Monthly Archives: October 2022

new angle

“So you see, babydoll. You *can’t* leave The Cross right now. Right there in the contract you signed. You’re part of the club now.”

Shelley studied and studied the thing but couldn’t find a way out. Biff Carter was the same age as her or older than her by 2 decades. If the former, then *they* may be destined to be married — Biff — Mr. Carter — must know this too. If the latter, Mr. Carter — Biff — could be her father.

But she has a father. Newt, yes. And a mother: Wheeler. She tells Biff/Mr. Carter this, along with being engaged to George already, who, turns out, he knows by another name.

“Oh I know about Arthur,” he says in response to all this. “I don’t think you’re really engaged to this… *Musician*.”

“Am too,” Shelley tried to defend, but knew it was hopeless. Says right here: Shelley Struthers will be stuck on The Cross until the end of novel 35, where she’ll make a choice between 3 lovers. She knows two. Here could be the 3rd — has to be, I suppose.

Biff knew she couldn’t weasel out of this. The Umbrella Club has spoken. “Satisfied?” he ended.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0401, Omega^^, The Cross^

different

“I really liked the old office,” she answered Lemont Sanford, playing the role of Arthur Kill currently, “but it was too laggy. Kept crashing. You know how it is.”

“Yes I remember.”

“You were there in the underground for a while. Training.”

“Yes.”

“After Wheeler raised you from the dead (nods from Arthur). After Tessa killed you. We buried you, the firm, but you wouldn’t stay down. You went to Tennessee.”

“Yes, Tennessee.”

“You were looking for a spider, an 8 legged being, but you eventually figured out it was a dog. Spider is a dog.”

“Right, yes.”

“You retrieved it, brought it to me for safekeeping.”

“Yes. (pause) Do you have it?”

“Of course I have it, Arthur. Would you like to see?”

“Yes, please. I mean, I have the money but… actually, nah, I’m good. You’ve given me the money. I’m happy. Wheeler and me, I mean *Shelley* and me, I, can retire in comfort.”

“Is she still wearing purple?” Roberts questioned from her opposite chair. “Or has she moved beyond that?”

“Moved beyond I think. Last time I checked.”

“Ask her to wear something purple and see how she responds.”

“She seems okay with it,” Arthur reinforced. “She’s changed, she said.”

“Are you convinced?”

Arthur paused just enough to indicate he wasn’t fully convinced. There was, well *Roberts* now, for one thing. How surreptitious they run into each other again (!). But, deep down of course, Arthur knew it wasn’t coincidence. The Gods have further plans for them, which means The Void has further plans for them. They work hand in hand on this.

Roberts leaned back, folded her arms behind her head. “So strange that Franklin was spared. I’m overjoyed of course, but whether Black Jack, Kentucky or Black Jack, Tennessee, the helicopter that acted as a plane in the moment purposely missed her, swerving to one side or another. If only Mantell could have done the same — I think he tried, I think he saw the, um, irony. Do you know the case, Arthur? It’s quite famous, at least in UFO circles. Cradle links to grave, creating an uroboros scenario. The Cross (in the middle) is eliminated. That’s the point. I’m sure you understand, Arthur, given that you’ve been there now — you rescued Shelley from there. The Cross can *trap*.”

“I think I’m still on The Cross,” Arthur admitted. “I never made it back to Nautilus. I never made it back to here, then, this office in Towerboro on the Jeogeot continent.”

“Oh you’re here,” Roberts countered.

Arthur saw a spider on the floor behind her. He then saw 5 others, 10 others maybe, all lined up like military rank or file.  Roberts didn’t glance around, seemed oblivious to them. But Arthur knew she wasn’t. What was this psychic-detective up to?

“This is where it starts, Arthur. The agency. I want to know who tried to kill Franklin. In a strong probable reality she is dead. Only the actions of a rebellious, artificial pilot, a Mantell wannabe, saved her. He broke the pattern. Cradle to grave was unlinked. You were there too. You saw — how close.”

“Yes.”

“It was either the boat on fire or the rose colored cottage on fire.”

“I remember the boat.”

“And I remember the cottage.”

—–

Now where is that receiver?

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0317, Cable Isle, Jeogeot, Kentucky, Middleton^, Omega^^, Tennessee, The Cross^, Towerboro

Shelley’s castle (Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?)

