The late Mrs. Squarepants.
Snowmanster sat on her couch, soaking it all in. Home again… so good. But where was everyone? Spongebub? Snowbob?
After a while the truth began to settle in. She was late. She had missed something. But what? Snowmanster went to the window; stared out at the familiar Rubi Woods. The purple hummingbird below her outside twittered loudly.
“Meeting Place,” she mutters, staring at the appropriate flat spot of the forest. “That’s where I’ll find out.”
Recommended by my friend Veyot, I had already visited the gallery of Karly Twine through Old Grey earlier in the day, but a lingering trace of my avatar’s demonic status ruined the snapshots I took then. So I returned through her late at night. Very late. You see, she was invited by Robot Derak Jones to the New Island Community College faculty dance and stayed until five am cutting the rug. In her younger days she could shake and shimmy for a week solid. Now it was down to mere hours, but more than even the youngest and most fit professors and administrators at the event could handle. In the end she was dancing alone. Typical. I should also add here that the walking cane she favors is only an outfit prop.
Very beautiful photographs here by Karly (who I also met earlier) — go to Veyot’s tumbler site for more information about the gallery — but Old Grey was admittedly more looking for clues about how to move ahead with the “Collagesity 2016-2017 Winter” storyline. Since the parcel was called Da Vinci Gardens, she was hoping for Mars again; instead Karly’s gallery was set in the midst of a winter wonderland. Still, this structure found outside in the ice and snow seemed to knit the two concepts together.
Old Grey had seen a variation of it before on her way to spy on Baker Bloch in Martian Jacksboro this past November. The spiral based building sat on a plateau beside an amphitheater of dancing automatons. Old Grey had landmarked the place and returns every once in a while to prance amongst them, sometimes as a ballerina in the Nutcracker. Very limber bones she has, but of course that has more to do with the demon inside than any exercise regiment.
Up she strides around the building’s external spiral path.
She pauses to take in the view. Snow seems to be getting heavier.
She reaches out to pet this wildcat (Old Grey has no fear) and the feline disappears (!). Shades of Jorondip and its quantum cat here. This is clearly a magical place.
Finally she reaches the top. Even the very fit Old Grey is slightly winded by the long trip up.
Well, tempted as she is, Old Grey hasn’t got time for sledding or skiing. She senses someone inside. An ancient nemesis.
Vicky Diamond? No not you Vicky. But you might come in handy anyway.
Books. Surely not Professor Jones. She’s just been with him and knows his wheezy ways. He wouldn’t have a hideout so difficult to reach.
No, there was only one deity who would summon Old Grey to such environs. Well, two maybe. But turns out it was both. Snowmanster and Satan Santa sat next to each other on the couch to her left, eating popcorn and, hmm, sharing frequent, buttery kisses.
One of these things…
… is not a tree.
“You guys really going to climb that thing?” the cartoon voiced Doughy the Doe Eyed Deer asked Old Grey (a.k.a Wheeler) and Snowmanster standing beside her, the former panting a bit and the latter not atall after their climb further into the snowy hills. Both were staring up at 300+ meter high Mount Shade, trying to figure out the best way to reach the top. Fortunately both had come up with the same plan, or the mountain may never have been conquered this day. You see, Old Grey and Snowmanster had been bickering with each other ever since they met up at the ski lodge on top of that spiral structure several days back. Both were certainly powerful beings. Both had seen their fair share of dark and light activities alike in the realms of magic. It’s just that one still saw value in darkness and the other really didn’t. Their discussion lately had centered around Old Grey’s New Island.
“The woods — plural — have shown me all shades of black and white and grey down through the years, Old Grey,” Snowmanster said at one point along their trek up. “I’ve sampled everything. All Santas have been my lovers, friends, enemies. Where I draw the line is *slavery*. Witchcraft and slavery.”
“It’s not slavery if it is consensual,” countered Old Grey, trying to match the the white being stride for stride still but already struggling just a little.
