She walked and walked, further than ever until the one track became two, as it always was. And always will be. She sat down in the middle of the split to remember who she was/is/will be.
I am Tessa from in or near Twin Peaks, she told herself. Old and yet young here. Between the red and yellow in front of me…
… and the blue and green behind.
Split. Like realities.
She will not move until someone comes and helps her choose.
But then a scary bug appears beside her and makes her choose anyway. “Shite!” she exclaims while jumping off the bench onto the wrong track.
The year: ’42. She heard distant bugles. A faint smell of burnt copper was in the air. She knows which reality she’s in. And it’s not the right one. The Realm of Fear.
End of Time was a *sanctuary* she realized. Once she stepped back in the light, all was exposed for what it is.
But she must forget all this and get back to the cave. It was only an experiment, see, a dream even. Trouble is, she was heading the wrong way.
It was already night. She needed to bed down for a while. She decided to approach one of the innumerable Victorian houses near the railroad to get information if possible, perhaps beg for a place to rest. Just a while, she rehearsed. Just to get my bearings. She was choosing realities just on instinct. Good.
Then Tessa spotted what she thought was a lake behind the house and went there instead, noting the bridges on opposite sides of it, about equidistant from each other from this vantage point. She sat down to meditate on the subject. She later learned her lake was actually an estuary, lying between mainland here and a queer, curly island over there. Eventually the name of the island, for her, became Curly-Cue, usually shortened when writing to Curly-Q. She also understood the Q stood for Queer, because it was.
3 other islands existed in a small archipelago with queer Curly-Q: one almost as large but much more regularly shaped; another, also curly shaped but simpler — not as bendy-twisty — and about as large relative to the second as the second is to the first; then the smallest, about 1/4the the size of the 3rd largest and containing no houses atall unlike the others. That was the one that she eventually chose as “home” in this strange land beyond the cave system she had stumbled and bumbled upon by accident, just by sticking to the tracks and thinking she could never get in trouble that way. She wasn’t as lucky as fellow cave dweller Guyd, then. Because Guyd avoided the tracks.
There was no need to look further.
live oak 02
He thought he’d do some ice fishing while he was here, a favorite pastime from way back when he was a kid. He’s looking for his wayward brother Benny Right Horn, true, but nothing in the royal decree said he couldn’t turn the assignment into a kind of vacation as well, get a little feel for the local culture and habits. Plus he just loved that giant live oak over there on the peninsula. He’d been coming every day here since he arrived 3 days back. Finally he caved: ice fishing it is. If his mother (the Heart Queen) found out so be it. Benny was probably long gone from here anyway, his brother Jer Left Horn rationalized. Into the caves and out into another dimension.
Jer was not yet prepared to enter the End of Time cave system himself. He was still gathering intel from the locals. People disappeared. *Groups* disappeared. Children — old people. The cave didn’t discriminate due to age. Some pin responsibility on the cats also known to inhabit the caves; say they use a different set of tunnels to surprise and capture visitors. He needed to find one of those cats, attempt to communicate with them if possible. His great great grandmother was part cat on her father’s side. Maybe he could use that bit of shared heritage as leverage. Start up some kind of conversation. Ideally the contactee would be at least somewhat invested in genealogy, then. But he’d also heard of cats with human qualities, hmm. That could lead to — no, he promised his mother he’d set aside his promiscuous ways in this quest. Always the distraction for you, she called him out.
He couldn’t help himself, though. He had an eye on a girl who always sat at the same table beside the canal in the village. Today was the day to make a move, he thought while trying to spot any fish swimming below the ice. Maybe this pond was devoid of them? He’d been here 2 hours. No bites yet. Time to move on to bigger fish. In the village….
“Goodbye live oak. See you tomorrow.”
Fran was tittering at something Cloe had just showed her on her phone. A cow blowing the hat off a farmer. Jer Left Horn didn’t get it, but he wasn’t going to admit that. Instead he decided to kill two birds with one stone, as it were. “You girls like cats? Because I loooove cats. Got two back at the cottage. Wanna see? One for each, one for each,” he attempted to tempt again, doubling down on the effort.
“Can’t talk. Phone,” responded Cloe curtly. We’ve been here before.
Running out of options, Jer stood up, determined to play his final card. “You know, girls — clothing is optional here. Why don’t I, let’s see, shed *these* clothes and go over there and look out at the bay, hmmm? Maybe you girls — *ladies* will join me then.