“You are me and I am you. You have a (phallus) and so do I.”

“Not quite,” I said back to Franklin, green legs still in the distance.

There. That’s better.

“Like I was saying before the interruption, we’re the same *core* but different up here. It’s Our Second Lyfe, not My Second Lyfe.”

“Let’s go to the (Roost Never Sleeps) castle again and see,” Franklin requests. I had no choice but to follow her because of the, you know, being one thing. I was starting to question our differences as well. One of us could get *absorbed* — didn’t want that. But I knew it would be Franklin if so.

And, true enough, by the time we reached that more central castle across the way, she was gone. I looked down at my man pants. Was it actually *real* now? I had to see.

[delete picture]

No, just a better fit still. My hair had a tinge of green in it but that’s all. Arthur/Lemont would be *so* relieved if he were here witnessing this. But he’s somewhere off with Roberts — said they also had things to talk about. I suspect: more absorbing. Maybe. Perhaps it will be different in their case.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0316, Nautilus, North, Rooster's Peninsula

preservation

My Lebettu Castle is still there in all its glory, seen here in a “Phototools — Still Life” environment. The library remains at its center, its core. However since I’ve been retired from same for *8* months now, it may be time to move on. I revisited the co-workers I was probably closest to a couple of weeks back and exchanged pleasantries and caught up with the latest. My old position had shifted into something new which helped the team, but also probably marked the end of a more interactive involvement with the overall campus in the way I fostered, a continuation from past practices. *Writing* is my job now, that and the accompanying art and photography. And also I view daily hiking as an extension of this, a needed opposite and balancing pole to virtual reality. It’s a good life. 🙂 I explore both.

Moving forward, I’m almost 1/2way done with the current Sunklands photo-novel, 35 in a series of “we”ll see”. Characters keep evolving. I am almost as much there as I am here.

I did not maintain contact with others outside my team. I was as much a part of campus as a whole as the library — theoretically. It was a perfect balance for a while, me acting as one man juggler. But it could not go on. I passed into retirement as naturally as about anyone could, thanks in part to the pandemic and the changes it wrought. It certainly contained echoes of actual death. I know better what to expect.

There have been other libraries in other times. Even now, in a virtual setting and obviously on a much smaller scale, I still have one, another echo. A friend died there.

I can still go inside the special part created by new-ish head Miss Ouri and read books, some of which are even my own.

Like this one.

There still exists a dividing point between Ordinary/Mundane and Special. It’s all in the pages.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0315, Nautilus, North, Rooster's Peninsula

00350314

“You stay in the van dear,” Draken requested, heading toward the only structure on Horse Island. “Damn horse piss,” he complained along the way. Pretty rainbow, though.

Yes, this will do nicely. Memories.

Oh dear. Told her to stay in the van and over there she is.

But an ass gets in the way, blocking our view. Must be a Clydesdale.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0314, Hana Lei^^

Franklin was shrunk down to size.

“We have a read on the shack, Control, over.” No answer.

“Repeat, we have a read on the shack, over.” No answer for a while again, then:

“Uh, copy that, Mission, do you see anyone down below? Over.”

Norris pauses himself now, partly out of spite. “Yes, we have green legs, repeat, green legs. Green as frogs, over.”

They could take her out now but it would mean sacrificing the pilot. Stan talked the possibility over with Tom. When will we get a better chance? rationalized the latter.

“Okay, Mission, we’re going to ask you to go straight in on her, repeat, straight – in – on – her. As in kamikaze, over.”

A longer pause. How much did Norris value his artificial life? Enough to break free of Control? He decided to sacrifice himself but go out on his own terms.

“Read that, Control. Going – straight – in.” And he did, except a little to the side, the left one I believe, hitting the boat. Or the right one, pulverizing the rose colored cottage. But not totally straight, thus most likely not wiping out Franklin under the Umbrella.

Roberts of course heard the crash from just over the rocks and came rushing, and Shelley and Lemont did too from their beach just beyond and did the same. Collision in a different way. Two arcs of a story not yet met.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0313, Nautilus, North

00350312

“Thanks for coming to rescue me, *Lemont*.”

“You’re very welcome dearest. But you can *really* thank your Venus Cage necklace, or at least the photo of it.”

