Vibrant Night - Chapter 30

Chapter 30

Lacie materialized in the air, halfway between the floor and the ceiling of Null-Mart's Automotive Department.  She fell onto something metal, but was able to bend her knees to absorb most of the shock.  A bird had followed her teleportation-like travel, though it seemed to have lost its link of intelligence with Mona; the avian now flew like a spaceship with no flap of its wings, and busted through the metal roof as if it was harder.

"Glad I didn't get attacked by that." Lacie thought.

The place was dismal, littered with empty booze containers, though brightly-lit in more ways than one.  There was a unique doll collection with each doll hanging from the ceiling.  Underneath of that, a birthday clown (well its assumed he or she did birthdays) lied dead-- or they were just drunk.  Coloring books were scattered around the entertainer on the warm, dry cement.

There were musical instruments set up in a corner, a drum set, a knocked-over microphone, two electric pianos— one broken; and three guitars, one bass.  And a fish.  There were also amplifiers, most turned off, one or two turned on with the volume way down.  A man in his seventies with over two-hundred pounds of muscle and white head of hair sat on the drummer's seat; he was clutching and staring at himself and his surroundings through a rather large shard of a mirror.

A Mexican Null-Mart employee covered heavily in blank paper gave a curious look at the college student.

Lacie stood up straight, her lenses expanded barely to see the glimmering wrench in the employee's greasy, paper-covered hold.

"What is this?" She asked, pointing downward.

"Its a giant, heavily-armored tank.  Why are you standing on a retractable turret?" The employee dryly replied.

Lacie made her way down from the half-conical-like front of the vehicle, like sliding down a metal slide; she hadn't noticed that there was a ladder behind her while she was standing.

There was another worker who was younger, in his twenties, he had on a normal work uniform and four or five faux antlers.  His nametag said "K'vin."  K'vin was looking over the giant tank with an upside-down clipboard and a feathery pen.

K'vin glared at a black girl with two-inches or so of a jet-black mohawk, gold irises, & heavy make-up; she was sitting near the corner drinking a beer; and Lacie thought that a decent amount of the nearby empty cans had to have been hers.

Lacie went over to the girl, "Are you.. Fry?"

"Hey!" K'vin shouted at Lacie. "We take ourselves seriously around here, and we don't care too much for pretty polly-annas who play dress-up against our rules.. so why don't you take your friend and get the hell out?"

Fry's shirt and pants were patches of dark greens and dark blues, with random sewing patterns, and mostly covered in small variations of zippers, studs, and stranger metal fastenings.

The man covered in paper, Jifftural, blew his nose on his arm and went into the small office off to the side.

"BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS K'VIN!" Fry replied to the antlered man.

"Shut up!" K'vin yelled at the air while spinning like a graceless ballerina, hitting the tank with a wrench in his rotations.

Afterwards K'vin motioned two other guys in grease-stained Null-Mart uniforms who were working on the other side of the tank.

One of Lacie's boots were pointing towards the door, "You don't know me, but I need to ask you something."

"Lost souls, lost seeds.." The muscle-bound man behind the drumset spoke at his reflection in the glass he held, "If you shatter the mirror, it can cut you.  But if you know the mirror, it can grow you."

Everybody heard him, but nobody said anything for a few seconds.

"..what about your father, the guy with eyes like ours?" Lacie asked as her and Fry crossed the line out of the automotive lobby and into arrest of Null-Mart.  The whole store shook causing Lacie and Fry to hold onto nearby shelving.  The ground separated about a foot from the entrance to the auto department, into a dark and dangerous gap.

Lacie looked around and saw another distant gap that had formed.  All-Mart or Null-Mart, it was starting to come down, just like The Man In Pink had told her.  And the familiar fear in her that had waned somewhat began to well up again.

"He's confused, has a television problem." Fry explained. "His daughter is a girl named Ratty, she's gone violent because earlier tonight he called her a cactus."

Lacie's lenses rotated with slight involution, "Why?"

"Furry spines I guess." Fry took the last sip of a can that was half-soda and half-liquor then threw it into the foyer of the automatic department, in front of an empty desk half-covered in stickers.

Lacie thought that furry spines might be the pipe cleaners in Ratty's hair, but her thought ended when she noticed Thee Chaotician nearby.  He had his hand atop an invisible staff the same height as his real one; the real staff or cane was on an aisle shelf behind him, on sale for twenty-three dollars.

"With the top semantic I have some fear, the last time I recall it disappeared."  The Chaotician mumbled.