“Doubtful,” returned Cloe crisply. “Doubtful,” echoed her friend Fran but with less conviction. She wanted to see!
“Just *look* Cloe,” Fran whispered excitedly across the table.
“Not interested,” reinforced Cloe, looking for another funny video to share with her friend. Her dear dear friend.
“69,” Jer Left Horn pronounced, reading the
year address above the door to the hitherto unvisited castle.
“And then the suggestion to set your draw distance to 96.
Sounds like my kind of place.” He sets his draw distance to 96 meters and opens the door….
It was his kind of place.
He finds his way to the bar upstairs. He starts trying to dig up more information about the caves, about End of Time itself. Big Ass Franz the bartender was compliant enough. Jer Left Horn has found that about everyone directly associated with the estate is pretty friendly and open. Good qualities to work with in an investigation. Or pleasantries attached to such a task. Cloe Price is the prime exception so far. Fran — tough exterior but eventually caved. He left her back in his cabin to make this night trek. He’d spotted the castle door at the canal the day before and earmarked it for a visit.
“Cats?” returned Franz, knowing Jer Left Horn was getting into deeper territory; unknown passages.
“Yeah, I’ve heard…”
“That they’re part human? Some of them anyway.”
“Yeeaahh,” Jer Left Horn said back, getting more information off the top than he expected. “That tooo.”
Franz looked around the establishment, at the pictures. “You can’t have them. That’s forbidden fruit.”
“Say’s who?” Jer Left Horn hated for people to tell him what he could and couldn’t do. Being royalty all your life will turn you into that.
Jer Left Horn turns slightly on his barrel seat, hiding his horn a bit more from Franz. He strokes his chin wisely. He looks at the pictures too. He’s now more determined than ever to meet one of these cat-people. “Do you *know* any of ’em?” he decides to ask.
Franz wipes down the bar, as if distracted. “Just one,” he managed.
“Welll? What’s her name?” Jer Left Horn didn’t have to ask the sex. He could tell from the bartender’s actions that he loved this creature a bit.
“Rebl,” came the answer. After saying her name, Big Ass Franz excused himself and went in back to have a little sob.
“I think we’ve got everything we need, Merry. Rope, tent, flashlights. It’s all there. The general store here set us up real good with all these freebies.” He finally looks over; pays attention. “Oh my, you’ve changed again.”
“Yeah, the skin is gone. Been gone for about 30 minutes,” *Breeze* replies. “You’ve been calling me the wrong name for a while.”
Axis goes over to her, holds her. “I’m sorry.” They lock hands. “I promise to pay more attention.”
“It’s okay.” She leans in for a kiss.
“I see it in the enlarged fire, Rules of Rose. Merry Gouldbusk is succumbing (!). We must do something to alter the mix.”
“Do something,” Rules of Rose echoed, also staring. “But — what?”
Ruby Fantasie looked to her right. “Norris. Norris could help. Put him back in that tree.”
“If you in-*sist*,” spoke the elven fairy, readying her powers of teleportation once more. This was her plan all along, though.
“He already knows his lines. Just send him. Break a limb!” she called over for encouragement as he vanished from the scene.
Jer Left Horn spots the source of the call up in his beloved tree. He stands. “Who are you?’
no wee 02
“He said that this land was my land but it was also *his* land, Fran. Wonder what that means?”
Young, naive Fran couldn’t stop tittering at the, to her, funny sight. “He’s got (*snicker*), no face — no *skin*.”
“Hellooo!” it spoke again cartoonishly. “I’m a [delete phrase].”
“Whoa, whoa,” Jer Left Horn called to him from the chair while holding out his hands in protest. “No need for that kind of language ’round here, Norris. You *did* say that was your name. Didn’t you — Norris?”
“Mo Flo Joe No.”
Fran kept tittering. “I think he means — *no* (giggle).”
“Wellll… *what*, then?”
A very faint “Jerry” then popped out of his hot pink mouth. Then: “Harry,” almost as faint. Then, rapidly in succession, just a little louder even, “Harry, Jerry.” Then louder, more assertive: “Jerry. Harry.” Then loudest of all by far. “JERRRRY. HARRRRRY!”
