Vibrant Night - Chapter 15

Chapter 15

Lacie submerged through the thick window, floating like a feather to the wide, slightly-curvy floor some fifty feet down with a succession of hats landing on her head.  Amidst her slow fall she landed with a heaviness she had never felt before.  Her body had accumulated around a hundred and eighty-pounds of weight.  With barely a tone she spoke to herself in horror, "What?.."

The exit behind her shifted its composition back to glass in a loud reform which echoed throughout the shadowy hall trailing lengthily and lightless in two unknown directions; the change in window material was to be so eccentrically loud as to trigger a violinist in the distance who played a shrieking jingle before vanishing.  There were vacuous walls with shelves where equipment once was, walls spattered with glowing, cosmic plastic stencils, and wet and dry poetry of differently painted hues.

Cleaning equipment and muddy, soapy water littered the metal ceiling indicating further foul-play with gravity.  The grey cement floor along with the symbols of sanitation made Lacie believe that she normally would be in the back of an average general store, rather than darting deeper into N'Quevna's underground.

Lacie felt her hair vertically pointing upward underneath a black top hat split down the middle in two pieces save the brim.  Between the split hat was another green top hat, darker than her shirt, snugly over her head.  Atop the green top hat was a white, half-sized miniature top hat diagonally placed off to the dented side.  Upon the center of the right, white top hat was a smaller, translucent, upside-down top hat (for those who could spot it).  The hats all held together as though with a strong adhesive, towering over her jutting microscope-eyes.

Printed on the cement around and under Lacie were a burst of differently colored and shaped triangles all pointing the way down the hall which she faced.  As she took a step over the shapes and in their direction, she felt the force of her newfound fat, and had little thankfulness that her clothing had changed to take shape around it.  She found her ability to cry pressed into impossibility; not just by artificial eyes which proved stuck to her face as she tried to yank them off in frustration, but by the very gloom of her surroundings.  Her spine was slumped and her breathing heavy as she took each slow step.

Even amidst her predicament, Lacie couldn't help but notice some large scribbles on the wall:

Super, I am.
capes are cool!
I can fly too
can't you?

Some twenty feet forward, two sheets of different paper blew towards Lacie.  The sheet of lined notebook paper flew in a whirlwind landing to Lacie's side while the blank computer sheet she saw and decidedly caught, just barely, as it tried to fly over her head.  She stepped onto the notebook sheet next to her foot just as more wind came rushing through from nowhere.  The computer paper read, "11/11/11 – New studies show the scary possibility that paper could be hazardous."

Lacie panicked for a second before reading the second paragraph, "12/13/14 - New studies show that paper is actually not hazardous, and in some cases triggers neurological functions which promote longer life."

Lacie sighed in relief and looked to the next line.

"12/14/16 - New studies show that a chemical in trees may be poisonous and that paper could be carcinogenic."

She became more skeptical as she stared at the last writing on the page.

"N/A - New studies show that I've drank up all of the coffee and pissed-off my colleagues."

Lacie laughed in a hiss of her formal voice.  She leaned down with effort and picked up the lined sheet of paper; seeing that the lined sheet was full of text, she stacked it over the computer paper and began reading.

"'Thee Chaotician' walked out of a shadow-beam, the very opposite of sun-beams, which presented themselves through crevices in the vast ceiling.  The unilluminated beams stretched all the way to the pet section of Null-Mart's floor, where circular tiles which doubled as thick glass containers spun.  The containers were full of the mixed up fragments of a liquid phrases like, 'Settingo descripto.'

To the Chaotician's left was a highly-reflective, fish-filled tank with the bottom, brass label 'WHEREUR@NOW.'"

Lacie heard a grunt.  She stopped reading and looked around but could spot nothing lively between the shadows of the shelves.

One rotated, blue and turquoise line (of many different handwritings) caught her attention:

I was/saw between the lines
at dirty, cement hills, sunset setting, selling
shaking visions to askers and anyones.
I was/saw my favorite bargain today,
stu- stutter- stuttering for breath,
decades ago, today.

Lacie pondered the abstractions briefly.  Unbeknownst to her, the hall ahead and behind would continue to contort itself in a radical spiral akin with the structural curvature that already happened, still leaving sight of the furthest distance.  She continued scanning the notebook paper in her hand.

"Surrounded by the caged and glassed-in anomalies of the pet section, the Chaotician found himself next to a wooden pallet stacked high with boxes of soda halfway into a shadow-beam.  The magician of sorts had an egg in one hand and a magic marker in the other.  His cane stood upright, or maybe 'downleft' since it was in left-tilted stand off of the ceiling.

'Thee Chaotician' was inclined to draw a stern, cartoonish face onto the egg with the magic marker.  Then he ripped one of the boxes open, pulled out a can of soda, and opened it.  He dumped the soda on the egg, acting with proclamation, 'Aloud abuse of language far from credential, seems allowed in still-forming images lost in transformational potential, whereupon the crafter is naught and comfort sought complacent, for artists wrought with cultural replacement.'