“I understand it is different for avatars,” returns Snowmanster. “We have to do what we have to do to keep attention. I too am a beautiful being underneath all this outer cover. I am also a tree, a robot, a zookeeper, a pedestrian about to cross a heavily trafficked street. I am all of these things and thousands more. You will not be able to keep up with me.”
“I do want to learn more about those woods,” Old Grey says, trying to hide any signs of being even slightly out of breath.
Back to the present and Mount Shade. “Cloudmont,” states Snowmanster. “Just beyond the far peak. Just on the other side. You’ll see. Have you caught your breath yet?”
“Shut up and get going,” is all she said back. They start up, one just behind the other now.
“Goodbye my old friend… and new friend,” Doughy calls after them. “Careful of the Yeti. It’s mating season.”
They stared into the wold that they now knew was shaped like an “X”. But it was a fractal “X”: loops within loops probably. The VW Love Bug would obviously not fit inside. They’d have to walk. Old Mabel checked her plain map once more, looking for changes.
“It will transform within,” Urch explains patiently “You’ll see. Simple will become complex, trust me. And at the center the record will be heard. We will know. No skipping from ‘Imagine’ to ‘Mind Games’ this time.” He smiled.
Old Mabel spoke her heart. “Before you shrank back into a boy — before your, um, er… ”
“Untimely demise?” offers Urch.
“Yes,” Old Mabel ventures further. “You were a slave.” She thought again of the x-shaped necklace.
“Admittedly difficult to tell,” he said. “We’ll know at the center. Then we can be free of this rotting place.”
“Change into my future lover,” she requests again, needing encouragement before the entrance. “Just for a minute.”
Urch complies, but it didn’t work as well as before. Time fractures were accelerating. The VW disappears behind them. Which was which?
“After you, I suppose.”
Wheeler-as-Old Grey was markedly trailing Snowmanster by the time they reached the Cloudmont plateau and its host of stubby, snow laden trees. She felt her complex exterior breaking down. Soon she would not have the energy to even keep up the ancient lady appearance. Snowmanster had changed as well, but not for lack of energy. He was now a man.
Toy avatar Woody Woodmanson watched the two, brisk and brisker, pass by from behind a nearby tree. Snowmanster pretended not to see him; Old Grey *didn’t* see him. Straight ahead was what the white being declared the Purden Castle, where they could make camp for the coming, cold night and catch up with more stories of magical realms. He figured Woody would be joining them at some point, once his shyness receded.
Although he wouldn’t dare admit it, Snowmanster was having a fantastic time on this trip, more fun that he could remember. His sex had changed, which hadn’t happened in quite a while. He *liked* Old Grey. Similar to Karoz before him, he found she had a way to win you over once you get past that sandpaper exterior. She was just powerful and confused at the same time; didn’t really know how to apply all the energy she had — obviously. He thought he could help her. Snowmanster had a new mission, *despite* the fact that Wheeler (as Jerome T. Newton) tried to burn him alive less than two months back. His escape was always in the cards and that’s the important thing to keep in mind, he thought to himself. Was he still playing with fire?
Seeing the castle forming ahead, he then stopped and waited for Old Grey to catch up. She had already reverted back to her core self. Disappointed, Snowmanster saw that the structure had fallen into disrepair. He was hoping to show Wheeler something more substantial.
At the campfire later that night, Woody passed around a snapshot depicting how it was.
Green and White
The next morning, Snowmanster and Woody were able to talk in private for the first time while Wheeler went back to Cloudmont to check out a forest oddity I’ll get to in a minute.
Woody spoke frankly. “Why would you bring such a person to this sacred realm, Snowmanster? You must feel the (bad) vibrations surrounding her.”
“I do, I do,” admitted the white being. “She’s been dwelling in a nasty place. You wouldn’t have heard of it.”
“I’ve been to college, Snowmanster,” declared the toy avatar proudly, tenor voice piping up. “Second in my class.”
“Of *five.*” Snowmanster then backtracked on his putdown, feeling the hurt. “Yes, yes it *was* a great accomplishment, Woody. I’m proud of you.”
