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The Cottingley Fairies

The 1st Photo

The 1st Photo

As we wait excitedly for the release of Fairy Tale For Homeless Fairies, due out tomorrow, let’s visit one of the most famous Fairy photograph cases, The Cottingley Fairies, which was enormoualy controversial in its day and championed by none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories.

In 1917 two cousins, Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, were playing by the stream on a lovely estate in Bradford, England. Their mothers didn’t like them playing by the stream, but they did anyway. When Frances returned that day with wet feet, her mother asked her why on earth she just had to play there. Frances told her mother she went to see the fairies.

Her mother and aunt greeted this statement with disbelief. Frances’s cousin Elsie added that she had seen the fairies too, and suggested to Frances that they borrow Mr. Wright’s camera and take some photographs of them. Within a half hour of taking the camera, they were back begging Elsie’s father to develop the film plates for them. After tea, Mr. Wright (with Elsie at this side) developed the film in his darkroom. The picture did indeed show Frances looking straight at the camera while a group of five fairies danced before her on an earthen bank.

However, Mr. Wright dismissed the fairies as cardboard cutouts and didn’t for a second believe the photograph was real. He knew his daughter was a talented artist who enjoyed drawing fairy figures. Eventually Mr. Wright stopped loaning his camera to his daughter and niece when two months later they took another photo with Elsie posed next to what appeared to be a gnome.

The Cottingley Fairies

The 2nd Photo

The story should have ended there, but two years later in 1919, the girls’ mothers,  Polly Wright and Annie Griffiths attended a Theosophy meeting. We’ve written about Theosophy in great length in other blogs, but in the early 1900s theosophy was the rage, encompassing all things esoteric.

After the meeting the women showed the speake the pictures. This brought the photographs to the attention of Edward Gardner, a well-known leader in the Theosophical movement. He wrote to Polly Wright telling her that the photographs were “the best of its kind I should think anywhere.” Gardner obtained from the Wrights the original negative glass plates and sent them to photographic expert Harold Snelling. It was said of Snelling, “What Snelling doesn’t know about faked photography isn’t worth knowing.”

After examing them Snelling concluded, “This plate is a single exposure. These dancing figures are not made of paper nor any fabric; they are not painted on a photographic background-but what gets me most is that all these figures have moved during the exposure.” What Snelling meant by his last sentence was that the camera’s shutter speed must have been set very low and that the fairies appeared to be blurred as if the exposure had caught them moving in their dance.

Snelling made better prints of the photos and they appeared in the Spiritualist magazine Light. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle not only saw the photos, but had been commissioned by The Strand Magazine to write an article on fairies for their Christmas issue, an article he hadn’t come up with an angle for yet. Thus Sir Doyle sent Edward Gardner to the Wrights to inquire about the photo, get a feel for whether the girls and family were genuine and look into the possibility of more.

It should mentioned that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a well known Spiritualist and enormously interested in all things arcane and esoteric. Despite his most well known character Sherlock Holmes’ obsession with skepticism and evidence, Doyle had a predisposition towards belief in the supernatural. He did try to verify his beliefs in the way Victorian Theosophists were always trying to be “scientific” about the supernatural, but like Theosophists, was quick to accept a smaller amount of hard evidence then others.

So Gardner went to visit the two girls. He gave them two cameras and asked them to take more pictures if circumstances should arise. Frances stayed with Elise during the summer holiday and naturally, opportunity did present itself and three more pictures were taken.

The 3rd photo

The 3rd photo

The plates were packed in cotton wool and returned to Gardner in London, who sent an “ecstatic” telegram to Conan Doyle who was in Australia. Conan Doyle wrote back:

“My heart was gladdened when out here in far Australia I had your note and the three wonderful pictures which are confirmatory of our published results. When our fairies are admitted other psychic phenomena will find a more ready acceptance … We have had continued messages at seances for some time that a visible sign was coming through”

Doyle’s article appeared in the Dec.1920 issue of The Strand, and the article was an utter sensation. Everybody had an opinion. Many argued the photos were fake, many argued they was genuine. It was an uproar and Doyle ended up publishing another article with photos in 1921 and a book in 1922,  The Coming of the Fairies.

Flash forward 60 years. Frances and Elise are in their 60s and 70s. In 1981 and 1982 Joe Cooper interviewed Frances and Elsie for an article in The Unexplained. Elsie admitted that all five of the photographs had been faked. Frances claimed that the first four had been faked, but the fifth was real. Both ladies contended they had indeed seen real fairies near the beck on other occasions.

The 4th photo

The 4th photo

The hoax had been carried out by using the cutout and hatpin method as many people had suspected. Elsie had some art training and drew the characters based on drawings by Arthur Shepperson in Princess Mary’s Gift Book of which Frances owned a copy. Using a sharp pair of scissors owned by Frances’s mother, they cut them out and secured them to a bank of earth with hat pins. After the photographs were taken, they dropped the evidence into the stream and brought the camera back to Elsie’s father so that he could develop the pictures.

 Elsie said that she and Frances were too embarrassed to admit the truth after fooling Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes: “Two village kids and a brilliant man like Conan Doyle – well, we could only keep quiet.” In the same interview Frances said: “I never even thought of it as being a fraud – it was just Elsie and I having a bit of fun and I can’t understand to this day why they were taken in – they wanted to be taken in.”

Frances however, went to her grave maintaining that the 5th photograph was in fact genuine.

The 5th photo

The 5th photo, which, real or not, is definitely the most awesome.

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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Paintings of Fairyland

We are not concerned with modern depictions of faery things. Some of it is quite nice and lovely, a few things amazing and most, for my tastes, cheesy and droll.

However it was in the Victorian era that fairy painting really got started and even taken seriously as groupd like the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood and the Symbolists embraced it as worthy subject material.

Richard Dadd: The Fairy Feller’s Master Stroke, 1864

John Anster Fitzgerald: The Captive Robin, 1864

Joseph Noel Paton: Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania, 1849

John Everett Millais: Ferdinand Lured by Ariel, 1850

Edwin Landseer: Scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Titania and Bottom, 1851

Walter Jenks Morgan: A Fairy Ring, 1880

The Fairy Raid Carrying off a Changeling – Midsummer Eve, 1867, Sir Joseph Noel Paton, 1867

Richard Doyle: The Enchanted Fairy Tree, 1870

Arthur Hughes: Will o’ the Wisp

Hume Nisbet, The Fairy Falls, 1908

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 6 (Final)

The caves became more convoluted, cluttered with all sizes and manners of pipes, while the ground beneath them was growing muddier and stickier. Trickles of thick, congealed, psychedelic liquid ran across the floor, and Deacon warned her emphatically not to touch it. As they proceeded, more and more technicolor streams of liquid ran through the corridor, until finally, after hours of trekking through heat, clanging clatter, and cartoonish singing by the endlessly cheery chorus of cockroaches, they came to a narrow passageway where the ground finally ended entirely. Swirling, hypnotic, rainbows of liquid filled the the rest of the wide hallway, with a series of scattered steppingstones offering the only solid footing in which to continue.

