Someone emasculated that poor statue over there, she thinks, then continues to read.
Omega continent — might as well, ahem, bone up on the history since it seems she’ll be staying here a bit. Let’s see, Trojan-Durexian War… could have swung either way, interesting. Southern Bypass a key turning point, yes. She recalls that General Duncan led the charge for the Durexians, a black man.
Arthur Kill Lemont Sanford told her this — is one of his heroes, right. Died unjustly for a cause and all, like Joan of Arc, one of my heroes.
And here she sits in a park where one of the important battles took place, or so say the locals who make a decent profit off of selling war souvenirs, like ink died bamboo shoots for the kids, and bamboo bayonets and bullets for the older generations. According to their pamphlet they even have one of those old Durexian bamboo planes famous for their bombings, as in failings. 1/2 couldn’t get off the ground, but that’s what you have when you base your air force on *magic*, nay voodoo (she corrected). Take away 2 or 3 control witches and everything heads south, as in out of the sky and into your back yard. But, true, their voodoo power was waxing at the end of the war, and the Trojans were good to get out with their heads up when they could. 1942. Or was it 1492? She couldn’t quite make out the figure on the page before her, as if it was moving about like a spider. Strange effect; strange thought.
There really wasn’t much here. That rock over there with the waterfall is where they tortured and sacrificed the slaves who worked for the Trojans, just to teach them a lesson. Slave Rock, then.
The whole sim was named after another aunt, fascinatingly enough, Beatrice in this case, beloved aunt of a famous local, weightlifting sheriff back in the days. Although there have been other theories tossed around about the appellation’s origin that’s what most go with currently. Mostly Beatrice, then.
And then through Newt, I find the remains of one of those old Durexian wrestling rings where they fought their slaves, and then where the barely victorious but victorious still Trojans, usually without clothes (see: statue), fought the Durexians as their own slaves. I believe that might be the Sheriff’s Castle just behind, where Beatrice lovingly made him soup for breakfast and cereal for supper, etc., devoted Tilists as they were. And that’s what we have to bone up on next: the influence of TILE in the general area. Or General’s area, actually, as in Duncan.
Getting dark. Better head home soon.
Is that a key over there?
continent obsession continues…
But he didn’t go home (Real Life/back to bed). Not yet. Instead we find him traveling through centers of sims (128/128), like here in Gaston, staring at the Dark Peak of two twins, the other topped by (a) white as hell Jesus (statue). Slavery inside the first. Black. And I found a black man in this very spot back in photo-novel 7. Perhaps staring at this very thing and understanding the truth. It wasn’t Duncan, but Duncan found out later that he was also there in hypertime. And he had red on his hands, which meant Indian and blood at the same time. What happened here?
The sim before this (Rhodenwald): also a Black man found at the center, 11 this time. But not an African-American. A man with the last name of Black, the same as his wife/partner who likewise owned part of this sim. Duncan also found this guy — normal time now — and thought he was AFK, but then he turned toward Duncan, proving his mobility and his significance (to the cause). We have mysteries, yes?
And, to add to all this, Gaston is just kind of an extension of Omega/Meat City/Rhodenwald. Of sorts. Both are Hidden Vilages, “l” purposely removed.
Damn. Forgot to log off again and dozed on this bench all night. Must have been influenced by baker’s convoluted text in the middle, made me dream crazy dreams. Like I was black and standing in the center of a sim while children all around threw ink died bamboo shoots at me, woke me up in fact as the pelts became more painful and more numerous. Perhaps I died myself.
She shakes off the haze, stares over at the emasculated Trojan statue again, peers out at Slave Rock, and then across the road toward the Northern Sea, the upper limit of both The Cross and the Omega continent as a whole. Better get up and start exploring again. “Keep moving” will be a theme today, she chooses. No loitering, or as little as she can get away with. Better leave Lemont out of the picture for a while, she understands. Because, together, they can get bogged down, Liz and all.