“And I have a key because of it. I never let it go, not in sleep, not in travel, not in any circumstance. I am the first toy avatar of my clan to earn one.” He clutched the gleaming gold object even harder.
“Very proud indeed,” Snowmanster reinforced. He looked down into the vast Purden woods, containing perhaps five times the amount of trees as the Rubi Forest. He spotted the appropriate, sticky-outy tree from his perch.
“I suppose we’ll have to visit Alena next.”
“Of course,” replied the wooden man, also looking down. “And Core.”
Woody Woodmanson didn’t learn a lot about the current situation from surprisingly tight lipped Snowmanster. He was disappointed. He and Snowy went back a long ways now, all the way to the North Pole when Woody was still a twinkle in Old Kringle’s ancient eye. The first sound he remembers was cowbell. Woody would be different — a living toy to aid the elves’ arduous task of preparing for Christmas 11 3/4 months out of the year. After the event was over they’d get a week’s break until New Years Day. That was it as far as vacation, sick days, anything. There was a dark side to Old Kringle indeed. If you became unable to accomplish your tasks for any significant time (minus during the aforementioned break) you were sent away and replaced by another. Like numerous others before and after, this would be the fate of Woody at the age of 8 when he contracted elm disease. Rudolph the Reindeer, shiny red nose dulled with age, led him to the borders of the North Pole to say goodbye. Newly hewed Woody2, as they originally dubbed him, was already at work soldering together toy parts in the work shed behind them.
Snowmanster awaited beyond the boundary. He helped take care of those cast aside — helped them heal up if needed and then channeled them into different lives, better lives in some instances. Woody was very lucky. Master Luke Purden’s elf servant at the castle, another North Pole refuge, had just been destroyed by a rouge Yeti. Snowmanster put in a good word. He was there watching from the woods the day Woody’s limbs were attached to his body and the magic powder of life borrowed from Mid Rhonda over in Meribel was sprinkled over him head to foot. It was the first time Old Kringle involved himself with the dark arts, but certainly not the last. Woody Woodmanson knew well the feeling of evil and dread.
So Purden Castle, perched between eastward green Purden and westward white Cloudmont, became his home. Luke Purden died on March 17, 1968, the exact day the trees began to die over in the Rubi Woods far to the north. Woody’s inheritance enabled him to attend Meribel College and receive a degree in psychics. There was some overlap in his studies with the tiny witch “college within a college”, a separate entity from Meribel but paradoxically joined with it at the same time. This was the same internal college that produced Mid Hazel in 1972, one of two graduates that year. Snowmanster didn’t yet know this fact. Wheeler had slaughtered Plain Wayne too soon to find out.
Woody’s key vibrated aberrantly as Wheeler walked back into the castle ruins from the west. “Even Whiter Walt, pheh,” she said, plopping her Bowie body down on the stone block next to them. “How many woods *does* he inhabit?”
“A lot,” answers Snowmanster. “I would even dare to venture: every one of ’em.”
“Wow, it’s really quite desolate in here,” says Wheeler, truly impressed with the views at Purden Center.
“I wouldn’t quite put it that way,” states a standing Snowmanster behind her, giving up the attempt to coax Core-Alena into speaking with them. “I think it’s a no go today, Wheeler,” he continues. “Sometimes that happens with the daytime talkie trees. They have good days and bad days, just like the rest of us. The night trees are a bit different, a bit more psychic and often, um, darker. Sinister I guess I should put it.”
“Where’s that dummy of yours?” Wheeler asks crudely of Woody Woodmanson.
“Dunno,” replies Snowmanster. “Perhaps in the gorge looking for frozen corpses. That’s where the Santas often dump them.”
“Interesting about all these Santas, some good some bad. Some kind, some evil. But mostly evil. That’s not what I’ve heard about your Christmas from sources.”
“Yes, they are probably the most popular demons of this Second Lyfe. Snowmen like me are up there as well. I think my snowy fiend-friend Chucky still lives over in Meribel.”
