Swamp Fox 02
An instant in time (Summit Inn Pizza, Kamas UT):
Center of circle:
Time to forge new roads.
There can be no doubt that Rhode Gallery acts an important connection between the two Lives, 2nd and 1st. This is Rhode’s Town. Rhodes, Rhoads, Roads.
The Tina Queen Gallery once across the street on High (School) property is now gone. Ruby is obviously not employed there still as a weekend receptionist.
But Ruby always appreciated the works of this neighboring gallery, which acted as a direct inspiration for her own, newly minted art (“Itch”, “Scratch”, etc.).
It’s going to take a lot to convince these good, conservative people of Utah to merge further, Ruby thinks from her rocking chair beside the freshly dug grave. Rhode is cool with it, though, and that’s a foothold. Rhode, Rhoad, Road.
little heaven, little hell
“What do you call a flock of crows? A kill of crows?”
“Dunno,” answers Young Ruby, barely legal for this town even with a chaperone. “Thank you for joining me in… could it be my new apartment?”
“Not on my watch,” answers the huskier toned Indigo sitting beside her. She crosses her feet.
‘Murder,” Ruby then uttered. “A murder of crows.”
“Of course.” Indigo looked again at the *murder* atop a neighboring building outside the window.
“Or Murderkill,” Ruby then offered. “Both in one.” Each thought of the art work to their side, depicting two towns trying to kill or murder each other.
“I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what happens… see what magic Rhode can still produce.”
“Right you are,” states Young Ruby to her older companion.
RB Mountain 02
Ruby talks with members of the Redmoken Brabin Fan Club gathered at a pool below his looming effigy while waiting to meeting Indigo at the top of the mount. She learned some valuable information from ringleader Aidema Hill, a former Rik Blaisdale groupie, here perched before swimming, fellow Brabinites Ditsy and Zizzy Grant (twins). No big surprise for those familiar with the stuff on the mount: she’s surmised that Rik decided to come back as Red. Ruby suspected another Rhode project, but Indigo had her doubts.
“Aren’t you cold Ruby? I’m freezing on top of this mountain. At least my butt is warm now.”
“This very well could have been one of Timmy’s hideouts he mentioned, Indigo. He didn’t specify RB Mountain directly, but it’s got a great view of the lake he always went on about.”
Indigo looked to her right. “Indeed it does.”
“He said his house was on the east side.” Ruby checks her inworld map. “Let’s see, it seems we’re more on the west side. But now I remember it, he said his parents’ house was burned down in the war.”
“Maybe this clubhouse or hideout or whatever it is wasn’t even built until after the war and Timmy left.”
“No,” counters Ruby to Indigo. “I feel his presence here.” She moves to the other side of the floor. “Look at this map — the Big Nope. I may have remembered him talking about such a place. Something about a well and a refusal. Proposal turned down: Big Nope.”
“Alright. I need to warm my front anyways — back getting toasty. That must have been a heated pool those girls were swimming in.”
“Or MAYBE, this map is the mountain itself. Big Nope on one side, and over here, the Safe Zone. Could be death and life itself. Rik reborn as Red, as Aidema Hill speculated. ‘X’ and ‘O’. Crossed out and then revived. Like as from an egg — womb over tomb. And in the MIDDLE: this hideout. Right on the apex of the mountain. Between death and rebirth. The Big Between.”
“Next thing you’ll be telling me, Young Ruby, is that Timmy himself planned all this to indicate his resurrection.” Ruby stared at her steadily. “Oh. That *is* what you’re telling me.”
But what as? both wondered.
“You’re changing over again.” Her voice was watery and lilting, slightly evil. “You must have stared at that chess piece too long, you *king*.”
“You said there was treasure here in the High Country,” he declared firmly with iron voice. No joking around for him now.
“But not up here.”
“No,” she admitted. “That was a trick. Did you enjoy my trick?”
Axis didn’t answer. The transformation had been completed. “Better go groundside then.”
“In just a minute. I’m going to take an (alchemical) bath first. Clean myself off of all this fairy dust.”
“Suit yourself. I’ll leave without you.”
“What do you think, Brevin? Pretty good disguise, eh?”
“Haaatt!” the tall, colorful fowl cawed. “Haaaaaaatttt!”
I miss you so much. I am sorry about the trick back at the fairy forest. Hope to see you soon.
Yours in love,
“Misty?” she says aloud, staring at the signature line.
“Top of the day to you,” called Septimius Felton, sneaking up behind her. “See you’re using one of those fancy future machines again. Typing to your boyfriend, huh?” He laughed agreeably. “But just a friendly reminder…”
“I know, I know,” said, um — Misty (?), shutting down the window. “No future machines. No future anything.”