Learning a moral lesson from her supposed friends Debbie and George back in now destroyed and rebuilt Moray Docks Village, she decides to feed the birds before she leaves, starting the day with a good deed indeed. The sprayed popcorn attracts a colorful array of cartoon-ish looking fowl, with a unique white and colorless one originally perched on her shoe eventually hopping into her lap and announcing to the others that they had had enough breakfast and it was time to move on and let the little lady do what she was going to do today. Then he — the white bird — recited what seemed to be some religious verse about gluttony she wasn’t familiar with…
… and flew off with the rest, but not before leaving her a present. He was just that upset and angry.
“We got us a femboy here, Walter,” Chuck says, also indicating the chest while the other watched. “A frigg’n *fern*, yeah,” he now laughed. Chuck knew what that meant and Walter did too. Fern was code for “fun with blue”. They said this exact thing to Shelley, going as Scheldon today to more easily break into houses. What had she gotten herself into, though? She should have never worn that alpha on top. If they only knew.
“No, you don’t understand,” she attempted in vain. “It’s just the pandemic…weight gain…” All she could do was stand there and take it like a, well, woman actually. Franklin had one but she didn’t. Hers was fake as stated. “Just lift it up,” she said, “lift up the shirt and see; it’s all still down there still,” but they were having none of it this morning, needing a little bit of ball breaking to start the day off right — any excuse.
“You can put down the sign Johnny. We’re here. The South I suppose.”
“Awww,” he exclaimed with a voice between a man and a child. “No one honked at it. Not one single car or boat or whatever.”
Probably because you look like a total dork, Shelly thought from the front, glad for the failure. *She* certainly didn’t want to see it. Or, hmm, did she? “That’s too bad,” she said aloud.
“And I wore the pants with the loose zipper so I could get them down easier.”
What a *dork*, she thought again for emphasis, and realized the double meaning. How did I get stuck with this looser? She thought back. She was in the North, yes. She was being arrested. Then: black, I mean *blank*. White out, actually.
Johnny finally laid down that confounded sign and peered out the window. He could see water. He knew it was Linden because of the reflections — Shelley always had the advanced graphics on when she drove to see better. Nice here; a bit of shade — an actual wooded area, a small forest, behind the bus now. Shelley knew where she was. But how?
There were several things Shelley wanted to do. She wanted to play the drums in back.
Check. “You sure play super,” spoke Johnny, falling a little in love with the young lass who picked him up along the highway about Linesville. About where the North and South meet. “South,” he said to Shelly about his destination. “Me too,” she said back. “How deep are you going?” “How deep are *you* going?” he questioned back. “Oh, a lake.” Then she drew a blank again. Someone had told her about the lake and given her a bus, apparently, but she couldn’t recall who. A lake with a forest and lots of sun, she remembered it being described. The magic bus will get you there, she also recalled. She got there, yes, but it was as if someone or something else took over the steering wheel.
“Cool!” Johnny exclaimed about lake. “Can I come too?”
And here they are.
Second: the dance.
“You sure can dance swell,” said Johnny, watching on very interested. He was definitely beginning to fall in love. He could stare at her for days.
Third: smoke another joint on the side of the bus. Johnny joined her of course, tied with a tether by this point.
“Boy you sure can smoke,” he said while puffing away on his own, edging a little closer to her between the 5th and 6th tokes and again between the 11th and 12th. He’s starting not to make a lot of sense around the girl, so smitten he was. Compliment *everything*, he decided.
Then he showed off a little too much as he ran inside, honked the bus horn, and then held up a second sign different but similar in style to one he displayed all during the trip down. Would she? he pondered. Is she even going to turn around? Would she at least find it funny?
She did, lucky for him. Else: more ball crunching. But the bus had run out of animations for the poor, sex starved lad. Shelley and Johnny remained separate until 2 days later when something else happened, something out of the blue. At the same time, Shelley remembered.
“Look out below!” she called, her hair not getting wet quite yet. She wanted to add, “femboy above!” but caught her tongue. Why would she say something like that? Then it hit her OOOF! She remembered. Right in the
crotch stomach. Good thing she wasn’t pregnant!
