I Know A Secret

This is a new fiction blog. I know it's another one, but Blogspot lets me have as many of these as I like, so it begins again....and who knows where it will lead. This blog is dedicated to the good folks on The Chronicle of Higher Education's Job Seeking Forum. You are the best. To return to the Unfettered Soul click here. To return to the main front page click here.

I've decided to set up a solo blog rather than a role play because I want to make sure this character has a real first class home. She was an attempt on two role plays. I created her in my head and held her out as a reward to write her up when I returned from a job interview a couple of weeks ago. The board on which she was going to star, died. I created her a second time a few days ago to go here, but Invisionfree is having trouble with the server that houses the board. Seeing a character who wants to be born and can't seem to get born has to be a sign of some kind so here is the place and now is the time. Let the tale begin.

Well this blog will need a new introduction soon. It has a nice decorative scheme and it also has a backfile for older posts.

  Here is a test post.

There is a test post.

# posted by ZOIDRubashov @ 2/19/2006 02:46:00 AM  
  Chapter 17 -- Fortresses and King's Lynn

The new year began with letters back to Harva, Phedre, and my parents. I did not think these would be my last letters. Somehow my parents would always have a priviledged line of communication and my friends from school could use that line. I counted myself as lucky. New Year's Day I saw the first people along the real street of the sunny world that shone through my window. Maybe it wasn't the "real" London after all. It was way too sunny.

"I wonder who those people are," said Taylor absently. She often came in Leilanni's and my room to watch out the window. "People who aren't as lucky as we are," Leilanni groaned back. "Who says we are lucky?" answered Taylor. "The fact that other dumb fucks aren't lucky says it," Mandi answered.

I ordered meals, took my turn on the tread mill, crocheted and watched DVD's. Mostly I kept my own counsel. I was lucky in so many ways. The real reason I was lucky was that I had friends who were fighting twice as hard as I was...but for what?

Here is another of Phedre's letters...

Dearest Koru,

It became official after four or five phone calls by my mom and yours to the Board of Education, there will be no school on January 2nd. One of the reasons for this is that we are running out of gas and or diesel. Your father says that school buses use diesel fuel. Trucks run on diesel too and so food has started running low at the Food Emporium and at the Pathmark in Frankfort. We live mainly on canned and nonperishible foods stored in boxes and pantries. My parents had a pantry as a matter of course. Your parents had one as a matter of planning.

Even this will run low soon. Your mother says not to worry though. For Christmas your father and and mine gave themselves a generator and they are currently excavatign through the hard rocky soil behind the workshop to put in a fuel tank. I guess this place is going to become a kind of fortress in a siege. My spirit friends suspect that your parents are very wealthy. I think they are right and they are spending their money the right way.

So ask me if I feel secure. The answer is yes. Ask me if I should feel secure. The answer should be "no." My little sister is still missing and while your parents will let my parents and me and also Harva say safe, warm, and well fed along with them because it is easy, none of those employees will do anything to lift a finger to help find Ligeia. I don't know thing one about finding Ligeia or I would get my stone and go looking for her myself. I knew how to rescue that boy from under the ice, but that was different. This is much more complicated.

They threw the stones again on New Year's Eve. I know because my dreams get very vivid and go on all night long and into the next day. Should I feel secure? Yes, because I know when I get my stone where I am going. The village is called Ardznorvo and it is located near the mouth of the Lena River in Siberia, only it won't be the version of Siberia on our maps here. From what my friends have explained there are dozens of parallel worlds. The name they have for where they have their beach head is Kitz-ivi. That is the best spelling I have. The people who made these names don't use a Roman alphabet. They use pictographs. Harva told me that.

Don't worry. I have no intention of leaving for Siberia until the weather gets warm and life here in the fortress your parents are making gets intolerable. I know that the latter event has to happen some time. With the world outside collapsing without even putting up half a fight, it is just a matter of time. I know this is news you do not want to hear. Don't feel bad about being behind the jammers. The time will come when you can find your way out. Being your father's daughter gives you an edge. You'll use it when you have to.

