I got out of the car the black dog was driving. He exited too, went over to the skeletons playing cards with themselves to sniff for more clues. I was told to touch something. I tried and tried and finally found the right object. Everything swung into place.
So that’s where the magic will happen, I thought while staring over at the chair. Or un-magic; removal. They’ll start with the head, they told me. Remove the black until I am white as a flower, menace no more. But did I believe them? I could call the black dog back over from the skeletons and high tail it out of here if I wished. I still could back out; I had that option.
“Jenny,” he exclaimed, looking over at the crashed ship in Wallytown. Better phone up Wheeler and tell her the bad news.
“But Speck and Crazy *saw* it,” the tinny voice came just later over the phone. “It landed at Castle Town.”
“Nope,” I countered. “The witnesses were wrong.” Just like with us.
The wrong one walks into the Castle Town bar to meet her mates.
“Hearts for you, Pansy,” said one of the Certain Deaths after dealing the card. All the rest dug spades; Grumpy never had a chance.
He knew exactly where to look. He heads across the road toward the hills.
He pauses to roll two dice at Gigi’s place, red and white. “Twins,” he exclaims, seeing the result. “Good. I’m on the right track.” Certain Death can be avoided tonight.
He moves forward…
A wise sparrow looks down from a tree behind him. He stands in flowers again, pansies. This is where it will happen. He waits. He, again, knows Certain Death is not stalking him. This is the day, this is the portal. He waits. The sparrow knows too.
His head begins to vibrate rapidly. It has begun.
“Hi Tessa!” Carolin called from above while waving. “Ready to go back in the cave?”
Was she ready? Then she remembered the blackboard, the missing center of the equation. Q. Someone named Q.
She recites what she knows in her head. She is on Crow Island at End of Time. Crow Mountain is above her, the Climax. Meditating Freddie — yes. Bakersworks. They are in a Baker B. work. But… someone is missing. Man – About – T…
“Time,” Carolin finished for her later at the blackboard, writing out three identical numbers in a row, the number of the beast from The Bible. “Now… if we extend this infinitely, what do we have? We have a *7*. So we might as well say it with a 7 instead of a 6 for that third. 667,” she finalized, and wrote it on the board. “Who is…”
“Sepisexton,” Tessa answers, getting smarter all the time, and she was pretty sharp from the beginning. She recalled the capital of Olive, the one before Tin separated and became its own principality, the 7 from the 6. Boy we are really ranging far and wide in time now. But I sometimes write that as far and yd. The man comes out from behind the curtain (4th wall). He is a Woo Woo. He believes in ghosts, cracker jacks, and cereal circles with a prize inside. Q.
“Q.” Carolin points. Red Point. Buick. Boss who is green like Bixby. Canada. They are traveling across the frozen Heartland, trying to reach…”
And that’s the one thing she couldn’t remember that Man of Time did. We are done now.
She dreamed she was in a grim place. She had to get to the head before the head got to her. She saw the head, the head sawed she! Little skulls littered the cell floor. Like hers.
“I need to find you 102.”
Should Toothpick move west to Grimm instead of east to Marwood from his starting point at the Pinemont temple owned by Master Berry? This would cause an alternate path for photo-novel 22, which I guess means the correct path for photo-novel 23. The candle tells him this.
But I don’t think this path should involve Toothpick again. Nor Master Berry, who seems to be the same as MAT (Man About Time). Hmm. Working on it…
“I am alone again, Certain Death.”
“Deaths,” he corrected, staring out at his dancing brethren.
Barefoot Toothpick had a dream that night. The overalls were removed again. He was walking across a field of delicious green grass that should be a paved, car filled street toward a building that would answer it all. Instead it was full of playing kids and supervising parents who were also having fun, shrugging away the burden of responsibility for the time being. Fun. Toothpick should be having that too. But he had other things to do he knew were both right and wrong at the same time. It was as if truth were suspended in mid-air before him off a bridging pole.
The location? Picton, but it wasn’t called that any longer, not after this festival or whatever it is. The name was now Pict on Pict, short for Picture on Picture, a new blog category. Heck, let’s just call it Picturetown, or maybe Frametown if we draw out a bit more. But we can’t right this moment because of the setting, blackness or the abyss all around. Picturetown it is.
Elberta meets him near the threshold. Certain Death is both at the front window and nearer the door, another 2n1 situation since time is overlapping here again (Munday = Sunday + Monday). She knew she’d have to lose the body to go inside. They hold hands.
Not what they were expecting.
I am wearing a red cap for some reason. The skeleton opposite me has just flipped over the Ace of Spades from his own deck, the death card. But I have an ace to counter from mine. But my ace is red. I lose (*SLICE*).
MAT (Man About Time) wakes up with a gasp. He knows how the vote about the town vs. city moniker is going to come out. Good news! He can’t help but feel his neck, though, to make sure it’s on nice and tight (phew!).
“Where’s the rabbit?”
“He’ll be up shortly,” Toothpick answers Supper Man. Both are getting married in 1-3 weeks. They have to decide what is first and who is marrying who. The latter should be easy.
“Dinner Girl wanted us to meet again, have tea. She thinks we can help each other. She doesn’t want a double marriage. She thinks we should go first. I say we should go second, see how it goes for you guys.”
“And Dinner Girl isn’t (also) your sister?” asked Toothpick, following up from earlier speculation.
“Listen, we’re not the same person.” He leans forward, but dares not touch any part of Toothpick’s body for fear of passing through. Invisible. Nonexistence, even. He’s worked too hard on his abs to fritter all this away. And now that his favorite restaurant has closed up shop it should be even easier to keep the lbs away.
Toothpick/Filbert looks left as a distraction. “The rabbit over there is indicating our old friend Certain Death, Supper Man. No running away from all that. But then there’s the 561 steps now leading from End back to Beginning and the 561 again. Through 24687531 we can be saved.”
“Bahh.” Supper Man even spits toward Toothpick a bit here while exclaiming his exasperation over the supposedly sacred (heart) number. The spittle indeed passes through Toothpick’s skin, muscle and bone, some reaching the back of the chair behind him.
“Why do you disbelieve the power of the even in a row and then the odd in a backwards row?” Toothpick then considered the 9th is involved. He’d seen it once or twice before. The counter to the Zero, perhaps the Zero Hero. “We are getting married in the Temple of TILE after all with the sacred book now open at the front for everyone to see. We have the story of the CITY. The CITY is TILE.”
Supper Man scratched his head. “You and *me* are getting married in the Temple of TILE?”
Back to square one.
Baw Beese L., source of St. Joseph River Lake Michigan, helps change Osseo to safer Oesso. Think Possom to Opossum once more.
The “Endless Window” collage changes accordingly.