At the end of the stepping stones, a large object appeared to be bobbing on the liquid, but she was unable to make out what it was.

“It’s a boat, miss. We’re at the river now. It’ll sail you right to the threshold.”

She stared warily at the perilous corridor ahead of her. No stone was actually large enough to fully stand upon. Once entered, she would have to traverse the corridor in one unpausing effort and hope to keep her balance and footing until the end. She took deep breaths and prepared herself.

The cockroaches launched into the Powerpuff Girls theme song.

She no longer giggled but simply laughed a loose free laugh that made her feel wild, a creature who could climb with her claws, rip flesh with her teeth, and jump and prance with hooves.

Yet one small corner of her mind wondered how it was these bugs knew all of these pop culture trivialities. Perhaps from hanging out behind the walls of countless apartments. Perhaps they were picking it out of her head. But perhaps they were coming from her. Perhaps she had woken up, seen her baby lying dead of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, cracked up, and was wandering the streets and subways of Manhattan growing more and more psychotic.

Sanity be damned. She shrieked and leapt and jumped and bounced with wild abandon from stone to stone down the corridor, hair matted and tussled, with an exultant freedom she only now remembered from childhood. Rock to rock in a river of chaos, dirty and disheveled, no longer a product of 20th century civilization, but a great and shiny creature in a wild, winding land. She could almost close her eyes and still traverse the stepping stones with exquisite precision.

Upon the gurgling, swampy river of Chaos at the corridor’s end was a ride-able, smiley, white duck boat. The boat was plastic, the mast a bright, garish, grinning duck face, with an expression creepily exaggerated. A recycled relic from an old-time merry-go-round. A clown dressed as a duck, dressed as a boat, and she cackled as she leapt aboard.

Deacon burrowed into her bra during the leaping and prancing, and now poked his head out to take a stock of the situation. The boat was stationary, with no paddles or engine. At the stern was an old victrola with a vinyl record loaded, large gold bell facing backwards.

The cockroaches, unable to make the leap onto the boat were assembled on the walls, bellowing out a hearty farewell chorus of the ‘Hey Hey Goodbye’ song.

She took the needle of the ancient record player and placed it on the vinyl disk. A scratchy old crooner from what sounded to be the 1930s sang a forgotten Irish ballad, and as his faded voice rang out through the underground tunnel, the ship from a lost child’s discarded memory set off, slowly gliding down the River of Chaos towards the Lands Of Perpetual Twilight.

As the boat sailed into darkness, the only light was from the swirling spectrum of hallucinatory liquid splashing up from the river beneath. She felt a tug deep within her belly, her eyes could no longer focus, and soon there was no more woman, no more boat, and no more cavern.

.

A beautiful, silky white Swan flew across the world, long and far, searching for her youngling. She appealed to the Lady of the Waters, the Green of the Puck, the Old Man of the Rock and Wild Woman of the Wind, but none could help her. Defeated, she sat and cried until a Fox peaked his head out of nearby lair.

The Fox told her the child was not hers, was never hers, and indeed nothing in the world including her very identity was truly hers. Her nest was once a place where another’s home stood and would one day again, her child merely passed through both her womb and care and her very self was a series of roles assigned to her by the world.

The Swan agreed with the Fox, and was about to return home, her quest over, but discovered he had taken the young one to be his dinner, and so flew him far up in the air. He begged for his life but the Swan reminded him his body was merely a temporary vessel, not truly his and released him.

From high up she saw the young one still alive in the Fox’s lair.  She dove towards him and the air spun about her, and when she landed she was no Swan, but a slightly shocked and confused woman whose boat had landed at the shore of the river, at the mouth of a Cave, at the end of her Journey.

.

“Deacon?”

“Yes miss. I’m here. I had a really strange dream that I was a man meditating under a tree.”

“I think we’re here.”

The ship had run aground upon a tiny little subterranean beach. Directly ahead of them was the cavern opening, beyond which they could see stars, hills, trees, and a beautiful, warm glow across the fading horizon.

She climbed out of the boat, mouse on shoulder, and said goodbye to what she now realized was no duck, but a horribly rendered swan. As they approached the cave’s opening, a dark figure hunched to the side became apparent. It gawkingly stood a bit and shuffled to the middle of the opening, between them and the outside. She guessed that the figure would be about 10 feet tall if it would bother to stand up straight.

Arms dangling, back hunched, it bobbed its ugly, massive head.

“Rol de dol rol,” it said as if it could barely be bothered. “I am a troll.”

“Right.” She said. “You want to let us through?”

“No can do,” the troll replied. It cleared its throat. “No one passes this way by me, unless they…. uhm…. oh bother. Something three. There’s three of something… ah, let’s see…” and began muttering incoherently to himself.

‘Oh for fuck’s sake,’ she muttered, and ran through scenarios of what this figure would be in real life, assuming she was indeed wandering new york, hallucinating all she was witnessing. She was considering a heroin or possibly crack den when he perked up.

“Questions three!” the troll exclaimed. “That’s it. Unless you answer my questions three.”

“Look,” she said, narrowing her eyes. “I have just been through the bowels of the world and back, my sanity is at best a piece of fond nostalgia, and I am really in no mood to be…”

The troll raised himself to his full height, puffed out his chest, and slowly cracked his long, bony neck. He was very big, extremely ugly, and without a doubt scary enough to warrant shutting up. She also couldn’t help noticing that he had a rather large, spiked club in his right hand.

They stood for a moment in silence.

“So,” she said. “Questions…”

“Right then. This is my second favorite part of the job.”

“What, the questions?” asked Deacon.

“Yup. Matchin’ the ol’ wits as they say. Relieves the tedium you know.”

“Well, if this is your next to favorite part…” began Deacon.

“Oh Christ, I see this coming a mile away,” she murmured.

“…what’s your favorite part?”

She put her hand to her temples. “Eating us,” she said

The troll broke into a large, foul smile, and they both had to recoil from his breath. “Why, eat…. Oh. Yeah. What she said. ” He humphed, then began to slouch again, growing restless and bored.

“Well?” she asked.

“Oh, right,” he suddenly remembered what he was doing. “Alright then…” he cleared his throat.

.

“My life can be measured by hours

I serve be being devoured

Thin I am quick, fat I am slow

Wind is my foe

What am I?”

