Monday, December 17, 2012

The Events of August 14 to December 17 - Chapter 28

August 14, 2012

Lee - Somewhere inside the mountain I thought that pushing the elevator button to 'Lobby' might get me back to a place where finding a way to the surface would be the logical next step. The doors shut and before I could breath a sigh of relief the elevator plunged DOWN!
Oh crap---here I go again....the caves chambers-caves-time warps are never ending under this mountain. I'd though exploring would be fun…interesting...and here I am with no way to communicate with the others on the surface, if they are even still on the island at all....
The elevator came to such an abrupt stop that I nearly hit the floor. The doors opened slowly with a screech, as if they hadn't been used in years; that's not a good sign. I walked out into a circular chamber that seemed to be a jumble of visual activity. The space seemed deserted and inhabited at the same time and the cards. There are cards everywhere. One of my monkey companions dashed forward to a pile of cards, grabbed one and skittered back to give it to me
“This will explain so so much - once you learn - the game.” he chattered and ran off again.
A huge red pot overflowing with cards got my attention. It seemed to be generating cards as they were flying out of the containers mouth and landing all over the floor of the cave. I looked around at the doors, archways and openings that seemed to be beckoning me to explore. A glimpse thru one archway looked to be the professor’s laboratory. Some directions looked inviting, others not so much. Would any of them get me back to the surface?
And what is this game? There were a few creatures that might be of help but they really didn't look terribly friendly. At least they didn't look hungry. Looks can be deceiving I reminded myself as I walked over to a very large figure.

Elevator Card Games, ©Lee Goldberg

Mara - "Well-l-l-l-l", 'fox in a vest' said, "off you go to the crevasse of unavailable imponderables, I do hope you brought the most helpful pages from the note tree..."
I considered the advantage of finding the imponderable... which is quite a different matter than finding imponderables, (offspring between a zebra and a donkey, look it up).
But, anything is possible.

August 29, 2012

Lee - Knowing there is a way out and finding it are not the same thing I realized as I followed the cards that I'd been finding along the way out of the caves.
I kept remembering the monkeys telling me "it's in the cards.” That seemed like directions to me.
So, I've been following the bloody cards and getting more and more confused. No sign of the others but I thought I saw Mara going towards the mountain. I decided to head toward the sea, as that was where I last saw everyone so long ago..........

August 30, 2012

Mara - I need to find the barber first, Big Blue insists on it. "We can help you with that," says Fox in a Vest.

September 5, 2012

Lee - I didn't need a reason to go up in the balloon again, but getting a better view to search for the others seemed a great idea. At least at the time.
Leaving from the beach was the best plan (I thought) as the ocean breeze pushed the balloon inland...
Unfortunately, 'this' is an inland, unexplored and not at all where I wanted to go. I wonder if I left a trail of cards they would find me again...????......

Mara - Fox in a vest, who told us his name was Carmine, pointed down the road, "He went for tea some time ago." I leaned against Blue's solid yet soft side as we paused, not quite ready to walk again. Rising up from a dip in the road we saw a red fez, closely backed up by another large squirrel treading on his heels. "Good day, good day! You've come for a cut?" The barber yelled. The squirrel behind him walked on her two hind legs and had extraordinarily long whiskers and fingers (I guess you'd call them) which both kept in nearly constant contact with the barber. As they reached us the barber said, "This is Lapis Luzuli, we call her Luz and she's my assistant." Big Blue settled face down on the table explaining that he needed a buzz, "but only on the back please." The barber arranged his tools, "Have I see you before?" He looked closely at Big Blue's cowlick. Luz nodded emphatically, "We have! I remember his smell... and I mean that in a good way."
She blushed, turning her delicate blue face a shade of magenta.

September 7, 2012

Susan - The owl was circling down at a steady speed aiming at my head from high above the clouds. All of a sudden I felt the wind and water integrating into a pressure cooker. The waves started swelling and swirling in panic, engulfing me like a tornado funnel. An ocean of algae and fish came crashing around me, creating a mountain of endless ripples, pulsating and attacking me. All I saw was a blur of colour and that annoying buzzing in my ears increasing. The air thickened with dampness and then there was silence. The water around me flattened to a mirror-like surface, mimicking the blue of the sky above and the reflection of my visage.

