Cow Pond, which I had planned to use for a filming location, has suddenly been dug out and deepened, with this mysterious structure positioned inside. The owner implies in her description that it can’t be figured out, so I won’t try. Plus the property is restricted at least for the moment. But this *is* Cow Pond, or *was*, now turned into a lake. This must be Loon Lake (too). And, appropriately, *Tessa* has returned to this here blog and attached photo-novel, 24 in a series of 20. Because Part 02 of “Sunklands Winter 2020-2021” will be its own novel, separated from Part 01. This is a little different than what I’ve done before, but the pattern of 6 sections of about 17 posts apiece (add on a couple of posts at the end as a coda to make a 7th section often) will hold true, I’m assuming.
Last we checked in on Herbert Gold’s oldest grandchild she was going a little la la over in a middle part of a larger Bellisaria island some have started calling Manhattan, because of the similar shape, I suppose, but also because it has a central park of sorts: Millgate. Alright, I just made all that up, but the island is real, and Tessa has definitely associated it with New York (City), close to solving a mystery herself. But — here we go — she was *banned* from this oh so central section as pond turned into lake, deepening the mystery. We have to switch over to a new novel for further development. So here we are: the present.
Tessa has no choice but to walk back up Cow Road to Cow Hill at the other end to meet those responsible for the banning, and an explanation. Plot of photo-novel 24 coming up!
and a leopard too
Carolin saw her approaching the hill from the road. “Up here Tessa!” she called from the designated meeting spot, sacred in the long game. Cow Hill. The Man About Time finally made it. And Tessa’s old cave friend Carolin, whose circumstances we haven’t really delved into yet, with only one post devoted to her so far. Here’s where that changes: novel 24. (Wheeler thinks) we need a new (important) female character, and Carolin is a good fit, helping to fill out the overall macro-picture a little bit more. One novel at a time. One post, one section, one novel. When will it end? What is at the end of *that* particular road? Another too deep mystery with ban lines all around? Let’s see what Carolin adds to the now very big equation, with a large blackboard needed to contain.
Ahh: appropriate. A big blackboard.
And I guess that leaves Man About Time out of the picture currently since his seat has been taken. He missed again! On with the show…
It started in earnest on that first night Tessa saw snow flying. She turned her small head round and round, taking in the wonder of it.
Wheeler seemed to have kind of ended her travels. Now was the time to focus on the meaning of Cow as a whole. Her own half-brother!
She looked up to him, giant for a day.
Meanwhile, at 181 181 Rosehaven Thornwood:
“Peet Archer must have missed the big amethyst cluster because of that blocking tree.” She walks over.
“Quite pretty, and right on The Diagonal of the sim (188, 188).” But Wheeler/Hidi can’t stare directly at it, distracted by the eerie mist all around. Better get back to the Blue Feather for a reset.
The Land of Blue and Purple
Hidi-as-Wheeler was and wasn’t All White. There was also pink, another All Noise come to think of it. She had been essentially banned from Bellisaria’s Hideout because of this (noise). She needed to turn back, then. Home. But first, Wheeler-as-Hidi did a little more checking on the Rosehaven Thornwood Diagonal, resisting the urge to change. The rotunda Peet Archer found centered at 223, 223 had been removed. Wheeler/Hidi quietly stands in the middle of the remaining platform, trying to ascertain how far to go in this direction. Rose Heaven? Wonder Years? Pre-MIST? Fire Tree? Something to do with a grown up Toddles who seems to be All Orange. She *wonders* if orange could be another type of noise.
Tessa danced with Chimera a while to prepare for the question. She was a blue hologram but appeared kind of green against a yellow background. More colors (noises). “Ray?” she responds to Tessa’s inquiry, sort of taking her aback. This was the real name of the Blue Thorn? Or was it the Blue Rose. Tessa asks this too. “Ray,” blue and also kind of green Chimera reinforces, a 2n1 herself in the moment.
“Hi Wilbur! Oh… love the shoes!”
“Thank you,” he responded in a normal, hormone driven boy’s voice. “They’re red.”
“I mean, ahem, they kind of stand out don’t you think?” He’d bought them on special down at Galaxy of Shoes in the mall. He wanted her to make a judgment on them. He has 2 weeks to return. Everything had to be decided by a girl for this boy, Wicked Wanda being the latest.
“What *doesn’t* around here, ha. *I’m* wearing beige.” She swings her shoulders seductively and moves her arms in a type of dance. “*I* stand out.”
