Daily Archives: January 30, 2021

Strange Isle


thing to fear

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X-City church 02

“A marriage,” A Mann suddenly said behind her, unseen before and sitting in the front pew. Duplicates again!

“Marriage to who?” Tessa ventured, getting bolder now. She could punch through his face and draw back a brain if she wished. She’d done it before with a coke machine.

“A Womann,” came the response. Kate, or the thing that appeared to be Kate, halted for a moment, hands raised from the keys. Tessa half suspected the singing would begin now, but it never did, the chorus remaining frozen in their spots, blue books still open. She could go check on the name of the composition in it, she realized. Kate’s too — from the score on the organ’s music stand; if there was one.

There wasn’t. The blue choral books proved more fruitful. Handel it truly was! But which part of the “Messiah” was Kate playing? Not the same one as this more familiar bit here. Maybe from the Easter part?

The marriage was beginning. A Mann united with A Womann in holy matrimony. But where was the minister?

“Madam, I’m Adam,” said A Mann.

“A Man, A Plan, A Canal…” said A Womann.

“Panama!” they exclaimed together. Tessa woke up.

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X-City church 01

“Kate! I thought I’d lost you forever.”

“No. I’m here.” But her voice was weak, far away. She waves half-heartedly. She didn’t appear to be herself to Tessa.

“I *saw* you, though. On the beach.” Tessa thought back to Kate face down in the sand at Elven Mist. And the perpetual atomic blast out over the water in the distance. Kate didn’t have on a mask. There was no way she could make it, which, given the ones who did and their actions, maybe was a good thing. Tessa realizes this wasn’t really Kate. Kate was dead. She turned to the other figure acting as a greeter in this X-City church, new in the last year and a half.

“And what is *your* name, sir?”

“Mann. Just call me A Mann.”

“A. Mann? A. stands for something?”

“No. Just A Mann.”

All 3 stood there for a bit, with awkward gestures from the 2 what Tessa now considered simulacra; forgeries of real people most likely; stand-ins.

Music was coming from the front of the church. Perhaps Bach but maybe Handel — Tessa couldn’t quite get a handle on it. She moved forward down the aisle to investigate more, leaving the two figures who she deemed useless for meaningful interaction behind. “Goodbye Kate,” she whispered to herself, not looking back.

But then in front of her appeared the figure of Kate, playing the organ and the classical tune she couldn’t figure out the composer of. Maybe not even baroque. But Kate again! Perhaps this was the real one this time.

“Kate?”

The tune of baroque or baroque-ish design went on and on as Kate didn’t respond to the outside world, engrossed in her playing, it appeared. And those mute singers with their blue choral books seemed so familiar. What was going on here? Ahh, Tessa realized. A dream!

(to be continued)

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