“Well let’s just go see the college over there,” suggests Wheeler. “Instead of just dawdling here getting cold. Let’s go see another ‘snowy’. Let’s *move*.”
“Alright, alright,” says Snowmanster, matching the tone of Wheeler’s voice. He then kneels down in front of Core-Alena again. “We’ll be back my friends. We need your help now to tell us where to go, what to do.”
“Please help us Core-Alena, you’re our only hope,” Wheeler mimics in a high pitch voice, and then titters. “Star Wars” was known all over the galaxy.
Snowmanster was vastly disappointed to find Meribel College apparently no longer existed, grounds vacated. All that remained was Three Star Tree formerly standing outside the witches’ dorm. Three black stars. Wheeler stared at it for some time, deep in thought.
She could kill Snowmanster right now, she machinated, slash his throat at almost the exact spot where she similarly killed Plain Wayne all those years ago. She helped Mid Hazel then and now the old witch is returning the favor in the present — finally. She failed the first time with the fire, but Snowmanster must die. He must never be reunited with his true family Spongebub and Snowbob. Because that might end the Green-White War which must go on forever and ever. And ever.
The sleepy village of Meribel exists along what’s now called Alpine Way, an offshoot of Route 18. Although the majority lies in the namesake sim of Meribel, the town limits extend eastward into Eagan to include areas around Alpine Way down to this juncture. A more ancient name for this part of Meribel is Moral.
Ancient eyes watch Wheeler as she bikes down Alpine Way toward the heart of the village.
Wheeler pauses to look over at Three Star Tree and the former site of Mid Hazel’s witch college.
Wheeler discovers more evidence for the continued influence of Meribel College here.
Sim crossing into Meribel from Eagan. Wheeler can really feel the old energy now. Night has descended quickly!
Chuck’s place. Fellow snowies Snowmanster and Chuck are catching up inside while Wheeler explores the town.
Mutress the gnome offers hot cocoa to cold wanderers at Point 217.
Wheeler waves at one of the numerous “traditional” (non-avatar) snowmen in town.
Looking back. She’s near the center of the sim now.
Some of the townspeople have gathered behind Leilani Lodge and Chalet for an improptu party.
Included in the picture below are economist Donald McClean, his wife Zelda, Rinnie the Elf (another North Pole refuge), and flag waving snowie Laurie Love.
Jim Thorn’s home. He’s the local tailor and dentist. Jim’s wife Kiki doesn’t care much for snow so he bought these fall backdrops for her to mask the surrounding, white mountains.
Mid Hazel finally confronts Wheeler in the middle of the road at Meribel’s western border. Wheeler is so startled that she runs her bike off Alpine Way into a large log.
The next thing she remembers is waking up on Chuck’s couch, wondering what hit her. Mid Hazel stood nearby.
“I’ve sent the others away,” she said in a more normal voice than you’d imagine for a 500 year old witch. “It’s those darn kids. They’re inside the X.”
Old Kringle was perhaps not the worst of the Santas, but he also certainly did not represent their best. As mentioned, he had a fairly serious dark side. He was not a killer, a slayer of elves verbatim. But he did cast them out into the cold and wilderness at times to fend for themselves. Often they were ill equipped. Woody Woodmanson was his first living toy. Then came Woody2, 3, 4, 5, quickly renamed each time. Old Kringle let the elves choose the name of the second to boost sagging moral and empower them in some fractional manner (their choice: Tom1). When making this decision, he had started reading a book called “The Green and the Grey” by John Bennerson. It was a short-lived positive influence. He realized about a third of the way through that he simply couldn’t identify with the main character, a man named John like the author who opposed enslavement of Martians. Well, didn’t his elves have some Martian blood in them, since they derived from the same prime race? So he threw the book in the fire, which Mrs. Kringle retrieved and then read the unburnt 2/3rds afterwards. One year later they were divorced. Younger Kringle became Old Kringle without supporting, balancing soulmate. The rift was final. Although not directly responsible, Old Kringle found out about dumped elf bodies in Purden Gorge and said nothing about it. This wasn’t the work of Arosa’s unfortunately named Satan Santa either, who was a quite cuddly, effeminate character underneath all that zombie skin. Nor Butchie Santa down in Smithers Bluff. No, this was a different kind of reddie, as they called their clan. A rouge one.
