Elizabeth peered curiously at white, metal beams connected to blue square platforms coming together like the flooring of a maze in the black of the sky. Each similarly metal platform was lighted with crooked street lights piercing the darkness thirteen feet from a higher base. The marble-headed man, still wrapped in expensive leather, stared in fixed expression at Elizabeth from a nearby, opposing platform. He spoke with deep fluidity as his hard jawline crackled open, "I've rescued you."
Some of the platforms tilted back and forth just slightly as towering, illegible neon lights flickered on and off in distant gaps between the face of the structural maze. Most of the pieces of marble from the man's jawline made their descent downwards through the platform's chain-link holes as black cloud formed around the man's face recreating it. Ghostly, wingless red birds somehow flew from light to light. Each bird had one fin on their back, a narrow beak, and long, waving skeletal tails. The great lights were held up by numberless, smaller metal beams which sank down into a dark gray smog.
"Rescued me? You grabbed me! And you wasted a perfectly good cookie!" Elizabeth stood up and replied angrily as one of the huge signs literally ripped off of its hinges with the ringing of the English girl's voice. Hundreds of feet in multi-colored light detached in a frightening fall downwards.
The marble-headed man reached out to Elizabeth with his leather-gloved hand as if to stop the event, "Please don't be angry with me."
Moments later both heard the enormous crash of the sign and the marble-headed man sunk his arm down. Elizabeth held her anger back with a calm question, "Who are you? Are.. are you the individual who was eating chicken at a sea-food restaurant?"
The man shook his marble cranium negatively, "A marble-headed man would have no business eating chicken from a sea-food restaurant.
"No.." The man bowed deeply with his right arm just above the waist. "I am Monsieur Malluso of The Presiding Manner. And you are Elizabeth of Mr. Bagel's Donut Shop."
From the darkness, snakes with bacterial-like bodies the size of dragons began appearing. Their bright-golden skin was dotted with other colors and semi-transparent. The surrounding, animated, neon lights lit up against the sweeping exoskeletons of these organisms. They fascinated and scared Elizabeth enough for her to with withdraw from speech and keep anxiously centered on her residing platform.
"Monsieur, why do you think you rescued me?" Elizabeth asked politely.
"That young lady you were with. She was endangering you, I could not let her."
"Lacie?.." Elizabeth wondered out loud. "How do you know my name?"
"Because I was assigned to keep you at Mr. Bagel's." Malluso kindly stated.
"By whom?" Elizabeth inquired.
"Forgive me, I can't say for your safety.."
“Is it Mr. Bagel?!” The rising of neurosis in Elizabeth's voice caused creaking and breaking sounds from the pipe-like foundations of the enormous towers of light.
“Its classified for your safety.”
"Well then I want to leave. I don't like this place."
"Okay, okay. Just stay calm, or you could crush us to death." Monsieur replied.
One of the dragon-snakes emerged from the dark. This one in particular had crimson skin; the carriage on its back was a wealthy mix of engraved gold, brass, and silver. The creature halted for Elizabeth while still squirming around from the tail and making low-pitched, multi-vocal 'Ong' sounds.
"I'm not sure where he'll take you at first," Malluso eyed the dragon-snake. "But I know you'll eventually get back to the bakery."
The sound effect of a disc scratch echoed out from one of the lights like a disc jockey was stationed inside one of the towers; indeed she was, some girl named Eris waiting for key phrases such as 'back to the bakery' to accompany with sound effects on a commissioned basis. She also made the cookies for Monsieur, but had thus been unsuccessful in charging him an arm and a leg. It was rumored that she was a closet nudist when no one was around; indeed she was, but nobody in the black cloud could see anything half the time.
"You are awfully concerned with my safety." Elizabeth furrowed her face at Malluso.
Monsieur did not reply. But instead, pulled a double chocolate-chip cookie from his pocket and took a bite out of it. As a breeze came in shaking the tails of Malluso's coat he murmured very quietly to himself, "Mmmm.. Crumbly, but good."
Elizabeth gave Malluso a brief annoyed stare before venturing up the steps of the carriage hovering to the left of her. After opening the carriage door she found countless seatbelts around her, as though installed at every opportune space. She promptly buckled herself in with a few or five, and with closing the door, held onto the bar in front of her.
Arrays of crystallized wings grew from the dragon-snake's back. Then the creature moved swiftly through the air flapping the wings almost quicker then the eye. She jolted through layers of mist and dark cloud as fierce winds rushed around her.
In an instant the black-clad lass found herself transported back at the donut shop in such a manner as to cause chairs and tables shuffling away from her with life. A severely tinged, smoking circle was impressed upon the floor around her, followed by some hearts, smiley faces, stick men, and other inked doodles. This mess generally caused her some distress. A paper came floating down in front of the girl, a bit singed itself, explaining the process of teleportation.
With underdeveloped diagrams the paper outlined such a process as 'Transporteriffic Splenditransport.'
After reading the teleportation notation, Elizabeth checked the double doors of Mr. Bagel's Donut Shop to make sure that they were locked. The door certainly would not open under any pretenses but smashing the glass, which she found a small comfort. A multi-colored feline with a cactus hat or head went rubbing against the doors, but missed the young lass's attention. Elizabeth looked around for the lock unable to find it on the doorknob where it had been, until she heard a slightly muffled, sarcastic voice stating, "Its locked, give it a break already."
The employee decided the voice was right, and decided to give the door a break.. by not breaking it.
* * *
Malluso stared at the space between two street lights letting off their guidance in the enormous black cloud. A dark voice created a wind current behind him, "No more next'uses, Monsieur."
From the black particles of cloud came the whispers of many tongues, "The future is Five! The future is Five!"
There was a huge breeze behind Malluso, "Caravans are coming, Monsieur."
The great creature that was behind Malluso went flying in an enormous gust of wind knocking a couple towering signs down accidentally as it made its swift exit.
Some of the glowing dragon-worms were being chased by sinister and hungry bat-dogs; black smoke poured from these dogs' double mouths and nostrils, and there was an endless stream of ash outpouring from each creature's four eyes. Malluso drew a rapier with a black and gold contorted handle and prepared to fight the large bat-dogs, or as he put it under his breath, 'those foul caravans.'
A fierce crowd of caravans ripped into the exoskeletal bodies of the dragon-worms causing them to screech in elongated "Ong" sounds. Three of the bat-dogs bolted towards Malluso. Malluso ducked and stabbed upward, ripping the stomach open of one of the foul creatures. The struck caravan yelped, collapsing on the ground where it let out its dark rasp, "Indigestible Monsieur, why will you not let us feast on delicious tropical carreras?"
Monsieur sheathed his sword back by the left side his coat. He pulled out an entire platter of strapped-down double chocolate chip cookies from the right side. Malluso's jaw (which had healed from its previous speeches) crackled open with little pieces of marble flailing everywhere, "These tropical carreras are vital to powering the lights which hold the contrast to the black cloud that sustains us. If those lights go out, this cloud will begin collapsing in on itself. I've explained this before.."
The caravan on the ground had already began to heal with black gas forming around its body. The other caravans swirling around the sky had stopped their wrath and listened in angry attention at the sight of baked goods. The dragon-worms, or tropical pharisees, were subject to random intervals of intelligence-- but they had all made a fair account of such intelligence in the distance they made from their terrifying hunters. The winged-dog on the ground in front of Malluso growled from both of its mouths, "How many cookies do we get?"