“Right. Didn’t remember anything about the Umbrella Club until I pulled it out of my purse and took a look. Angles aren’t right in the black and white photograph. Can’t figure out where it is taken on the body.”

“It’s not a body.”

“Yeah, I know that now. But just the studying, the trying to figure it out, changed me. I can never go back now. I remain under the Umbrella. Figuratively, of course, because here we’re out in the sun still. Where is our umbrella anyway?”

“Stashed away for a rainy day,” he said.

She turned on her side. “And… I don’t think I desire to wear purple any more. That must go along with (the change). Or when I do it’s *my* choice. She shaked her index finger to reinforce her point. Shelley she was through and through, she thought.

But Lemont knew the situation could change. Good now for them. But George/The Musician was still out there somewhere.

And Roberts remained just around the corner.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0312, Nautilus, North

00350311

She came from The Void — above. And judging by this introductory picture she may have been formed by The Void, or be a manifestation of The Void itself, sent here to straighten out a pair of misbehaving whippersnappers far below, pheh (she gets into character). BEH.

Her name… give us a second; we’re working on it. Mourning Glory is what I got now. MG.

Here on Holding Level 2, or what some call the Gold Room, our grandmother looking type person decompresses by soaking in a hot tub for 2 weeks a while, its stairs borrowed by Burt to check on a malfunctioning heat vent in hall 4 1/2 a couple of days beforehand. Budget is low for these sorts of places today; MG had to climb in, difficult with her frame and developing arthritis, lengthening the process. No one really comes down from The Void to Our Second Lyfe any more. Back in the golden, olden days it was different. Hence the choice of color here: to remind one of past glory. And I suppose the name Mourning Glory could be a reflection of this too. What did this MG know about such? I’m eager, and I hope you, the reader or readers, are also eager to find out. She keeps the red phone close in case orders change from above.

She’s finally out of the cleansing, relaxing hot tub, ready to get down to business. She checks her face in a handy mirror first. Not there still — she’ll work on it. Only a placeholder version of The Void behind her, which, of course, if she turned around she wouldn’t see.

To the file room.

Filed chronologically instead of alphabetically according to the labels, good.

But — shock — no files within the cabinets! She even checked the dumpster around the corner, *oof*, her back!

She needs to call the boss about the apparent theft but first things first: another go in the hot tub.

Calm, MG, callmmm.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0311, Omega^^, Southern, The Cross^

gloryous night 02

“Something happened in Belliseria, Johnny, I mean *Arthur* — DAMN: **Lemont**.”

“Yes??” Much like Mr. Ubermodel at the time, he was all ears. Where has she been???”

“Anyway, it was undone. The Orient, Johnny Arthur Lemont. Thing like that can happen there.”

“So… something *happened* in Belliseria and… *unhappened* in Omega?” He began thinking the obvious.

“Yes. I went a little — crazy.”

We’ll have to start over, he thought here. We’ll just have to move on and start over.

“Where are you *now*??” he said into the receiver in his house in Nautilus. *Their* house. If he can find her and bring her back and she’s okay after that.

She looked around. “Bus,” she managed. “Heading… um, don’t know what direction.”

“Can you see the Sun?” Lemont tried.

“No. Dark.” Void, she thought. Was she *there*? Had she been cursed through being so mean to Johnny?”

“Anyone with you now?”

She had to keep driving, but she glanced around the bus real quick. She wasn’t sure otherwise. “No,” she said after checking, returning her eyes to the road.

“Do you have another tracker on you besides the phone? Doesn’t seem to be working as such now — may be too far away. Maybe from that Umbrella Club you were at?”

Umbrella Club, she thought. She doesn’t recall an Umbrella Club. Then she remembered legs — removing them from the sun back into the shade. The torch-like sun. So hot. Did she have another tracker about her? She recalled… a photograph.

(to be continued)

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0310, Bellisaria, Nautilus, North, Omega^^, Southern, The Cross^

Big Boy

When I was a boy, I use to have dreams about The Void, but I remember them as a TV show.

Always the face, always the eyes. The girl reached out but could never find me. She remained trapped.

I can’t recall her name. Shirley?

“Shirley?” I called in the past. No answer.

Leave a comment

Filed under **VIRTUAL, 0035, 0309, Hana Lei^^