Old Kringle keeping a watchful eye on his elves as they slave away in his Porvoo toy factory.
“So where are we now, Baker Bloch?” Wheeler asks. “Jerome T. Newton again?”
“Yes,” he said plainly. Snowmanster reappeared. “Inferialist is one of my favorite places in the Snowlands. I come here to rebalance myself. I too have aberrations.”
“Yeah I know.” Wheeler knew Snowmanster didn’t remember anything about Mid Hazel or her 3 day disappearance. So many bodies. Slowly, surely, Wheeler was beginning to change. She’d seen the midnight movements, the dusk to dawn watchings. She liked it up to a certain point. Then we have the torture. Why not just kill them and get it over with? A quick slash here, a quick stab there. Over. Not the burning. Or at least not the torture. She’d finally found her line.
“I’ve finally found my line,” she spoke her thoughts aloud.
“Yeah I know.”
Then he showed her the downstairs diatribe. Wheeler recalled that Mid Hazel had revealed something similar two days back, but with the wording cunningly rearranged. She now preferred this version. Snowmanster was attempting to turn her world upside down and plant a seed of yang within yin. It was working.
2 hours later, she returned. “Maybe this is the place I can finally purify myself,” she spoke to herself this time, staring out the frosted windows at what locals call simply The River. But she knew Mid Hazel could find her anywhere. So much red. Not gorgeous red as Mid Hazel put it, but certainly gorgy, as flowing “in a gorge.” This is why Baker Bloch/Snowmanster showed her this place of peace and rest. It was time for balance.
In a dream, Old Grey was hobbling up Alpine Way just beyond the western border of Meribel, heading into the oh so white mountains again. “If I can just reach that bench over there I can rest again,” she says to herself. But it was a struggle, like walking uphill at a 60 degree angle.
Hummie the Hummingbird lept off her shoulder again, trying to encourage. “You can do it you can do it you can do it,” the bird twittered at a rapid fire pace in front of her…
…then sped to the bench to wait. Faintly, Old Grey could still hear it trilling the same encouragement at intervals.
“Halfway there maybe,” she said, panting.
“Jesus Christ.” Her whole body was sweating. “And (wheeze) this is still basically level ground.”
Another round of encouragement from Hummie. “You can do it you can do it you can do it.”
Old Grey died from heart failure just in front of the bench. Behind it, Pop-up Rock had come out of his hole to see what all the commotion was all about. “She couldn’t do it she couldn’t do it she couldn’t do it,” Hummie explained.
Old Mabel woke up.
Bert the Semi-Nudist beat on the windows of Woody’s A-frame house next to the Purden Forest. “Wake up in there Woody,” he called. “Things a do’n out here this morning. Get up and see.” Groggilly, Woody rolled over on his cat mattress… and fell asleep again. Five minutes later, Bert was back beating. Woody’s actual cat Vampire Boy was now out of his kitty coffin and staring over at muscular man. “If you don’t get up now, Woody, you’ll miss it. Come on!”
“Bert, why don’t you put on some clothes for Santa’s sake before you rush over here,” beseeched Woody while moving to the coffee pot. He wasn’t going to go out there in the cold without some caffeine in hand. He told Bert the same through the window, then invited him in.
“Woody, you gotta get out here! You’ve got to come now! Now now now!”
“Oh my Santa, Bert. What *is* those?”
“You’ve gone a bit queer haven’t you Woody? Maybe you should lay off the smokes. Just until you stop doing things like talking to Bert over there. Your man mannekin, hehe.”
“I love him,” Woody states frankly. “My key loves him too.”
