The hairdresser, Unaflette, first came to the northern town to learn from the great coiffure artists in the region.
I’d lock myself up if I thought I was really a danger. I’d have myself committed to a psychiatric hospital. I would. To keep from hurting someone. I don’t want it to come to that. But I’d do it.
On a bright spring day, a group of young academicians gathered at the banks of the river to challenge each other’s skills and provide a spectacle to whomever had the patience and the interest to stand by and watch. The day before, it was the naturalists who were testing themselves. But on that day, the architects had gathered, and their challenge was to build a tower of stones and pebbles, gathered from the banks or within the river itself, for it flowed softly where they had chosen to hold their contest.
The grass is purple in that valley. And the sky is green. That’s how you will know that you have reached the entrance to the vault.
I never really expected those words from an ancient myth to guide me on this failed expedition. And it was failed because even if I found the vault, even if I managed to enter it and lay my eyes on what lay within, I would never find my way out again.
I brought a friend with me. I wasn’t going into the abandoned factory alone.
Back in the day, people called it the “organ factory.” The irony is that we have actual organ factories now. Fabrication technology has spread farther than preservation technology ever did. But there was a time when all we had was organ preservation. A time when anyone who could extend the life of a donated organ by even just a bit could save lives that would otherwise have been lost.
It is said the magician imbued the empress’s soup with a secret elixir that granted strength of mind, of body, and of character.
“Ah yes, the age-old story of the rebellious kid with a heart of gold who steals some mad scientist’s project, which happens to be some mutated creature that seems menacing at first, but gets cuter and cuter over time as we get to know him. Come on, Rogers, don’t you have anything original?”
Once upon a time, there was a thriving civilization living under the light of a warm yellow sun. As eons passed, the civilization spread. It advanced. It regressed. It advanced again. It rose. It declined. And it rose again. It changed, became unrecognizable from its past self. And as the civilization did, so did the sun that burned above it and smiled down upon it. The warm yellow sun was aging, and as it did, it grew warmer and warmer, and bigger and bigger, darker and darker, yellow to orange to red, until the smiling yellow sun became a glaring red giant.
Audrey got home late most nights, and to break up the endless cycle of go-to-work-come-home-conk-out-repeat, she would immerse herself in faraway and fantastical worlds. She would do this by watching her favorite channel. Considering the subject matter of the programming—adventures in mythical lands, life aboard a galactic cruiser crewed by hundreds of sentient species, and so on—it came as no surprise that some of the advertising skewed toward the fantastical.
The quacking of a duck startled me awake. It was more a honk actually. The first time I heard it in the middle of the night, it was a horrific sound. Because I couldn’t place it. I never expected to hear a duck in the middle of the night where I live. But we have a pool, and they like to land in the pool sometimes.
In the middle of the night, some of the sounds that are innocuous or even unnoticeable during the day trigger worry or fear. The creak of a stair. The weird sounds that fridges make when they’re cycling through their…cycles. A duck honking.
The epitome of sound is music. I lie awake and listen for it. The chirping of crickets is the chorus of the night. But they have some accompaniment. The distant barking of a dog, answered by another. Engines revving, droning or trumpeting, as cars pass by on the nearby cross street. The sounds begin to sooth me.
I slip off into sleep.