The Postman, ©Susan Shulman
There was a flash of colour and movement that caught the corner of my eye bobbing slowly towards me. I waited until it was in arms reach and I delicately grabbed the object. It was a card. The queen of hearts with my image on it. Nearby in the water, a five of clubs and then the last card, the eight of clubs floated up from the deep.
“Hummmm, I guess that was OWL MAIL” on Mount Analogue, makes sense!”… I laughed thinking of William “The postman” who always delivered Snail mail, wondering if he would prefer to ride an OWL!
Well, I have a lot to contemplate now. I better swim back to shore and start interpreting the signs now and find the others.

Owl Mail, ©Susan Shulman

September 8, 2012

Christopher - The oceans were made by the lady and her blue gun. As she squirt color into the world around her, the parts that became to blue would melt into rivers and streams, fracturing out the island into it's coral sculptures beyond the shore.
The coral would burst from the sea in the form of blue deer, once a year the deer would be hunted by the Baroness. As the blood leaked into the sea baby deer would burst out from the wounds, and slowly grow till they would be hunted again next year, this was the cycle of life in sea of Mount Analogue.

September 21, 2012

Mark - If one makes mischief but not intentionally isn't there some other name they could have? Am I delusional to think it is not my will even subconsciously? Can one be other than their own nature; these are the things I contemplate while climbing.

October 7, 2012

Mara - Blue reclined on the bench, "Whew that feels good, getting off my feet. So," he directed to the barber, "These people showed up on the island and helped us, now I'm hoping to help them find their way…whatever their way may be."
There's something about being groomed that loosens the tongue. "For some reason we think there may be a clue on my back."
The barber was quiet as he finished combing and commenced to shave. "Hunmmm," he breathed, " I see what you mean." Everyone gathered around. "What, what is it!", exclaimed Blue attempting to twist his head like an owl. (and only succeeding on getting his own loose squirrel hair up his nose)

William - One of the monkeys who was waiting for a trim peered over the barbers shoulder and exclaimed, "Must have been some potent grog if you don't remember that tattoo!"

Mara - Luz glided up to the table, "Blue? Do you remember?" She reached out and stroked his whiskers, first one side and then the other." Now it was Blue's time to blush...

William - "The last thing I remember was looking into the bucket at the end of this funny contraption the yellow haired woman put together....then I lost my footing"

October 28, 2012

Mara - BUZzzzzzz~ buzzzzzzz ~ "What do we have here?", the barber paused, then continued shaving. Luz piped up, "Remember that Mulka night Blue? We went to a grog sampling, then the monkeys fed us... well, somewhere in there you agreed to be the bearer of good news! Or is that the barer? Anyway, we see something on your back that will help locate the dirigible, if you are still interested in leaving." "What?", Blue mumbled sleepily. "I have a job to do". "That's right", Mara Mara said, "Blue agreed to move the sheep from the high pastures down lower before Mulka. When are you getting to that Blue?" "It may have to be done on the way to your new assignment", the barber said, "Look at this!" We gathered 'round.... the image was undeniable. (insert pic to come).

I woke up with the sensation I'd been grinding my teeth. "Damn, thought I was over that"...... "Ok, up then", she thought. "The sky is so dark, could this be comment 666?" Yup. It is. So, readers, what does this mean. We've come this far... the maps, the climbs, ... the balloons, the grog... what else could happen? Oh. Yes. That. Shit. We have come to the drifting or the doldrums, as it's been called. To make our way out there must be a vigilance, who will take first watch?

October 30, 2012

William - Swishing forward Fish raised a fin and volunteered. "The Doldrums are not something to be taken lightly", he stated with some trepidation, "in fact Doldrums could lead to a Sargasso of thought and determination. A gyre of this type could lead to a mental torque that will derail the climbing season."
Indeed, as we all peered at Blue's newly shaved back we realized that a lateral traverse might be our only way up.
"What is it?” Blue shouted to be heard above Susan's accordion playing, "can someone get me a mirror?"