Phedre Goldberg

On the evening of January 2nd, we did not have any more meal forms to fill out. Uncle Bill and Aunt Jodie told all of us to get started packing. In the morning we would travel by bus to our school at King's Lynn way up in the Midlands and on the coast. I wondered which King's Lynn it would be but I kept my mouth shut. Maybe it would have been better had we asked questions all the time.

"It just gets worse from here," complained Taylor. "Shut the fuck up," Mandi answered. Leilanni groaned. Grace and Hannah complained they had too much stuff. I went to visit Tapati who was packing dutifully. Her face was composed into a half smile. "Learned a lot haven't you?" she asked. I did not feel as if I had learned anything. My friends were fighting and I was a well cared for and well fed prisoner. "I've learned this whole experience sucks super electric weenie," I answered. Tapati gave me a wry smile.

The next morning after a box breakfast of energy bars which I did not eat, we got on the bus with the picture of a stone with a hand. The lobby of the Dorchester appeared unchanged from what I remembered a week or so before. There was too much sun in the streets but I already knew that. London also seemed to have shrunk but I had only been to one of its suburbs once with Tapati and a lot of good that trip had done. Beyond London, the world was green with blue skies and an occasional old village. The ride took two hours and where they took us was flat and wooded with a village up the road.

I would still have my yellow bracelet and I would stay in a low rise building with a many angled black shingled roof pointing in many directions and a cedar or teak face in reddish brown and a big porch or deck. The building was called Medina 1. Tapati, Mandi, and I would join a bunch of kids who were already there. My class schedule was pinned to my already decorated dormitory room door. Yes, it was just what I had ordered. That made me sad. My trunk and boxes sat waiting for me. It was home as if I had never left. "Someone is trying to do tricks with my memories," I thought angrily. Then I started unpacking.

Lunch was in a big cafeteria that served an endless array of food. I thought of the time I'd spent in that mansion in Virginia when I was six. I also thought of Harva, Phedre, and my family eating canned food and living on their own fuel and electricity. How long would that fortress last and what would happen when it went? I did not have any answers.

# posted by ZOIDRubashov @ 2/11/2006 12:35:00 PM  
  Chapter 16 -- Seeing Out

"What are you eating?" asked Taylor who was still a one armed bandit.

"Linguini with white clam sauce," I replied.

Taylor made a face. "And last night it was that stuff in tubes," she sneered.

"Manicotti," I answered. If it weren't for Taylor who proceeded to take out her confinement on every one around her, our stay in the Dorchester shortly after Christmas just might have qualified as pleasant. It reminded me of the time I had stayed in that mansion in Virginia. I had been six years old then and had never been to school. I was left alone all day with the cook, house keeper, governess and the owner's six and four year old children. My younger brother who was two at the time stayed with my mom. The cook asked us what we wanted to eat. We could have anything we desired and I desired presweetened cereal for breakfast, pineapple juice, and at lunch time sardine sandwiches, peanut butter and apricot preserve sandwiches, or one of several kinds of cold cuts. I would eat the same thing for dinner except I sometimes got soup instead. I had a list of about ten kinds that I liked and I also got a hot vegetable. I knew all the fancy mixed ones by heart. I drove the poor cook nuts so one morning she took me to the supermarket and let me pick out a whole bunch of stuff. After that, she knew what I liked and said I was a pleasure to cook for and started slipping in stuff she made for the grownups, vegetables mostly, especially if there were a party.

It was good food, but I was lonely. I remember the swimming lessons and trying to ride a horse and the fake train in the back yard that ran on a real little track and the go-carts that I was scaird to drive, and the VCR and DVD machines where I never got to pick the movie. My counterpart was eating chicken nuggets and some kind of hamburger on a bun and corn and nothing else. I don't know how the cook did not mind fixing two separate meals. They must have paid her well. I imagined a cook somewhere fixing our food.

We had two treadmills in the hall, and like the models, I exercised on one of them every day, usually in the late morning to get it over with or in the early morning if the late morning slot was taken. I hated the fact that one of the treadmills faced towards the fake wall where a guard always sat, placidly staring into space. Did they pay the guards well too? I couldn't imagine a more boring job. I usually imagined I was skiing as I walked the treadmill.