“Who’s the president?” Septimius tested.
“Garfield.” Pause. “Wait… Grant.”
“I know you’re funning me, Mrs. Dorn.”
Mrs.?, thought Misty(?). I’m *married*? She hadn’t turned around yet. She didn’t want him to see her scars.
“You know the presidents better than I,” he continued. “We almost didn’t make it through R.B. Hayes, though. Almost became a *socialist* country, without a true ruler. But we all got through it. But of course you’re too young to remember all that hoopla.”
“I read all about it in sex ed history class, though,” she proclaimed proudly, reverting to old, classic style bluster.
Septimius walked into the gazebo beside her. Oh it’s *you*, she thought, looking over the familiar, top hat topped gentleman, dapper in a period suit. Does he remember? Does he know? He eyed the fall leaf sugar cookies eagerly. She decides to gesture toward the opposite chair. What would it hurt?
“Don’t mind if I do,” he said matter-of-factly, scooting out the cast iron chair before sitting down, then noisily scooching it back to the table on the wood planked flooring. A sugar cookie was in his hand in no time.
Closed, thought a relieved Misty, staring at the subsequently masticating mouth. He’s at least evolved past Tin Tin, thankfully. He was really quite handsome, she thought. Despite being just a, um, prop.
He cleared his throat, and indicated the laptop with a nod of the head. “About time to put that away, don’t you think. Talk person to person, like it should be. 1920, Mrs. Dorn. And Woodrow Wilsonia is the first female president. Who would have thunk it?”
Who would have indeed, thought Misty.
he died in Washington D.C.
One wasn’t suppose to do so, but Mrs. Misty Dorn often walked the 150 or so meters from her Philo retro-home to the lip of what “later” became known as the Catsocks Sinkhole, a portmanteau name derived from the Catalpa and Tussock sims which share the depression.
And behind her from this vantage point: the main gallery of hot tempered artist Angelina Dickenson who drove Pitch Darkly and Buster Damm from VHC City spring before last. Like driving Frankenstein’s Monster away from the village with fire, except in this case vampire monsters are involved instead of collaged together, electronically activated beings.
But Misty knew them as tamed pussycats: a rather henpecked Pitch (by Mary) and a somewhat dominated Buster (by Bettie). Like a modern day Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubles they are, neighboring Collagesity pals who enjoy going on adventures and do male bonding stuff with each other like bowling for dollars. Totally harmless; the sustaining blood they need now supplied by an herbal substitute distilled from locally grown turnip plants. The progression of monster medicine!
She turned back to the hole. But it all started here. Birthplace of Monsters they will also deem it, not technically true but that is how it will be remembered. Plane crash. Mary had told her all about it. She said everyone within a 1000 meter radius of VHC City came to witness the aftermath. And the insulated crates containing Pitch, Buster and others which were opened, freeing their contents. No humans survived, although they were they ones who wrecked the plane. On purpose. The rallying cry according to legend: “Let’s rock.” The target: well, most would assume the giant Hotel Chelsea itself only 300 meters from the site, not much further away than her own house in Philo. A fascinating and tragic story, which upon retelling Mary usually got a little choked up about. Not only for the dead humans but the still living, breathing monsters who emerged from the intact tail piece. The ones who received part of the blame, however undeserved. Like her husband Pitch. Mr. Mary.
She rose from the ground. But it was time to get back to Philo and meet with Septimius, who offered to come over and escort her down to Swindon’s Coffee and Tea Emporium in the center of town. She had other plans, however. Might as well get it over with because the event was inevitable. She knew Septimius, or the man behind Septimius, and the attraction would reach a logical conclusion. He didn’t have a General Grant tucked away in his back pocket like didn’t-die-in-Vain Abraham Lincoln, but it was still upon him. Thus the reason he thinks the 28th president of the United States is a female. Trees. Giant tree. The largest in the world, between it and Sherman, another back pocket filler upper. Another 2 fer 1, it seems.
With her standard 128 meter draw she could just make out the top of an autumn tree in Philo from this perspective. The town is afire with leaves brightly burning yellow, orange, red. If only their user’s real life world beyond the mirror was so blessed.
Misty made sure she was strategically positioned on the ladder upon Septimius’ approach. She also liked to face away from him as often as possible because of the scars she was so self conscious about. Misty hoped that they weren’t a deal breaker in the end, but she doubted it. All signs point to the tree.