“Okay,” calms Jer Left Horn, hands out again. JERRRRY and especially HARRRRRY were still echoing around the hills surrounding them. “You’re Jerry. You’re Harry.”
“He’s Jerry,” states Fran mundanely, patting his red hair and staring at his face. “He’s Harrry.” She tweaks his cheeks here. Jer Left Horn thinks he winces a little with this, the first facial expression beyond “blank” he’s seen.
“Hey,” he requests to Fran. “I think you hurt him there a bit. That (he comes over to look better) skin might be sensitive.” He points. “Yeah, see there? You’ve left red marks.”
Fran covers her mouth with her hand. “Oh. Oh dear. They’re *bleeding* or something. I’m *so* sorry.” She runs inside to get some tissues from her purse, water dripping from her face.
His face changes…
“End of Real”
“After you dearest.”
“No I insist. After *you*.”
Rebl paused in her drinking. “Someone has entered.”
“Aberrant?” the drink-less Guyd asked. They’d been expecting this.
“Could be.” She takes another sip of the hot liquid. At any rate, she knew their hidden room would be safe.
Rebl listened intently for news about the bombing. She kept the antique radio low. Just in case.
“Been 2 hours,” Guyd put forth in a purr. “I don’t think anything’s going to happen.”
“Just wait my friend. Be patient.” Guyd knew the bush was rarely wrong, but also Rebl stated that the bush was growing older. One day it will not be with us as ultimate guide. That day may be sooner than expected, she said.
“New York–” the radio sputtered. “New — ork has been…” The radio went dead.
In human form, Guyd often visits his Grandmama and Grandpapa over in the Kowloon Gates Reborn sim. He’s never really grasped what the place was all about but always has fun exploring. Strange things abound…
The plaza where he first met Grandmama and Grandpapa, with the attached parcel called Assoc. for the Elderly appropriately enough.
The newest structure in the odd town is the Building of 100 Stories. More of its *story* at Pearl Grey’s blog.
Guy Benjamin (human form name of Guyd) will explore all 100 stories soon. But now he has to visit Grandmamapapa. Trouble is, as always: finding their apartment in this maze. He feels a bit like Agent Dale Cooper in the Black Lodge navigating Kowloon’s twisty-turny alleys. Where’s the appropriate Venus statue for orientation when you need it!
It would help if he spoke the native language(s).
And there’s also *so* many distractions.
He gives up for the night. He visits them often but sees them seldom.
“Sure wish Guy would come around more, Alice.”
“You know he doesn’t love us, Jack.”
Some things never change.
“Fish Head! Give us a report.”
He loved listening to Bing’s Song on the music box. But “White Christmas” was over in Eot and he was melting. He’d have to go back to Kowloon to keep perpetually frosty. He didn’t understand quite why, except that he was *made* there, much like Guy Benjamin’s Grandmama and Grandpapa. He must get lost inside the maze, only to be found when the Heart Queen good and well wanted him to for her traitorous ways. Because she was back at it (some things never change). He could room with Satan Santa again. Safe bet that he’s not living with anyone still, being there’s a Hell Portal right smack in the middle of the kitchen ceiling.
He likes to use it to warm his tush while he’s cleaning the counter.
“Sure you can stay with me again, Frosty.” He points to the corner furthest away from the kitchen. “Park your half melted carcass right over there behind the bathtub.”
Oh man, he thought to himself. Stuck in this spot the rest of the winter. Unless the Heart Queen needs me. Sounds pretty good right now.
“Pass the soap, wouldn’t you Frosty?”
“Sure thing, Satan, er, Santa.”
“So what do you think, Hucka Doobie?”
“I think you need to move your hands down a bit,” she joked, making Baker Bloch derez the silly thing he’s uselessly holding.
“You know what I’m talking about,” he replied while smiling. He also changed into his base avatar. Illegitimate son of the famous Spaced Ghost and, well, we only know his mother as Old Grey in the blog.
“Yes.” Hucka Doobie gets serious, looks at Baker’s new collage more closely. “This is about gynoids. Do you know what a gynoid is?”
“No,” Baker Bloch admitted. “Is it some sort of fruit or seed?”
“It’s a female robot, usually a pleasure bot.”
“Oh.” Baker Bloch turned and looked at the collage as well, at the glossy, red cheeked Anon mask looming in the sky. “Is that…?”
