She clung tight to the back of a giant white bunny as he approached. She’d spotted the cursed, bright red cross on the chess first. Axis! Why is Opp wearing that outfit of all things? And here of all spots! The place where I was… well, *killed*. In a strong variant reality at least.
“Hi!” spoke Opp from the other side in a somewhat muffled voice. “I’m here with the outfit I promised — what’s up *today*?”
So it *is* Axis, Wheeler/Wendy realizes about the dark figure slowly — fortunately — making his way up the slippery white slope. Two steps forward, one step back — repeat. She drops from her “hidden goth” position on the bunny to the snowy ground; tells present lover Opp wearing a “Giant for a Day” t-shirt to zip it behind a matching mask. “What’s going on?” he whispers over. They rendezvous about every day this time. He was just honing in on her location, as she allows.
Wheeler/Wendy points around the rabbit they then huddle behind. Opp sees him too.
“I thought he was busy playing God over in that paper city,” responded Tropp, just as scared as Wheeler/Wendy now.
“Apparently not.” She considers the day and then rejects the theory. Not the anniversary of her death. That was February. Axis wasn’t here for that.
“Is he, I don’t know, playing a game of chest with us? You know he always makes the first move, even though he’s always black.”
Dark as a swastika, Wheeler/Wendy thinks, watching the inky figure inch forward even slower. The slope was steepening. More good news.
“I will make it up to the castle in my present form,” a determined Axis declares below. “No need to turn into a car or some other silly traction device.” But he slips again in saying this. He’s slowed to a one step forward one step backwards, soon to move in reverse. No, this will not do. A car it must be.
(to be continued)
She walked right past the baby doll, not even tempted to pick it up for a cuddle. She was more grown up than infantile Jeffrie Phillips in that way.
She had to see for herself. The mother! Poor Katy Kidd. Another infant grown up too fast, thus the madness. She walked between the Big Boy legs, which probably wasn’t an error in this case. Just something she had to do to go inside.
She stops to ask a survivor if the beach was still straight ahead. The head nodded without sound. She wondered if this could even be All Orange in another guise. After all, a bloody dress was involved.
It was getting even creepier but Toddles kept moving forward toward the sea, the beach, the… explosion. A stick figure on a bike skirted her to the left without apology… a white doll boy in a tilted chair with slackened mouth also in that direction. Straight ahead: another survivor. One of the lucky ones that was able to receive a mask.
“Is this the way to the beach? Darn bike!”
Another silent affirmation. She kept walking, rounding the old boathouse to the right to meet up with The Librarian, still perusing that Octopus book from the last photo-novel. The stench was becoming overpowering for the little girl. “Where is she?” Toddles demanded, tired of looking and wanting to get the hell out of this hell. She just had to see for herself. I still don’t think it was an error to enter, but we’ll see.
The Librarian didn’t stop reading but tilted his head to the left, indicating that direction. And there she was, face down in the sand. Or Toddles assumed it was her. She inched forward, the awful smell thicker and thicker.
She stopped at the tire. She could get no closer without fear of passing out. But she knew it was her now.
Katy Kidd, a little more grown up than we’ve seen her before. But definitely not reaching adulthood now. Toddles could go to Picturetown with a type of closure.
Toddles and Peet Archer were hopelessly lost in the Heartland of Canada. They spotted a fisherman screwing a hole in the ice and decided to stop and ask for directions. “Hellooo!” Peet Archer called when they neared the tiny fishing shack on the frozen lake. No answer. “Howdy,” Peet tried again as they got within about 15 feet. Still no response. In fact, the man hadn’t moved — wasn’t screwing into the pond at all.
As Toddles and Peet made their way back to the blue car stolen from that Tungaske residence seen in photo-novel 23, they realized he was just a symbol, a prop. All he really represented in his Maple Leaf hoodie was the Canadian flag and the country itself through it.
They still had a fur piece to go to reach Picturetown way over in Ontario.
“Very funny Mr. Archer.”