The rest of the day I wrote letters and did needle work and when I finished the squid design, I crocheted. I decided whatever I was making would be a back pannel for a sweater vest. It might look cute should I ever have the need to dress up again.

Around noon on the twenty-ninth of December, Aunt Jodie handed me a thick envelope. I tore it open. In it was a letter from each of my parents and letters from Phedre and Harva.

My parents said they were doing fine. Gasoline was in short supply. Hilel and Mir, my two younger siblings, had each other and were continuing their unschooled educations. Dad was busy with work. Mom was on "Social Committee" as a part of her work, and that had changed things. Nearly every family had lost at least one member in the stone toss. Sometimes a child or aged parent was left all alone. More than once, my mother had used precious gasoline to take such a person to another city where they had relatives. The phone and internet still worked. My dad warned me to listen to my minders and not try to cut holes in doors and windows or tear through them. Such actions would cost me my freedom. My dad also was glad that he knew where his entire family was and that we were all unscathed. My dad, at least was honest.

Harva and Phedre's letters were different.


I am writing this letter from your old bedroom where I am now staying. No, I am not in Highland Lakes any more. You are probably curious why I am down here in the valley and how I got here. Well, it is not a good story as you can well imagine. On the mornig of December 26th, my mother disappeared. I wish I missed her. Your mother says I am too traumatized right now and will miss her eventually.

That left my father and I in the house. It would have been Christmas Break anyway but it was just school and after going to work once and taking me with him (New York City was gutted beyond belief, nothing open, a lot of people wandering the streets aimlessly, "Have you seen?" posters plastered to walls. It is like one big scream.) he stayed home and it was just the two of us in the house.

Your mom can say my dad was traumatized, but he threatened to take my notebooks. I resisted. We fought. It got ugly. He ended up chasing me across the living room and beating me with a shoe. I still have the bruises to show for it. I couldn't believe my mom had been gone for two days only and it had come to this kind of thing.

Late that night after my dad was asleep, I escaped. I took some underware and my notebooks and nothing else. It was five in the morning by the time I arrived at your parents house. I knew your parents would still be around because they are behind all of the changes, if you want to use a euphemism. Yes, I fondly remember English and school. They took me in and later that day, a whole car load of employees with guns went up to my old house with your parents and me and they got the rest of my stuff.

Your mother will not let me go back to my dad. She saw the bruises on my back. She says I could be killed. There is no guarantee I could reach the police or that they could get there in time should my dad get violent again. Don't ask me what I think about any of this. I did not think the bruises were all that bad. I just did not want to lose my notebooks. That's the truth. I know you think that's crazy.

Anyway, I am here. Phedre and I use your old bedroom in the workshop (I'm sleeping in the house.) as a school room. I refused to sleep there. Phedre does not sleep with jammers and neither should I. Don't feel guilty if you sleep with jammers. Your situation and mine are very different, even if you now have spirit friends you like and trust. Yes, that is better. Keep up the good work in that department if and when you can.

Our plan is to have school every day and help both sets of parents (Phedre's parents are still here.) around the house to earn our keep and stay on every one's good side. At least that is possible here. Your parents are good at the survival thing. Even if the whole world falls apart, we will have heat and food and get through the winter. Best of luck to you. Please remember to read Phedre's letter

Harva Schumacher

And here is Phedre's letter....

Dearest Koru,

I hope you are well. Harva and I are as well as can be expected. Yes, Harva lives in your old bedroom, not the one in the workshop but the one in the house with your parents. Her family disintegrated on the twenty-sixth.

Your parents think that my parents may have some sort of natural immunity. Ligeia already had her stone and disappeared on the twenty-sixth. I miss her. My parents have a kind of shrine to her in the living room with pictures of her on the wall. I think there should be a candle there, but that would be overkill. I keep telling myself she will come back. We all believe that. It's probably bullshit.