November 1, 2012

Susan - I gathered my belongings out of the glittering dirigible, before I cut the gas and deflated the fish shaped shell. It was always so much easier to navigate across the island like this. The only problem was that it was so tiny and only one person could steer it at a time. I called it Led for short…. Led Zeppelin. If only we could build a larger one. Maybe we could all escape this island of Blues and find the stairway to heaven I giggled.
I adjusted my goggles over my eyes and saw some activity on the ledge. After careful focusing of the lens I saw Big Blue. It was hard to recognize him because he was cross-dressed like a bumblebee Raccoon. If not for his blue fur and Daliesque moustache I would not have identified him. Must be MOVEMBER! I could not stop laughing. It was so absurd. Did he really think the mask would camouflage him? I heard Mara yelling, ”Look at his back…look at his back!” Mara held a mirror behind him and said.” You better be prepared for what you see BLUE!” All of a sudden this huge lurking grey shadow appeared behind the squirrel swelling in size and towering over us all. This obscurity was blocking out the sun. We all looked at Blue’s shaved back, it became apparent.
“Bill, you and your shadow theatre, what have you done now I yelled!”?

Blue Shadow Theater,  ©Susan Shulman

William - I felt a bit lightheaded, in fact light all over, with that telltale floating feeling.
"Oh, damn," I cried, "not again!"
"William, your shadow seems to have detached itself!!” the Baroness shrieked above the clanking of her soup cans.
Mara, distracted by the outburst slightly angled her mirror sending a flash of sunlight into the cockpit of the little dirigible hovering above us.

Mara - "Mara! Maramara mara!!!” someone yelled. Too late, the dirigible fabric caught fire and smoke trailed behind as it rumbled forward. "You're too low!" We all hollered... "Shit, where are the flying monkeys when we need them", said Lee.

November 4, 2012

Mara - Now that the shadow had lifted from Blue's back the tattoo became more visible to us all. "I think it has something to do with harmonics, either that or math," someone whispered.

 Tattoo Revealed - Mara Thompson

"HEY!" Mara yelled, "Call the fire department!"

Blue's head whipped around as he fished a whistle out from his vest pocket... "Fwueeeep, fwueeeeep"... Up the road came a burly squirrel, trailed by trotting sheep. "The dirigible must be cushioned before it breaks apart --- and the fire, THE FIRE!" Burly puffed up his tail and gave us a steely look. "No worries"... He shrugged off his rucksack and pointed a nozzle towards the smoldering craft. At the same time, the sheep he'd been with thundered past us all and as he sprayed the dirigible to extinguish the flames he directed the sheep up the slope. "With their extra springy wool, it will be an easy nut to crack", he yelled as they disappeared up the road.

I Dare You, ©Michael Harford (with permission of the artist)

November 5, 2012

Susan - My independent shadow jumped across to where the activity was happening and before I could react, it grabbed my body and propelled it behind Blue. Crowds of determined sheep were running down the hill and I knew it would be a matter of time before we would be stampeded upon. I grabbed my red braided rope that I used for Goat Roping and quickly lassoed Bill and Blue. I vaulted across the chasm with all my might to the top ledge before the wild herd of blue ovine crashed down upon us. The only problem was that I alone was anchored on the ridge. Blue with his tail swooshing angrily, chattering at Bill were both hanging down like a pendulum oscillating back and forth. Bill was screaming in a very high pitch, “Put us down, you ruff neck Cowgirl!” I released the slipknot slowly and they gently drifted back down to the ground. I jumped down after them so I could get a close up view of Blue’s tattoo on his back. I examined the diagram of notes inside a pyramid on his recently shaved skin. I gently touched a B flat and the note began to fill the air around us. I touched some more marks… G, F, and music exploded, expanded and blew all around the mountain, filling the atmosphere with sounds.
Blue was playing the blues. He started to shimmer and hum, and I knew what was going to happen next, it always does. He was gone. All that was left were the notes drifting back to earth and the dirt; crushed rocks and footprints embossed in the sand from the blues sheep.

Ruff Neck the Cowgirl, ©Susan Shulman

November 18, 2012

William - Authors note: Just to be clear; the weather patterns on Analogue are notoriously unpredictable. There is no best, ideal or prime climbing season; instead climbers have to be patient in the extreme. Additionally, the reader should realize that what we often refer to as weather has implications with little correspondence to normal weather forecasting. For example, while we have enough savvy to record changes in barometric pressure and the recording of a low reading of say 25.7 inHg would in all other locals and circumstance would send us running for high shelter screaming “Typhoon” at the top of our lungs we have since discovered that at worse we could expect is 12 -14 hours of intense deja-vu. At the other extreme, a high-pressure ridge of 32.0 inHg often brings winds of empathy and compassion. Observatory District readings are updated and wagons dispatched with the days forecast each morning.

