We do not pretend to know what goes on inside the red curtains.
Nor the pink cube.
Kevin (“Fire”) and General Hooker (“Smoke”) lounge outside The Mermaid, waiting for Axis and Ruby to exit.
In the background: Vilania’s Safe Hub once more.
Last clients of the day (bi-weekly meetings, pheh, both think).
Afterwards: Talking about Philip Strevor’s new conditions while re-donning seasonal appearances at Holiday Flats in the midst of it all.
Suddenly, down by the bay:
A confused, naked Santa walks into a bar in Hogadon, telling the bartender a joke beginning, “What’s white and doesn’t swim?” He then does something totally inappropriate which bars him from the property altogether.
“Santas. All over the place. Either getting killed or driven stark raving mad. Hogadon Santy is the last example, body saved but the mind may never return. Useless for Christmas, you see.” He wraps himself tightly in his chair. “I could be next, Fairy Ruby. Sorry: Mrs. Claus.”
“Nah. We’re back on The Straight now. Seven never happened.”
Fairy Ruby Mrs. Claus realized she was being rude. “Oh… do you want a tart? They’re cherry.” Then she remembered the appointment. Already 1 day late. Casey One Hole will be in a bad mood. Which is not a good thing. Atall.
Santa-Axis suddenly found himself alone again, pondering on his ultimate fate. Perhaps another visit to the Vilania Safe Hub next door with all its harmless madness will perk him up. Make him jolly once more.
“Another one, Woody. The killings are increasing again!”
“I blame it on those goll darn cottages, Snowmanster, three in number. Probably four at this point — I haven’t checked. My key hasn’t checked either.”
Snowmanster turns to the large, wooden toy. “Woody. You *are* the key!”
Merely through this statement, Woody then realized they were on the precipice of the fourth, even if it hadn’t actually been created yet. More bad news for the day; seems Core-Alena, Purden, and all of Snowlands are really, truly doomed.
“Where are they, Santa-Axis? We specified 2:01 for a meeting.”
“Says here in the journal that they’ve found a dead Santa in the gorge over yonder. Probably within shouting distance, then.” Santa-Axis turns in the appropriate direction. “Woody! Woooo-dyyyyy!”
The snow fell harder as darkness increased.
“I don’t think he-she’s coming out of there, wife of mine. I think we’ve lost her-him to Utah.”
“Don’t always be so negative about things, husband so dear. Utah was chosen by all.”
They paused, considered. Then Fairy Ruby, who was now playing the permitted seasonal role of Mrs. Claus, spoke up again.
“I wonder if Snowmanster will show up to save the day? Like Superman.”
“Depends…” and they both say this in sync: “… if our user splurges the 400 lindens to make it so.” 4 again, I realize beyond the screen, like 40,000 but 100 times less. 2 dollars? I think I can manage it.
“I’m here to save the day!” an extremely, nay, *irritatingly* high pitched Snowmanster wannabe called from the edge of the compound.
“Cheapskate,” groused observing Santa-Axis softer to his wife. Then: “Okay, um, *Snowmanster*! Come join us by the fire for a powwow won’t you!”
“Don’t mind if I do! Don’t mind if I do!”
He was still yelling, even from a few feet away. “Well?! Who’s going to start!?” They stare, waiting for the change. Will it come? Hold on…
“Well Brevin. Time to face death square on.”
But upon teleporting in, Fairy Ruby sees there are no more freshly dug graves to examine. She logs out then back in to make sure all objects at the small cemetery have properly rezzed. No difference.
Just three remaining graves surrounding a Halloween Bat Tree. All have been around for a while.
Maybe I better talk to Axis tonight about all this.
“Still playing around with form, I see,” stated Axis after sitting down in the Winter Harvest Chair beside the red clad fairy. He notices the hearts. “I like it — but why did you change your hair from black to white?”
“Death will do that. Scare the color out of you.”
Axis glanced back at the shrunk cemetery surrounding the dark tree. “Did you know I was Halloween Jack before the merger? And Nick, and also Melvin, who is kind of Uncle Sam. The great 3-n-1. Would you like to see?”
Fairy Ruby finished her last bite of cherry tart. “Sure. Let’s see what you’ve got.”
Axis focused hard, but found he couldn’t produce the needed entity. “Alright,” he said, exhaling. “That’s no good. Let me try the next one.”
“Melvin?” questions the girl.
“Oh. That one.”
“Yeah. Sorry it turned out a little hunchbacked.” He attempted to adjust his unwieldy arms so that they weren’t as much all over the place.
She looked him over. “Listen. I have an idea…”
One by one, the Clemscott holiday deities Santa God, Halloween Jack, and Melvin exited their decorated, semi-decorated, and undecorated castles in the sky and made their way into the Nascera related Wizard Retreat of the same plane, never to be seen or heard from again.
Eventually, a man formed in their place, the great 3-n-1. Axis was his name, a person of many faces. One of those faces was called JERRY.
He came out of the Wizard Retreat into a brave new world: Nascera. The date: December 22, 2009.
Oops! Give him several more hours and he’s over there for sure. “Sorry about that!” he apologies to the reader or readers. “Just warming up, you know.”
“They’ve been out there a long time, Golden Joe. I wonder if the deal will go through?”
“Have you ever thought about traveling to the center of the sun, Marion,” she deviated in her deep, metallic voice. “It’s actually quite nice.”
“I remember Philip mentioning that concept once. Philip something.”
“Alright, I won’t split hairs any more, Cooper. We’re both tired; 50,000 lindens it is. Now spill your contents on the table here and let’s count it out.”