They later talked about it in front, a looked over final animation. Then they’d have to leave the bus or else chance just repeating themselves over and over, however pleasant the experience was the first time around. She knew she loved playing the drums now — she could find others. She knew she dug dancing, and actually there’s a line dancing joint just across the lake they can go to for that. As far as living quarters and being able to sleep and do some other stuff via animations, they had found the perfect spot, also across the lake but a little further back from the water, behind that other interesting club which always seems to contain so many avatars. She went yesterday and looked them over. All AFK, all ready to serve their purpose while the owner was in all likelihood absent from the scene. How interesting, she thought. Kind of terrifying but still…
She had no desire to join in this kind of fun. She had Johnny for the moment. When they moved into the Big Boy Apartment, she always kept a hand over his face, though; imagined someone else’s over top of it if possible. Looks aren’t everything, she knew, but they were *something*, and Johnny had none really. But he was talented in other ways.
two to see
“Is that the guy from ‘Twin Peaks’?”
“Yeah I think so. You know… we’re not going to be able to stay here, you and I.”
“Oh yeah. Why not? Am I suddenly not good enough for you, Shelley?” He huffs a bit. He was expecting this sometime but hoped to delay it until after football season. He enjoyed watching 2 games in one through this dual TV setup. He wouldn’t be able to afford 2 on his own.
What could Shelley say? That the sex eventually didn’t make up for the looks? Surely he knows about the hands by now, and the hiding of the face. And it’s getting uglier, she admitted, in the bright light of day. In the dark it’s easier to pretend. She hoped she could get use to it. Not working.
That night she dreamed she was trapped inside the stomach or innards of that big stuffed purple bear in the living room, ready for birth that never came. In the dark herself. Satisfied with the lot of her life.
But she woke up, ate her Toastie Oats cereal, choco chip dodecahedron style, and, staring out through the iron grid window at the magic bus from whence they came — parked down by the water still — understood anew that she needed to be on her own for a while. She looks over at Johnny’s mug. Jeez it’s worse than ever this morning. It’s like he was made to be disgusting. And, she then realized, perhaps he was… perhaps this is all… some kind of ruse. A test. She’d had flashes about who gave her the bus, who sent her here. A woman named Wilson who was also friends with a Fox. A person who — was much like herself, yes. A *mother*, she discerned, turning her table around to stare at the bear.
Birth is what you make of it. Cradle to grave, but in the middle, always The Cross. Which she’s on. She’d been absorbed in the Omega continent’s north to south arm! Somehow that made it both more real and more irreal at the same time. Birth, she realized. It is coming. Or: not.
“Dear, sorry, you’re kind of in the way of the TV.” That grating man-child voice too(!).
She stared at it now. “It’s some kind of *test pattern*, Johnny. Get over it.” Just like this life she’s living here, she also thought.
“Oh. I thought it was a show.”
“So did I, Johnny. So did I.”
(to be continued)
Did you know a faceless, objectless Void begins at 4000 meters elevation in Our Second Life?
And physics starts to get a little wonky even as you approach. Eels can appear, for example, but not the kind you might expect.
Someone is pregnant. Someone shouldn’t be here. The bus down there is the way out. Take it.
I was wondering when you were going to show up.
The duck, not the screamer, although they obviously could be related, especially since there’s a hand pointing from the former to the latter. Now to back up…
“I’m going into The Void, Shelley. If my face is worthless then I want to do away with it. My rocket launches Thursday after next.”
“After next what?” she replied calmly, taking this new development in stride. She was expecting something drastic — just didn’t know what. Tension had been too high lately.
“More details later,” the ironically named Johnny Ubermodel responded. He was just making all this up. He simply wanted a reaction. Would she come? But (he though while staring at her) — why would she? Her face was *perfect*. Child-like and innocent but old and full of wisdom at the same time. “I bought The Void Machine on the marketplace. You can check if you wish.”
“I believe you.” She didn’t believe him. This was all about that comment with the TV. And, of course, the attached threat to leave this place, this lake with its forest in the sun, and set out for — sanity?