November 20, 2012

Lee - Somewhere under the island: "even though I knew it was well past time for me to find the others I've been reluctant to leave the safety of the caves. I've lost track of time but surely we've been on the island more than 2 years, except of course, for several quick trips through the time warps.
Going back reviewing my field notes tells me the island is far larger than we'd ever imagined in the beginning. It also holds so many mysteries left to be explored.
I really could use a map, if one exists.

A couple of nicely dressed monkey's came up to me then one took my hand. She seemed very insistent I come with them. The monkeys have always seemed to send me in the right direction. I'm sure this will be no different; after all if you can't trust a well dressed monkey who can you trust?
We went upward so I assumed I was being lead out of the tunnels at last. The light was growing brighter and I was feeling so excited to be so close to the surface. (I thought)
We rounded a corner and there dead in front of me was a ladder; not a doorway or an opening in the mountain, a ladder and I could not see where it would take me. Holy crap ! Now what?
This is not what I was expecting.
The small monkey looked at me and said, “CLIMB! it does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop...'”
I stepped gingerly on the first rung and felt myself moving quickly upwards...............

If you can't Trust a Well Dressed Monkey, ©Lee Goldberg

December 2, 2012

William  - Confronted with a near vertical ice wall I fear this may be the last route I’ll be able to try before retreating to the lower shelf for Mulka. This particular pitch started with much promise and brought Fish and I a bit higher than the south col route we attempted over the summer. Although I’m sorely tempted to give it a go we’ve barely enough provisions for contingencies.

I glance down at Fish, who is holding me on belay and find myself nearly blinded. He seems to be evolving the higher we climb. Somehow he seems to be exuding more fishness than I’m used to. I fumble in my rucksack for the glacier goggles to make the glare off his scales a bit more bearable.

“Telepathy is more than a parlor trick,” he shouts up to me, “my scales are actually iridescent and in the thin air their refractive properties are magnified.”
Damn him, how did he know what I was thinking about?

He continued, “At this altitude with it’s delightful thin air I do believe that I can explain Now.”
I could swear that his lidless eye winked, but that’s impossible.

“Since the past is memory and I’m still imagining tomorrow I must be creating the world as I speak.” “Isn’t that grand, William, I’m creating you”

Since the Past is Memory, ©William Evertson

Susan  - "omg"...............Susan screamed across the great divide!!! "Is this being filmed...anyone our there listening?"

William  -  The seven small blues tasked with making sketches documenting the climber’s progress paused and then held up their drawings in rapid succession. They made a snuffling sound, rubbed their whiskers then returned to work.

December 4, 2012

Lee  - The last thing I remember hearing was, “it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” so I climbed the ladder and kept climbing the ladder. It seemed like hours, surely not days…
I could no longer see where I came from and looking up there was nothingness. Now what do I do? My arms and legs ached from the strain of climbing but I dared not stop for fear of falling. Falling, one of my biggest fears - height!!! I can't see how high I am so keep looking up. I told myself - never look down - don't look back. Who would have thought I was so far beneath the mountain. Even the idea of that scared me.
It occurred to me, what if I'm climbing the mountain from the inside? Maybe this ladder to the surface does not come out on the beach or forest or even a gentle hill. Holy crap! Why did I listen to that monkey...such tricksters they are...
I began to feel a gentle breeze; the air had seemed to change from the cool dank of the caves to something else. Still, quite cool. My gloves were in my backpack and not wanting to risk stopping I climbed up toward the light that began to filter downward.
Beyond the ladder I could make out stones and moss. I realized I was in a circular structure with ledges; steps and archways leading to tunnels. Many tunnels. I wondered where they lead, but resisted the impulse to explore. I need to get to the surface wherever that may be. Looking through an archway I saw stars and a strange looking sky. Time for the climb to stop, I thought. At the same time I ran out of ladder. Indeed, time to come out of the darkness. Over a small wall and up some irregular stone steps there was a small strange clearing. “As long as you do not stop” rang in my ears...really? Assessing the situation does not mean stopping and it's time to REST...and figure out just where I am and more importantly where are the others?