After all this, the egg hopped into the air out of the Chaotician's hand, stealing the magic marker with invisible force.  With the same force in midair, the egg grabbed the large, red handle which pulled the wheels underneath the wooden plank of sugary substances.  The living yolk evidently took on a diamond's hardness before hitting the floor.  The white entity scampered away with the soft drinks at human walking pace, and the label names of the drinks changed from what they were to 'Eggola Cola.'

The Chaotician having purposefully not interfered, was taken aback by the eagerness of the Eggola to become what it now was.  He took a sip of pop and put the can down in front of the fish tank.  Finding that he no longer had a magic marker, his power was severely limited to a cane; one he couldn't reach nor needed as a medical necessity.  Though these circumstances did not bother him, as his attention quickly diverted towards questionably domesticated critters, crappers, and 'clawers.'"

Lacie heard another grunt.  Though thoroughly surprised at the spiraled hall, she followed the gruff sound's direction, tracing a figure in the darkness that didn't seem to be wearing anything.  Lacie dropped the papers, failing to finish the one she had been reading.  The figure noticed her and spoke, "I'M AN INVISIBLE MAN!"

"I don't know about that." Lacie murmured unable to speak louder.  She shut her lenses long enough to notice the glowing clock in the dark of her temporary sightlessness had lost its three, contorted hands.  All the numbers on the clock had also switched with the number twelve in their respective clock number rotations.

"I heard that.  And its not like clothes are cheap." The man rubbed his knobby nose with a thin hand, his skin like a coal miner's. "Judgin' by your plump appearance Miss Outta Business, you must be friends with that fat gravy smellin' feller who came 'round these parts lookin' for a cape with his fancy clothes."

"Gravy-dreary?  I mean, Mr. Greary?"

"Mister Thinks-He-Can-Fly is up ahead the spiral and down the hall."

"Wha--?  Never mind."

Lacie passed by the man who talked to himself about Mr. Greary expecting her to listen. "Says all he needs is a cape and he can fly!  Hogwash.."

Lacie recalled the man said "Outta Business" but made no connection to the writing on her oversized bosom in the tiring process of movement; she wondered if Mr. Greary was the one who wrote the strange poem on the wall.

The large, hatted lass eventually found herself out of breath.  She had came to a tall rectangular hole leading into a large, sweeping room whose inhabits caused the ambiance to swirl with uneasiness.  She noticed an inner dome overhead where a surreal rendering of N'Quevna's sky spanned in consistent movement.  Large, hunky monsters over half the room's height lumbered in a square dancing crawl with long, barren faces.

Painted cement walls of dingy hues and blurs of white towered in the formation of an outer maze, which surrounded the great monsters.  In the center of the room was an oversized manhole which the monsters circled around.  The leathery creatures took no notice of the girl as their arms dragged like mops across the floor, their crooked legs barely visible, and the thins of their eyes remaining in a calm focus.

The lens-eyed girl took the first entrance she could find into the maze, where telephone numbers, romantic interests, and insults had long been scratched and marked into physical dominion.  At one upcoming point a metal wall came up behind her that she would've been able to fit through before.  Now instead, she was forced to walk down a ramp, inwards into black liquid that went up to her neck.

Lacie struggled through the mucky liquid, disgusted and saddened, and came out of the other end traveling up another ramp.

Around the second corner from the liquid was Mr. Greary.  The man still had a twelve-pack of eggs under one arm next to his gut.  He looked lost, "Lacie?  Is that you?"

"Yeah." Lacie replied.

"You've put on weight, muck, and hats."

"Not by choice."

"Same here with the former." Mr. Greary laughed somewhat awkwardly.  He continued, "Do you know a way out of here?"

Lacie remembered the way out of labyrinths, "We could always keep taking left turns."

"Better to take rights, they are generally more legal." Mr. Greary insisted with sparks of heroism and geekiness in an otherwise cautious voice.

The duo decided upon the plan to take rights.  The maze walls towering over their heads seemed like they might go on forever.  They passed by pieces of trash left on the cement, a woman's head peering out at them from the floor (evidently she was standing in a human-sized hole), and a paper-mache man on a rocking chair, with a creepy face and friendly wave.

Lacie was speechlessly on her guard.  Mr Greary noticed and sympathized with the young woman's apprehension, "Imagine if we took left turns."

They eventually came to a dead end with a series of machines which looked like sleek steel, one-person chambers (some high caliber of technology with human-sized holes).  Above the contraptions was an 'EXIT' sign with an indicative glow that hit the stomachs of the lost.  Two of six machines had their fronts opened revealing chairs; arrest of the contraptions closed on people, save one machine on the end that was unplugged with an 'Out of Order' paper plaque.

Mr. Greary sat in one of the open machines with his egg carton on his lap, "Well its worth a try."

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