Lacie and Syll cautiously treaded up a steep, unused staircase towards an arched doorway with elegant, out-of-place moulding. There were quotes etched onto the door and a third doorknob pointlessly placed on the wall at the bottom right. The light coming from the room ahead was bright and pierced through the crack in the door into the dark of the stairway. Syll opened one of the doors cautiously and the women peaked out at the well-lit room before them..
A big beetle, like the multi-lingual writers outside, lay upside-down and maybe dead on the abnormally-shaped, dark silver floor. The tiles were like large, blocky puzzle-pieces with small, slanted edges across a big room full of wires and technical equipment. There were also many small rows of filing cabinets, but it was anyone's guess save the proprietor, as to what was in them.
Some pieces of floor rose up and were shaped as blocky chairs facing desks full of various-sized monitors stacked on books to support good posture and simultaneously, a good mood. One computer screen on the far left was black with grey text on the top of it, another beside it blue with grey text on most of it.. to the far right a screen with a role-playing game, and the fourth in the middle with some Sci-Fi strategy game. ALL WERE FLAT-SCREENS, DAMN!
The ceiling above was smooth and slanted, but seemed to rumble as though something was trying to get in. Bent metal plates rotating as collective, ominous spheres hovered around the space of the room and cast down beautiful holograms blurred at the boundaries of settings and their subjects.
One illusion cast down from a sphere was a group of cardboard houses in an abandoned library. The top windows of the library were being broken into by a group of teenagers. One of the boxes had a familiar, hand-shaped hole. Another box had the cut-out of what almost looked like four narrow root systems, two of which were smaller. Lastly, there was a barely visible hole towards the end of the elaborate cardboard fort that looked like a head-sized oval.
'Could that have been Mona's hand?' Lacie wondered.
A technacle hovered in the furthest reaches of the room with a shimmering golden base and light-green jet exhaust. The technacle had extravagant lasers and spherical eyes scanning a fancy desk full of monitors. The screens portrayed strange codes and shapes running every which way almost in flux. After a few moments, it started hovering in a circle around the desk with masses of papers in its mechanical grasp, while the vision of it and that of the desk was distorted like desert air.
Soon, the golden technacle vanished without a trace.
Another sphere to the far right pictured an eerily empty 1960‘s living room: television trays hoisted X’d out calendars from 2012 and other 'apocalyptic' dates. The thermostat was set all the way to 90. An elephant stood to the right of the room while the bones of another lay with used syringes to the left. There was a regal speech blaring from the glow of the television, “For a short time I will hold exclusivity to this world..”
Another sphere cast a mimicking image of the room it was in with a cactus-eyed, green-striped, brown, black, and tan cat who sat frozen on the floor mumbling, “I’m real.. I’m real..”
Geoffery was standing next to a desk watching Jeffrey as he paused a game and minimized out of it. Geoffery stacked a programming book on a pile of other literature, technical and fiction; his left hand held a cola slushie, “Run on sentences don’t make things more descriptive, because they’re too hard to read.”
“Yeah, but making an unnecessary new paragraph for easy reading just promotes stupidity..” Jeffrey said. “I mean, what ever happened to classic literature?”
Geoffery froze for a second trying to piece together something. Then he took a sip of his slushie and post-gulp, “Pray tell a lying truth as the roots of thine caprice, brah.”
“No you didn’t.” Jeffrey shook his head. “You did not just say something that stupid..”
There was a technacle behind the argumentative duo manipulating lasers on ball-joints from its metal base. The green lasers, acting like computer mouses, stopped at a strong wall attached to the desk across from the technacle.
In one corner of the room there was a brown, indigo-spotted llama smiling and nodding his head to the side as he sang in a muffled voice, “See without borders, son. See without borders, son. Scapuuula.”
The animal only garnered attention from Lacie and Syll as the last thing they noticed before making their entrance into the room.
Geoffery, Jeffrey, and the hovering technacle immediately eyed the intruders.
“What are you doing here?” The technacle spoke in a male robotic voice.
“We..” Lacie looked up at the unstable ceiling in fear before lowering her head back to the technacle. “We came down here because of one of you.”
Lacie‘s gaze pointed up and to the right as she recalled everything that had previously happened, “To look for a girl who thinks she is a bird, a husky man named Mr. Greary who was taken down here, and--"
“And if she can help us find the other things, an angry young girl named Ratty.” Syll quipped playfully.
“Hold up, can you give me her number?" Jeffrey interrupted, picking up his cell from off the desk.
Lacie glimpsed at Jeffrey and ignored his request, returning her gaze back towards the technacle, “..and someone named Ecila who might be that girl, and was last seen in an aisle of mirrors.”
“I see. I’m afraid I can’t be of much help. But I can tell you your body-fat percentage.”
“Ah. No thank you.” Lacie replied, disappointed.