..

She and Deacon huddled.

“Wind is my foe. What doesn’t like wind?”

“A tiny flame?”

“I serve by… thin I am quick… a candle!” she cried.

The troll stood and stared. “Oh yeah. A candle it is. Bloody hell. Alright, this next one’ll get yer.

.

From the beginning of eternity

To the end of time and space

To the beginning of every end

And the end of every place.

What am I?”

.

They confided once again, although this proved puzzling.

Back and forth they went, but they couldn’t make any headway. Time passed. The troll shuffled about restlessly, a bored look growing upon his face.

“Deacon, wait. I have an idea.”

She stood and looked at the troll silently for a minute. Then she spoke.

“Well?”

“Huh?” he suddenly looked back up. “Well what?”

“What’s the last question?”

“The last question: What do… wait hold on. You didn’t get the other one.”

“What other one?”

“The one… the candle one…”

“We got the candle one.”

“The letter E one, then.”

“We got the letter E one.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Yes we did.”

“You didn’t.”

“If you don’t believe me, ask me for the answer.”

“Alright. What’s the answer then?”

“The letter E.”

“Oh. Alright then.”

“So the third one.”

“Right. Here it is:

.

What does man love more then life

Fear more then death and mortal strife?

What do the poor have, the rich desire

And what contented men desire?

What does the miser spend

And the spendthrift save

And all men carry to their graves?

What am I?”

.

She and Deacon paused for a moment. Then she told him “I love puzzles,” turned to the troll and said “Nothing.”

The last thing he said to them as they passed amicably by was “And don’t forget, a god ignored is a demon born,” and then they were outside in the cool, fresh midsummer’s eve. It was ripe with the lost smells of endless evenings, when the school year was no more and the night had nothing but mischievous potential. Of first, fumbling sexual encounters, and the wonder of the first steps into a foreign city never before visited.

Meadows gave way into trees, into picturesque forests with spiraling paths leading to ornate doorways cut into tree trunks, or cottages built into the sides of hilly mounds. Giant mushrooms grew and exotic flowers peered curiously at them.

And flying, riding, dancing, and lolling about were the Faeries.

As she walked through the twilight land, they noticed her more and more, and began to converge about her, flying around and stopping to peer curiously, then giggling and flying off in sparkling, spiraling luminescent trails.

They were the size of her hands and they beckoned her forward over a hill to a moonlit meadow.

In the center of the meadow was her baby boy.

He was upright, floating in the center of a circle of faeries who danced around him. From his belly extended thin wispy silver strings of ether, each strand held by a faery twirling him about as they danced around him. A living, infant maypole.

Around and around they went, and as he twirled he giggled and squealed.

The faeries flying about landed before her in a semi circle. Through their center, their Faery King came up to greet her.

“I remember now,” she said.

.

She had been 21. It was her first summer in New York, and she and three friends had taken several tabs of acid and gone to Central Park to trip their brains out.

She had been dancing in a field, hallucinating madly, and had fancied there were a dozen fairies dancing with her as she had sung the song “Take My Baby,” by the band Mocha Lab.

They had rubbed dandelions on her chin, and she had given them petals as presents signifying their pact.

.

“But I was just tripping,” she said to the Faery King.

“The Pact was made fairly,” he said. “We’ve waited for you. You are the Mother come to nurse in our time of famine. The rules were followed. You’ve passed the tests and we’ve kept up our end of the bargain.”

“What was your end of the bargain?”

“Your place here made as Mother of our young, who are starving and dying. They cannot grow, and we cannot survive. We welcome you, and through our pact we live on together through the rest of this Age unto our next time of Ascendance.”

A dozen faery lads flew down and a great chair rose up from the ground, made of roots and grass. They sat her gently down.

A dozen Faery maidens flew down and took her ragged, grimy garments from her body. Naked, they bathed her in dew, and she rested in the glow of the magical dusk surrounding her, her size now not so big, but slowly shrinking to just somewhat over faery size.

Little Faery infants were brought to her and placed at her nipples, where they began suckling her warm, nurturing milk.

She spread her arms, and in pairs the Faery younglings attached themselves to her breasts and drank her milk as bonfires were lit amongst the glen, and music played, and dancers danced, and mother and young nursed in the amethyst glow of Perpetual Twilight.

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 5

They were now in a new cavern of dark, almost black, crinkled rock, the floor a thick, soft dirt. Small, glowing snowflakes of light drifted down around them, illuminating the cavern.

A series of metallic clanging sounds echoed throughout the walkway like that of hammers hitting anvils. Small drafts of heat passed by her cheek, and she noticed the floor beneath them had a subtle downward slant.

With each passing minute, new, far off noises could be heard: cracks, thuds, hisses, scrapes, the sound of machinelike activity. The ground was becoming stickier, almost muddy, and down side passages faint red light would flicker on and off.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

“Dwarves,” Deacon replied.

Before she could inquire, a flash of yellow brightened the wall beside her, and in the quick light she saw hundreds of cockroaches covering it.

She screamed.

“Miss, please!” Deacon whispered fiercely in her ear.

She put a hand over her mouth.

She stood still and stared at the wall, waiting for another flash or a wisp of light to float leisurely down. When it did, she saw no movement on the wall.

She took two steps and could just make out the wall moving with her.

She stopped abruptly. It stopped.

As another glowing flake passed by, she took 2 more careful steps. This time she could hear the faint sound of tiny little bug feet moving with her.

She stopped. They stopped.

This time, upon halting, there was a faint, high-pitched noise coming from the wall of roaches, almost out of her range of hearing. It sounded like a hundred cockroaches… whistling.

She walked, the whistling stopped and they crept silently along with her. Whenever she froze, they would freeze and whistle nonchalantly.

“It sounds like they’re whistling,” she whispered quietly to Deacon.

“They probably are,” he whispered back.

“Are they fucking with my head?”

“Are they?”

Now, no longer attempting to hide the fact of their whistling, they began some “dum de dum” humming.

“What the hell?”

“Well miss, they are very musical.”

“Musical. Cockroaches. What do they want me to do, sing to them?”

From the walls on both sides of her, suddenly came an outburst of high, thin, reedy little voices shouting “Oh yes! Yes!” “Oh do!” “Please, yes, please oh do!” “Oh lovely please let’s do!”

She started to stammer, then collected herself. “Stop!”

Silence.

“Uhm, hello?”

In a chorus of voices that sounded like a reel-to-reel tape player being forwarded at high speed, they cried out in unison “Hello!”

She stared paranoid around her. “Okay, you guys are freaking me out.”

There was a banter of apologetic “Oh no”s, and other sad and ashamed murmuring. A collective sigh sounded out.