“Yes,” Hucka Doobie answered, knowing what the male Baker was referring to. “This is you (!)”
“Yes,” Hucka Doobie replied quickly again. “This is Wheeler.”
“You and Wheeler are married.”
“Um, nah that’s not correct Hucka. *Axis* and Wheeler are married.”
Hucka Doobie ignored this from Baker Bloch; began to study other parts of the collage. “What is Real, then?”
“Reality.” He waves his arms. “All around us.”
“*This*,” Hucka Doobie declared firmly, “is *not* reality.”
“It is to us,” Baker attempts to defend. Hucka Doobie wasn’t persuaded.
“What about the other parts of the collage?” I continued. “The centipede I believe. Puerto Rico. Obviously this is about Rael. Lamb’s Rael.”
“What is Real?” Hucka Doobie repeated, and left it at that.
It was logical to bring Tronesisia next into the current story for more clarification. Tronesisia, after all, was originally created as a pleasure bot for earlier Collagesity, usually seen hanging around The Mission LINK. Later she evolved beyond her initial programming and eventually became married to soulmate Bendy — after she learned she actually had a soul herself. Bendy, however, will not be part of this particular story. We cannot locate his whereabouts and Tronesisia is quite protective of him. But Tronesisia states she is very available for questioning. She has nothing to hide about her past, her present, even her future as she understands it. Which is a lot.
“Tronesisia,” I began. “Thank you for chatting with us a bit.” I found her in Dewey, exactly where we left off her story in, let’s see, well it was the last photo-novel. 16. We decided to talk about that first after reconvening in my NWES coffee shop for, again, logical reasons.
Cut to 3 exchanges later….
“I was asked to be the judge and jury of an art theft, Baker Bloch,” she rattled on. “I originally decided to kill the determined criminal before reversing my decision and bringing him back to life. This would be Herbert Gold, husband of April Mae Flowers. They are both alive, last I checked, and living in Snowlands.” Here Tronesisia tilts her head, her blue eyes gazing over my shoulder into the distance.
She stared back. “I stand corrected. Herbert Gold is again dead, having succumbed in his sleep earlier in photo-novel 17.”
“The current one,” I decided to add.
“Yes.” She tilts her head again; her blue eyes go blank once more. “No, new information has revised the old and found he is still alive. Just as — I — was — receiving…” The eyes go dead now. Tronesisia has shut herself off, perhaps experiencing some kind of overload. We would have to continue our chat another night, pheh.
Cat pole star
He was in a totally different dream place this time where everyone seemed to speak Chinese. He understood enough (somehow) to know that his mission was to retrieve something from that eye filled alley back there behind the soup restaurant here.
“Patriotic Soup Store closing in 5 mister. You’ll have to finish your food and go.” Herbert Gold looked at the squat cook standing on a high platform to stir his vat of soup. From the tone of his voice and then the aftermath stare, Herbert gathered he’d have to leave.
He then studied the big bowl of P-soup in front of him, realizing he’d never be able to polish it off — hadn’t even actually touched it, in fact. “You can have this back,” he then offered, pushing the bowl across the counter. The cook shook his head, seemingly in non-understanding but then uttering, in perfect English: “No refunds,” surprising him.
Herbert was about to protest that he didn’t want any money for the soup and that he just hated to waste such a goodly amount of food — a byproduct of growing up in tough Bennington Square — when a noise of something falling occurred behind him, drawing his attention to the end game of his current dream. When turning around after *seeing* nothing, he noticed the VHS tape beside him on the counter. The part of the title that he could read on its edge was, “(with) Other Other”. He realized *this* was what he was suppose to eye-ball here. Not something back in the alley.
He looked at the soup cook again for hints about what it was. Did the cook slip him this tape at some point? *What* was with Other Other? Or perhaps apart from Other Other now; Chinese against English? A yin yang, black and white cat that was also red all over? He logically thought back to Omega town and the newspaper referenced there through black, white, red. DDD. A dream, yes. He must keep remembering this is not Real. None of it.
“2 minutes,” the cook exclaimed, the glare from his face intensifying along with his stirs. Should he ask the cook to translate the Chinese underneath this cat? Was there an *opening* there to do this?
“1 minute.” He showed him the tape.
… back to zero
After work, Fish Head removed his fish (tattoo) and became just the Head.
From his perch in the sky, he saw *everything*. All 100 of it.