“We could live at 7000, 100000, heck 1000000. Sky’s the limit as they say,” and he couldn’t help a small smile here on his goofy mouth too close to his nose and eyes. And that nose!
“Johnny. Johnny Supermodel.”
“Ubermodel,” he correct.
“Yes…” She’d heard about eels but couldn’t fit it in here. Irrelevant in the big picture.
“You’re not going. I know. You’re going to the bus instead, despite the lack of animations for what we need to do to make us happy.” Make *me* happy, he thinks here. Her: obviously not so much. “You can drive away into the sunset.”
“Johnny,” she tried to placate. “I know I made that comment earlier about your face, and how are you going to be a porn star and make money to redo it when you have it in the first place. I mean…”
“I know what you mean. I’m too ugly to get my foot inside the door of the business, even though I have talents — enhancement — elsewhere.”
“So you think I chose The Void over reality.”
“I’m going into The Void.”
But he didn’t. He eventually got another job that paid even better than the porn one and got that face and went on to live a successful and happy life. But not with Shelley.
When I was a boy, I use to have dreams about The Void, but I remember them as a TV show.
Always the face, always the eyes. The girl reached out but could never find me. She remained trapped.
I can’t recall her name. Shirley?
“Shirley?” I called in the past. No answer.
gloryous night 02
“Something happened in Belliseria, Johnny, I mean *Arthur* — DAMN: **Lemont**.”
“Yes??” Much like Mr. Ubermodel at the time, he was all ears. Where has she been???”
“Anyway, it was undone. The Orient,
Johnny Arthur Lemont. Thing like that can happen there.”
“So… something *happened* in Belliseria and… *unhappened* in Omega?” He began thinking the obvious.
“Yes. I went a little — crazy.”
We’ll have to start over, he thought here. We’ll just have to move on and start over.
“Where are you *now*??” he said into the receiver in his house in Nautilus. *Their* house. If he can find her and bring her back and she’s okay after that.
She looked around. “Bus,” she managed. “Heading… um, don’t know what direction.”
“Can you see the Sun?” Lemont tried.
“No. Dark.” Void, she thought. Was she *there*? Had she been cursed through being so mean to Johnny?”
“Anyone with you now?”
She had to keep driving, but she glanced around the bus real quick. She wasn’t sure otherwise. “No,” she said after checking, returning her eyes to the road.
“Do you have another tracker on you besides the phone? Doesn’t seem to be working as such now — may be too far away. Maybe from that Umbrella Club you were at?”
Umbrella Club, she thought. She doesn’t recall an Umbrella Club. Then she remembered legs — removing them from the sun back into the shade. The torch-like sun. So hot. Did she have another tracker about her? She recalled… a photograph.
(to be continued)
She came from The Void — above. And judging by this introductory picture she may have been formed by The Void, or be a manifestation of The Void itself, sent here to straighten out a pair of misbehaving whippersnappers far below, pheh (she gets into character). BEH.
Her name… give us a second; we’re working on it. Mourning Glory is what I got now. MG.
Here on Holding Level 2, or what some call the Gold Room, our grandmother looking type person decompresses by soaking in a hot tub for
2 weeks a while, its stairs borrowed by Burt to check on a malfunctioning heat vent in hall 4 1/2 a couple of days beforehand. Budget is low for these sorts of places today; MG had to climb in, difficult with her frame and developing arthritis, lengthening the process. No one really comes down from The Void to Our Second Lyfe any more. Back in the golden, olden days it was different. Hence the choice of color here: to remind one of past glory. And I suppose the name Mourning Glory could be a reflection of this too. What did this MG know about such? I’m eager, and I hope you, the reader or readers, are also eager to find out. She keeps the red phone close in case orders change from above.
She’s finally out of the cleansing, relaxing hot tub, ready to get down to business. She checks her face in a handy mirror first. Not there still — she’ll work on it. Only a placeholder version of The Void behind her, which, of course, if she turned around she wouldn’t see.