Deacon nudged her ear. “I think you hurt their feelings.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

There was some light shuffling, a moment’s pause, and then a single tiny voice spoke, although it was too thin and small for her to hear.

“What’d it say?”

“He said they’re very sorry, but maybe you could please sing them a song. They’d like it very much.”

“I’m in a cave with dwarves and cockroaches and they want me to sing to them?”

The lone high voice said something.

“He says the dwarves only sing fun songs when they’re drunk, and most of the time their songs are about working and drinking and are a little boring.”

She stood staring dumbly around her, fidgeting and shaking her head. She couldn’t tell whether she was going to giggle or choke.

“Okay.”

“Yay!” They all cheered in their twisted ‘Chipmunks on crack’ voices.

She sang Walking In Memphis.

The cavern made her voice, shaky at first, sound rather pleasant, and as she made her way through the 1st verse she started to enjoy it. When she reached the chorus, the cockroaches all joined in and almost bowled her over. At the beginning of the 2nd verse they all lightly chanted the chord changes behind her, singing “ooooo,ooooo…..” By the last verse they were singing the backup vocals behind her:

“And I was walking in…”

“Waaaaaaalking in Memphis”

It was the single funniest thing she had ever heard in her life, and at the end of the song as they all cheered uproariously, she began to laugh and laugh, and her laughter grew hysterical, and 5 minutes later she couldn’t breath but couldn’t stop, and she was down on her knees, elbows in the mud begging for mercy, but none came and she could feel something deep inside of her head twist and little splinters begin to crack.

The gusts of heat and noises of activity increased as woman, mouse, and hundreds of cockroaches continued their twisting descent down into the red and yellow lit caverns. Pipes jutted out of cragged stone and wrapped around walls, radiating heat and occasionally hissing and clanging.

The roaches kept up a merry chorus of whatever song had last been sung, and whenever she would tire of the particular tune, all she had to do was clear her throat and the chorus would hush and wait for her to begin another song.

Letting them pipe away happily, she eyed the mouse still riding atop her shoulder.

“There’s an awful lot of commotion down here, Deacon.”

“Yes, miss. The dwarves are always hard at work.”

“What do they do?”

“Mine, mostly. They also forage tunnels and expand the pipe network that carries the ore, but mining for the ore is their main task.”

“Ore? What kind of ore?”

“Chaos, miss.”

.

The singing stopped.

She turned about to see what potential problem was causing the soundtrack to her mental deterioration to halt. Down a yellow-lit corridor to her right stood a short, stocky figure, dark for being backlit. He was carrying a pick and obviously examining her intently.

“Oh, hello,” she said. “I don’t mean to disturb you.”

“Hmph,” the figure answered. “Haven’t seen one o’ yer kind in a long while.”

“Uh, are you really a… a… what do you do down here?”

The burly dwarf shuffled towards her. He was insanely hairy, with thick leather skin, much coarser then a human’s, and red eyes with jet-black pupils. He peered at her curiously.

“Just what yer friend there told ya. We mine the Chaos, refine it into an ore, and feed it to the Engine.”

“What engine? What do you mean by Chaos? Molten lava?”

“If I’da meant melted rock, I’d have said melted rock. Chaos, I said. The primal, potential of essence. Tricky stuff to work with. Real messy. Dangerous, too.”

“Where do you find it?”

“The world’s a womb, lassie. Every womb has a portal of Chaos in it. Just like yers.” He pointed at her stomach. “’Course yers is smaller than the head of a pin, and ya probably keep it closed most of the time,” he gestured around him, “but in a womb this big, there’s several hundred miles of it, and more pouring through all the time.”

The pipes around them banged and shook. The dwarf carried on, obviously delighted to boast of his work. “We liquidize it and send it through the pipes, into the great Engine. We mine, we run, and we maintenance of the Great Engine, all big jobs. Beyond the capacity o’ any o’ the other Races, ya can be sure. Only a dwarf could do each and all and still out drink ya at the end o’ the day.”

“Wow,” she said, patting his ego. “What kind of engine?”

“The Great Three-Wheeled Engine o’ History. Want to see it?”

After promising her that it wasn’t the least bit out of her way, he led her down the corridor he had come, through the shadows in the walls some of which turned out to be corridors, until they came to the end of a tunnel.

The tunnel stopped abruptly, high up in a chamber the size of a football field wide, and two legnthwise. In the center were 3 gargantuan wheels, each the size of a 6-story tenement building, intersecting each other at different angles. Beneath them were gears, boilers and pipes, all manner of outlandish, archaic machinery interconnected in an indecipherable jumble.

She stood transfixed.

“Count yerself lucky, lass. Yer only the 42nd o’ your race to see it this entire Aeon. I used to deal with yer kind a lot more back in the last Age. Always had a soft spot for ya.”

He glanced back at the Engine. “’Course with the next wheel in ascendance, I bet yer species is going a bit spastic up there, eh?”

“What does this thing do?”

“It drives history.”

“What, you mean like the the seasons? That’s caused by the Earth revolving around the Sun.”

“Nay, that’s not what I meant. Nature takes care o’ herself sure enough. This isn’t about the seasons or the day’s journey into night. This is what drives events, eras, ages, epochs.”

He pointed down at the Engine.

“Three wheels, see? The Material, the Transcendent, and the Magical. The wheel of the Material’s just finishing its dominant arch. Treated Man well. Man was well adapted for it.”

Each wheel was made up of a series of smaller wheels inside of it, much like what she had seen of the Mayan calendar. Straining her eyes, she could actually see some of the circles near the center moving.

“This Engine is what powers the rise and fall of Civilizations, what determines them congruency o’ forces there that bring favorable conditions to the evolution of species and the progression of Races. Or unfavorable for that matter.

“Yer seeking the Sidhe, I hear. Now there’s a Race that’s had a tough time of it. Lots of famine, been driven back to wait out this Epoch in the few remaining Lands habitable to them. They’re almost through the worst of it, though. It they can hold out a little longer, they’ll start ascending soon.

‘As for your kind…. well… things’re gonna get a lot more crazy up ahead.”

“They took my baby,” she told him.

“Hmph. I don’t know nothin’ ‘bout that. But I do know them crazy little buggers are always fair. They never break the rules. ‘Course them rules are’t your rules, but still.”

A loud clamor of falling metal echoed from a corridor behind them.

“Pus and ass hair!” the dwarf swore. “Alright, off I’m goin’. Nice to see your kind again. Good luck.”

“Wait. Do people make it through this next wheel or whatever?”

“Hmm. Not sure. It’s possible you don’t. Then again it’s possible you just become unrecognizable.”

