[LNH][elsewhirls] The Discontinuous Adventures of Starlit Mansions
jamie.rosen at sunlife.com
Wed Mar 9 15:03:57 PST 2005
Low Budget Productions presents, proudly,
A Vertical Vision
The Dis tures
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M M A N N SSS III OOO N N SSS
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My name is t'Kiila. I was once a demon of intoxication, until I saw the
light. Now I am the steward of the Starlit Mansions. What are the
Starlit Mansions, you ask? They are one part library, one part museum,
one part sleazy motel. They are the place where the weird and unpopular
ideas go to relax and mingle. They are the birthing place of
innumerable stories. But stories are nothing without an audience, and
that is where you come in. Please, observe:
Erin Drogynous sighed and rolled over in her bed, looking at the clock.
6:34. She didn't care. Ever since she had lost Girl/Boy in the battle
against OMAR and his trolls, Erin just hadn't seen much point to
getting up in the morning. She'd lost her job, and her necessities were
cared for by a generous trust fund set up by the late Net.Hero. So she
spent most days in bed, getting up to use the washroom and drink. She
drank a lot, and played solitaire when she could be bothered to open
the pack of cards.
She was just considering rolling over again when she saw the white
curtains move from the corner of her eye. Turning her head, she saw
they were moving quite violently, as if stirred by a wind she could not
Intrigued enough to move slightly out of her funk, she rolled to a
sitting position and peered closer. The seemingly random movements of
the curtains resolved themselves into an complex, intricate pattern,
one whose meaning she felt she could almost -- but not quite -- make
She leaned closer still. If the patterns were just a little simpler,
she could figure it out, she knew it.
She closed her eyes and visualized the pattern, letting it repeat in
her head, letting the motions leave tracers in her mind's eye.
Her eyes snapped open. The curtains had stopped moving, but there was
no doubt in her mind what pattern they had been forming with their
motinos -- they had been spelling her name. Someone, something, was
trying to contact her, for whatever reason.
"Girl/Boy?" she asked.
There was no response.
Of course there was no response, she berated herself. Girl/Boy was
dead! It was just an overactive imagination that made her think the
curtains were trying to send her a message.
A noise from behind her made her turn around. Standing in the doorway
to the walk-in closet, a pile of discarded clothing around its feet,
was a figure made of shadow, clad in a robe of deeper shadow still.
"In children's publishing, the smell of success has a rather offensive
odour these days," the robed figure said. "Is dialogue that sounds like
it could be spoken by actual human beings (rather than a marketing VP)
too much to ask?"
Erin got to her feat, backing away from the figure and toward the
"Painted just a few weeks before he died - a picture of the doctor
who couldn't cure him - Van Gogh's portrait of Dr Gachet was sold one
hundred years later for a world record price," the figure intoned,
gesturing to her with one umbric, bony hand. "Even Mary Poppins would
approve of the increasing popularity of mannys - male nannies."
"Get back," Erin said. "Get away from me." Thoughts ran through her
head. Was this a Net.Villain? The manifest figure of Death? A
hallucination indicating incipient insanity? None of those
possibilities was particularly endearing. "Stay away." She reached out
at the figure, much as it was reaching out at her, and with her other
hand she groped behind her, her hand grabbing hold of a fistful of the
In a flash her world changed irrevocably. Her body filled with life and
energy, her soul with a sense of purpose. She looked down to see
herself clad in white robes that may once have been the curtains, the
negative image of the shadow-figure menacing her.
"But ... you can't go to the beach because you fear your wheelchair
will get stuck in the soft sand," the figure said. "The giant squid has
consumed the imaginations of many oceanographers."
Out of context, the figure's speech was meaningless, senseless. Like
the deaths of so many men and women in the world. Like the deaths of so
many Net.Heroes in the world. Like the death of Girl/Boy, in an
abandoned military bunker.
Enough! Enough senselessness, enough meaninglessness! This thing...
this thing that menaced her was just another manifestation of
pointlessness so prevalent in the Looniverse. And if she could defeat
it, if she could destroy it -- well, at least *that* would have a
In a blur of blinding white she ran towards the black-robed being, arms
outstretched. She closed her eyes and thought of Girl/Boy's face.
Girl/Boy's beautiful, wonderful face.
The impact was a silent grey void as the two figures coalesced into
one, then melted into nothingness. When the dust had cleared, the room
was empty, and the windows were bare. Outside, as dawn began to break,
a sparrow began to sing.
An owl, still hunting in the twilight, snatched it from its perch and
broke its neck.
So, my friends, what do you think? Pointless? Or poignant? Is there
really any difference between the two?
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