“Afternoon, Mrs. Dorn.” Again with the appellation, Misty thought. My husband has been dead in his grave for over 3 years now (she’s learned) and still I’ll remain a Mrs. until remarried. Not fair!
He studied both her and the tree while still standing safely in the road. “That’s not an apple tree you’re picking from, Mrs. Dorn. Those are behind your neighbor Mrs. Dabbs, remember? Seems like your picking, er, barking up the wrong tree.” He laughed good-naturedly with this attempted joke.
I seriously doubt it, Misty thought. “Oh, I’m actually picking leaves,” she said aloud. “For a decoration in my house, a garland I think it is called.”
“Oh,” a puzzled Septimius Felton responded. “Well, do you need any help? Can I… do you want to hand them down to me as you pick them?” What’s this with leaf decorations, he thought to himself. Is this more future witchery? I don’t recall other neighbors engaging in such activity. I must ask Horace Wise at the next town meeting. He’ll probably know. He’s an expert in 1880-1920 history. Post-R.B. Hayes.
“No, I have enough now, I believe. Just help me down off this ladder if you don’t mind and we’ll go inside.”
“Swindon’s starts jumping after dark,” Septimius says while walking over. “But I see you’re already dressed for the occasion.” That dress, he thinks. In truth, he’s already wondering if Swindon’s is the actual destination point tonight.
Misty jumps down the last several rugs. “Thank you.” She attempts to tip her hat as low as possible while motioning toward the house. Those darn face wounds. “Shall we?”
He wandered around the living room while Misty was preparing herself upstairs. He eventually found the open alchemy book in the locked art deco secretary, as she had planned.
He had to make out what was on the pages in reverse. Oh, he thought while staring at the tree rising backwards from the man. That’s interesting, hmm.
you’ve got enough
She can’t get in but they can certainly look out.
And where was this on the shared map between Meat City and Kamas UT? I wondered.
Off the grid for Utah, I realized. No possible new synchronization between the two, like we had for the Rhode Gallery and the brown splotch in the tree and the SS high school across the street and the road construction sign between them, right where the route began bending away from the shared grid on its way to Samak. Mirror — E Mirror Lake Hwy.
And in the bigger picture, I’ve learned that the whole Omega continent could fit into the surrounding Marion-Francis Circle. Swamp Fox. Gives an additional, spacial sense of proportion between the two Lives, 2nd and 1st. 1st Life is still *much* larger. Much remains to be explored there!
But the overlap is quite profound. Here the two interpenetrate, like apples and oranges. No, like nested dolls… no: like a hidden center. Hidden Village. Hidden Vilage.
Oh looky. What’s this over here?
Interesting, thought Buster Damm, teleporting into the center of the Tussock sim under cover of darkness. Right in the middle of the railroad.
He will call Duncan A. once he finds a good spot to sit at the restaurant. One he feels comfortable with.
“So hard to get comfortable in these f-cking chairs,” Buster complained, wishing he would have tried one or two more before Duncan showed up. But he didn’t have time.
“Yeah, I saw your green dot over here and decided just to teleport over, to save you the trouble of sending me an invite and all. So: what’s up, Buster? You said this was of utmost importance.”
Buster squirmed a bit more before replying. “Pot-D is what’s up, Duncan Avocado.” He let the high pitched declaration hang in the air.
“Pot-D?” Duncan thought about it a second. He looked around the restaurant; checked his inworld map before leaning in closer. “Drugs?” he said in a lower tone.
“No, no, no Duncan A. Get your mind out of the slum, er, gutter. I’m talking about a secret society we want you to join. To help us with the investigation of The Diagonal. Pot-D stands for Protectors of the Diagonal. That’s all.”
“Oh.” Duncan Avocado pondered on this as well, then answered: “W-what do I have to do? Sign some papers or something? Um, be sworn in?”
The small vampire shook his head. “No, you’re basically already in. It’s all verbal in this club. Angus Nuffin suggested it, and he’s sort of the boss, the ringleader I suppose.” Buster’s pace was brisk; he wanted to get Duncan initiated and then get the hell out of here. The Chelsea so close, so close. Blue Angel. “What do the initials R.B. mean to you?”
Duncan went into thinking mode again. “Nothing,” he then answered after a spell. “I don’t know anything it’s attached to… for me… personally. Could be wrong.”
“Good. Then you’re on the right timeline — you’d know if you knew. You’re as good as a member right now.” He reached into his xxxs sized jacket and pulled out a necklace, silver in color with a red pendant. “This is yours. You have to put it on now before I leave. The necklace must touch part of your skin. That way we can always be in communication with you. Are you cool with this still?”