Harva is the one among us who really suffered. I am so grateful to your parents and those employees for strong arming her dad to get her stuff out of that house way up in Highland Lakes. There won't be any more stores soon. There won't be any more phone. There will definitely be no gas, and soon no internet. If it is like this here, imagine what it is like in Siberia near the Arctic Circle.

No one is offering me a stone until after the Equinox. I am immune now for a time. Harva and Merlene and Illarion are as thick as thieves and also have an understanding. That means we are in it for the long haul.

That is a major relief. Now if only Ligeia will come back. Yes, I have asked the employees about it and Fern (remember her!) says it sometimes happens. Who knows if I believe her. Keep the faith and write again soon.

Phedre Goldberg

You can make of these letters what you wish. I wrote back to both Phedre and Harva. Then I wrote to my parents and mailed it out on the thirtieth of December. There was nothing to do then but wait for letters.

By the way, unlike New York which was a screamingly dead city, according to Harva, London or at least what I saw from my hotel room window in the Dorchester was a quietly disturbingly dead city. I saw no people, no cars, no movement. I don't know why I woke up on the morning of New Year's Eve (Yes that was the day!) and realized that what I was looking at was not a real world outside a window but a static tabelau.

"Koru, what are you doing?" Leilanni asked me. "Have you lost it?"

I did not want to break the window. Besides it was solid. I tried scratching at it with my house key. There was a kind of greasey film on it but the scratches only left scratches that looked a bit odd but which showed nothing. It would have taken weeks to scratch a large enough space to get anything approaching a decent view. I started looking for some kind of device. If this was one of my dad's illusion generators there had to be a device for it somewhere, but I found nothing in the window frame. Then I saw the thin cable going toward the floor and connected to a small box.

For a moment I thought about my dad and how I could not bear to destroy one of his creations because that would be like destroying him. Then I got one of my shoes and went to work. The shoe did not work, but it did work when I put it on my feet and could kick very hard. The device popped open and I got to work with a needle point hook and my hand wrapped in a cotton sock for grounding. I managed to pry the electronics loose just as my door flew open and I turned back to look at an embroidered shirt female guard and Uncle Bill.

"It's done and you can't change it," I said.

"Fuck," said Leilanni.

A bright blue sky shone through the window instead of the grey of the previous scene. There were several brightly colored cars parked beside the building that had not been there before. I did not see any people, but I did see several pigeons land and take off again.

"Why?" asked Uncle Bill.

"I needed to see out," I answered. "I'm not escaping."

"You can't escape," said the guard. "You can only get lost," she told me. "Do you understand. You have no way back."

"Of course," I said. "Home is 9,000 miles away, even if I could get to the airport," I countered.

The guard and Uncle Bill looked at each other. Meanwhile the connecting door had opened and Taylor and Mandi had emerged. "Holy shit," said Mandi. "The fucking sun is shining," answered Taylor. "This is London, but that's not the London we were in before Christmas. It's somewhere else,"

"How do you know?" I answered and I wished Harva were here because she though she does not believe it is good at explaining those things.

"My...friends told me about the other worlds. We're in one of them," stammered Taylor.

"I think you've started a panic," sighed Leilanni.

"Nothing that hasn't been here before. Koru, no more vandalism please," he said.

Oddly enough I kept my yellow bracelet. I really had no intention of escaping. Though the thought of smashing a window might have been a good one. As I explained home was 9,000 miles away if it was on this world at all. I wasn't sure if what Taylor said was right even when I saw people outside my window. Throughout the day, word of the real view in Leilanni's and my room spread and Yumi, Emma, Grace, Hannah, and even the three boys came by to view it. Only Tapati was resistant. She spent her time reading or in bed or eating or dutifully walking the treadmill.

And yes, I should have asked Taylor if the world out there had a name that was different from London but I didn't. Maybe it was all the stuff Harva said about words in other languages that stopped me. Taylor did not seem to be the other language type and neither was Tapati, but it was Harva who had taught me so I did not ask. I just watched and tried to figure out if I was really some place very different than the London where I had spent a week travelling before the gate slammed shut and the stones got tossed.

# posted by ZOIDRubashov @ 2/08/2006 07:20:00 PM  

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