There was an eccentric woman, professionally dressed and drugged, in a housewares aisle with dishes sporadically shattering.. "Look around you at the dishes you haven't washed.  We're on the edge of danger!"

Thee Chaotician cleaned some grease off of the lenses of his glasses with his shirt as the housewares lady went on.. "The movements of post-modernism threaten absolute expense at any mismanagement of practicality--  and any practical movement on the part of humanity.  May such actions be confined to something more than lesser states, and may the residue of that confinement be washed away by superior textures-- regardless of their susceptibility to rust!"

"What is her pro--" Lacie began.

"Carry on, dish soap, Devilspeed!" The woman threw a bowl into the ground but it bounced, then she picked up an excessively large floor tile, and disappeared underneath of it.

"..we need to get out of here, this place is going to collapse tonight.. very soon." Lacie said.  She and Fry heard a loud rain of thuds and some cursing: the creepy and antique dolls that lined the ceiling in automotive had all fell down.

Some Japanese man in a suit and glasses screamed at Jifftural who was back in the workroom, "My collection!  You've ruined my collection!"

K'vin ignored them and went underneath the tank to have a sandwich.

The suited Japanese man pulled out a pen as if waiting for a checkbook, "Give me compensation!"

The Japanese higher-up shook Jifftural by the shoulders, the fountain pen between his fingers.  The Null-Mart employee covered his reddening face with canvas-blanketed arms and hands, "You'll have to draw on me first!"

Fry grabbed a skateboard off of the bottom shelf on the right wall along a plethora of other sporting goods, it was already unpackaged with wear and tear.

“I need to find my friend before we leave.  You should follow me if you want to get out of here the fastest way.”

"You skate?" Lacie asked.

"Yeah." Fry dropped the board in front of her and jumped on.

"I used to.."

“Then follow me.” The black punk asserted.

“But there's holes in the floor.” The former student complained.

Fry seemed confident, “I've never walked over holes, but I've skated over them.”

Lacie hid her anxiety of falling to her death as best as she could, grabbed a skateboard off of the shelf, and started unpacking it.

"I hope its okay to borrow this.." Lacie mumbled to herself.

Thee Chaotician intervened, "Looking here and there for your friend, what eyes would you care to lend?"

Lacie paused with a weird expression, then took off one of her lenses instinctively, surprised afterward that it had came off.  Before she could take off the other one, Fry took a couple eyeball gumballs out of her pocket.

"I'll cover it." Fry replied confidently, and handed the eyes to the Chaotician who grinned over his profit.

"I propose you follow me to the Lawn and Garden Center.." The black-clad youth stated.  Behind him, strangers were evacuating the store while armored military men and rednecks ran around together shooting at the flying bat-dogs along with an old grey van driving around at a crawl.

"So that's where she is, with those lost people.. your friend." Lacie looked at Fry, who gave her a colder stare back.

"I suppose if it had a landlord he'd pawn off every renter." Thee Chaotician had propped up a much closer giant floor tile that looked like a bunch of normal sized squares, he was using it to lean on while chewing gum.

"Crunk Punk" was scrawled off in gaudy cursive on the underside of the oversized floor piece.

From automotive the Japanese suit-and-tie was heard, "I hold a prominent title!"

"Ahhh!  Evil drawer!" Jifftural screamed as Kanji he couldn't read was written on him.

Lacie and Fry, who was now taller than Lacie because of her skateboard, watched as a black cloud came and swirled around the suit-and-tie's head, then the cloud dissipated into a black dresser drawer.

"Oni!  Oni!" The Japanese man exclaimed in terror, running out of view with the clothes drawer on his head.

"This place is fucking crazy." Lacie murmured, tossing the skateboard packaging on the bottom of the shelf she had got it from.

"Who the hell was in my bedroom?" Fry mumbled after seeing the black dresser drawer.

Odis was heading frantically towards the store exit from an aisle-way away, he had the long-haired clock-thrower collapsed and nearly unconscious in a cart, a victim from his own clock-barrage.  A light above dropped a tupper-ware container full of some alfredo casserole and it met the long-haired man who moaned angrily in response.  Odis made tired eye contact with Lacie and Fry without losing pace, and then looked back at the man in the cart, slipping a pair of goggles on with one hand, "Let's go cracker-jack."

Lacie looked down at the scope-like apparatus in the palm of her hand.  She placed it back over her eye and it attached.  She looked up and saw the lights on the ceiling which were all passing food towards the exits with invisible limbs, save “the flickering” and “the out”.

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