Friday, June 03, 2005


      The Column of Unseen Fear rose from the general collapse with an air of heavenly superiority. Its crown appeared a perfect triangle whose sharp corners twisted shadowy grooves down the face of the building. A thick black line on the ground around the tower seemed to tempt the surrounding architecture to just try anything.
      "I suggest we pause here a moment," said Josef.
      "But why?" asked Douglas, "The Column is right there. We've got to -" The momentum of his sentence was lost to laughter when he saw Josef, whose fur was suddenly sticking out in every direction. "Josef, are you full of Unseen Fear?"
      "Funny," joined 1, "You look like an Ursine lint monster."
      Josef looked around and climbed a few orphaned stairs to a large, roundish rock. He began trying to push it at them.
      "Very nice," Isis scolded, "Always pick on the little guy."
      "He's not so little anymore," muttered 1.
      "Hey, we're sorry, Josef," said Douglas, "My hair feels kind of poofy too."
      The poofy mouse ignored them and kept pushing the rock, until it tumbled awkwardly down the stairs. They each stepped out of the way as it rolled toward the Column.
      "I suggest you watch."
      Instantly, an enormous branch of blue light caught the rock from above with a loud crackle. When the smoke cleared, all that remained was a freshly scorched blotch.
      "It's a giant bug-zapper!" exclaimed Douglas.
      "I'm afraid our journey has reached an end," said Josef.
      1 roared in frustration. It echoed around them.
      "What about the base of the tower?" Douglas asked.
      "It isn't charred!" replied 1.
      "I think we'll be safe if we can get over there," added Douglas.
      "Or maybe no one's made it that far," subtracted Josef.
      "Don't worry," replied Isis, who had clasped her hands above her head. She walked past all of them toward the tower.
      "No, Isis! What are you -" tried Douglas, but it was too late. She passed onto the blackened earth and was immediately struck by artificial lightning. The only thing stranger to Douglas than this beautiful robot-girl in the throes of unimaginable electricity was how happy she looked about it.
      "I'm well-designed!" beamed Isis.
      "I'll say," he agreed.
      "We've gotta be shorter than her arms, so everybody crouch -" 1 looked at Douglas, then at Josef, "Oh, all right, just me then."
      "But -" objected Josef, as 1 ran crouching across the zap zone.
      "All clear!"
      "But -" objected Josef again, as Douglas headed off past Isis.
      "That's a fun word too, isn't it?" he called back.
      "Oh, burpel," muttered Josef.
      Isis waited for the mouse to pass and then slowly followed toward the others. She seemed unreal, like a dancing puppet carried along by a single, luminous blue thread. Douglas blinked and it was over. The thread vanished and she brought her hands back down.
      "What were you trying to say, Josef?" 1 asked.
      "My modest concern," replied Josef, standing on his hind legs and dramatically staring up at the tower, "was what we were going to do once we got here."
      1 looked at Douglas, who was looking at Isis.
      "I don't know what to do," replied Isis.
      "Do about what?" asked Douglas.
      Josef was out of sighs.
      "1, see if you can scale this monstrosity. Isis, look for an entrance. Monkey, stay out of trouble."
      "But -"
      "Rest assured, if I find a banana, you'll be the first to know."
      Douglas felt a tap on his shoulder and froze.
      "Please tell me you ran around at super-robot-speed and that's you, Isis."
      "No, that's Papa Bear trying to climb the tower. I'm behind you. I just tapped on your shoulder, remember?"
      "Robots," grumbled Josef.
      "Mice," grumbled Isis.
      "What's the word?" asked 1.
      "There's no way in, but I can help you up."
      "Indeed?" Josef chuckled, "Have a gadget for that too, do we?"
      "Nope," she replied, and opened a panel in her stomach. Pinkish gobs of pink oozed out, pinkly. "I was saving this for later."


Post a Comment

<< Home