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 4

Having no choice really, but to trust the mouse, she made her way carefully down the black, cold, stone corridors, feeling the wall as she walked, and following the mouse’s tiny voice as he kept her abreast of turns, gaps, and new corridors. At one point she started to giggle, and when asked what was funny, replied how ironic it was that the first person she had met underground who could hold a normal conversation turned out to be mouse.

What’s more, she was worried that if he stopped talking for a moment she might accidentally step on him, which for some reason made her giggle some more. Still, he was decent company, and she did honestly become grateful for his presence.

His name was Deacon.

“Why is this happening?” she eventually asked.

“I don’t know, miss.”

“They just came and took my baby.”

“I know, miss.”

“How do you know?”

“Word gets around down here. There’s scouts watching you.”

“Watching me? Who?”

“Scouts. They report to the Riders, and the Riders report to the glen.”

“Who are the Riders?”

“You’ll meet them in just a bit.”

“Why did they take my baby?”

“Either your family is at war with them or you gave permission.”

“I didn’t give permission to take my baby! And my family is not at war with anybody”

“Well, they always, always follow the rules.”

“But it’s preposterous!”

“I can ask at the Meeting of the Guards. We’ll be there really soon.”

“Deacon?”

“Yes?”

“Will I see my baby again?”

“I hope so, miss. Look, we’re almost there.”

Far ahead was a dim flicker of light. They approached in silence and as they grew close, she could see that there was a high mound of dirt obscuring an oval entrance to a large, lit room.

Climbing the mound, they found themselves looking down into an astonishingly immense antechamber with round, ornately tiled walls made up of intricate mosaics that ended abruptly at a dirt floor. The cavern was illuminated by no visible light source, and was completely empty. Lining the bottom of the walls on both sides were a row of circular holes. As they descended down the other side of the mound, a long, two-story descent, Deacon explained the procedure to her.

“Once on the floor, miss, take 13 steps forward. That’s it. Then stop and stamp 3 times. And miss, please don’t freak out. I promise you, you’re safe.”

She landed on the floor, put her foot forward, and counted out 13 steps. She turned and caught sight of Deacon, a tiny little mouse alright, scurrying beside her. She paused, listened, and realized that there were no flutes anymore. Looking around at the massive, silent chamber, feeling small and awed, she found herself unable to stamp her foot.

“Miss?”

“I know. I’m not going to like this, am I?”

“Really, miss, it’s nothing. You’ll see.”

Taking a deep breath, she stamped her foot 3 times.

Three flutes playing a long single note harmony sounded out, reverberating off of the tiled walls and filling the room. It stopped suddenly.

Pause.

The same note sounded out again, but with only one flute. The second flute entered after several seconds with a much lower, slowly rollicking, sedated Jack-In-The-Box like melody. The high note stopped and the low melody continued. Then, a bit higher in pitch, a mid range, faster melody began. It sounded as if the mid range flute was a voice commentating more voraciously on the theme the lower flute was speaking of.

A third, fast, high flute now entered, spastically commenting on the commentary.

An even higher, furiously rapid sound now entered the mad, disturbed discussion, and it took several seconds for her to realize that it was no instrument, but the pattering, the scurrying, of a legion of tiny, forked feet.

From the rows of holes embedded in the walls they poured in, a sea of rats, raging like a biblical plague, filling up the thousand upon thousands of square feet of ground in perfectly ordered rows of rodents. Wave after wave, pouring in relentlessly, lining up row after row after row onwards filling up the enormous hall.

She reached down, picked up Deacon, and placed him on her shoulder, thinking as she did so of a childhood book she had read about Benjamin Franklin and a little mouse who sat behind his ear giving him all of his good ideas.

At last the torrent stopped, and they all stood there in a heavy silence, an ocean of rats lined up in front of her.

Standing in the tense stillness, she pictured the flutes coming back in, this time playing the theme to ‘The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly’, and desperately surpressed a giggle.

“In the back,” Deacon whispered into her ear. “The Riders.”

She squinted. She couldn’t quite see that far back, but it almost looked like there were several rows of little, tiny men riding atop the backs of the rats.

She stood, awkwardly unsure of what to do with her hands, and opted to just clutch the straps of her backpack.

The silence continued, until in unison, the sea of rats sat upright on their hind legs and smiled at her, thousands of little crooked teeth grinning, sending a chill through her shoulders.

The noise began faintly, a few rapid clicks here and there, but it quickly spread until all of their tiny teeth were manically chattering, row after row of frenetic clacking filling up the cavern and burrowing into her head. The walls and floor shook and soon the entire chamber and all in it were vibrating rapidly. She could no longer see straight. Everything around her seemed made of a thin, frail ice, and piece by piece it started to crack, until the entire world simply shattered into a hundred million pieces, falling into an abyss beneath her and she was suspended in dark nothingness with only a high pitched drone around her.

Out of the blackness, millions of tiny dots appeared, crystallizing and bursting into form and color, until she found herself standing on a cliffside overlooking the ocean, wind tussling her hair. Behind her, the landscape was a deep green rolling meadow, with a large, great house nuzzled picturesquely into the sweeping view.

She stared up at the sky, above the rolling waves. A dot flew across the clouds, circling in towards her. As it approached, she saw that it was a large, white winged horse, which descended out of the sky, landed on the cliffside, and galloped towards her, stopping arm’s distance away.

They looked at each other.

As she gazed into its large, sad eyes, it became a man. Tall, naked, long gently curled hair, exquisitely toned body, full firm cock, and soft, feathered wings protruding from his back, he looked at her with a gaze equal parts melancholy and lust.

He reached out his hand and softly took her hair. He smiled.

“You are so beautiful,” he said, and his eyes filled her vision, and his hand ran down her neck.

“What’s going on?” she asked.

He stepped forward to smell her hair, his bare chest almost touching her breasts.

“You are safe now. Away from that horrible world of sadness and cruelty and pain. Please, make love to me here beside the ocean,” and he kissed her warm and luxuriously, his hand cupping her neck. As he held her to him, she could feel his cock pressed against the inside of her hips.

Confused or not, she had to admit it was a damn good kiss, and with his arm around her, they were floating, slowly falling backwards for just a moment, and then she was being placed in a warm pool of water, a hot spring that lay in the ground beneath them. It smelled of violets and seaside mornings, and as the water surrounded her body, his hands touched her stomach and breasts.

“Uhm… I’m sort of looking… my child….” She started to say.

“Hush my beautiful one. Your child is gone. You must forget about it. Here there is no need for sadness or remorse.

“But I have to…”

His hands were all over her now as she floated in the warm spring water. “No more words,” he said, and kissed her again, pressing his magnificent body onto hers, and undoing her pants.