“Well that’s good Woody.” Snowmanster uncrosses his legs. “So tell me about *these* guys.”
It was always going to be this way, Wheeler realizes. This path…
… this village.
Not lacking for energy, she begins the steep ascent.
“This should work. Right Uncle Jack?”
“*Wilson*. Should’ve known. I received this landmark in my inventory tonight and used it to pop over here, and find you.”
“Hi Baker Bloch,” is all Wilson said. She changed positions on her bench from Pout to Puzzled. That way she could stare out into the landscape.
“Why are you me again?”
“Where are we?”
“Change into Snowmanster,” she requested. “You’re not suppose to be Baker Bloch when you show up.”
“Oh, that may explain it. Hold on.”
“Well that didn’t work,” they said in one voice.
They finally sorted out their roles tonight. Wilson changed into Wheeler, switched places with Baker Bloch on the bench, who remained Snowmanster. Annnnd… Action!
“*Wheeler*, I knew I’d find you up here at this Way Station.”
“Well good. Anything else?” She checked the pink script under her bench. “And it may not be a way station, as defined as, quote unquote, ‘intermediate stopping point’. I might be staying here.”
Snowmanster thought he had his lines memorized better. “It could be a way station as in a station set between principal stations on a line of travel,” he said confidently. “Look around.” He waved his left arm to indicate the area. “Livigno. The up and happening plateau place where it all goes down.”
“Check your script, Snowmanster, if you have one. Because we’re in Ayas. Right on the edge of Livigno where, as you said, it all goes down. But just beyond.”
“Oh.” Snowmanster shuffled his feet. “Must be working from an earlier script. Is this the one where you set up The Table in the Firefly related building over there?” Both look southward.
“Jesus, you’re at least two colors behind,” reprimanded Wheeler, standing up. “Look inside.”
Snowmanster turns around. White Wolf the guard dog tilts his head at him innocently. “Nice mutt.”
“What did you say?” queries Wheeler behind him.
“I said, you have a nice dog.”
“Oh… right. Well go ahead. Look inside.”
To Snowmanster, a door stood between him and the inside of the cabin.
To Wheeler, the door didn’t exist.
“I can’t get the door open,” Snowmanster says back to Wheeler.
“Well, get out of here, then,” she said back. “Be gone. I just received the newest script in my inventory and you’re not even in this scene. Pink has switched with blue. See ya!”
Wheeler sits alone on the Way Station bench, thinking she could stay here for a spell. Table meeting next Tuesday at 7pm! Invitations already sent. This place is where it all goes down.
The children rock inside while Uncle Jack approaches the window, telling them the deed is done. The fake Uncle Jack has been buried out in the backyard along with the fake children that showed up yesterday. Blue has switched with pink. No pink clad twins in this storyline! But perhaps their ghosts will haunt the oversized trailer later on.
After supper, the children sit on the porch while Uncle Jack stays back in the kitchen. He always seems to be cooking or cleaning there.
“I’ve seen inside their room,” says Buurb, sitting on the wooden flooring opposite Old Mabel.
She makes a shocked face. “But *how*? The door is always locked.”
“Remote viewing. You don’t know that trick yet?”
Old Mabel’s shoulders ease back a little. “Of course. But I don’t like to pry. What’s behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors.”
“Not how it works around here,” answers Buurb, who was naturally nosier than his counterpart. “Anyway, they’re dead now. What do they care if we peek around inside. I could even lay in their beds if I wished. You could too.”
“Don’t you *dare*,” reprimands Old Mabel. “This Livigno sim will serve us well as long as we obey the rules set up by Uncle Jack. Do I need to tell them again to you? There are only three.” Buurb was about protest that she doesn’t need to do this again when she stands up anyway and begins.
“…if the fake people show up, they will be killed and disposed of in the backyard.”
“… don’t leave the Livigno sim because all answers are here.”
“… *never* enter the Story Room.” She sits back down in the executive chair. “Any questions Buurb? Buuuuurb?” Old Mabel knew Buurb hated it when the double vowels in his name were stretched out like that.