“Though its nice to meet you both. I was once XO823, but now everyone calls me Dave. I have graphs on the subject..” The technacle bowed down and gave Lacie a handshake. Syll’s eyes widened when Dave's gesture was extended to her, and she simply stepped back and waved awkwardly at the floating, mechanized, biological entity.
“I’m Lacie and this is Syll.” Lacie retorted, her lenses zooming in and out slightly at the orb-like eyes of the Technical doing the same.
“Unfortunately as for the bird girl, there is more than one of this or that who thinks they are that or this. I have graphs on the subject..” Dave elegantly ignored the tremors from the ceiling.
Syll attempted to redeem her lack of a handshake, “Not with the intent to be rude, but we are surprised that you can speak, and that you seem so civilized.”
“We are firm in keeping order, but not really violent. The rumors you’ve heard are an insurance policy for our low numbers. Of course, we intend to bring Null-Mart down at The Second Midnight, I even have graphs on the subject.. So I would ask you two to leave this store before then for your own safety.”
“The Second Midnight?” Lacie inquired.
“Yes, it comes after the first midnight.”
A mass of the ceiling had been unbolted and peeled open to reveal the shape of something monstrous, outlined by the darkness and accompanied by floating debris.
Lacie, Syll, Jeffrey, and Geoffery stepped back.
Dave pulled out ten sheets of graph paper with retractable metal hands and pincers, bending his point backwards and focusing his visual processing sensors and lasers above.
"Dave, dude, you got to be crazy. Get back!" Geoffery perspired.
The technacle assured Geoffery of his stance, "Both entropy and elegance fuel my autodidacticism."
Dave began graphing various traits of the creature.
The multi-legged creature above roared in a tone as though it was both male and female with a voicebox turning on itself.
A slightly rusting, metal sign came rocketing through the huge, new hole in the ceiling and clanked onto the floor, reading, "SATIRE FOR SATURDAYS".
Jeffrey knocked over Geoffery's drink as he stood up and made a run for it. Though the cola slushie had turned to small, orange cheese crackers.
"Hey!" Geoffery sneered before coming to his senses. "Five second rule.."
"We need to find a way out of here." Syll said frantically.
"Dave pointed his head towards the back of the room, "There's a glass exit behind one of those illusions. But only one form can go through the glass every twenty-five hours. I have graphs--"
"What!?" Lacie asked, hearing Dave perfectly fine, but afraid to leave Syll and the others behind.
"The glass is half-impossible." Dave said, inking out graphtacular information about the monster above.
"Go." Syll said to Lacie as she grabbed an unplugged waffle iron off a nearby desk. "I'll catch up with you if I can."
"But that's a bagel--"
"Its a waffle maker. Go!" Syll pointed towards the back of the room.
The creature came down crashing into the light of the room to reveal that it was shaped like a spider with a body and head made of tombstones. The spider's legs were culminations of moveable red bricks with differently sized hand prints on them.
Two blank, open tomes with their bindings attached to the spider's polished cement face, sufficed somehow for eyes. As the arachnid took in its surroundings, illegible writing formed over the pages of the books, their pages swaying back and forth with some unknown force.
Lacie weaved around the downcast illusions. Around the mirror image with the paranoid feline affirming its existentialism. Past the elephants live and dead who graced the paint-chipped and overheating 1960's living room. Past the darkened library where lights lit up from underneath cardboard sculptures. Around a stunning, sometimes real and sometimes cartoon rendition of a medieval planet which panned in and out, sliding around different areas with visual ease and great detail. Past a simplistic geometrical display, and other futuristic machinery.
Jeffery and Geoffery had both high-tailed it out of the room down a hard-to-see ascending stairway to the side, hidden by holograms and a poster of a descending stairway; the computer Jeffery had been on went black with the text: "The reasonable limitations wherein 'anything is possible' have been expanded. Please stand-by(..)."
The spider had Dave wrapped up in web and the tentacle's graphs were now strewn about all over the floor. Syll confidently and cautiously approached the clay and cement arachnid as it let out guffaws of horrible noise at her, dropping the stationary technacle to wrap her up in the death-grip of its webbing next.
"Oooh wooo hooo hoo hooo." The indigo-spotted llama continued singing and head-bobbing unfazed by the events around it.
Lacie came upon a thick window in the floor leading into a shadowy hallway as though in spite of gravity. The long metal wall in front of the girl had a row of prestigious windows in front of ugly, underlying brick walls, with the tattered remains of distinguished certificates nailed into the mortar. A graph full of empty circles from a hole puncher laid on top of the thick glass. And above the window in the floor there was Old English style text popping out which read, "BLACK STOCK".
Lacie stepped onto the glass and frightfully sunk into the window like it was clear gelatin, while the gravitational force around her began shifting one hundred and eighty degrees forward.