster replied. “False pregnancy alarms are tough. I have 23 children — I think –scattered around not only VHC City but the whole of mainland. Been around, you know. 2 by what use to be called Blue Angels alone. Use to live underneath the hot spot, hehe.”

“Thank you Buster. We’ll keep trying, of course. I want to have a kid so bad.”

“Do you?”


“Do you really?”


“You don’t do you?”


“Not at all, do you?”

“No. Not really at all.”

“Well there you go.”


Outside the Sphere of Influence or Realm of Orange (take your pick at this point), our boy George has discovered a small Christmas tree on the southern edge of the PCH Forest he now dwells within. “Presents!” he cries, and looks at the tags. The one with the green bow up front is from someone named Lou. The larger present that has a red bow says it’s from Morris. And then perhaps the biggest one tied with a white ribbon is from a person named Osborne. Osborne Wells. Which to open first??


Afterwards, Baker Bloch goes to the same spot in the woods and find something different: a seemingly dead witch glued to a tree she obviously ran into while driving around drunk on her broomstick. He now realizes whose head it is at the bottom of that empty picture.


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Inside Out

“I don’t see the Castle Tower on here,” he says, peering intently. “*Nor* the Crystal Cottage.”

“No,” Tronesisia replies. “We’ll have to redraw the map soon.” She points.

“And there’s my own cottage. A bit inside the circle apparently. You can’t enter there. You will have to stay in the forest. Beginning just beyond the railroad. Just outside his influence. Realm of Orange. Do you understand?”


“We must leave this place now.”

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Wheeler Wilson, Buster Damm and Pitch Darkly never really got to the meat of their talk from the day before. The next evening Baker Bloch teleported into what should have been the Crystal Cottage to scout out the area further. The house was no longer there. A tower had taken its place. Was this the real Clare Nova’s doing? Was she reading the Sunklands blog? A quite likely scenario.

At the bottom, an altar.

A child’s fort.

Several varieties of mushrooms.

Baker realizes the proper entrance to the tower is on the other side from him. The structure is in ruins. He circles around, but before ascending the proferred spiral staircase, goes out to the cliff above the railroad to check out these little purple fellas.

He goes back to the tower and starts heading upwards.

Nothing at the top except a single golden cube devoid of name or content. Darkness had come quickly. Was the tower some kind of test?

If so, did I pass it just by creating this post?

Hiding outside the Sphere of Influence.

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Drunk talk

“So tell me about this Bennington you are from,” requested Mary to Tronesisia on the porch of the robot lady’s Rose Moondreams Cottage. They had been back for about a day now. Mary wasn’t ready to return to the small house where she and Pitch Darkly lived now beside her favorite fishing hole. Pitch thought they’d be gone for another week. They were hiding out, in effect. Trying to unravel what that kid was doing on the bridge and his cryptic talk about mutable time. Wegee had at least told them his name was not Loki, the orange word printed on his t-shirt. That was a brand.

“Oh, nothing much to tell,” Tronesis answered. “Dangerous town. Moreso than Farmington where you are from, of course. How’s that place doing these days?”

“Same as yours. Nothing’s changed. Peaceful and calm.” Mary thinks back to another part of the wegee session from earlier in the day. “Have I ever told you the story of my last name?”

“Ball, isn’t it?” Tronesisia had heard that from Pitch. “Some relation to Old Martha Ball, I recall.” She takes another swig of her craft beer. Mary does the same with her own. By the way, Mary was not pregnant any longer. She had entered the Realm of Orange again and his influencing sphere. More on that later.

“Yes. My full name is Mary Ball, but not *Chuckles*. Martha was my aunt. Martha Spit Ball. She owned a lot of the Epping Woods. And your killing shack you’re so familiar with now is actually the place I was born. My aunt took care of my mother during the pregnancy. Then we stayed on until I was 3 or 4. Farmington was much more dangerous back then.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” said Tronesisia, surprised at this new twist. And Bennington was peaceful during her own childhood, she thought. Something switched between the two. She swigs again.

“Anyway, I kept coming back and coming back for visits and eventually I just moved here as a teenager. My aunt got me a job as a singer slash dancer slash juggler over in the Blue Angel, which she helped manage. Seedier place in those days.”

“Ahh, love that club,” Tronesisia said. “I use to sing there too. Before your time, however.”

“I didn’t know *that*. We’ll have to compare singing voices sometime. But I was best at juggling, admittedly. That’s how the clowns found me.” Mary gets up from the rocking chair while downing the rest of her beer. “You want another brewsky or are you good?”

“Just bring a whole six pack out here and set it on the floor between us,” Tronesisia requested earnestly.


2 hours later…

“Perhaps the first thing I remember as a child was hearing that awful awful plane crash over at what’s now the Catsocks Crater — sometimes incorrectly called a sinkhole. No, *Sikkima* has a stinking sinkhole. That’s not a sinkhole. That’s just a plain, rotten hole. My mother, at the time see, told me it was the end of the world when it happened. To everyone’s horror, Osborne Well and his monster posse crawled out from the tail piece of the smoldering wreck basically untouched, since, in part, they were already dead, you know. And the fact that they were stored away in those insuladed coffins and crates. Insula-*ted*. Livelies or beaners in the front part, as the monsters were wont to call them — all dead. Plane No. 4. Broke in two. I saw the plane. Everyone in a 1000 meter radius of VHC City came to witness the thing. But it didn’t do its job. Didn’t crash into something.” Mary pointed north beyond Tronesisia with a wobbly hand here.

“But it *did* crash into something,” Tronesisia replied, her own head a bit unsteady as well. “That plain between Tussock and Catpla… Catalp… Catalpa. The plane plain. Fortunately unpopulated at the time. But in former times… prostitutes and jugglers. Elephants and gorillas. Circus, in short. You’d hear, ‘the circus is coming to town,’ and everyone would flock to the same plane… plain, but for a very different reason. Pleasure not plain. Pain!”

“Strange strange world it is, my friend Sissy. My *good* friend Sissy.” Mary takes the last beer from the carton on the floor between them and pops the cap. “Stakes on the big top had just been pulled up the week before, yeah.” She chugs. “But that’s not what I’m talking about, my friend. That’s not what I’m talking about.” She drew herself up from a slouching position while taking another drink. “Pitch Darkly was blamed in part, just because he was about the only monster living in VHC City at the time of the acci-dent. Him and Buster. Even though the vampires and monsters of the plane were victims or potential victims themselves. A line was drawn. You stay across the tracks over there and we good VHC City people will be over here, you see. Pitch was cast out. Buster was cast out, even though he secretly has his coffin still over in town in a hidden nook beneath the Blue Angel. The perv.”

“I know,” replies a hiccuping Tronesisia. “I use to sing there in the’20s!” They both laugh.

“The clowns went underground after that. They thought they were the target because of the presence of the vampires, the monsters. But they weren’t the target. I should know. I lived amongst them for 3 long years. Three long long years.”

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“I can still make this role work out,” Wheeler said to herself while standing before the scrying mirror between representations of the sun and moon at the real Clare Nova’s Crystal Cottage in Hooktip. “I will summon forth a helper from the shadows dark.”

Pitch Darkly suddenly appeared in the yard outside the door, with friend.

“Damm,” she uttered.

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