“He’s gone. Our leader is gone. What do we do now?” Archibald Duke had just spoken 10 times as many words as he’d ever said before.
“I’m going to explore more of the BEH dimensions,” offered Dollie quickly in her high, thin voice.
“I’m going to go hop around that nice creek behind the lodge,” added Piper in his deep, masculine tone.
“Hmm,” said Archibald, looking at both of them. “Suppose I *could* go to this Black Lake I’ve heard so much about now. Fish for demons.”
Jennifer M. Friend woke up, went to the main room, looked around. “Hmph. Where’d everybody go?”
She knows she saw it. The sea had DEMO written all over it, like it was mocking her very existence.
But she can’t seem to recreate the vision.
Wait: there it is.
Is that woman nude over there? The owners said: no nudity. And… well, where is perpetual birthday boy Tropp? It’s not Allen Y. obviously. That’s Pine Ridge. The bastard. Going rogue on Baker and me and creating his own batch of lousy characters. Dollie — what the heck? And a *frog*? I’ve seen *him* before: Middletown, where he was called Brazilian Bill. I assume soon enough a puny, sickly apple tree will show up sprouting off some craggy rock or such. “Make it so,”
Treelor Tropp might say, and it would be. Why… do I keep writing thinking Treelor instead of Tropp? Another 2-n-1? 2 Hearts in One. The glue? She better get back to the lodge. Of course she’s not going to report *these* 2. It’s going to happen here. The rule is more a suggestion, perhaps, as long as you do it in a harmless, non-graphic way.
Now back to looking for a nice car for when I get back.
When she looked up again the couple were gone. In their place, Allen Y. and Archibald Duke sat around a nearby campfire. Dollie and Piper are probably luring somewhere nearby, Jennifer rationalized, hidden by the tall grass or something. Looks like the lodge came to me. Better go see what they’re up to. I suppose. Or… she could just walk the other way. She eyes the exit route. Nah, too easy to spot — can’t get away with it. So it’s be *friendly*, true to my name. A last name I might share with Allen Y. someday. If he’s so inclined. Could be an interesting story. Story within a story.
“S’up guys?” She spots Dollie hidden in the nearby grass. “And gal.”
“Did you know Johnny Appleseed supposedly planted his *last* apple tree right here in these mountains.” Allen Y. pointed back in the direction they came. “Said so in the lodge brochure. Probably really old and shriveled by this point, wouldn’t you guess. Let’s go take a look.”
Jennifer looked west. *Knew* it, she thought.
The mists move in…
Could be anyone in this corner where the Kidd Tower originally sat in Middletown. But let’s choose… Dr. Nightwing, a more interesting composite figure.
We could put him in a wearable pool with Paula Butterfly to enjoy the late day sun.
Appears they might be having considerable fun there.
Brazilian Bill (frog) looks on, hoping they’ll talk about town linchpin Tronesisia later on. Because he has some beans to spill.
Who else? How ’bout an apple tree in another corner.
The last one planted by Johnny “Thor” Appleseed in Our Second Lyfe, who, since he’s out of seeds now, is just plain ol’ Johnny Thor, purveyor of a local comic book store specializing in DC and Marvel comics — mainly Marvel. No renegade or underground comics in his place of business mind you. He leaves that for sinister lowlife Oranga Black, dealing on the wrong side of town. Away from the bay as they say.
And lastly: this person.
“I know something.”
“It was suppose to be a natural paradise, Sidechick Corea my friend. *Still* my friend.”
“Mucho apologies again for being late yesterday, Magus Ellen.”
“T’is alright. But the expansion beyond the original 64 changed all that. The woof and warp became predictable. Our Second Lyfe began to collapse in on itself at this point. That’s why I switched from white to black. Black opens this time. And so — here we are.”
“But nothing’s changed,” observes Sidechick Corea. “All remains the same. The duplicate continents, the repetitive patterns of houses going on and on from the central 8×8.”
“Things have changed,” counters Ellen. “The blue boy is here for one. He will keep appearing in unexpected places.”
“What of the golden orb?” Sidechick asks, staring into the center of the fairy pond now. “Is it gone forever?”
Ellen pauses, then: “Time will tell.”
The last of town’s apple trees would have to be moved, along with the last amphibian (Brazilian Bill).
Richard and Paula too.
The town Rodeo could be slid over to the old Appalachian Spring. For Billie was coming.
Baker Bloch was aiming for a 2 week stay but it might be longer, Gods willing. Mr. Babyface had already come from across the sea. Greg Ogden as well. How about the upper 8 floors beyond the 4 inhabited ones? Kidd Tower has a fairly long history in Collagesity and, before that, VWX Town. It had its beginnings in the Sikkima sinkhole — late 2012 or early 2013. Buildings also remember their history. And now one has come alive as a flesh and blood creature. We’ve lost Terry, true, but another fills his footprint. Not a man, not even a big boy. Not even a boy.