She sighed. With her left hand she reached down and gripped his erect penis, and with her right hand reached down into her jeans, pulled out the iron knife, and put the blade against his scrotum.

He pulled back from the kiss and looked at her in surprise.

“Now that I have your attention,” she said, “perhaps we could first discuss where I am and how I’m going to find my baby.”

Large, sad eyes gazed into hers. His teeth began chattering and he shivered. The world shook suddenly, shook violently, shattering

and she looked down at the hand that was gripping his penis, only it was holding a policeman’s black nightstick. The policeman’s other hand was cautiously resting on the gun at his hip and he was studying her carefully. They were in Grand Central Station.

“Ma’am, I’m asking you to put down the knife,” the policeman said.

She looked at him bewildered.

“Ma’am, do you know where you are?”

She looked around her. They were in the main terminal, and a crowd was staring.

“I’m not sure,” she answered.

“Okay, ma’am, you seem to be posing a threat to yourself and others. If you put down the knife, I can take you somewhere safe where you can get help.”

“My baby. I have to find my baby.”

The policeman glanced down at his nightstick, which she was still gripping. She released it.

“Good. Now if you come with me I’m sure we can work something out. Can you tell me your name?”

She opened her mouth to speak, but then paused. “I was told under no circumstances to give my real name.”

“Okay, ma’am, are you on any type of medication?” She shook her head. “Have you taken any kinds of drugs in past few hours, maybe PCP or LSD?” She shook her head. “Well, ma’am, it appears you’ve suffered some kind of psychotic break, and you need to let me help you get somewhere safe.”

She stared at him. “That is without a doubt the most sensible thing anyone’s told me in days.” She sighed again. “Unfortunately, I can’t go anywhere before I find my baby.”

“Ma’am, if you put down the knife and come with me calmly and quietly, you won’t have to worry about anything.”

She lowered the knife.

“Where’s my child?”

“Please forget about that. Just close your eyes and take a deep breath.”

She bowed her head, and as she did, out of the corner of her eye she saw the nightstick swinging towards her. She jumped forward and stuck the knife into the policeman’s side.

The world around her shattered

and the ocean roared and splashed beside her. In front of her the white, winged horse was bleeding just above his left foreleg.

“Please,” it said, “it doesn’t have to be like this. We’re not enemies. We’re supposed to be friends, you and I. Climb upon my back, and together we can fly across the waters to other lands and worlds.”

“I would love that. I just have to find my child, first.”

“Your child and your other world are gone. You must forget them and embrace a new life of freedom and wonder.”

She sighed a third time. “So you won’t help me.”

“I will help you forget. Now come, we will go far, far away.” The horse stepped forward.

She didn’t raise the knife menacingly, just matter of factly, simply showing it to him.

“Look, I know you don’t actually want more of this.”

He looked at her with such large, sad eyes that she thought her heart would break. Then he turned from her and set off down the cliffside in a gallop, wings beating, and took off into the sky, flying out over the ocean and disappearing into the horizon.

The waves crashed against the rock wall below, the sound of them becoming higher and shriller. Each splash cracked the world around her until finally it shattered, and she was falling into nothingness once again, surrounded only by a long, high drone.

She closed her eyes and when she opened them, she was standing in the large, underground chamber, surrounded by the ocean of rats, whose teeth were chattering away. One by one they were stopping however, and the sound slowly died down until at last the cavern was bathed once again in silence.

She eyed her shoulder. Deacon was still perched there.

They all stood there for a long pause, motionless, until at some unseen cue, the last few rows of Riders far in the back turned around in careful precision, and trotted out the oval opening at the rear of the chamber.

“What just happened?” she whispered.

“I think they decided you’re a good mother,” Deacon whispered back.

After waiting for the back rows of mounted rats to depart, the sea of rodents, like a well organized military, shuffled orderly about and parted in the center, a clear walkway rippling forth into existence. They poised upright, grinning at her and waiting.

She willed herself to begin walking, passing through this surreal Red Sea like a poor man’s Moses, and upon reaching the opening on the other side, kept walking and didn’t look back.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 3

When Lora awoke in the underground cavern to find everything, walls and all, in the exact opposite configuration as when she had laid down to sleep, the full enormity of the non-reality of her situation bore down upon her.

She lay still for moment, hair on her arms standing at full attention. No voices from the big chamber. No market. No Marco.

Something was making a sound. Far off. Drenched in layer upon layer of echo.

Flutes.

She stood. Flutes alright.

She couldn’t quite follow a melody, as it was so far away and ricocheting off of many walls. The notes were meandering, jumping about like the sound of scattered thoughts bouncing around the inside of someone’s head.

She took a few tentative steps. The chamber let out into a hallway that winded and wrapped and diverged off into other hallways. A maze.

The walls of the hallway were covered with large, garish graffiti, intricate beyond the point of confusing, depicting nothing in particular, and certainly no recognizable letters.

Beyond her flashlight, there was no other light.

On the other side of a mirror, far beneath Manhattan, in a maze bathed in utter darkness, surrounded by the intricate nonsensical spray paintings of unknown madmen, she held onto her flashlight so tightly that her arms began to ache, listened to faraway flutes, and slowly became aware that although there were no people here, there were rats and they were coming towards her.

She clamped a hand over her mouth to stop herself from screaming, then took it away in order to hyperventilate properly.

Little panicked sobs… heavy convulsing gasps of breath… this was okay. This was good. Just breath. Breathing is okay.

What was not okay was screaming until she lost her mind, dropping the flashlight, and running blindly around the maze for days in utter darkness. If she were to regain her presence of mind afterwards, she would regret this.

She gathered herself and calmed down. The scream had scared the rats and they had at least cleared the hallway she was in. Good. She could deal with them again in a few minutes.

The graffiti. The rhyming man had said that they weren’t all nonsense. He said a lot of things:

Symbols were hidden in the graffiti, and those symbols told a story like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Follow the story and it will lead out.

There were several stories on these walls leading different places.

Do not follow the one about the lost warriors at the end of time. That one is bad.

Don’t follow the one about the woman who lives in a hut with giant chicken legs. That is for someone else’s child.

The maze has different exits depending on which story you follow.

Follow the one about the lost tribe of little winged people. If there are babies it’s good. If there are pre-adolescents it’s someone else’s.

The old giant who builds snow globes in an ice castle is not for her. If she meets another woman following this one, she’s a sympathetic soul, but neither woman can help the other.

From the alcove in which she awoke, make a right and follow the hall until the first fork. This is where the story options occur. In between forks, the graffiti is mostly undecipherable, either unformed future plotlines, noise, or chaos in slow motion

Structured improvisation. He had told her to think of it like musicians playing a well-composed verse of a song, then segueing into a free-form improvisation, only to arrive minutes later at a tight chorus. Each fork is the next chorus.

