He was near the start again, deciding which way to go and whether it was even worth choosing at this point. The house on the hill to the left remained a disappointment, with no Grandma inside except a kindly one named Tessa who was obviously not the horrible monster he’d heard about from several denizens of PickleSong now. But there also seemed nothing of real value or meaning to the right either: no real structures of substance. The red door loomed front and center before him. Dare he (despite the warning color)? There was nowhere else. Except retreat a little further back toward the Portal and thank Brunhilde for the bike, which he never did, and ask for his advice. He seems kindly enough as well. Yes, that sounds like a plan.
“It’s already been taken care of,” offered muscle bound Brunhilde about the door, helping Sandman more than he could know if confusing him in the present. “I’d go ahead and start over: go back through the Portal and start afresh tomorrow. Things will be different, trust me. And, oh, leave the bike behind. I need to pedal to the store up on level 5 today for some bread and eggs and some other stuff.”
Jeffrey Phillips woke up back in the Blue Feather in Collagesity. He wiped the little bit of grit from his eyes (sand!), and looked around at familiar surroundings: the infamous red tie draped around his bedpost, his tuxedo hanging in the corner on an antique coat rack, his Phillip Linden doll beneath him that he’s cried into many a night before sleep. And, most immediate: Charlene the Punk beside him. “Put on a dress babydoll and get out of that babydoll,” he spoke over to the groggy punk. “We’ve got to go see Man About Town and pronto!”
It was this sight that especially haunted him on this lower level of PickleSong, aka The Sector: a giant rabbit bunny with his brains *exterior* to his head, seemingly. And a diamond of a brain it was to behold, impossibly sparkly and shiny. How to get it back in the body? And after a time Sandman knew it was made of both carats… and carrots. How could this be? He suddenly had a flash of blue roses and another rabbit path leading to… he couldn’t remember. That particular sight was not with him. He stares down one more time before continuing to explore, not having even figured out the floor part of this place much less levels above. Obviously the red door remained closed. I’m not sure he even remembers it is there at this point. He rationalizes the spooky house on the hill is a central spot, but in truth it was more of a red herring, with false leads within and without. Nevertheless, that is probably where he’s heading next — once he figures out this 1st story, pheh.
Goodbye giant bunny for now. Probably see you in a couple of hours again.
Another dead end, darnit. Good thing I have this bike or I’d be completely wore out by now!
“Yes that *is* a pretty penny to pay for a hanging, but I guess I should move on, er, Brunhilde is it?”
“Yes sir.” Massively muscled Brunhilde looked beyond Sandman at the now empty couch in the distance and understood that his master had finished his nap. Sandman indeed could move on. But he didn’t say this. A little more stalling couldn’t hurt. Plus he kind of enjoyed the company and chatting. They don’t get a lot of visitors these days to this sector — most have just started calling it The Sector, because of the missing N and especially R thing involving returned Dany Rada and his time plunger that we mentioned in the previous post, another West Virginia connection like Gormania here before it and perhaps directly relatable to that spooky building filled dot on the map. If only this Sandman would have brought his bike to this realm, Brunhilde thought, suddenly feeling sorry for the pitiful man-person before him. He looked again at the empty couch. He decided to take a chance. “I assume… you can ride a bicycle.”
Quicker than most, then, he was upon the red door leading to the castle. But most people didn’t go there immediately, having hesitation about such a radical change in such a new land. Red is a sign of warning, danger. This was, of course, the plan all along for its designer and creator: to put the obvious end of the journey right up front and center at the beginning and then taunt them at the end about the missed opportunity to jump all the trouble they went through. Think Dorothy of Kansas on the Yellow Brick Road at the beginning of her Oz journey. As the stupid Good Witch of the North told her much later, she could have just clicked her ruby slippered heels three times right then and there and be whisked back to home, safe and sound. No need to kill an even more deadly witch, no need to deal with an obvious incompetent wizard who was probably sending her and her accumulated mates into a death trap. No all she had to do — then and there — was click those stupid heels 3x and — gone. It’s a fatal flaw in the 1948 Oz movie that the Rainbow Sphere perfectly predicts, and actually resolves in the big picture. And so it is here, and with another red object. There is no accident in this. Sandman can ride his bike safely here to the right and to the left but not straight on, else *crash* (another one). In short, what we are dealing with is more *witchery*.
(to be continued)