They certainly do! Wilbur thinks to himself. He decides to cut off talk of the shoes for now. Green Story and its squad of lovely ladies has a way of doing that to men of his age and immaturity.
“Hi!” she says again, as if he’d just arrived.
It was still snowing profusely. Tessa was almost up to her knees in it. She stares at the setting (rising?) sun and wonders what star it is. Arcturus? Could she be home again? No, she realized. Too yellow. Arcturus is an orange giant.
Or was it Aldebaran?
According to her sensors, someone named Sunny who was also a star stood in the shack at the end of the pier over there. She also had a number: 7. She might know. But grandpa always told Tessa not to approach strangers in Our Second Lyfe without good reason. Was this a good reason? And was this even still Our Second Lyfe, a shared virtual reality that is real to us permanently inhabited avatars?
And as I was typing this, Sunnystar7 disappeared, leaving only boomboom 2020 in the sim with her. Well, there was certainly a lot of boom boom last night at the (baker b.) house in reality reality. In bed by 11 but woken up at 12 as the boom booms persisted until 12:30. But what is time in a pandemic. Hard to keep track of the days, with weeks and months ahead. Forget time. Forget them all, even years. 2020 can go to boom boom hell for all she cares. She lost her beloved grandfather!
(to be continued)
The Land of Blue and Purple 02
He emerged from the 1898 room, unable to speak.
Tessa (Brown) was waiting for him.
“Where shall we split to now?”
G G Club
“I don’t know. I guess I tired of sitting on the Thorn Throne all day. I combined the name into Thron, without the ‘e’, and had a chuckle. I became bored again.
I don’t know. I guess I started some wars because I was bored, sorry.”
“Wars that are still going on *now*,” Tessa said to his side.
“Yeah, suppose. I said I was sorry.”
“How did you become *Ray*, Blue Rose Thorn?”
“Just Thorn. I chucked the Rose with the throne. I don’t know.”
“Stop *saying* that.”
“I — I guess, I suppose, I *realize* — now — it started in Tennessee in that mine. It was my mine. The Blue Rose. I was royal blue at the time.”
“So like now.”
“He’s linked to Winterfell all right. The past of Rose Heaven…”
“… when it and Caledonia to the south were linked.”
“Links all around.”
“Just a minute, Tessa, I’m watching Gigi (pause). Okay, she’s gone. Go ahead.”
“I’m trying to *simplify*, Stumpy. I’m trying to become punkish, I guess you could put it.”
“Like being stuck on the 4th side of a mid-70s art rock concept album, yeah. I get it.”
“‘What would Peter do?’ And that kind of thing.”
“Yeah, yeah, I have some advice for you. I’m a good bartender like that.” He shifts from bartender pose 3 to bartender pose 2 to better explain.
“Yeah, what is it?”
“Sorry. Just raising my elbows out from inside the counter. Right. Here’s my advice.”
(to be continued)
“First she met with Blue Thorn, who explained why he dropped the Rose along with the Thorn.”
“But he’s still ‘Thorn’,” replied [name removed to simplify].
“Right. I meant throne there.”
“Throne. Okay. That makes more sense.”
“And then the wars were brought up. The wars that are still going on now. The past is the present. At least in the Thorn Room.”
“And then Casey One Hole?”
“Yes, he showed up next. They’d moved to the bar by then. Or Tessa had. He has links all around.”
“He’s certainly ever-present,” responded [delete name].
“And then Stumpy, moved over here from Moe’s bar seemingly.”
“Who’s in charge of Moe’s now? [delete name] logically asked, being a [delete job title]. “Is it Moe again? I thought he was dead. Or maybe I’m just thinking he retired. Oh… Karl showed up… I remember now. Another 1/2 and 1/2 situation.”
“That are coming up more frequently.”
“1/2 and 1/2,” joked [delete name], to no laughter. Okay: 1/2 and 1/2 again. Baker chuckled a little bit.
end of the tale
“I was still just a young guy at the time. Young Kane young guy.”
“They called you Kane?” Tessa tried to clarify about Jeffrie Phillips’ past. He’d regained the ability to talk and she wanted to try to get as much info as possible out of him before a potential recurrence.
“They called me many names. Sometimes Kane, sometimes Old Kane, even though I wasn’t — as stated — and then…”
“Young Kane?” Tessa ventured.
