It was chilly up on this ridge above Kings Bishop, near the lower end of Route 13 on the western side of Lower Austra. Not as chilly as Collagesity would be this night, Man About Time ruminates, glad for a little break from all the building and shuffling about in his home town just up in the mountains a little more. Town, hmmm. Man About Town —
Anyway, the relative cold makes him think about the distance formed between creators — artists — inworld and beyond, each in their own sphere of influence and interest. He needs to let go; he needs to forgive. He’s gone very far, the 32 being the latest number reached if not finished. He’s working on it, as always.
He usually calls in Wheeler to help him, in this instance because he’s simply too lazy to rise up from his comfy sleeping bag and look around. She may come as Miss Ouri tonight, or maybe not — someone else. Once she was Alysha. He sighs, thinking of his former girlfriend, like if Thelma Lou left Barney for Sherriff Andy Taylor, attracted to the shine of the bigger badge. Another King over Bishop (or Rook) situation, then. Or a King’s Bishop anyhoot.
He hears the manifestation. 10 minutes — not bad for Wheeler. He looks out to see Miss Ouri, his latest crush, sitting on the chair outside along with that creepy prick doll of hers, the cactus creature. A mascot she calls it. For the library they’re building together as a whole. He thinks of the King. He thinks of the Bishop, the Rook at best. King’s Bishop (or Rook); that’s what he is now. He’s been adopted it seems. The black and white swan urged him forward instead of back, trying to escape her own shadow self. “See down there in the library’s floor,” she said to him as Ted one night, working late on his novel instead of his dissertation which he should have been doing, pheh. But Ukraine and the Delta needed him, another camper in another camping spot. “That’s *me*.” The white swan, out of her element in special collections, could not pass through the door to the library proper without causing a shadow. It’s an old story with a familiar ending. Entrapment, much like he can’t be bothered to get out of this tent and go speak to Wheeler. He summoned her after all.
Here goes nothing, he thinks.
“Nice morning, huh?”
“If you’re going to climb out of your tent, why did you need *me*?” She’d been busy doing other things. She had a lot on her plate: grapes, kiwis, bananas, oranges and apples from the looks of it. Kactus was hungry and requested permission to dive in, which was granted.
I could stomp on it and put an end to the thing, Man About Time thought, looming above. But what would be the consequences? He decided quickly he didn’t want to find out. Wrath of Ouri might not look as pretty.