Okay. She had more or less caught all of this the night before, although once again, the old mens’ inability to speak in anything but rhyme had made the whole communication process complicated and frustrating.

She turned right and walked.

The corridor was a bit narrow, wide enough for two people to walk side by side comfortably, but nothing like the space offered by the subway tunnels. She did hear the little pattering noises of rats scurrying by her, and thought it better to not shine the light on every potential passing rodent.

Still, she saw little shapes and shadows especially when turning the corners of the twisting passageways, and on a whim she shown her flashlight to her left side where the wall and floor met.

Sure enough, there was a rat, but it wasn’t scurrying or fleeing. It was just sitting on it’s hind legs, paws out front, grinning at her.

She couldn’t back away against the opposite wall because what if there was another rat there and she stepped on it and that made it’s friend angry and he called other friends and they all wanted vengeance…

…and maybe thinking was not a really good thing to do but walking was, so she just slowly faced forward and continued walking.

Only now she was aware that as she walked, on the floor beneath her, rats stopped as she approached, sat up, and grinned at her.

The flutes echoed through the halls, and she walked and desperately sang songs she really liked to herself under her breath.

.

The first fork came. There were already several rats waiting there. This seemed to make sense to her, as they would be dying of curiosity to see what she’d do, her being the best entertainment down here they’d probably had in years.

It was better not to think about little grinning, furry things, and instead to concentrate on the puzzle. She liked puzzles.

Story. Look for the story.

The hall she was in had come to a T. Graffiti on both sides of the wall rounded the corner in a ceaseless flow of art. One of these sides was the story she wanted.

She shined the light on the wall to her right and stared.

Bold, cartoonish lines intersecting, swirling; layers of color extending and receding…. Where was the sense?

How do you find an objective pattern in a subjective piece of chaos?

There’s an oval. It looks like what? A hill. Sure. Go with it.

If that’s a hill, then this line would be a tree, and the little circles are stars, and as she became a creative participant, a scene emerged of a rolling, albeit surreal landscape on a starry night, with tiny little houses built into the trees.

As she saw it, she became aware that she was humming along with the flutes.

She turned to the other wall. After staring for a while, she fancied she saw a scene where a man and woman were stepping from a stage in a theater into a caravan slowly crawling through the desert.

Turning the corner on the wall to the right, the little winged denizens of the wooded scene emerged from their houses, and on the wall to the left the couple completed their step in between worlds and set off with the caravan.

How was this possible to see, when all she was doing was following the whimsical fancy of a shape or color, and simply elaborating upon it until she had constructed some inner scene/story in her own head?

How could she sing along with flutes playing an undecipherable melody?

She had spent a night years ago snorting coke with a linguist grad student in the Village, and during their endless jabbering he had told her of a study where someone had taken a story and replaced the nouns with a revolving barrage of nonsensical words. After reading through the story a few times, children could describe with stunng accuracy the original story, even though the children had never heard it undeciphered.

Perhaps this was something like that.

Maybe because the first thing babies learn to do is to pick faces out of the unfocused world around them, people spend the rest of their lives seeing faces in random patterns around them, and the idea of a language of symbols gently scrawled into chaos in order to leave messages for other like consciousnesses wasn’t so far fetched.

She wondered if the rats were impressed.

Still there. Still grinning.

She turned right and continued.

.

Hours later. The story of the graffiti so far:

Community of forest people. Place prospers. Far journeys are made. Other communities arise. Interaction with other species. Good, fun, bad, toll. Famine. Exodus. Uhm… gets weird.. cross pollination? Flowers?

She wasn’t sure. She needed more story maybe, and her concentration was slipping. She’d been walking for so long. Dark. Damp. Tired.

Fucking grinning little bastards.

Why is this happening?

She should just sit down. Screw the rats. Who cares about them any more, sitting there watching her like little hairy perverts. If they were going to do something to her they would have done it by now.

She was tired. A good cry might not be so….

.

The flashlight ran out.

.

…bad.

.

Total absolute darkness.

.

Yes. This is definitely the exact right time to cry.

She cried.

She cried and felt the last drops of hope and will wrung from her.

She cried more.

.

“Don’t cry miss.” A small, high voice.

.

???

.

“Please don’t cry. It’s okay. You’ll be okay, miss. It’s not so bad, really.”

It took her about seven sobbing huffs to get the word “Who” out. She knew it would take at least another two minutes to spit out “are you?”

“I’m very sad that you’re sad. I’ve been watching you. You can’t give up now. This is not a good place for you.”

She wasn’t sure if she wanted to know who (what, actually) this voice belonged to.

She sat in silence, sniffling, realizing that she was going to have to blow her nose on her shirt. Begrudgingly, she did.

“Miss?”

“Uhm…. Hi.”

“Hello. You maybe could use some help?”

“Uhm… probably.” She sighs. “Yes. You’re a rat aren’t you?”

“No.”

“Thank god.”

“I’m a mouse.”

“Jesus fucking Christ…”

“But if you don’t mind me saying, I’m really harmless, and you look like you could really use a friend right now, and I know these tunnels really, really well, and I’m not a Rider or a Phooka, but I see you’re following the Sidhe tale. I know that tale really well, and I know where it goes. I can help you, Miss. Really.”

She sat for a few moments then put her hands on her temples.

“Oh good,” she muttered at last. “If it wasn’t for having befriended a talking mouse, I’d just be sitting in the dark, worrying about my sanity right about now.”

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Fae Under New Albion Pt. 2

city hall station subway

In 1869, Alfred Beach began construction of an underground pneumatic subway; a tube containing commuters that would be propelled by the air pressure generated by giant fans.

His endeavor was challenged at every turn by then mayor of New Albion, Boss William Tweed, infamous even a century later for corrupt and crooked politics. Tweed and his associates were planning construction of an aboveground, elevated railway, and feared the loss of profits due to competition.

Beach and his investors however, using an array of tactics including describing the subway as a mail dispatch system and the illegal digging beneath rented storefronts on the sly, built both a lavious station and a one block stretch of subway.

It was the toast of the city circa 1870. The station itself was adorned with chandeliers, a grand piano, and a large fountain. The car was a literal tube, with upholstered seating that was shot from one end of the tunnel to the other and back via the pheumatic pressure..

Beach fought long and hard for the next three years to have the line extended from Lower Hew Albion all the way up to Darcy Park, and in 1873, when Tweed was finally removed, he was given the green light.

Almost immediately afterwards, the stock market crashed, investors pulled out, talk of a New Albion subway system stopped for years, and Beach’s pneumatic tunnel was forgotten.