“No, never that. Odd in retrospect. Then Kane yielded to Spankey yielded to Michael yielded to Clark yielded to Woody. It was a whole county full of names, really. And, yes, now I recall about the Kane name. It was short for Hurricane. My actual name was Rainey, and I had a stormy personality.”
Tessa looked at her watch, felt the back of her tired neck. “We better get to the Borderlands again.”
“Right, so I was standing there, in my tuxedo which I always wore in my younger days, clutching my Philip doll — as always, or as usual.”
“We might get into that later on. About the trail…”
“Bunny trail, yes. So I saw one carrot, and the one carrot led to the next carrot led to the next carrot… kind of like the trail of my names from the past.”
“You said something about the Blue Rose,” Tessa said, trying to speed things up. “About *that* particular name.”
“The carrots led right by them. I was on my way.”
“The Bunny Trail leads…” He suddenly ground to a halt. Someone was preventing him from speaking further about this subject!
He remembered, but he couldn’t say.
It all started again with the formation of Thornwood. Thornwood exists: I exist, the Rose be damned. But that was the problem. I couldn’t find the roses again because of the thorns. This was an existential dilemma. Rosehaven also did not exist now. Instead: Rose Heaven. Witch Hazel *must* be suppressed (!). She could destroy this queendom-kingdom with a single, steely glance of those evil, dead white eyes. Powerful.
I clutch my Philip Linden doll even tighter. I miss my daddy, *sigh*.
“Don’t you think,” I can hear Tessa in my head (if not in reality, at least currently), “that the truth lies in the ruined village now partially in Thornwood?” I realized this was just me reflecting back to me, but it helped.
The background sound of static. I knew I was back in Room 1898, sleeping in that oh so comfy bed of ours. Tilists — always with the static at night. I wake up (let’s say). Who is beside me? Charlene the Punk? Probably not — (she was) several girls ago. Probably that girl Gigi who hangs around the bar all the time. Just like me. Whatever’s handy at the moment. But I mustn’t wake up, must dream a little longer. I unclutch the doll pillow and turn its face toward me. “What would Philip Linden do?” I ask it. Slot Mountain! came the answer in my own enlarged skull. I hadn’t thought of that slitted peak and attached haunted castle in a long time. Not since…
Time is all mixed up for me now. I know I’m dreaming but it’s even worse than that, because when I wake up, it will still be all wonky, like Willa. Hey, I could use that (expression) in my memoirs: Wonky like Willa. Slip in some more comments about chocolate and sweets in general to balance things out. Maybe delete that section about arsenic; too much of a downer, like the barbiturate section I eliminated previously. But here I am, wasting precious dream time on my memoir planning. I try to see who is in the bed with me. I’m clutching my Philip doll again, still in the dream.
Behind me, the square piece of land representing Illyria slides up and Thornwood appears in the gap, but brown instead of white like the others. Winter hasn’t come yet, at least not here in the yarn shop. Yarn Shop! Rosehaven? How did I get here?
Wormholes. Must — control — the — wormholes.
I can’t see Green at all now.
Great White North
Hunter symbolically caged up on his wee island, ready to be let loose upon the world again. “Where’s that castle. where’s that castle, where’s that castle?” he yelps anxiously while leaking within, so much so that his front leaning feet are a bit submerged in water now. “2 feet, 2 feet, 2 feet!” he continued, more anxious than ever to leave this wet spot.
Tech Support: “Have you tried turning it off and on again.”
“Oh… there it goes. Now… about installing Adobe Photoshop…”
This tie smells so GOOD. I still can’t believe there’s 5 people inside there. And now… the bowtie. That’s 3 more!”
“Right,” answers Jeffrie Phillips to his on again off again girlfriend and sometimes wife Audrey, back for a picture or 3. “Best of both words, Pot-D and Pan-Z. The 3 to 5 ratio indicates a female to male polarity, but the, er, *spirits* within can be of either male or female persuation. It’s more an energy thing. An abstract concept.”
“Sooo fascinating.” Audrey looks around the area, sees only the gnome continuing to get tech advice from the owl. They seem engrossed in what they’re doing. She sneaks a kiss, hoping for more. A kiss on the tie, like she’s smooching 6 instead of just the one. And then she moves up to the bowtie (*smack*). 9 now! And then to her true and real lover’s lips even farther north, just over the edge (of the collar). She keeps pecking and pecking while talking about Canada. “If we move to Picturetown (*smooch*), we can take all of them (*smack*) with us and not have to worry (*kiss*) about the coming swamp monster.”