Duncan Avocado had been studying The Diagonal in his own way for many months now, and George with him (Duncan and George go *way* back together). He’d been waiting for a new role to show up at his doorstep. And now it had. He didn’t want to miss another opportunity.
“Sure. Why not.” He grasped the necklace from Buster’s extended hand, put it on.
“Argg, daybreak. F-cking, cursed sun. Must split, Duncan. We’ll be in touch. Get it? Touch.” He didn’t wait for Duncan to respond, but just winked out with this, right when the sun’s hateful rays were washing red over his seat.
Duncan stuck around a while and finished his croissant and cup of creamy coffee. Pretty good. Maybe George and he can eat breakfast here tomorrow. Talk about what has transpired.
But what *did* just transpire? he then considered.
the new black
For his first assignment as an official member of Pot-D, Duncan Avocado was asked to check behind Indigo in investigating the Rhodenwald sim, somehow right across the *road* from Rhode Gallery just to the west. Only sim beginning with “Rhode” besides one called Rhode Islands, which is apparently under construction. Per the usual start of a particular sim investigation, he decided to teleport into its 128/128 center (standard landing point through generic search of any SL sim), but was instead directed to a preset landing point about 16 meters southwest, at the entrance to a Halloween themed maze.
He takes a seat on the bench next to his landing position.
Duncan had no desire to try to solve a maze tonight. From his notes, he knew that Indigo, through her alternate, human self Vanille (who you may remember from the Diagonal Alley scenes in Collagesity novel 10) had already investigated it and found nothing of heightened interest. Duncan was looking for new angles, per designated Pot-D leader Angus Nuffin’s suggestions.
Spying a monorail station not far behind the bench, he decides to take a car ride — Indigo didn’t mention doing this. He whirls around and around a number of Meat City sims before passing through Rhodenwald again and then ending at another station in Baylors Haunt to the south. It was at this point Duncan looked at the inworld map to see exactly where he was, and noticed an avatar at *128/128* Rhodenwald, a place he knew visiting avatars could not directly teleport into now. Thinking back to former synchs involving center of sims, especially the black man who appeared at 128/128 Gaston in, erm, Collagesity novel 7 (prompting the end of that particular story in Sansara’s Snowlands), Duncan decides to go check out this new developement, and spots an antlered, loincloth wearing figure seemingly hiding behind a cart loaded with pumpkins. 128/128: center of sim. *Had* to be there on purpose.
Checking the profile, Duncan saw the avatar was named *Black*, and also had a second life partner named the same. Surnames each. And, in fact, owner of quite a number of parcels in the sim, including the one with the maze and the pumpkin cart. This was the owner… and later Duncan figured out he was signaling offworld to someone. Not him but his mate. But why in this particular spot?
Duncan continued to scan the figure, thinking his user AFK. But, no, the avatar moves from behind the cart and faces Duncan directly. He is aware of his presence for certain. Black man confronts black man.
Duncan had found something.
The world seemed a little haywire tonight.
And Duncan was feeling a little stupid because the actual center of the Rhodenwald sim was *not* the pumpkin cart he thought before — and which the owner of the parcel was “hiding” behind when he first met him — but, still, this *orange pumpkin* between a playground fence and the outer wall of that hedge maze also mentioned in the last post.
And the green dot representing this person on the map definitely *was* at the center. He thought… maybe he was wrong all along.
But it also seemed a little peculiar that, night of all nights, Duncan finds anomalous plane objects in these particular Rhodenwald parcels owned by Black.
Although they disappear quickly this time.
Let’s back up a bit…
“We didn’t want to tell you about the anomaly quite yet but something or someone is forcing our hand. Happened April 19th of this year. Reported in the community forums — you can read details there.”
Duncan wondered why Sid/Angus Nuffin moved to the table and away from the suave chair beside him he was sitting in to pull up the appropriate interweb pages. Had he finished with it?
“Notice also,” Sid continued, “that whoever took that inworld picture of the map was standing right on the site of the Rhode Gallery, even though the gallery wasn’t yet there at the time; only built a little later. July I believe.”
“Queer,” came Duncan’s simple response. It was all a bit overwhelming, especially adding in the Rhode synchronicities concerning the Meat City-Kamas UT overlap. Hidden mountain treasure? Was that what this was all about? Pot-D as gold seekers? The Diagonal itself as a red herring?
“One more thing for now. Look at the picture before that one on the community forum post.”
Duncan tried but failed. “I– I can’t pull it up,” he admitted, embarrassed.
That’s what we suspected, Sid thought, and had to show him a little later.
Sugar House. The reason they brought Duncan Avocado into the club in the first place.