Just before Elizabeth grabbed the donut, the door swung open in front of her.
A young woman in her mid-twenties stepped through the door with a long make-shift skirt of drooping dark rags shifting underneath a corset, with a collar of bones curving 'round the back of her white-haired head. The woman sat down at the corner table where Lacie had woken up hours ago, giving off a sweet, yet unpleasant smell, that was strong enough to cut through the freshly-made sweets.
An old radio in the back turned on for a second accompanied by a mysterious voice, "Anyone with a distinct lack of ideas for absurdities would most definitely place a lot things upside-down."
On the next table up there was a man in a white labcoat with a row of upright vials in different volumes of concoctions and sheets of formulas strewn about under his meticulous focus. His hair was a greying mess, the uppermost parts of his fingers occasionally appeared and then were gone. He had no discernible ties to the outside world. Nor did he have any discernible ties.
The theorist cursed under his breath and scratched his head with the stubs of his two first fingers.
"Hello." Elizabeth greeted.
Mona offered no reply.
"If you don't mind me asking, how did you get through that door?"
"It was unlocked." Mona said.
The English book Lacie had left on the table of Mr. Bagel's Donut Shop had been charred to a near-blackness. Mona rested her arms behind it looking over the book with a curious gaze. She opened the cover which was falling apart, and turned a crackly and smoldered page as if expecting to read something.
"You know.. usually people come in here to buy food."
"Quiet! I'm here to protect you, stupid girl!" Mona replied.
The scientist poured two vials, one full of light purple liquid, and another glowing with yellow-orange, into a large green-filled beaker on the table. The glass cracked as a chocolate-frosted donut materialized within. The scientist raised his hands in excitement, his fingers all back, his eyes fixed on the tasty circular treat, "One donut becomes a whole new donut reversing itself and switching dimensions with its kin donut!"
There was a giant moth on top of a decommissioned, jumbo-magnet-covered microwave in the back of the store; the insect flew high towards the store lights as the outside dark birthed a hoarse roar. The sound shook the long store bulbs along with the glass panes. The right half of the ceiling had its tiles crumble into pieces which fell onto Mona and the scientist. Mona shielded herself with her arms; the scientific stranger shielded his vials and newfound donut with his fingers all stubbed.
An old radio in the back turned on for a second accompanied by a mysterious voice, "The moths are getting bigger and fluttering towards the light."
The lids on the dumpster outdoors had opened up and something resembling a crooked human being had formed from the trash. It was made from styrofoam, plastic, metal, and cloth; containers, clothes, broken appliances, and a rubber Halloween hand. With egg-shell eyes and a body from the charitable consumer, the putrid human shape came ready to consume and concoct itself.
Mona closed the charred textbook and stood up with a look of vindictive concern on her forehead, her lenses retracted to a shortness: a wider view. Elizabeth had came up to the front desk of the restaurant and leaned in curiously. The theorist had his excitement drained from him.
Mona, Elizabeth, and the scientific man peered from their places at the desolate outside, the mostly cool colored sky that glowed slightly less than that of orange and yellow street light arrays. Changed from their prior normalcy, the vivid lights were also hoisted by radically bent, calligraphic poles-- where seldom white fires surrounded, or mysterious, broken power lines occasionally drooped off dangerously.
Mona went to the door as the demon made of waste, now in view from the window, trudged across the pavement from its fenced origins. The demon turned its head unnaturally, and stared at the scientific man, an eggshell eye falling off of its face to reveal what was the literary section of a dirty magazine in its eye socket. The scientist got up, left his vials, and bolted towards the door. He weaved around Mona who was drawing on the floor, and reached for the doorknob.
Dumpsters flung open all around the block and trash traveled in grotesque, midair streams to pack itself upon the demon. The scientist ran out through the door to Mona's dismay. She sneered at the loss of a good decoy, and continued drawing some complex sigil on the floor.
The half of the building with the saggy ceiling tiles rose up a few feet.
"What's going on? What is that?" Elizabeth asked.
The demon outside grew till its back twisted and bent to the ground, its hands like grounded maces; its face became a hateful, grinning collage of shifting junk.
"Its an S.U.V." Mona said.
The anti-aging witch kept drawing. She turned her head but barely looked at Elizabeth, "Don't go anywhere. We're leaving."
Mona continued a slow line on the complex, outer square that compromised her artwork. What she was drawing with was unknown. At one of her line changes, the donut shop burst from its foundations and rocketed into the air.
* * *
Malluso was investigating a small, blue and white sea-food restaurant that had went out of business; the location was close to a four-way with a wrecked, fenced-in car; the tail-end of the vehicle was now covered in a vast colorful array of different awareness ribbons. The neon-blue lights once surrounding the building were stolen or off, its windows boarded up with the light brown of cheap, processed trees. The area and space around the building was untouched with broken bookshelves on the corner. And there was no longer any smell of fried fish in the air; but would a marble-headed man have smelled it?
By the stop sign at the four-way was a creature in a wide, eight-foot tall cage. The enclosure had a dented sign marking the monster's name in some language from the East: "Lotus."
The Lotus was covered in dark, leathery skin with streaks of violet, green, and red across its body, across its head. It had vicious eyes glaring over a long mouth, full of teeth that appeared as jagged, black shards. Six, long wings stretched across its back like that of an infernal insect, each appendage jutting out from the gaps of rusted bars.
Diego stood on the opposite end of the restaurant in a parking-lot akin to larger businesses. He was looking at his reflection in a puddle. In the water was the image of a man with arm warmers covered with swirling lines of jewels trailing off towards ringed fingers. The left arm warmer had blue jewels and metal plates; a similar hue as the left side of his hair and its grown untidiness at the top. The right arm warmer had red jewels on glass plates encasing some sort of liquid metal, as sleek as the left red side of his long hairdo.
Diego raised his head and stared towards the boarded-up place in front of him.
"What do you want?" Malluso asked, backing up with his hand on the hilt of his blade, knowledgeable that someone was on the other side of the building.
"Your Black Cloud franchise, blocks out the the rest of my sky." The hunter replied.
Malluso unsheathed his sword and flashed it downwards with so much energy that the abandoned restaurant cracked and parted down the center, giving view of Diego.
Diego had raised his arms above his waist, with his palms facing the vacant-looking building; the left palm faced down to the left, the right palm faced up to the right, as if occupying an invisible cube. As he rotated his ringed hands, the blue and red jewels on his arms began breaking, one after another towards his elbows.
In response, the clouds in the sky shifted speedily, becoming more scattered. Where no clouds were, there appeared violet-outlined curlicues and squiggly loops, both hollowed with starless black. The world, itself, it seemed, was turning.. upside-down.