“I’m not scared of water monsters,” replied Jeffrie Phillips, wondering which direction Murdoch’s castle was from where they sat. But then he remembered all he had to do was follow the yelps of (quickly submerging?) Hunter nearby.
Hunter will save them. Hunter will save us all. He was trained for this moment in history. If he can just get off that wee island of his.
Toddles and Peet Archer were hopelessly lost in the Heartland of Canada. They spotted a fisherman screwing a hole in the ice and decided to stop and ask for directions. “Hellooo!” Peet Archer called when they neared the tiny fishing shack on the frozen lake. No answer. “Howdy,” Peet tried again as they got within about 15 feet. Still no response. In fact, the man hadn’t moved — wasn’t screwing into the pond at all.
As Toddles and Peet made their way back to the blue car stolen from that Tungaske residence seen in photo-novel 23, they realized he was just a symbol, a prop. All he really represented in his Maple Leaf hoodie was the Canadian flag and the country itself through it.
They still had a fur piece to go to reach Picturetown way over in Ontario.
She walked right past the baby doll, not even tempted to pick it up for a cuddle. She was more grown up than infantile Jeffrie Phillips in that way.
She had to see for herself. The mother! Poor Katy Kidd. Another infant grown up too fast, thus the madness. She walked between the Big Boy legs, which probably wasn’t an error in this case. Just something she had to do to go inside.
She stops to ask a survivor if the beach was still straight ahead. The head nodded without sound. She wondered if this could even be All Orange in another guise. After all, a bloody dress was involved.
It was getting even creepier but Toddles kept moving forward toward the sea, the beach, the… explosion. A stick figure on a bike skirted her to the left without apology… a white doll boy in a tilted chair with slackened mouth also in that direction. Straight ahead: another survivor. One of the lucky ones that was able to receive a mask.
“Is this the way to the beach? Darn bike!”
Another silent affirmation. She kept walking, rounding the old boathouse to the right to meet up with The Librarian, still perusing that Octopus book from the last photo-novel. The stench was becoming overpowering for the little girl. “Where is she?” Toddles demanded, tired of looking and wanting to get the hell out of this hell. She just had to see for herself. I still don’t think it was an error to enter, but we’ll see.
The Librarian didn’t stop reading but tilted his head to the left for a second, indicating that direction. And there she was, face down in the sand. Or Toddles assumed it was her. She inched forward, the awful smell thicker and thicker.
She stopped at the tire. She could get no closer without fear of passing out. But she knew it was her now.
Katy Kidd, a little more grown up than we’ve seen her before. But definitely not reaching adulthood now. Toddles could go to Picturetown with a type of closure.
She clung tight to the back of a giant white bunny as he approached. She’d spotted the cursed, bright red cross on the chess first. Axis! Why is Opp wearing that outfit of all things? And here of all spots! The place where I was… well, *killed*. In a strong variant reality at least.
“Hi!” spoke Opp from the other side in a somewhat muffled voice. “I’m here with the outfit I promised — what’s up *today*?”
So it *is* Axis, Wheeler/Wendy realizes about the dark figure slowly — fortunately — making his way up the slippery white slope. Two steps forward, one step back — repeat. She drops from her “hidden goth” position on the bunny to the snowy ground; tells present lover Opp wearing a “Giant for a Day” t-shirt to zip it behind a matching mask. “What’s going on?” he whispers over. They rendezvous about every day this time. He was just honing in on her location, as she allows.
Wheeler/Wendy points around the rabbit they then huddle behind. Opp sees him too.
“I thought he was busy playing God over in that paper city,” responded Tropp, just as scared as Wheeler/Wendy now.
“Apparently not.” She considers the day and then rejects the theory. Not the anniversary of her death. That was February. Axis wasn’t here for that.
“Is he, I don’t know, playing a game of chest with us?” You know he always makes the first move, even though he’s always black.”
Dark as a swastika, Wheeler/Wendy thinks, watching the inky figure inch forward even slower. The slope was steepening. More good news.
“I will make it up to the castle in my present form,” a determined Axis declares below. “No need to turn into a car or some other silly traction device.” But he slips again in saying this. He’s slowed to a one step forward one step backwards, soon to move in reverse. No, this will not do. A car it must be.