To the file room.
Filed chronologically instead of alphabetically according to the labels, good.
But — shock — no files within the cabinets! She even checked the dumpster around the corner, *oof*, her back!
She needs to call the boss about the apparent theft but first things first: another go in the hot tub.
Calm, MG, callmmm.
“Thanks for coming to rescue me, *Lemont*.”
“You’re very welcome dearest. But you can *really* thank your Venus Cage necklace, or at least the photo of it.”
“Right. Didn’t remember anything about the Umbrella Club until I pulled it out of my purse and took a look. Angles aren’t right in the black and white photograph. Can’t figure out where it is taken on the body.”
“It’s not a body.”
“Yeah, I know that now. But just the studying, the trying to figure it out, changed me. I can never go back now. I remain under the Umbrella. Figuratively, of course, because here we’re out in the sun still. Where is our umbrella anyway?”
“Stashed away for a rainy day,” he said.
She turned on her side. “And… I don’t think I desire to wear purple any more. That must go along with (the change). Or when I do it’s *my* choice. She shaked her index finger to reinforce her point. Shelley she was through and through, she thought.
But Lemont knew the situation could change. Good now for them. But George/The Musician was still out there somewhere.
And Roberts remained just around the corner.
Franklin was shrunk down to size.
“We have a read on the shack, Control, over.” No answer.
“Repeat, we have a read on the shack, over.” No answer for a while again, then:
“Uh, copy that, Mission, do you see anyone down below? Over.”
Norris pauses himself now, partly out of spite. “Yes, we have green legs, repeat, green legs. Green as frogs, over.”
They could take her out now but it would mean sacrificing the pilot. Stan talked the possibility over with Tom. When will we get a better chance? rationalized the latter.
“Okay, Mission, we’re going to ask you to go straight in on her, repeat, straight – in – on – her. As in kamikaze, over.”
A longer pause. How much did Norris value his artificial life? Enough to break free of Control? He decided to sacrifice himself but go out on his own terms.
“Read that, Control. Going – straight – in.” And he did, except a little to the side, the left one I believe, hitting the boat. Or the right one, pulverizing the rose colored cottage. But not totally straight, thus most likely not wiping out Franklin under the Umbrella.
Roberts of course heard the crash from just over the rocks and came rushing, and Shelley and Lemont did too from their beach just beyond and did the same. Collision in a different way. Two arcs of a story not yet met.
“You stay in the van dear,” Draken requested, heading toward the only structure on Horse Island. “Damn horse piss,” he complained along the way. Pretty rainbow, though.
Yes, this will do nicely. Memories.
Oh dear. Told her to stay in the van and over there she is.
But an ass gets in the way, blocking our view. Must be a Clydesdale.
My Lebettu Castle is still there in all its glory, seen here in a “Phototools — Still Life” environment. The library remains at its center, its core. However since I’ve been retired from same for *8* months now, it may be time to move on. I revisited the co-workers I was probably closest to a couple of weeks back and exchanged pleasantries and caught up with the latest. My old position had shifted into something new which helped the team, but also probably marked the end of a more interactive involvement with the overall campus in the way I fostered, a continuation from past practices. *Writing* is my job now, that and the accompanying art and photography. And also I view daily hiking as an extension of this, a needed opposite and balancing pole to virtual reality. It’s a good life. 🙂 I explore both.
Moving forward, I’m almost 1/2way done with the current Sunklands photo-novel, 35 in a series of “we”ll see”. Characters keep evolving. I am almost as much there as I am here.
I did not maintain contact with others outside my team. I was as much a part of campus as a whole as the library — theoretically. It was a perfect balance for a while, me acting as one man juggler. But it could not go on. I passed into retirement as naturally as about anyone could, thanks in part to the pandemic and the changes it wrought. It certainly contained echoes of actual death. I know better what to expect.
There have been other libraries in other times. Even now, in a virtual setting and obviously on a much smaller scale, I still have one, another echo. A friend died there.