After the Ladder, ©Lee Goldberg

December 10, 2012

Mark  - Everyone was sure this was going to be The Final Mulka. That is, the one pushed furthest forward. "Pighead meet Goathead!" said the suspicious-looking beady-eyed little troll with designs on keeping the Mulkatudes salivating forever. But Goathead knew better and so when Pighead extended his hand for a shake, Goathead knowingly went in for the passionate hug. The balding little troll was taken aback by this sudden surge of confidence in La Cabra (the Goat).
"Where is everyone? Are they hiding from the unknown?" Susan muttered. We all moved in closer toward the troll.
"Somewhere in there you agreed to be the bearer of good news!" Mara said ignoring Susan.
"Anyway, we see something on your back that will help locate the dirigible, if you are still interested in leaving."
Bill looked away from the fish for a second who said “Since the past is memory and I’m still imagining tomorrow I must be creating the world as I speak.” but Bill didn't hear him. “Isn’t that grand, William, I’m creating you”
I asked Mara who was the bald guy and Mara turned to ask Ria.
"That is Jelly De Smet once a Belgian prodigy but now a no good prick." she whispered uncharacteristically. She seemed annoyed. I told Bill to hold it down and Susan wearily asked Mara "What?"
Just then Blue mumbled, "What?" sleepily as if in echo. "I have a job to do".
"That's right", Mara Mara said, "Blue agreed to move the sheep from the high pastures down lower before Mulka. When are you getting to that Blue?"
"It may have to be done on the way to your new assignment", the barber said.
La Cabra the Goatman, feeling his value at last said confidently, "This is the final Mulka, De Smet, so you can kiss my furry ass. The Pig is mine."
The troll, embarrassed that his name had been spoken out loud, rubbed his eyes in disbelief.

Unspoken the Troll, ©Susan Shulman

December 12, 2012

William  - I felt a slight vibration under my feet and glanced at Fish who of course knew what I was thinking. Either that or he placed the thought (or the vibration) in my head.

Lidless eyes held my gaze and he calmly said, “We’ll be ok but it’s going to be a hell of a ride to the Mulka fields, swim like there’s no tomorrow.”

“Swim?”, I shouted, causing the barber to drop his razor and the little blues to stop in mid chatter.

“Yes, I would recommend a vigorous crawl stroke and to kick like mad.”

Jelly De Smelt
Suddenly, Jelly De Smelt bend over backwards, looked uphill and screamed, “Blue, either those sheep are coming to you or that’s an avalanche.”

Who, was the bald guy yelled, “It’s not my fault, MaraMara,” as she grabbed up her rucksack of journals.

IIIIEEEE....I tumbled at first then began kicking and clawing in the midst of the fluffy powder. I thought I caught a glimpse of yellow curly hair fly past. Susan??? A large scaly tail obscured my vision and I could do nothing more than continue to be swept along.

December 16, 2012

Susan  - I gazed across the ravine watching Fish with his tale swishing back and forth like he was conducting a symphony with a slippery and scaly baton. There was Bill, laying down horizontally, perfectly still floating at least 4 feet in the air. I didn’t see any strings or magic apparatus. He was suspended in mid air. What Trickery was this? Colours were emanating from Fish’s body. He looked like a mirage swirling in an aura of brilliant pastel colours. Flashing back and forth into reality before my eyes. Bill was unblinking and his pupils were huge as he stared into space. Orange and white fluffy lenticular clouds started rolling down and enveloping the two of them. Wisps of coloured lightening bolts exploded out from the interior of the clouds and flashes of people started to appear. In quick succession I saw holograms of Mara, Lee, Chris, Mark, Bibi, Angela, Jane, Cathy, Ria, William and Kathleen, speeding up faster and faster becoming one big rainbow blur………….. And then…the boom…and they were gone. All that was left of the ridge was Fish sporting a “topper”, with his pursed red lips, and quite an odd expression on his Poisson face. “Let the festivities begin” he telepathically broadcast to all on the mountain, as he raised his twinkling eyeball to showcase his gold filled monocle.

Master of Ceremony, ©Susan Shulman

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