“Um, yeah actually.” He puts his index finger to his chin smugly. “I’ve been thinking about this. If all the answers are here, in this sim (he points down), and Story Room is part of this sim — *if* it’s part; perhaps its beating heart as Jack once put it — then maybe the answers are in that room.”
Uncle Jack’s ears prick up in the kitchen. He thinks about the still bloodied axe against the wall around the corner.
“We can just march in and get them,” Buurb continues. “That’s the, er, paradox of all this, where the head eats the tail. We stay in the sim, but must never look into the *heart* of the sim? Ever thought about that Old Mabel?”
“This is not the Garden of Adam and Eve.”
At the same time and 100 yards to the northwest, Wheeler tries to teleport back into her adopted Ayas cabin after buying a stack of books, a Lisa Simpson cutout, and some ice cream down the hill at Inferialist, but instead finds herself in a hidden space underneath.
On the other side of the wall she discovers more.
Buurb was looking in the wrong place.
From a frozen pond in Virrat, Baker Bloch admires the vast expanse of Poorvoo’s North Pole. But he doesn’t have time right now to revisit that place. He must get to Woody’s before the toy avatar awakes and spring the surprise.
“Well?” he says while showing Woody the interior view. “What do you think?” He knew he’d be pleased.
“Fantastical,” Woody replies. “But who are you?”
“Oh, sorry. I forgot to change.”
“Snowmanster!” Woody cried. “So you have a secret identity.”
“Not secret,” admitted Baker Bloch/Snowmanster. “Core,” he explained. “That is (more) my real self.”
“What *is* you?”
“My father was a superhero and then a talk show host. My mother was, well… diffcult to explain.” He obviously thought of Wheeler’s recent appearances as Old Grey.
“Well I never,” exclaimed Woody. “Do *I* have a secret identity? A *core*?”
“Maybe,” says Snowmanster. “Why don’t we try to ask the *tree* this morning. I have a hunch they might be free to speak now.”
“Core-Alena?” asks Woody. He stares out the window toward the center of the woods.
“But a spell was put on them.”
“I think Mid Hazel’s control is breaking down, Woody, thanks to Wheeler. She’s up next to Livigno now. She’s adopted two children who aren’t children at all but soon-to-be lovers. They will look into the room. They will free us.”
“Fantastical,” Woody repeats. “Let’s go see the tree.”
“Bert’s not invited.” Snowmanster and Woody share a laugh with that.
“We are at Purden Center, Snowmanster. But where are Core and Alena?”
“Yeah, right, I forgot about that too,” Snowmanster acknowledges. “I’ll have to leave you once more, just for a moment.” He puts his hand on the wooden man’s shoulder. “Woody, you’ve been a fantastical friend down through the years for me. You’ve endured great hardships and still have managed to make a place for yourself in this world. I am here to help now. Wheeler and I. And the children who aren’t children, now rescued from being X-ed out. We’re all in this together. You can ask your questions.” On the spot, Snowmanster changes into Core-Alena.
“Kneel down, Woody,” Core-Alena requests. “So I can speak with you… fellow wooden being. Here, let me turn just a little to the right so you can see me better. And I, you.”
Woody kneels. “Snowmanster? Is that you in there?”
“Yes. This is a core being as well but more than myself. *All* of us. Everyone in the Snowlands. Rich and poor. Good and evil. Male and female. We are them. They are us. As Snowmanster, I just had to commit to being here. With you and the others.” Owlie the 3rd eyed owl sitting on one of their branches hoots in agreement.
“So is this… the end?”
“Yes,” states Core-Alena. “We will go forward, obviously, but in a different setting, a different light. Mid-Hazel and her entrapping X’s, etc., have been defeated. We are one.
Woody gets on the ground and stares directly into the male-female eyes. He asks the final question. “Am I in there too?”
“Woody,” Core-Alena playfully smirks. “You are the key!”
END OF “COLLAGESITY 2016-2017 WINTER”.