I can still go inside the special part created by new-ish head Miss Ouri and read books, some of which are even my own.
Like this one.
There still exists a dividing point between Ordinary/Mundane and Special. It’s all in the pages.
“You are me and I am you. You have a (phallus) and so do I.”
“Not quite,” I said back to Franklin, green legs still in the distance.
There. That’s better.
“Like I was saying before the interruption, we’re the same *core* but different up here. It’s Our Second Lyfe, not My Second Lyfe.”
“Let’s go to the (Roost Never Sleeps) castle again and see,” Franklin requests. I had no choice but to follow her because of the, you know, being one thing. I was starting to question our differences as well. One of us could get *absorbed* — didn’t want that. But I knew it would be Franklin if so.
And, true enough, by the time we reached that more central castle across the way, she was gone. I looked down at my man pants. Was it actually *real* now? I had to see.
No, just a better fit still. My hair had a tinge of green in it but that’s all. Arthur would be *so* relieved if he were here witnessing this. But he’s somewhere off with Roberts — said they also had things to talk about. I suspect: more absorbing. Maybe. Perhaps it will be different in their case.
“I really liked the old office,” she answered Lemont Sanford, playing the role of Arthur Kill currently, “but it was too laggy. Kept crashing. You know how it is.”
“Yes I remember.”
“You were there in the underground for a while. Training.”
“After Wheeler raised you from the dead (nods from Arthur). After Tessa killed you. We buried you, the firm, but you wouldn’t stay down. You went to Tennessee.”
“You were looking for a spider, an 8 legged being, but you eventually figured out it was a dog. Spider is a dog.”
“You retrieved it, brought it to me for safekeeping.”
“Yes. (pause) Do you have it?”
“Of course I have it, Arthur. Would you like to see?”
“Yes, please. I mean, I have the money but… actually, nah, I’m good. You’ve given me the money. I’m happy. Wheeler and me, I mean *Shelley* and me, I, can retire in comfort.”
“Is she still wearing purple?” Roberts questioned from her opposite chair. “Or has she moved beyond that?”
“Moved beyond I think. Last time I checked.”
“Ask her to wear something purple and see how she responds.”
“She seems okay with it,” Arthur reinforced. “She’s changed, she said.”
“Are you convinced?”
Arthur paused just enough to indicate he wasn’t fully convinced. There was, well *Roberts* now, for one thing. How surreptitious they run into each other again (!). But, deep down of course, Arthur knew it wasn’t coincidence. The Gods have further plans for them, which means The Void has further plans for them. They work hand in hand on this.
Roberts leaned back, folded her arms behind her head. “So strange that Franklin was spared. I’m overjoyed of course, but whether Black Jack, Kentucky or Black Jack, Tennessee, the helicopter that acted as a plane in the moment purposely missed her, swerving to one side or another. If only Mantell could have done the same — I think he tried, I think he saw the, um, irony. Do you know the case, Arthur? It’s quite famous, at least in UFO circles. Cradle links to grave, creating an uroboros scenario. The Cross (in the middle) is eliminated. That’s the point. I’m sure you understand, Arthur, given that you’ve been there now — you rescued Shelley from there. The Cross can *trap*.”
“I think I’m still on The Cross,” Arthur admitted. “I never made it back to Nautilus. I never made it back to here, then, this office in Towerboro on the Jeogeot continent.”
“Oh you’re here,” Roberts countered.
Arthur saw a spider on the floor behind her. He then saw 5 others, 10 others maybe, all lined up like military rank or file. Roberts didn’t glance around, seemed oblivious to them. But Arthur knew she wasn’t. What was this psychic-detective up to?
“This is where it starts, Arthur. The agency. I want to know who tried to kill Franklin. In a strong probable reality she is dead. Only the actions of a rebellious, artificial pilot, a Mantell wannabe, saved her. He broke the pattern. Cradle to grave was unlinked. You were there too. You saw — how close.”
“It was either the boat on fire or the rose colored cottage on fire.”
“I remember the boat.”
“And I remember the cottage.”
Now where is that receiver?