Years later, workers for the new, 20th century subway stumbled across the forgotten tunnel and the original car. No mention was ever made of whether having already built one secret tunnel and elegant station in secret, Alfred Beach had not, in fact, constructed others.

Lora stared in wonder at the underground market. The room was enormous, made of marble tiles that were chipping and smeared with stains too diverse to possibly categorize, much less recognize. Fires were lit in various places and some lamps were running battery-powered electricity.

There were people all over, ragged to one degree or another. Some were grouped around fires, some hunched together in conversation. Individuals sat surrounded by various items obviously for sale or barter, some wandered about singing, muttering, or in silence. Breakbeats played out of portable stereos, cries in numerous emotional ranges echoed out, bottles and smoking pipes could be seen everywhere, and some children ran about or climbed the great fountain that stood like a dark monolith in the center, adorned with diverse religious items like an imposing altar or even surreal pyramid.

Marco led her in a weaving trail throughout the room, occasionally exchanging greetings with acquaintances. She found herself relaxing for the first time since she had climbed down from the platform. Isolated in the tunnels she had been vulnerable, but amongst a congregation came the reassurance that few commit heinous acts with too many eyes upon them.

“Three,” sang Marco, “it’s a magic number.”

He stopped in front of 3 older men who seemed to her to be somewhere in their 60s, adorned in highly ornamented robes, possibly even thick kimonos accessorized beyond recognition. Incense burned in a pile in front of them, and they stoked it and waved at the curls of smoke, grunting in commentary upon them.

Marco motioned for her to sit.

“So here you be, so here you be,” said the first one on the left.

“Which of the three,” said the middle

“Do you wish to see?” said the right.

She took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”

The left one leaned over, smiling, only a few rotten teeth showing. His breath was foul. She tried not to cringe.

“Do you live in fear of mind control, dear?
Has the government put little things in your brain
Causing static, beeps, clicks, headaches or pain?
Taking information from you through microwaves

Or using audiological technology
To tell you what to do or where to be?
Tangent Aural Directioning?
Words DARPA or HAARP mean anything?

They come with their gadgets and open your head
Prod sticky fingers and send you to bed
Am I of the three who you wish to see?”

“Uh…” she stammered nervously. “No…”

The first sat back and the middle one leaned towards her.

“Lost time, lost nights, lost memories, bright lights?
The Greys come in, take you away
Poke you, prod you, play with your brain
Take your fluids, take your time
Triangular scars on your body? Your mind?

Helplessly paralyzed in hopeless inaction
Bio energy field extraction?
Interspecies breeding, clinical rape
Are you afraid to sleep and afraid when you wake?
Am I of the three who you wish to see?”

“Dear God, I hope not.” She glanced at Marco. He stood looking patiently.

The two who had spoken turned and looked at the third. He nodded slowly. They nodded along with him.

He reclined.

“Come away oh child from the world of which you know
To the wave of moonlit glasses where the lilac berries grow
And fiddlers ride the dreaming with their nimble dancing hands
For the world’s more full of weeping
Then you can understand.

Come away oh child from the dreary and the planned
To the great and shiny creatures in the wild, winding lands
Where we weave in olden dances, foot to foot in circling bands
For the world’s more full of weeping
Then you can understand.

Come away oh child you will forget your mother’s love
You’ll forget the ties that bind, the friends, the sacrifice, the blood
Come away from rust and iron, the foundations where they stand
To a different, dazzling world
That you need not leave again.”

She started to cry.

“That’s it. That’s the one.”

They all shuffled and stoked the pile of incense. The third one spoke again.

“I can teach you to enter and then read the signs

To find your way through, but what payment is mine?”

The bruja had spoken to her about this. She opened her backpack, and pulled out a brand new roll of aluminum foil. The three men clapped their hands in delight.

“To block out the signals!”

“Antennas for reception!”

“Shiny things that make reflections!”

She sat with them for the next several hours, growing increasingly irritated if not begrudgingly impressed with their habit of talking only in rhyme. Finally they led her to an alcove away from the great chamber where a large mirror sat propped against the wall.

She lay down feet towards the mirror, a stick of incense in one hand, a silver trinket the bruja had given her in the other, smelled the wafts of incense they burned around her, and went to sleep.

.

It had only been a few months after moving to New Albion, straight out of college, when she fully and completely realized that her Literature degree was utterly worthless.

She hadn’t really given much thought to getting a “real” job, but only now did she understand just how little in danger that was of happening. Regardless, life in the East Village suited her rather well, and since her main priorities were socializing and having as much fun as possible, bartending fit her career needs perfectly.

She did Urban Twenty-Something Party Girl fabulously.

It wasn’t so much that she eventually experienced the proverbial “and then she woke up one morning”, as that one day she found herself unable to push out of her thoughts the knowledge that her twenties had actually cruised by, and she was staring face down into her thirties. Hangovers were definitely getting way harsher, being blazingly high on various mix and match drug and alcohol concoctions was actually getting annoyingly boring, and she really, really wanted a baby, and was running out of a biological safety margin.

She decided if she switched careers and moved apartments everything else would fall into place, and for the most part it did. Without a nightclub around her and groups of young ‘party ‘til you drop’ ravers constantly surrounding her, the drugs disappeared from her life rather quickly. Alcohol shot down to half a bottle, okay maybe a bottle sometimes, every couple of nights, of wine only. The new job of restaurant manager at a hip, artsy joint was fine for the time being.

Which left her boyfriend. Dorian.

Fine. Nice. Nice looking. Fun. Real estate rental agent by day, DJ by night, not an idiot, a little aloof, not someone who she really saw being with for a long-term haul, but decent genes.

The best option would be if he wouldn’t want to stick around, and could maybe be content to make the exchange of fluids and move along. Tricky.

What made that possibility realistic was that Dorian was obsessed with being a DJ in Rankubar “where they fucking appreciate skill”. He saw himself as the potential prophet of ‘The Nu Urban Rhythm Reconstruction’. She helped him pursue this in every way she could, and 10 years of bar keeping and nightclubbing had given her many contacts to utilize. She sat with him, agreed how beautifully tragic their parting would be, stopped taking her birth control pills, and fucked his brains out for months before he left.

The decision not to tell him when his little sperm finally connected with her egg was shitty she knew, but she really didn’t want drama that would go on and on for the next God knows how many years. She was terrified enough.

She had a half decent support network of other good time girls who had mostly found themselves pregnant unexpectedly, and so she hunkered down to get on with her and her child’s new lives.

Once her baby was born, she couldn’t understand how or why she had ever cared about anything else before. She loved him so much it made her soul cry, and she would walk through the bottom of the world its darkest pits before she would let him be taken from her.

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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