“Sometimes it’s not all about you Baker Bloch. Now put that on your head.”
“This is where you are. Be *here*.”
“I’m going to the Red Umbrella now, Ruby.”
“What are you looking for?”
“A way out.”
“You already know the way out. Way… Marr.”
“Do you want to talk about the pain?”
“Failure. No connection. Blame the other.”
“Way, then. Not Marr.”
“Were you to blame? You were the weirdo, after all. Not the one grounded in physicality. Look at these novels, eh. No solid ground. Unless it is here — in Orange. Sorry, where are you now?”
“Let’s see. Looks like Pitaya. Just beyond Orange, though. NW corner.”
“I’m coming down.”
“It’s just me and you now. Here.”
“I’m dead. I know I’m dead.”
“Yes. You are dead.”
“I think… I’m ready to live again.”
“Help out our mutual friend Sam Bee. Then we’ll talk.”
Ahh. Theere she iss, crossleggedd in the middlle of thee roadd. Just liike Bakker said shee would bee. At Bbb.
Affectt the locall languagge againn, Ruby Fantasie thought. “Are you alright child?”
The girl indicated the house on the other side of the road.
Ahhh, Sam *Bee*, she
. And soo thiss must bee Tessaa (!) “Don’t you worry, child,” she then comforted. “I’ll handle the man.”
The girl nodded in understanding (she had witnessed the appearance of these tiny cars several times before; knew what they meant) and Ruby Fantasie continued down the road, already beginning to plot some lessons for her black magick practicing friend. She knew he saw her too.
“Ahh Mr. Murdochh. I havve finally found youu! Show me yourr inner circle, please. I’ve havve come such a verry loong way.” Ruby Fantasie was careful to pronounce another command line the right way. “Read: Orchard City.” The lid lifted.
“Touchéé! *Yourr* Avenuue has beeen topped by a Cherrry, huhh. Aaa (she points), Eee (she points again), Ccc (yet again). Cherrry Avenue inn toto. Not Murdochh anny loonger.”
She looks further. “Butt whatt is thiis Fff Ggg Hhh Iii near the miiddle? Do I neeed to loook furrther?” She clicks.
“Ii doo!” I am insiide the insiide now. Lett’s talk. But I mustt adjuust my lang-uagge to the localls.”
So Ruby Fantasie made a fine day of it chatting with aliens Ingleboort and Flaarph and their human counterparts George and Harriet. She learned much about the history of Cherry Avenue, Lime Street and sandwiched-between Linden (or Lynden) Creek, which is probably the same thing as Our Second Lyfe. That’s where they came from — emerged from. That’s the bit still shrouded in mystery, as they say. Mistery.
She continued to puff on her Havana while talking.
“Wee found another dooor out, Duncan, Baker Bloch and Ii. Stiill shut… but sooon.” She puffed again. “You are stiill happy here in the Fruit Loopy Islands, noo?” She stares but no answer. “I seee that you arre. You just continue what you’rre doing and doon’t mind mee. Play as iif I’m not heere, hehe.” She stared some more, then looked behind her through the palms, though the location in her mind was far, far out of sight even with the longest draw distance. “Biig Island, eh? Stiill much to exploore. Snaaakes (pause) Manateees (pause) Liooons. (pause) I’ve even heard there are tiigers on the neighborring island with thee temples. Tiigers, Duncan. Tales of thee..”
“And mee in the ceentre. I was *theere.*”
“I plan to goo to Rosehaaven and shaake things uup a bit.” Puff. Thaat’s my deestiny.” Emit smoke.
So after finding her Grandpa had turned fully platinum from gold, Tessa ran screaming through the north gate of North Yd and into the cave without even thinking, destined to be trapped perhaps forever inside its seemingly endless passages.
Until Baker Bloch and (Ruby) Fantasie showed up.
But Tessa couldn’t see or hear them yet. All she noticed was a cooler breeze which made her shiver.
“128, 128, Mr. Baker. I had to come out and talk to the tree.”
“Really, Ruby Fantasie?”
“*Noooo.*” But: yes, Ruby Fantasie had to come out to get further instructions from the tree. At the centre of the sim (Fruity Islands). She wasn’t going to let Baker know that, however. She splits in two.
“Let’s go back inside now,” she ordered after receiving.
“Come on, come on, hurry it up.”
In a poof of pollen the vines part!
“A choice here, Mr. Baker. I’ll let you choose.” For that is what the Ruby Tree told Fantasie to do.
Baker walks left.
“This pool is where we came in from the waterfall. Those torches over there mark the entrance. We’ll never be able to dry out today. Good thing it’s so hot; but not down here.” She sneezes. “Catching a cold, I believe.”
“Just beyond that bend behind the fruit bats, Fantasie,” Baker declared while pointing ahead, obviously in The Trance now. He doesn’t shiver atall.
Inhabitants! thought Fantasie. Dear, lordy me. I’ve never seen *this* before. The tree was right!
“I’m telling you, Baker. This trees has eyes (!).” Ruby Fantasie turns. “And what is that ridiculous outfit of yours suppose to be?”
“I’m cold,” Baker states plainly, then fakes a shiver.
“Cold?? It must be 95 here! Take that silly thing off.”
“I… I haven’t got any underwear beneath it.” Baker blushes slightly.
“Well. I’ll turn my head until you find another outfit. We must talk!”
“You scared Bob, Baker. That’s not a good sign.”
“Maybe I just took too long to change and he got bored.”
“No, there’s something more. I have other things to show you now.” She points down the clearing. “Geraldine. Counterpart to Bob. Let’s see what she does with you.”
“Easy going fellow, eh?”
“But she’s not heading toward you still. Sideways at best.”
“What does that mean?”
“Let’s go to the waterfall,” Ruby Fantasie then declares. “Beyond the pool which is sort of a decoy, I suppose. You think: there can’t be another, hidden pool this close to an exposed pool. That kind of thing.”
“Lead the way.”
“We have to backtrack a bit.”
There she is, Baker thinks. I feared I lost her again.”
“The exposed pool,” Ruby Fantasie explains. She turns. “Then over there, behind some rocks: the hidden one.”
“What now, Ruby?”
“We go down.”