“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.
Over on a mountaintop in Jaffee, another Santa takes what he fears might be his last look at a favorite Christmas tree.
For just in back of the treehouse he cowers beneath lurks the giant rogue snowman already responsible for the death of seven.
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.
“This use to be Chroma’s house, you know.”
“Greg, that is. Ogden. Not the odious Oden fellow.”
“Green, yeah.” She pretend spits on the floor beside the couch. “Disgusting. Red, yellow and blue’s where it’s at.”
cloudy with a chance of pain
“So here we are. But it’s Hidden Village, with the two l’s like the others. And also: Hilltop Road.”
“Interesting. Let’s see how far down this road we can go.”
“Proper. The green journey ends here, where (inferior) red takes over (once more). See the mushroom cloud? Literally. This is what happens at the end of a world.”
“Jeez I haven’t been here in quite a while, Tin Tin, er, Axis. 1/2 a year? Maybe more.”
Axis, who was a dog now, couldn’t answer, but kept indicating spots of significance from before with his sniffing nose.
“That gun is *never* going to stop firing at me. The only way I can stay here… with you… is to keep sitting on stuff. This blue inner tube I always loved, for instance.”
And then, let’s see…
“She can’t return to that moment, on that bench. Pain. She’ll die over and over again.”
“One more try, Albert.”
“See her leg? This must be where she was made, Alex.”
“The guns are silent now.”
“Look. There she is again (!)”
Blekinge this time.
The Doctor’s face had reverted.
“More over here, Mystic Girl. Let’s see, 3 snowballs, another Santa hat, smaller this time — or *normal* sized, I should say — and then, um, what appears to be some kind of tinier, more menacing looking snowman, frozen of course, like the rest.”
“But I don’t think it is possible he’s the culprit for all this. Do you?”
No, Mystic Girl thought without answering, because she was always silent. A mere sounding board for him, as both agreed to, even though *he* didn’t remember. She created him so that he would forget things like this — the important stuff. Like their children Luther and Wanda. Like the end of a world. *Their* world.
They moved back to the excavated grave.
“This is simply just terrible, Mystic Girl. I hope all the families of these victims can be found.”
Nearby, Jeffrie Phillips, wearing his special red tie, reads a book describing the murders in detail and understands this rogue yeti must be stopped at all costs. Even if it means the end of a world.
The smiling faces of the Millertons, a local family of snowmen assuming their kin Frederica was out partying all night with friends Jennifer and Annison, were about to be turned upside down with the tragic news.
1 down, 3 to go.
I suppose Tropp’s true home will always be New Eden, where he has the most control. However, he always seems to be running for his life from something there.
This part looks like Mars — it isn’t Mars.
“I must concur with Lieutenant Spocari, Captain,” pleads 1st Science Officer Dr. I.C. Yourinsides. “All data I’m recieving states that New Eden will be crushed inside the black hole. We must reverse, full speed!”
Tropp stays calm in his chair. “Call me crazy confident, guys, but I think we can do it. One day — Spocari, I.C. — you or someone else of your ilk might be in charge. But not now, not today. This is my decision to make.”
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:
Fallout Guy spoke into the Pipboy 3000 attached to his right forearm. “No additional synchromystic activity noted on the Magenta Girls’ peninsula at The Straight.” He pauses, then: “One additional note. The sim the peninsula is located within is Girenzi, which in Our Second Lyfe is presently followed by sims Girl and then Girls. The property at the tip of the peninsula is called Bad Girls. That is all.”
Continuing to read into diary 11, Fallout Guy’s step-brother Baghead Boy realizes a possible, crucial error. The text skips right over Core-Alena’s journey to the Dead Sea at The Basin in order to hurry over to Utah and The Straight to reenter Virtual from Reality.
On a nearby lake dock, office girl Magenta Rose might be skimming the same book but probably not.
Baghead Boy read well into the afternoon but still couldn’t make it past 4.
“They’re eventually going to find this place, Audrey. They’re scouting hither and thither for the killer of all those sickening Christmas figures… Santas, elves, snowmen, the lot.”
“I know, I know.” She takes a quick sip of her saki, then: “I’ll try to deflect Dr. Nightwing as much as possible on my end.”
“He’ll soon give you the book. Tell you to read it up to the end, which is almost the end of 4 now.”
“Right.” She rehearses what will happen. “I’ll *take* the book, shocked (she feigns shock on her face here while reaching forward), saying, ‘golly gee darnit (Jeffrie Phillips laughs at her here), I’ve *heard* of these mirror books but I had no idea…'”
“Good,” he replies. “Shocked and awed.”
“Could be in this very gorge here that we find the next victim, Audrey.” He eyes her heart shaped ruby pendant again, leans closer to admire it more this time. “This gorgeous… gorge.” He clasps the pendent and raises it. Funny, she thinks. This is exactly what I did to Jeffrie’s tie earlier.
“Gorges,” Dr. Nightwing begins again. “Not *that* kind of gorge…” he points to the pendant, “… but *this* kind.” He waves his arm to indicate the place they’re at. “Think back my love. The 7th which was actually the 1st — spotted in a Purden gorge by Woody and Snowmanster. The 8th was ate, true, so no need to hide the cadaver in a gorge. Then the mass snowmen grave which, afterwards, was turned *into* a gorge through excavation… mini-gorge, true, but still…”
“And this… book you gave me earlier. Will explain it all, as it’s happening in… real time? Amazing.”
“There’s only one other copy, Audrey, so keep that stashed away in a safe spot at all costs. Fallen into the wrong hands…”
“I know, I know. End of a world.”
It was in Schism where the next holiday figure was found, a logical choice because, like the Asunder sim where we saw the Dr. and companion Audrey last, it contains a significant gorge, longer and shallower in nature this time. But it was on a small island in a frozen lake near the top of the gorge where the actual killing took place. The rogue yeti, disguised within a snow laden tree of similar height and proportions, easily surprised and overwhelmed its prey.
We pray for the family of unlucky Schism Santa, victim no. 13.
Mystic Girl had finished washing and dying her hair, actions which gave Dr. Nightwing the chance to slip away and meet Audrey in the Asunder gorge.
“This road is deeply disturbing to me, Mystic Girl,” Dr. Nightwing pronounced in front of the identifying sign, somehow missed before in his investigations.
We must be nearing The End, Mystic Girl thought but of course didn’t speak aloud.
Not needing a reply, Dr. Nightwing took another gander down the long road, approx. half a sim in length. “No VW on this particular Abbey Road, but many *other* cars — seemingly abandoned alongside it, even in the shallow woods to the west.”
“And then a wall running almost the entire length on the east, allowing potential access into the next sim only through a small gate about halfway down from here…”
“… and then this larger gate at the end… actually, maybe a little beyond the end. ”
The Straight, silly, thought Mystic Girl. This is another representation.
“If we could only get through that gate. That’s the key. But we *need* a key to pass through. Another conundrum. That little car there must have tried and failed. Trapped in the snow with the others.”
“We are not allowed access. But that doesn’t mean something can’t come through from the other side.”